Reality of the Holocaust on Film & in Personal Collections

Not enough can be said in protest of those few who deny the reality of the Holocaust. Some of this denial is a thinly veiled means to deny the right of the state of Israel to exist. If the Holocaust can be minimalized then the state of Israel would have no reason to have been formed. But, worse, Holocaust denial is a refutation of the evil that took the lives of more than 50 million people during WWII. It is an invalidation of unspeakable loss, suffering, tragedy, murder and inhumanity. To refuse admission to the evils of the Holocaust is to be counted among the kinds of minds that enabled such events to take place.

Yet, the fact remains that the Holocaust is the single most well-documented event in human history. Moreover, the records of the Holocaust are not the records of the Jews, but rather of the Germans, Nazis, Soviets, French, resistance fighters, U.S. Military, doctors, Poles, prisoners, aid workers, Italians, Dutch, British and others.

Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers brought home with them memorabilia in the form of personally taken photographs and documents to remind them of what they had witnessed first hand upon liberating Nazi concentration camps.

When Martin Small was rescued from Mauthausen concentration camp in Linz, Austria, he was, like thousands of others, a mere skeleton, weighing no more than 75 pounds. He was unconscious and left among the dead in his barracks. The photograph above was taken by U.S. Captain Fabrick who was among the liberating forces first reaching the camp. Capt Fabrick’s photos and evidence appears in the newly released Remember Us, a book detailing the heroic adventures of Holocaust survivor Martin Small.

Although long and gruesome, here is archival footage offering a small sample of what the Allied forces encountered upon reaching the camps:

Liberating Forces Encounter Horrors of Nazi Camps

Holocaust Survivor Realizes his Dying Wish to See His Life Story in Print

martinsmall-vic-shayne-remember-us-book.jpgIMMEDIATE RELEASE — BROOMFIELD, CO, JUNE 10, 2008
CREATIVE BUREAU INC: 303-449-7589

Photo to the left: Writer Vic Shayne with Holocaust Survivor Martin Small (right)

Holocaust survivor realizes dying wish to see his life story in print

Martin Small, a 91-year-old resident of Broomfield, CO, is a man who has lost everything in the most literal sense, yet now, the one thing he has looked forward to the most was to see his life story in print before passing away.

Born Mordechai Schmulevicz in 1916, Small’s family, numbering eighty-four people, were murdered in his home town of in Molchad, Poland, in 1942. Only he and two cousins escaped the mass murder of more than three thousand five hundred Jewish residents by their Polish neighbors within a month of when the Nazis took over Belarus.

“My mother, father, two little sisters and all my aunts and uncles were buried alive in a grave that is now marked with a memorial plaque at the edge of the forest. Unless you know where to look,” Small says, “you wouldn’t find it. Yet, this is the only reminder that there was a thriving Jewish population in Molchad since the Middle Ages.”

Small, who speaks ten languages, escaped the massacre when he was taken away on a forced-labor caravan that tore him from his hometown forever. A year later he ended up in one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps, a place called Mauthausen, in Austria.

“I survived the pogrom that took the lives of everyone I knew, and I survived the death camps where I saw American military officers tortured to death in the cruelest ways, and I witnessed the gassing, torture, slavery and destruction of my fellow human beings. When I was rescued by the American Army in 1944, I weighed no more than 75 pounds and was left for dead. Yet my book, written with the help of Vic Shayne, does not dwell on the horrors, but rather the memories. I want people to understand that I come from a loving family and a rich culture. My book is not about the gruesome details of the Holocaust, but about who I am and who I come from. It is a lasting tribute to my family and friends.”

Martin Small’s book is called Remember Us: From my shtetl through the Holocaust, and has been lauded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and best selling author of Night, Elie Wiesel.

“I think Elie Wiesel said it brilliantly when he wrote that the purpose of telling you my experience is not so that you will understand, but so that you know you can never understand,” Small said. “What happened was unbelievable even to me, and I survived to bear witness. My book is for the millions whose voices were silenced as the result of a mad hatred. The world should know how much they are all missed.”

In the past three months, Martin Small was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “At that point,” says writer Vic Shayne, “we were racing against the clock in the hopes of delivering a finished book for Martin to hold in his hands. Somehow we managed to do this. For all that Martin has gone through, this achievement is priceless.”

Remember Us, Martin Small’s story as told to writer Vic Shayne, is available through bookstores and amazon.com.

Elie Wiesel Reviews ‘Remember Us’

eliewiesel.gifNobel Peace Prize recipient (1986), author of Night, Elie Wiesel recently gave his review for Remember Us, the true story of Holocaust Survivor Martin Small.

He wrote:

“Like all Holocaust survivors’ memoirs, Martin Small’s poignant recollections of his experiences in German concentration camps, as told to Vic Shayne, constitute an important contribution to the literature of the most tragic chapter of contemporary history.”

Elie Wiesel’s comments reflect his ongoing commitment to validate the experiences of fellow Holocaust survivors and his work to educate people on the realities of violence and oppression borne of racism and intolerance.

A couple of notes about Elie Wiesel:

For his literary and human rights activities, he has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor. In 1986, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace, and soon after, Marion and Elie Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Teaching has always been central to Elie Wiesel’s work. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also holds the title of University Professor. He is a member of the Faculty in the Department of Religion as well as the Department of Philosophy. Previously, he served as Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972-76) and the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University (1982-83).

For more information on Elie Wiesel and his work, visit his website by clicking here.