Holocaust and youth

Cassie Gibbs

News Editor

History is being told through the lives of teenagers and young adults.

Troy University is currently hosting a traveling display that tells of different experiences during World War II. “Parallel Journeys: World War II and the Holocaust through the Eyes of Teens” shows the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and the lives of a select group of teenagers affected by the war.

The six teenagers featured in the display are: Jan Kostanski from Warsaw, Anne Frank from Amsterdam, Margaret Lambert from Germany, William A. Scott from Atlanta, Alphons Heck from Germany, Helen Waterford from Germany and Traudl Junge from Germany.

The display said that Kostanski lived in Warsaw around 1940, when the Warsaw ghetto wall was erected separating the Jewish people from others, according to the display. He helped smuggle provisions to the Jewish side of the wall during the war. He was arrested, but was later released after his mother bribed the Polish police.

Anne Frank is one of the most famous teenagers known from the war. Her family, as well as another Jewish family, lived in an annex for two years before moving to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, kept her story alive, according to the display.

Margaret Lambert, originally named Gretel Bergmen, was the fourth ranked high jumper in Germany when she was 16, according to the display. She was barred from participating in local sports and from joining the German Olympic Team in the 1936 Olympic Games, because she was Jewish. She later moved to the U.S. and changed her name.

The display said that William A. Scott III, from Atlanta, was drafted into the Army and served as photographer and recon sergeant, in addition to other positions, from 1943-46. He became the first to photograph the survivors of Buchenwald concentration camp and highlight the Holocaust and its victims.

Alphons Heck was a member of the Hitler Youth who later became a translator for the Americans during the war. After his arrest and move to the U.S., he wrote about his experiences in the Hitler Youth, according to the display.  It also said that Helen Waterford, who lived at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp with Margot, Anne and Edith Frank, later joined Heck. Together, they wrote the book “Parallel Journeys.”

Traudl Junge worked as Adolf Hitler’s personal secretary from 1942 until he died in a bunker in 1945, according to the display. Her book about her experience created controversy when she said that she had no knowledge of the Holocaust.

The display also gives a brief history of the rise of the National Socialists German Worker’s Party (Nazi Party) under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

Sharon Joyner, a senior interpreter training major from Andalusia and a student worker in the library, said that it is important for people to know about history.

“We can’t go forward without knowing where we’ve been,” Joyner said. “We learn from the mistakes and the success of the people that have come before us.”

Chris Shaffer, dean of library services, was not available for comment.

According to a university press release, the display is on loan from the Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University. The exhibit is free and open to the public. It will be at Troy until mid-March.

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