16 objects from Germany tell the story of the Holocaust in new ways | WGN Radio 720

BERLIN (AP) — Rohr Meyerfeld was four when he fled the Nazis in 1941. A Jewish girl, with her mother, fled her hometown of Kassel in Germany with only the clothes she was wearing and her beloved doll Inge. .

Meyerfeld found safe haven in the United States and later emigrated to Israel. Her doll was a gift from her grandparents who died in the Holocaust, and she stayed with her until 2018, when she donated it to Yad Her Vashem Her Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

After more than 80 years, the doll has returned to Germany. It will be held at the parliament in Berlin as part of an exhibition opening on Tuesday night, a few days before the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945.

The exhibition Sixteen Objects also marks the Yad Vashem Memorial’s 70th anniversary, bringing back to Germany a series of items brought back by Jews fleeing the Nazis. Among the exhibits are a black piano, a diary, a red and white patterned towel, a stethoscope, a fancy evening his bag, and a menorah.

These were selected from Yad Vashem’s over 50,000 items related to the Holocaust. The exhibits represent his 16 states in Germany, with one of him from each region. They all tell unique stories, but share themes of love, attachment, pain, and loss.

“These are all very well-known German objects that would have remained intact if the Holocaust had not happened,” said Ruth Ull, curator of the exhibition and Yad Vashem’s German representative. Told.

“The idea of ​​this exhibition is to bring these objects back to Germany for a while, to bring new energy to the objects themselves and the gaps they left behind.”

In one of the showcases is a nondescript piece of cloth. This is part of a flag that once belonged to Anneliese Bolinski, who was part of a Jewish youth group in the Berlin suburb of Ahrensdorf. She helped her group prepare for immigration and life in the country that would later become the State of Israel.

After the Nazis issued their deportation orders, the 12 members decided to chop the flag of the “Maccabi Hatzair” youth group into 12 pieces and promised each other to meet again in Israel after the war to reassemble the flag. .

Only three people survived the Holocaust, and Bolinski was the only member who was able to take part of her flag to Israel. In 2007, her son donated to Yad Vashem.

Another item is a brown leather suitcase. On one side is written in bold: ‘Thelma Sarah Velemann from Bremen’.

This suitcase was found in Berlin a few years after the war. Researchers at Yad Vashem were unable to pin down how the suitcase got to the German capital, but they discovered that a woman of the same name from the northern city of Bremen was living in a retirement home in Berlin. discovered. In 1942, at the age of 66, she was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto and two months later executed in the Treblinka extermination camp.

Ur and her team posted next to each exhibit a life-size photograph of the building or street corner where the item’s owner lived before the Nazis came to power. The images show contemporary rather than historical scenes, in stark contrast to the devastation the Third Reich caused decades ago.

Six million European Jews were killed by the Nazis and their minions during the Holocaust. Some survivors are still alive today, but their numbers are dwindling due to illness and old age.

One of them is Meyerfeld, a girl who ran away with her doll Inge in 1941. She returned to Germany this week to attend the opening of the exhibition.

Looking at her fair-haired, blue-eyed doll, the woman, now 85, noted that the doll was wearing pajamas that she had worn as a barely two-year-old toddler on November 9, 1938. During Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass,” she hid with her mother. During this time, the Nazis—some of whom were ordinary Germans—terrorized Jews, destroyed businesses, and burned down more than 1,400 synagogues.

“It’s not an easy doll to play with because it’s fragile, so I didn’t let my kids play with her,” Meyerfeld said. “She was sitting on a shelf in my house and they were watching her, so I explained that she was going to break.

Meyerfeld said it was important for her to return to Germany and let the public know about her doll, her life and what happened during the Holocaust.

“The world has learned nothing from past wars,” she said. “A lot of people say it never happened. They can’t tell me that. I was there. I lived it.”


AP’s religious coverage is supported through a partnership between AP and The Conversation US with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content. 16 objects from Germany tell the story of the Holocaust in new ways | WGN Radio 720

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