One Archive I Wouldn’t Want to Work At

Okay, as you know by now, I’m interested in archives and I’m learning about archival procedures, etc. I just happened to turn on the TV at 7:00 PM EST, tuned to CBS (I never watch regular TV) and saw that “60 Minutes” had just started airing a piece called “Hilter’s Secret Archives.” Hilter and his people kept *very* detailed records of 17.5 million Jewish people, slave laborers, political prisoners, homosexuals and Roma, which total 50 million documents and covers 16 miles of shelves. It takes a few minutes for me to think about how many records that actually is.

They showed detailed documents of Anne Frank. Three men were shown their records that have been kept in these secret archives. For one man, the reporter started reading the number on his record and the man finished it because he said he has to see the number every day – on his arm and he showed it. Another man remembered that the trough that they urinated in contained people that were on the edge of dying. They had to urinate on dying people. Okay, by now, my stomach has flipped a few times. One man lost his entire family and for some reason he was spared. They all have had to live with the terrible memories. Just like Henry Koerner who painted My Parents I (which I previously blogged about).
Koerner Henry - My Parents EX2006.GG4.31

These records have been kept at Bad Arolsen in Germany and are now being digitized. They will be available to the public soon. This is one archive I would not enjoy working at.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Gets Native
    Dec 17, 2006 @ 23:45:44

    I wish I had watched that. I read The Diary of Anne Frank as a child (and as an adult), and have done multiple papers in college on Nazi Germany. It’s where my family came from, so Germany has always held a special place in my heart. My family defected almost 200 years ago, so there is no personal connection, but I love the country just the same.
    The Nazis were soooo organized and exact….imagine if all of that power and energy and organization had been used for good instead of unspeakable evil.


  2. Pam
    Dec 18, 2006 @ 09:14:18

    Susan – I wish you had, too. You would have been in tears. I’ve also read The Diary of Anne Frank several times and did research papers on Nazi Germany. Before I knew my paternal side of the family came from Alcase-Lorraine (part of Germany at that time) in 1771 to Philadelphia. When did your ancestor(s) come over?
    You’re so right, I was thinking the same thing – if only they used their energy towards creating good.


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