Scrapbookpages Blog

July 14, 2015

the tower of faces at the USHMM brings tears to the eyes of a Jewish visitor

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:44 am
Photo wall at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC is 3 stories high

Photo wall at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC is three stories high. It shows photos of Lithuanian Jews.

The following quote is from the website of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum:

This three-story tower [shown in the photo above] displays photographs from the Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection. Taken between 1890 and 1941 in Eishishok, a small town in what is now Lithuania, the photographs depict a vibrant Jewish community that existed for 900 years. In 1941, an SS mobile killing squad entered the village and within two days massacred the Jewish population.–US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The poor, unfortunate Lithanian Jews! Why was everyone so mean to them?  I wrote about the Lithuanian Jews on these blog posts:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/lithuanian-jews/

Today I am commenting on a news article which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the news article cited above:

An otherwise emotionally reserved person, it took me only about 15 minutes before I broke into tears at the Holocaust museum in D.C., staring at the tower of faces.

I almost broke into tears myself when I saw the “tower of faces.”  These are family photos, many of them color photos, that were taken more than 75 years ago. They should not be put up three stories high, where no one can get a close look at them. The photos have nothing to do with the Holocaust. These photos of part of another story, which is about the Lithuanian Jews.

The following quote is also from the news article:

I know the scale of the mass extermination of Europe’s population of Jews, Roma, and other “asocial” groups. In classes spanning from elementary school to now my undergraduate degree I have learned the dehumanizing and horrifying acts committed by the Nazis during this time.

So those mean ole Nazis exterminated the Roma and other “asocial” groups?  The writer should have explained the term “asocial.”

The Nazis used the term asocial as a catch-all term for vagrants, bums, prostitutes, hobos, perverts, alcoholics who were living on the streets, or anyone who didn’t have a permanent address. Asocial prisoners were not sent to Auschwitz, AFAIK. Asocials were sent to Dachau or other similar camps, where they had to wear a black badge.

The “work-shy,” or those who were arrested because they refused to work, also wore a black badge.  Before 1942, Gypsy men (Roma) wore a black triangle; they were arrested and imprisoned for being asocial because they didn’t have a permanent address, or for being “work-shy” because they were not employed.

Every male citizen in Nazi Germany, who was capable of working, was required to take a job and they were not allowed to quit their job without permission. Gypsy women (Roma) were arrested under the asocial category if they were prostitutes.

This quote is also from the news article:

The gas chamber [in the main Auschwitz camp] the tour guide led us through, where two thousand people where exterminated at a time, could have been a basement, and the crematorium beside it could have been used for baking bread.

Please, please people, use your heads!  If two thousand people were “exterminated at a time,” where were the bodies kept while they were burned a few at a time in the ovens in the crematorium?

My photo of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

My photo of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp (click on the photo to enlarge)

Ovens right next to the door into the gas chamber on the right

Ovens right next to the door into the gas chamber on the right

My photo above shows two of the ovens in the crematorium, right next to the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp. It would have taken a long time to burn 2,000 bodies in these ovens, which were small enough to bake bread.

This final quote is from the news article:

The scale and destruction of the Holocaust are the principle focus of Holocaust education and remembrance, which is important for us to understand what happened, but it also allows us to separate the perpetrators from humanity and the event itself from reality. It’s easy to see it as an event that happened in the past, outside of ourselves, in black and white.