The Holocoust

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by MMurphy5678
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies
Jewish History

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The Holocoust

Survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp cheer the soldiers of the Eleventh Armored Division of the U.S. Third Army one day after their actual liberation in May 1945. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum textile conservator Cynthia Hughes carefully handles a concentration camp uniform that had been worn by a Holocaust survivor.

The Holocaust

Heinz Skyte

"The Nazis celebrated their coming to power by torchlight processions in the evening everywhere... I remember them coming past with their torches singing anti-Semitic songs, looking forward to Jewish blood splashing from their knives - that's one of the songs".

International Tracing Service, Bad Arolsen, Germany. George Jaunzemis with a picture of himself as a little boy, before he was taken to New Zealand.© International Tracing Service

George Janzemis with the relatives he discovered after 66 years, thanks to the ITS.© International Tracing Service

George Jaunzemis was three and a half years old when, in the chaotic weeks at the end of World War Two, he was separated from his mother as she fled with him from Germany to Belgium.He grew up in New Zealand with no memory of his early years, unaware the Latvian woman who had emigrated with him was not his real mother.Then in 2010, a letter from the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen changed his life. He discovered his real name was Peter Thomas and that he had a nephew and cousins in Germany.

“I was astonished, thrilled. After all this time, I was an uncle,” Jaunzemis, 71, told Reuters. “You don’t know what it’s like to have no family or childhood knowledge. Suddenly all the pieces fitted, now I can find my peace as a person.”Yet it took Jaunzemis over three decades of tenacious searching to find the vast archive in this remote corner of Germany where his past was buried.

George Jaunzemis

Heinz Skyte

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

This museum, which opened in 1993 next to the National Mall, tells the story of Holocaust victims in a personal, harrowing way. Visitors board a freight train, the way victims en route to the concentration camps did, and hear recordings of survivors' recollections of life in the camps. Exhibits track the rise of the Nazi machine and the mass murder of six million Jews and countless European minorities.

"We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter."-Abba Kovner


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