The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 29, 2013

Holocaust survivors, veterans gather at D.C. museum

(Continued)

"One of the nastiest memories I have is going on that journey and people were lined up, up the stairs, up to the door of the apartment, waiting to ransack whatever we left behind, cursing at us, yelling at us, spitting at us as we left," he said in an interview with the museum.

The museum located images of bystanders looking on as Jews were detained, humiliated and taken away.

Non-Jews were also punished for violating German policies against the mixing of ethnic groups. For the first time, the museum is showing striking, rare footage of a ritualistic shaming of a Polish girl and a German boy for having a relationship. They are marched through the streets of a town in Poland, where the film was located in an attic. Dozens of people look on as Nazi officers cut the hair of the two teenagers. They are forced to look at their nearly bald heads in a mirror before their hair is burned.

"It's hard not to focus on the cruelty that's being perpetrated on this young couple," Bachrach said. "But what we really want people to look at ... is all the other people who are standing around watching this."

Other items displayed include dozens of bullets excavated from the site of a mass grave in former Soviet territory and registration cards from city offices in Western and Southern Europe labeling people with a "J'' for Jew.

The federally funded museum's theme for its 20th anniversary is "Never Again: What You Do Matters." The museum devotes part of its work and research to stopping current and preventing future genocides. A study released by the museum last month found that the longer the current conflict in Syria continues, the greater the danger that mass sectarian violence results in genocide.

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