Man Who Claimed to Have Escaped Auschwitz Admits He Lied for Years [The Guardian] Joseph Hirt said he fabricated story of being sent to camp and meeting Nazi doctor Josef Mengele to ‘keep memories alive’ about history of the Holocaust. [more inside]
The Tangled History of Barbed Wire by Robert Zaretsky [Boston Globe]
“Like inventors from Joseph Guillotin to Alfred Nobel, whose creations escaped their original purpose and were yoked to evil ends, Joseph Glidden would have been shocked at what became of his. In 1874, the Illinois farmer and New Hampshire native, fastening sharpened metal knots along thick threads of steel, created barbed wire. Thanks to its high resilience and low cost, the rapid installation of the coils and lasting dissuasion of the barbs, the wire transformed the American West. Ranchers could protect their cattle against predators, both wild and human, as they pushed the frontier ever further west. The wire itself came to be called 'devil’s rope.'”Previously. Previously. Previously.
The voices of Auschwitz. "The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Nazi concentration camp could mark the last major commemoration for many Holocaust survivors." [more inside]
In 1941, the Nazis turned the the Czech fortress and town of Terezin into the ghetto of Theresienstadt. The ghetto was a transit center as well as a camp for high-profile people, and was turned into a "model Jewish settlement" in preparation for a Red Cross visit in 1944. The "embellishment" had the desired propaganda outcome - a "positive report." While researching Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last surviving member of the Jewish Council of the Elders in Theresienstadt. That footage is now in a new film, "The Last Of The Unjust." [more inside]
Dr. Gisella Perl was a gynecologist living in what is now Sighet, Rumania, when in 1944 she and her family were transported by the Nazis to the death camp at Auschwitz. There, she was forced to work under Joseph Mengele in the camp hospital. After seeing the horrors and abuse leading up to the murder of pregant women, she "decided that never again would there be a pregnant woman in Auschwitz." Gisella Perl: Angel and Abortionist in the Auschwitz Death Camp [more inside]
John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian immigrant to the United States and later accused and convicted of serving in the Nazi SS as a concentration camp guard, has died.
Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is beautiful and strange. The approximately fifty minute piece was written and premiered in a Nazi prison camp, having grown out of the composers friendship with musicians he met while imprisoned. [more inside]
The last man to have been imprisoned in a concentration camp for being homosexual under the Nazis has died, his obituary is more interesting than that sounds.
802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story. [more inside]
Poland has declared a state of emergency, after the infamous bronze sign reading "Arbeit Macht Frei" at former Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) Auschwitz was stolen yesterday. [more inside]
The War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945 collection is a searchable online archive which "contains approximately 7000 photographs and 317 Kodachrome slides which have been arranged into 18 series" (quoted from the Scope and Content page). Links to photo series are under the Container Listing header. Alternatively, you can just browse through them all. [more inside]
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust - an overview of the people and events of the Holocaust through photographs, documents, art, music, and literature. It is designed to prepare K-12 teachers to approach this sensitive topic. The content is presented from three perspectives: Timeline, People, and The Arts. Produced by the University of South Florida.
Libya is a desert, yes, but if you trace your fingers through the moonlit sand and listen, carefully, you may hear ancient whispers: of Apollo's love of Cyrene; of prehistoric hunters making Rock Art [1, 2, 3], back when the Sahara was wet; of Phoenicians subdued by Greeks, of Romans followed by Byzantines, all leaving ruins that Libya is famous for [Cyrene, Leptis Magna, Sabratha, et cetera]; of desert soldiers in World War II, remembered in Graves and Memorials; of the occupying Italians, who responded to Omar Mukhtar's resistance of the Fascists by rounding Libyans into concentration camps; of the camps' prisoners, one of whom wrote this famous poem: "My only illness is the torturing of our young women, with their bodies exposed ... how my speech has become subdued, the humiliation of our noble and leading men and the loss of my gazelle-like horse..."; of more culture, more memories from this land that witnessed the wrenching passion of all man's history—whispering in the very dust that made his soul.
The Angora rabbit project was an SS-administered program to breed rabbits for their soft, warm fur, one use of which was to line the jackets of Luftwaffe pilots. The rabbits were raised in luxury not far from the maltreated prisoners in 31 Nazi concentration camps in Germany, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau. Here is a photograph of the hutches taken by Lee Miller.
The largest archive of Nazi prison camp records, which has been closed for 50 years, is going public in May 2007. The International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany consists of 16 miles of files in six nondescript buildings in the German spa town and contains the fullest record of Nazi persecutions in existence. This past April Germany finally agreed to open access to the archive, ending a nasty diplomatic dispute between the United States and Germany.
She was a female guard. At Ravensbruck. While she was having 'the most beautiful time of her life', women were suffering and dying. 'Blond beasts', indeed.
Remember.org is a huge archive of the Shoah. It contains sections on the accounts of survivors and liberators (here is an account by Helen L. of her childhood in Auschwitz, here is Harry Herder's account of liberating Buchenwald, here is Jacques Lipetz account of WWII in Manila, here is part of a history of life in the Warsaw Ghetto), images from the camps and pictures of artwork produced by survivors (here is Mauthausen then and now, here is a picture of a prisoner at Dachau from this extensive archive of historical images, here are some drawings by Jan Komski, an Auschwitz survivor), and an extensive sections of excerpts of books written by survivors. Many of the images and accounts on this website are quite disturbing.
BBC documentary interviews ex-North Korean concentration camp boss. Kwon Hyok explains, 'I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. The parents, son and and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.' Now Pyongyang's gone nuclear, can anything practical be done about this? Can it be legitimately argued that we have no moral right to intervene, even if we could, as it doesn't threaten us?
From March 17 through June 30, 2002, The Jewish Museum in New York will present "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art". This exhibition features art of several young artists including this Lego concentration camp.