Holocaust Memorial Museum

Museum Condemns White Nationalist Conference Rhetoric

[IMAGE“The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.” - The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.]

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is deeply alarmed at the hateful rhetoric at a conference of white nationalists held on November 19 at the Ronald Reagan Building just blocks from the Museum.

According to press reports, Richard Spencer, the leader of the National Policy Institute – a white nationalist think tank – that sponsored the conference, made several direct and indirect references to [Jewish people] and other minorities, often alluding to Nazism. He spoke in German to quote Nazi propaganda and refer to the mainstream media. He implied that the media was protecting Jewish interests and said, “One wonders if these people are people at all?” He said that America belongs to white people. His statement that white people face a choice of “conquer or die” closely echoes Adolf Hitler’s view of [Jewish people] and that history is a racial struggle for survival.

The targeting of [Jewish people] was central to Nazi racist ideology. The Germans attempted to kill every Jewish man, woman and child they could find. Nazi racism extended to other groups. By the end of World War II, the Germans and their collaborators had murdered six million [Jewish people] and millions of other innocent civilians, many of whom were targeted for racial reasons.

The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.  

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a living memorial to the Holocaust, inspires citizens and leaders to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by donors nationwide. Learn more at ushmm.org.

The Holocaust memorial in a museum in Berlin. A large room with the floor made up of endless faces cut out of metal. It’s impossible to see the actual floor of the room - the faces are all piles on top of each other and could be metres deep. This memorial represents the individuals who lost their lives in the holocaust: a sea of faces all screaming. You have no choice but to step on them to continue on through the museum. I cried in this room. It was a very powerful image to see.

Join us on Thursday, April 3,  from 9:30 to 4 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC for an all-day Archives Fair! Enter through the Special Events Entrance on 7th St. and Constitution Ave. The DC Caucus of MARAC and the National Archives Assembly are co-hosting this all-day Archives Fair. Archives-related groups and will be using the area outside the McGowan Theater as an exhibit hall.

You can watch our panel discussion online.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Coffee Hour and Exhibit Hall

9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and  Introduction by the Archivist of the United States

10:00-11:30  a.m. Panel Discussion: Crowdsourcing for Enhanced Archival Access

  • Elissa Frankle, moderator (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress)
  • Ching-Hsien Wang (Smithsonian)
  • Meredith Stewart (National Archives)

11:30-1 p.m. Lunch & Exhibit Hall

1-2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Monuments Men Archives

  • Barbara Aikens (Smithsonian)
  • Dr. Greg Bradsher (National Archives)
  • Maygene Daniels (National Gallery of Art Archives)

2:30-2:45  p.m.  Break and Exhibit Hall

2:45-3:15 p.m. National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC)

  • John Martinez (National Archives)
  • Jerry Simmons (National Archives)

3:15-3:45 p.m. Donations Partnership Database

  • Dawn Sherman (National Archives)
  • Meg Ryan (National Archives)

3:45-4 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Exhibit Hall

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Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves), Menashe Kadishman’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and all victims of war and violence in the Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum) in Berlin.

I imagine the many sounds that walking across this sea of iron faces must evoke: the rustle of fallen leaves, yes, but also the tinkling of falling rain, the crunch of littered bones, the clanking of innumerable manacles, footsteps through frozen snow, the clatter of chains.

Japan PM hails Holocaust hero Chiune Sugihara

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington’s Holocaust Memorial on Monday to hail a rare hero of Japan’s brutal World War II past.

Previously, Abe has faced criticism for his allegedly revisionist views of Japan’s own war-time behavior.

But, on the eve of a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Abe solemnly marked the genocide while hailing Japanese envoy Chiune Sugihara, who helped Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe.

Sugihara was Japan’s Imperial Consul in Lithuania, where he issued at least 2,000 visas allowing Jews to flee Nazi pogroms between 1939 and 1940.

“As a Japanese citizen I feel extremely proud of Mr Sugihara’s achievement,” Abe said as he toured the memorial.

“The courageous action by this single man saved thousands of lives.”
As he visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum 70 years after the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, Abe said “my heart is filled with a solemn feeling.”

“Never again,” he added.

Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, and 18 African-American athletes were part of the U.S. squad.

Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.

“Determination! That’s what it takes,” one of the athletes, John Woodruff, said during a 1996 oral history interview for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “A lot of fire in the stomach!”

Woodruff won the gold medal in the 800-meter race — and he did it in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

“There was very definitely a special feeling in winning the gold medal and being a black man,” Woodruff said. “We destroyed his master-race theory whenever we start winning those gold medals.”

Black U.S. Olympians Won In Nazi Germany Only To Be Overlooked At Home

Photo: Bettman Archive/Getty Images
Caption: At the 1936 Olympics, 18 black athletes went to Berlin as part of the U.S. team. Pictured here are (left to right rear) Dave Albritton, and Cornelius Johnson, high jumpers; Tidye Pickett, a hurdler; Ralph Metcalfe, a sprinter; Jim Clark, a boxer, and Mack Robinson, a sprinter. In front are John Terry, (left) a weight lifter and John Brooks, a long jumper.

Majdanek Camp Jacket

This is a prisoner’s jacket from the Majdanek Concentration Camp. It is part of the infamous striped outfits that the people kept here were forced to wear. Along with the striped uniform, the prisoners would have to wear ill fitting clogs, as well as a badge on their uniform, which would show the reason for their imprisonment. This split the prisoners into categorie, some examples of this can be seen with Jews, who wore yellow stars, homosexuals who wore pink triangles and political prisoners who had to wear a red triangle. 

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The International Center of Photography, in a joint effort with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, now offers digital access to its Roman Vishniac archive. Take a look at some of his work, which documents Eastern European Jewish life between 1935 and 1938.

Top: An elder of the village, Vysni Apsa, Carpathian Ruthenia, c. 1935–38. Bottom: Students sharing books in heder, Brod, c. 1935–38. Photographs © Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy International Center of Photography.

Episode 08: Women and AFAB Individuals in WWII Germany
  • Episode 08: Women and AFAB Individuals in WWII Germany
  • Grace Wordsworth
  • Queer History Podcast
Play

While the existence of those who were forced to bear the pink triangle is more well known, women-loving women and AFAB individuals who suffered during the Holocaust go virtually unrecognized. This brings us to the question: what does it mean to be recognized as part of the LGBT+/queer community?

Edit: if it wasn’t clear in the episode, Laura makes convincing arguments for the use of the word “queer” to describe this project and I agree with them. I’m at odds, however, as to whether or not I should continue to say “queer community” in these episodes or if I should change it to “LGBT+ community” because I don’t want to force the label on anyone. This is a personal concern and will be dealt with on my own.

Here are links to the Tumblr posts written by Laura (and one which is not) that elaborate on the issue: 1, 2, 3

Link to Patreon

Link to PayPal (one time donations)

Want to email us? Send a message to queerhistorypatreon@gmail.com!

Sources:

Gerde, Stefanie. “What happened to gay women during the Holocaust?” Gay Star News. 5 Feb 2015. Web.

Mills, Laura. “Queer Women and AFAB People During the Holocaust”. Queer History. 24 April 2016. Web.

Quora. “What were the views of the nazis on transgender people and transsexual people?” Quora. 22 Jun 2015. Web.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Lesbians and the Third Reich”. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Web.

Music: “Clear Day” - bensound.com