Archive for the ‘Holocaust’ Category

I have been reading recently a little on the holocaust deaths, a recent interest. It makes we wonder, Nazi Germany killed over 17 million people in cold blood mostly in concentration camps. Many of these concentration camps were just outside large German towns. Yet after the war most Germans feigned ignorance of happenings in the death camps.

Sachsenhausen, a notorious death camp was only 22 kms from Berlin. Over 200,000 were killed here. Yet after the war few Berliners acknowledged knowing anything about what went on there, despite trainloads of prisoners and smoke belching from the stacks. For camp after camp, Allied documentation reveals, similar stony silence. This is not a condition peculiar to Germans. Most nationalities have shown a similar stoicism and indifference. Which is why cruel despotism prevails in so much of the world. Which is why tens of thousands get killed and there is no memory of them. Collective amnesia!

In Indonesia when Suharto seized power over a million people were massacred with the most primitive tools within a few weeks. Cambodia is another example. So is Rwanda. Is there a museum or recorded history to tell us what happened, besides anecdotal tales? There is nothing uniquely evil in Germans. Its a common human condition.

In Malaysia, we also have our share of Collective amnesia and it is fast enveloping us in.

The British Library has put online the moving and often disturbing testimonies of Jewish migrants and refugees to the UK, many of whom survived Nazi concentration and labour camps.
Over 440 hours of life story recordings explore 66 personal experiences of persecution across war-torn Europe and the impact of the Holocaust.

The issues cover Anti-Semitism before the Second World War; Pre-war refugees and the “Kindertransport”; Ghettos and concentration and labour camps; Survival in hiding; Resistance and liberation; Searching for family in the aftermath; Building a new life in Britain and The legacy of the Holocaust.

Besides providing academic researchers the world over with access to valuable source material, the Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust resource will also support primary and secondary education, supplementing the study materials and lesson plans provided by the British Library’s Learning team.

The testimonies now available are drawn from a major oral history programme – The Living Memory of the Jewish Community – which between 1987 and 2000 gathered 186 audio life story interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their children.

It was initiated by National Life Stories based in the British Library’s oral history section and funded by a number of organisations including the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the John S Cohen Foundation and the Porjes Charitable Trust.