Reading List

Reading list #2

Holocaust-related articles and links from the last week. The above image is used with kind permission of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (see full details at the end of the article).

The Times of Israel shares 9 essential finds from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s appeal to New Yorkers for artifacts from the era of the Holocaust. In just one month, the USHMM’s artifact appeal brought 250 items into its collections, many of which hint at deep personal tragedy or stories of survival.

Also from the Times of Israel, a report about centres in New York which support the city’s Holocaust survivors, many of whom are facing poverty in their 80s and 90s. This quote is particularly shocking: “Jewish victims of Nazi persecution living in the US are more likely than other Jewish elderly and other American elderly to be living in poverty.”

The Boston Globe reports the death of Stephan Ross (c.1931-2020), a child survivor of as many as 10 concentration camps, who made his home in the United States after WW2 and who founded the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. His life during and after the Holocaust is detailed in this obituary.

The USHMM has reported the passing of Alfred “Freddie” Traum (1929-2020), a Kindertransport survivor who fled Vienna in 1939 and who, after WW2, spent time in England and Israel before making the US his home in 1963. He lost his entire family in the Holocaust and in later years worked as a volunteer speaker at the USHMM.

The Daily Princetonian speaks to 99-year-old former French spy and Holocaust survivor Marthe Cohn, who recalls almost having her cover blown, and who has forthright opinions about the dangers of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Investigative reporter John Ware tells the story of his search for infamous Auschwitz doctor Joseph Mengele. The Jewish Chronicle carries this two-part story, the second portion of which reports the difficult meeting between Mengele and his son Rolf in the year before the most-wanted Nazi’s death in Brazil in 1979.

Last week’s list included an article from The Guardian about Hadley Freeman’s new book House of Glass, uncovering the experiences of her grandparents’ family in Second World War Europe. Now from the same paper is a review of the book by Lisa Appignanesi, who praises Freeman as “a determined and eloquent detective”.

Also in The Guardian, Blake Morrison review’s Ariana Neumann’s book When Time Stopped, her account of the life of her father, who survived WW2 hiding in Nazi-occupied Europe. Neumann grew up knowing little about her father’s past; clues such as an identity document with seemingly another man’s name printed beside his photograph piqued her curiosity, and this book is the end result of her search for information about him. In addition, there’s a very nice short video interview with the author that’s worth your time.

ABC News in Australia report on an exhibition of Holocaust-related objects on display at the Australian War Memorial. A particularly striking artifact is a dress made from scraps of fabric found at Mauthausen concentration camp, sewn together by inmates for fellow-prisoner Henryka Shaw, so that upon liberation she could leave the camp adequately dressed.

The Metropolitan Museum in New York has returned an item of silverware from their collection to the family of the man from whom it was looted by the Nazis, reports Art Critique. Fritz Gutmann was forced to sell the 16th Century engraved stem cup, of a type known as a Haufenbecher, to a dealer with Nazi connections in the early 1940s.

The Straits Times of Singapore are one of a number of news organisations to report the opening of Vatican archives concerning the controversial position of Pope Pius XII during WW2. “Why did the Pope stay silent during the Holocaust?” asks the headline, a question which historians now hope to be able to shed more light on.

John Nathan in the Jewish Chronicle throws his hands up in bafflement at the attempts of the creator of Amazon TV series Hunters to justify the shows already-notorious “death chess” scene. Nathan concludes: “So, to correct a fiction, [Hunters-creator David Weil] has opted to create another. Presumably the facts themselves are not powerful enough.”

This excellent set of infographics appeared in The Economist in January and visualises the origins of Jews murdered at Auschwitz, the proportions of various national Jewish populations murdered during the Holocaust, and the projected number of survivors alive through to 2040. You may be surprised to learn that, according to this estimate, almost 400,000 survivors of Europe’s pre-1945 Jewish population are alive today.

Full detail of the document and photograph used in this week’s header image:

Hannah Zimmerman, a Jewish girl from Bratislava, who was hidden in a monastery during the war.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Hal Schimel.

Thank you to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for kind permission to use the image of Hannah Zimmerman.

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