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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002103/00001
 Material Information
Title: Testimony: a Gallery Talk for April 4, 2013
Physical Description: Speech
Creator: Jefferson, Rebecca
 Notes
Abstract: A speech given at the Gallery Talk for the Smathers Library Gallery exhibition "Testimony". The Gallery Talk was held on April 4, 2013 and featured special guest speakers, David Stirt, Stephen and Renee Sperling and David Crown along with curator, Rebecca Jefferson
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Rebecca Jefferson.
Publication Status: Unpublished
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00002103:00001


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PAGE 1

Testimony A Gallery Talk for April 4, 2013 by Rebecca Jefferson Welcome to Gallery Talk I am Rebecca Jefferson, the Head of the Isser and Rae Price Librar y of Judaica and curator of Testimony some of the ideas behind the exhibition as well as some of the items displayed in it. Then, I will introduce our guest speakers who have all donated materials included in this exhibition Please feel free to ask any questions after we have all concluded our talk. On this very day seventy years ago April 4 th 1943, the last of the crematoriums at Auschwitz Birkenau, Crematorium V, was delivered to the camp administration Crematorium V, which was put into operation 12 days later, was designed to burn 768 bodies in a 24 hour p eriod. 1 In practice it was often twice as much with multiple bodies being burned at one time and without ceasing. This so key eyewitness Filip M ller, a sonderkammando prisoner at Auschwitz memoir makes for distressing reading but as Yehuda Bauer writes in the forward to the 1999 edition we must contend with testimonies like Filip M if we wa nt our civilization to survive. 2 On this very day sixty eight years ago, April 4 th 1945, the 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division came across Ohrdruf, a sub camp of Buchenwald, as they pursu ed the retreating German army. The Nazi guards had abandoned the camp, forcing the prisoners on a death march and leaving behind piles of em aciated corpses. Ohrdruf was the very first concentration camp to be liberated by the U.S. Army. 3 Fifty years later, a survivor of Ohrdruf, Mr. Andrew Rosner, addressed a special gathering of the veterans of the 89 th Division: At the age of 23 I was barely alive as we I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there -waiting suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting Alone. All alone and alive As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers me t me and escorted me into town You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear and I coll apsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

PAGE 2

I awoke in a hospital. As soon as I opened my eyes the nurse ran to get the waiting American officers and their press corps. I was taken back to the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf by jeep in a convoy headed by Generals Eis enhower and Bra dley I never forgot how General Eisenhower kept rubbing his hands together as we spoke of the horrors inflicted upon us and the piles of our dead comrades. He insisted on seeing it all, hearing it all, learning it all. 4 On his experience that April day at Ohrdruf, E isenhower would later write: The t The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, wh ere [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these alle gations merely to 'propaganda'. 5 On this very day, thirty eight years ago, on April 4, 1975, Mr. Irving Stirt of Chicago, Illinois completed a Page of Testimony for his sister, Rivka, and for the rest of his family who had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941. The Pages of Testimony were created by Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, in order to compile a complete data base of the victims of the Holocaust. 6 In 1993, Irving filed yet more pages of testimony having since discovered that his family had been executed at Ninth Fort on October 4 th 7 The St Lithuania before the war Kaunas was the its largest city and it was a center of Jewish learning and culture As th e war clouds gathered over Kaunas in 1940 Irving Stirt was able to escape to the United States thanks to his Russian birth certificate which allowed him into that quota of immigrants. 8 On June 9 The Germa ns invaded Kaunas 20 days later, and on July 10 th an order was issued to round up the Jewish residents and force them into a ghetto in the Slobodka area that consisted of small and large sections separated by a street. 10 Exactly four months after Rivka sent her last letter, o n October 4, 1941, the Germans destroyed the small ghetto and shot al mos t all of its inhabitants at Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 29 the Germans s In a single d ay, they shot 9,200 Jews The Ninth Fort murders were among the first mass killings of the Holocaust. 11 I rving S t s Page of T estimony from April 4, 1975 is on display in the first case of our exhibition provided the inspiration behind the Testimony Indeed, this exhibition featuring primary sources that bear undeniable witness to the Holocaust, seems to have come about thanks to a strange sort of

PAGE 3

synchronicity in which the Price Library recently received a number of completely separate and unsolicited donations of related it ems The second of the se donations can be seen i n the next exhibition case The items here all belonged to a Dr. Emanuel Merdinger, a Holocaust survivor and former distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Florida 12 Merdinger grew up in the university town of Czernowitz in Romania. Before the Second World War, Czernowitz was known for its intellectual and artistic life and the multicultural composition of its population. By 1919, Jews made up almost half of the popula tion: the tolerant atmosphere having enabled the community to gave birth to a wealth of writers and poets, inclu ding the celebrated Paul Celan. 13 In his unpubli shed autobiography, exhibited here, Emanuel Merdinger testifies to the atrocities inflicted on the Jews by the Romanian authorities during the war He describes the notorious from the city of Iassy, like Me former professor, were rounded up and packed into hermetically sealed freight trains in the height of summer on an eight day sadistic journey to nowhere. fascinating autobiography also tells the incredible story of his survival in a concentration camp Thanks to some moments of lucky circumstance, some quick thinking and his brilliant skills as a chemist Merdinger was able to conjure up alc ohol from froz en potatoes to sell to the Russians, and to improve the taste of beer being prod uced in the local brewery. He was als o saved from certain death as the camps were being liquidated thanks to his ability to play the violin and entertain the Germans. hand written notes to an edited typescript thanks to the intervention and help of Dr. Craig Henderson of Williston. Dr. Henderson is here in the audience, and he will be happy to answer any questions that you might have later together with our guest speakers, Renee and Stephen Sperling, who donat ed the Merdinger papers. online in the Judaica Digital Collections 14 and if being directed by UF Professor Kevin Marshall at th e Digit al Worlds Institute Reve running each night between April 17 and April 20 at 7.30pm. In the third exhibit case, we have examples of books as witnesses to the Holocaust Millions of Jewish books were looted and destroyed by the Nazis beginning in the 1930s 15 The rare book on display, a commentary by the 13 th century ra bbinic scholar, Jacob ben Asher and published in 18 th century Berlin survived destruction thanks to being buried by its owner The buried book was discovered after the war and taken to London. It was recently donated by Mr. Samuel Price who, along with his brother Jack, created the Judai library for their parents. 16

PAGE 4

In the fourth case, you will see plain photographic evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Among the photographs are a s et recently donated to the l ibrary by the Glover family. The disturbing photos depicting scenes from Dachau were owned by Robert G lover, a GI who had served in the 13 th Tank Battalion d uring World War II running reconnaissance missions to various cities including Ulm near Dachau His conne ction to the concentration camp however, was at first unclear Yet, thanks to research conducte d by the United States Holoc aust Museum into the photographic archives of the U.S. Signal Corps it is possible to discern that the among many copies distributed to the GIs as part of publicize widely what the U.S. army was discovering 17 A t least one veteran has testified t hat he was directed to mail the photographs home. The striking image of concentration camp survivors displayed here on our wall comes from the Glover collection. 18 Photographs from our Bergen Belsen Collection will also be on display at the Harn th The fifth case contains a few items that bear witness to the experience of childre n in the Holocaust. One of the pieces the Kinder Martyrologie, is a compilation of testimonies supplied by children and teenagers who surfaced from hiding in forests and bunkers in 1945. 19 The page on display features the terrifying account of a Nazi Aktion as seen through the eyes of a child who was sav ed at the last minute from being executed. 20 Monographs and journals testifying to the Holocaust and the period immediately after are the subject of the sixth case. A number of the items in this case are quite scarce and the Price Library is one of just a handful of libraries to own and preserve them A good example is the rare newspaper, Unzer Wort which was published illegally during the war. Written in Yiddish, this socia list Zionist paper r egularly reported on events a ffecting European Jewry. It provided one of the first accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and it reported on Nazi atrocities and the activities of Jewish resista nce groups. 21 On display, from s 1945 anniversary edition is a full page account of the resistance movement in the Vilna Ghetto The entire issue can be read online in the Judaica Digital Newspaper Collections. 22 The seven th case represents the ways in which testimonies are preserved and the Holocaust is memorialized. Featured here are works of art, personal me moirs and examples of community produced Yizkor (Holocaust memorial ) b ooks The Price Library of Judaica owns one of the largest collections of Yizkor books in the U.S. and the rare book on display from Piesk & Most is listed in the holdings of just 20 libraries worldwide. 23 It contains over 500 pages of testimony to the lost communities of Piesk and Most in Belarus, as well as a necrology of over 1,000 names. On the wall, and in the case, are items pertaining to the Holocaust Memorial in Miami designed by Florida architect and artist, Kenneth Treister. 24 The idea for the memorial first came from Holocaust survivors living in M iami. Their testimony, together with photographs from the Yad

PAGE 5

tattooed hand surrounded by men, women and children crying out in anguish. 25 In the last cas e, our central case, we see seven pieces of striking artwork produced by local resident, Dr. David Crown. The original works are entitled was recently donated together with a set of the orig inal printing plates to the Price Library of Judaica 26 On the reason why he created these works, Crown writes: onwards the series became an obsession. Complete pictures would come to me in the middle of the night .. In retrospect I realize that these works were a kind of an act of atonement; perhaps for being relatively unscathed during the war, and guilt perhap s for the arrogance of my Also a number of my aging patients had been in the concentration camps. Their arms were tattooed. Their families destroyed. They were getting older, dying and their voices were being silenced. I wanted to preserve their memories. 27 Guest Speakers : Today we are privileged to have Dr. Crown here to speak to us about his collection together with three of our other donors, David Stirt and Stephen and Renee Sperling. So, without further ado, please welcome the first of our speakers, the President and owner of Florida Sports News Inc. and among many other publications, Swamp Mr. David Stirt [David Stirt will speak about the recent ; an outline of their contents and significance and a reading of excerpts from his diary ] Our next speakers are Stephen and Renee Sperling Stephen and Renee are both Gainesv ille residents Renee works at the VA, and Stephen is a local attorney and an alumnus of the University of Florida : [Stephen a nd Renee Sperling will speak about personal memories of their friend and neighbor, Emanuel Merdinger; his life in Romania during World War II; how the Sperl ings came into possession of his papers and why they wanted them held and preserved at the Price Library of Judaica ] Dr. David Crown is a retired medical physician and the Founder and Director of the International Mezzotint Societ y Crown's artworks are held in numerous collections around the world and have been exhibited in the Un ited States and internationally:

PAGE 6

[David Crown will speak about t he reasons behind the creation of his Holocaust print collection; t he way in which the images manifested themselves in his mind, and his feelings about realizing them on paper ; t he importance of housing them at the library for their future preservation and use in teaching students about the Holocaust and Holocaust art ] Closing remarks: express thank s to for their wonderful contributions and also to extend thanks to the many people around the libraries involved in making this exhibit and talk possible, particularly exhibits coordinator, Lourdes Santamaria Wh eeler and development assistant, Erika Aenlle. Thanks are also due to Carol M cC usker, photography curator at the Samuel P. Harn Museum for her expert advice. I would like to conclude by let ting you know that I chose this day, April 4, 2013 somewhat at random. I then en I discovered the other significant events connected to April 4 th And suddenly it seemed as though this date was calling out to be marked, and the people connected with the materials displayed in t his exhibition and connected to this date were crying out to be remembered. So, thank you all for c oming today to help us remember and recall these very important testimonies. As Isaiah 56:5 states: Ve natati la hem be veyti u ve k asher lo yikaret ( A nd to them will I give in my house and within my walls a mem orial and a name ... that shall not be cut off). 1 Israel Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (eds), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 165 & p. 234. 2 Filip Mller, Eyewitness to Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (translated by Susanne Flatauer), Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Press, 1999, p. x. 3 Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006131 4 Abri dged version of a speech by Mr. Andrew Rosner to the 89 th Infantry Division of World War II, April 23, 1995: http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/survive.htm

PAGE 7

5 Abridged version of a letter, DDE to George C. Marshall, 4/15/45 [The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, The War Years IV, doc #2418]. 6 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search. html?language=en 7 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en 8 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013167/00001 9 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013166 10 See http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 11 See http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/ninthseventhfort.html and http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/kovno/ghetto/ghetto.htm and http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 12 Merdinger and his wife Radie, endow ed a scholarship at UF: http://www.uff.ufl.edu/scholarships/ScholarshipInfo.asp?ScholarshipFund=004883 13 See http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sadgura/jqharding.html 14 The Merdinger Autobiography can be read here: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA0000496 6/00001 15 See the online exhibition on the Offenbach Archival Depot: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/oad/ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852 16 See http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/judaica/libraryhistory.aspx 17 For more about World War II liberation photography, see: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006237 18 The photograph is used on the cover of the exhibition brochure: http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/testimony_brochure.pdf 19 Translations of these testimonies can be read in Maria Hochberg Marianska and Noah Gris (eds) The Children Ac cuse (trans. Bill Johnston), Valentine Mitchell, 1996. 20 Kinder martirologye: zamlung fun dokumentn tsuzamengeshtelt durkh Noah Gris Buenos Aires: Tsentral farband fun Poylishe Yidn in Argentine, 1947. 21 See Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds), The Holocaust and History: the known, the unknown, the disputed and the reexamined Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2002. p. 617. 22 Unzer Vort 1944 1945: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000374/00001 23 Piesk u Most: sefer yizkor Israel: Irgun yotse Pyesk u Most be Yisrael veha tefusot, 1975. 24 e ction: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/treis ter 25 For more information about the memorial, see: http://www.holocaustmmb.org/ 26 http://www.artbydavidcrown.com 27 full statement see : http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/InMyLifetime.pdf



PAGE 1

Testimony A Gallery Talk for April 4, 2013 by Rebecca Jefferson Welcome to Gallery Talk I am Rebecca Jefferson, the Head of the Isser and Rae Price Librar y of Judaica and curator of Testimony some of the ideas behind the exhibition as well as some of the items displayed in it. Then, I will introduce our guest speakers who have all donated materials included in this exhibition Please feel free to ask any questions after we have all concluded our talk. On this very day seventy years ago April 4 th 1943, the last of the crematoriums at Auschwitz Birkenau, Crematorium V, was delivered to the camp administration Crematorium V, which was put into operation 12 days later, was designed to burn 768 bodies in a 24 hour p eriod. 1 In practice it was often twice as much with multiple bodies being burned at one time and without ceasing. This so key eyewitness Filip M ller, a sonderkammando prisoner at Auschwitz memoir makes for distressing reading but as Yehuda Bauer writes in the forward to the 1999 edition we must contend with testimonies like Filip M if we wa nt our civilization to survive. 2 On this very day sixty eight years ago, April 4 th 1945, the 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division came across Ohrdruf, a sub camp of Buchenwald, as they pursu ed the retreating German army. The Nazi guards had abandoned the camp, forcing the prisoners on a death march and leaving behind piles of em aciated corpses. Ohrdruf was the very first concentration camp to be liberated by the U.S. Army. 3 Fifty years later, a survivor of Ohrdruf, Mr. Andrew Rosner, addressed a special gathering of the veterans of the 89 th Division: At the age of 23 I was barely alive as we I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there -waiting suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting Alone. All alone and alive As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers me t me and escorted me into town You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear and I coll apsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

PAGE 2

I awoke in a hospital. As soon as I opened my eyes the nurse ran to get the waiting American officers and their press corps. I was taken back to the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf by jeep in a convoy headed by Generals Eis enhower and Bra dley I never forgot how General Eisenhower kept rubbing his hands together as we spoke of the horrors inflicted upon us and the piles of our dead comrades. He insisted on seeing it all, hearing it all, learning it all. 4 On his experience that April day at Ohrdruf, E isenhower would later write: The t The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, wh ere [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these alle gations merely to 'propaganda'. 5 On this very day, thirty eight years ago, on April 4, 1975, Mr. Irving Stirt of Chicago, Illinois completed a Page of Testimony for his sister, Rivka, and for the rest of his family who had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941. The Pages of Testimony were created by Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, in order to compile a complete data base of the victims of the Holocaust. 6 In 1993, Irving filed yet more pages of testimony having since discovered that his family had been executed at Ninth Fort on October 4 th 7 The St Lithuania before the war Kaunas was the its largest city and it was a center of Jewish learning and culture As th e war clouds gathered over Kaunas in 1940 Irving Stirt was able to escape to the United States thanks to his Russian birth certificate which allowed him into that quota of immigrants. 8 On June 9 The Germa ns invaded Kaunas 20 days later, and on July 10 th an order was issued to round up the Jewish residents and force them into a ghetto in the Slobodka area that consisted of small and large sections separated by a street. 10 Exactly four months after Rivka sent her last letter, o n October 4, 1941, the Germans destroyed the small ghetto and shot al mos t all of its inhabitants at Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 29 the Germans s In a single d ay, they shot 9,200 Jews The Ninth Fort murders were among the first mass killings of the Holocaust. 11 I rving S t s Page of T estimony from April 4, 1975 is on display in the first case of our exhibition provided the inspiration behind the Testimony Indeed, this exhibition featuring primary sources that bear undeniable witness to the Holocaust, seems to have come about thanks to a strange sort of

PAGE 3

synchronicity in which the Price Library recently received a number of completely separate and unsolicited donations of related it ems The second of the se donations can be seen i n the next exhibition case The items here all belonged to a Dr. Emanuel Merdinger, a Holocaust survivor and former distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Florida 12 Merdinger grew up in the university town of Czernowitz in Romania. Before the Second World War, Czernowitz was known for its intellectual and artistic life and the multicultural composition of its population. By 1919, Jews made up almost half of the popula tion: the tolerant atmosphere having enabled the community to gave birth to a wealth of writers and poets, inclu ding the celebrated Paul Celan. 13 In his unpubli shed autobiography, exhibited here, Emanuel Merdinger testifies to the atrocities inflicted on the Jews by the Romanian authorities during the war He describes the notorious from the city of Iassy, like Me former professor, were rounded up and packed into hermetically sealed freight trains in the height of summer on an eight day sadistic journey to nowhere. fascinating autobiography also tells the incredible story of his survival in a concentration camp Thanks to some moments of lucky circumstance, some quick thinking and his brilliant skills as a chemist Merdinger was able to conjure up alc ohol from froz en potatoes to sell to the Russians, and to improve the taste of beer being prod uced in the local brewery. He was als o saved from certain death as the camps were being liquidated thanks to his ability to play the violin and entertain the Germans. hand written notes to an edited typescript thanks to the intervention and help of Dr. Craig Henderson of Williston. Dr. Henderson is here in the audience, and he will be happy to answer any questions that you might have later together with our guest speakers, Renee and Stephen Sperling, who donat ed the Merdinger papers. online in the Judaica Digital Collections 14 and if being directed by UF Professor Kevin Marshall at th e Digit al Worlds Institute Reve running each night between April 17 and April 20 at 7.30pm. In the third exhibit case, we have examples of books as witnesses to the Holocaust Millions of Jewish books were looted and destroyed by the Nazis beginning in the 1930s 15 The rare book on display, a commentary by the 13 th century ra bbinic scholar, Jacob ben Asher and published in 18 th century Berlin survived destruction thanks to being buried by its owner The buried book was discovered after the war and taken to London. It was recently donated by Mr. Samuel Price who, along with his brother Jack, created the Judai library for their parents. 16

PAGE 4

In the fourth case, you will see plain photographic evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Among the photographs are a s et recently donated to the l ibrary by the Glover family. The disturbing photos depicting scenes from Dachau were owned by Robert G lover, a GI who had served in the 13 th Tank Battalion d uring World War II running reconnaissance missions to various cities including Ulm near Dachau His conne ction to the concentration camp however, was at first unclear Yet, thanks to research conducte d by the United States Holoc aust Museum into the photographic archives of the U.S. Signal Corps it is possible to discern that the among many copies distributed to the GIs as part of publicize widely what the U.S. army was discovering 17 A t least one veteran has testified t hat he was directed to mail the photographs home. The striking image of concentration camp survivors displayed here on our wall comes from the Glover collection. 18 Photographs from our Bergen Belsen Collection will also be on display at the Harn th The fifth case contains a few items that bear witness to the experience of childre n in the Holocaust. One of the pieces the Kinder Martyrologie, is a compilation of testimonies supplied by children and teenagers who surfaced from hiding in forests and bunkers in 1945. 19 The page on display features the terrifying account of a Nazi Aktion as seen through the eyes of a child who was sav ed at the last minute from being executed. 20 Monographs and journals testifying to the Holocaust and the period immediately after are the subject of the sixth case. A number of the items in this case are quite scarce and the Price Library is one of just a handful of libraries to own and preserve them A good example is the rare newspaper, Unzer Wort which was published illegally during the war. Written in Yiddish, this socia list Zionist paper r egularly reported on events a ffecting European Jewry. It provided one of the first accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and it reported on Nazi atrocities and the activities of Jewish resista nce groups. 21 On display, from s 1945 anniversary edition is a full page account of the resistance movement in the Vilna Ghetto The entire issue can be read online in the Judaica Digital Newspaper Collections. 22 The seven th case represents the ways in which testimonies are preserved and the Holocaust is memorialized. Featured here are works of art, personal me moirs and examples of community produced Yizkor (Holocaust memorial ) b ooks The Price Library of Judaica owns one of the largest collections of Yizkor books in the U.S. and the rare book on display from Piesk & Most is listed in the holdings of just 20 libraries worldwide. 23 It contains over 500 pages of testimony to the lost communities of Piesk and Most in Belarus, as well as a necrology of over 1,000 names. On the wall, and in the case, are items pertaining to the Holocaust Memorial in Miami designed by Florida architect and artist, Kenneth Treister. 24 The idea for the memorial first came from Holocaust survivors living in M iami. Their testimony, together with photographs from the Yad

PAGE 5

tattooed hand surrounded by men, women and children crying out in anguish. 25 In the last cas e, our central case, we see seven pieces of striking artwork produced by local resident, Dr. David Crown. The original works are entitled was recently donated together with a set of the orig inal printing plates to the Price Library of Judaica 26 On the reason why he created these works, Crown writes: onwards the series became an obsession. Complete pictures would come to me in the middle of the night .. In retrospect I realize that these works were a kind of an act of atonement; perhaps for being relatively unscathed during the war, and guilt perhap s for the arrogance of my Also a number of my aging patients had been in the concentration camps. Their arms were tattooed. Their families destroyed. They were getting older, dying and their voices were being silenced. I wanted to preserve their memories. 27 Guest Speakers : Today we are privileged to have Dr. Crown here to speak to us about his collection together with three of our other donors, David Stirt and Stephen and Renee Sperling. So, without further ado, please welcome the first of our speakers, the President and owner of Florida Sports News Inc. and among many other publications, Swamp Mr. David Stirt [David Stirt will speak about the recent ; an outline of their contents and significance and a reading of excerpts from his diary ] Our next speakers are Stephen and Renee Sperling Stephen and Renee are both Gainesv ille residents Renee works at the VA, and Stephen is a local attorney and an alumnus of the University of Florida : [Stephen a nd Renee Sperling will speak about personal memories of their friend and neighbor, Emanuel Merdinger; his life in Romania during World War II; how the Sperl ings came into possession of his papers and why they wanted them held and preserved at the Price Library of Judaica ] Dr. David Crown is a retired medical physician and the Founder and Director of the International Mezzotint Societ y Crown's artworks are held in numerous collections around the world and have been exhibited in the Un ited States and internationally:

PAGE 6

[David Crown will speak about t he reasons behind the creation of his Holocaust print collection; t he way in which the images manifested themselves in his mind, and his feelings about realizing them on paper ; t he importance of housing them at the library for their future preservation and use in teaching students about the Holocaust and Holocaust art ] Closing remarks: express thank s to for their wonderful contributions and also to extend thanks to the many people around the libraries involved in making this exhibit and talk possible, particularly exhibits coordinator, Lourdes Santamaria Wh eeler and development assistant, Erika Aenlle. Thanks are also due to Carol M cC usker, photography curator at the Samuel P. Harn Museum for her expert advice. I would like to conclude by let ting you know that I chose this day, April 4, 2013 somewhat at random. I then en I discovered the other significant events connected to April 4 th And suddenly it seemed as though this date was calling out to be marked, and the people connected with the materials displayed in t his exhibition and connected to this date were crying out to be remembered. So, thank you all for c oming today to help us remember and recall these very important testimonies. As Isaiah 56:5 states: Ve natati la hem be veyti u ve k asher lo yikaret ( A nd to them will I give in my house and within my walls a mem orial and a name ... that shall not be cut off). 1 Israel Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (eds), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 165 & p. 234. 2 Filip Mller, Eyewitness to Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (translated by Susanne Flatauer), Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Press, 1999, p. x. 3 Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006131 4 Abri dged version of a speech by Mr. Andrew Rosner to the 89 th Infantry Division of World War II, April 23, 1995: http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/survive.htm

PAGE 7

5 Abridged version of a letter, DDE to George C. Marshall, 4/15/45 [The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, The War Years IV, doc #2418]. 6 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search. html?language=en 7 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en 8 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013167/00001 9 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013166 10 See http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 11 See http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/ninthseventhfort.html and http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/kovno/ghetto/ghetto.htm and http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 12 Merdinger and his wife Radie, endow ed a scholarship at UF: http://www.uff.ufl.edu/scholarships/ScholarshipInfo.asp?ScholarshipFund=004883 13 See http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sadgura/jqharding.html 14 The Merdinger Autobiography can be read here: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA0000496 6/00001 15 See the online exhibition on the Offenbach Archival Depot: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/oad/ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852 16 See http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/judaica/libraryhistory.aspx 17 For more about World War II liberation photography, see: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006237 18 The photograph is used on the cover of the exhibition brochure: http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/testimony_brochure.pdf 19 Translations of these testimonies can be read in Maria Hochberg Marianska and Noah Gris (eds) The Children Ac cuse (trans. Bill Johnston), Valentine Mitchell, 1996. 20 Kinder martirologye: zamlung fun dokumentn tsuzamengeshtelt durkh Noah Gris Buenos Aires: Tsentral farband fun Poylishe Yidn in Argentine, 1947. 21 See Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds), The Holocaust and History: the known, the unknown, the disputed and the reexamined Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2002. p. 617. 22 Unzer Vort 1944 1945: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000374/00001 23 Piesk u Most: sefer yizkor Israel: Irgun yotse Pyesk u Most be Yisrael veha tefusot, 1975. 24 e ction: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/treis ter 25 For more information about the memorial, see: http://www.holocaustmmb.org/ 26 http://www.artbydavidcrown.com 27 full statement see : http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/InMyLifetime.pdf



PAGE 1

Testimony A Gallery Talk for April 4, 2013 by Rebecca Jefferson Welcome to Gallery Talk I am Rebecca Jefferson, the Head of the Isser and Rae Price Librar y of Judaica and curator of Testimony some of the ideas behind the exhibition as well as some of the items displayed in it. Then, I will introduce our guest speakers who have all donated materials included in this exhibition Please feel free to ask any questions after we have all concluded our talk. On this very day seventy years ago April 4 th 1943, the last of the crematoriums at Auschwitz Birkenau, Crematorium V, was delivered to the camp administration Crematorium V, which was put into operation 12 days later, was designed to burn 768 bodies in a 24 hour p eriod. 1 In practice it was often twice as much with multiple bodies being burned at one time and without ceasing. This so key eyewitness Filip M ller, a sonderkammando prisoner at Auschwitz memoir makes for distressing reading but as Yehuda Bauer writes in the forward to the 1999 edition we must contend with testimonies like Filip M if we wa nt our civilization to survive. 2 On this very day sixty eight years ago, April 4 th 1945, the 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division came across Ohrdruf, a sub camp of Buchenwald, as they pursu ed the retreating German army. The Nazi guards had abandoned the camp, forcing the prisoners on a death march and leaving behind piles of em aciated corpses. Ohrdruf was the very first concentration camp to be liberated by the U.S. Army. 3 Fifty years later, a survivor of Ohrdruf, Mr. Andrew Rosner, addressed a special gathering of the veterans of the 89 th Division: At the age of 23 I was barely alive as we I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there -waiting suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting Alone. All alone and alive As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers me t me and escorted me into town You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear and I coll apsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

PAGE 2

I awoke in a hospital. As soon as I opened my eyes the nurse ran to get the waiting American officers and their press corps. I was taken back to the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf by jeep in a convoy headed by Generals Eis enhower and Bra dley I never forgot how General Eisenhower kept rubbing his hands together as we spoke of the horrors inflicted upon us and the piles of our dead comrades. He insisted on seeing it all, hearing it all, learning it all. 4 On his experience that April day at Ohrdruf, E isenhower would later write: The t The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, wh ere [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these alle gations merely to 'propaganda'. 5 On this very day, thirty eight years ago, on April 4, 1975, Mr. Irving Stirt of Chicago, Illinois completed a Page of Testimony for his sister, Rivka, and for the rest of his family who had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941. The Pages of Testimony were created by Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, in order to compile a complete data base of the victims of the Holocaust. 6 In 1993, Irving filed yet more pages of testimony having since discovered that his family had been executed at Ninth Fort on October 4 th 7 The St Lithuania before the war Kaunas was the its largest city and it was a center of Jewish learning and culture As th e war clouds gathered over Kaunas in 1940 Irving Stirt was able to escape to the United States thanks to his Russian birth certificate which allowed him into that quota of immigrants. 8 On June 9 The Germa ns invaded Kaunas 20 days later, and on July 10 th an order was issued to round up the Jewish residents and force them into a ghetto in the Slobodka area that consisted of small and large sections separated by a street. 10 Exactly four months after Rivka sent her last letter, o n October 4, 1941, the Germans destroyed the small ghetto and shot al mos t all of its inhabitants at Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 29 the Germans s In a single d ay, they shot 9,200 Jews The Ninth Fort murders were among the first mass killings of the Holocaust. 11 I rving S t s Page of T estimony from April 4, 1975 is on display in the first case of our exhibition provided the inspiration behind the Testimony Indeed, this exhibition featuring primary sources that bear undeniable witness to the Holocaust, seems to have come about thanks to a strange sort of

PAGE 3

synchronicity in which the Price Library recently received a number of completely separate and unsolicited donations of related it ems The second of the se donations can be seen i n the next exhibition case The items here all belonged to a Dr. Emanuel Merdinger, a Holocaust survivor and former distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Florida 12 Merdinger grew up in the university town of Czernowitz in Romania. Before the Second World War, Czernowitz was known for its intellectual and artistic life and the multicultural composition of its population. By 1919, Jews made up almost half of the popula tion: the tolerant atmosphere having enabled the community to gave birth to a wealth of writers and poets, inclu ding the celebrated Paul Celan. 13 In his unpubli shed autobiography, exhibited here, Emanuel Merdinger testifies to the atrocities inflicted on the Jews by the Romanian authorities during the war He describes the notorious from the city of Iassy, like Me former professor, were rounded up and packed into hermetically sealed freight trains in the height of summer on an eight day sadistic journey to nowhere. fascinating autobiography also tells the incredible story of his survival in a concentration camp Thanks to some moments of lucky circumstance, some quick thinking and his brilliant skills as a chemist Merdinger was able to conjure up alc ohol from froz en potatoes to sell to the Russians, and to improve the taste of beer being prod uced in the local brewery. He was als o saved from certain death as the camps were being liquidated thanks to his ability to play the violin and entertain the Germans. hand written notes to an edited typescript thanks to the intervention and help of Dr. Craig Henderson of Williston. Dr. Henderson is here in the audience, and he will be happy to answer any questions that you might have later together with our guest speakers, Renee and Stephen Sperling, who donat ed the Merdinger papers. online in the Judaica Digital Collections 14 and if being directed by UF Professor Kevin Marshall at th e Digit al Worlds Institute Reve running each night between April 17 and April 20 at 7.30pm. In the third exhibit case, we have examples of books as witnesses to the Holocaust Millions of Jewish books were looted and destroyed by the Nazis beginning in the 1930s 15 The rare book on display, a commentary by the 13 th century ra bbinic scholar, Jacob ben Asher and published in 18 th century Berlin survived destruction thanks to being buried by its owner The buried book was discovered after the war and taken to London. It was recently donated by Mr. Samuel Price who, along with his brother Jack, created the Judai library for their parents. 16

PAGE 4

In the fourth case, you will see plain photographic evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Among the photographs are a s et recently donated to the l ibrary by the Glover family. The disturbing photos depicting scenes from Dachau were owned by Robert G lover, a GI who had served in the 13 th Tank Battalion d uring World War II running reconnaissance missions to various cities including Ulm near Dachau His conne ction to the concentration camp however, was at first unclear Yet, thanks to research conducte d by the United States Holoc aust Museum into the photographic archives of the U.S. Signal Corps it is possible to discern that the among many copies distributed to the GIs as part of publicize widely what the U.S. army was discovering 17 A t least one veteran has testified t hat he was directed to mail the photographs home. The striking image of concentration camp survivors displayed here on our wall comes from the Glover collection. 18 Photographs from our Bergen Belsen Collection will also be on display at the Harn th The fifth case contains a few items that bear witness to the experience of childre n in the Holocaust. One of the pieces the Kinder Martyrologie, is a compilation of testimonies supplied by children and teenagers who surfaced from hiding in forests and bunkers in 1945. 19 The page on display features the terrifying account of a Nazi Aktion as seen through the eyes of a child who was sav ed at the last minute from being executed. 20 Monographs and journals testifying to the Holocaust and the period immediately after are the subject of the sixth case. A number of the items in this case are quite scarce and the Price Library is one of just a handful of libraries to own and preserve them A good example is the rare newspaper, Unzer Wort which was published illegally during the war. Written in Yiddish, this socia list Zionist paper r egularly reported on events a ffecting European Jewry. It provided one of the first accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and it reported on Nazi atrocities and the activities of Jewish resista nce groups. 21 On display, from s 1945 anniversary edition is a full page account of the resistance movement in the Vilna Ghetto The entire issue can be read online in the Judaica Digital Newspaper Collections. 22 The seven th case represents the ways in which testimonies are preserved and the Holocaust is memorialized. Featured here are works of art, personal me moirs and examples of community produced Yizkor (Holocaust memorial ) b ooks The Price Library of Judaica owns one of the largest collections of Yizkor books in the U.S. and the rare book on display from Piesk & Most is listed in the holdings of just 20 libraries worldwide. 23 It contains over 500 pages of testimony to the lost communities of Piesk and Most in Belarus, as well as a necrology of over 1,000 names. On the wall, and in the case, are items pertaining to the Holocaust Memorial in Miami designed by Florida architect and artist, Kenneth Treister. 24 The idea for the memorial first came from Holocaust survivors living in M iami. Their testimony, together with photographs from the Yad

PAGE 5

tattooed hand surrounded by men, women and children crying out in anguish. 25 In the last cas e, our central case, we see seven pieces of striking artwork produced by local resident, Dr. David Crown. The original works are entitled was recently donated together with a set of the orig inal printing plates to the Price Library of Judaica 26 On the reason why he created these works, Crown writes: onwards the series became an obsession. Complete pictures would come to me in the middle of the night .. In retrospect I realize that these works were a kind of an act of atonement; perhaps for being relatively unscathed during the war, and guilt perhap s for the arrogance of my Also a number of my aging patients had been in the concentration camps. Their arms were tattooed. Their families destroyed. They were getting older, dying and their voices were being silenced. I wanted to preserve their memories. 27 Guest Speakers : Today we are privileged to have Dr. Crown here to speak to us about his collection together with three of our other donors, David Stirt and Stephen and Renee Sperling. So, without further ado, please welcome the first of our speakers, the President and owner of Florida Sports News Inc. and among many other publications, Swamp Mr. David Stirt [David Stirt will speak about the recent ; an outline of their contents and significance and a reading of excerpts from his diary ] Our next speakers are Stephen and Renee Sperling Stephen and Renee are both Gainesv ille residents Renee works at the VA, and Stephen is a local attorney and an alumnus of the University of Florida : [Stephen a nd Renee Sperling will speak about personal memories of their friend and neighbor, Emanuel Merdinger; his life in Romania during World War II; how the Sperl ings came into possession of his papers and why they wanted them held and preserved at the Price Library of Judaica ] Dr. David Crown is a retired medical physician and the Founder and Director of the International Mezzotint Societ y Crown's artworks are held in numerous collections around the world and have been exhibited in the Un ited States and internationally:

PAGE 6

[David Crown will speak about t he reasons behind the creation of his Holocaust print collection; t he way in which the images manifested themselves in his mind, and his feelings about realizing them on paper ; t he importance of housing them at the library for their future preservation and use in teaching students about the Holocaust and Holocaust art ] Closing remarks: express thank s to for their wonderful contributions and also to extend thanks to the many people around the libraries involved in making this possible, particularly the Libraries Exhibits C oordinator, Lourdes Santamar a Wh eeler who designed the exhibition and all of the brochures and posters, and development assistant, Erika Aenlle for her help with organizing this evening s talk Thanks are also due to Carol M cC usker, photography curator at the Samuel P. Harn Museum for her expert advice. I would like to conclude by let ting you know that I chose this day, April 4, 2013 somewhat at random. I then en I discovered the other significant events connected to April 4 th And suddenly it seemed as though this date was calling out to be marked, and the people connected with the materials displayed in t his exhibition and connected to this date were crying out to be remembered. So, thank you all for c oming today to help us remember and recall these very important testimonies. As Isaiah 56:5 states: Ve natati la hem be veyti u ve k asher lo yikaret ( A nd to them will I give in my house and within my walls a mem orial and a name ... that shall not be cut off). 1 Israel Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (eds), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 165 & p. 234. 2 Filip Mller, Eyewitness to Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (translated by Susanne Flatauer), Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Press, 1999, p. x. 3 Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006131 4 Abri dged version of a speech by Mr. Andrew Rosner to the 89 th Infantry Division of World War II, April 23, 1995: http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/survive.htm

PAGE 7

5 Abridged version of a letter, DDE to George C. Marshall, 4/15/45 [The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, The War Years IV, doc #2418]. 6 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search. html?language=en 7 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en 8 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013167/00001 9 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013166 10 See http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 11 See http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/ninthseventhfort.html and http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/kovno/ghetto/ghetto.htm and http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 12 Merdinger and his wife Radie, endow ed a scholarship at UF: http://www.uff.ufl.edu/scholarships/ScholarshipInfo.asp?ScholarshipFund=004883 13 See http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sadgura/jqharding.html 14 The Merdinger Autobiography can be read here: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA0000496 6/00001 15 See the online exhibition on the Offenbach Archival Depot: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/oad/ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852 16 See http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/judaica/libraryhistory.aspx 17 For more about World War II liberation photography, see: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006237 18 The photograph is used on the cover of the exhibition brochure: http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/testimony_brochure.pdf 19 Translations of these testimonies can be read in Maria Hochberg Marianska and Noah Gris (eds) The Children Ac cuse (trans. Bill Johnston), Valentine Mitchell, 1996. 20 Kinder martirologye: zamlung fun dokumentn tsuzamengeshtelt durkh Noah Gris Buenos Aires: Tsentral farband fun Poylishe Yidn in Argentine, 1947. 21 See Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds), The Holocaust and History: the known, the unknown, the disputed and the reexamined Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2002. p. 617. 22 Unzer Vort 1944 1945: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000374/00001 23 Piesk u Most: sefer yizkor Israel: Irgun yotse Pyesk u Most be Yisrael veha tefusot, 1975. 24 e ction: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/treis ter 25 For more information about the memorial, see: http://www.holocaustmmb.org/ 26 http://www.artbydavidcrown.com 27 full statement see : http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/InMyLifetime.pdf



PAGE 1

Testimony A Gallery Talk for April 4, 2013 by Rebecca Jefferson Welcome to Gallery Talk I am Rebecca Jefferson, the Head of the Isser and Rae Price Librar y of Judaica and curator of Testimony some of the ideas behind the exhibition as well as some of the items displayed in it. Then, I will introduce our guest speakers who have all donated materials included in this exhibition Please feel free to ask any questions after we have all concluded our talk. On this very day seventy years ago April 4 th 1943, the last of the crematoriums at Auschwitz Birkenau, Crematorium V, was delivered to the camp administration Crematorium V, which was put into operation 12 days later, was designed to burn 768 bodies in a 24 hour p eriod. 1 In practice it was often twice as much with multiple bodies being burned at one time and without ceasing. This so key eyewitness Filip M ller, a sonderkammando prisoner at Auschwitz memoir makes for distressing reading but as Yehuda Bauer writes in the forward to the 1999 edition we must contend with testimonies like Filip M if we wa nt our civilization to survive. 2 On this very day sixty eight years ago, April 4 th 1945, the 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division came across Ohrdruf, a sub camp of Buchenwald, as they pursu ed the retreating German army. The Nazi guards had abandoned the camp, forcing the prisoners on a death march and leaving behind piles of em aciated corpses. Ohrdruf was the very first concentration camp to be liberated by the U.S. Army. 3 Fifty years later, a survivor of Ohrdruf, Mr. Andrew Rosner, addressed a special gathering of the veterans of the 89 th Division: At the age of 23 I was barely alive as we I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there -waiting suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting Alone. All alone and alive As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers me t me and escorted me into town You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear and I coll apsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

PAGE 2

I awoke in a hospital. As soon as I opened my eyes the nurse ran to get the waiting American officers and their press corps. I was taken back to the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf by jeep in a convoy headed by Generals Eis enhower and Bra dley I never forgot how General Eisenhower kept rubbing his hands together as we spoke of the horrors inflicted upon us and the piles of our dead comrades. He insisted on seeing it all, hearing it all, learning it all. 4 On his experience that April day at Ohrdruf, E isenhower would later write: The t The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, wh ere [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these alle gations merely to 'propaganda'. 5 On this very day, thirty eight years ago, on April 4, 1975, Mr. Irving Stirt of Chicago, Illinois completed a Page of Testimony for his sister, Rivka, and for the rest of his family who had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941. The Pages of Testimony were created by Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, in order to compile a complete data base of the victims of the Holocaust. 6 In 1993, Irving filed yet more pages of testimony having since discovered that his family had been executed at Ninth Fort on October 4 th 7 The St Lithuania before the war Kaunas was the its largest city and it was a center of Jewish learning and culture As th e war clouds gathered over Kaunas in 1940 Irving Stirt was able to escape to the United States thanks to his Russian birth certificate which allowed him into that quota of immigrants. 8 On June 9 The Germa ns invaded Kaunas 20 days later, and on July 10 th an order was issued to round up the Jewish residents and force them into a ghetto in the Slobodka area that consisted of small and large sections separated by a street. 10 Exactly four months after Rivka sent her last letter, o n October 4, 1941, the Germans destroyed the small ghetto and shot al mos t all of its inhabitants at Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 29 the Germans s In a single d ay, they shot 9,200 Jews The Ninth Fort murders were among the first mass killings of the Holocaust. 11 I rving S t s Page of T estimony from April 4, 1975 is on display in the first case of our exhibition provided the inspiration behind the Testimony Indeed, this exhibition featuring primary sources that bear undeniable witness to the Holocaust, seems to have come about thanks to a strange sort of

PAGE 3

synchronicity in which the Price Library recently received a number of completely separate and unsolicited donations of related it ems The second of the se donations can be seen i n the next exhibition case The items here all belonged to a Dr. Emanuel Merdinger, a Holocaust survivor and former distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Florida 12 Merdinger grew up in the university town of Czernowitz in Romania. Before the Second World War, Czernowitz was known for its intellectual and artistic life and the multicultural composition of its population. By 1919, Jews made up almost half of the popula tion: the tolerant atmosphere having enabled the community to gave birth to a wealth of writers and poets, inclu ding the celebrated Paul Celan. 13 In his unpubli shed autobiography, exhibited here, Emanuel Merdinger testifies to the atrocities inflicted on the Jews by the Romanian authorities during the war He describes the notorious from the city of Iassy, like Me former professor, were rounded up and packed into hermetically sealed freight trains in the height of summer on an eight day sadistic journey to nowhere. fascinating autobiography also tells the incredible story of his survival in a concentration camp Thanks to some moments of lucky circumstance, some quick thinking and his brilliant skills as a chemist Merdinger was able to conjure up alc ohol from froz en potatoes to sell to the Russians, and to improve the taste of beer being prod uced in the local brewery. He was als o saved from certain death as the camps were being liquidated thanks to his ability to play the violin and entertain the Germans. hand written notes to an edited typescript thanks to the intervention and help of Dr. Craig Henderson of Williston. Dr. Henderson is here in the audience, and he will be happy to answer any questions that you might have later together with our guest speakers, Renee and Stephen Sperling, who donat ed the Merdinger papers. online in the Judaica Digital Collections 14 and if being directed by UF Professor Kevin Marshall at th e Digit al Worlds Institute Reve running each night between April 17 and April 20 at 7.30pm. In the third exhibit case, we have examples of books as witnesses to the Holocaust Millions of Jewish books were looted and destroyed by the Nazis beginning in the 1930s 15 The rare book on display, a commentary by the 13 th century ra bbinic scholar, Jacob ben Asher and published in 18 th century Berlin survived destruction thanks to being buried by its owner The buried book was discovered after the war and taken to London. It was recently donated by Mr. Samuel Price who, along with his brother Jack, created the Judai library for their parents. 16

PAGE 4

In the fourth case, you will see plain photographic evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Among the photographs are a s et recently donated to the l ibrary by the Glover family. The disturbing photos depicting scenes from Dachau were owned by Robert G lover, a GI who had served in the 13 th Tank Battalion d uring World War II running reconnaissance missions to various cities including Ulm near Dachau His conne ction to the concentration camp however, was at first unclear Yet, thanks to research conducte d by the United States Holoc aust Museum into the photographic archives of the U.S. Signal Corps it is possible to discern that the among many copies distributed to the GIs as part of publicize widely what the U.S. army was discovering 17 A t least one veteran has testified t hat he was directed to mail the photographs home. The striking image of concentration camp survivors displayed here on our wall comes from the Glover collection. 18 Photographs from our Bergen Belsen Collection will also be on display at the Harn th The fifth case contains a few items that bear witness to the experience of childre n in the Holocaust. One of the pieces the Kinder Martyrologie, is a compilation of testimonies supplied by children and teenagers who surfaced from hiding in forests and bunkers in 1945. 19 The page on display features the terrifying account of a Nazi Aktion as seen through the eyes of a child who was sav ed at the last minute from being executed. 20 Monographs and journals testifying to the Holocaust and the period immediately after are the subject of the sixth case. A number of the items in this case are quite scarce and the Price Library is one of just a handful of libraries to own and preserve them A good example is the rare newspaper, Unzer Wort which was published illegally during the war. Written in Yiddish, this socia list Zionist paper r egularly reported on events a ffecting European Jewry. It provided one of the first accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and it reported on Nazi atrocities and the activities of Jewish resista nce groups. 21 On display, from s 1945 anniversary edition is a full page account of the resistance movement in the Vilna Ghetto The entire issue can be read online in the Judaica Digital Newspaper Collections. 22 The seven th case represents the ways in which testimonies are preserved and the Holocaust is memorialized. Featured here are works of art, personal me moirs and examples of community produced Yizkor (Holocaust memorial ) b ooks The Price Library of Judaica owns one of the largest collections of Yizkor books in the U.S. and the rare book on display from Piesk & Most is listed in the holdings of just 20 libraries worldwide. 23 It contains over 500 pages of testimony to the lost communities of Piesk and Most in Belarus, as well as a necrology of over 1,000 names. On the wall, and in the case, are items pertaining to the Holocaust Memorial in Miami designed by Florida architect and artist, Kenneth Treister. 24 The idea for the memorial first came from Holocaust survivors living in M iami. Their testimony, together with photographs from the Yad

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tattooed hand surrounded by men, women and children crying out in anguish. 25 In the last cas e, our central case, we see seven pieces of striking artwork produced by local resident, Dr. David Crown. The original works are entitled was recently donated together with a set of the orig inal printing plates to the Price Library of Judaica 26 On the reason why he created these works, Crown writes: onwards the series became an obsession. Complete pictures would come to me in the middle of the night .. In retrospect I realize that these works were a kind of an act of atonement; perhaps for being relatively unscathed during the war, and guilt perhap s for the arrogance of my Also a number of my aging patients had been in the concentration camps. Their arms were tattooed. Their families destroyed. They were getting older, dying and their voices were being silenced. I wanted to preserve their memories. 27 Guest Speakers : Today we are privileged to have Dr. Crown here to speak to us about his collection together with three of our other donors, David Stirt and Stephen and Renee Sperling. So, without further ado, please welcome the first of our speakers, the President and owner of Florida Sports News Inc. and among many other publications, Swamp Mr. David Stirt [David Stirt will speak about the recent ; an outline of their contents and significance and a reading of excerpts from his diary ] Our next speakers are Stephen and Renee Sperling Stephen and Renee are both Gainesv ille residents Renee works at the VA, and Stephen is a local attorney and an alumnus of the University of Florida : [Stephen a nd Renee Sperling will speak about personal memories of their friend and neighbor, Emanuel Merdinger; his life in Romania during World War II; how the Sperl ings came into possession of his papers and why they wanted them held and preserved at the Price Library of Judaica ] Dr. David Crown is a retired medical physician and the Founder and Director of the International Mezzotint Societ y Crown's artworks are held in numerous collections around the world and have been exhibited in the Un ited States and internationally:

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[David Crown will speak about t he reasons behind the creation of his Holocaust print collection; t he way in which the images manifested themselves in his mind, and his feelings about realizing them on paper ; t he importance of housing them at the library for their future preservation and use in teaching students about the Holocaust and Holocaust art ] Closing remarks: express thank s to for their wonderful contributions and also to extend thanks to the many people around the libraries involved in making this event possible. I particularly wish to thank the Libraries Exhibits C oordinator, Lourdes Santamar a Wh eeler for her wonderful work in designing the exhibition and the brochure, postcard and poster and development assistant, Erika Aenlle for her help with organizing this evening s talk Thanks are also due to Carol M cC usker, photography curator at the Samuel P. Harn Museum for her expert advice. I would like to conclude by let ting you know that I chose this day, April 4, 2013 somewhat at random. I then en I discovered the other significant events connected to April 4 th And suddenly it seemed as though this date was calling out to be marked, and the people connected with the materials displayed in t his exhibition and connected to this date were crying out to be remembered. So, thank you all for c oming today to help us remember and recall these very important testimonies. As Isaiah 56:5 states: Ve natati la hem be veyti u ve k asher lo yikaret ( A nd to them will I give in my house and within my walls a mem orial and a name ... that shall not be cut off). 1 Israel Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (eds), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 165 & p. 234. 2 Filip Mller, Eyewitness to Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (translated by Susanne Flatauer), Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Press, 1999, p. x. 3 Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006131

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4 Abri dged version of a speech by Mr. Andrew Rosner to the 89 th Infantry Division of World War II, April 23, 1995: http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/survive.htm 5 Abridged version of a letter, DDE to George C. Marshall, 4/15/45 [The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, The War Years IV, doc #2418]. 6 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search. html?language=en 7 http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en 8 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013167/00001 9 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013166 10 See http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 11 See http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/ninthseventhfort.html and http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/kovno/ghetto/ghetto.htm and http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005174 12 Merdinger and his wife Radie, endow ed a scholarship at UF: http://www.uff.ufl.edu/scholarships/ScholarshipInfo.asp?ScholarshipFund=004883 13 See http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sadgura/jqharding.html 14 The Merdinger Autobiography can be read here: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA0000496 6/00001 15 See the online exhibition on the Offenbach Archival Depot: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/oad/ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852 16 See http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/judaica/libraryhistory.aspx 17 For more about World War II liberation photography, see: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006237 18 The photograph is used on the cover of the exhibition brochure: http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/testimony_brochure.pdf 19 Translations of these testimonies can be read in Maria Hochberg Marianska and Noah Gris (eds) The Children Ac cuse (trans. Bill Johnston), Valentine Mitchell, 1996. 20 Kinder martirologye: zamlung fun dokumentn tsuzamengeshtelt durkh Noah Gris Buenos Aires: Tsentral farband fun Poylishe Yidn in Argentine, 1947. 21 See Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds), The Holocaust and History: the known, the unknown, the disputed and the reexamined Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2002. p. 617. 22 Unzer Vort 1944 1945: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000374/00001 23 Piesk u Most: sefer yizkor Israel: Irgun yotse Pyesk u Most be Yisrael veha tefusot, 1975. 24 e ction: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/treis ter 25 For more information about the memorial, see: http://www.holocaustmmb.org/ 26 http://www.artbydavidcrown.com 27 full statement see : http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/Judaica/InMyLifetime.pdf