Shoah in the House
Originally Created May 5, 2017
Updated: September 29, 2017, April 15, 2019
Shoah is Hebrew for "catastrophe". It is how the Holocaust is referred to in Israel.
In Missouri, the Shoah (Holocaust) is taught in Middle School English. This is of course done in English class by reading "Anne Frank". Why is a major world event not part of Social Studies? Got me.
We have more than a few books on the Shoah in our house. Here is a quick synopsis for the girls.
Grave Marker for Jacob & Fela Igielnik
OK, this is not in our house but is in Beth Hamedrosh HaGodol Cemetery on Ladue Road. The Igielniks are representative of many Shoah survivors, people who had no remaining relatives.
"Jacob, Son of Shimon Igielnik and Celia Ponczek was the only member of his family to survive the holocaust.
Fela, Daughter of Baruch Froman and Hellen Frajtag was the only member of her family to survive the holocaust.
May our families who perished in the Shoah rest in peace and never be forgotten."
The Last Artwork by Henry Changar
Henry is Yael's cousin and a Holocaust survivor. He survived by having false papers showing him to be a Polish Catholic. At the end of the war he was slave labor in a coal mine in Norway. In 1947 he came to America. His testimony is archived at the United States Holocaust Museum but is not available for download. It may also be available at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. Like many families of Holocaust survivors, Henry's children never had grandparents or uncles on one side of their family.
Henry was a talented artist. He drew, painted, and made sculptures. In 2003 he drew this one day while we were at his house.
The oral history of Henry Changar, St. Louis Holocaust Center, https://stlholocaustmuseum.org/oral-history/henry-changar/
The Journey That Saved Curious George
An excellent book for younger children. H.A. and Margret Rey were Jewish. They bicycled from Paris to Spain ahead of the NAZIs. Told in a gentle and not scary way. H.A. brought his drawings with him. Once in New York he was trying to sell a story about a duck. The publisher said the monkey in the background was more interesting. The rest is history. A fascinating story. Suggested for ages 8 and up.
I Never Saw Another Butterfly
A collection of poems and drawings from the children of Theresienstadt.
I Never Saw Another Butterfly Between the years 1942-1944, about 15,000 children were incarcerated at various times in the Terezin [or Theresienstadt] Concentration Camp, just outside of Prague. This camp was promoted as the "ideal" camp by the Nazis, who used it as a cover-up for their brutalities in other camps, such as the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Majdanek, Sobibor, etc. The Nazis were so successful in their propaganda efforts that even the Red Cross was hoodwinked into believing that conditions in the camp were exemplary and that inmates flourished here. The reality was far from the truth as conditions were terrible - starvation and diseases flourished, and the inhabitants were merely biding their time before being shipped off to the camps in the east for extermination. A powerful and moving book.
15,000 children. For comparison, The Muny seats just under 11,000, Enterprise Center seats 19,000 for Hockey.
The title comes from this poem.
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone...
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.
Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942
Born in Prague on Jan. 7, 1921.
Deported to the Terezin Concentration Camp on April 26, 1942.
Died in Auschwitz on Sept. 29, 1944.
The World Must Know
The World Must Know Published to mark the occasion of the April 1993 opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the museum project director, has written a lucid, sweeping, but not superficial historical overview of the Holocaust. Replacing a typical museum catalog, which ordinarily lauds its museum's artifacts, this book uses them to tell the awful story to which the institution is dedicated. Utilizing the museum's photographs, oral histories, and other documents, Berenbaum synthesizes an enormous quantity of material, organizing it coherently to show the gradual evolution of the war against the Jews from the perspectives of the victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, while dealing with the fundamental themes of the Jewish experience. Visually evocative and unsettling, the book, supplemented with a useful bibliography, is an excellent choice for those who are not well acquainted with the subject or who need a concise synopsis.
The Precious Legacy: Judaic Treasures from the Czechoslovak State Collection
The Precious Legacy NAZI Germany collected material from communities and synagogues as they "cleansed" Europe. The plan was for the Prague synagogue to be turned into the "Museum of Extinct Peoples". This is the catalog of that collection from when it toured in 1983.
NOTE: The St. Louis Art Museum had an opportunity to host the tour in 1983-84. The St. Louis Jewish Community was told the museum did not have the funds for the exhibit. Less than six months later the museum had funds for the "Treasures of the Vatican" exhibit.
Maus is a series of graphic novels by Art Spiegelman. It depicts Spiegleman's father's experiences during the Shoah. Spiegelman pulls no punches. The story and artwork are powerful.
Maus was originally published as three volumes.
In 2022 Maus was banned by a school district in Tennesse. It is being challenged across the country. Those wanting it banned from schools and libraries site "nudity" and "pornographic" content. There are indeed naked mice (Jews) in Maus. As I said, Spiegelman pulls no punches. The NAZIs stripped prisoners. If you confuse the horror of the Shoah with pornography you are in need of immediate help.
Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice by Christopher Dodd and Lary Bloom
Senator Chris Dodd's father, Thomas Dodd was a junior attorney at the Nuremberg Trials. He wrote home to his wife almost every day. This is a collection of the letters. The letters cover the trials planning stages and the creation of a court to hear the cases, the creation of Crimes Against Humanity, and the coining of a new word: Genocide.
Dodd's letters also cover how the trial was going badly until what had been a trail of numbers and reports became a personal testimony of the Final Solution. Dodd also describes life in post war Germany. The letters cover over a year, almost day by day. In addition to the trial and how the changes to a personal story swayed the court, he also expresses a deep love for his wife, how he misses her, and how the German people are starting to rebuild.
Bob Horn, a barber in South St. Louis was a guard at the Nuremberg Trials.
After the war, Horn became a barber and led a quiet life. It was not until the 1990's that someone asked him why the picture of the defendants at Nuremberg was reversed. It was because Horn as a guard was behind the prisoners rail, not in front like the press.
These books are on a higher reading level than the others.
IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black
IBM and the Holocaust A somewhat controversial book, Black makes the case that IBM in the United States supplied IBM-Germany with the punch cards necessary to run the NAZI rail system. In the 1920's Germany computerized rail service, making German trains the most efficient and best run on the planet. The computers used punch cards and each card could only be used a single time, requiring thousands of cards to run the computers. The cards needed to be punched on very special paper. Paper only made in the US and only sold by IBM.
Black's family died in the Shoah. He makes a strong case.
IBM continues to deny it collaborated with the NAZIs. A part of this book deals with the "rules" for companies during war time. The NAZIs ran Ford of Germany, the AP, and many other household names. But Ford of Detroit didn't ship spare parts to Germany. IBM did. Is Black right? Wikipedia - IBM and World War II
I don't buy IBM hardware.
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Goldhagen puts forth that ordinary Germans willingly and voluntarily aided the NAZIs in the extermination of the Jews. He provides data that serving in the SS Death Squads was voluntary and a sought-after position and that there were no consequences for not signing up or for leaving.
This position is contrary to the German goverment's position.
This book is a doctoral dissertation with more than 200 pages of notes and a huge bibliography. It is not easy to read.