The 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Women in the barracks of the newly liberated Auschwitz concentration camp. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

Women in the barracks of the newly liberated Auschwitz concentration camp. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

From an article by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Click HERE to view more photos and the full article.

January 2015 marks seventy years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest camp established by the Germans. A complex of camps, Auschwitz included a concentration camp, killing center, and forced-labor camps. It was located 37 miles west of Krakow (Cracow), near the prewar German-Polish border.

In mid-January 1945, as Soviet forces approached the Auschwitz camp complex, the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its satellite camps. Nearly 60,000 prisoners were forced to march west from the Auschwitz camp system. Thousands had been killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march to the city of Wodzislaw in the western part of Upper Silesia. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and exposure on these marches. More than 15,000 died during the death marches from Auschwitz. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered.


The Diary of a Young Girl

48855by Anne Frank, Eleanor Roosevelt (Introduction), B.M. Mooyaart (Translation)

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. Continue reading

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Schindler’s List

by Thomas Keneally

In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser and heavy drinker who enjoyed the good life, yet to them he became a saviour.

Thomas Keneally’s Booker Prize-winning novel recreates the story of Oskar Schindler, an Aryan who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who continually defied and outwitted the SS, and who was transformed by the war into an angel of mercy. It is an unforgettable tale, all the more extraordinary for being true. Continue reading

Maine author explains how too many jews fleeing Hitler kept out of USA

Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde

06/16/2013 MPBN article reported By: Irwin Gratz

Nazis killed millions during the World War II Holocaust. But many believe some of those deaths could have been avoided if other nations had been willing to open their borders to those – especially Jews – who wished to flee. Some of those accusing fingers point at Breckinridge Long, who, as a U.S. state department official, worked hard to keep European Jews out. MPBN Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talks with York resident Neil Rolde, who has written a biography of Long.

“I’ve read a number of books about the Holocaust, being Jewish myself,” says Neil Rolde (left), of York, a former state legislator, aide to Gov. Ken Curtis, and a historian. “And I would keep coming across this guy, Breckinridge Long, and he was, sort of, the villain of the piece.”

But Rolde says no one had written a biography of Long, so, working from papers and diaries at the Library of Congress, Rolde did. Continue reading

Breckinridge Long: An American Eichmann???

An Enquiry into the Character of the Man Who Denied Visas to the Jews
By Neil Rolde

During the Holocaust, while the Nazis were exterminating thousands of Jews daily, the U.S. State Department official in charge of matters concerning all European refugees was Breckinridge Long. He was known as an extreme nativist, who was suspicious of Eastern Europeans. He feared more immigrants would spoil existing cultural values and bring with them communist ideals.

“He’s an example of the banality of evil,” said Rolde. “I wanted to highlight his own accounts of his life written in all his diaries, and the times in which he lived, to give people a comprehensive look into his character,” said Neil Rolde author of the first full-length biography of Long titled: Breckinridge Long: An American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man Who Denied Visas to the Jews. Continue reading

My Tainted Blood

By Hubert C. Kueter

my tainted

My Tainted Blood follows the author, Hubert C. Kueter, as a boy and teenager in wartime Breslau and postwar Germany. People’s names have been changed but the circumstances are all too real. Hubert turned surviving in WWII’s Germany, as a half Jewish youth, into an adventure and writes about his exploits with wit and humor. Perhaps that’s how he managed to stay alive, and keep his family and friends healthy, during the most horrific circumstances.

The incorporation of the author’s love of cooking, at a time when he had to forage for food under the Nazi regime, helps him in part survive and adds a unique dimension to the chronicle. Kueter also imparts insights into German Jews and their unrequited love of Germany and his friendship with a African American soldier. The 400 page novel keeps the reader involved at every stage as one wonders how Kueter will outwit so many adults, and how he can help the love of his life. Continue reading