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April 7, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day starts Sunday evening, April 7, 2013

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:18 am

While searching for some news about Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins tonight, I came across a website which shows the photo below.  Under the photo are the words of General Eisenhower:  “Get it all on record now — get the films — get the witnesses — because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”

I had never realized, until now, that it was Eisenhower who coined the phrase “[the Holocaust] NEVER HAPPENED.”

Photo of General Eisenhower at the Ohrdruf camp, April 7, 1945

Photo of General Eisenhower at the Ohrdruf camp, April 12, 1945

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, will be observed this year starting Sunday evening, April 7th, the 27th of Nissan, and going through Monday night. In America, a ceremony will take place at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in the Hall of Remembrance; you can see photos of the Hall and read about it on my website here.

The world-wide, annual observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day is a celebration of the heroism of the Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.

So why would anyone use a photo of General Dwight D. Eisenhower viewing dead bodies at the Ordruf sub-camp of Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, the same day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt died? Wouldn’t a photo, taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, be more appropriate?

What does the discovery of the Ohrdruf labor camp by American soldiers on April 4, 1945 have to do with the Holocaust?

The prisoners at Ohrdruf were not necessarily Jewish. The dead prisoners in the photo could have been political prisoners, who had been sent to Ohrdruf from the Buchenwald camp, which was the main camp for French Resistance Fighters.  The prisoners in the photo had most likely been killed by their fellow prisoners; the first American soldiers on the scene on April 4th had observed that the blood was still wet, although the SS men had left on April 2nd, along with most of the prisoners.

The dead men in the photo were probably Kapos, [Captains] who had helped the Nazis run the Ohrdruf camp.  However, the story that Eisenhower was told on his visit is that these were sick prisoners, who had been killed by the Nazis on April 2nd because there was no room on the trucks that were evacuating the prisoners who couldn’t walk.

A still shot from a film taken by the Americans during Eisenhower's visit

A still shot from a film taken by the Americans during Eisenhower’s visit

The photo above shows Eisenhower viewing the bodies that had been left out for a week.  The man in the center, wearing civilian clothes was a Kapo, who was killed the next day by the other survivors of Ohrdruf.

Unfortunately, the photo that was chosen by the The Other News website to commemorate Yom HaShoa is the absolute worst photo that they could have used.  The killing of prisoners at Ohrdruf, by other prisoners, has nothing to do with the Holocaust, which is the term for the genocide of the Jews.

In America, Holocaust Remembrance Day will be celebrated at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The photo below shows a picture that hangs in the Museum.  A copy of the Confession of Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, is shown, along with a photo of Hungarian Jews walking to the gas chamber, carrying their bundles.

Photo that hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photo that hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photo taken at Ohrdruf which hangs in the USHMM

Photo taken at Ohrdruf which hangs in the USHMM

A photo, taken on April 13, 1945 after the liberation of Ohrdruf, is shown above.  This photo is the first thing you see when you step off the elevator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Many people, including Professor Harold Marcuse, have claimed that prisoners were burned alive at Ohrdruf, which is why this photo is shown in America’s Holocaust Museum.

A photo of the 15th Street entrance into the United States Holocaust Museum is shown below.  On the right hand side, you can see the Hall of Remembrance, which has 6 sides, to represent the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When I visited the USHMM in the year 2000, four sides of the hexagon, which forms the Hall of Remembrance, had a quotation engraved on the outside wall. These quotations were from the speeches of four recent American presidents: Jimmy Carter (who was president when the museum was first conceived), Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Bush, Sr., and Ronald Reagan.  Eisenhower’s prophetic quote is in the most prominent spot, and it is also the most famous: “The things I saw beggar description…the visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda. Ohrdruf April 15, 1945.”

The photo above shows the facade of the Holocaust Museum building, which faces a square, named Eisenhower Plaza. The building has several features which suggest places associated with the Holocaust. Sticking up on the left side of the building is what looks like the tower on top of the red brick gatehouse building at Birkenau, the infamous death camp where the Jews were gassed.

To the right of the tower, as shown in the photo below, is a glass enclosed walkway which looks somewhat like the open wooden walkways which were put over some of the streets of the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos in Poland so that non-Jews could pass through the ghetto on the streetcar, or walk on the street below, without having to come in contact with the Jews. There are two more glass walkways on the west side of the building on the third and second floors.

A two-part sculpture in front of the 15th St. entrance into the USHMM

A two-part sculpture in front of the 15th St. entrance into the USHMM

A two-part modern sculpture entitled “Loss and Regeneration,” designed by Jewish artist Joel Shapiro, who was born in America in 1941, stands in the courtyard on the 15th Street side of the building. One section of the sculpture is near the sidewalk, and the other part near the door to the museum, as shown in the photo above.

The abstract black figures symbolize the destruction of European Jewry and the regeneration of the Jews; the first section is a house which has been tipped over and is now balanced precariously on the tip of one end of the peaked roof, symbolizing the loss of Jewish homes when the Nazis destroyed the shtetls, as the Jewish villages in Poland were called.

The second part of the “Loss and Regneration” sculpture is shown in the photo below.

Part of the "Loss and Regeneration" sculpture is in front of the Holocaust Museum

Part of the “Loss and Regeneration” sculpture is in front of the Holocaust Museum

I don’t want to read anything in the comments about the United States Holocaust Museum being in the “shadow of the Washington monument.”  The photo of the Washington Monument below very clearly shows that its shadow does not fall on the Museum.

The USHMM is close to the Washington Monument

The USHMM is close to the Washington Monument

In the foreground of the photo above, you can see part of the “Loss and Regeneration” sculpture on Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The red brick building on the right is not part of the Museum.

So exactly where is the USHMM located?  In the shadow of the Washington Monument, or not?

The Capitol Mall in Washington, DC is a long narrow park, which extends two and a half miles from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial at the west end. Lined up along both sides of the Mall are our national museums of American history, art and science. The midway point of the Mall is marked by the Washington monument, which stands like a beacon in a field surrounded by American flags. The street that crosses the Mall in front of the Washington Monument is 15th street, which runs north and south, and goes past the east side of the iron fence surrounding the White House grounds. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is about a mile from the Capitol and half a mile from the White House. It was built on Federal land with funds donated by private citizens.

At the Washington monument, 15th street suddenly changes to Raoul Wallenberg Place. This section of 15th street was renamed in 1985 in honor of the diplomat who helped thousands of Hungarian Jews escape deportation to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in what is now Poland, by providing them with papers that said they intended to emigrate to Sweden after the war. Among the survivors saved by Wallenberg was Senator Tom Lantos, who emigrated to America after the liberation of Europe from the Fascists.

On the corner of Raoul Wallenberg Place and Independence Avenue (the street which forms the southern border of the park-like Mall) stands an old traditional style red brick building, now called the Ross Center, which houses the administrative offices of the museum and the museum cafe.  This is the red brick building shown in the photo above.

The Ross center is named after Eric F. Ross whose parents, Albert and Regina Rosenberg, died in Auschwitz in 1942. The back of the Ross Center building is on Independence Avenue while the entrance faces a brick-paved courtyard in front of the 15th street entrance to the USHMM, which is set back from the street. From the courtyard, there is a perfect view of the Washington Monument, as seen in the photograph above.