Survivor letter J. 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 ( 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.



Jake Dexter

link to photograph

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