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Holocaust Museums

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#31 Muncio


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Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:15 AM

I am due to visit Krakow in Poland for a few days at the end of October. I was hoping for some advice from anyone who has been there and some tips on what is a must-see.
I am mainly going in order to visit Auschwitz and to pay my respects for the many people that resided and perished there. I'm not sure I will be able to prepare for this experience emotionally, but would appreciate any guidance from someone who has been there.
Many thanks.

Yes this one of the greatest Holocaust museum. I am a donor of Yad Vashem.
Everyone has to go there and donate money.

Best Regards,

#32 Adaughter

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:16 AM

This is a subject I have recently become somewhat obsessed with. I live 40 miles from DC and a few weeks ago I attended a program at the Holocaust Museum called First Person. I had the privilege of listening to a married couple tell the story of what happened to each of them during the Holocaust. They met in a labor camp and then married after the war. Their names are William and Helen Lucksenberg. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've had. I also recently watched a documentary called Shoah -- it is very long -- 9 hours?? and I highly recommend it. Much of it consists of personal interviews with survivors but there are also interviews with former Nazi officers. It's well worth the time. The details can be hard to hear but so important.

#33 Antoninus Lucretius

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 06:57 PM

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 18 minutes ago

BAD AROLSEN, Germany - The 21-year-old Russian sat before a clerk of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate's office, describing the furnaces at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where he had been a prisoner until a few weeks previously.
"I saw with my own eyes how thousands of Jews were gassed daily and thrown by the hundreds into pits where Jews were burning," he said.
"I saw how little children were killed with sticks and thrown into the fire," he continued. Blood flowed in gutters, and "Jews were thrown in and died there"; more were taken off trucks and cast alive into the flames.
Today the Holocaust is known in dense and painful detail. Yet the young Russian's words leap off the faded, onionskin page with a rawness that transports the reader back to April 1945, when World War II was still raging and the world still knew little about gas chambers, genocide and the Final Solution.
The two pages of testimony, in a file randomly plucked off a shelf, are among millions of documents held by the International Tracing Service, or ITS, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This vast archive 16 miles of files in six nondescript buildings in a German spa town contains the fullest records of Nazi persecutions in existence. But because of concerns about the victims' privacy, the ITS has kept the files closed to the public for half a century, doling out information in minimal amounts to survivors or their descendants on a strict need-to-know basis.
This policy, which has generated much ill-feeling among Holocaust survivors and researchers, is about to change.
In May, after years of pressure from the United States and survivors' groups, the 11 countries overseeing the archive agreed to unseal the files for scholars as well as victims and their families. In recent weeks the ITS' interim director, Jean-Luc Blondel, has been to Washington,
The Hague and to the Buchenwald memorial with a new message of cooperation with other Holocaust institutions and governments.
ITS has allowed Paul Shapiro, of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to look at the files and has also given The Associated Press extensive access on condition no names from the files are revealed unless they have been identified in other sources.
"This is powerful stuff," said Shapiro, leafing through the file containing the Russian's statement and some 200 other testimonies that take the reader into the belly of Hitler's death machine its camps, inmates, commandants, executioners and trusted inmates used as low-level guards and known as kapos.
"If you sat here for a day and read these files, you'd get a picture of what it was really like in the camps, how people were treated. Look names and names of kapos, guards the little perpetrators," he said.
Moved to this town in central Germany after the war, the files occupy a former barracks of the Waffen-SS, the Nazi Party's elite force. They are stored in long corridors of drab cabinets and neatly stenciled binders packed into floor-to-ceiling metal shelves. Their index cards alone fill three large rooms.
Mandated to trace missing persons and help families reunite, ITS has allowed few people through its doors, and has responded to requests for information on wartime victims with minimal data, even when its files could have told more.
It may take a year or more for the files to open fully. Until then, access remains tightly restricted. "We will be ready any time. We would open them today, if we had the go-ahead," said Blondel.
When the archive is finally available, researchers will have their first chance to see a unique collection of documents on concentration camps, slave labor camps and displaced persons. From toneless lists and heartrending testimony, a skilled historian may be able to stitch together a new perspective on the 20th century's darkest years from the viewpoint of its millions of victims.
"The overall story is pretty well established, but many details will be filled in," said Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
"There is a great deal of very interesting material on a very large number of concentration camps that we really don't know much about," he said. "It may contain surprises. We don't know. It has material that nobody's ever seen."
A visitor to the archive comes into direct contact with the bureaucracy of mass murder.
In a bound ledger with frayed binding, a copy of a list of names appears of Jews rounded up in Holland and transported to the death camps. Buried among the names is "Frank, Annelise M," her date of birth (June 12, 1929), Amsterdam address before she went into hiding (Merwedeplein 37) and the date she was sent to a concentration camp (Sept. 3, 1944).
Frank, Annelise M. is Anne Frank.
She was on one of the last trains to Germany before the Nazi occupation of Holland crumbled. Six months later, aged 15, she died an anonymous death, one of some 35,000 casualties of typhus that ravaged the Bergen-Belsen camp. After the war, "The Diary of Anne Frank," written during her 25 months hiding in a tiny apartment with seven others, would become the most widely read book ever written on the Holocaust.
But most of the lives recorded in Bad Arolsen are known to none but their families.
They are people like Cornelis Marinus Brouwenstijn, a Dutchman who vanished into the Nazi gulag at age 22 for illegally possessing a radio. In a plain manila envelope are his photo, a wallet, some snapshots, and a naughty typewritten joke about women in the army.
After the war, his family repeatedly wrote to the Red Cross asking about him. In 1949, his parents received a terse form letter saying he died sometime between April 19 and May 3, 1945, in the area of a German labor camp. The personal effects, however, remained in Bad Arolsen, and with the family long deceased, there is no one left to apply for their return.
To critics who accuse them of being tightfisted with their information, the Red Cross and ITS counter that they have to abide by German privacy laws and protect the reputations of victims whether alive or dead. They say the files may contain unsubstantiated allegations against victims, and that opening up to researchers would distract ITS from its main task of providing documentation to survivors or victims' relatives.
One area of study that will benefit from the ITS files is the "Lebensborn" program, in which children deemed to have the "proper genes" were adopted or even kidnapped to propagate the Aryan master race of Hitler's dreams.
Another subject is the sheer scope of the Holocaust system. The files will support new research from other sources showing that the network of concentration camps, ghettos and labor camps was nearly three times more extensive than previously thought.
Postwar historians estimated about 5,000 to 7,000 detention sites. But after the Cold War ended, records began pouring out of the former communist nations of East Europe. More sites were disclosed in the last six years in claims by 1.6 million people for slave labor reparations from a $6.6 billion fund financed by the German government and some 3,000 industries.
"We have identified somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 camps and ghettos of various categories," said Geoffrey Megargee of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, who is compiling a seven-volume encyclopedia of these detention centers.
The archive has some 3.4 million files of DPs Displaced Persons. They include names such as John Demjanjuk and Viorel Trifa, who immigrated to the United States and later became internationally known because their role in the Holocaust came into question.
Between 1933 to 1945, the Nazi persecution grew to assembly-line proportions, slaughtering 6 million Jews and an equal number of Gypsies, homosexuals, mental patients, political prisoners and other "undesirables." Tens of millions were conscripted as forced laborers.
To operate history's greatest slaughter, the Nazis created a bureaucracy that meticulously recorded the arrest, movement and death of each victim. Sometimes even the lice plucked from heads in concentration camps were counted.
But as the pace of genocide stepped up, unknown numbers were marched directly from trains to gas chambers without being registered. In the war's final months, the bookkeeping collapsed, though the extermination continued.
What documents survived Nazi attempts to destroy them were collected by the Allies to help people find missing relatives. The first documents were sent in 1946 to Bad Arolsen, and the administration was handed over to the Red Cross in 1955.
Some 50 million pages scraps of paper, transport lists, registration books, labor documents, medical and death registers make reference to 17.5 million individuals caught up in the machinery of persecution, displacement and death.
Over the years, the International Tracing Service has answered 11 million requests to locate family members or provide certificates supporting pension claims or reparations. It says it has a 56 percent rate of success in tracing the requested name.
But the workload has been overwhelming. Two years ago it had a backlog of nearly half a million unanswered queries. Director Blondel says the number was whittled down to 155,000 this summer and will disappear by the spring of 2008. New queries have slowed to just 700 a month.
One of ITS' critics is Sabine Stein, archivist at the Buchenwald concentration camp 150 miles from Bad Arolsen. She says the archive's refusal to share its files has caused heartbreak to countless survivors and their descendants.
For instance, in 1989, Emilia Janikowska asked ITS to trace her father, Ludwig Kaminski, a coal miner from Poland who was never heard from again after his arrest in 1939. It took more than three years to send her a standard form reporting Kaminski had died in Buchenwald Dec. 1, 1939.
But there was more she could have been told.
Documents copied by the U.S. Army before they went to Bad Arolsen, which were seen by AP at Buchenwald, include mention of Kaminski. They say he was prisoner No. 8578, that he had arrived in Buchenwald six weeks earlier with 600 other Poles and had been placed in Camp 2. The known history of Buchenwald says Camp 2 was a wooden barracks and four big tents, jammed with 1,000 Poles and Vienna Jews. Dozens of inmates died from the cold that winter. The cause of Kaminski's death was pneumonia.
No one ever told his daughter any of this.
"We had no news from my father since the moment he was arrested," Janikowska said when contacted at her home in Krakow, Poland. She now wants more information for a compensation request.
Archivist Stein says: "Former inmates and their families want to see some tangible part of their history; they want to tell their stories," she said. "What I find most frustrating is that they have all these documents and they are just sitting on them."
Earlier this month, ITS went some way to make amends, delivering a full inventory of its records on Buchenwald and promising to give priority in searching for 1,000 names Stein had requested.
Compounding the delay in releasing the files is the cumbrous makeup of the governing committee. Any decision on their future requires the assent of all 11 member nations Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and the United States.
Last May's agreement to open the archive stipulates that it will remain off-limits until formal ratification by the 11 governments. After that, each of the 11 countries can have a digital copy of the files and decide who has access to it.
But some delegations are worried the process will take too long, at a time when aged survivors are dying every day.
"What victims of these crimes fear the most is that when they disappear and it's happening very fast now no one will remember the names of the families they lost," said Shapiro of the Washington museum, who was a delegate to the talks.
"It's not a diplomatic timetable, and not an archivist's timetable, but the actuarial table. If we don't succeed in having this material public while there are still survivors, then we failed," he said.

AP correspondents Melissa Eddy in Buchenwald, Randy Herschaft in Washington D.C., and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.

Edited by Antoninus Lucretius, 18 November 2006 - 06:58 PM.

#34 cias



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Posted 21 November 2006 - 12:07 PM

When I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, I found myself more interested in how the events were being portrayed to the public than the events themselves. We had known these things for years and I was more interested in how effectively they would be portrayed to the non-Jewish community in particular.
In 2001, a high school friend now living in LA and had worked on the fiber optics at the Tolerance Museum took me there. It was then a more interactive one than the one in Washington.We got a video from their supply and went to a small area with some theater seats and a tv. We watched an older man relate how during the war he, a boy of ten with a younger sister, were living in Poland and hiding out on a farm. They would sleep under piles of grain, pulling grain in after them to conceal their whereabouts.
The nazis put a bounty on all jews turned in dead or alive of ap. $5.00. A few Poles found his sister and bashed her head in and took her body to collect the money with which they could buy vodka. Near the end of the video,my friend and I were asking each other what under normal circumstances could have been merely rhetorical questions when someone answered one of our questions. We hadn' t noticed the older man who had slipped in behind us. He was the man in the video! He told us that some of the other survivors come to the museum several days a week and interact with the visitors. Go if you get the chance.

#35 Muncio


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Posted 07 January 2007 - 02:39 PM


Do you have seen the dvd un vivant qui passe and sobibor 14th Octobre 1943, 16 heures.
This is a suggestion to see.
un Vivant Qui Passe is a continuation on shoah.

#36 ETO Buff

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 04:37 PM

The Museum of Tolerance/Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is a great museum dedicated mainly to The Holocaust, but also has exhibits related to past and current human rights abuses all over the world. They have several authentic concentration camp items on display, and letters written by Anne Frank's sister Margot to her American pen pal. Besides the many interactive exhibits, they have a 40-minute automated tour that culminates in watching a short video while sitting in a replica of a room where people removed their clothing before going into the gas chambers of Birkenau. It is a very powerful experience.

Not far from the Museum of Tolerance is the Skirball Center, which has a small Holocaust exhibit where you can see the original third draft of the Nuremberg Laws that Patton smuggled out of Germany and secretly deposited at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Next to that is the over-sized display edition (only 100 were printed) of Mein Kampf that Patton autographed and publicly presented to the Huntington.

Edited by ETO Buff, 29 June 2007 - 04:37 PM.

#37 StandupHookup



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Posted 17 September 2007 - 01:38 PM

The Beth Shalom Holocaust centre in Lincolnshire, England.

I have recently visited Beth Shalom and met a survivor of Aushwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. Renee Salt. It was truly remarkable. She gave a talk of her experiences throughout the Holocaust and it left people awestruck, including myself. It was a great experience.
If anyone gets the chance to go, do so. They hold talks with survivors regularly and have a great museum, I honestly can't say enough in praise of the place. It is truly inspiring.

Visit: www.holocaustcentre.net

#38 Guy

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 02:23 PM

Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust established in 1953 through the Memorial Law passed by the Knesset, Israel's parliament.
In Jerusalem, Israel. When you get the chance, go there!
It's amazing! One of the few things the Israeli Government did well. In the 11th grade (next year) I will go there again before going to Poland.

#39 Airchallenged



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Posted 08 October 2007 - 02:47 PM

I visited the Museum in DC this summer. We couldn't get into the feature exhibit because it was a long line and time was running out before the exhibit closed for the day. I instead saw one on children in the holocaust. That one was pretty hard to understand why people would do this to kids only 11-17 years old. My friend I was with breezed through the event and then tried to rush me through the end but I made him wait. :D

I still think the monument I will remember most are the glass towers in Boston inscribed with the ID numbers of all the known "casualties" of the holocaust.


#40 Smurfette



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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:05 PM

I went there this summer too Matt. This was my second visit. You pretty much have to gt there before the Museum opens and line up to get your timed ticket. I remember the guard saying that often the lineup to get in was so long that it went around the whole building (it's pretty big!).

I was not as emotional going through this time, but it is such a powerful place to visit and was nice to have the time to reflect on those tragic events.


#41 Ithink its Maj. Horton sir

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:35 PM

I saw the Holocaust Museum in D.C. It was very saddening to see what the Nazi party did to these people.

#42 Muncio


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:08 AM

I have been in Auschwitz last year in July 2010.
In this link you can see some pictures so you get an view of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Auschwitz I.

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