The Holocaust

Auschwitz opened my eyes and I have closure

March 4, 2010

I wanted to see Poland to explore my heritage. My small, Yiddish-speaking booba, Bella, came from a town called Szczebrzeszyn in south east Poland. She and her family managed to escape the Nazi onslaught and spent the war working in frozen Siberia.

The Jeneration trip was led by renowned Jewish educator Jeremy Leigh, and we also had a Polish guide, Marcelina, who gave us a different insight into the story of the Jews of Poland.


Fraudsters steal Holocaust victims reparations money

By Paul Berger, February 18, 2010

An organisation that distributes German reparations to Holocaust victims around the world has fired three employees following a suspected fraud estimated at more than £200,000.

The New York office of the Claims Conference called in a private law firm late last year after employees came forward with suspicions that co-workers had approved dozens of fraudulent applications.

Executive vice president Greg Schneider said he feared the Claims Conference may have discovered "100 or more" fraudulent claims, each worth €2,500 (about £2,100).


Swedish man arrested for theft of Auschwitz sign

By Jessica Elgot, February 11, 2010

Swedish police have arrested the man wanted in connection with the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

Swedish Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnstrom said the police had arrested Anders Hoegstroem, 34, in Stockholm on a European arrest warrant issued by Poland.

Swedish investigators will question Mr Hoegstroem before deciding whether to extradite him to Poland.


Praise for Paris Holocaust art exhibition

By Toby Axelrod, February 11, 2010

There are many striking elements in artist Christian Boltanski’s new work, Personnes: piles of clothing under cold fluorescent light, the sound of throbbing heartbeats, numbered boxes and a crane.

Ephemeral yet indelible, this is a work of contrasts. Personnes is about the Shoah and yet it is not. It is about death, and life. About individuals and masses. And about what God might, or might not, be.

“I do not work about the Shoah, I work ‘after’ the Shoah,” said Mr Boltanski, 65. “The real issue in my life is the Shoah. I can work around it, but not directly.”


Fred Knoller organises a march to ensure the Holocaust is not forgotten

By Candice Krieger, February 10, 2010

Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller is doing his bit to ensure the atrocities of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Mr Knoller, 88, is organising a March of the Living 2010 (MOL). Together with Scott Saunders, he will be leading a delegation of British children and adults to Warsaw, Maidanek, Lublin and Kracow.


Nazi doctor's diary sold to survivor's grandson

By Jessica Elgot, February 3, 2010

The diary of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who experimented on victims at Auschwitz, has been bought by the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.

Known as the “Angel of Death” by the camp’s inmates, Mengele conducted gruesome experiments on inmates, particularly on twins, and ordered the deaths of prisoners with medical problems.

The diary, written when Mengele was in hiding in South America after the war, contains his rants on “racial purity” and the “staining of bloodlines”.


Auschwitz sign thief hunted in Sweden

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Poland has issued a European arrest warrant for a Swedish man whom it says is behind the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

A court in Krakow issued the warrant for Swede Anders Hoegstroem, who, it is claimed, was the mastermind of the theft of the sign, which infamously read “Work Sets You Free” above the Nazi death camp.

Five Polish men aged in their 20s and 30s have been arrested by police who recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces.


Survivor's story: Ben Helfgott

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Ben Helfgott went through “hell” during the Holocaust — and 70 years on, his life is still consumed by it.

Mr Helfgott, 79, was a boy when the Nazis invaded his Polish home town of Piotrkow, Lodz. He was moved to a ghetto, the first in Europe, in November 1939 and worked in a glass factory. At one point, SS guards marched into the factory and rounded up anyone they believed was Jewish. The man in charge saved his life by telling the SS men that he was Polish.


How a Nazi saved Sigmund Freud

January 28, 2010

Vienna, 25 July 1947: Anton Sauerwald looked very haggard for a man of 44. His doctor, Karl Szekely, had written many times to the court to explain that his patient was suffering from tuberculosis and the proceedings should be delayed. Sauerwald had spent a month in hospital. However, Judge Schachermayr would have no more delays.

For most of the war Sauerwald had been an officer in the Luftwaffe, not a pilot but a technical expert. In March 1945 he was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp at Bad Heilbrunn run by the Americans, but in June he was released and returned to Vienna.


Chief Rabbi's speech on Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27, 2010

Much of what we’ve seen and heard today was inspired by an extraordinary act of defiance and hope, by a small group of people in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Picture them in your mind. They have been herded together in an enclosed space as if they were cattle, not human beings. They have seen 100,000 of their number die of starvation and disease, 270,000 taken in cattle trucks to Treblinka and other camps to be gassed, burned and turned to ash.