It is supposed to be a day of celebration, but so much tragedy and human suffering took place that even if a thousand years pass, the memory of those children, men and women who died in the most cruel way would remain in our hearts forever.
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world population. (wikipedia). Six million out of them died because they were born Jews.
So 8th of May is a very important date, commemorated by many nations worldwide paritcularly Europe for it marked the end of that war when Nazi Germany signed its unconditional surrender the previous day.
And to join in the remembrance, here are some photos related to that darkest years in the 20th century in Europe.
“The Shoes on the Danube”
A memorial to the Budapest Jews who were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen between 1944 and 1945.
The victims were lined up and shot into the Danube River. They had to take their shoes off, since shoes were valuable belongings at the time.
by Gyula Pauer, a Hungarian sculptor, and his friend Can Togay in 2005
by Arbit Blatas, Lithuanian artist and sculptor
Did you know that the word “Ghetto” started in Venice, Italy?
In 1516, the doges, Venice’s ruling council, debated whether Jews should be allowed to remain in the city. They decided to let the Jews remain, but their residence would be confined to Ghetto Nuova, a small, dirty island; it became the world’s first ghetto. The word “ghetto” is from the Italian getto meaning “casting” or Venetian geto meaning “foundry.”
Jews of Italian and German origin moved into this ghetto. The latter came to Venice because of persecution in their communities, while the former came from Rome and from the South, where they faced anti-Semitism. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Venice.html
The Kindertransport Memorial
It commemorates the rescue mission that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig. They were placed in British foster homes, hostels, and farms. Oftentimes they were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust.
By Venezuelan-born Flor Kent, Liverpool Street Station, London, England
Statue of Anne Frank
She is one of the most renowned Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her diary documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of Anne’s father, Otto Frank’s, office building. After two years, the group was betrayed & transported to concentration camps. Anne Frank & her sister Margot were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died of typhus in March 1945. Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that Anne’s diary had been saved, & his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch & first published in English in 1952 as “The Diary of a Young Girl.” It has since been translated into many languages. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944. http://peace.maripo.com/m_anne_frank.htm
By Mari Andriessen [1897-1979], near the Anne Frank Museum, Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Homomonument (gay monument)
Immediately after World War II there were calls to establish a memorial to commemorate the gay men and women who lost their lives in the war. The call for remembrance finally gained traction in the 1980s, when more thorough research was conducted on the persecution of homosexuals in World War II. The Homomonument makes a strong statement that history must not be repeated: “Never again”. The monument goes beyond commemorating just the victims of World War II. It also commemorates all homosexuals who have been or are still being persecuted by government regimes. http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/Ndtrc/Homomonument
Designed by Amsterdam-born artist Karin Daan in 1979, commissioned by the Homomonument society and was officially unveiled in September 1987 at Westermarkt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Memorial, Für Das Kind – Wien (Kindertransport child, Vienna)
A tribute to the British people for saving the lives of thousands of children from Nazi terror through the Kindertransports.
By Flor Kent, Westbahnhof, Vienna. ( 2008)
On November 21, 1943, 329 people were brought together here. Men, women and children were put into train wagons and taken to the concentration camp in Darcy near Paris. They were then taken to Auschwitz, were 311 of them were killed.
They were Jews from different countries, who had escaped from France and had been detained at a concentration camp for two months before being deported On February 15, 1944, an additional 26 Jews were transported from here to Fossoli di Carpi and then onto Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Only two of them survived…
The age and origin of each person is written to tell the story of how many lives were brought together in the Italian town of Borgo, forced by a form of persecution without limits that a Europe at that time wouldn’t and couldn’t stop.
by Architects: Kuadra Studio, Borgo San Dalmazzo train station, Piemonte, Italy
Plaque of Remembrance
(many of these are scattered around schools in Paris)
From 1942 to 1944, with the active participation of the French government of Vichy, more than 11,000 children were deported from France and assassinated in the death camps because they were born Jews. More than 500 of these children lived in the 3rd arrondisement. Some of them attended this school, Saint Martin Elementary.
We shall never forget.
The Wall of Names
Engraved on these walls are the names of the 76,000 Jews, among them 11,000 children, who were deported from France with the collaboration of the Vichy government, as part of the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jews in Europe.
Most of them were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau, others were killed in the camps of Sobibor, Lublin, Majdanek and Kaunas / Reval between 1942 and 1944. Only about 2,500 people survived deportation. This Wall of Names restores identity to the children, women and men which the Nazis tried to eradicate from the surface of the earth. ….Memorial of the Shoah (Holocaust) Museum
The Wall of Names presents the first names, last names and year of birth of the Jews, victims of deportation from France as part of the “Final Solution” implemented by Nazi Germany with the complicity of the Vichy government. The victims are listed by name in alphabetical order and by year of deportation.