Tag Archives: auschwitz

Bloeme Evers Died, Pope Visits Auschwitz

Bloeme Evers recently died. She had just recently turned 90 years old. I have a brief summary of her fascinating life story in that link. Here is where the death information came from: news item (in Dutch).

Auschwitz is one of the places where Bloeme Evers knew the Franks. Pope Francis recently visited that concentration camp, where Anne and the rest hidden in the Annexe were taken after the raid on their hiding place. Some of them died there, or were murdered outright. Others were sent elsewhere where they died. Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived. BBC News covered the Pope’s visit. He was speechless.

Evolution(?) of Nazi War Criminal Trials

The New Yorker Magazine has a thoughtful informative article about the pattern of WWII Nazi war criminals being handled in an increasingly punishing way, just as their numbers are appreciably dwindling. The author, Elizabeth Kolbert, shares not only her well-worthwhile thoughts about the matter of recent Nazi trials, but her family’s Holocaust history, some facts about people in the Auschwitz organization, and her own Stolperstein experience.

A Stolperstein is a small plaque installed in the sidewalk outside of the last home of Holocaust survivors, a project of artist, Gunter Demnig. Kolbert signed on to have one installed in the memory of her Great-Grandmother, Franziska Maass, of Berlin, whose life ended in Auschwitz.

(It’s possible Anne may have met her. We just don’t know. It seems unlikely. The only information known is Franziska was 62 years old in December 1942 when she was sent to Auschwitz. Though noted on arrival as able to work, it is unlikely she survived two more years to meet Anne in 1944.)

In print, the article is, “The Last Trial: A great-grandmother, Auschwitz, and the arc of justice,” by Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, Feb 16, 2015.

Two News Items Related to WWII Nazi Trains

Pending parliamentary approval, France’s national railway has agreed to give some recompense to surviving Holocaust victims, spouses of victims, and heirs. The organization’s was complicit in deporting tens of thousands of people to death camps during WWII.

BBC News

The Westerbork Memorial Center has purchased a WWII cattle car discovered in Germany. Five were discovered on an abandoned track near Butzbach. The WWII-era cattle cars presumably were matched satisfactorily to documents and archival film/photos as the type used to ship prisoners out of Westerbork. It’s not certain if these particular boxcars were used to transport prisoners from Westerbork to death camps, but they will be restored and will become a part of the visitor exhibits.

News Story (in Dutch)
Another News Story(also in Dutch)

You may notice some photos of trains in some news stories show trains with windows and some do not. I remember reading that, when people were transported from freedom to a camp,  the trains were fairly nice. This played into passenger’s and onlooker’s hopes that things were not going to be so bad. But when camp prisoners were then transported from one camp to another (such as the trip from Westerbork to Auschwitz-Birkenau), there was no pretense at comfort or humanity: they were forced into cattle cars. Of course, in either case, they found themselves locked in. 

Thanks to my helpful NL contact for pointing out the news about the boxcar going to Westerbork.

3 April 2015 UPDATE:
The trains have been restored and installed in the museum site: Dutch article and video. The article explains that Westerbork was destroyed in the 1970s. It was rebuilt as a museum site. They have restored and placed into the Westerbork museum site two cattle cars of the same type Anne and other Westerbork prisoners were sent on, sent on the long trip to Auschwitz.