Tag Archives: World War II

Auschwitz Survivor Turns to Facebook to Find his Identical Twin

Birkenau_gateMenachem Bodern (born Eli Gottesman in the Ukraine) left Auchwitz on January 27, 1945 with an adopted father who took him to Israel. Now 73 years old, the survivor of the Third Reich’s most notorious death camp has turned to Facebook in the hopes of finding out what happened to his twin brother, Jeno Gottesman.

Equipped only with his faded Auschwitz ID number (A7733) and limited Nazi records, Menachem has sought assistance from Social Media to finally learn the fate of his identical twin brother. The search has turned up some promising but also disturbing news. Both boys were subject to twin testing by the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele (a fate that Menachem fortunately does not remember).  Additionally, he learned that he had a younger brother that died at Auschwitz along with their father. However, amongst the sad news there is also a ray of hope, that his brother Jeno was officially declared healthy and alive by medical staff at Auschwitz on February 9, 1945.

Menachem and his family have set up a facebook page, A7734 (the number given to his brother Josef). To learn more about his journey, please visit his page on Facebook and the story on CNN.

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Identifying the Children of the Holocaust

More than one million children died during the Holocaust, many of them separated from their families and alone. Now, the United States Holocaust Museum has begun the “Remember Me Project,” a program aimed at identifying more than 1,100 children of the Holocaust who as of yet remain nameless – girls and boys, blondes, brunettes, some teens, some infants, all unique but with one unifying factor – they remain nameless victims of the Third Reich.

To learn more about the project and to help if you can, please see the Remember Me Project and read these articles from the Associated Press and MSNBC.

Today in History – The Bombing of Hiroshima (Aug 6, 1945)

Aerial Photograph of the Explosion at Hiroshima

At 8:16 am in the morning of August 6, 1945, the United States of America dropped the atomic bomb on the civilian town of Hiroshima. Three days later, the atomic bomb would be dropped on Nagasaki. On August 15, 1945 the Japanese would officially surrender, drawing the conflict in the Pacific to a close after four long and grueling years of battle.

The dropping of the bomb is one of the most controversial events in military history and Harry S Truman’s Presidency. The awesome power of the atomic bomb even haunted those that participated in its development – the famed “Manhattan Project.” Upon seeing the staggering destructive power of the bomb after its testing in New Mexico Kenneth Bainbridge, the testing director, leaned over and reportedly told his colleauges “Now we are all sons of bitches.” J. Robert Oppenheimer later recounted:

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-GitaVishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

The effects of the bomb were enduring and remains the only instance in which nuclear weapons were employed in armed conflict. The death toll in Hiroshima alone are estimated at between 90,000 – 165,000 people, half of whom died immediately from the explosion, approximately 25% within months after the blast from radiation poisoning, and the remaining (and hardest to determine accurately) from diseases (such as leukemia and other cancers) resulting from acute radiation exposure. It remains the most deadly single attack in military history.

To learn more about the bombing, check out the Wikipedia Article on the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the “This Day in History” Article via History.com.

Veteran History Project now on iTunes U

Thanks to my friend Michael Hulshoff-Schmidt for inspiring me to write this post. The Library of Congress has begun their “Veteran History Project,” officially recording the experiences of American Veterans in their own words for future generations.

Interested in hearing about the veteran experience directly from those that served? Know a veteran and want to preserve their personal accounts? The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. This collection makes personal histories accessible, as well as providing a Field Kit for preparing and submitting your own veteran stories.

The Library of Congress is making these records available for free on iTunes U.

Looted Nazi Art Gets Online Database

Looted Nazi Art and monies are often the center of public and emotional debate. The catalogue of looted art pieces has now been digitized in the hopes of helping victims’ estates reclaim items and to assist curators in identifying stolen pieces.

“By digitising and linking archival records online, researchers will be able to piece together the stories of what became of cultural objects,” said Oliver Morley. chief executive and keeper of the National Archives.

You can read more about this issue on the BBC.

Anne Frank Museum – Now Online

The Anne Frank Museum has just launched an online initiative that allows visitors to tour the small enclosure from their home computers. It’s a wonderful educational tool for anyone who teaches the touching story of this young girl.

If you have not visited the website for the Anne Frank House, I highly encourage you to do so. It has some amazing content and now, with the addition of the online tour, opens it up to people who would otherwise be unable to experience this cramped and tiny apartment.

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.

The Archaeology of World War II

This month’s Archaeology Magazine features an interesting article on the archaeology of World War II. The modern warfare technology, techniques, and lack of defined lines has forced archaeologists to develop new and innovative techniques for warfare archaeology.

The study of World War II is at a critical juncture. We are now at a time when both veterans and civilians who participated in and lived through the war—on the battlefield and on the home front—are passing away in greater numbers.

You can read the entire article in the magazine, but you can read the abbreviated version (as well as some amazing photos and interviews) on their website here.