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Archive for August, 2008

Survivor Micha and his wife Louise recently returned from a trip to Bergen Belsen, Farsleben and Hilersleben. In 2006 Micha contacted me and has since met me and his fellow survivors and liberators many times, being one of our featured speakers for the first reunion here at the school. I’m including some photos above, and some of Louise’s notes below.

“…turns out the concrete underpass visible in some of George’s photos (above) helps with a positive [identification] of exactly where the front of the train was…

Christian W¬†also indicated that the presence of the individuals with papers on the three trains wasn’t a random thing — it might have been a strategic move to separate prisoners who still had some potential value from the unfortunate souls being sent from the other camps at the end of the war. As I understand it, there is some evidence that Himmler decided to move all his “valuable” human pawns who could be exchanged for German POWs to a single more “secure” (?) location as it became clear that the Germans were going to lose the war soon, and he wanted these individuals handy to support negotiations for trades and deals. The [Bergen Belsen] Memorial even presents the routes the various trains took — the Farsleben train was the first and ran into difficulties moving south because of damage to major bridges. As a result, the other two trains took different paths.”

 

 

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In recent correspondence with Christian Wolpers of the Bergen Belsen Memorial in Germany, he brought my attention to “the drawings of the Hungarian artist Ervin Abadi ,who was also on the train and made some watercolour drawings of the train, , the village of Zielitz (the rear end of the train was closer to Zielitz than to Farsleben, so some of the liberated say that they were liberated near Zielitz), Magdeburg and Bergen-Belsen.” Here are two of them.

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Found this photo while in Washington at the USHMM searching their photo archives. It’s our train, and the Museum was not aware that it was

A woman and two children rest next to a stopped train.

A woman and two children rest next to a stopped train.

the train liberated near Farsleben. The photographer is identified as Harry E. Boll. I’m going to try to track him down.

Normally I don’t respond to the Holocaust deniers who have attacked this story (“Who Actually Believes This Garbage, These Are Starving Concentration Camps Survivors?”) but to the creeps out there who find my work offensive, thanks for the honor of annoying you. This one’s especially for you.

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I’m back from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

As promised, it was a very intense 6 day workshop with 13 other teachers from across the US, wonderfully moving and at times tough to fathom but always engrossing and enlightening. I met some friends for life here- these educators and I share a bond that runs very deep. We each have our own missions to fulfill, with the Museum staff and each other for support.

I am a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow. It’s a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

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