Claudia Braswell: Roman Funerals

The earliest Roman grave sites were first noted around 900 B.C.  The Romans originally derived their burial rituals from the Greek cultures.  In the west, they preferred to be cremated.  However, in the east, most were buried.  People in the Roman Empire thought that respectful burial rituals allowed the dead to enter the next world and protected the living from misfortunes.  Because they believed it was important to rest underground, people who were cremated would then be placed in urns and buried.  The dead would sometimes have items placed in their graves for use in the afterlife.  These items included cooking pots, lamps, weapons, and sometimes armor.  Those who attended the funeral usually ate a meal at the burial site and would try to share the meal with the dead.  Some tombs were even built with pipes or holes in order for food and drinks to be passed to the deceased.

Survivor Letter Claudia Braswell

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

September 30, 2012


Dear Solomon Radasky,

My name is Claudia Braswell.  I am currently working as the curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia.  I recently found photographs depicting the lives of people who lived during the time of World War II and the Holocaust.  A couple of months ago I came across your survivor story online.  After receiving the photos, I noticed that your story and one of the pictures seem to match up.  Our museum has recently received word that there will be a new exhibit coming soon and I was hoping to find out more information about the photos.  Any information you have regarding the photos would be a huge help.

The first similarity I noticed between the photograph and your story was that you are from Warsaw and the picture I found was taken in Warsaw.  The photo relating to your story shows Jewish men and women standing with their hands in the air, most likely being arrested, after trying to rebel against the “resettlement.”  This rebellion is now known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  In your story, you recalled the day you went to see your sister.  You also said that the next day was the start of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the place in which you live.  This information gives me reason to believe that you could possibly be one of the men in the given photo that I have described.

The museum would be extremely grateful if you would allow us to use your story in our upcoming exhibit.  However, to be sure that you are the man in the photo, I would like to ask a few questions.  Were you directly involved in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April 19, 1943.  If not, how did the Uprising make you feel?  Did it give you hope that you would maybe not be “resettled?”  The people depicted in the photo were most likely part of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  Were you near people who might have been involved in the Uprising?  Lastly, how did you feel when you first learned that you had to abandon your home?

I hope that you are well and can provide more information regarding the photograph the museum has received.  Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Link to Photograph