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Lest We Ever Forget

The excerpts are from the Days of Remembrance commemoration held in Washington, D.C., on April 29 and 30, 1984.

The commemoration events were organized by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, created by federal elected officials to organize the nation’s Holocaust remembrance events and raise funds for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened in 1993.

Follow this link to see the table of contents for the “Evening of Commemoration through the Performing Arts,” which was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Days of Remembrance.

To view all of the readings delivered by artists, musicians and journalists, follow this link.

Council chairman Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, was among the luminaries who spoke during the events.

2 years ago

Tagged with:  #Holocaust  #USHMM

Push to open United Nations WWII War Crimes Archive

NEW YORK — The Associated Press is reporting exclusively today that researchers and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum are seeking to open a long-closed archive at U.N. headquarters documenting 10,000 cases against World War II criminals.

The archives belonged to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, which went out of existence in 1948, and have been closed to the public for 60 years.

The story was written by AP U.N. Correspondent Edith M. Lederer, with Randy Herschaft contributing to the report.

Randy obtained a handful of commission documents from the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Md., where some copies reside.

These include the accusations against staff at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald camps. We’ve posted copies of two pages of the documents (seen above), which are explained in the AP report:

"Buchenwald camp leader Max Schobert, described as taking part in all mass and individual executions, was quoted as giving orders to bring him at least 600 Jewish death reports every day, and to take all university graduates and rabbis to the camp gate and bury them alive. He was found guilty of war crimes in 1947 and was hanged the following year.

At Buchenwald, a Gestapo official was described as ‘a particularly bloodthirsty torturer.’ Another officer who was in charge of gardens, was described as a ‘fanatical Jew baiter’ who ‘made prisoners jump into the sewage pool’ where on some days 80 or 90 prisoners suffocated.”

Click here to read the full report: http://bit.ly/IzDW6N

Heroic Act of Resistance at Auschwitz-Birkenau

COLLEGE PARK, MD. — It was one of the most celebrated acts of resistance by a Jewish woman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp: an actress stripped naked and about to be gassed pulled a gun from a notoriously brutal guard and shot him dead.

A 33-year-old Polish timber merchant who was in charge of a filing system in his barracks told British intelligence about the woman’s act in a May 31, 1945 secret report, four months after the camp was liberated.

To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, we are posting here a copy of a rarely viewed 10-page report found in a U.S. Army intelligence file.

The report was declassified in 2010. We obtained it during a visit to the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Md., as part of our ongoing effort at The Associated Press to mine the eight million secret records that have been declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998.

The guard was identified in the document as SS Sergeant Josef Schillinger, who was named in a U.N. War Crimes Commission report. The basic facts in the story have been validated by other scholars. The Jewish woman has not been unequivocally identified, but different accounts have said she was Franceska Mann. However, it may never be known who she was since she was killed after the shooting.

Click the image above to view the full report.

— Randy Herschaft and Cristian Salazar, Jan. 21, 2012