Saturday, March 18, 2006

Anne Frank

Anne Frank, age 13, at the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."--Anne Frank

I have recently seen the film version of Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl starring Ben Kingsley and Hannah Taylor-Gordon, and have found it to be one of the most profoundly moving, and saddening films I have ever seen.
The film, which is in color, begins in a very amiable way, presenting Anne Frank as any other young girl, enjoying life and being young. She is also very talented, and full of a richness of character that is at once endearing and sympathetic.
That this film is well-done goes without saying, but the final forty-five minutes of the movie are so intensely difficult to watch that I would not relish seeing the movie twice.

Otto Frank's office at 263 Prinsengracht, where the Frank family went into hiding in the beggining of July 1942. Of the eightpeople who were in hiding here for two years, only Otto Frank survived after discovery and arrest by the Gestapo.

We are witness to the final disintegration of a broken child, as she is starved, beaten, treated with a coldness and hateful contempt she could scarcely have ever been use to, and dehumanized in a way that is pitiful and shocking in the same measure. One by one, the niceities that were presented in the first part of the film are stripped away until, finally, we are left with a starving, filthy little girl dying of typhus amid the hell-on-earth that had been set up to annihilate a population of humanity that had been deemed "inferior" by the Third Reich of Adolph Hitler; who despite being in the final throes of losing the war, proceeded with a hellish fury in their plan to exterminate the remaining Jews in occupied Europe.
The actress who portrayed Anne Frank, Hannah Taylor-Gordon, was the very picture of the authoress, and her haggard, terminal visage in the last part of the film is nearly reminiscent of Falconetti in Karl Theodor Drayer's silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Anne Frank with her childhood friends, 1937. Anne is second from left.

Although it seems unlikely that any person alive could not be, dimly, aware of the story of Anne Frank, it essentially involves the two-years spent in hiding of the Frank family in occupied Amsterdam, Holland, as well as some of their close associates. The family was kept in an unoccupied building in the back of Mr. Otto Frank's manufacturing business, and Anne chronicled those years in a now-famous diary that was discovered and published after the war.

The Frank family, as well as the Van Pels family, and another man, were betrayed to the Gestapo by an unknown informant, and sent to Thierisenstadt Transit Camp. From their, they are sent by cattle cart to Auschwitz. The girls, Margot and Anne Frank, were later sent to the typhus-infested camp at Bergen-Belsen, where living conditions were deplorable and inhumane. Their final months are recorded in heartbreaking testimony by friends and witnesses that knew them during those final days, and preserved in the book The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by documentary filmaker Willy Linder. Anne Frank died sometime in March of 1945, presumably of starvation and typhus, within a day or so of her sister Margot.

She was just fifteen years old.

Of the original occupants of the attic hiding place, only Otto Frank survived, having lost his entire family to the atrocity of the Nazi program. Miep Gies, a Dutch friend of the family, had carefully preserved Anne's diary, a record of the family's two years in hiding, and Mr. Frank worked to have it published.
To this date,it has been translated into sixty-seven languages, and is the most widely-read nonfiction book of all time, after The Holy Bible. The attic hiding-place, behind Otto Frank's business, has been transformed into the Anne Frank House, and has attracted tourists from around the world.
The most moving scene of this new film of Anne Frank is after the death of her sister, when Anne while holding the body of her beloved sister, seemingly looks to the sky, perhaps looking for a sign of God in the middle of this unrelenting torment. We see the sky move past her face.
The viewer is spared the death of Anne, and the film ends. I was left only with the thought that, after this point in the story, she belonged to history, having impacted it in a way few other young women her age had ever managed to do.
And, also, that no one could hurt her now, anymore...

"...But because we know that Anne did not survive, that this life of enormous potential was snuffed out in the Holocaust, the Diary has a poignancy that is at once unbearable and transfiguring. Through this attractive young woman, the Holocaust is made real: Anne Frank has become for our time the emblem of lost possibility."--From The World Must Know by Michael Berenbaum, Ph.D.

Note: We have had some computer difficulties this evening, and some of the images and material for this particular post are not yet here. We will add this in the immediate future.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Holocaust History Project Arson

Trial By Fire: Holocaust History Project Won't Be Silenced
Website:Click for link.
In the early hours of March 6, 2006, a fire broke out at a warehouse complex near San Antonio International Airport, causing extensive damage to the offices of The Holocaust History Project (THHP), an organization that has been, for the last ten years, in the forefront of confronting Holocaust denial online, in addition to providing educational materials to students throughout the world. Arson investigators now have confirmed that the fire was intentionally set and are continuing their investigation.

It was just the latest in a series of attacks with the apparent intent to silence THHP. For the past 18 months, the THHP website has been under an unprecedented Distributed Denial of Service attack. This cyber attack began on September 11, 2004, and is being carried out by a specially modified version of the MyDoom computer worm, programmed to target the THHP web server. External link.

Harry Mazal, the Director of THHP said, "We have been able to defend our work against these cyber attackers. They tried, but couldn't shut us down. We have strong indications that this arson is the next step in a series of attacks against our educational and scholarly work. Although the fire caused significant damage to our offices, there is no way we will be silenced. Our web site has not been affected, and our work will continue."

While an arson attack such as this cannot be specifically anticipated, THHP has long ago taken steps to minimize the impact of any attacks, physical or virtual. Several mirror sites ensure that even as serious an attack as occurred Monday morning will be unsuccessful in forcing THHP to go offline.

THHP is one of the largest repositories of information relating to the Holocaust on the Web. For the last ten years, an international staff of volunteers has worked tirelessly to make information on the Holocaust, and on those who would deny it, easily accessible to students, scholars, and anyone who has an interest in the truth.

Among the material on the site are essays about various events and people, scientific and legal analyses, original Nazi documents, expert witness testimony, transcripts of many of the Nuremberg trials, and the complete texts of two seminal works, Jean-Claude Pressac's "Auschwitz" and Robert Jay Lifton's "The Nazi Doctors." In addition, THHP volunteers personally answer emails from thousands of students each year who are looking for information to further their studies.

The site has registered more than 50 million hits in a year. "Traffic to our site increases every year," said Mr. Mazal, "we intend to keep adding new content to the site. Right now we are preparing the Belsen trial transcripts, and the transcript of Adolf Eichmann's trial in Israel."

Media questions should be addressed to:
Sara Salzman, 303-617-9412,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

William Herskovic Dead

William Herskovic, who escaped from Auschwitz and helped inspire Belgium's resistance to the Nazis during World War II, has died at the age of 91.

Herskovic died Friday at his Encino home after a lengthy battle with cancer, said his daughter, Patricia Herskovic.

Three months after being sent from Belgium to Auschwitz, Herskovic escaped by cutting through a chain-link fence with two other prisoners using a pair of wire cutters he had hidden. It was the first night of Hanukkah in 1942.

The three hopped a train to Breslau, Germany, but a local rabbi threw them out when they tried to tell him about the horrors at Auschwitz.
For the next three weeks, they trekked across Nazi-occupied Europe by bus and train, financing their journey with proceeds from a 3-carat diamond Herskovic had embedded in the heel of his shoe.

In his prewar home of Antwerp, Belgium, Herskovic delivered one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The resistance swiftly mobilized, placing bricks on railroad tracks to stop a train packed with hundreds of Jews bound for the camps. About 250 prisoners escaped.

"His survival saved hundreds," the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said in a tribute.

Before being sent to Auschwitz, Herskovic operated a photography studio in Antwerp. He returned to photography for at least a decade after the war, but no longer wanted to be an artist.

"The things he saw — his artist's soul was pretty tromped on," Patricia Herskovic said.

In Los Angeles, he bought Bel Air Camera in Westwood, which his family still owns.

Herskovic is survived by three daughters, two brothers, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.--From Yahoo News.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Krystalnacht and Ghetto Images (continued)

The Number 2 entryway to the Warsaw ghetto, on Leszno Street. The sign in German and Polish reads: "Plague-infected area; only through traffic allowed".

A man collapses in the street from hunger and exhaustion.

A young boy pulls a death cart behind him.

A mass grave in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A woman peddles crisply-starched Star of David armbands. The penalty for wearing one that was dirty or wrinkled was a severe beating; for someone caught without an armband, the penalty was death.

Two men prepare to make the daily rounds of the ghetto, pulling the undertaker's cart behind them. There are no horses allowed in the ghetto.

A woman vendor sells food behind a wire screen. She is thusly protected from starving people who would be tempted to snatch the food from her table.

The ghetto marketplace. Most people sold personal possessions for food.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Krystalnacht and Ghetto Images

These women stand before the remains of a Jewish store. The windows have been smashed during the Nazi riot which has become known as "Krystalnacht":The Night of Broken Glass.
In 1938, using the pretence of revenge for the assassination of a minor German foreign minister in Paris, Nazi SA Stormtroopers were ecouraged to begin street violence against Jewish shops, synagogues, and institutions. In all, 200 synagogues were burned, homes were destroyed with axes and sledgehammers, people were thrown from windows into the street, kicked to death, beaten with fists and truncheons, stabbed, and shot. Torah scrolls, and Jewish works of history and philosophy were burned. The violence left 100 dead, and it was also at this time that nearly 1 in every ten of the Jews left in the German Reich were rounded up for detention in concentration camps such as Dachau. Krystalnacht occured on the night of November 9th.

Remains of a synagogue destroyed during Nazi Anti-Semitic riots, known as "Krystalnacht".

Despair in the Warsaw Ghetto
The following images were taken by German Werhmact Seargent Heinrich Jost, on an unauthorized visit to the Warsaw Ghetto, a tiny walled-in area which housed an estimated one third of the population of Warsaw (nearly half a million Jews), as well as Jews from other occupied locales. What he encountered there stunned him, making him to remark in later life, "Good God, what sort of a world is this?"
Disease, brought on by crowded and unsanitary living conditions, as well as starvation and the continued threat of violence from the Nazis, claimed nearly 16,000 lives in the summer of 1941 alone.
The following images document Heinrich Jost's tour of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Two children on the street, one dead from starvation.

Child lying dead in the street. Warsaw Ghetto.

A woman dies, begging on the street.

Too weak to walk, a child and it's mother are carried in a"rikshaw" device.

A soup kitchen in the Warsaw Ghetto. This woman eats a thin broth made from hay.This meagre meal was offered once a day, and fed an estimated 100,000 people.

Some Quotes

Nazi Stormtrooper holds automatic weapon on a young Polish child. Amazingly, this boy survived the war and went on to become a successful London businessman.

The Holocaust is a central event in many people's lives, but it also has become a metaphor for our century. There cannot be an end to speaking and writing about it. Besides, in Israel, everyone carries a biography deep inside him.
Aharon Appelfeld

In Italy, the country where fascism was born, we have a particular relation with the Holocaust, but as a turning point in history it belongs to everybody in the world. It is a part of humanity.
Roberto Benigni

No one yet knows what awaits the Jews in the twenty-first century, but we must make every effort to ensure that it is better than what befell them in the twentieth, the century of the Holocaust.
Benjamin Netanyahu

Standing punishment--Dachau concentration camp

The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II, just as the world was beginning to learn the full horrors of history's worst genocide, the Holocaust that consumed 6 million Jews and 3 million others in Europe.
Linda Chavez

Anti-Semitic Nazi Propaganda poster. It reads:"Recognize the true enemy with the yellow star."

The radio even weren't allowed to say there was a Holocaust and people were being killed right, left and center in these terrible camps.
Patrick Macnee

Shot while trying to escape. Dachau.

Out of the ashes of a Holocaust that seared the flesh of the nation and burned out of its midst one in every three, from the trash heap of history, arose the Third Jewish Commonwealth.
Meir Kahane

Arrival at train station of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Those fit enough were seperated for slave labor. Those deemed of no use or value were sent to the gas chambers.

As freedom-loving people across the globe hope for an end to tyranny, we will never forget the enormous suffering of the Holocaust.
Bob Beauprez

This entire family went to the gas chamber.

Auschwitz, 1944. Not far from us, flames were leaping up from a ditch, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load-little children. Babies! . Around us, everyone a weeping. Someone began to recite the Kaddish. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the long history of the Jews, that people have ever recited the prayer for the dead for themselves .... Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp .... Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent sky.
From Night
By Eli Wiesel

An American soldier surveys a scene of death and horror after the liberation of Dachau concentration camp.

Slave labor--Dachau concentration camp (click to enlarge)

Mass Executions and Human Experimentation Images

Some examples of mass executions by Nazis
Mass execution of Jewish prisoners by Einsatzgruppen Murder Squad

Mass pile of concentration camp victims

Mass execution of Jewish prisoners by Einsatzgruppen Murder Squad

Mass execution of Jews in Poland by Einsatzgruppen Murder Squad

"The Valley of Dried Bones"

Some examples of human medical experimentation

human medical experimentation victims--Auschwitz

Jewish victim of bizarre medical experiment--Auschwitz

Children subjected to medical experimentation by Nazis

Nazi human medical experiments

Bales of human hair bound for shipment to Germany, taken from victims at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I have decided to use this blog space as a place to post images and information gathered about the Jewish Holocaust. I have become disturbed recently by the sheer audacity of a number of people running around the internet claiming that the attempted extermination of six million Jewish human beings during the World War 2 Era never actually happened. I feel that everyone has a responsibility to protect the memory of those men, women, and children who were brutally murdered by Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime. Although I understand this may seem like an atypical use of a "blog", understand that I am not a professional "web designer", and this seemed like the easiest alternative. I am simply a concerned human being, who wishes to do everything in his limited power to help the fight against evil, and intolerance. This site will be, by no means, a complete historical resource.

Jewish victims at Babi Yar pass corpse in the street.

Note: This page will be a work in progress, so there may not be much here for a few days. Also: some pictures may contain graphic violence. They are placed here in a historical context. It is important that all of our future generations learn about the capacity for man to commit barbaric evil, and why we must do everything in our power to ensure that this same situation will never happen again.

Nazi victims--Buchenwald.

"When I came to power, I did not want the concentration camps to become old age pensioners homes, but instruments of terror." - Adolf Hitler

Nazis burning the bodies of their victims.

An American soldier stands over the graves of murdered children, dug for them by the citizens of the nearby town of Nordhausen.

A Prayer of the Holocaust
Father, Adonai, Creator,
who set the round course of the world,
birth, death and disease-

Father, who caused veins, brains, and bones to grow,
who fashioned us air that we might breathe and sing-

Remember that we are incomplete
and inconsolable, our vision clouded by ashes.

Remember the chimneys, the ingenious habitations of death
where part of Israel's body drifted as smoke through the air.

Remember the mutilated music of their lives.

We lament infields of loneliness
for six million of our number torn away.

Remember them.

Child prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp

There are some who have no memorial.
They are perished as though they had never been.

Forget them not.

Remember the landscape of screams
engraved at entrance gates
to death.

Remember the unborn dreams.

Remember the
terror of children, whose tears were burned
Remember the agony of parents, whose blessings were consumed

Remember the prayers of the dying,
the shame and the suffering of the innocent.

Remember. We have not forgotten You
though all this has befallen us.

Remember the God-forsaken millions in a silent world;
their loneliness was matched only by Yours.

Who is like You, 0 Lord, among the silent,
remaining silent through the suffering of His children?

Are You not God, 0 Lord, that we may hope in You?
Renew the light of Your creation, which has been dimmed.

Renew in Your creatures Your image, which has been desecrated

Restore the covenant, which Your people have maintained

Remember the hopes of the slain
by sending redemption to Your shattered

Jewish victims of Nazi concentration camp

In spite of everything which strangles hope,
help us to continue the sustaining song of their lives.

We know that a time will come when there will be no strong and no weak, no hunters and no hunted, no oppressors and no oppressed, no slayers and no slain, no masters and no servants, no rich and no poor.

Are our enemies mightier than we?
Torah is stronger than their might,
and our dream is greater than their night.

We know that this world will be saved from evil.

Should this not be true, may we know nothing further,
as nothing will be worth knowing.

For we know how difficult, how dangerous, how piteous it is to be a human being. And we know how grand, how glorious it is to be a human being.

When we recall the pain of our past, we also must recall its splendor, the foundation with which our lives began, and our debt to all those of blessed memory who have come before.

Their lives and their teachings sustain us. As surely as something in all of us died with them, the merit of their lives stands at our side today.

Because of the strength and the beauty and the piety of their lives, because of our hope for the future which they have planted within us we say Yes to creation and we say Yes to our Creator and to His eternity and holiness.

We know that a time will come ...

Adapted from Soma Morgenstern (1890-1976),
Galicia and the United States, The Third Pillar