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We Were Children Just Like You

PDF Keeping Alive the Names of Children Who Perished in the Holocaust

Of all the atrocities and cruelties the Nazis inflicted during the Holocaust, the campaigns targeting civilian children directly must rank the most savage and cowardly; such a deliberate policy was unprecedented in the course of human history.One of every four Jewish victims, a million and a half souls, was a child.The important exhibit this book documents brings together photographs of individual children, often with the name of the subject.The philosophy of Yad Vashem is that everybody had a name and that every individual must be remembered.

By nature, a photograph is complex.First, being a snapshot in time, a photograph tells what happened at precisely the moment it was taken.What was to happen in the future, be it a few moments or several years, might be entirely different.The photographs in the first section of this book, On the Eve of Destruction, are testimony to this fact; these are personal family photographs taken before the war and the deliberate campaigns of the Holocaust.The contrast of the everyday, normal life context of these photographs against what is to follow is stark indeed.Most heart-rending is a photograph of a beautiful little girl in a plaid dress and a large bow in her hair.She stands next to a prized doll, wide-eyed and smiling. She had a name: it was Mala Silberberg.What the photo does not convey is that little Mala would soon be deported to Auschwitz.When she arrived, Josef Mengele was informed of her angelic singing voice, so he asked her to sing.At the end of her song, Mengele smiled, took out his revolver, and shot her in the head at close range.Yet, little Mala's story remains.

Second, a photograph represents something the photographer wanted to convey.Most of the time, the person behind the camera was a Nazi persecutor, on orders to document the accomplishments of his comrades as a form of propaganda, which also sought to portray the Jews as helpless victims, worthy of the name Untermenschen, or sub-humans.Such photographs form the core of the work, the section titled "Under the Heel of the Oppressor."With perhaps some poetic justice, these same photographs have become an irrefutable indictment, evidence of the unspeakable crimes the Nazis committed.However, sometimes the person operating the shutter was a Jew, often a former professional photographer who, at the risk of death, sought to bear witness to the crimes of the Nazis.The photographs in this section are grouped by themes: "Seeking Refuge in a Hostile World," "Children of the Ghetto," "Open-Air Killings," "Deportation," "Concentration Camps." "Partisans," and "In Hiding."Both types of photographs appear in this section; the caption identifies those taken by Jewish photographers and, in one case, a German who was sympathetic to the Jewish plight.

The final section, "Liberation," comprises photographs taken as a means of identification, in a desperate effort to reunite children with their parents, in those rare cases that both survived.These were the photographs most likely to "survive" the war.All are of individual people.Says the curator and book's editor, Yaffa Eliach, "It is when the shutter closes that the ages, mind, and heart of the viewer must open in an attempt to comprehend what is missing from the image.Only we can see beyond the shattered fragments of the Holocaust period to the larger whole.Thus, the final step on the journey of understanding must be ours."

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PDF We Were Children Just Like You ebook download

eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherCenter for Holocaust Studies
File size3.1 Mb
Release date 01.03.1990
Pages count121
Book rating5 (1 votes)
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