Visits to concentration camps #holocaust


schaffer6896@...
 

We learned about the holocaust in Sunday school in the 1960s.   We were shown some really dramatic footage of bodies piled up.  It made quite an impression on me as a pre-teen boy.  I visited Dachau in 1974 as a college student backpacking through Europe.  I felt that they had cleaned it up a little too much.  It looked like a park.  However, one could still view the ovens.  There were many other people visiting the site as well.
David Schaffer


tzipporah batami
 

There are some concentration camp related sites that are still almost never visited even by birthright march of living despite my attempts to relay importance. Only remains of 14000 Jews were actually at Maidanek death camp. The remaining over 200000 are interred together with Polish resistors and earlier Jew killing in Lublin, at Krepiac Forest which is a mass grave of 300000 with a Polish military cross that includes the Polish word for Jews so nothing else has been done by Jewish organizations due to sensibilities of Poles. There is no Jewish star and no groups of Jews to visit and say Kaddish and to leave pebbles and to take photos of these pebbles to give comfort to still living survivor descendants of these martyrs. This site also has actual complete bodies so it is considered "kever avos". It is a site where honor can be provided to the dead and I encourage people who are going to make the detour there. Please message me if you need more details. There are many others like this often unmarked. There are many sites of mass liquidation of ghettos that became mass death like the site in Ordinary Men: Battalion 101 about Konskowola Ghetto. As far as early associations of the camps and lack of visits I too grew up with the silence because of the urgent need to move on to perpetuate the Jewish nation and not look back. I grew up with the sick laughter at people asking if I was in a camp for the summer. Or whether my parents had gone to camps when they were young. Somehow I loved Amtrak and trains though and never quite absorbed the fear of them leading to death camps perhaps because my father zl ended up working for the mta in realty division and took them everyday. I wonder now how he stood it. Thanks for a good thread to air our feelings and info. Feigie Teichman


Renate Rosenau
 

There are many individual ways of facing concentration camps and the fates of the millions of victims. This is mine.

I am living in Alzey/Rheinhessen -  a town with a long Jewish History and the district mental hospital -  and I am engaged with (regional) research of the Jewish History and of Nazi “Euthanasia”.

 

I was 4,  living in the mostly catholic Rhineland, when my family was liberated from die Nazi terror. As a “privilegierte Mischehe” (privileged mixed marriage) of my parents and the help of resistant locals we had survived in Germany  and I remember our family evenings after 1945 well, when the family gathered round a table and the letters coming in were read loud once or twice and discussed. I remember the terms …”Edith (Julius/Rolf usw) ist umgekommen” (perished)  or: Fredy (Herbert, Werner usw.) hat überlebt” (survived).  These terms got into my child vocabulary as a standard for the fate of relatives and friends.

 

I visited Auschwitz on a study tour with my teacher colleagues in 1974. At that time my family thought that our relatives had perished there. In Auschwitz first I thought I was strong enough to face the place and find traces of my aunts, uncles, cousins, but after I had seen heaps of hair, glasses, shoes – some might have been from my relatives -  I got something like a breakdown. My teacher colleagues were very understanding and helpful. Only two years later, when the first “Gedenkbuch”(Memorial book of the Persecution of Jews under the NS Tyranny in Germany 1933-45) was published by the Bundesarchiv, we learnt where my relatives had perished, many not in Auschwitz, and a process of research started in the family. After this experience and history studies  I was strong enough to face such places, I have visited many in- and outside Germany since, and later, after 1994, to research Nazi “euthanasia” of thousands  of mentally ill patients as well as local Jewish history. For both victim groups I am in small working groups and on the board of a working group for Nazi history on state level in Rhine-Palatinate.

 

My personal way to mentally work on this part of criminal German history is to find out the biographies and publish the fate of the mentally ill victims as well as the Jewish victims of my family and of the Alzey region, recall their names and fates, several hundred by now. With the data bases I built up of for both groups (with over 7.000 names) I am able to answer descendants’ questions, now mostly of the second following generation, contribute to conferences or publications and work with students. I feel I do this in first place for my family – especially my father, the last director of the Israelitische Heil- und Pflegeanstalt in Bendorf-Sayn 1940-1942, where I was born,  and for the families of the victims.  With the Jewish surviving relatives I got contacts in many countries, and  meanwhile friends.

But to face and understand the criminal German history is a never ending challenge, looking back in history as well as to actual developments.

Renate Rosenau

Alzey/Rheinhessen, Germany


beings225@...
 

Oddly enough, the 1965-1971 American television show "Hogan's Heroes," created by Jews (Bernard Fein & Albert S. Ruddy), appears to have been one of the first efforts to bring the Holocaust out of the shadows.  The cast included Jews who escaped Europe (Werner Klemperer [Klink], John Banner [Schultz], Howard Caine [Hochstetter], Leon Askin [Burkhalter]) and a camp survivor (Robert Clary [Frenchie]).  They thought humor and showing the Nazis as bumblers (rather than heartless, cold-hearted murderers) would provide an indirect and subversive avenue to vent against the Nazis and start speaking about the unspeakable horrors.

Werner Klemperer, who played Colonel Klink, reportedly accepted the part only on condition that Klink was portrayed as an unsuccessful fool.  His obituary explains his role: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/08/arts/werner-klemperer-klink-in-hogan-s-heroes-dies-at-80.html
Werner Klemperer, actor whose role as Col Wilhelm Klink in Hogan's Heroes dominated his eclectic career in television, film and theater, dies at age 80; photo (M)
www.nytimes.com

Robert Clary ("Frenchie") was the sole survivor of his family of two parents and 11 siblings.

Carolynn Duffy


Eva Lawrence
 

There was a report with haunting pictures from concentration camps on
the front page of the Observer very soon after they were uncovered, it
must have been 1945. As 12-year-old, living in England, I refused to
believe them, but i still remember them clearly. Nobody mentioned the
family members who had been left behind, and the adults' wry relief
when news of those who had survived came through (ach, den gibts' auch
noch!) was a catchphrase for the younger generation. I can only be
grateful for the real effort our parents made to shelter us children
from the horror.
I might feel differently if someone very close to me died in a KZ As it
is, I've not tried to visit Auschwitz nor do I feel that doing so would
make me a better or a wiser person, let alone a happier one.
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.
--
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.


ellenj53@...
 

I visited Dachau in 1973 when I was 20 years old and back packing through Europe. I took the train from Munich. Ironically it was packed. We all got off at the Dachau station and walked silently through the gates. I openly wore my Jewish star around my neck. Some visitors just stared. People asked me if I was from Israel. I told them I was from NYC. Many were just very ignorant back then.

Ellen Jacobs 
Livingston, NJ


Diane Jacobs
 

I do remember a TV series called Never Again
Which showed the horrors of the Holocaust ether actual pictures and video.  I think it could have been on PBS.  It was very graphic and a real shocker to teenage me. I have never forgotten it .

Diane Jacobs 




On Jun 6, 2021, at 10:43 AM, David Seldner <seldner@...> wrote:

I was born in 1959 and grew up with the Holocaust - my Grandmother survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, my Grandfather did not. And many relatives perished. So when we were in Poland for the first time (for me) in 1974, we went to Auschwitz - actually entrance was permitted only if you were 16, but they let me in. There were not many people there but we were not alone. 20 years ago my mother and I wanted to go there again but then decided it was too much, we didn't want to go there anymore after having been to her birth town Lodz for a few days with all her memories coming uo again. I have been to Buchenwald, Dachau and minor concentration camps but what I remember most is Auschwitz. The pictures are burnt into my mind. I wanted to go there last year with two (Jewish) friends but due to Covid we had to cancel it.
--
David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany
seldner@...

--
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey


David Seldner
 

I was born in 1959 and grew up with the Holocaust - my Grandmother survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, my Grandfather did not. And many relatives perished. So when we were in Poland for the first time (for me) in 1974, we went to Auschwitz - actually entrance was permitted only if you were 16, but they let me in. There were not many people there but we were not alone. 20 years ago my mother and I wanted to go there again but then decided it was too much, we didn't want to go there anymore after having been to her birth town Lodz for a few days with all her memories coming uo again. I have been to Buchenwald, Dachau and minor concentration camps but what I remember most is Auschwitz. The pictures are burnt into my mind. I wanted to go there last year with two (Jewish) friends but due to Covid we had to cancel it.
--
David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany
seldner@...


Bernard Flam
 

Hi from Paris,
Memory of Holocaust has evolved from 1945.
From an American* point of view and to reply directly to Larry and Jessica, I would highlight :
  • "Holocaust", a TV program of 1978, which had been a first step to release memories and speeches in USA : it had really been an electroshock.
  • 1991's fall of USSR : in communist's ideology, victims of nazis weren't specially Jews and didn't deserve a special memory treatment.
From 1991, all former Yiddishland became a open and free place of memory for Jews from everywhere, with a new start to history and commemoration.
Specially in places of our Losts' martyrdom.
We can observe a present setback in Poland with their law restraining historian researches but Truth always win at the end !

Blayb Gezunt !
Bernard Flam
Archives & history of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring in France

* In silence of survivors, we had approximately the same delay in France, but "Shoah", the 1985's masterpiece of Claude Lanzman, marked a starting point.


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



burgauer@...
 

It appears to me that the concentration camps from the Holocaust were not widely talked about from 1945 for the next 20 to 25 years.  I visited Auschwitz in October of 1970.  I was the only person there that day except for the admin staff and maintenance staff. A film about the camp was available to be shown in the auditorium.  They had trouble finding a copy in English and I watched it alone in the auditorium. Travel by bus and train to the site was difficult.  My  question is:  who had visited camps before 1970 as I haven't met anyone who had?
Larry Burgheimer
San Francisco, CA