Forever Engraved

A Holocaust Collection

by Tsipora Karp

The Yellow Star

Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear a badge in the form of a Yellow Star as a means of identification. This was not a new idea; since medieval times many other societies had forced their Jewish citizens to wear badges to identify themselves.

The star was intended to humiliate Jews and to mark them out for segregation and discrimination. The policy also made it easier to identify Jews for deportation to camps.

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The Shoes of Rememberance

“We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh,
Each one of us avoided the hellfire.”
― Moshe Szulsztein

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Thousands of pairs all covered the feet of Jewish men, women and children before they were sent to the Nazi gas chambers. Chilling evidence of so many people obeying the command to remove their footwear, likely not knowing what was about to happen to them

The Tattered Tallis

Piles of prayer shawls that belonged to Jewish victims were found after the liberation of the Auschwitz camp. Poland, after January 1945.

The garb in which we served G-d was trampled upon, together with the spirit and lives of those in the camps. Once used to adorn those in prayer, these shawls lay tattered and desicrated.

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Hiding in the Forest

Many Jews fled to nearby forests to escape the grasp of the Nazis.

There too, it was not without hardship. Those who took shelter in the trees had to learn to adapt to their new surrounding in nature, survive cold nights, forage for sustenance, and find cover at a moments notice.

Bloodstained records

Parents, grandparents, children... these were all recorded in the "Book of Death" during those terrible years.

The Nazis kept meticulous records of millions who died in the camps. Their names are listed in notebooks labeled "Totenbuch," which means "death book." The names are written there, single-spaced, in meticulous handwriting.

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Tear of faith

So many tears through those dark years, were shed for each of those 6 million souls...

The stone flame within this 6-shaped tear is a small memorial, a permenant Yartzeit flame, for the six thousand thousands who were taken

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The Yellow Butterfly

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone…

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
kiss the world goodbye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found my people here.
The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut candles in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here,
In the ghetto.

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The Striped Pajama

On arrival at concentration camps jews had their clothing stripped away and replaced by a striped uniform. The uniform played a role in dehumanizing the prisoners, taking away thier individuality.

As one survivor recounts; “We all looked alike… Rich, poor, young, old. We shared the same fate as in no way before. I hardly recognised my father. Friends would pass you by. It was a nightmare.”

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Stolen Innocence

Children were especially vulnerable to Nazi murder or death in the era of the Holocaust. It is estimated that 1.5 million children were murdered during the Holocaust, either directly or as a direct consequence of Nazi actions.

In the ghettos and camps, Jewish children died from starvation and exposure. The Nazis were indifferent to this mass death because they considered Jewish children to be unproductive.

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A Rose Amongst Thorns

The inspiration for this piece came from a friend of mine who went to visit the camps to see what was left. During his trip, he took a photo of a dying rose left on a pole against barbed wire.

My Grandparents, survivors of the holocaust, named their first child "Rose Bertha" (Raizel Breindel) after both of their mothers.

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"Shema Yisra'el" is the primary credo-statement and affirmation of monotheism in Judaism. Its opening verse reads, "Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one." It is a Jewish custom to recite it in times of danger and also to endeavor to make it one's final utterance before death.

Many people died in the war with the prayer "Shema Yisroel" on their lips. This is a memorial to them and to the individuals who say it today.

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Burning Shul

Rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland on Kristallnacht. Many synagogues burned throughout the night in full view of the public and of local firefighters, who had received orders to intervene only to prevent flames from spreading to nearby buildings

Stories are told of the savage way in which the Nazis gathered the men of a village into the synagouge and set it ablaze as the women and children watched.

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Zaidy's Hand

The flames are shaped like the hebrew letter ש, and together it spells "שש", or the hebrew word for "six", to represent the 6 million. (שש Also means marble)

The hand is a cast of my grandfather's hand with the actual numbers he was given during the holocaust

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