Tag Archives: Yom HaShoah

Using Photographs to Teach About The Holocaust, 2017

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Tracks leading to Auschwitz. Photographer unknown.

When I was in school, we never learned about the Holocaust. Not in grammar school, not in high school, not in college, not in grad school. Despite all the schools’ and teachers’ claims that we students were being prepared for “the real world,” they neglected to tell us some of the most important parts of world history. Granted, I spent most of my life attending Catholic schools where the nuns and priests never mentioned Jews except to say that “Jesus used to be one.” Those nuns and priests certainly never mentioned The Holocaust, the concentration camps, or even the Nazis.

My great-grandparents, Aloysius and Stella (née Lili) Hirsch were trying to protect the family from anti-Semitism by sending us to those Catholic schools. It didn’t help. Despite the fact that all of us inherited my grandparents’ strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes, I got called “Kike” and “Yid” and lots of other racist names from the time I was in first grade. When I asked my Grandpa why we couldn’t talk about being Jewish, it was my Grandma who interrupted us, telling me that I must always say, “I was baptized and I go to Catholic schools.” Since I was only 8 at the time, I did what she told me.

It wasn’t till I was an adult and able to research the family genealogy that I learned the source of my great-grandparents’ fear: during the War and the Holocaust, they’d lost all their family members in Germany. All those German members of the Hirsch and Wekesser families have their dates of death listed as “1940-1945?” with no places of burial. I have few photographs of my great-grandparents, and none of their family members who remained in Germany. That saddens me, not only because my great-grandparents feared telling us any stories about them, but because we have nothing to recall them to us.

Photographs are an important aid to history, even if we do not know all the names of the people in the pictures. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, has several videos resources to help people learn about the Holocaust, and to teach it, using photographs. I have included them all in this post for your convenience, but these are all Yad Vashem videos.

Part One:
Teaching The Holocaust
Using Photographs

In the first video of the Yad Vashem, Teaching the Holocaust Using Photographs, Franziska Reiniger, staff member for the International School for Holocaust Studies (ISHS) at Yad Vashem, discusses some of the important things to bear in mind before using Holocaust photographs with students.

  1. Who is the photographer?
  2. Why was the photograph taken?
  3. Was the photograph staged?
  4. Where was the photograph found?

Photographs, like all historical documents, have limitations and are open to interpretation. These things need to be taken into account before using photographs to teach others about the Holocaust.

Part Two:
Photographs as Propaganda

In Photographs as Propaganda, the second video in the Yad Vashem series, Teaching the Holocaust Using Photographs, ISHS staff member Franziska discusses the Nazi photographs and films that were made to promote their anti-Semitic ideology. In fact, she states, the Nazis used the camera as a weapon against their Jewish victims, starting in Poland in 1939 where the soldiers first encountered Jews who were not fully assimilated into their non-Jewish society.

Part Three:
Documentation of Atrocities

Official Lodz Ghetto inmate and photographer Henryk Ross and his photos make up the third part of the Yad Vashem Series Teaching the Holocaust Using Photographs. In  Documentation of Atrocities, Ross demonstrates how he surreptitiously photographed the Ghetto Jews and then secretly developed them. Later, Ross served as a witness against Adolf Eichmann in his trial for Crimes Against Humanity.

All three of these films are part of Yad Vashem’s Holocaust Education Video Toolbox. Please visit their site for additional video resources.

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Using Photographs to Teach About The Holocaust, 2017

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When I was in school, we never learned about the Holocaust. Not in grammar school, not in high school, not in college, not in grad ...
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Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah ("Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah ("The Catastrophe," or "Utter Destruction") and in ...
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Photographic Introduction to the Holocaust

Rare Historical Holocaust Photos

Holocaust Timeline and Overview

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

Learn about The Holocaust on USHMM
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

For more information on the Holocaust database
or to fill out Pages of Testimony, visit
Yad Vashem‘s Central Database of Shoah Victims

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Documentary/Historical Video, History, Holocaust, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Memoir, Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Remembrance Survivor Testimony: Elie Wiesel and Yad Vashem, 2017

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Yom HaShoah
Holocaust Remembrance Day

200px-Yom_Hashoah_candle
Once again, the world observes Yom HaShoah (The Catastrophe, or The Utter Destruction) in memory of all the Jews who were killed during the Holocaust, of all the survivors, as well as those who fought against the Nazis: the partisans, the Members of the Underground, those in the Ghettos who fought, and the Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews.

We must never let The Holocaust happen again. Not to the Jews. Not to any group of people based on their ethnicity, their religious beliefs, or the color of their skin. We must actively fight against intolerance and bigotry. We must prevent genocide. How can we do that if we do not actively remember what the Nazis did to the bulk of the European Jews between 1932 and 1945?

Jewish women and children from the Ukraine as they are about to enter the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photographer unknown.

Some people do not know that the persecution started long before the War. The Nazis were not peaceful and friendly with the Jews one day, then gassing them and putting them in crematorium ovens the next. It was a gradual process: identification, segregation, loss of property, loss of employment, deportation, isolation, death from starvation and work, then systematic extermination. At each step, others had to stand by, silently, passively, and permit such persecution. At each stage, whole groups of people and entire countries gave the Nazis permission by not actively opposing them.

images-5

It has now been 72 years since the end of the War and the Liberation of the Concentration Camps, over 80 years since Hitler was elected to power and began to slowly implement his anti-Semitic policies against the Jews. Soon, there will be no survivors left to remind the living that The Holocaust was real; it did happen; it is not a fairy tale created by anyone.

Yad Vashem, The History of the Holocaust Museum in Israel, has gathered many stories of survivors, taping them so that we may remember. So that The Holocaust may never happen again. In preparation for Yom HaShoah, I watched some of the survivors’ stories. I want to share some with you.

yomhashoah-257x300

Yad Vashem
Holocaust History Museum

Yad Vashem’s world famous Holocaust History Museum is a prism-like triangular structure that penetrates the mountain from one side to the other, with both ends dramatically cantilevering into the open air. An experiential dimension was integrated into the museum’s design, giving visitors an overall impression of the time, place, and atmosphere.

Inside the museum, a series of diagonal channels cut in the floor of the walkway (prism) guides the visitor into each of the eight-meter high underground galleries depicting different chapters of the Shoah. The gently sloping floor and narrowing prism enhances the changing narrative, creating the illusion of descending deep into the mountain. Different aspects of the Holocaust are reflected through the use of original artifacts, documentation, testimonies, film, literature, diaries, letters, and works of art (from Yad Vashem). Virtual Tour

Elie Wiesel

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Elie Wiesel — recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace,  Human Rights Activist, and renowned author — was 15 when the Nazis deported him, along with his family, from their home in Transylvania to Auschwitz. Losing both his parents and younger sister in the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel has made it his lifelong goal to teach the world about the Holocaust. In this video he commemorates his father by filling out a Page of Testimony for Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.

By filling out a Page for his father, who perished in Buchenwald concentration camp shortly before liberation, Elie Wiesel added his father to the millions of Holocaust victims commemorated by family and friends. Through the Pages of Testimony the victims’ names and identities are restored, that which the Nazis and their collaborators had tried to erase forever (from Yad Vashem Holocaust Histories). Elie Wiesel commemorates his father.

Please join me and millions of others this Yom HaShoah, as well as the days before and after, remembering the victims, the activists, and the survivors of the Holocaust.

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Photographic Introduction to the Holocaust

Rare Historical Holocaust Photos

Holocaust Timeline and Overview

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

Learn about The Holocaust on USHMM
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

For more information on the Holocaust database
or to fill out Pages of Testimony, visit
Yad Vashem‘s Central Database of Shoah Victims

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Documentary/Historical Video, History, Holocaust, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Memoir, Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah 2017: Holocaust Days of Remembrance

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images-5

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah (Day of Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah ( Day of “The Catastrophe” or “Utter Destruction”) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Memorial Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany with its systematic genocide of the European Jews, and for the Jewish resistance in that period, including the resistance of partisans, the members of the Underground, and the Ghetto occupants. It is held on the 27th of Nisan (April/May).

In 2017, Yom HaShoah begins at sundown on Sunday 23 April and continues through sunset Monday 24 April. On Monday, in Israel, a siren stops all traffic and pedestrians for two minutes of silent meditation, reflection, and devotion at 10:00 a.m.

images-4

We must never forget what happened during the Holocaust, not only because of the large-scale persecution and execution of the European Jews, but because such hatred, intolerance, and genocide still exist today, against Jews as well as against many other groups of people. Soon, there will be no Holocaust survivors remaining to tell their own stories, so we must prevent this horrific event from becoming “distant history” by telling their stories for them, and by creating, reading, and viewing art which reminds us that “the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing” (Edmund Burke).

200px-Yom_Hashoah_candle

In honor of Yom HaShoah, in memory of my great-grandparents’ family members and all the other Jews who were killed during the Holocaust, in honor of my friend who survived Auschwitz at age 16 – Anna Brunn Ornstein – her husband, Paul Ornstein, and all the other survivors of the camps, I will, as always, be observing the official two minutes of silence and reflection, as well as spending the day in meditation. Please join me.

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Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah ("Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah ("The Catastrophe," or "Utter Destruction") and in ...
Continue reading
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Continue reading
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Photographic Introduction to the Holocaust

Rare Historical Holocaust Photos

Holocaust Timeline and Overview

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

Learn about The Holocaust on USHMM
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

For more information on the Holocaust database
or to fill out Pages of Testimony, visit
Yad Vashem‘s Central Database of Shoah Victims

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Documentary/Historical Video, History, Holocaust, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Memoir, Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Days of Remembrance Survivor Testimony: Urbach & Schindler, Goodkin and Wallenberg, 2017

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Yom HaShoah 2017
Holocaust Remembrance
Days of Remembrance

Unknown

During the Holocaust, with its Nazi-sponsored, systematic persecution and genocide of the Jews, there were some people who risked their own lives to protect Jews and to save them. Sometimes, as in the case of Oskar Schindler, the subject of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List (from Australian author Thomas Keneally’s award-winning novel Schindler’s Ark), the person is relatively well known to many of us. In other instances, such as that of Raoul Wallenberg, who disappeared during the War, most probably taken by the Nazis and executed, the people who saved Jews are not as familiar. It is then that we must rely on Survivor Testimony to learn about some of those who did risk everything to help save the European Jews.

Sol Urbach
saved by
Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler

Sol Urbach was born in Poland in 1925. He was one of the Jews that were protected and rescued by Oskar Schindler in Cracow and then in Plaszow (from Yad Vashem Holocaust Testimonies).

Based on a true story, Schindler’s List is Steven Spielberg’s epic drama of World War II Holocaust survivors and the man who unexpectedly came to be their savior. Unrepentant womanizer and war profiteer Oskar Schindler uses Polish Jews as cheap labor to produce cookware for the Third Reich. But after witnessing the violent liquidation of the walled ghetto where the Krakow Jews have been forced to live, Schindler (Liam Neeson) slowly begins to realize the immense evil of Nazism. When his employees are sent to a work camp, they come under the terrorizing reign of sadistic Nazi Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes). With the help of his accountant, Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler creates a list of “essential” Jews. Bribing Goeth, Schindler manages to get 1,100 people released from the camp and brought to the safety of his munitions factory in Czechoslovakia.

If you haven’t seen the film, I urge you to do so.

You can also see the names on Schindler’s List.

Vera Goodkin
saved by
Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg

 

Vera Goodkin was born in Hradec Kralove, Czechoslovakia in 1930. Her family fled to Hungary, where after the German occupation they were protected by Raoul Wallenberg. Vera Goodkin remembers her father’s meeting with Wallenberg. (from Yad Vashem Holocaust Histories)

You can read about others who saved Jews during the Holocaust at Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations, sometimes referred to as “Righteous Gentiles,” and at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) sites, among those featured are Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg.

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Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) 2015, with Three Poems from Where Lightning Strikes

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Continue reading
images-2

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Continue reading
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Continue reading
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◊ Grand Prize Winner, Elliston Poetry Prize Isabel & Mary Neff Creative Writing Fellowship First Place, Elliston Poetry Prize Second Place, Elliston Poetry Prize ◊ ...
Continue reading

Photographic Introduction to the Holocaust

Rare Historical Holocaust Photos

Holocaust Timeline and Overview

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

Learn about The Holocaust on USHMM
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

For more information on the Holocaust database
or to fill out Pages of Testimony, visit
Yad Vashem‘s Central Database of Shoah Victims

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Documentary/Historical Video, History, Holocaust, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Memoir, Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Urbach & Schindler, Goodkin & Wallenberg, 2014

Share

Yom HaShoah 2014
Holocaust Remembrance

During the Holocaust, with its Nazi-sponsored, systematic persecution and genocide of the Jews, there were some people who risked their own lives to protect Jews and to save them. Sometimes, as in the case of Oskar Schindler, the subject of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List (from Australian author Thomas Keneally’s award-winning novel Schindler’s Ark), the person is relatively well known to many of us. In other instances, such as that of Raoul Wallenberg, who disappeared during the War, most probably taken by the Nazis and executed, the people who saved Jews are not as familiar. It is then that we must rely on Survivor Testimony to learn about some of those who did risk everything to help save the European Jews.

Sol Urbach
saved by
Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler

 

Sol Urbach was born in Poland in 1925. He was one of the Jews that were protected and rescued by Oskar Schindler in Cracow and then in Plaszow (from Yad Vashem Holocaust Testimonies).

Based on a true story, Schindler’s List is Steven Spielberg’s epic drama of World War II Holocaust survivors and the man who unexpectedly came to be their savior. Unrepentant womanizer and war profiteer Oskar Schindler uses Polish Jews as cheap labor to produce cookware for the Third Reich. But after witnessing the violent liquidation of the walled ghetto where the Krakow Jews have been forced to live, Schindler (Liam Neeson) slowly begins to realize the immense evil of Nazism. When his employees are sent to a work camp, they come under the terrorizing reign of sadistic Nazi Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes). With the help of his accountant, Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler creates a list of “essential” Jews. Bribing Goeth, Schindler manages to get 1,100 people released from the camp and brought to the safety of his munitions factory in Czechoslovakia. Spielberg’s glorious film is wondrously evocative, visually stunning, and emotionally stirring (from Schindler’s List website).

If you haven’t seen the film, I urge you to do so.

Vera Goodkin
saved by
Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg

 

Vera Goodkin was born in Hradec Kralove, Czechoslovakia in 1930. Her family fled to Hungary, where after the German occupation they were protected by Raoul Wallenberg. Vera Goodkin remembers her father’s meeting with Wallenberg. (from Yad Vashem Holocaust Histories)

You can read about others who saved Jews during the Holocaust at Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations, sometimes referred to as “Righteous Gentiles,” and at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) sites, among those featured are Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg.

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Photographic Introduction to the Holocaust

Rare Historical Holocaust Photos

Holocaust Timeline and Overview

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

Learn about The Holocaust on USHMM
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

For more information on the Holocaust database
or to fill out Pages of Testimony, visit
Yad Vashem‘s Central Database of Shoah Victims

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Filed under Documentary/Historical Video, History, Holocaust, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Memoir, Yom HaShoah