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The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust

Exactly 70 years ago, Hollywood’s top stars got together to expose the Holocaust.

It was early 1943, and Hitler’s armies were finally in retreat from North Africa and the Soviet Union. D-Day was more than a year away, and the Nazis had murdered almost three million Jews.

Since the start of the war, eyewitness accounts of mass shootings and death camps had made their way to governments around the world. “Rescue through victory” remained the official Allied strategy, and the killings receiving little attention.

As the genocide reached its apex, Hollywood decided to take action.

A seasoned journalist and screenwriter, Ben Hecht was the first celebrity to publicize the Holocaust. Hecht’s February 1943 essay, “The Extermination of the Jews,” rang warning bells even as the US State Department buried reports of genocide.

“Of these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, almost a third have already been massacred by Germans, Romanians, and Hungarians,” Hecht wrote in Reader’s Digest. “The most conservative of scorekeepers estimate that before the war ends at least another third will have been done to death.”

Not content with writing op-eds, Hecht decided to do what he did best — put on a sweeping drama. An Oscar-winning screenwriter who contributed to “Gone With the Wind” and scripted “Scarface,” Hecht knew how to stir emotions and frame an epic story.

via The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust | The Times of Israel.

March 10, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, This Day In History | , , | Leave a comment

Diary of child survivor of Auschwitz published

KRAKOW TOURS — The diary of a child who survived four different Nazi concentration camps during World War II has finally been published.

Helga Weiss, now 83, was one of only 100 children to survive Auschwitz out of the 15,000 sent there from the concentration camp in Terezin, north of Prague. She and her mother were sent to four different camps between 1941 and 1945: Terezin, Auschwitz, Freiberg and Mauthausen.

The diary she kept during those years, drawing and writing the scenes she observed and experienced, begins to tell the story of an 8-year-old girl experiencing air raid alarms, the expulsion of Jewish children from school and the sewing of yellow Stars of David on clothing.

When Weiss was 12, she was sent with her family to Terezin, which was essentially a transit hub for Jews that would be sent to Auschwitz and Treblinka.

via Diary of child who survived Auschwitz finally published | ksl.com.

February 25, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , | Leave a comment

Krakow In Your Pocket

Click cover to view or download the latest edition of

Krakow In Your Pocket

Or if you prefer a hard copy, order below.

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February 8, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Record numbers visit Auschwitz – Birkenau in 2011

Over 1.4 million people visited the site of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz last year.

 According to a press release by the Auschwitz Museum, this is a record since the Museum opened sixty five years ago.

The number of young people visiting Auschwitz grew by 150, 000 last year.
The director of the Museum, Piotr Cywiński, said that this is encouraging, a visit to Auschwitz being for them not only a lesson in history but also a lesson of responsibility which is born out of remembrance of past events.

In addition to over 600, 000 Polish visitors, foreigners from 111 countries came to Auschwitz last year. The British top the list, with 82, 000 visitors, followed by the Italians, the Israelis, the Germans and the Americans. A 30 per cent drop in the number of Japanese visitors is attributed to the earthquake which hit Japan in March 2010.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poland to donate €10,000,000 to Auschwitz perpetual fund.

The Polish government is to contribute 10 million euros for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation which is to oversee the conservation and maintenance work at the site of the former Nazi German concentration camp in southern Poland.

A draft bill which is to approve the donation has had its first reading in the parliamentary commission for culture and the media. Its chairwoman, Iwona Śledzińska-Katarasińska, said that preserving Auschwitz, a site of unique importance, is of utmost siginificance not only for Poland and Europe, but also for the whole world.

Chairman of the Auschwitz Foundation, former Auschwitz prisoner Władysław Bartoszewski, called on deputies to support the draft irrespective of party differences. ‘Such a non-partisan gesture would be appreciated by both the Germans and Jews, showing that all the parties in Poland, from the right to the left, share the view that the site of the former camp should be preserved as a testimony for the whole mankind’, he said.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, which was established in January 2009, hopes to create a Perpetuity Fund of 120 million euros by 2015 to ensure the consolidation, restoration and long-term maintenance of the camp site.

Several countries have already pledged to contribute 85 million euros, the most sizeable contribution (60 million euros) having been offered by Germany. The United States, Austria, Great Britain and Israel have also contributed to the fund.

The site of the Auschwitz camp extends over an area of almost 200 hectares and comprises 155 buildings, most which are badly in need of repair. The conservation projects are also to cover the camp’s archives, documents and objects in the museum collection. Over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished at Auschwitz.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , , , | 1 Comment

And not before time.

Krakow Tours - Auschwitz Italian displayFrom July 2011, the Italian exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial is closed to visitors.

Not educational in any way, it failed to meet the basic requirements for national exhibitions as set by the International Auschwitz Council, which have been in force since the 1990s.

The Italian exhibition, opened in 1980, was made up of a ribbon of fabric in the form of a spiral, hung with paintings intended to represent various incidents from the history of Italy in the 1930s and 1940s. The designers stated that the final section was supposed to be an apotheosis of positive colors signifying victory over the time of contempt and persecution.

This type of exhibition can be categorized as art for art’s sake and would be referred to in a gallery of contemporary art as an installation or performance. This type of art is not presented on the grounds of the former Auschwitz camp, where the educational dimension is connected with remembrance, education, and making the younger generation aware of the tragedy of the victims of the Shoah and the concentration camps, as well as encouraging people to reflect upon their personal responsibility for the world around them and its future.

The organizers of the closed exhibition, the Italian ANED association, have been reminded regularly over the years about the fact that the exhibition did not conform to the rules established by the International Auschwitz Council. Positive talks are underway with the Italian government about creating a new narrative-historical exhibition in the future that will meet the requirements set by the International Auschwitz Council and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , , | 3 Comments

Auschwitz visitors, almost 1.4 million in 2010.

KRAKOW TOURS – As many as 1.38 million visited the site of the German Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 2010, the museum has announced.

The record high attendance in the 60-year history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum in Oświęcim, southern Poland, topped the previous year’s attendance of 1.3 million.

The numbers soared despite the air traffic freeze following the volcano eruption in Iceland and the May floods in the southern and central parts of the country.

“The former death camp is the most frequented memorial site in the world,” said museum spokesperson Bartosz Bartyzel.

Apart from 530,000 Poles visiting, the largest group coming to Auschwitz last year were British, accounting for 84,000 people, followed by Italians, numbering 74,000 and 63,000 French nationals.

Up to 850,000 visitors were students.

The museum’s staff member Andrzej Kacorzyk has pointed to the increasing number of foreigners from European countries and the Far East: “Last year the Memorial Site was visited by more inhabitants of South Korea than the US citizens,” he said.

There is also a growing interest in the museum’s multilingual guided tours and educational programmes

The Auschwitz Nazi death camp complex, established in 1940, claimed the lives of over 1.1 million people.

Auschwitz Trips with Krakow Tours.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Auschwitz and Birkenau slide show

A great slide show of photographs taken by a recent guest of KRAKOW TOURS, at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Thank you for allowing me to post on my blog.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Holocaust denier to lead tours to Auschwitz and Treblinka

NOT KRAKOW TOURS – The Nigdy Więcej (Never Again) anti-racist organisation have called for ‘Holocaust denier’ British historian David Irving to be banned from entering Poland later this month.

Starting September 27, Irving is leading a tour party, with tickets costing around 1,500 euros each, taking in sites including the Treblinka death camp, Warsaw Ghetto and Hitler’s Bunker in the Masurian lake district.

Never Again, in a joint statement with the UK based Searchlight magazine, have called for Irving and his tour party – which he claims is sold out – not to be let into Poland.

“We urge Polish and British authorities to react strongly and not allow this shameful visit which offends the memory of victims of the war and the Holocaust,” says the Never Again statement.

“The group will mainly consist of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis from the UK and other Western Europe countries and the United States,” the statement adds.

Protest

No protests against the visit have yet come to the notice of the police. “We have not yet received any information about demonstrations and assembly connected with Irving’s visit,” said Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski .

“We have also not receive any information from Mr Irving that he felt threatened,” Sokolowski told the PAP news agency, noting that police have no responsibility for the security of private visits.

Irving has dismissed protests against his visit. He told the Daily Mail that his tour party was for “real history buffs”, and that it was the Polish authorities who had turned the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site into a “Disney-style” tourist trap and a “money making machine”. Irving went on to accuse Polish authorities of neglecting other less “marketable,” more authentic death camps, which “don’t have a Holiday Inn down the road,” in favor of Auschwitz.

He also accused Poland of erecting watch towers in Auschwitz that were not there during WW II, to make the place feel more authentic. “I have been a historian for 40 years. I know a fake when I see one. When you look at old photos of Auschwitz, those towers aren’t in the photographs,” he said.

Irving was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 when he visited Austria, where Holocaust denial is a crime.

Andrzej Arseniuk, spokesman for Poland’s National Remembrance Institute  – which investigates and prosecutes Nazi and communist-era crimes – said that they would take appropriate action if Irving publicly denies Nazi crimes. If incidents come to the attention of the law then “the prosecutor has the authority to deal with it,” Arseniuk said.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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