Virginia Holocaust Museum
2000 East Cary Street
Richmond VA, 23233
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: