Re: Visits to concentration camps #holocaust

Jessica Skippon

I was born in Brooklyn in 1941 and only learned about the Holocaust from Life magazine, I think it was the New Year's edition for 1950. Most of my grandmother's European family were killed. She lived with us but the murders were never discussed in my hearing. In my opinion, the Holocaust only became widely discussed with the showing of Schindler's List (1993). A bit like child abuse - it was there but not acknowledged.

Auschwitz was still very quiet when I made my first visit in 1989. I think there was two people at work in the archives but I was the only visitor. I was given access to a card index and handled the original document - Dr Mengele's report on a Schanzer relative. I asked for a copy and was advised that it had to be sent away for copying. It took six months to arrive to me in London. When I returned a year later, the archives were closed.

I've been back several times. My grandmother's family's village is only about 20 miles away. But I stopped visiting when the site became overwhelmed with visitors, around 1999. It was especially disturbing to see secondary school students who couldn't cope with the information, laughing and joking. They never should have been there, it would have been kinder to them and to other visitors.

Jessica Skippon
London, England
Researching SCHANZER, BORGER, BIRN, JACHZEL, all Galicia

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