We generally like to post beautiful and interesting images. This post is different.
While in Prague this April, we toured several of the synagogues near our AirBnB. One was the Pinkas Synagogue which includes an exhibit of art made by Jewish children who were incarcerated in the Terezín ghetto during the Second World War. The ghetto was used for propaganda to convince international observers, such as the Red Cross, that German treatment of the Jews was humane. The children were props and almost all were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau after being put on display to show how well they were being treated.
We found the exhibit to be emotionally challenging. Many visitors were in tears. We looked at every piece of work and were heartsick.
This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Scale.
We visited the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC yesterday. It is mostly a photographic and video display. With displays in chronological order, one follows a timeline in which a people — very much like us in the beginning — slip into barbarism and the eventual destruction of their nation.
With the old, mainly black and white, images, it is easy to feel slightly detached from the events depicted. That is, until one reaches the display shown in the following photograph, with some of the 4,000 shoes on display taken from people before they were murdered. This is a tiny fraction of the actual shoes found at the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp just inside Lublin, Poland. (This camp was also used for sorting and storing the property and valuables of victims of other camps.) This camp, which was operated by the Nazi SS from October 1941 until it was liberated in July 1944,, was one of many such camps. The first thing one thinks about is one’s own shoes and how they could easily be included as a very small part of a pile of such immense scale.
The Shoes of Majdanek
This photo was taken on October 11, 2017. Specs are:
Olympus TG-5, ISO 100, f/2.0, 1/20 sec, focal length 30mm (35mm-equivalent)
For more information about this museum, visit their website at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.