Holocaust Letter Jay Shashigari

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

September 30, 2012

 

Dear Karl Gorath, My name is Jay i am the curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, and as I was digging through the attic of our museum i stumbled onto your mugshot. And through further research on Google I found you were sent to a Concentration Camp for being gay. I admire that even though you were sent a concentration camp with a high likely hood of dying you still denied joining the Nazis. It must have been tough going to jail for something you were framed for, knowing your “innocent” in German laws. The reason the quoted innocent is, because most were only their for believing differently from Hitler and no one deserves to go to camp.

When i read your story online it had stated that you framed for being gay when a jealous lover reported you when they thought you were cheating on them. How had it felt when you were betrayed by someone you loved, and did talked to them after the war? Also it said when you transferred camps you got a red badge. Which gave you more respect and allowed you to escaped gay cruelty which you would have experienced by prisoners and SS guards. I feel the Holocaust was an imaginable evil of man, but we must remind ourselves of it so we cannot make the same mistake.

I hope the museum and i will be able to use your photo in our exhibit so we can explain the holocaust better to others. I have a few questions, but i don’t mind if you wouldn’t like to tell us your experience. How was sleeping quarters, did you see the people being buried, and if you could visit Auschwitz to explain to other what you went through do you think you could do it? Did the experience change you, if it did how did it change you . Thank you for reading my letter and hopefully answering it, i await your response.

Sincerely,

Jay S.

Survival Letter

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

December 3, 2014

 

Dear Hanna Szper:

I hope you’re doing well. My name is Madison Howard, I work for The Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia. We were shuffling through the new shipment of crates when we discovered one had pictures from the Holocaust. I found this photograph of some prisoners at the Belzec camp and starting doing some research for the photograph. I came across your story online, written by your son.  I found it very intriguing. I can’t even begin to imagine that the experiences that you faced nor the ones that the people in the photograph had faced. I hope that you can help me to better understand more about this photograph, even if you were not there.

In your story, you talk about a train, a freight train. In the photograph that I have it shows a group of people, men and women of all ages, they look so laid back and relaxed, I thought to myself, why, why was it that they were so laid back, why were they so calm?

Was it just the way the photographer captured the image or was it how those people felt?  In your story you explained how when you got on the train they told you to jump out of a window, and they said that the train would be moving at a slow speed. In the photograph it appears that the men and women aren’t yet at the Belzec camp, but I wonder if they are sitting there waiting for the train to come get them. A photograph can say so much, but yet so little.  Would it be possible for you to help me understand what these people were thinking and possibly feeling?

Would it be possible for me and the Virginia Holocaust Museum to use your story in telling the tragedy of the Holocaust?  If so, would you please answer a few of my questions so that I can better understand the experiences you faced and what happened to you while you were there?   When someone had asked you, “what concentration camp the train was heading to,” why is it that you seemed upset? I don’t want to assume that you were, but your response was so very angry. You didn’t like to talk about it, did you? I know a sorry most likely won’t help, but I am truly sorry for what you had to go through.

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to read your story and understand how you and many others felt. My hope is that this tragedy will never come to pass again.

Sincerely, Madison Howard

 

 

Found Your Story here

Photo

Survivor Letter

 

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

12/3/2014

Dear Mr. Schapelhouman,

I am the museum curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. I have come across I photograph that I would like to find out more about. I thought that second hand sources just wouldn’t do. I have come to the knowledge that you are a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp containing the “staircase of death”. Your story directly correlates to my photograph and I was curious as to whether you would be interesting in sharing some of your knowledge with me. I would love you use your story in the museum exhibit if that is okay with you? Could you tell me what kind of things you were forced to do? Do you know of anyone else, have any friends or family that were liberate when you were?  In the picture I have these people are carrying what looks to be some kind of heavy rock, could you tell me if you were forced to carry the rock and about how heavy you think it was? I am very excited to hear more about your interesting story and very much look forward to your response. I thank you very much for taking your time and effort to share information with me about what I can only assume was a very hard time in your life.

Sincerely,

Holden Fiedler

survivor letter Jake Dexter

Dear Lucille E.,

Hi, my name is Jake Dexter and I’m a curator at the at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia, and I have recently discovered many photos about the lives of people in the holocaust and World War II. Specifically, in the concentration camp Auschwitz. I know when you were taken from your home that you went to Auschwitz for some time and I know it was probably the worst time of your life, I have read in your interview (http://remember.org) your tough times there and what it was like. I’m very sorry you had to go through all that, but I was hoping I could get some answers for my questions about the photograph and what happened.

 

In the photograph, it depicts women sorting through huge piles of shoes, and the caption of the photo says that the shoes were from the transport of Hungarian Jews. In your interview, you said that you spent the first few weeks cleaning up shipyards that had been affected by the war. But in this photo, I just see women sorting through those big shoe piles. So by this, I’m guessing that there was a lot more work that was done by those held captive than just one or two jobs. I do understand the Nazis didn’t treat anyone in the camps well, but I never understood how bad the things they did were.

 

If you can give us permission to use your story in the Virginia Holocaust Museum, that would be great, we want to be able to explain in detail with a real person who had to go through this what happened in this terrible event. The questions I would very much like to have answered are; How long would you work each day, and would you ever get rest breaks for food and water or just even to take a break? You did mention other jobs other than sorting through shoes in your interview, so I was wondering how many different jobs were assigned to you during your stay? Finally, did women do different jobs as men or were they all the same?

 

Thank you for your time and for reading this letter, I know this is a tough topic to discuss but it’s for the best for many people to learn about this hard time in history so we know what you had to go through and hopes to prevent it from repeating itself.

 

Sincerely,

Jake Dexter

Link to interview: http://remember.org/witness/wit.sur.luc.html

Lokesh Narayanan Survivor Letter

Schindler poses with Jews he rescued circa 1946.

Schindler poses with Jews he rescued circa 1946.

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

12/5/14

Dear Oskar Schindler:

I hope you are doing well. My name is Lokesh Narayanan, and I am the curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia. The museum has been privileged enough to receive a rare collection of photographs dating back to the Holocaust, and after examining the photographs, and researching the history surrounding them, I have made some interesting discoveries. I have read about your story online (www.holocaustresearchproject.org), and I came to realize just how difficult life had been for you (since you worked for the Nazis while trying to save Jews). I want to gather more information about this photograph for our exhibit, and I could use your help. We are opening a new exhibit which shows everything you have done for the Jews, and for the most part, it is very accurate. However, there are some questions I would like to ask in order to make things more clear for the people that are viewing our exhibit. I hope that you can answer the few questions I have relating to your life stories.

In your story, you set up an enamelware factory in Krakow that had a combination of Jewish workers that were selected by Germans and free Polish workers. Apparently, at first, you only wanted make money at the factory, but as time moved on, you grew to care for your Jewish workers, and made up cunning ways to save them from the otherwise brutal tactics set up by Adolf Hitler and the SS. I also read that as more Jewish children were unnecessarily killed by the SS officers and in concentration camps, you became determined to save as many as you could from the horror that would’ve befallen them. This takes me to the image I have selected, and I have a few questions to ask about this. First, what was the reaction of these particular Jews when they first arrived at your factory for work? Were the happy? Scared? Confused? What do you think based on the expressions on their faces? Secondly, there is a man standing in the background of the picture. Who is this man, and what role did he serve? Finally, how did the Jews react when they realized that you had saved them and many others from death? As I analyze the image, it is clear that you had an intimate moment with your previous factory workers. You all look relaxed and laid back; definitely relieved that this “hell on Earth” was finally over. Everybody also looks healthy and well clothed. Were they also able to get back their previous lives?

I read an article in Forbes magazine stating, “Oskar’s espionage activities on behalf of Germany, while regrettable to enemies of Germany, later put him in a position to save many lives.” How would you respond to this, and how does this relate to your “double life” that you went through? For example, how did you  cope with the tension? It’s obvious that if the Nazis caught you helping out the Jews, they would’ve had you executed on the spot. Also on Forbes, I read that you went through a “transition phase.” By that, I mean you went from (at first) not caring about your workers, and just caring about earning money, to caring about them and putting your own life on the line to save them. How did this affect you as a person and what life lessons did you learn from it? How painful was it to serve for the German Military as a spy after you started realizing just how immoral they were in their actions? What moral values did you gain from helping save the Jews, and how did your experience help change your views of the world?

Thank you for your time and sharing your story with me. I hope we can continue to educate people on the events of the Holocaust so that we can prevent something horrible like this from ever happening again.

Sincerely,

Lokesh Narayanan

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2014/03/19/oskar-schindler-the-untold-story-3/

http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/schindler.html

Holocaust Letter

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23233

December 3, 2014

Dear Solomon Radasky:

I admire you for prevailing through such a sad and lethal event in human history.  My name is Robert Combs, I am the director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, right here in Richmond. This year after several charitable events, we are excited to announce the expansion of the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Sifting through our choices of exhibits to put on display, we found a picture that possibly has to do with your survival story and I was wondering if we could include your story along with our brand new exhibit.

We came across your incredible Holocaust survival story online at (http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/) your story is amazing, saddening, but also awakening; we would love to share it with the world. The picture found at Auschwitz near the Crematoriums was just eye-opening. Throughout your journey from work camp to work camp you miraculously survived and had many near death experiences.

I was wondering if you would allow us to use your story as an exhibit in the museum in the Virginia Holocaust Museum. The exposure of your survival story is crucial to the progression of knowledge for the next generation so they don’t forget what terrible things occurred, we want to teach this generation in order to prevent a repetition of the past.

Thank you for publishing your story online so that I could further educate myself about your story and get to know you better as a person and a survivor.  Your story is inspiring and it would make a big impact on the next generation.

Sincerely,

Robert Combs

http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/data.show.php?di=record&da=photos&ke=65

Holocaust letter

Picture: Link

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

December 3, 2014

 

Dear Solomon Radasky:

My name is Katie Belic and I work at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond Virginia. I am a curator there and has recently obtained some fascinating photos from the Holocaust. I studied many of the pictures and became very interested in the experiences of those who were in them. I researched many survivors to read about their stories and lives including yours online. (http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org) As I was reading your story one of the photographs came into mind. After reading, it seemed as if I could actually see you in the picture suffering the same exact things. I would like to know more about the photograph and the history behind it, and I think you could give me the best information.

I read your story and noticed how you added a picture of the striped shirts that are also in my picture. So, I kept reading and saw that when you were sent to Majdanek, a concentration camp they gave you those to wear. You said everyone had to stand at the appell in wooden shoes and I didn’t know what an appell was. Though, when I looked it up it said it means, “roll call.” Also, that it was a daily feature of the camp life and would last for hours. That must have been awful and I think it’s very brave of you to have gotten through that. I discovered that my photograph is also a picture of a roll call and I think you experienced about the same thing.

I was curious and would be very gracious if we could use your story in our exhibit in the Virginia Holocaust Museum. I think it’s very important for others to know how it was during that time and a personal experience from one of the survivors. If you agree I also have some questions for you so I can add to the exhibit. In your story you talked about a man who was smoking while you were in roll call and he wouldn’t fess up and you almost got hung for it. Why didn’t you tell who it was so you wouldn’t be killed? You also mentioned a man named, Erlich that you met. Did you become good acquaintances with him and help each other out?

Thank you for putting you story on the internet so I and many others could be informed of your experiences. I would like to use it in the museum so even more people can learn about your story and the Holocaust in general.

Sincerely,

Katie Belic

(Link to story: http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/data.show.php?di=record&da=survivors&ke=7 )

Lauren Heffron BLock 3 Survivor Letter

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond VA, 23233

12/4/14

 

 

Dear Solomon Radasky,

Hope you are doing well. My name is Lauren Heffron and I am a curator for the VA Holocaust Museum. Recently I have found one of your photos and have done some research and found your personal story describing the awful events you had to go through, and all that you had to do for not only yourself but all your family and friends, and I find it truly inspirational. I found this information at http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/.  I am writing to you to ask permission to use this photograph and your story, it really touched my heart and I think it would benefit our museum and enhance our knowledge on this tragic event by displaying someone who fought hard during this war and survived. We are opening a new exhibit called “Connecting photographs of real people to their stories,” and I personally do not think of it as your story, but more as you journey and conquest to the freedom you had to fight for in times when you might not have been ready. You had to be in situations that most people could not even imagine being in, and not only did you have to do that but you proved that you can overcome even the worst of situations, and for that you are a hero and I personally am forever thankful and grateful for all that you have done.  I would love to share this with the people who visit our Museum by connecting this photograph I have found with your personal story.

There are a few questions I have for you after reading your story. I would first like to ask if I am allowed to use the photograph found? The name of the photograph is named “Burning Corpses, Summer of 1944.” I feel that it relates to some of the personal stories you shared during your audio recordings. This photo depicts an open pit in Auschwitz filled with burning corpses, these pits were used when the crematory ovens were broken or when they were unable to handle such large quantities of corpses. I relate this photo most to the audio recordings “The children,” “Covering the ashes,” and “Warsaw looked like a cemetery.” In all of these recordings you mention how everyone was treated the same, awfully, and that children at times were just shot and killed for no reason, and that you as well as others actually dug these pits and had to “cover” the ashes which means to burn them. Also, even though this picture was taken in Auschwitz, Warsaw looked almost identical to Auschwitz and when you said that Warsaw looked like a cemetery it showed the connection between the two places and how no matter where you went you saw the mass killings and awful treatment towards the Jews. Continuing with questions I have, I would like to ask what your memories of this event are like currently. Can you still remember everything that happened very vividly? If so, do you often remember these events even to this day, and what do you remember and feel about happened? These are a few of the questions I have for you, and if you would like I would use your answers in the exhibit.

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to read what I have sent to you, and thank you for everything that you have done. You showed true bravery and heroism by going through terrifying and terrible events and you survived and are able to share your story with all. I hope to be able to display you, your story, and your picture in my museums new exhibit. If you have anything else you would like to share with me or any questions that you have for me, or if there are any questions that I forgot to ask please feel free to let me know! Thank you so much again for your time and I hope that everything is going well with you.

Sincerely, Lauren Heffron

 

 

Links used to find both articles and photographs:

Article: http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/data.show.php?di=home&da=survivors&ke=7

Photograph: http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/data.show.php?di=record&da=photos&ke=72

 

 

Survivor Letter Conner Leake

Dear Schulz,

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya and I have recently come across a photo I think you may be in and was hoping you would be able to authenticate the photo itself. Along with this I have various questions I would love for you to answer. You see, I am a curator at a museum  and would love to hear your stories and experiences of when you were in WWII. I know this may be a sensitive subject and I am truly sorry but I must know for an exhibit I am putting up.

Did you know that you were sending the Jews to a camp where they were under harsh and brutal living conditions? If you did know what was your reaction and what did you do? What was your role in Hitler’s army? What was the best part about being in the army? what was the Worst part? What were the rallies like in German controlled territories? What were the living conditions like during your service? Was there a specific part of a daily routine that you hated and if so what?

I am a Curator and would love any and all information on this as you can. This subject is my favorite and recently I have been trying to look at this war objectively and trying to look at it from all sides so your story would be very much appreciated.

-Inigo Montoya

 

Survivor Letter Julia Brown

Image

Article

 

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

December 5th, 2014

 

Dear Eva Schloss:

 

My name is Julia Brown, and I am the curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia. We receive photos about the Holocaust, and I found one that has many similarities with your story.  I was hoping you could help us with gathering more information about this photo and about the Holocaust.

In your story, you stated that on your 15th birthday, your family was arrested by Nazi soldiers after being betrayed by a Dutch nurse who secretly worked as a Nazi. The women were separated from the men, so you and your mother were split up from your father and brother. In the picture, we see a family saying their goodbyes through a fence, knowing that it might be the last time they see each other. What did your father say to you when you were split up? Did you know if you were going to see him again?

Would the Virginia Holocaust Museum and I be able to use your story in our exhibit as we attempt to explain this gruesome event in our history? If so, would you mind answering a few of my questions so I can better understand your experiences? In your narration, you wrote that if you did not complete enough tasks throughout the day, you were removed and gassed. How often were you fed there, if at all? What were some of the tasks you had to complete and how gruesome was the work? How did you feel without your father and brother living with you?

And finally, how did you stay positive when you were so hungry and so mistreated? Did you ever think that you would make it out alive? Thank you for your time and sharing your story with me.

 

Sincerely,

Julia Brown