My journey to shoot for the moon.

Holocaust Documents

Several days ago I wrote about Holocaust Survivor Osi Slavek. Amazingly enough, I got an email from my mom the same morning that I published that blog (you can read it here) about a 60 Minutes episode.  My mom had gotten the email from a friend of hers and it was  meant to be a “chain letter” email.  I was curious, so I went to the link for the 60 Minutes site.

The United States Holocaust Museum (photo by  AlbertHerring at en.wikipedia)

The United States Holocaust Museum (photo by AlbertHerring at en.wikipedia)

The email was legitimate (according to the research done by 60 Minutes).  Here is what it said –

The Holocaust List 2012 has finally opened up to public
 Subject: Incredible The Holocaust List found. This story was aired on CBS on “60 MINUTES” ** about a long-secret German archive that houses a treasure trove of information on 17.5 million victims of the Holocaust.
 
 The archive, located in the German town of Bad Arolsen, is massive (there are 16 miles of shelving containing 50 million pages of documents) and until recently, was off-limits to the public.
 
 But after the German government agreed earlier this year to open the archives, CBS News’ Scott Pelley traveled there with three Jewish survivors who were able to see their own Holocaust records. It’s an incredibly moving piece, all the more poignant in the wake of the meeting of Holocaust deniers in Iran and the denial speeches in the UN. We’re trying to get word out about the story to people who have a special interest in this subject.
 
 It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests……………who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russia peoples looking the other way! Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be “a myth,” it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.
 
 This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!
 
 Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world.

 Please send this e-mail to 10 people you know and ask them to continue the memorial chain.

Headquarters of the International Tracing Service, Bad Arolsen (photo by OCTopus)

Headquarters of the International Tracing Service, Bad Arolsen (photo by OCTopus)

Apparently, the Nazis kept detailed records regarding their victims.  In the video, one of the documents the number of lice on each person.  Even as I write this, I am puzzled.  The explanation given in the video doesn’t seem to fit (they wanted to prove that they were doing a good job of eliminating the Jews).  I do know that using logic to explain the actions of the Nazis doesn’t work.  But why would they keep pages and pages of documents regarding each person who was “detained” in the camps?

I guess that I thought that the Nazis would try to cover up their crimes; that they wanted to hide them so that the world wouldn’t know.  My impression, that they didn’t want the world to know until it was too late for the Jews in the United States and other countries to garner support and stop them, was reinforced by Mr. Sladek.  During his talk, he explained that things were done quickly.  For example, the government rounded up of all the boys in his village between the ages of 15-21 to go to work in Poland, in factories, to fight against the Russians.  Then the boys were required to write home, telling how everything was great, but that soldiers would stand over them with their guns and if they didn’t write positive things they would be killed.  And the working conditions in the factories weren’t any better than those in the concentration camps.

Why would the Nazis keep pictures of those who they “detained” in concentration camps?  To me, when you have a picture you can visualize the person; they aren’t a number, but someone who has a face.  The Nazis didn’t feel that their victims were people; they were animals.  So why would they take pictures?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

These documents are important pieces of history.  They will show the fates of the millions murdered by the Nazis.  Families may gain some closure knowing what happened and where their loved ones died.  However, I don’t understand why it took nearly 70 years for these documents to be released to the public.  I know that I would have wanted to know what happened to my family, as soon as possible.  And while I am glad that the information is being scanned and made available for research, I don’t understand why people aren’t irate because the information was withheld.

There aren’t many people alive who experienced World War II firsthand and can relate their experiences.  Someone who was born at the beginning of World War II in 1939 would be 74 today.  They would have been 6 when the war ended and probably can’t share much.  If someone was 12 when the war began, they would be 86 today.  Many people don’t live to be 86 and a number of those who do wouldn’t be able to discuss the events of their past without becoming confused.  If the documents would have been released 20-30 years ago, there would have been many more Holocaust survivors who were alive and perhaps be able to gain some knowledge of what happened to their families.

You can watch the 60 Minutes episode (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2972691n&tag=mncol%3blst%3b9) and let me know what you think.

 

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Comments on: "Holocaust Documents" (3)

  1. In a few days I will be 72 Robin, and in all my years I have not been able to make sense of anything about “the Holocaust.”
    blessings ~ maxi

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    • Maxi – I don’t think that there is anything that makes sense about it. I don’t understand how some people can claim that it never happened and on the other hand, I can’t understand why it was allowed to happen. I am certain that I will never understand why or how a single group of people can be blamed for all the problems in the world. What is more disturbing, though, is that normal, regular people accepted what they were told by the Nazis and Hitler.

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  2. Hi Robin. Thank you for coming by my blog. In return I visited yours, and have read a number of your posts, and your blog is charming. I especially appreciate your dedication and determination to become a teacher. Regarding the holocaust, I don’t know how much you know about it. But I can tell you that Germany was one of the great cultures of the world before it happened. Some of the finest musical compositions, literature, research in mathematics and science, and even philosophical writing came out of that culture. And the German people as a whole were cultured and sensitive, and self disciplined, and given to hard work. When that country descended into madness, and embraced evil, many of the positive characteristics remained. That is why they were so meticulous about recording all kinds of details about the crimes they committed. It was habit for them.

    And when we discuss holocaust deniers, and whether or not the holocaust will be remembered, I have to tell you that the Jews suffered hellish attacks and torment for almost 2000 years before the holocaust. The behavior of the Romans towards us, the destruction of our country and forcing the majority of the population into exile was just the beginning of a fate that takes a lifetime of study to understand. Much of our history is forgotten by most of the people who have come across the traces, and only a few of our finest scholars take the time to study all this history. On the whole, there is much more in history (of all peoples) than what is popularly remembered. And it is only for those who take a truly sincere interest. I could tell you much more… and about the behavior of the Jews through this ordeal… but I fear I might have taken too much space already on your blog.

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