Scrapbookpages Blog

February 28, 2015

Students in Copperas Cove, TX create mixed up Holocaust projects for school assignment

When I first read a news article here about 14 year-old students creating Holocaust projects for a school assignment, I had to look up the location of the town called Copperas Cove.  My first thought was that this was a town in the UK.  The project sounded like something that British students would do.

The news article begins with this quote:

COPPERAS COVE — It was a small suitcase filled with personal items, such as a handkerchief and a favorite necklace, from a young girl’s life that would soon end.

But to Crinity Easlick, 14, it represented what Anne Frank might have packed when she and millions of Jews were sent to concentration camps during World War II.

Easlick was one of about 175 eighth-graders at Copperas Cove Junior High School who made individual projects reflecting some aspect of the Holocaust for the school’s annual “Our Holocaust Living Library” presentations Thursday.

Easlick said Frank’s forgiveness impressed her the most. “Even when the Nazis killed her mother, she was positive and believed that everyone had a good heart.”

Oops! It appears that someone didn’t do enough research for her project. Anne Frank’s mother was not killed by the Nazis, nor by anyone else.  She died of tuberculosis in a hospital at Auschwitz in January 1945.

Anne never knew how her mother died, nor even that she was dead.  Anne and her sister, Margot, were sent from Auschwitz on October 28, 1944 to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp on a transport which, according to the International Red Cross, consisted of sick women who were expected to recover from their illness. Later, Anne and Margot both became ill with typhus and died in March 1945 during the horrendous epidemic in Bergen-Belsen. Both were buried in one of the unmarked mass graves at Bergen-Belsen.

Honorary tombstone at Bergen-Belsen for Anne Frank

Honorary tombstone at Bergen-Belsen for Anne Frank who was actually buried in a mass grave

The famous quote, which impressed this Texas student, was written in Anne’s diary, while she was in hiding in Amsterdam.

Here is the famous quote from her diary:

It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

But this was not the only mistake made by the Texas students.  This quote is also from the news article:

Zachery Lerue’s model of Auschwitz included an important but gruesome detail: ashes of the dead, which fell on the ground and were walked on by the living prisoners at the concentration camp.

Apparently, Zachery didn’t do any research to find out if ashes flew out of the crematoria chimneys and fell on the ground.

Every Holocaust survivor book that you will ever read, and some that you won’t read, includes testimony that ashes were flying out of the crematoria chimneys when the Jews got off the train at Auschwitz-Birkeanau.

Could this be true? I had to look it up on this Wikipedia page where I found this quote:

Contrary to popular belief, the cremated remains are not ashes in the usual sense. After the incineration is completed, the dry bone fragments are swept out of the retort and pulverised by a machine called a Cremulator — essentially a high-capacity, high-speed blender — to process them into “ashes” or “cremated remains”,[43][44] although pulverisation may also be performed by hand.

Photos taken at Auschwitz-Birkenau do not show smoke, nor ashes, flying out of the crematoria chimneys.

Crematory chimneys shown in  the background as Jews arrive on a train at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Two crematory chimneys shown in the background as Jews arrive  at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Jews arriving on train at Auschwitz-Birkenau (Click on photo for larger size)

Jews arriving on train at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp (Click on photo for larger size)

The chimney of Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau is shown in the background on the right side of the photo above. Notice that there is no smoke and no ashes flying out of the chimney.