In remembrance lies the secret of redemption.
- The Holy Ba'al Shem Tov
This is a small memorial which I have put together to commemorate one of the greatest tragedies of our time, the Shoah -- the Holocaust.
Millions of Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gay men, political prisoners, Catholics and others were murdered at the hands of the Nazi regime. Being both Gay and Jewish, I have a passion for trying to understand and keep alive the memory of the Shoah. I do this in the fervent hope that history will, this time, fail to repeat itself.
"It is a privilege to be a Jew in the twentieth century. It is a miracle to be a Holocaust survivor. It is a miracle that carries with it great obligation and the responsibility to light daily six million memorial candles, so that the memory of the victims and their vanished world will burn forever like an eternal flame, a pillar of light. To assure that the dark night of the Holocaust be understood and its lessons incorporated into the history of mankind."
--From "To Light Daily Six Million Memorial Candles" by Yaffa Eliach
Photographs and quotes from the book "When They Came to Take my Father; Voices of the Holocaust"
photos by Mark Seliger
|Isaac Jarkovsky--Refugee in Belgium
"For each Jew that was denounced, people got fifty francs; fifty francs at that time was one dollar. A Jew was worth ONE dollar."
|Anna Ornstein--Auschwitz survivor
"Early in the morning-I believe during Appel-we were told that we would be tattooed that day. This immediately raised our hopes: it was definite proof that the Germans intended to keep us alive. The tattoo meant that we would be sent out of Auschwitz, work somewhere, be away from the crematoria..."
|Phyllis Schnur--Lodz ghetto; Auschwitz-Birkenau; Ravensbruck; Milhausen;
"I have a book about the Lodz ghetto. Sometimes I take it down to assure myself that all of this happened."
|Moshe Yassur--Survivor of Pogrom Iasi
"In every generation we have a little holocaust somewhere going on. In some way we are all survivors of the holocaust; you, I, everybody."
The execution of Pierre Seel's lover
Gay men were often the most reviled of the concentration camp inmates. They were subjected to hideous humiliation, torture and public execution. Below a man describes the brutal murder of his lover.
thanks to Scott Safier from The Pink Triangle Pages for bringing this passage to my attention
From I, Pierre Seel: Deported Homosexual by Pierre Seel, translated from
French by Joachim Neugroschel,
published by Basic Books, a division of Harpers Collins, 1995
"One day the loudspeakers ordered us to report immediately to the roll-call site. Shouts and yells urged us to be there without delay. Surrounded by SS men, we had to form a square and stand at attention, as we did for morning roll call. The commandant appeared with his entire general staff. I assumed he was going to bludgeon us once again with his blind faith in the Reich, together with a list of orders, insults and threats -- emulating the infamous outpourings of his master, Adolph Hitler. But the actual ordeal was far worse: an execution. Two SS men brought a young man to the center of the square. Horrified, I recognized Jo, my loving friend, who was only 18 years old. I hadn't previously spotted him in the camp. Had he arrived before or after me? We hadn't seen each other during the days before I was summoned by the Gestapo.
"Now I froze in terror. I prayed that he would escape their lists, their roundups, their humiliations. And here he was, before my powerless eyes, which filled with tears. Unlike me, he had not carried dangerous letters, torn down posters, or signed any statements. What had happened? What had the monsters accused him of? Because of my anguish I have completely forgotten the wording of the death sentence.
"The loudspeakers broadcast some noisy classical music while the SS stripped him naked and shoved a tin pale over his head. Next, they sicced their ferocious German shepherds on him: the guard dogs first bit into his groin and thighs, then devoured him right in front of us. His shrieks of pain were distorted and amplified by the pail in which his head was trapped. My rigid body reeled, my eyes gaped at so much horror, tears poured down my cheeks, I fervently prayed that he would black out quickly.
"Since then I sometimes wake up howling in the middle of the night. For fifty years now that scene has kept ceaselessly passing and repassing through my mind. I will never forget the barbaric murder of my love -- before my eyes, before our eyes, for there were hundreds of witnesses..."
"They came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a communist; They came for the socialists, and I did not speak up because I was not a socialist; They came for the union leaders, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a union leader; They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me."
Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984
In order that the Nazis could maintain control and keep track of all the various groups that they sought to imprison and/or exterminate, they developed a system of labeling with cloth badges.
|Red Triangle||Political Criminal|
|Pink Triangle||Gay Men|
|Black Triangle||Asocial/Roma (included Lesbians)|
|Purple Triangle||Jehovah's Witness|
|Rectangle above triangle||Repeat offender|
|Yellow Triangle behind any other triangle||In addition to the "crime" signified by the other triangle, the wearer was also a Jew|
|Dot at the bottom of Triangle||Prisoner in punishment battalion|
My memorial is small due to my resources. I apologize for its paucity. I have compiled here a list of websites which do a much better job than I at keeping alive the memory of the Shoah. You will find in these links an amazing group of people going about a painful task with grace and strength.