One of the most disturbing aspects of the Holocaust,aside from the obvious, is the fact that the victims were reduced to numbers.
In the camps they were designated numbers. When they died they were a number in the overall number of victims and even after the war they were statistics.
But of course they weren’t numbers .each one of them was a living Human being made of flesh and blood. Someone’s mother,father,brother,sister,grandfather,grandmother,son,daughter,grandson, granddaughter,niece,nephew or just friend or neighbor. I deliberately listed them out separately to highlight the fact they were living souls.
Following are just some accounts of human beings that became victims and were treated as if they weren’t humans.
A German soldier searches a pocket of an arrested civilian who may be a Roma (Gypsy). His disheveled appearance suggests tha the was forced to pull his pants down to prove that he was not a Jew. The photograph was taken in Poland around 1940
Joseph Sher’s 92-year-old grandmother was known by her nickname of Szandle the Bagel Baker. She was shot for resisting deportation.
Eva Galler’s siblings left to right: Berele, Malka, a Nephew, Devorah and Pinchas. Pinchas suffered night blindness from a vitamin deficiency he acquired in the ghetto and was unable to jump from the death train.
This is an original document from the archives of the National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau which lists the name of prisoner Solomon Radasky (Slama Radosinski) Auschwitz No. 128232.
In the Mauthausen Krankenlager, the camp for the sick, hungry inmates fight for a slice of bread.
Postcards Shep Zitler received as a Prisoner-of-War at Stalag VIII B from his sister Doba. The bottom postcard, dated September 16, 1942, reads: “Mother and Father are no more. Meer is in Lidris. Doba and little child are in Ghetto. There is no one else. If you want to write ‘Doba Lewin address: Blok Kailis’ Street Mindaugievis 15 m 24 Vilnius.
Shoes and clothing of prisoners found at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Hannah Vogel jumped with Eva Galler from a death train taking them to Belzec extermination camp. She was shot by guards riding on the train.
Each of the millions of victims is a story with a start, a middle and a tragic end. It is up to us to tell their stories.