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Highlights Archives

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Wisconsin

Members of the Dutch Underground arresting a German soldier on the day of liberation in Amsterdam
WHI 56418

Holocaust Remembrance Day is Sunday, April 11, the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp by U.S. troops. American soldiers also liberated Dachau and Mauthausen that month, and British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen. In 1980 Congress established the annual Days of Remembrance as our nation's commemoration of the Holocaust. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum hosts a week of activities to commemorate these events.

Wisconsin Connections

Bill Applegate of Madison entered Dachau the third week of April, 1945, as a 25-year-old soldier. He described the scene this way to his colleagues at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

That same week, Milwaukee pharmacist Louis Koplin was among the inmates liberated from Mauthausen concentration camp. He described the arrival of American troops 65 years ago to Society archivist Sara Leuchter in 1980.

Longtime Monroe resident Magda Herzberger should have been graduating from high school in Romania that spring. Instead, she was left for dead among the corpses at Bergen-Belsen. Listen to her tell how British soldiers rescued her on April 15, 1945.

Hear Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Stories

These are just three of the many stories by Wisconsin survivors that you can hear in the online collection, Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust.

The 22 survivors interviewed for that collection grew up all over Europe. They settled not only in Milwaukee and Madison but in cities from Kenosha to Superior and towns from Monroe to Merrill. In the interviews they recall happy childhoods, traditional Jewish communities, the rise of the Third Reich, anti-Semitic violence such as Kristallnacht, the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos, and conditions at Auschwitz, Dachau and other camps. They describe starting new lives in postwar Europe, emigrating to the U.S., and the founding of Israel. They also discuss life in Wisconsin's Jewish communities between 1945 and 1980 and their impressions of America.

This weekend, bring history home by listening to some of your Wisconsin neighbors explain how they survived one of the 20th century's watershed events at Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust.

:: Posted April 8, 2010

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