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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

August 11, 2017  RSS feed
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Museum to display objects from killing center


Two children’s shoes and baby shoe from Majdanek. 
The Florida Holocaust Museum Two children’s shoes and baby shoe from Majdanek. The Florida Holocaust Museum Ordinary personal items – a key, a razor, a hairbrush, a baby’s shoe, a prayer book - offer a glimpse into the lives of their owners. That is before everything changed for millions of Jews herded into concentration camps by the Nazis.

These simple objects and others recovered from such a camp in Majdanek, Poland, are going on exhibit at the Florida Holocaust Museum (FHM) in St. Petersburg

On loan for three years from the State Museum of Majdanek, the items will be displayed as part of the local museum’s permanent exhibition: History, Heritage and Hope.

The FHM staff worked through a lengthy process with the State Museum of Majdanek, as well as the governments of Poland and the United States, to secure the loan of these important objects.

Some things in the small collection like the children’s shoes, hairbrush and razor “were likely taken from individuals upon arrival to the Majdanek Concentration Camp,” said Erin Blankenship, FHM’s curator of exhibitions and collections. “As Majdanek was also a killing center, it is likely that at least some of these individuals, especially the children, would have been selected for murder upon arrival to the camp.”


Some of the objects recovered from the Majdanek killing center that will be on display here include a prayer book, key, razor, hairbrush, spoons, bowls, and mugs. Some of the objects recovered from the Majdanek killing center that will be on display here include a prayer book, key, razor, hairbrush, spoons, bowls, and mugs. Other items such as spoons, mugs and bowls “would have belonged to prisoners that survived the selections and were vital to the survival of an individual,” Blankenship said. “While food was meager and of poor quality, prisoners needed these utensils for the often watery soup that they would receive, without it they would not eat.”

There is also a camp uniform made from civilian clothing.

“When no striped uniform was available, some prisoners would be given civilian clothing, but with a painted orange strip on the front and back so that guards didn’t mistake them for civilians. Therefore they could not escape,” said Blankenship.

Majdanek was a concentration and forced labor camp that was also used as an extermination center. The camp opened in September 1941 and was liberated by the Soviet

Army in July 1944. Among an estimated 150,000 prisoners who entered Majdanek, approximately 80,000 people, including 60,000 Jews, were killed.

The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 Fifth St. S. in St. Petersburg. For more informationincluding hours and ticket prices, call (727) 820-0100 or go to www.floridaholocaustmuseum.org.


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