20 Photos That Change The Holocaust Narrative

UPDATE: See the “Related Posts” at the bottom for the sequel to this post if you want to see more.

Victims. Helpless. Downtrodden.

That’s the narrative that’s been spread about Jews for the last 70 years since the Holocaust. We’ve embraced it to our detriment. We can’t seem to address antisemitism without running to the world and screaming that we’re being persecuted, rather than standing up strongly in defiance, aware of our own inner strength.

The Holocaust has scarred us, a yetzer hara (sneaky bastard of a voice in our heads), that keeps trying to tell us how we are defined by our past, controlled by events that happened to us, instead of using those moments as points of growth.

And, in a weird way, that’s why all those images of us looking so helpless, so gaunt, in heaps of nameless bodies, have become a morbid fascination for us. We, and by extension the rest of the world, have chosen to define the Holocaust with these images.

But there are other images. Images that show a more subtle, more true, story. A story that shows our inner power, our inner turmoil in dealing with a situation we cannot comprehend, our attempts to gain justice, and our final steps into moving above and beyond our past and into a new future.

These are the images you will see below. Some of them may be disturbing to you. Some of them may inspire you.

But in the end, they do one thing that we desperately need as a people: they tell the real story of the Holocaust. A story that goes beyond victimhood and into our present-day lives. And today, on Yom HaShoa, 2013, it’s about time that story got told.

Defiance

A Jewish Rally In The US, 1937

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For some reason, we don’t usually hear about American Jewry during World War II, so you may be heartened to know that in 1933, American Jews organized a nation-wide boycott of Nazi-Germany. Such a show of support, in so united a way is displayed beautifully in this picture from a rally in 1937.

Baking Matzos In Hiding, 1943

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This amazing photo has made the rounds recently as well. It depicts Jews in hiding during Passover in Poland, baking matzos, their faces alight and happy. As we’re leaving Passover now, may we be strengthened by their resolve. Image originally found in the Yad Vashem Archives.

A Light In The Darkness, 1943

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This incredible image depicts Jews, not in hiding, but within an transit camp in Holland lighting a Menorah on Hanukkah. If you look carefully, you can see just how packed this room is.

A Gift For Hitler, 1944/45

This image is of a man in the Jewish Brigade, a segment of the British Army that fought the Germans in Italy in 1944. The rocket says “Hitler’s Gift”.

Liberation And Its Consequences

Celebrating

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Taken in Buchenwald just after its liberation by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White, this image is so powerful not just because it shows the pure joy of liberation, but because it turns these men who we have almost turned into mythic creatures into normal folks. The kind that celebrate with champaign and cigarettes. I hope they’re still celebrating, wherever they are.

Shabbat In Buchenwald, 1945

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This photo has made the rounds after the recent passing of Rabbi Herschel Schachter, depicted leading this Shabbat service shortly after the liberation of Buchenwald. There is something beyond moving about this image that shows the prisoners, still in their garb, still in their prison, but liberated and celebrating the most important day of the week. Read more about this special rabbi in this obituary in the New York Times.

Heartrending Release, 1945

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This once in a lifetime image depicts Holocaust survivors at the moment of realizing they are liberated. This is such candid, raw photo you would think it was taken on a cellphone at the spur of the moment. Read more about the story behind this photo here.

Beauty Liberated, circa 1945

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Seriously, how is this image not beyond famous by now? Depicting a woman at the shortly after her liberation, so skinny you can hardly see her, her face is aglow and alive. As if she was never imprisoned.

Here’s the original source for this image, with a few more details.

Justice? circa 1945

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This is actually a cleaned up version of a photo posted by u/FTZ on Reddit. It depicts his grandfather, recently liberated from the Holocaust, aiming a gun at a Nazi soldier. It’s hard to know just what is happening in this photo or what happened afterwards, but it starkly depicts another side of the liberation of the Jews. Whether this photo inspires or depresses, it shows us just how complicated the idea of justice can be, and how Jews have still struggled with it so many years after the Holocaust.

Moving Forward

Buchenwald Survivors Entering Israel, 1945

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From Italy To The US, 1944

This image, taken by the photographer and writer, Ruth Gruber, depicts a group of Holocaust survivors attempting to enter the United States on a ship called the Henry Gibbins that was being hunted by the Nazis. These were the only refugees to be sheltered by the United States throughout the war. Some notable passengers went on to do great things, such as, “Dr. Alex Margulies, who became a distinguished radiologist and contributed to Cat scan and MRI technology; Rolf Manfred, instrumental in developing the Minuteman missile and Polaris submarine; Leon Levitch who became a composer; and Dr. David Hendell who became a dentist and pioneered the bonding of teeth.” Read more about Ruth Gruber and the ship here.

Brothers On Their Way To Britain, circa 1946

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A Survivors’ Marriage, 1946

Taken in Rishon Lezion, Israel, this image depicts two Holocaust survivors at their wedding. The bride (center), is named Chana Keller, and she survived a 800 km (500 mile) death march. I can’t even image the happiness being depicted in this picture.

Singing In The DP Camp, 1946

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This image of an unknown teenager singing in a DP Camp (where they held Holocaust survivors for a while) is just so beautiful. There’s something so special about seeing an image of so many survivors in one picture, smiling, and with this girl in the center looking absolutely joyous.

A Survivor Performs Songs He Composed In A Camp, 1965

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Aleksander Kulisiewicz, a Holocaust survivor, composed 54 songs while he was in a concentration camp, and performed them for fellow inmates in secret gatherings. He later went on to perform these songs in the 60’s.

A Survivor Hits A Skinhead, 1985

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A group of skinheads demonstrated in the streets of Växjö, Sweden in 1985. This woman, a Holocaust survivor, was one of the first to rush in and attack these men. Moments later, thousands of angry citizens swarmed the men and chased them until they finally locked themselves in a bathroom in a train station and had to be rescued by police.

The Next Step

A Beautiful Couple, circa 1980s?

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This image was shared on Reddit by u/BobtheGuy with the title, “It’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. So here’s my adorable Holocaust surviving grandparents“. Here’s a beautiful description of their journey in his own words: “They actually found a Rabbi to marry them in the camp when they learned they were getting separated. The next day they were split up to different camps and didn’t know if the other was alive for the remainder of the war. They found each other in 1945 and the rest is history.”

Looking Into The Future, circa 1990s…

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This image, showing a Holocaust survivor looking into the eyes of her granddaughter, went a bit viral on Facebook, and you can read the story about how it got digitized here. This is exactly why we need to digitize more and more of these incredible images.

…And The Future Looks Back…

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Perhaps one of the most gorgeous photos ever taken at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. This image shows a young religious Jew looking up into the Hall of Names, an exhibit in the museum.

A Holocaust Survivor Skydives For 85th Birthday

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The moment I saw this image of this Holocaust survivor who went skydiving in San Diego with his grandson (not pictured), I knew this was the image I had to end this post on. Nothing better depicts the unlimited future for Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Nothing better encapsualtes the true freedom we can have when we use our past to grow instead of hold us back. Nothing is more beautiful than a man once in bondage in a world of total freedom. May we all realize how we’re also flying through the sky.

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Check out the followup post: “20 More Photos That Change The Holocaust Narrative”.

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  • Tears of pride. I was born shortly after VE Day. Let us once again show the spirit pictured above.

  • Amazing!

  • Incredible collection, thanks for sharing this perspective!

  • One can never imagine the horror that these survivors experienced and witnessed…

  • Christians and Catholics have just been identified as subversive and on the level of Al-Quiada by this administration…history repeats itself.

    • NCJD

      Shame on you.

  • I think it might be good to leave the negative comments untouched, just to have the authors unmask themselves on the web…

    • There’s a difference between negative and inappropriate. The one that I took down crossed that line.

      • Completely agree with you Elad!

  • dhenery

    Thank You

  • Wow… amazing photographs

  • Wow, these photographs were amazing, and your beautiful commentary really enhanced them. Thank you!

  • dmkhry

    great pictures and an important way to view such a terrible event, now that it’s over. Just one thing, the state of Israel was declared by Ben Gurion only in 1948, not before.

    • it is true that the state was declared in 48, but young jews (mainly from Europe) were moving there as early as the late 1800’s. By 1948 there was already a significant Jewish population. If you’d like to read more: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Aliyah

      • dmkhry

        sure that’s known, but I was just saying that the pics shouldn’t have ‘Israel’ in their titles if before 48

        • the other Bob

          It’s been Israel to us for 3000 yrs. Whatever the rest of the world called it was irrelevant.

  • Thank you. And I believe that it is never over. As long as we remember.

  • kol hakavod, my friend. this angle of memory while looking forward is so necessary!

  • fantastic post!!

  • joywolfe

    Brilliant I am reminded of a story Yosef Mendelevich told about how they saved a carrot top and nourished it to grow some green sprouts which they used for the “parsley” for a seder night. The resilience and the will to live of people in the most unimaginable conditions is truly a miracle

  • Rivki Silver

    Wow, thank you so much. This was an incredibly moving post.

  • Beautiful recognition of the strength of the human spirit, but where was the rally picture taken. It looks like a modern sports arena. I don’t think they had such buildings in 1937. Could a modern picture have gotten mixed in.

  • The Holocaust has always fascinated me. I just can’t understand what drives one man’s complete hatred and disregard for another. It just proves that evil truly does exist in the world. But what fascinates me even more is the absolute resilience of the Jewish people. They suffered unmentionable horrors, yet those who survived rose above the nightmare and went on to do wonderful things. May God continue to bless the people of Israel!

    • the other Bob

      It’s good to know that in a world where anti-Semitic propoganda is churned out by the ream, there ae still some Gentiles who see through the lies and the filth. It’s good to know that we still have some friends. Thank you, Donna.

      • YES YES! I have no idea how any Christian could deny their spiritual ancestry…the Jews!! God’s chosen people! Amen!

        • Leigh Harrison

          Dear Jan — many thanks for your enthusiastic comment. But what I hope you understand (and what many people don’t know) is that when Jews use the expression “God’s chosen people” it has nothing to do with any kind of bragging on the part of Jews. We understand the statement in the Old Testament as saying that we were “chosen” by God to spread the word of God, and to be His servants forever. Many people misunderstand it as a statement of arrogance and they think it means that we think we are better than others, but it does not. Being God’s chosen means that we feel we are forever the servants of God, and must to adhere to very strict laws about cleanliness, truthfulness, and personal behavior — all the ideas expressed in the Ten Commandments, as well as many others. But, again, thank you. Jews and Christians enjoy a valued and treasured friendship. In fact, as part of God’s work, I personally support numerous Christian and Coptic groups online, all of whom are fighting for their lives currently under islamic jihad, as the Jews in the Middle East also must do.

          • disqus_0Po3VcyKr5

            many religions refer to themselves as ” Gods chosen people”.

          • Ann Couper-Johnston

            I could forgive my (spiritual) ancestors for thinking: “If this is what being chosen means, I wish I wasn’t!” A Catholic saint expressed a similar thought: “Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, I’m not surprised you have so few of them!” (She was on a journey and the coach she was in had come off the road and tipped her into a ditch.) Nonetheless, we must still be true.
            I took Biblical Studies a year or two back and read most of the history of Israel (up until about Alexander the Great); I’d never done that before and I grew to love that often wayward people (and realised just how much they grumbled on the way to the Promised Land …. ! 😉 ) We are encouraged to look at the Old Testament in its own right, not merely as a precursor to the New, and I learnt lots of new things – I’d never realised Jeremiah was actually told not to pray for his own country. (Reading that in the run up to the last General Election in the UK was a salutary experience – we are so far away from our Judeo-Christian heritage, Jeremiah might have some stern things to say to us, too). Would Amos substitute playing fast and loose with the money people have saved for their old age for ivory beds, I wonder?

      • Joan Barovsky Goldfaden

        11 million christians were killed..we don’t talk about that too much..

        • disqus_0Po3VcyKr5

          yes that is very true! We hardly ever hear that! THank you for mentioning it!

      • bobfairlane

        Semites churn out anti-white propaganda.

      • Fiona1933

        Yes you do…dont know how any European can’t support the Jews. It’s not like we don’t owe them. Amazing contributions, where would Europe have been without its Jews? Has to be the most resilient culture on earth.

    • I’d love to believe this isn’t possible again, however, when we look at the murders taking place today, it’s difficult to believe the people that have so little regard for human life, wouldn’t do something like this again. Not necessarily to Jews, but to anyone they disagreed with.

      • So, so true Jim.

        • Stephanie

          Today Sweden doesn’t allow El Al to land because “their security asks questions that make our Moslems uncomfortable” …. also when the Jews of Malmo were attacked by local Moslems the Mayor of Malmo said “you shouldn’t have been celebrating for Israel” …. YES, it can and may be on the way to happening again.

          • Islam is the scourge of the world.

          • lrowe

            It IS happening again all over the world. Syria, Iraq, N. Korea, Iran, Sudan and countless other African nations, not to mention “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. several years ago…..why is no one standing up for the innocents of this horror?

    • Cures_Riches

      So, I’m reading a few of these … so I decide to talk to the dog, cause it looks a little like winston churchill …. Mussolini Berlusconi WA WA all caps WA… OK .. Your think’n Obama doesn’t look like much of a Hitler but there is more than one way to get a party started…

    • Ken Vinson

      The Jews usually suffer great tragedy because of their rejection of God.

    • bobfairlane

      You prop up the holocrock because you get money from sympathetic white people and the millions they extort from the less gullible who are cowed into paying by holocrock laws.

  • Tomer

    wow… chazak!
    Thank you so much for this! G-d bless you!

  • Pingback: A different perspective on the Holocaust - Kosher Tech Salad()

  • Jerry

    am yisrael chai

  • Dave

    Thanks for this. My only issue is the title “Buchenwald survivors entering Israel, 1945.” To my knowledge, Israel wasn’t established until 1948, so something is amiss with the year or the destination.

    • DovidTeitelbaum

      they entered before Israel declared statehood.

    • Jethro Cohen

      The caption could have read “entering Mandate Palestine”, but as we now know, the name Palestine was fabricated by the Romans as part of their attempt to ethnically cleanse the land of it’s Jewish identity. Unfortunately the name persevered long after the fall of the Roman empire and the extinction of the Philistines. I think that now Israel has been restored, it is better to refer to it as Israel instead of some made-up Romanesque name, which is nothing but a slap in the face to our ancestors who were persecuted by the Romans.

      • Exactly. Israel has been Israel since God granted it to the Jews in the first covenant. The UN has nothing to say on the matter.

    • Heshy Rosenwasser

      The State of Israel was not yet established, but to Jews it was always Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. The name wasn’t created in a vacuum.

  • Poorlaggedman

    Here’s a more interesting collection of similar Hollocaust pictures that you’ve never seen http://www.israpundit.com/archives/53953

  • I’m so proud to be a Jew. Ill never forget where I came from, or how i got here. I am so thankful. God bless our people. “NEVER AGAIN!”

    • “Ill never forget where I came from”, adwokat, from poland?

      • the other Bob

        From the Jewish people, idiot.

      • Coupal

        I think it’s more metaphorical rather than literal,

    • God bless you for all of your days Andre!!!

  • Very powerful and moving indeed!

  • The grandmother holding the beautiful baby brings tears…..

    • To me, too. A beautiful dispay of the strength of the Jewish spirit.

    • Well, the grandmother holding the baby with her camp tattoo exposed is what is completely moving!

  • disqus_cFYGoVosps

    So beautiful. ..thank you!

  • “But Government could never run amok here…which is why we need gun bans and magazine bans.” —Most Jewish Democrat Politicians.

    Apparently, they didn’t learn the brutal lessons of History all that well.

  • this is your best photo essay, by far. thanks so much for the inspiration, really helped me feel yom hashoa

  • Chazak v’ametz!!

  • Picture #1: A rally to boycott Nazi-Germany, held at the third Madison Square Garden on March 15, 1937. It was sponsored by the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee. John L. Lewis of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia were among the speakers.[1]

    • Its nice to know that even before the war a significant number of people, at least in the US were condemning the evil of that hideous regime.

      • It is good to see this kind of opposition – along with the fight that British anti-fascists were carrying out at the same time against Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts and the idea of fascism across Europe, as well as the thousands of international volunteers who fought – and in many cases died – to fight fascism in Spain, which Hitler used as a testing ground for his military tactics. It does, however, need to be remembered that the governments of most of these people – US, UK etc – refused to provide refuge for thousands of Jews and other people fleeing Nazi persecution (socialists, Gypsies, gays, trade unionists etc) in the years leading up to WW2. And that it was only when absolutely forced to that states and governments in Britain, the USA etc actually stood up to Hitler after years of capitulation.

        • Which is unfortunately a sad fact of history.

        • Kursk

          I wouldn’t want anyone to forget that while the International Brigades were fighting against Fascism, they were fighting for the imposition of International Communism, a scourge that would prove to be worse ten times worse than the Nazis.

          • Reynardine

            There *is* no scourge ten times worse than the Nazis. Yet.

          • Kursk

            Oh? Just going by body counts alone, Communists of all stripes are/were in a league of their own..

          • Reynardine

            Body counts are pretty hard to certify, especially if you acknowledge the fatalities inflicted by unprovoked invasion among them. And who the Hell do you mean by “Communists?” That is a designation spread among nations, space, and time; “Nazi” meant a specific regime, under one head, over twelve years; “Axis” meant three such regimes in alliance over varying portions of that time. But the inquiry does not end there. Motive is operative. If it is your words or deeds that put you at risk of death, then you can choose to refrain; if you are condemned to die for your ancestry, only your enemy’s defeat or your escape from his jurisdiction will save you-and I am old enough to have known people who had to escape Hitler several times, only to have their new haven fall in turn. Those lived. The Franks were among the not so lucky.

          • Katherine McChesney

            obama the socialist is forcing us through a deadly transition, from prosperity to poverty. He is a modern day dictator, a racist and a Muslim. His gun control policies could render us helpless and unable to defend ourselves against his Marxist Leninist government.

          • Bobinatorz

            Katherine, your comment is inaccurate and offensive.
            Comparing your economic “woes”, the richest country in the world and a democratically elected leader who advocates peace, with a murderous regime that committed horrific acts against millions. There is no comparison. Your self absorbed comment is an insult to the people that this blog commemorates.

          • You are in need of psychiatric help if you actually believe that

          • Kursk

            I do believe that and people the world over who have experienced the oppression of International Communism would agree. Do you deny that Communism has killed far more than Hitler’s Nazis?

            If you do, you would be so very, very wrong.

            That you fail to see that makes you incredibly myopic and perhaps in need of some psychiatric help yourself. I understand that you only think of your fellow Jews, but millions upon millions more were killed by an ideology our youth today openly worship. How many wear a Che t-shirt or a hammer and sickle because it is ‘ironic’?

    • Fed_Up18

      Proving, of course, that the world *really DID KNOW* what was going on, & simply chose to ignore it. Well, NEVER AGAIN. We’re not going to sit back & be ignored, whenever they try to come for us again.

  • I would hope that if I had to go through anything near as bad as the people pictured here who lived through the Holocaust went, I would hope that I’d be able to persevere at least as well as they did. It takes strength to go through hell on Earth, and not only survive, but managed to keep their sanity. Lets do all that we can to make sure it really never does happen again.

  • That’s Yosef Wald, my grandfather, in the fourth picture down titled “A Present for Hitler.” I have his name as my middle name.

    • Unbelievable. You carry a legacy within you.

    • Awesome!

    • Reynardine

      That is so great!! What a handsome young man he was, too!

    • Diggsc

      If your grandfather is still alive, let him know that this gentile thanks him, and will stand by the Jews to make sure this kind of evil will never happen as long as I’m alive.

      • Thank you for your post

      • jsmith0552

        Amen!

      • d marino

        Rosenblat?

      • bobfairlane

        Jewdaism is evil.

      • lighthorse16

        So you’ll support Palestinians as well then?

    • amazing ori! amazing… an honor to have his name… did you know him?

    • You must be so proud! Never ever let his legacy die! Live life and raise your children in the spirit of your wonderful Grandpa!

    • Jason Rosenberg

      My hebrew name is Yosef

    • Terry Doo2

      You must be so proud!

  • TravelingPat

    I cannot understand why the Jews didn’t fight instead of being herded onto death trains. It would have been better to die as a man than as a sheep… Also, when Israel developed nuclear weapons in the 1960’s, why didn’t they smuggle some into Germany and wipe out Berlin, Munich, Franfurt, etc.? Jews should have taken revenge on the Germans instead of now treating Palestinians as the Nazis treated them… I have some respect for the early settlers, but not on the criminal Jews that stole Palestinian land and put the Palestinians in concentration camps like the Nazis did to the Jews… Puzzles me…

    • There is so much wrong with this post I don’t even know where to start. Why didn’t they fight? They did. Read about any number of Ghetto uprisings. (The Warsaw one is the most famous). Why didn’t they nuke Germany? Are you even serious? Only monsters repay hatred with hatred or hang the son for the father’s crimes. And don’t even start on ‘stealing Palestine’ or conflating Nazi death camps with the Gaza strip and the West bank. The sheer ignorance with which you speak puzzles and horrifies me.

      • the other Bob

        Daniel, Jethro, Benzona, do you really expect anything intelligent from a bigot? Have you ever encountered a bigot who impressed you with his/her intelligence. I haven’t. To be a bigot one must renounce reason and any interest in facts. Vermin like TravelingPat are incapable of being educated because they don’t want to be. Nothing that contradicts their mindless racism is of any interest to them.

    • Jethro Cohen

      A truly ignorant post from a truly ignorant person. Please, make an effort to become informed about a topic before running your mouth like that. It is insulting to everyone here, especially on such a hallowed day. Your comments about nuking Germany are pushing the boundaries of ridiculousness to newer heights. Your comments regarding the treatment of Palestinians by “criminal Jews” shows that your knowledge of the conflict in the Middle East would barely fill a thimble.

    • benzona

      What does this say about you. That you chose Holocaust Memorial Day to make such agenda-ridden politicised remarks and that you chose a Holocaust themed story to do this. Your remarks are so outrageous, so hostile and so offensive. I ask all to ignore this person, he/she is riddled with anger, hate, ignorance, arrogance and he/she must deal with his/her own inadequacies alone. What a troll!

    • benzona

      I rest my case, TravelingPat is an male redneck from South Carolina, he loves guns, cars, oil exploitation. He is also anti-gay and it seems besides living in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, he’s not had much opportunity to develop as a person, hence we’re not dealing with a stable or rational being.

  • Jonah Harvington

    Lest we forget, let our right hand forget what they’re supposed to do.

  • On Yom HaShoa I am thankful for my Jewish friends; sisters & brothers in humanity and faith. . . Thank you for your friendship; for your examples of courage, compassion and forgiveness. . . May humanity never forget the truth of Shoa!

  • On Yom HaShoa I remember the sobering and the inspiration examples of my Jewish sisters and brothers at Shoa. Thank you for your examples in courage, compassion and forgiveness!

  • Danielle Sandler

    This article romanticizes a period with atrocities so horrific we can not even begin to understand what it was like to live through it. Not everything needs to have a Hollywood ending. Though I understand these pictures show people who survived the depths of Hell and are a testament of strength and courage, shown in a grouping as such makes the Holocaust appear like a series of happy moments. On Yom Hashoah especially, we need to try to feel the pain and suffering of our brethren and not glaze it over a few pictures of happy moments at the end of all the horror.

    • I have to disagree with you. As an Israeli, when ever we hear about the Shoah, it’s usually the atrocities, and the pictures are always the hard ones to look at (The bodies, the death camps, the nazis, etc). I’m nearly 40 and this is the first time I’m seeing some of these pictures, and I have to say it’s (for lack of a better word) nice to know that there were not only some happy moments, but also moments of hope.

      • Exactly.

      • Olterigo

        Well, if you’re Israeli, why don’t you join the elderly Russian olim (and from what I’ve heard some elderly American olim) who have been celebrating on the 9th of May for more than a decade now. Yes, the ones who dress up in their old uniforms with medals, so that they resemble Latin-American dictators in dress.
        About 500K Jews fought against the Nazis in the armies of the Allies, the highest number in the Soviet Army. I know that this didn’t used to be taught to Israelis back in the day. But right now you don’t have to wait for someone to teach you that. You can just go and celebrate with them. And you can teach that to your kids.

    • I don’t think it’s about ‘Hollywood endings’ or romanticising, I think it’s about asserting the strength and resilience of the human spirit even under the most terrible oppression, and its ability to survive, rather than focusing only on victimhood. Some of these aren’t ‘happy moments’, but ones which show that some spark might survive even the most appalling efforts to put it out.

      • No, Danielle is absolutely right. I am the grandson of survivors, and they were not happy people. My grandfather was physically abusive to my grandmother and mother. He cursed God and went insane. The idea that all Jews were “asserting strength and resilience” is complete and utter BS. My grandmother only talked about her experiences if pressed, and never once did she mention anything about resilience. After liberation the Americans didn’t book rooms for Jews at a Holiday Inn. It was chaos. She and her sister lived in a hole in the ground in a forest a few miles outside Auschwitz for weeks after being liberated. They ate nothing but potatoes and fought with Hungarian Jews who tried to steal the potatoes my grandmother and sister had themselves stolen. True story. If you think that’s a story of “the resilience of the human spirit,” you’ve seen too many Lifetime movies. You think they smoked cigarettes and drank champagne? You think they lit Sabbath candles and recited stories from the Torah? No, they froze and nearly died. After liberation.

        The truth of the Holocaust is that millions of people, including almost the entire side of my mother’s family, all her aunts and uncles, all her cousins, my grandmother’s first husband and child were wiped out, erased. There is simply no story to tell about these people, certainly no “resilience.” These pictures are nice, but they tell such a tiny fraction of the story that we risk sending the message that Jews somehow “triumphed” or “proved the power of the human spirit” or whatever other Hallmark card garbage people find warm and fuzzy when they’re surfing the Internet. It takes a truly dedicated ignorance and sentimentalism to look for the bright side of genocide, and a deeply perverse imagination to actually find it.

        • People like you, with this attitude, weaken the Jewish people and make it more likely that such an event will happen again. It’s not that you are totally wrong, it’s just that you want to dwell on things that first of all we can’t change, and second of all weaken the spirit of the Jewish people. Younger Jews and Israelis are tired of this. Again, you’re not wrong in any factual sense, but you’re weakening us.

          • Joshua, this is an indecent response to an important issue. I am intrigued by the images posted, and think that their absence for our collective understanding of Jewish history requires correction. But history is not fodder for nationalist propaganda. The spirit of the Jewish people must include ALL the Jewish people, not just those who are tired of the burden of the past. There is no strength without compassion.

          • I’m not without compassion for Holocaust victims, I just realize the situation Jews are in in this world. Weakness and a lack of gratitude towards the Lord will get us nowhere.

          • have a little empathy joshua. its easy to speak of weakness across the internets. you type with heavy fingers, but there were very strong wills with beautiful fighting spirits who were killed with no choice.

            but why is this an either or question?

            why cant we both know the pain, understand the evil, witness the horror and honor those who faced it with pride without demonizing those who succumb to it with the very real human response of fear and anguish… they were not weak… they were human.

            …and the reality is that we must share both. we must remind people, remind ourselves of both the pain and the beauty.

          • Joshua, I understand. Some of us are fighters and some are not. I don’t think you we’re being uncompassionate at all. I think there needs to be all views and so I really take David Crohn’s post to heart. A heavy heart. It is so direly important to the Jewish people that the horrors not be forgotten and it is equally as important for all of man to not forget the horrors, lest it happen again. But I do appreciate your spirit of not wanting to ever lay down and be victimized again because of the horrors that went on.

          • David Crohn

            So let me get this straight. Someone comes up behind you with a rifle and shoots you in the head, it’s because you “laid down”? It’s really creepy how some people take comfort in the might of the Israeli army in order to feel better for us Jews. I guess Jews do it more than anyone, but after the war the last place my grandmother wanted to go was Israel. Oh if she had only known how great their falafel would be, how mighty their tanks!

          • David Crohn

            “Weakness”? What the @#$% are you talking about? So my twenty something grandmother should have done what, grab her grenade launcher when an army invaded her village and rounded up her family? What does the “situation” Jews are in in the world have to do with propagandistic images that have little to do with how the Holocaust actually happened? As other posters have noted, the idea that, sorry Jen, “some of us are fighters and some are not” is not just absurd in this context but offensive. (As is the picture of a “real” candle lighting ceremony in which A MAN is lighting the candles.) My grandfather was a fighter. He fought for the Polish Army against the Russians before the War. It got him into a Siberian prison camp. And what exactly is the “spirit” of the Jewish people? Where do I go to find out about this cosmic entity that has its collective eyes trained on Internet comment posts? Oh, that’s right, Israel, I forgot. Israel is the arbiter of all things Jewish, because Israel has an air force and secret service. Blessings to G-d, who is beyond all blessings and song, for inventing Krav Maga and compulsory military service.

          • CK

            You probably think “spirit of the Jewish people” is watching 3000 innocent people getting massacred while sitting idle on a tank, calling headquarters to check if everything is in order and by getting to know “The problem is known” clearing your consience of guilt? So much for help and resistence when it comes to war.

          • You mean Israel whooping terrorist behind? Damn right, I’ll take that spirit! Certainly over the spirit I see some of these posters presenting,

          • It’s reality. Face it.

        • David, thank you for sharing that story with us. We hear you loud and clear. I think that we (at least the people who support Israel as I do) will never ever forget the atrocities. But, it is God’s will to give us that glimmer of hope, as St. Paul had, that with the faith of God we can endure. I don’t want to belittle anyone’s legacy. But there must always be hope because sometimes hope is all we have. Many, many blessings to you and your family.

          • David Crohn

            I’m sorry, but “hope” is a luxury for regular-world problems. Stuck in traffic? Hope may pull you through. Cable out? Stay hopeful. Steelers behind in the fourth quarter? I’d keep hope alive, were I from Pittsburgh. but let’s see how your hope helps when you watch your ENTIRE FAMILY get shot in the back of the head, are made to strip naked and then march. Hope is great now, but “changing the Holocaust narrative” is not possible with a few photos, many of which are staged. I wish I could believe in your warm and fuzzy God, I really do. But I am Jewish, alas, and my God is the one from the Old Testament, not the one with lambs and doves from your sequel.

        • Well put, what happened was something that we shouldn’t forget and could happen again. And is still happening all over the world,t(to a lessor degree) even until today, ?We are hated by all those that don’t believe that we are God’s chosen . He chose us for a reason. We can all check our hearts to know the reason it’s a fact.

          • What most people don’t realize is that being the “chosen people” isn’t a title, it’s a job description. It means having hundreds of rules to follow, focussing on what it takes to live successfully in community, and helping G-d complete creation. Man is an “unfinished work” — the only creation that was not called “good” because we are not yet complete.

        • missdk

          Thank you for saying this, David.

    • I agree 100% with Danielle. Sorry, the Holocaust is about victims. It really is. The boycott in 1933 was pointless and a cheap and easy way for American Jews to feel like they were doing something, which they were not. I could send you what my grandfather (Schoenberg) wrote at the time (fearing correctly that the boycott would do nothing to help, only give reason to hurt, the Jews in Nazi Germany). Many of the pictures you posted are photos of non-Jews (certainly the fat liberated prisoners holding champagne, for example, and probably a few of the others). The Jews baked matzah and lit menorahs. Great. But that wasn’t the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not photographed and filmed like a happy American movie or magazine spread. After the matzhah and menorahs they were murdered, shot, gassed, starved or beaten to death. That’s the Holocaust. Too bad so many Jews want to just forget it, as if we can choose our history.

      • Actually, what I saw were a people that could not be kept from God no matter what the circumstances. Which is something I’m not hearing much about in all of these posts…

        • missdk

          If you believe that, then you should educate yourself on what happened to survivors and their faith after the holocaust.

    • You couldn’t possibly have a more wrong and misguided attitude about this. Well, I suppose you could be a Nazi that would be worse, but these are wonderful pictures that remind us of the strength of the Jewish people. Enough time has been spent thinking about suffering. Much better to think about victory!

  • Stunning pictures and words to tell the stories.

  • debrah block krol

    my father was among the u.s. forces liberating the camps. my in laws were in the camps and are survivors. this post was touching and moving on so many levels. it is part of our history. thank you

  • I highly doubt the “Heartrending Release, 1945” photo was taken with a cell phone. The first call made from a mobile phone was in 1946, and the camera phones appeared in the 2000s…

    • Jethro Cohen

      I believe the caption explained that the image was so spur of the moment that it looked almost as if it had been captured on a cell phone.

  • Mindy and Ligeia

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and the contexts that go with them. They were very moving indeed. My wife and I will be traveling to Israel this summer for the Maccabi Games and will visit Yad Vashem for sure so learn as much as we can.

  • Amazing!

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  • How much more liberating and sweet the air of freedom.When one has known the pits of Hell !

  • Thank you for this incredible gift. It’s an inspirational tribute to the indominatble human spirit.

  • NEVER FORGET! These are a Beautiful reminder of an Ugly memory! I have an old friend, Bernard Schtele, that was a photographery teacher at a local college. He was 9 yrs old at the time of the holocaust, but was living in the U.S. and he was German by decent. He was embarrassed by what was happening in Germany when he was just a boy, but could do nothing about it, then! As a great photographer, when he grew up…he could and did! He had a 9 year old daughter and he wanted to express to her, what it was, to be 9 years old at that time and being a German, living in the U.S. He did so, by publishing a book of his photography, showing holocaust survivors, that he photographed at various survivor conventions, all over the U.S. and in his own words, what his thoughts were, then and now! It was a Beautiful book and heart rending! I helped him hang a show of the works at the Jewish Y at Broad & Pine Sts, Philadelphia, Pa to promote the book, “Another Kind of Witness”, by Bernard Schtele. A few photos came to mind, while viewing this “expose’ “… one photo of a survivor women in her 80’s holding a photo of her missing family, in hopes that someone at this gathering could possibly recognise them and give her any information as to thier fate or to hopefully reunite them, Another poignant photo of the arms of 3 survivors, with the tattooed numbers…running in sucessive order, as in 267321, 267322 and 267323…what would be the likelihood of all 3 to survive? They were Brothers that had each other’s back during thier entire ordeal of years of internment! Again: “NEVER FORGET!”

  • Well done! “Hope is the thing without feathers that perches in the soul.” Emily Dickinson

  • This is so beautifully and uniquely presented.

  • We must always remember

  • Todah rabbah!

  • soboredofthistopic

    Oh God not another Holocaust Memorial. Boring.

  • “NEVER AGAIN!”

  • genebbb

    >> The kind that celebrate with champaign and cigarettes.

    I see exactly one cig in this pic. Why promote cigarettes as a symbol of celebration, when they kill 6 million people a year? That’s 6 million families utterly bereft. In Israel, 10,000 people a year die of tobacco-related diseases.

    http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?ID=222994&R=R1

  • Princess Lea

    I have to say that as a grandchild of survivors, I am, well, offended.

    SIX MILLION were obliterated. We were victims; there is no other word for it. Survival is not bathed in romantic light; it is raw and horrifying. They kept going because there was no other option; my grandmother had to keep her four nieces and nephews and her own grandmother alive.

    The swift marriages after the war bear testament to a broken people scrambling to restore a normalcy that could never truly be. Many chose to stay silent, not sharing the trauma and terrors, slipping loose details only in depression or dementia.

    My grandparents moved on, had children and grandchildren. But there is no happy ending in their nightmares, in the lives and loves that they were robbed of.

    Their families’ dead, mere smoke and ash on the wind, cannot be recalled with joy or hope. There is only sadness and anger.

    They were murdered, tortured, degraded. There is no other perspective.

    • I guess the word “change” can be confusing. I wouldn’t in a million years argue that the word change in the title means erasing the past. I meant simply that it adds to the story and makes it more nuanced and complete. That was my goal, never to erase anything else you wrote about.

      • Dawnmarie Oyler

        I think part of where she’s going, is that we do a disservice to those who died and to those who survived when we focus solely on these types of pictures. Those who survived were forever scarred. They may have lived, they may have smiled, they tried to create an image that they were happy, but many of the survivors never accomplished that. Yes, there were moments like what you show above. But those moments shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the narrative. Yes, they can and should be included, but when we remember the holocaust, we have to remember the horror. It’s too easy for people to do this to each other again if we forget how bad it was.

        • Princess Lea

          Well said.

        • Right, because you know we haven’t spent enough time already focusing on the victims. I bet they wouldn’t want us obsessing over them, I bet they would want us strong, free, and brave.

    • I am also a grandchild of survivors and could not agree more. Very well stated. See my post above, it expresses a similar sentiment.

    • Maybe for you there is only sadness and anger. I thank God for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon the Jewish people. You win some, you lose some, and overall, we’re winners. I’m tired of attitudes like yours. It’s a slap in God’s face not to be thankful for all of our blessings. What other people has reclaimed their ancient homeland? What other people, pound for pound, has accomplished as much as the Jewish people? Even with the holocaust we thrive, even with half the world out to commit another one we thrive. Stop feeling “sadness and anger” and start feeling thankful.

      • Princess Lea

        Was your grandfather’s child murdered? Did your family go up a chimney? Is your heritage forever marked by torture and death?

        “You win some, you lose some”? “Start feeling thankful”?

        I am so speechless at your callousness that I feel as though I have been punched in the stomach. This is not about Jews as a whole being “winners.” This is about the child that was ripped from her mother’s arms and thrown against a wall.

        Try empathy. That is also a quintassentially Jewish emotion, along with gratitude.

        • *yawn*

          Do you honestly think that you are the only person with relatives who faced anti-Jewish persecution posting on this thread? I can’t being my dead relatives back to life, but I sure as heck can face those who want to do the same today with steely determination and thank God for all of His blessings on the Jewish people. As I said before, Jews are the most blessed and fortunate people on earth. Our enemies make us stronger. I wouldn’t have wanted to be one of those victims, and guess what, I’m not, and neither are you! Get over yourself and lose this self-centered attitude.

  • katamabay

    Regarding the “unknown teenager singing the DP camp”, she is most certainly known!! She was my cousin Shoshana Makowkiecki Fisherman, born during 1933 in Kadzidlo, Poland, who survived the war with her family in Kustenay, Kazakhstan. The photographs depicts her during her internment in the Displaced Persons Camp in Ulm, Germany. From there, she moved to Israel and then to the United States, where she married, had two sons and two grandchildren, before passing away in 2005. My late grandmother used to carry this photograph of her niece in her wallet, and I found it there and uploaded it to our family tree on Geni.com, from which it was downloaded for your article. You are welcome to use it as an example of the Jewish spirit in the face of adversity.

    • WOW. Thank you so much for that. So interesting, and my wife literally asked me right before I saw your comment whether that woman was ever identified. So, thank you again.

      Just so you know, I actually got the image here: http://resources.ushmm.org/inquery/uia_doc.php/query/7?uf=uia_donNek

    • James

      The Holocaust Memorial Museum loves contributions from survivors and family. If you contact them, they will happily update the page with the photo for you.

    • You are kidding! Oh my gosh, you gave me glorybumps reading your “update”. What a blessing that you were able to share this knowledge with us. Thank you so much for doing so and I think I speak for everyone here…Thank God she survived and lived a beautiful life!!!

    • Terry Doo2

      So cool! Thank you!!

  • It breaks my heart to see that picture from Sweden. Now Jews in Sweden are under attack, and neo-nazis, left-wingers, and muslims march side by side against them. However, things are better for Israel now than probably anytime in the last decade, so there is a bright spot in all of this!

  • Tsada Kay

    Amazing, beautiful, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  • These pictures are amazing, but this statement doesn’t seem to ring true: “We can’t seem to address antisemitism without running to the world and screaming that we’re being persecuted, rather than standing up strongly in defiance, aware of our own inner strength.”

  • the “celebrating” photo is a mistake – the prisoners are not wearing a star of David but inverted triangles – those were not Jewish prisoners. these were either criminal, political, homosexual, “asocial”, etc. prisoners – with a very different treatment.

  • ELACEE

    As a Gentile who attended a Jewish day camp and spent much of my youth surrounded by Jewish friends and families, i’ve always felt a special affinity for the Jewish people. The atrocities committed against them in Nazi Germany are well beyond comprehension, yet it behooves each of us to acknowledge such evil exists. We are only fooling ourselves to believe otherwise.

    Having said that, these photos are awe inspiring! It does one’s heart and soul good to see the spirit of hope and survival in these lovely faces! Thank you for giving my mind’s eye a hopeful perspective of this dark period in our history!

  • GL

    A couple of people have touched on the point I’m about to make.

    The pictures are amazing and they tell part of the story – yes.

    However, saying that we should “change” the Holocaust narrative to this, the supposed “real story,” is inaccurate, historically problematic and perhaps even offensive. These pictures represent the minority – the minority who survived and the minority who acted against the Nazis. As much as it might not be nice to look at and hear about, the majority of Europe’s Jews were murdered and the majority of Europeans who were not targeted by the Nazis did not help the Nazi targets.

    Pictures are great, but the framing here is misguided.

    • Michael David Severson

      GL, have you ever broken a bone? Let’s say you broke your leg somehow. From that day forward, your initial “G” used in your name here rhetorically means “Gimp,” and the “L” means “Limp.”

      Would you HONESTLY and TRULY want me, friends, family and others to immortalize and define you for the rest of your life as “GL, the Gimp with a Limp?!”

      What more is there to know about you? Surely a limping gimp is not all there is about you, right? Is that how you want the whole of your life to be defined or characterized?

      I met a Holocaust survivor in 1995, Her first name was Rebecca (More than likely her true name of Rivka was used prior to her passage to the USA), who, in addition to other things, carried a tattooed number on her left forearm.

      She represents most survivors I have read about, watched personal testimonies, or in this case, met personally, in respect to the fact that most of them have quietly continued to quietly LIVE their lives, rather than remain entrenched in the morbid and horrific season of her life that is now far passed.

      That, GL, is what this page is all about. The horrific, disturbing, overwhelming images and records abound to solidly remind us about the horror and intense evil that was perpetrated on these people.

      To their family, to their friends, work associates, and to all who know or knew them, I believe firmly they would want you to acknowledge them for who they are, and not just for who they WERE.

      For Christians, such an example is encapsulated in the hymn, “Amazing Grace, from the first stanza:

      “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that SAVED a wretch like me,

      I ONCE was lost, BUT NOW I am found, WAS blind, BUT NOW I see”

      The writer of this hymn does not deny his past state of being (John Newton, served on ships in the slave trade of his day before his remarkable conversion, and penned this hymn as his personal testimony of that conversion),

      but this hymn beautifully ensconces the blessed reality of grace being a Divine form of transforming favor and empowerment to move beyond wretchedness, and/or being lost and blind. Otherwise, this celebrated hymn would be nothing more than wishful thinking, of distant hope, and help denied from Above.

      The premise of this article is not to deny the suffering and grave injustices perpetrated, but to not remain morbidly entrenched in it, and to objectively add the images and stories shared here as part of the greater picture that of necessity, should be heeded and understood.

      There is one saying, that states, “The greatest revenge is to succeed.” Despite the Holocaust, success in life for those who survived and thrived is celebrated with great enthusiasm here…

      Just as joyfully as you would also, given the day your hypothetical cast was removed from your leg, and you celebrated the ability to walk about freely without a cane, crutches, etc.

      In closing, GL, out of respect for these souls, don’t put a millstone around their neck, and demand these people continue to assume the role they were unwillingly forced to play about 60-70 years ago.

      From Egypt to the Promised Land, from slavery to freedom, from exile to Aliyah, from the concentration camp to liberty, and from death to life, I will cite the words of Moses to Pharaoh: LET MY PEOPLE GO! Release them! Let them LIVE!

      This is the FULLEST possible meaning of “NEVER AGAIN!”

      ~ Selah ~

      Michael David 🙂

      • GL

        Let me try to be brief.

        You’ve misunderstood. I was not commenting on how we view survivors themselves. You’re right – they should not be defined solely by a few years of their lives. I was, however, commenting on how we define the Holocaust – a historical event. To suggest that it’s time to “change the narrative” of the Holocaust to be a happy story, as this page does, is dangerous and historically inaccurate. What you’re suggesting is to view a survivor as a whole person – one who has experienced far more than just those few years in their lives. I agree with you on that. I also believe that part of the story of the Holocaust includes the lives of the victims and survivors pre-war, those who stood up during the war and the successes of those who survived post-war. However, the majority of those involved in this historical event do not have positive stories. That’s simply historical accuracy.

      • disqus_0Po3VcyKr5

        I am so very proud of the JEWS and CHRISTIANS where spoke out on their experiences during the Holocaust. We must never forget and we must speak up and share the stories. Remember too, 11 million Christians where murdered also during the Holocaust. History certainly has a way of repeating itself and I truly believe because so many survivors spoke out about the Holocaust, that it will never ever ever happen again!

      • Cheryl Dye Marston.

        Michael,
        I enjoyed your post and I agree the survivors should be celebrated; to survive such horrible circumstances is, well, there are no words.

        When I first read GL’s post I took it to mean we can not forget the millions and millions who died at the hands of a mad man. No one can deny that being liberated is a reason to celebrate, but the story of the Holocaust is not a celebration. It is a stain on humanity, but yet we still judge: black & white, religion against religion, gay vs “straight”.

        Hate it hate! It is not worth the effort and it is not productive. Many times people quote the bible to justify their feelings and believes; many times they are taken out of context, but the one thing the bible says that I think we can all agree on is that judgement is reserved for God and God alone; therefore to justify hatred to another is hypocritical and sacrilegious, but of course no one sees themselves as this.

        When i see these pictures i see (and feel) the joy but i am also grief stricken because of what they must have endured. I do not think I could image the full extent of the horror, sadness and pain of what they must have been through.

        If we have learned nothing else from the Holocaust, we should learn that this can never, ever happen again. In the United States there is always a debate about whether we should go to war to help other countries. If we do not, then this could happen again and like it or not, it could eventually come to the US. Which group would be the target next time? mine, yours…..
        (For the record, I am a christian; however, God is my father and “you” are my brothers and sisters)
        Cheryl

        • Randi Shinder

          I don’t think Jews should actually look at the Holocaust differently at all. We are spending so much time educating our children and having them meet survivors to tell their stories of suffering for the 6 Million who cannot. These are mere moments and nothing more. After the first of my children just completed the Toronto March of the Living, I am more than ever so horrified by the death camps and the various means the Nazi’s employed to exterminate the Jewish people. Where is the image of the Forest where SS brought 800 Jewish children to “play” and shot them. There are pictures of their faces in the memorial. How frightened were they when the first gunshots began? And what is so “different” about the Yad Vashem memorial. I’ve seen it and it’s heartbreaking. Those people were all murdered. I say everyone has a right to an opinion. I hope this random article with what to me are just more heartbreaking images does not changes the way anyone looks or remembers the Holocaust.

    • Lizbeth

      I totally agree.

  • Its important to remember the pain and suffering. However,if thats all we are focused on,we will never be able to make room for the future. Some people may criticize me for saying this,but I believe that in addition to remembering the evil,we should also be taking a look at that evil in a positive light as well.

    Many Jews turned their backs from their roots and heritage,and understandably so. However,it was the Jews who were able to find the positive,who were able to show that no amount of evil can sever their identity as a Jew,that made room for us to have a future. If it wasn’t for them,we would have no future.

    Many have tried to destroy our identity and failed. This is because our identity shares an unbreakable bond and connection with G-D. This is a connection which can never be completely destroyed.

    Their have always been those who have been willing to sacrifice their lives,rather than convert!
    Their have always been those who have kept their faith,rather than give in to the illusion of hopelessness!
    Their has always been those who have kept the hope and dream alive!

  • i’ll never forget those brave men and women, shalom

  • Skydiving at 85 shows you can’t kill spirit.

  • Joseph

    thank you

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  • Wow. The baby’s hand on nana’s “tattoo”

  • ColonelWarden

    The holocaust, Nazi Germany, National Socialism, these are huge blights on history. I am always interested to see how these people came into power, and how they created their victims. That is such a valuable lesson because it should NEVER happen again. To truly honor the victims who died, we must pay them respect, but learn from what happened so that it never happens again.

  • Aaron1960

    Thank you for assembling this most wonderful collection of human history. My only prayer is that we can ALL learn from it.

  • Freddie Sykes

    I highly recommend The Wall by John Hersey. It starts slowly but demonstrates the widely diverse natures of the Jewish communities in Poland. A great story and some of the greatest characters in literature.

  • If I were in that camp and I had a gun to their head, I can’t imagine not using it. That man has far more forgiveness in his heart than I could ever imagine myself having.

  • SamWah

    My late wife’s uncle was recently buried at a Jewish cemetery. Walking around I saw two stones for a couple–he survived Birkenfeld; she, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen..

  • There is a G-d! G-d lives in the faces of every single one of the people in these photographs. Baruch Hashem!
    Ariel Ovadia ben Avraham
    Rich Vail
    http://thevailspot.blogspot.com

  • When I was in the Navy, I had a friend, Daniel Scheinfeld, who used to constantly read books on the Holocaust so, since I was always interested in history, I asked if I could read them when he was finished. Having read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I thought I knew quite a bit about the Holocaust, until I read the books he’d purchased. I was truly amazed at how far “man’s inhumantity to man” could go.
    I believe Eisenhower did the right thing by, not only taking pictures of what he’d found, but also forcing people from the surrounding communities to view the camps. Yes, this is not easy for anyone to comprehend, so it’s relatively easy for people to say it didn’t happen. The fact that it did should weigh on everyone’s mind, Christian or Jew, Arab or Arian, to make sure it never happens again. The words, “Never again” should be spoken by all, not just a few Jews.

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  • Saw this because a friend of mine posted this on Facebook, GREAT job.

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  • Dave6034

    How fortunate that after the Holocaust, Europe overcame its racism and xenophobia by inviting millions of Moslems, whose religion is based entirely upon Jew-hatred, to immigrate to their countries. At least white people don’t hate Jews anymore. But it’s still OK to hate “Zionists” because Zionism is racist. (Not wanting to share your country with people who pray daily for your death = racism)

    • ghayyan@hotmail.com

      If only European countries would allow the killing and dispersion of Arabs and Muslims just like in good ol’ Israel right??

      You sir, are a giant ignorant biggot! For your information Muslims consider their religion an extension of the Abrahamic faith, and consider Jews their cousins. Furthermore, when Jews were being slaughtered by Catholics during the Spanish Inquisition, Jews had been prospering for hundreds of years under Muslim rule in Baghdad and Spain, and continued to for several hundreds of years under Ottoman rule, why don’t you read some history before you open your ignorant mouth!

      The unfortunate confusion between Jewish and Zionist in the Arab and Muslim mind is only due to the fact the for the last 60 years these 2 words have been inseperable and synonymous due to unwavering support the apartheid and murderous Israeli state receives from 99% of the Jews around the world.
      My country Lebanon and most other Arab countries had numerous amounts of Jews living in harmony with the resat of the community before the act of rape that was the creation of the state of Israel, so get your facts straight.

  • I am German and we learn about the Holocaust every year in History class. Every year … but even after all of the pictures I have seen, all of the testaments, all of the speeches made by Hilter and Goebbels that we analyzed and shattered to pieces, it still gets me super emotional to see these pictures. Perhaps because I am a father now and put myself in their shoes, watching families torn apart and dying, but then reunited and celebrating. One Love

  • Today in Sweden because they have let so many Muslims immigrated there Jews are warned not to walk in Muslim neighborhoods or even wear jewelry that identifies them as Jews for fear of being attacked by racist Muslims.
    Many Jews are fleeing the country completely.
    All this talk of “Never Again” rings hollow when you look at the current situation in Europe today.

  • Am Yisrael Chai!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ghayyan@hotmail.com

    60 years laters… a gift to the children of Lebanon! Thank you very much!!

    • mick

      I thought this was from 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza when Israel broke the truce.

      • ghayyan@hotmail.com

        This was during the July 2006 war. Imagine how sweet it was to see this spectacle, when the house of your dreams had just been destroyed to smithereens by an Israeli air raid (on my case), or your whole family had been killed (in many other cases)!

        • But you still do not think that it was a bad idea for Hizballah to attack Israel and cause this war, right?

          • Cpt_Justice

            Yeah, sickening how many people still pass around the lie that “Israel broke the truce”, “Israel started it” – all the same lie, over & over…

  • mallen717

    Anti-Semitism is again on the rise among the Left in America. The universities, professors, the usual socialist rabble rousers they worship for leaders: they hate Jews with the same passion as their forebears. You can’t walk into any campus without a pro-Hamas student body.

    • dba_vagabond_trader

      Starting at the top. My fellow Jews, stop supporting those who hate us!

  • Katherine McChesney

    Incredible photographs. Christian America liberated the Hebrews. What a worthwhile endeavor to do so. After all they are God’s Chosen People. Israel is being persecuted today by Palestine. We need to send them back to their own country and give Hebrews back all their land.

    • mick

      “Israel is being persecuted today by Palestine.” are you serious ?

  • Beatiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

  • f0rtylegz

    marvelous!

  • I pose a question….

    what would your response be to a blog post with a series of pictures of German soldiers caught in moments of kindness and in ‘human’ situations? Laughing watching plays put on by interned Jews? Giving that extra piece of bread?

    Ill take it one step further:

    Maybe even an entire post about Germans who helped Jews saying “That’s the narrative that’s been spread about Germans for the last 70 years since the Holocaust.”

    The reality is that this stuff did happen. There were moments of humanity and grace set against the backdrop of horror and anguish. But to announce the change of a narrative, to reframe history for and our collective memory in a bid to feel stronger will not make us safer. We were victims- there is no shame in that. We were also heros – but that does not replace our suffering nor our need to remember. It is ALL our story — the good and the bad.

    thank you for these beautiful images of the triumph of the human spirit. but i still remember. these were but singular frames that captured beautiful scenes in a timeline mapped with tears and blood. i choose to remember both. not replace one with the other.

    • dba_vagabond_trader

      If you have such photos post them.

  • what a moving tribute to the only living root of Western civilization. I am immensely enjoying third part of the Last Lion trilogy that captures Churchill’s vital role in holding America’s conscience to the flame of history. Without Churchill, America might well have turned their backs on the live relics of the Old Testament. Those words speak to us today like never before. Be not deceived by the glib media that chooses not to mention church burnings every week in Nigeria. Egypt and on and on. Christians and Jews are in this whole thing together – and history continues to repeat itself.

  • Wonderful article. Love the “Looking into the Future” photo. Thanks.

  • Beautiful.

  • Nice, but the people were forced into the internment camp. Many because they were citizens of the UK. They were still starving
    Thank for these pictures.

  • Wow, I’m teary. What a poignant presentation. I still remember the first lessons in HS when we delved into the horrors of one of the darkest ages of mankind; the holocaust. I remember as a teenager even with all my teenage angst and teenage egocentrism, being horrified, deeply saddened and completely appalled that anything like this could have happened in modern history. There are certain events that just resonate so deeply with me. The push west and almost complete genocide of the Native American People, Black American Slavery and the Holocaust. I can only look to the wisdom and comfort of God to help me process such atrocities in humankind. The writer of this piece was so completely insightful in capturing the beauty and strength, not just in liberated Jews, but even through all of their times of enslavement. Very much like St. Paul who never let go of God’s never ending love and hope. They are shown singing, writing and even marrying during their usurpation. Absolutely one of the best pieces I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you so much for that. God bless us all. PS: A wonderful read on this topic is The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

  • I am troubled by the introduction that accompanies these photos. The intro claims that these ‘Images paint a more true story’ of the holocaust. Are you kidding me? Don’t whitewash the horrors of the holocaust with a few happy-looking photos! How irresponsible to make a statement like this when there are holocaust deniers all around us. Change the Holocaust narrative? What? to a happy one? Please! The happier, smilier photos are ones from when the Jews were liberated and beyond.

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  • I am born to victims who survived, by miracles of God. Miriam and Leon, Blumental. They never spoke about all they went through but my dad was a nervous reck and my mom suffered, and so did we.Now I understand why, and today I am saddend cuz they are not here so I can talk to them about it.

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  • Guest

    I’ve a friend that is a therapist.

  • I know of someone who was born in a camp. I know her as I’ve a friend who is a counsellor and counsels her therapist. Her mother was brutally raped over and over and over during her incarceration until she became pregnant. Her mother was even raped while in labour and during her birth. I cannot even imagine the logistics of that horror. In spite of it all she and her mother survived. The woman who was born in the camp is still alive. She has had to live with the fact that she is the child of the victim and an unknown perpetrator. One of my best friends is the child of survivors. They have spent their lives since in a state of emotional numbness. They are stil alive and they are still surviving the way they taught themselves to in the camp. My friend and her brothers grew up with little nurturing, little affection and little joy. She and her brothers all have had psychological issues of their own to deal with because of what their parents went through. I believe they have manifested the real consequences of their parets sufferig that their parents cannot bear.I can appreciate these pictures and I can appreciate that there were moments of happiness here and there but I cannot condone that a happier story is the truest story.

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  • Aviv

    Thanks for the beautiful photos. I am bothered though by your comment on the image of the Jew turning the gun on his former captor. Why on earth would this be an injustice??

  • BK

    Photo taken in Buchenwald just after its liberation by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White representing polish prisioniers (look the” tringel with P”) , about 22 000 polish citizen were deportted to Buchenwald.(childrens too) look link to you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ0U06wt18E

  • Thank you so very much for taking the time to put together these wonderous photos of courage and strength.

  • very simplistic view, these do not change the narrative of the holocaust, nor does anyone have the right to, this is the narrative of survival, the holocaust narrative is about the murder of 6 million Jews, which these pictures completely ignore, ask a holocaust survivor who was the sole survivor of their entire shtetl, who saw their entire family murdered before their eyes if this is the narrative of the holocaust, the wise king solomon said, there is a time to laugh and a time to cry, you cannot change the narrative of the holocaust just because you want to

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  • Michal

    This is awesome!

  • Steve A

    My daughter in laws grandfather survived Auschwitz & married in the USA. When I see my 5 grandchildren in Israel, that is living proof that we beat the nazis. Just as we will beat the arab terrorists ,the new nazis.

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  • I love the many facets of this story as told. Thank you for these pictures that round out the narrative and allow us to see survivors as strong and joyous and happy and not just destitute and suffering.

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  • Ken Vinson

    Still no mention of the Six million Polish, not Jews, who were killed in the Holocaust.

  • Machelle L.

    I loved these photo’s of hope and resilence and perserverance. But seeing this dimension of the events doesn’t change the Holocaust narrative. it doesn’t change anything, really. Not in any way that matters. Seeing these lesser known images doesn’t erase or counterbalance all the horrific images of suffering that we are more familiar with. The holocaust was still what it always has been…horrific, grisly,and pure evil. I’m grateful to have seen these pictures though…very inspiring the way these faithful people faced their circumstances. What an amazing legacy they leave to their families and the rest of the world

  • taelor

    that is cool

  • Tracy James

    An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my wife back to me.. My name is james i live in germany,and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.{ideshispelltemple@outlook .com}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {5}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website {ideshispelltemple@outlook.com},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to the ideshispelltemple for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{ideshispelltemple@outlook.c om}
    Thanks…

  • wislakrakow

    How can you not hate the Germans after this?

  • mrtapeguy

    And yet, the Holocaust deniers and revisionists are still out there, blaming the Jews for starting the war and everything else that is wrong with the world.

    • There’s always going to be damaged, low self-worth people in this world that enjoy hurting and looking down on others in order to give themselves a false sense of superiority or fleeting importance. It’s your job as a jew to be bigger and smarter than them and to not let it get to you. In fact, I pity those kinds of people because the amount of their antisemitism and hate is only equal to the amount of misery they hold inside about their own lives.

  • Epic! Great post!

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  • it will be soon:
    BOYCOTT ZIONIST ISRAEL

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  • Richard

    “Our people”, “My people”. This is the root of suffering and if discarded will by itself and without any effort prohibit any such future events taking place, but alas the world does not learn from it’s suffering and continues to cling to ignorance and the ‘I, Me, Mine’ phenomena totally disregarding the truth of ‘Oneness’ and therefore will suffer endlessly.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Fanciest bit of victim blaming I’ve ever seen in my life. In fact, I’m going to spread this around to everyone I know, just so they can see just how far some people will go in blaming victims for what was done to them.

  • OBA

    horrible. stupid. insensitive. change the holocaust narrative? we have “chosen” to define the holocaust with pictures of piles of bodies? its not a choice, that’s the facts of what happened and it must be remembered in all its gruesomeness, not romanticized as suggested here. ok, share these positive pictures as well but to say “the holocaust wasn’t all bad you guys, lets change the narrative and stop complaining about it” as he’s doing here is ignorant and dangerous. you know who else talks about changing the holocaust narrative? holocaust deniers and neo nazis

    • I don’t think it was the poster’s intent to play down or lessen the horrors of the Holocaust. I think if anything, the photos depicting the jubilation of the prisoner’s release after liberation and the ability during captivity to find some semblance of hope and optimism amongst the horror they witnessed and lived through is a testament to their strength both individually and together as Jews.

  • Nachum1

    How is the question of justice “complicated”? That’s moral equivocation of the worst sort.

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  • shyisc

    Minor correction: the rocket says gift to/for Hitler.
    שי – shai: gift
    להיטלר – l’hitler: ל – L:to/for

  • disqus_0Po3VcyKr5

    its too bad that there was not a fund set up in the past for these survivors to have been able to have their tattoos removed by laser. Im not sure if they wanted to keep them as a reminder to never forgetting history though. As a little girl, I remember a neighbor of mine having a number tattooed on her forearm and my mother telling me that she was a Holocaust survivor. I had to have been 4 at the time and that image of numbers on her arm never left my memory

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  • jemappel

    Another important part of the narrative is the allied forces who fought against the Third Reich, over 20 million of whom died. If it weren’t for them, liberation would have never happened. Jewish people did not go it alone, many other good people were on their side.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Except, of course, that the Allies specifically did NOT fight to free /rescue the Jews; there is ample evidence that all leaders not only knew about the Holocaust, but were deliberately not letting Jews into their countries – all of which Hitler used as further proof that his actions were justified. The Jews, actually, only “didn’t go alone” because Hitler sent a lot of other groups with them; just for different reasons.

  • Betty Webb

    This lifts my heart.

  • ॐPrashanthॐ

    I would like to do an anagram as a tribute to these bravehearts.Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) ~ heals a race by honor. Sad; too much mayhem.

    • I love this! You are wonderful.

      • ॐPrashanthॐ

        Thank You 🙂

  • Evans Reitman-Swiss

    These pictures only have meaning when viewed within the context of the horror pictures , the pictures of bones as remains after gassing and during theft of gold from moths of the dead, of children dieing in fear, of liberated skeetonized living humans and the smiliing German populations claiming they had no idea what the smel was…………showing them out of context will eventually draw conclusions of , How bad could it have een…….I find acceptance of them as so called pictures of heroes to be insulting to their true courage . All the showing out of context may very well be what the showers are attempting to accomplish……See!!! It wasnt really so bad……….

  • Fadi

    Moving forward: Buchenwald Survivors Entering Israel, 1945. At that year there was nothing called Israel, got to be accurate whoever wrote this article.

  • Fabulous.

  • Oohrah

    When I was a young girl growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I personally met several Holocaust survivors. My mother worked for Jewish people her entire career, and mind the employers didn’t talk a lot about the past, but I saw the markings on the arms and my mother told me about what had happened to the people. Of the Holocaust survivors I met personally, I noticed that all of them had two things in common: resiliance and a capacity for joy! I still fondly remember the various gatherings my family (which was Catholic) were invited to. Yes, the Jews were persecuted and downtrodden, but the ones I knew were not bitter. I learned that as as God’s chosen people they rose above and became stronger than before. It was a lesson that wasn’t lost on me as a child, and one I carry with me as an adult.

  • Aaron Schneider

    Thank you for the awesome pictures! I just learned that my great great grandfather, Shlomo Schneider Z”L, chose to stay in Europe to fight the nazis. He passed away in the process, but bless his soul!

  • Daniel Pour

    This is absolutely incredible.

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  • Adrian Bartels

    The overwhelming narrative of the Holocaust is the brutal attempt to extinguish humanity in a people – and the resulting powerlessness, despair, misery, indignity and death. What is beautiful – to me anyway – about these pictures, and the stories they relate to, is that while the Nazis committed ever more barbaric acts, greater humanity was displayed by those who had been branded ‘subhuman’. The simplest act of humanity, such as falling in love or observing a religious ceremony – whatever tiny liberty the circumstances permitted – showed that even while the Nazis contorted themselves into ever more vicious mongrel murderers, they were always going to fail at their goal of extinguishing the spirit of the Jewish people.
    So, no, the Holocaust is not about the joy and spirit of the Jewish people. It is about the atrocities committed to extinguish it. But, at that, the Nazis never succeeded – as these pictures show.

  • Joyce Huff

    I’m a Gentile and I love the Jews – they are God’s holy people and I will go to my grave fighting for Israel! I love Israel and I will give my life for her.

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  • Najib Joe Hakim

    “Buchenwald Survivors Entering Israel, 1945.” What ‘Israel’? There was no Israel in 1945.

  • bobfairlane

    You freaks should have never been in Europe or USA in the first place.

  • Ann Couper-Johnston

    Lovely to see the family of the subjects sharing information with us. Love the last picture, but the one of the lady on the train to Israel gives me the shivers – reminds me too much of trains going East from Theresienstadt, despite the Israeli flag.

  • Cpt_Justice

    For all those who say that this attempts to whitewash the Holocaust, I have to disagree. If anything, it *deepens* it. Normally, the victims of the Shoah are just a number to people. But, look at just *one* of the happy, vibrant, LIVING faces in these photos, or, look at the promise of the future gazing out of the innocence of a child’s eyes, & you will see beyond doubt the true barbarity of the Nazis. And then multiply it by SIX MILLION.

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  • CrashFroelich

    For the trolls trying to be the smartest guy in the room by noting there was no Israel in 1945: You’re lame-brained. Israel existed five thousand years before it was recognized by the politicians at the UN. Stop using the internet to display your ignorance at light speed.

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  • J.r. Bomber

    awesome and cheerful images, thank.

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  • Greg Staller

    Gonna share about all the gentiles murdered pre holocaust? Or about the five million non jews also killed in death camps who are forgotten or that propaganda dating as far back as 40 years prior stated 6,000,000 jews were dead or dying in europe. Amazing how the number was exact and stayed the same before, during, and after the holocaust. How about hitlers admission that while anti semitism played a part the true belief and reason was darwinism?
    How about the attacks on austrian settlers by jewish rebels.. it happened and nobody will say the holocaust didnt if they are not crazy or delusional. Id just like to see somebody be neutral and show both sides. And i know people will be hateful in reply but hateful is an emotion and not fact. So if i pose fact and you reply w/ hate and vitrial its fine , just shows ignorance. Some paint a picture of jewish monsters raping, killing, stealing and spreading hate filled propaganda. While jewish folk say the same but about the rest of the world. My summation its somewhere in the middle. The holocaust was an atrocity no doubt but it came after decades of violence and that also cant be denied.

  • Pastor Michael Treis

    The TRUTH will set you free !

  • Curious why the 10 million Slavs that died are often overlooked.

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  • Ezra Pound

    The worst part about Auschwitz for the Jews was facing the horrible reality that they would have to put in a full day’s work for a change. There no gas chambers either – the million or so Jews who died in the camps died from typhus and starvation.

  • fromaway46

    Wonderful how they all look so happy and healthy.

  • CartierBesson

    it’s horrible to see these pictures.

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  • Hymie

    Yes, a new (or at least quite different) perspective – that of survivor (and more…) rather than victim. We sometimes forget about that with regard to ourselves… perhaps a new meaning and message to the term “Never Forget.”

  • Bev Morse

    no. never again. we are the wor(l)d. am israel chai!

  • Bev Morse

    never again.

  • Bev Morse

    never again. AM ISRAEL CHAI !

    • Lone Wolf-Begin

      Never again? Am israel Chai?……60% of the holocust survivors living today…..in israel….are under the poverty level…..while high school kids are going to auschwitz on school trips….these souls are choosing between medicine or food…..you think this is a joke…check on your own….it’s a disgrace….

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  • Simcha

    These photos are not representative of the overall history of the Holocaust – they can’t possibly “change the Holocaust narrative”. Yes, there was resistance and sometimes people smiled. But mostly, they were turned into smoke.

    If these photos were representative, then the Holocaust should reflect the main picture chosen to feature this article and prove the point of the title, of men in striped uniforms partying – that the Holocaust wasn’t that bad.

    This article has gotten publicity because its premise is sensational and controversial. It challenges the main lessons of the Holocaust with a bunch of pictures meant to prove that the Jewish experience of the Holocaust was defined primarily by Jewish resistance. It is therefore deeply damaging – to truth, and to respect for the victims of the Holocaust – and it is arrogant in claim that it is redefining the Holocaust narrative. The fact that it’s authored by a Jew doesn’t change the objective quality of its untruthfulness – though the article states that its view is “more true” and is unprecedented because the last 70 years has been dominated by a victim narrative. No it hasn’t!

    This author didn’t discover the resistance movement, about which so much has already been written, and he doesn’t account for the fact that for the first few decades after the Shoah, survivors were focused on just forgetting and getting on with their lives, not wailing about their victimhood (as if ‘victim’ was a dirty word, which it is not). Why should anyone even have to explain this?

    Face it: Jews were victims of the Holocaust. Victimhood overwhelmingly was their experience. If the Americans didn’t rescue the Jews (and all the Allies), the whole free world would have been cooked, not just the Jews. And that’s why the state of Israel needs to be strong. Because Jews don’t want to be victims again.

    • Lone Wolf-Begin

      When you have the American president negotiating with a regime that denounces the holocust and states they want to destroy the home of the Jews….and the secular American Jew put this president in power and support his weak strategy with Iran….than you get the American Jew putting out pictures of the good times in the holocust…..for Jstreet and the secular Jew in America perhaps it should be….”we already forgot!”

  • Lone Wolf-Begin

    US Jewish rally picture is a disgrace! They helped as much as the free pass Jstreet Jews are giving Obama the right to negotiate with Iran a leadership – who deny the holocust has taken place and president Obama refuses to have a part of the required agreement to have Iran say they no longer want to destroy israel…..hmmm. Where are the American Jews?….in 1943 FDR refused to bomb the train rails to prevent the mass movement of Jews to the gas chambers….where were the American Jews? What was the rally for in 1937? It sounds like it was a great success……

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  • Diane Hermiston

    The picture of the beautiful baby with her grandmother(with her tattooed numbers) is a slap on the face to all countries who participated in the attempt to annihilate the Jews.

  • JR

    Strong words from my late grandmother, a survivor of Auschwitz:

    “Remember never to be like a sheep. Be a goat. When the wolves come, sheep cower in a corner and turn their heads, hoping if they don’t see the wolves, the wolves won’t see them. They are all killed. Goats form a circle around their children and point their horns outward. A few might be injured by the wolves, but most live to fight another day.”

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