Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gathering the Fragments of the Holocaust

When, only in the last year, 13,000 die survivors of the Nazi horror in Israel, time becomes an enemy non-negotiable. The Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem (Yad Vashem) knows it and so desperately struggling against the threat of oblivion. 13,000 records lost by the death of his players but that were or could be recorded in the collective memory thanks to their testimonies and their fragments.

Israel, where 208,000 survivors, commemorates the Day of the Holocaust (Shoah) trying to find anything that perpetuates the memory. Bowels of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. While many visitors travel pictures, pictures, videos and backgrounds of the Shoah, Haim Gertner and his small group of experts navigate between documents and objects from the five continents.

Their mission: to find and bring genuine and real parts of the tremendous puzzle that Adolf Hitler rode in the Old Continent. It is also the nexus of analog and tragic past to the present modern and digital. "We want to put all the documents found in recent decades on the Web Creating a digital library that gets overcome with time." Gertner says, the director of the Archives of Yad Vashem, the world's largest Holocaust.

No missing work more than 130 million documents, 385,000 photographs, 2.2 million documents with statements from witnesses and 200,000 hours of audio and video recordings. On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated on Monday in Israel, Yad Vashem launched an ambitious campaign to collect personal items related to the Shoah.

"Gathering the Fragments" asks the public, especially the survivors and their families, to collect and submit their photographs, diaries, letters, birth certificates, songs, testimonies, artistic works and all objects that have to do with this tragic time . 66 years after the end of World War II, every paper has its rationale.

To learn more about the history and do not forget. "There are many objects as letters dated 30 and 40 that the owner does not think are important. But we are very relevant as they are small details that help bring us closer to what happened," says Gertner. In a small room Yad Vashem as if they were scientists, several Israeli experts analyzed machines and objects with much affection.

No matter how small. Each piece is gold. He who enters the room is viewed with caution, limiting the possibility of photographing objects many of whom have decades of intense history. His hands try something more than a relic. In fact, his work reminds the central room of the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, in which polished diamonds.

In this case, the value is not economic but emotional, historical and educational. Gertner is responsible for a very difficult task: to name the six million Jews murdered by the Nazi machine. Have so far managed to document four million. Reaching out to all is a goal almost impossible. "Unfortunately I do not think we know all the names of the six million because many families and Jewish communities were completely destroyed.

That is, the Nazis ended their lives and left no trace. They did not want evidence of their terrible actions. Books, documents, photographs and memories were erased with that intention, "says Gertner. Eastern Europe is the area which creates more difficulties in reaching the full identity of the victims.

Especially in Poland where they were wiped out three of the 3.3 million Jews living in the country. Victims of Western Europe, he already knows 90%. "It's two million names which are basically of Poland, Belarus, usually in Eastern Europe," confirms this man used to cross information, dates, lists, testimonials and anecdotes from many decades.

The Chairman of the Yad Vashem , Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, believes that "it is essential to collect all objects of the Holocaust and find the name of each victim. It's a race against time. We must act before those who still remember to leave forever. "Meir Lau was a child when he survived the extermination camp at Buchenwald.

His parents and other relatives were murdered by the Nazis. Yad Vashem has invited survivors and their families to take on Monday all objects directly or indirectly for the Holocaust to be kept "forever." This is the first stage of a trial. Death and testimony about languishes. In Israel, 50% of Holocaust survivors are more than 80 years.

Each day, 30 survivors die. His objects of that dark age, then, becomes their only voice. His legacy.

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