Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. B-Down Gobo Light Show – Memories. A Wordpress Production

Margaret Craven

A Holocaust mystery finds some answers

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By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers 

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in New Jersey, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.

What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of World War II.

Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.

“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.

Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.

But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60 Holocaust orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in Parsippany, N.J.

The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.

Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.

What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching from Warsaw to Auschwitz and Dachau, from Australia to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in New Jersey where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.

It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.

This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of World War II?

None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.

“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”

As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.

The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.

One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.

The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.

The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by the U.S. army that liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.

Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.

“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.

Holocaust artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.

“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.

In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.

In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went to Germany to begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.

They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside Munich, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.

They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.

Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.

Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial archives in Jerusalem, Australian immigration records and data from England.

Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.

It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.

Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. After Germany invaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.

In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near Munich, in May 1941.

In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.

In 1949 he sailed to Australia and tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to Europe in 1963 and lived in England and France. He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in Gdynia on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.

He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.

He was robbed of his money and passport, and Poland‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.

His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.

“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.

He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.

In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.

“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”

The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.

Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.

Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near Krakow. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.

Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.

His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived in New Jersey that his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.

Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.

At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.

The two lives, briefly intertwined by the Holocaust and an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near Hereford, England, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”

Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.

He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.

“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and Monika Scislowska from Warsaw.

On the Net:

National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts

Dachau

International Tracing Service


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

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The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
From Fateless, the Motion Picture

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The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Identify people…
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

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We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


Sunday writings…

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I really don’t know what to write tonight, I really don’t feel like writing because I’ve not prepared anything really. The last holiday weekend before the grind begins with a bang this week. I’ve been banking on sleep as of late – trying to steal away hours here and there, I love to sleep.

I’ve been on these new medications now for 3 months.

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I have to say that throwing up is right up there on my most hated activities during my day. I have morning sickness once or twice a week. This morning it woke me up out of a sound sleep, as if I had spent the night prior drinking until I could not drink any more.

I didn’t even have a drinking dream to go with the morning sickness. I mean it would have meant so much more if I could put throwing up into context! Alas, I was exhausted afterwards and it took me an hour to calm down and get my breathing under control because my body was in that “post vomit” stage of recuperation… UGH!

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It was a beautiful day today. I sat out on the lanai enjoying the sunshine. The days are starting to get shorter and the sun will begin to set earlier and earlier. I can’t wait for the trees to start turning.

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I spent the past couple of nights reading Elie Wiesel’s  “Night.” I found the read to be as cathartic as Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. Both men were boys when they were taken to the camps. I knew the story, even before I read the first page. Though the two stories are different, they share the common thread:

“You are in a concentration camp. In Auschwitz…” 

“Remember,” “Remember it always, let it be graven in your memories. You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp. Here, you must work. If you don’t you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work – or crematorium – the choice is yours.”

Reading Elie’s account as he moves from camp to camp, trying to stay with his father, to keep his father alive, through the worst of conditions was amazing. Where Elie tells us his story on a great scale, describing seasons and changes, his visions of babies being killed and burned in ditches was exceptionally brutal.

“Poor devils, you are heading for the crematorium.” Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes…children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me.)  

How was it possible that men, women and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this could not be real. A nightmare perhaps…

Night, ppgs. 32-33, 38-39…

Primo Levi tells another story of the same conditions but from a different point of view. Those reviews of that text are in my Holocaust files in Categories, you can read them there. Both writers are important to know, to read and to respect.

 

It is interesting that I was reading this text over the weekend, and during Saturday night’s Coast to Coast, with Ian Punnet, a caller called in – it was an off topic call – this man said that he had studied in Germany and knew people who were alive during WWII and he told the listeners that in Germany during that time, people were told and it was later understood that on certain days, one just did not go to the train stations at all…

To address the question about “the world not knowing what was going on, it is said that Germans learned not to explore outdoors or go to the train stations on certain days while the extermination of the Jews was being carried out.

Any read of the Horrific stories of the Holocaust are important so that these memories do not go unheeded, that the warnings are not passed on the future generations.  “That we should remember, so that we should never forget.” I highly recommend these two texts for those who are interested in Holocaust studies, ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel and ‘Survival in Auschwitz’ by Primo Levi. These stories must be passed on…

I’ve made some minor changes to the blog, and I’ve added and deleted some of my bookmarks on the side bar. People are returning from hiatus and from vacations over the summer, so go read them, each blogger on my blog list is worth the time.

I hope all of you are well and thanks again for your readership.

 


In pictures: Germany's biggest synagogue

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Germany’s biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, has reopened after a lavish restoration.

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Rabbi Chaim Roswaski, who presided at the ceremony, described the reconstruction as “a miracle”.

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Friday’s inauguration saw rabbis bringing the Torah to the synagogue, in a ceremony witnessed by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

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The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.

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The synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany’s Jewish community.


In pictures: Germany’s biggest synagogue

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Germany’s biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, has reopened after a lavish restoration.

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Rabbi Chaim Roswaski, who presided at the ceremony, described the reconstruction as “a miracle”.

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Friday’s inauguration saw rabbis bringing the Torah to the synagogue, in a ceremony witnessed by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

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The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.

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The synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany’s Jewish community.


France mourns former archbishop

BBC News Online

 

Funeral of Cardinal Lustiger at Notre Dame, Paris

President Sarkozy flew home especially for the funeral

A funeral service including Jewish prayers has been held at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. The former Archbishop of Paris, who died on Sunday aged 80, was born Aaron Lustiger to Polish Jews who had settled in France before World War I.

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, interrupted his summer holiday in the United States to attend the funeral.

Cardinal Lustiger became a Catholic at the start of World War II.

The ceremonies at Notre Dame began with a reading of a Jewish psalm, followed by the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger

Cardinal Lustiger worked to improve Catholic-Jewish relations

Arno Lustiger, a cousin and 83-year-old Auschwitz death camp survivor, read the Kaddish before a crowd of some 5,000 mourners.

President Sarkozy described Cardinal Lustiger as “a great man, a man who was important to the French, believers and non-believers alike, a man of peace, unity and reconciliation”.

Cardinal Lustiger was an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-Semitism, who appeared frequently on television as a commentator on current issues.

He was buried in the cathedral’s crypt, like most former archbishops of Paris since the 17th Century.

His successor, Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, praised the late cardinal’s role in “the development of relations between Jews and Christians, with the encouragement and support of [former Pope] John Paul II”.

Cardinal Lustiger died on Sunday in a clinic in Paris, where he was admitted in April.

The cleric was archbishop of Paris for 24 years before stepping down in 2005 at the age of 78. He was made a cardinal in 1983.

His mother Gisele was deported and killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz during the war.


We Have Failed to Remember …

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Writing along the lines starting at my last post, “Custodians of a Living Earth,” we take a more serious look at the past for guidance for the future. With all the wars in the world and all the conflict in many areas of the world like the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Iraq and Afghanistan:

“We have Failed to Remember and We have Failed in Never letting this Happen Again.” 

I have updated my header with images from that period of time. I happen to have spent an entire semester last Fall 2006 studying the Holocaust. We watched film after film, looking at raw data and Nazi history. I read “Night” by Elie Wiesel and “Survival in Auschwitz” by Primo Levi and I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Montreal and these numbers come from research notes from our class. My goal here is to remind you that we may not call it Holocaust today, Some use the term “Genocide” and millions of people are dying all over the world by war, conflict, division, famine, disasters and so forth and so on…

It Falls to Us to make a Difference, I Wonder if We are Able???
And do We care to even Try? We Must DO there is no Try !!!

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Auschwitz-Birkenau

The largest Nazi extermination camp.

  • Location: Oswiecim, Poland
  • Established: May 26th1940
  • Liberation: January 27th, 1945, by the Soviet Army.
  • Estimated number of victims: 2,1 to 2,5 million (This estimated number of death is considered by historians as a strict minimum. The real number of death is unknown but probably much higher, maybe 4 millions)

Belzec
From march 1942 until early 1943, it is estimated that about 600,000 Jews were murdered in Belzec extermination camp.

Chelmno:
C
helmno, also known as Kulmhof, was a small town roughly 50 miles from the city of Lodz, Poland. It was here that the first mass killings of Jews by gas took place as part of the ‘Final Solution’.

Majdanek
The killing operations began in Majdanek in April 1942 and ended in July 1944. Majdanek also provided slave labor for munitions works and Steyr-Daimler- Puch weapons factory. The estimated number of deaths is 360,000, including Jews, Soviet POWs and Poles.

Sobibor
Sobibor was the second extermination camp to come into operation in the Aktion Reinhard program. Estimated number of deaths: 250,000, the majority being Jews.

Treblinka
Opening for “business” on July 23, 1942, with the beginning of the evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto, some 245,000 Warsaw Jews and 112,000 Jews from other places in the Warsaw district were murdered in Treblinka by September 21. 337,000 Jews from the Radom district, 35,000 from the Lublin district and 107,000 from the Bialystok district also met their death in Treblinka with 738,000 Jews who had been residents of the General Gouvernement. From outside Poland many thousands of Jews were transported to and killed in Treblinka: 7.000 from Slovakia, 8,000 from Theresienstadt concentration camp, 4,000 Jews from Greece, and 7,000 Jews from the Macedonia portion of Bulgaria. In addition to the Jews, some 2,000 gypsies were killed in Treblinka.

 


Buchenwald marks 70th anniversary

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WEIMAR, Germany – Holocaust survivors on Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of the Buchenwald concentration camp’s founding by honoring more than 38,000 victims whose identities had previously been unknown.

Buchenwald researchers spent the past decade scouring archives from the United States to Israel and across Germany in an attempt to identify tens of thousands of the estimated 56,000 prisoners who lost their lives at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945, but had been known only by their camp-assigned numbers.

Archivists at the camp, perched on a hillside overlooking the eastern city of Weimer, were able to identify 38,049 victims and enter their names into a memorial book.

“The Nazis tried to reduce humans to numbers, to rob them of their identity,” said Jens Goebel, culture minister for the state of Thuringia, upon handing copies of the book to representatives of survivor groups. “That should not be the last word.”

About 8,000 Soviet prisoners of war, as well as some 9,000 who died in death marches as the Nazis tried to evacuate the camp late in World War II, remain unknown.

Most of the early inmates at Buchenwald were political prisoners. But following Kristallnacht — Night of the Broken Glass — in 1938, some 10,000 Jews were sent to the camp. Over the course of World War II, criminals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman and German military deserters were also interned at the main camp and its many sub and labor camps.


UNESCO committee renames Auschwitz

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By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – UNESCO officially renamed the Auschwitz death camp in Poland Thursday to reflect the German Nazi role, and added seven new sites to its world heritage registry, including ancient ruins in Iraq.

The U.N. agency’s World Heritage Committee did not mention the war in Iraq but said it had listed ruins in the city of Samarra as “in danger.” Considered a holy city by Shiite Muslims, Samarra has been the target of attacks. Earlier this month insurgents blew up the minarets of its Askariya shrine.

Auschwitz now will be known as “Auschwitz-Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945),” said Roni Amelan, a spokesman for the committee. Previously the camp was listed on UNESCO’s world heritage registry as the “Auschwitz Concentration Camp.”

Poland requested the change to ensure that future generations understand it had no role in the camp established by Adolf Hitler‘s forces during their brutal occupation of the country.

Polish officials have complained that Auschwitz is sometimes referred to as a “Polish concentration camp,” a phrase they fear may be misleading to younger generations who may not associate the camp with Nazi Germany.

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The Nazis killed more than 1 million people at the camp outside the city of Oswiecim and nearby Birkenau, the site of the main gas chambers and crematoriums.

Most of those killed were European Jews, although Poles, Gypsies and others also were gassed or died from starvation, disease and forced labor during its roughly five years of operation.

The camp was made a World Heritage site by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1979.

The ruins in Samarra stretch along the eastern bank of the Tigris river and include the 9th century Great Mosque with its 170-foot-tall spiral minaret.

Measuring about 26 miles long and 5 miles wide, the huge site “testifies to the architectural and artistic innovations that developed there and spread to the other regions of the Islamic world and beyond,” the committee said.

The other sites include the Lope-Okanda landscape of Gabon, the Richtersveld mountainous desert of South Africa, the rock carvings of Namibia’s Twyfelfontein region and 1,800 fortified tower houses in China’s Guangdong province.

Three natural sites — the Teide National Park on the island of Tenerife, ancient beech forests in central Europe and Switzerland’s high Alps site of Jungfrau-Aletsch Bietschhorn — also were named.

The committee, meeting this week in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, was considering dozens of other applications for additions to its list of natural and cultural treasures.

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On the Net:

http://www.unesco.org

http://www.auschwitz.org


Anne Frank's cousin donates family files

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By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer 

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Anne Frank’s cousin on Monday donated thousands of letters, photographs and documents that archivists say will reveal details about the background of the teenage diarist who became a symbol of the Holocaust.

Bernhard “Buddy” Elias, 82, had kept the materials for decades in his Swiss attic before permanently loaning them to the Anne Frank House — the museum incorporating the tiny apartment where the family hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands — to mark Monday’s 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Diary of Anne Frank.

The donation includes Otto Frank’s 1945 letter informing his mother in Switzerland that his daughters Anne and Margo and his wife Edith died in Nazi concentration camps, the letter his mother wrote responding to diary excerpts that Otto sent her, and photographs from the late 1890s of the Frank family in their native Frankfurt, Germany.

With Elias’ collection, the Amsterdam museum now holds nearly all known historical material about the family, including the postwar years when Otto Frank — the only survivor — compiled and promoted the diary.

“This is a very moving moment for me,” Elias said, handing a thick inventory of the archive to the director of the Anne Frank House, Hans Westra.

The 25,000 documents include material Otto gave to the foundation he started in Basel, Switzerland, in his daughter’s memory, and letters from Elias’ home in that city, long stored in cupboards and the attic. Otto died in 1980.

The archive has little new information about the 25 months the Frank family and four other Jews hid in the annex of the warehouse where Otto Frank had operated a spice business.

It includes a 1942 business letter to the family in Switzerland from Johannes Kleiman, who was helping to hide the Franks, obliquely hinting they were still alive, archivist Peter Toebak said.

But the collection’s value is in understanding the family’s cultured background in Germany and the background for the teenager’s talent in writing.

“They spoke four languages. They were interested in art, in theater. When they went to a concert or a play, they wrote about it. That’s all in these letters,” Elias told The Associated Press. “My grandmother wrote deep, wonderful poems.”

Otto Frank came from a wealthy Frankfurt family. The archive contains an invitation to his father, Michael, a banker who died in 1909, to attend a function for the Kaiser. Otto and his brother served in the German army during World War I, but after the Nazis began persecuting Jews the family scattered to England, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Elias is the son of Otto’s younger sister Leni, who lived in Basel with the family matriarch Alice.

“There’s a literary tradition in this family,” said Toebak, who spent two years putting the papers in order. “They were very close to each other,” and remained in close contact.

Toebak said the collection may contain some surprises that historians could discover when they begin to delve into the files.

Anne Frank, her parents and sister were arrested in August 1944. Her writings in notebooks and loose sheets of paper were scooped up hours after the arrest by Miep Gies, an employee of Otto Frank’s business, who gave them to Otto when he returned after the war.

Anne died of typhus in March 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at age 15, two weeks before the camp was liberated.

Otto edited the papers and published 3,000 copies of the diary in Dutch on June 25, 1947, as “Het Achterhuis,” or “The Annex.” It was translated into German, French and then English in 1952 as “The Diary of a Young Girl,” which later became “The Diary of Anne Frank” and was translated into 65 languages.


Anne Frank’s cousin donates family files

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By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer 

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Anne Frank’s cousin on Monday donated thousands of letters, photographs and documents that archivists say will reveal details about the background of the teenage diarist who became a symbol of the Holocaust.

Bernhard “Buddy” Elias, 82, had kept the materials for decades in his Swiss attic before permanently loaning them to the Anne Frank House — the museum incorporating the tiny apartment where the family hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands — to mark Monday’s 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Diary of Anne Frank.

The donation includes Otto Frank’s 1945 letter informing his mother in Switzerland that his daughters Anne and Margo and his wife Edith died in Nazi concentration camps, the letter his mother wrote responding to diary excerpts that Otto sent her, and photographs from the late 1890s of the Frank family in their native Frankfurt, Germany.

With Elias’ collection, the Amsterdam museum now holds nearly all known historical material about the family, including the postwar years when Otto Frank — the only survivor — compiled and promoted the diary.

“This is a very moving moment for me,” Elias said, handing a thick inventory of the archive to the director of the Anne Frank House, Hans Westra.

The 25,000 documents include material Otto gave to the foundation he started in Basel, Switzerland, in his daughter’s memory, and letters from Elias’ home in that city, long stored in cupboards and the attic. Otto died in 1980.

The archive has little new information about the 25 months the Frank family and four other Jews hid in the annex of the warehouse where Otto Frank had operated a spice business.

It includes a 1942 business letter to the family in Switzerland from Johannes Kleiman, who was helping to hide the Franks, obliquely hinting they were still alive, archivist Peter Toebak said.

But the collection’s value is in understanding the family’s cultured background in Germany and the background for the teenager’s talent in writing.

“They spoke four languages. They were interested in art, in theater. When they went to a concert or a play, they wrote about it. That’s all in these letters,” Elias told The Associated Press. “My grandmother wrote deep, wonderful poems.”

Otto Frank came from a wealthy Frankfurt family. The archive contains an invitation to his father, Michael, a banker who died in 1909, to attend a function for the Kaiser. Otto and his brother served in the German army during World War I, but after the Nazis began persecuting Jews the family scattered to England, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Elias is the son of Otto’s younger sister Leni, who lived in Basel with the family matriarch Alice.

“There’s a literary tradition in this family,” said Toebak, who spent two years putting the papers in order. “They were very close to each other,” and remained in close contact.

Toebak said the collection may contain some surprises that historians could discover when they begin to delve into the files.

Anne Frank, her parents and sister were arrested in August 1944. Her writings in notebooks and loose sheets of paper were scooped up hours after the arrest by Miep Gies, an employee of Otto Frank’s business, who gave them to Otto when he returned after the war.

Anne died of typhus in March 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at age 15, two weeks before the camp was liberated.

Otto edited the papers and published 3,000 copies of the diary in Dutch on June 25, 1947, as “Het Achterhuis,” or “The Annex.” It was translated into German, French and then English in 1952 as “The Diary of a Young Girl,” which later became “The Diary of Anne Frank” and was translated into 65 languages.


Angelus…

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I can’t begin to tell you the gratitude I feel at this very moment. Be careful what you ask from God, because if He thinks you are ready, it shall happen, and sometimes much quicker than expected. You never know when you are entertaining an angel…

******************************

Magnificat:

Left: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

Right: The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.

Left: He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the
arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.

Right: The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.

Left: He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his
mercy, according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Right: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Spirit …

All: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end.

Amen.

********************************

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

R. Amen.

****************************************

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen.

R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.

Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.

R. Amen.


Mark Brian …

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Whenever I consider ministry and my work with others, I always return to my roots and the writing of Margaret Craven. It has been my experience that ministry must flow from the inside and I must always remember that I am a visitor here and the prayer must always start with “Yes, Master – No, Master!”

After my share the other night, I have become more self conscious of the package that I present to others. I am surely mindful of the impact that I may or may not have on those I am in ministry to. I have always tried to lead with my heart and listen more than talk. I guess that comes from years of listening to people talk about themselves and other people and this started long ago with my parents.

I knew before I needed the information, how my parents felt about a myriad of social and emotional issues. That knowledge informed the man I would become and how I handled them in the future, although I always prayed that the journey would have turned out better than it has. But I know today that I am powerless over people, places and things.

The other night, well, 2 nights ago, I started re-reading this book. It is my most favorite text to read, so simple in its presentation, yet packed with lessons and tools. If you have never read it, I think everyone should have a copy of this book in their library. I told this to a friend not long ago, when I was young I had aspirations of ministry, and today I still do. It has been suggested that I form my own congregation, some here think I would be good at leading a flock. The situation in certain circles must change and I would need some serious facilitation and assistance.

Over the past few nights you have been able to read some of my academic work traffic to those posts are still up there so I guess many of you find my writing to be educational and interesting. Nothing brings a writer (namely ME) more joy that to know that my writing has impacted so many around the world. What a benefit this little sphere has become. I’m not making any money from free publishing, but my work, like many others is out there for mass consumption. Which makes me very proud. I have worked very hard to educate myself in my field of study. And recovery has given me the ability to work  with others on a one to one basis, which in turn helps me help you.

I guess the writing is on the wall about where I am headed in this little religion project I have so faithfully committed to. I am mindful of the responsibility that comes with a commitment to serve God and to serve my brothers and sisters in this sphere and here in Montreal. With great wealth comes great responsibility, I heard that said before. It would be a waste not to take what I know into the world and work on forming a ministry of my own. I know that I have the support of my peers and many people in this community.

As of late, the ministers in the circle I write in have been troubled with life issues, they are tired of working and as of late, all they tend to do is complain about the state of things where they are, I don’t have an answer to these issues, but it seems to me that prayer has gone out the window for the faithful. Not to mention the fact that Winter doesn’t seem to want to end and we are looking at May in the not too distant future.

I have backed off from a few blogs lately, simply because the ability to complain and piss and moan are easier than trying to work on becoming better men and women. It is too easy to sit in ones pile of shit and stink! I am impatient, I know that. And to a point I am intolerant of other people’s struggles. But ya know, I have done all that I can to help certain people and they just can’t seem to get out and take a hot shower. I am also repulsed by some of this gay community who are just unconsciously walking through life, letting things go on, and for insanity to continue.

I can only do so much for some people and after that it is up to them to either smarten up or stay insane. I’m not wasting my time on people who just don’t seem to be making forward progress. Time is money and my time is precious – so that is what I have to say on that issue.

I don’t know why certain writers in the Gay community continue to publish and support insane and unconscionable behavior. I mean if the gay community wants to ever get out of the stone age socially, they are going to have to start walking the walk, in no uncertain terms.  Yes, I know, I am judging.

But what am I supposed to do, sit here and not offer my vision of what I am seeing? Silence only speaks of supporting what is going on – and not doing anything about change. Silence gives permission for anyone and everyone. I’m tired of being part of communities that don’t affect change. It is too difficult to say NO. God forbid we start to try to change – what will our friends think of us???

The other night – one one of my boards, someone called me self absorbed, rude and self centered, it’s funny how people can judge someone without ever investing one minutes time getting to know me on the inside.  I don’t have the time to waste engaging assholes who say shit like that.

If you are going to judge me based on one post, then that’s your problem not mine. They say that when you have issues with someone else, the problem lies squarely in your hands. I am having issues as of late, I am not perfect. Hey, I’m an alcoholic getting better, better than I was, but by far not perfect.

I have axed some of my blog links, and I also added a number of new links over there for you to go read. I’ve added some religious writers and some gay writers from around the world who have featured my work on their blogs as of late.

What’s going on in Montreal? Well, all that really beautiful snow that fell Sunday into Monday morning, is all but melted. The look from up here is messy, to say the least. I went to bed late last night, between 2 and 3 a.m. and it is fascinating to watch the weather from up this high. We have a West view of Montreal with the mountain to the North and the South shore to the south and far off into the west is the U.S. 35 miles out. On a clear day you can see all the way to the mountains in the far off distance.

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This is our view from our living room. We can see wider to the South and the North as well, this is a cropped shot from one window pane.

The snow clouds came in and banked all the way to the horizon, this tells us that it is going to snow, and it did all night, until about 2:30 this morning. Then it was as it God flipped the “Almighty Switch” and the clouds lifted off the city like someone taking the top of a can off after opening the it, and the breath of God blew the clouds away and in a matter of 30 minutes the sky was clear as a bell, it was freaky.

I got up this morning and most of the fresh snow had melted and the temperature rose a few degrees and that was it for the white stuff. There are dirty piles of snow on the sidewalks and along the street. It is (4c) at the moment and snow or rain is in the forecast through Tuesday night.

Well I guess that’s all I have for right now. I need to get ready for a meeting in an hour so this has been another episode of “insane ramblings of an alcoholic…”

Ladies, please…

The humidity is rising
Barometer is getting low…

For the first time in History
It’s gonna start raining men….
It’s raining men, Hallelujah!!!

It’s raining men…


I heard the Owl Call my Name…

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I needed to take some time to pray. To find the root of the ministry I am part of. One of the core teachings of my life and my ministry is found in this little book, written by Margaret Craven. “I heard the Owl call my Name.” It is a timeless story of a man of faith named Mark Brian, and his journey to Kingcome and what he learned during his life there.

This book was given to me by my spiritual director many many years ago, at a time in my life where faith was to become the guiding force of my life. The priest who handed me this book, was himself, carrying his own cross, called MS. We had a commonality. And I respected him more for what he taught me in those years about faith, perseverance, and how we would minister to others, throughout our lives.

So it comes to pass, that when my people suffer, when my ‘church’ suffers, I retreat into prayer, and I go to Kingcome, like Mark Brian. I spend two nights reading and praying. I go back to the place that is where I feel the presence of God. I read this text, as if it were sacred, to me it is. This simple story has such meaning to my life. And you will find that much of my ministry to all of you is based somewhat in the life of Mark Brian.

Much of the truth of my ministry comes to me in the ways of those men who ministered to me in my hours, days, months and years of need, when I was facing true fear. I have a collection of small books that make up the base of the ministry I share with you today. Faith is something that grows over time, prayer is seeded and nurtured over time as well. Many of the collected stories of men of faith are part of the man I am today, the humble minister you see before you.

I believe that before one can speak of faith, one must understand faith, implicitly. One must know what suffering is before one can attest to the glory and healing presence of God in ones life. Mark Brian, teaches us, simply that if you show up and be quiet and one waits on the Lord, true miracles are apt to follow.

I know I came to you, unknown and I did not ask and I waited for you to come to me and pray with me and be part of my life. I did not impose on you, but I allowed each of you to minister to me, while I listened to you. I prayed with you and I prayed for you. I ministered to you and your children. I ministered to my boys as I believe Mark would have had he been your spiritual guide. Much of him exists in me to this day.

When I see my ‘church’ begin to question who they are and what they believe, I stop and I retreat and I spend some time with Brian and the Indians of Kingcome village. They keep me mindful that I am but one person and they remind me that to suffer with you is to become of one of you. I have allowed the Lord to work his miracles between us, by just the faith we share between us. All I have to give I have given and every day I pray for the welfare of my ‘people.’

I kind of pray that my ministry would be one like that Margaret Craven writes about a small ‘compact christian’ village away from the big wide world, with cedar cabins and a vicarage and a small saintly church on a meadow overlooking the sea in the high North of the coastal West coast. I often take my problems and issues to that little church of Saint George, where Mark ministered to his flock. It is to the church I take my prayers for you every night. Church is where your heart prayer exists. It is the place where one can be naked and childlike before the God of our understanding.

Some of the flock needed to back away and get quiet, and in respect for that I took a short retreat to Kingcome village, where I prayed for each and every one of you. I care when you are in pain, I care when the world comes down on top on you, and says words to us that shock and dismay us. But you know, the sun will rise tomorrow, as it has every day since creation began. Will you rise with the sun, and pray with me? Will you trust that God hears our prayers and that we can rely on Him to heal our hearts and minds? Will you believe, just because we believe…

That God is good, and that each in our own way, we might find commonality with the people of Kingcome village and in Father Mark Brian, the humble servant of God.

Oh, Lord who watches over us and guides us,
be with us in our hour of need, and hear the prayers
of your faithful servants of the field.
Teach us in your ways and guide us in your truth
let your spirit reside within us and heal us
and Bless us with Wisdom, Peace and Love.

May we find, through our prayers of Mark Brian
that we may become more like him, and to understand
that it is in the peace of silence and the understanding
of that silence that God can be found, and on that day
we will understand, quietly, what is meant when
We hear the Owl call our names.

We ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ your son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
One God forever and ever,
Amen


Religious Life

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Of late I have felt the stirring of my soul, as to what I am supposed to do next on this spiritual journey and I think I have an answer. I’ve been praying for the next puzzle piece to present itself. If you’ve been along for the entire journey, my visit to Montreal and subsequent relocation here, was based on a faith puzzle, that I have been putting together for as many years.

I need several things I think I believe I know where to find them. I know that to even contemplate a run at the “Church” is pointless for I truly would never make it in at this stage of the game. But I believe I know a way in.

Can it be this easy? Always be careful for what you pray for because if God thinks you are ready then it will come to pass. I am going to visit the Mother House this week, and ask them if they will help me with certain tasks that I believe I need for the rest of this journey. The sisters are teachers, they are servants to the community. The primary language of the Mother House is French. I have a vested interest in the Mother House. And surely if I ask any of them to help me, surely they will all say yes.

I will see Mother Superior this week and ask her if she would welcome me into the house and to see if Sister Agathe and the others would teach me things I need to know, the only way to learn something is to immerse into it. The Mother House is the prime location to do this in. I know, in the past when I would go to visit Sister Georgette there were men and women who came to the mother house from far and wide to be taught languages and  other ministry tools. I only have 2 classes this term and alot of spare time.

I could become a student – a religious student – Within the walls of the Mother House. I wouldn’t need any more permission than that of Mother Superior. I could devote some of my time to serve the Mother House in turn they could teach me in the ways of the nuns and religious. What better way to honor Sister Georgette then to at least ask. If Pastoral Ministry is my calling, then the Grey Nuns are the ones to seek the kingdom of God.

Ask I shall.

I ask you all for your prayers.

There is more than one way in to the church. If you can’t get in the normal way, then you find the women with the keys to the back door.

Mere D’Youville pray for us
Sister Georgette Cote pray for us
Mary Mother of God pray for us