Thursday, November 03, 2005

Death camp's tangible memories

Holocaust survivors digging up concentration camps:

NY Times:

...a team of archaeologists transformed the former Maidanek death camp into a crime scene, complete with victims, witnesses and evidence.
After carving only a fraction of the 1,100-by-164-foot field into checkerboard plots that resembled shallow graves, they found about 20 women's rings, a heavy gold bracelet, 2 watches, gold-framed eyeglasses, a miniature Roman Catholic religious medallion and 15 valuable American Eagle gold coins. Even after the very first find, a tiny cut stone - maybe glass or a garnet - they declared their mission a success...

Four Maidanek survivors who live in Australia came here with Israeli archaeologists, Israeli and European amateur investigators and British and American documentarians. They found exactly what they were looking for: evidence validating indelible memories that for whatever motivation, desperate people facing imminent death had scratched burrows into the earth and secreted objects largely of sentimental value...
The expedition was conceived by Yaron Svoray, an Israeli journalist and former police investigator best known for infiltrating neo-Nazi groups. In a casting director's dream, he recruited the survivors - who speak English with a Polish accent and an Australian inflection - and teamed up with an American entertainment executive, Matt Mazer, to form Historical Media Associates...
Hundreds of the unchosen - not yet selected for work or for death - waited on a grassy purgatory, the sloping middle field between Barracks 4 and 5 for hours or even days within sight of a smoky pyre. The camp's original crematory was either not working or could not handle the capacity. Unlike most other deportees to the camps, they had yet to be stripped of all their belongings.
"These people realized help was not coming, that they were the last Jews in the world," said Mr. Svoray, who was joined here by his wife, Mikhal, and their two teenage children.
He and Mr. Mazer explained that they were not treasure hunters, not in the conventional sense. "We've spent a million dollars so far to find rings worth maybe $100 retail," said Mr. Mazer, who organized the expedition and won the museum's cooperation. "But the objects tell a powerful story. There is no way that a modern person can understand the experience, but looking at an object, understanding the circumstances of how it got here and being involved in its rescue gives us all an opportunity to connect with the people here and their sacrifice."...

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 11:14 PM


Blogger Frum Singles said...

2:56 PM  
Blogger Yeshiva Orthodoxy said...

Great site. Thanks.

3:22 PM  

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