News & Events

Yom Hashoah Commemoration 2014

The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance will host a 2014 Yom Hashoah Commemoration Ceremony on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Shalom. Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died during the Holocaust and is a testament to how the Holocaust changed the world. Gather your family and friends to honor and remember victims of this catastrophic event.
Families of Holocaust survivors will light the six torches representing the six million who perished in the Holocaust. Guests will also enjoy a musical presentation that reflects upon the lasting effects of the Holocaust.
April 27, 2014, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road, Dallas, Texas 75240.


BESA: A Code of Honor, Special exhibit is viewable through June 18, 2014. This exhibit features the photographs and testimony of Albanians and their families who rescued Jews during the Holocaust taken by the American photographer, Norman H. Gershman. PRESENTING SPONSORS: The Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation

Albania, a European country with a Muslim majority, succeeded where other European nations failed. Almost all Jews living within Albania’s borders during the German occupation—mostly refugees—were saved. The Albanian population, in an extraordinary act of honor, refused to comply with Nazi orders to turn over Jews. The remarkable assistance afforded the Jews was grounded in Besa, a traditional Albanian code of honor. Besa means “to keep a promise”. One who acts according to Besa is one who keeps his or her word, and is someone to whom one can entrust one’s life and the lives of one’s family.

The Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation

Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce
Albanian American Cultural Center
Congregation Beth Torah

A Special Thanks to: 70kft for graphic design.


Inwood Theater at 5458 W. Lovers Lane in Dallas. This special screening will support both the Dallas Holocaust Museum and the Shoah Foundation in recognition of the vital work of both organizations do to enlighten and inspire through Holocaust testimony.

Tickets are $50.00 GENERAL and $75.00 VIP.

Order tickets online at

Sponsorships Available:

Your sponsorship would entitle you and your guests to VIP seating in a private screening room.
- Executive Producer $5,000
- Film Director $2,500
- Production Designer $1,000

Contact: Pam Barnes at

Download the flyer


The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance will host a 2014 Yom Hashoah Commemoration Ceremony on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Shalom. Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died during the Holocaust and is a testament to how the Holocaust changed the world. Gather your family and friends to honor and remember victims of this catastrophic event.
Families of Holocaust survivors will light the six torches representing the six million who perished in the Holocaust. Guests will also enjoy a musical presentation that reflects upon the lasting effects of the Holocaust.
April 27, 2014, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road, Dallas, Texas 75240.

Mary Pat Higgins: Speaking Out Against Hatred, Past and Present

The photos of the children haunt me day and night.

As the mother of two boys, as a longtime school administrator, as a member of the human family and now as the new president of a museum devoted to teaching children the importance of respect and acceptance of others, I am heartbroken by the young faces looking back at me.
The atrocities at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Syria where 3,500 children have been killed since March 2011, and, lest we never forget, in Nazi-occupied Europe where 1.5 million children were murdered during the Holocaust, remind us not just of the children we have lost—but what we might have gained had they lived.
Each year, around this time, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance pauses to remember victims of the Holocaust on the occasion of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan. 27, 1945—68 years ago.

The Holocaust is the term used to describe the deliberate murder and desecration of millions of people prior to and during World War II in Germany and German-occupied areas in Europe.

The majority of Holocaust victims were Jewish—six million Jews were murdered—but the Roma people, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, ethnic Poles, people with disabilities, homosexuals and political and religious opponents were also killed, more than 11 million in total. At Auschwitz-Birkenau alone, one million people died before Soviet troops liberated the camp.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution calling for an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust and affirmed that this indescribable tragedy serve as a warming to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.

It is the profound responsibility of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance to teach future generations of children the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help prevent future acts of genocide. History teaches us that genocide can be prevented if enough people care enough to act.

With that aim and in that spirit, an interfaith community gathered in the Memorial Room of the Dallas Holocaust Museum on Sunday, Jan. 27, to honor, remember and mourn the lives lost.

Standing in the silence, amid the tears—so fresh, still, for many Holocaust Survivors and their living family members—I reflected on what Professor Yehuda Bauer of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in 2006: “We are all one human race—interconnected and interdependent.”
And, I thought of the children whose faces in media accounts stare back at me through precious family photographs—children like mine, like yours—and I embraced them in my heart, our children.

We can only imagine the beauty, the brilliance, the distinction that these murdered children would have brought to our world.
But as we mourn and remember murdered children, we must face this fact of humanity: the capacity for evil that allowed their lives to be extinguished is inherent in each of us and must be combatted by each of us with the desire to do what is right and good.

Our choices in response to hatred—whatever its source—truly do matter. And we must respond. We owe it to our children—those lost and those who grace our lives today.
Mary Pat Higgins is President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance and may be reached at

Fifth Graders from DISD’s Anne Frank Elementary to Visit the Museum

Anne Frank Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the Dallas Independent School District, is the only school in Texas named after a child—and the only elementary school in the U.S. named for Anne Frank.

On January 28, about 160 members of the fifth grade class at Anne Frank Elementary will learn first-hand about their school’s namesake when they take a field trip to view the new Anne Frank exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The Museum invited the students for the special tour.
“We are delighted to be hosting students from Anne Frank Elementary,” said Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins. “We hope the students come away with a new understanding of the incredible person Anne Frank was and how her life continues to positively influence all of us nearly 70 years after her tragic death.”
The students from Anne Frank Elementary will be viewing the Museum’s new exhibit, Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album, which includes 71 rare and intimate private family photographs taken by Anne’s father, Otto Frank.

Prior to the visit, the students will be the first in Texas to use the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s new Anne Frank Curriculum Trunk, which includes curriculum and lesson activities on the life of Anne Frank, including copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, one of the most widely-used Holocaust resources worldwide with more than 31 million copies in print.

In addition to viewing the photo exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the students will view a 28-minute award-winning documentary film, The Short Life of Anne Frank, which will be shown in the DHM/CET Theater. Students will also visit the Museum’s core exhibit, “One Day During the Holocaust.”

As the largest elementary school in Dallas, Anne Frank Elementary serves students from as many as 30 countries who speak more than 20 languages.

The Anne Frank exhibit includes 71 of Otto Frank’s 400 photographs that originally filled four albums hidden in the annex. After the family was discovered and deported to Nazi death camps, the albums remained hidden in a couch in the annex. When the Annex was looted the couch was stolen. The photographs were mysteriously returned to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam in the early 1990s.

Miep Gies, one of the people who supported the family during their time in the annex kept Anne’s diary and gave it to Otto Frank when he returned in 1945. He was the only member of his family to return. Anne and her sister, Margot, died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March, 1945.

Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album continues through March 31 at the DHM/CET, 211 N. Record Street in the historic West End of Downtown Dallas. The Museum is open Monday-Friday, 9:30 am to 5 pm and on weekends from 11 am to 5 pm.

Museum Launches New Book Club for Museum Members: iRead

The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance is excited to announce the establishment of a new “members-only” book club. iRead will meet every other month to discuss popular Holocaust-related literary works. Please join us on the 5th floor of the DHM/CET on February 18, 2013 at noon for a brown bag or boxed lunch* and the discussion of our first book: Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family by Miep Gies.

Following the book discussion, book club participants may stay behind for a private tour of the exhibition, Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album, to be led by Charlotte Decoster, PhD. Decoster is the Education and Public Engagement Coordinator for the DHM/CET.

DHM/CET members are encouraged to bring guests who are interested in joining the Museum. iRead guests must join the DHM/CET as members in order to remain in iRead.

Tales from the Archives: Ilse Koch Correspondence Folder

Donated by Steve Brownstein

1990.001.0001 Mann Collection
By Charlotte Decoster, PhD

The DHM/CET archive contains a plain and ordinary leather correspondence folder. It is without engraving, adornment or contents. However, it is not ordinary. It holds a horrendous past because it is the correspondence folder of Ilse Koch.

Today, many people recognize Ilse Koch as the notorious “Witch or Bitch of Buchenwald” (deriving from the German word Hexe). Ilse Koch received this name for her cruel and sadistic treatment of prisoners at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Born Ilse Köhler in Dresden in 1906 and a secretary by profession, she joined the Nazi party in 1932 and soon after married Karl Otto Koch.

Karl Koch was first the head of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and later became the head of the newly built Buchenwald Concentration Camp. As the wife of Karl, Ilse was assigned as SS-Aufseherin (SS-overseer) at Buchenwald.

It is at Buchenwald that her cruelty became evident. She was fond of riding her horse through the camp, whipping any prisoner who attracted her attention. She targeted prisoners with distinctive tattoos. She ordered them killed and their skin tanned and stored for later use by the SS guards. She is alleged to have made handbags and lampshades.

In 1942, the reign of the Kochs came to an abrupt end. The Gestapo arrested them on the charge of unauthorized killing of prisoners and embezzlement. While Ilse was acquitted, the SS convicted Karl and executed him in April 1945.

After liberation, Ilse Koch was arraigned before the American military court at Dachau in 1947 and prosecuted for “participating in a criminal plan for aiding, abetting, and participating in murders at Buchenwald.” The tribunal found her guilty and sentenced her to life in prison. After a long string of legal battles, Koch committed suicide at the Aichach Women’s Prison on September 1, 1967. She was 60 years old.

The correspondence folder at the DHM/CET archive was obtained by Seymour Mann, the first American soldier to find and interrogate Ilse Koch shortly after VE Day in 1945. The folder originally contained letters and other correspondence by Koch which were ultimately turned over to the War Crimes Commission.
While the leather correspondence folder is empty now, its existence reminds us of the horrendous acts that people committed during the Nazi regime. The correspondence folder can be temporarily viewed on display at the DHM/CET.

The Memorial Trend of Duplicate Tattoos

More children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors are getting tattoos identical to those forcibly placed on their loved ones while they were in concentration or death camps. Family members find themselves at odds over the tattoos. Some view them as a sacrifice to honor or as an enduring act of remembrance while others express concern that Judaism forbids tattooing, quoting Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not etch a tattoo on yourselves.”

The trend that started in Israel is being documented in a film called Numbered. The film follows Hanna Rabinovitz, a middle-aged woman who puts her father’s number on her ankle after his death, and tells the story of Ayal Gelles, a 28-year-old computer programmer, and his grandfather, Avraham Nachshon, 86, both of whom bear the number A-15510 on their arms.

Artist and DHM/CET board member Julie Meetal Berman was thoughtful as she considered this trend. “At first it seems like a wonderful thing to do in memory of that survivor. But the more I thought about it the more it began to bother me. First, I have always told my children that tattooing was against Jewish law. Second, the Nazis tried to dehumanize us by tattooing numbers on us and taking our names away. I would imagine that the survivors would rather see future generations thriving and living life to its fullest.”

Board member and second generation Holocaust survivor, Marsha Gaswirth had a similar reaction. “Honoring the memory of a loved by recounting their lives is what makes them human and not a number,” she said.

Holocaust survivor Max Glauben speaks regularly to young students visiting the DHM/CET and also serves on the museum’s board. His verdict on this trend was powerful.
“We were branded in order to humiliate us, to add salt to the wound and be treated as animals that belonged to someone else. Why in a free society would we allow this to be done to our children and grandchildren?” Max’s tattoo can be seen in the picture above.

(links: text: Read more…)

Anti-Semitic Bishop Expelled from Catholic Religious Order

Like any plague, Anti-Semitism is painful, long-lasting and, seemingly, impossible to eradicate. This fact was underscored by the recent decision of a breakaway order of the Roman Catholic Church to permanently expel a Holocaust-denying Bishop.
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) consecrated Richard Williamson as a bishop in 1988 against the orders of Pope John Paul II. The ultra-conservative order was founded in 1970 as a breakaway order because it disapproved of the modernizing reforms adopted by the Catholic Church during the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
For denying papal authority, Pope John Paul II excommunicated the society’s founder and three others, including Williamson, whose hate speech against Jews was well documented.

In January 2009, Pope Benedict XVI—in an attempt to reunite the breakaway order with the mainstream church—ended Williamson’s 20-year excommunication. A scandal soon erupted, however, when it emerged that just three days before his restoration as a Bishop, Williamson told a Swedish television interviewer that the Nazis did not use gas chambers and killed no more than 300,000 Jews.

The Vatican claimed it did not know about Williamson’s extreme anti-Semitic beliefs, although they could easily be found on the Internet. A public relations disaster ensued with many groups and individuals, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling for the permanent expulsion of Williamson, 72.
On Oct. 24, 2012, the Society of St. Pius X—in hopes of reviving the effort to reunite with the mainstream Catholic Church—excommunicated Williamson for “refusing to show respect and obedience deserved by legitimate superiors.”

The scandal, however, is far from over. Voicing sentiments expressed by many groups and individuals devoted to human rights, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement, saying, in part, “Until the SSPX publicly rejects those hateful positions and accepts the Vatican II teachings that laid the foundation for the historic improvement in the relationship between Catholics and Jews, the expulsion of Williamson is no more than cosmetic surgery that attempts to cover up the ugly reality of anti-Semitism and hate that is imbedded in the theology of the SSPX.”

Dallas Holocaust Museum Names CFO Of The Hockaday School Its New CEO And President

Mary Pat Higgins, the longtime Chief Financial Officer at The Hockaday School in Dallas and a passionate advocate for children and educational initiatives, is the new President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance (DHM/CET), the Museum announced today.

Higgins, who has been at Hockaday since 1990 and now serves as Associate Head and CFO at the school, is currently a board member and treasurer of the DHM/CET. She will assume her new leadership role at the Museum on January 1, 2013. She replaces Alice Murray, who has decided to pursue new career opportunities upon the conclusion of her employment agreement.

“We are delighted to have as our new President and CEO such a highly-talented executive and highly-regarded financial professional as Mary Pat Higgins,” said Hylton Jonas, Chairman of the DHM/CET Board of Directors. “Her proven track record of capital campaign fundraising, financial and construction management and team-oriented leadership is a perfect fit for the Museum as we prepare to embark on the long-awaited campaign to build a best-in-class, nationally recognized Museum/Center for the North Texas community.”

Founded 25 years ago in the lower level of the Dallas Jewish Community Center, the Museum moved to its interim location at 211 N. Record Street in Dallas’ West End Historic District in 2005. More than 35,000 students and teachers and another 20,000 visitors tour the Museum annually. The Museum has purchased land along the DART rail line, across from The Sixth Floor Museum, at the corner of Houston and Pacific Streets for a new state-of-the-art museum. The Museum anticipates the launch of a capital campaign for the new Museum in mid-2013.

“I am honored, excited and inspired by the opportunity to join the Dallas Holocaust Museum at such a vital time of growth and expansion,” said Higgins. “The Museum’s mission—to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to teach the moral and ethical response to prejudice, hatred and indifference—fits perfectly with my personal passion for education, children and service to the community. I look forward to working with the Museum board, staff and community residents to take the Museum to a new level, especially the construction of a new Museum.”

In her role as Chief Financial Officer at The Hockaday School, Higgins oversaw an annual operating budget of $32 million, numerous school departments involving more than 100 employees, investment management responsibilities for a $125 million endowment and the management of construction and renovation activities.
Most recently, she has managed the architectural planning and assisted with fundraising efforts for the proposed Centennial Center at Hockaday, which will house the School’s Fine Arts and Science Programs in new and renovated space.

A CPA who is highly regarded by Dallas’ non-profit community, Higgins serves as a board member and treasurer of KERA, public radio and television for North Texas; board member of Oak Hill Academy; board member and Chair of Gender Lens Investing Committee of the Dallas Women’s Foundation; and the board of the National Coalition of Girls Schools; she is a past board member, treasurer and board Chair of Planned Parenthood of North Texas.
She has received many awards and recognition, including being named a Hockaday Honorary Alumnae in 2007 and the Richardson, Texas YWCA “Woman of the Year” for exemplary service in the not-for-profit sector in 2002.

A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Higgins received an Executive MBA degree from SMU in 2008. Married, she is the mother of two sons.

Hungarian Anti-Semitism: An Interview with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, PhD.

By Sara Abosch, PhD.
September 10. 2012

In June, to protest anti-Semitic developments in Hungary, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel returned an award he received in 2004 from the Hungarian government. In a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Wiesel decried the “whitewashing of…the wartime Hungarian governments’ involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens.”[1]

Wiesel’s comments come in the wake of the recent rehabilitation of a number of political figures involved with the wartime Hungarian Fascist regime as well as the rise of public expressions of anti-Semitism. The Hungarian government has also demanded that the Claims Conference, responsible for aiding elderly survivors, return $8 million in funds previously committed to poor Hungarian Holocaust survivors. Further worrying observers of the Hungarian scene have been the emergence of streets, statues, and plaques dedicated to Admiral Miklós Horthy, the wartime leader of Hungary who was responsible for the transport of 20,000 so-called “foreign Jews” to the Ukraine in the summer of 1941 and the deportation of 437,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in 1944.

Other recent developments include the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Kaposvár, Székesfehérvár, and elsewhere, and the discovery, in Budapest, of Laszló Csizsik-Csatáry, a 97 year old Nazi war criminal on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s ‘most wanted’ list. Csizsik-Csatáry lived openly in Hungary for the past 15 years and was ‘found’ by the British Sun tabloid.[2]

I spoke with Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, a Hungarian survivor and DHM/CET board member, about these developments. Dr. Ozsváth attributed some of the current anti-Semitism to historical factors in Hungary including the recurring foreign occupations over the centuries, to which the Magyars (ethnic Hungarians) reacted with ever-growing nationalism.

Following WWI, Hungary was severed from Austria and reduced to one third its former size. This, along with other factors, led to the resurgence of a fiery Hungarian nationalism. The government that emerged in the immediate wake of the war (known as the Hungarian Soviet Republic) was headed by Béla Kún, a Communist of Jewish descent. In fact, this government was roughly 80% Jewish in its make-up. Thus the Jews of Hungary came to be associated with the dismantling of Hungary’s “rightful”, “thousand year-old borders” and the growth of ‘foreign’ influence in the country. This again created feelings of tremendous resentment among the Magyars and led to an increase in anti-Semitism and the murder of several hundred Jews after Kún’s Communist government fell. Jews were also extremely successful professionally in interwar Hungary (as they had been during the later 19th century), which led to additional anti-Semitic sentiment.

Ozsváth noted that Admiral Horthy, the leader of Hungary from the overthrow of the Kún government in 1919 until October 1944, spent much of the 1920s trying to recover ‘lost’ Hungarian territory. His desire to reclaim this territory, as well as his fear of Soviet expansionism, led Horthy into alliance with the Nazis who promised the restoration of territory from Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Rumania.

Horthy enjoyed support among his countrymen and was an active anti-Semite. Partly to please the Germans, and, partly to please pro-Nazi members of the Hungarian leadership, his government passed a series of anti-Jewish laws between 1938 and 1941. Under his rule, Hungarian troops entering Yugoslavia in 1941 killed some 1500 Jews and 1500 Serbs. He was also responsible for shipping 55,000 Hungarian-Jewish men between the ages of 18 and 40 to the Russian front as slave labor. There many were tortured and killed by their own Hungarian ‘protectors’ (fellow Hungarian soldiers). Only 5,000 of these ‘labor servicemen’ survived.3

In response to warning letters from FDR, Pius XII, and the King of Sweden, Horthy called off the deportation of Budapest’s Jews in the summer of 1944. However, he did nothing to stop the countryside deportations from May to July 1944. These resulted in the deaths of nearly 437,000 Jews, most murdered in the gas chambers and burned in the ovens and pits of Auschwitz. Young Elie Wiesel was deported to Auschwitz with his father during this time. Ozsváth stresses that the Hungarian government has never accepted any responsibility for the Holocaust, continuing to blame the Germans and ‘outside’ forces for these deaths.

Hungary has a long history of anti-Semitism based both in Christian and ethnic notions of Magyar identity. Jews are not ethnically Magyar and thus cannot truly be part of the nation. The nation is intensely Christian, and so, again, Jews cannot belong. As continuing evidence of this, Ozsváth sites the new Hungarian constitution passed April 25, 2011. The preamble states: “[O]ur country [has been] a part of Christian Europe [for] one thousand years…” It further notes “[w]e recognize the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood.” Ozsváth stresses that this same constitution explains away Hungarian culpability in the Holocaust, blaming “foreign occupations” for “the inhuman crimes committed against the Hungarian nation…“4 This ignores completely the role played by Horthy and his countrymen in the murder of Jews, both Hungarian and foreign.

In today’s Hungary, roughly 66% of the population “believes the Jews are too powerful” and “only 40% of Hungarians between the ages of 18 and 30 know about the Holocaust.“5 Despite Hungary’s long and difficult history this is not as complex and insoluble a problem as some might argue. Simply put, until the subject of Hungary’s past is openly and honestly addressed there can be no resolution of the war years or genuine discussion concerning the nature of national identity and/or Hungarian-Jewish identity and no solution to Hungary’s continuing “Jewish question”.

  1. Letter from Elie Wiesel to László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, June 7, 2012.
  2. Brian Flynn and Ryan Parry, “The Sun finds Nazi who sent 15,700 to Die,” The Sun, July 15, 2012.
  3. Information in this section drawn from an interview with Dr. Ozsváth, August 14, 2012.
  4. Quotes are from an English translation of the 2011 Hungarian constitution found at:
  5. Quoting Dr. Ozsváth, August 14, 2012
    (text: Q&A With DHM/CET’s Senior Director of Education, Sara Abosch)

“Nazi Chic”: Why it’s Still With Us

The rise of “Nazi chic”, a term used by CNN/GO, The Guardian and other magazines and blogs, stretches back to the 70’s and the punk movement and like many popular trends the more people decry a trend the more other people want to do it. It has not gone away and it has not abated. In 2000, a pub in Seoul, called the Fifth Reich, caught national attention due to an article in Time magazine that reported on the establishment’s controversial existence.

Despite pressure from the German and Israeli embassies, the pub is still there today and is still full of Nazi paraphernalia. The rise in popularity of “Nazi chic” has expanded exponentially, especially in Hong Kong, Bangkok and India where Nazi symbols are “fashionable.” In Mongolia and India, neo-Nazism is gaining a new foothold with a “fondness” for Mein Kampf and where Hitler’s writings on “discipline and patriotism” are considered inspiring.

What Would You Do?
You are traveling in India and come upon a “Nazi chic” store, do you…

*Chalk it up to freedom of speech and go in to check it out?

*Chalk it up to freedom of speech but refuse to enter the store?

*Try to calm the anxiety you feel and walk past it to visit other shops?

*Stop in for a chat with the store manager in the hope that you can make him or her understand why the Nazi fetishism is inappropriate?


Tales from the DHM/CET Archives

Tales from the DHM/CET Archives

Confession Manuscript by Mauthausen Camp Commander, Franz Ziereis

Donated by Thomas Kistner
on November 7, 2003

Accession # 2003.019.0001

The Mauthausen Concentration Camp, located on the bank of the Danube River, opened its doors on August 1, 1938, to prisoners regarded by the Nazi Reich as traitors to the Austrian people. By the summer of 1940, it had grown into a collection of camps known as the Mauthausen-Gusen. The exact prisoner population and death toll of the camp remains unknown as most camp records were deliberately destroyed before liberation.

On May 5, 1945, a squad from the U.S. 3rd Army liberated Mauthausen-Gusen. By this time, most of the SS-men and guards had already abandoned the camp, including camp commander Franz Xaver Ziereis. He escaped with his wife to his hunting lodge on Phyn Mountain in Upper Austria. On May 23, a small Army unit discovered Ziereis and while he was attempting to escape, they shot him three times while in pursuit. Still alive, they brought him to a U.S. Army hospital where he died on May 25, 1945.
Before his death, the U.S. Army claims to have interrogated Ziereis and taken his testimony. Unfortunately, the official draft of the testimony was lost. The document file, 1515-PS, containing the Ziereis confession in the Paris-based documentation center of the Allied powers, sits empty.

Because of its disappearance, some history revisionists allege that Ziereis made no statement to U.S. forces. They deliberately ignore pictures taken of Ziereis at the hospital, witness accounts and the record of Ziereis’ arrival in the log book of the U.S. Army 121st Evacuation Hospital (currently located in the U.S. National Archives).

In an interesting turn of events, while undertaking research in the DHM/CET’s archive, a document titled: Confession Manuscript by Mauthausen Camp, Franz Ziereis, turned up. The document, donated by Thomas Kistner, appears to be an original. DHM/CET Education and Public Engagement Coordinator Charlotte Decoster, PhD. contacted Thomas Kistner who said that the manuscript was my father’s. His father, Estel Kistner, was a company clerk when U.S. forces liberated Mauthausen. He was present during Ziereis’ interrogation and took notes to later draft an official copy.

The document in possession of the DHM/CET is the draft notes taken by Kistner. After typing the official document, he stored the notes among his belongings. The original set of notes in the archives of the DHM/CET is proof that the official document describing Ziereis’ confession exists; hopefully this will remove any questions about its authenticity.

The document is important not just for its existence but also for its content. In his confession, Ziereis detailed the experience of the prisoners at Mauthausen and described involvement of various leaders within the Nazi hierarchy. He stated: ‘By order of the Reichsminister Himmler, I was to kill all the prisoners by orders of the Obergruppenfuehrer, Dr. Kaltenbrunner. The prisoners were crowded into a long cave in one of the quarry walls. The opening to be walled up with large rocks. Then I was to dynamite at the entrance and blow it up.’[1] Ziereis also discussed the existence of a gas chamber, injections of prisoners, torture of prisoners, transportation of Jews and Himmler’s inspection of the camp.

This first ‘Tale from the Archives’ demonstrates the importance of archiving artifacts and documents from the Holocaust. The testimony by Franz Ziereis serves to dispel some myths regarding the Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp. Donating artifacts and documents to the DHM/CET assures that items are safeguarded and available for use by scholars.

Charlotte Decoster, PhD.
Education and Public Engagement Coordinator

[1] This quote derives straight from the document. It contains multiple spelling mistakes, probably due to the fact that this was a draft copy and never meant to be an original.

Finding Sobibor’s Road to Heaven

by Dr. Charlotte Decoster

As part of Aktion Reinhard, the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews, the Nazis established three death camps: Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor. Upon its opening in March 1942, Sobibor consisted of three sections, each individually fenced: the administrative, reception and extermination areas. Both surviving victims and perpetrators testify to a path about 10 to 13 feet wide and about 500 feet long dubbed by the SS guards as the Himmelfahrstrasse (Road to Heaven) that led from the reception area to the extermination area. On each side, the path was fenced with barbed wire intertwined with pine branches. Lithuanian guards herded naked victims towards the gas chambers along the path. Today, tall trees cover the previous site of the Sobibor camp.

After a Jewish prisoner uprising in October 1943, the SS liquidated those in the camp and dismantled most buildings, including the gas chambers; they removed any visible traces of the extermination camp. Blueprints of Sobibor are based on the testimony of camp survivors and perpetrators.

In 2007, the Archaeological Division of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research created the Sobibor Archeological Project to reconstruct the layout of the Sobibor extermination camp. The project, led by Israeli archeologist Yoram Haimi and Polish archeologist Wojciech Mazurek, has made great headway in revealing the extermination site. Over a thousand objects related to the Shoah have been found by project members, including an engraved metal identification tag bearing the name of Lea Judith de la Penha, a 6-year old Jewish girl from Holland who Yad Vashem confirmed was murdered at the camp. In an Associated Press article on August 21, 2012, Haimi called her ‘the symbol of Sobibor.’

Haimi and Mazurek are remapping Sobibor using a basic ‘square out and filter’ system, along with more advanced non-invasive high-tech aids such as ground-penetrating radar and global positioning satellite imaging. These methods are useful at outlining Sobibor because each area had separate fencing. Based on the debris collected and patterns in the soil, the archeologists have been able to figure out where the Nazis placed poles to string the camp’s barbed-wire fences. As a result, they recently succeeded in locating the Himmelfahrstrasse. They determined its route by the poles that marked its path. From that, they concluded where the gas chambers would have been located.

Dan Michman, head of Yad Vashem’s Research Institute, noted in an Associated Press article that Haimi’s work shed light on the ‘technical aspects’ of the Holocaust. It also grants insight, for example, on what people chose to take with them in their final moments. ‘His details are exact and that is an important tool against Holocaust denial. It’s not memories, it’s based on facts. It’s hard evidence.’ Once his work is completed at Sobibor, Haimi hopes to move on to research at Treblinka and other destroyed extermination camps. Commenting on the use of archeology in Holocaust research, Haimi said: ‘This is the future research tool of the Holocaust.’[1]

  1. For more information see, Aron Heller, ‘Israeli Archaeologist Digs into Nazi Death Camp,’ Associated Press, August 21, 2012, and Yad Vashem,

New exhibit featuring photography of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman to open September 1

The Dallas Holocaust Museum will host a new special exhibit of rarely seen photography from World War II, Beyond the Lens: The Photography of Resistance and Liberation. The exhibit features the photography of Faye Schulman, the only known Jewish Partisan photographer.

The exhibit, on loan from the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, features a collection of images that captures the camaraderie, horror and loss, bravery and triumph of tough partisans—many of who were Jewish—who fought the Germans and their collaborators.

The exhibit also features photographs and camera equipment used by the late WWII Army Sgt. Richard Cramer of Texarkana, Texas, who documented the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

“We were not like lambs going to the slaughter,” Schulman said of her time with the partisans. “Many fought back—if there was the slightest opportunity—and thousands lost their lives fighting the enemy and working to save lives.”

Born in Poland in 1924, Schulman received a camera from her brother when she was 13. The camera ultimately saved her life when she was spared by the Nazis to film their atrocities. She eventually escaped from the Nazis and used her camera to document Jewish Partisan resistance.

On October 11, in conduction with the exhibit, the Museum is sponsoring the world premiere of the documentary film Reunion, featuring the story of Dallas-resident, Holocaust Survivor and Jewish Partisan Leon Bakst.

The film, which will be shown in the Zale Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northhaven Road in Dallas, is being held in conjunction with the exhibit “Beyond the Lens: Pictures of Resistance and Liberation,” which is on display at the Museum now through November 25th.

The October 11 documentary film premiere begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by remarks and the film premiere at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the documentary program is $10 for DHM/CET Upstander members and JCC members, and $20 for non-members. The event is free for DHM/CET Circle of Remembrance members.

Admission to the special exhibit, Beyond the Lens: Pictures of Resistance and Liberation, is free with regular paid admission to the Museum ($8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors).

Museum to present Reunion documentary on October 11

Join the DHM/CET on October 11 for the world premiere of the documentary film The Reunion, featuring the story of Dallas-resident, Holocaust Survivor and Jewish partisan Leon Bakst. Leon Bakst was part of the Bielski brothers partisan group madefamous by the film Defiance that starred Daniel Craig.

The film, which will be shown in the Zale Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northhaven Road in Dallas, is being held in conjunction with the exhibit “Beyond the Lens: The Photography of Resistance and Liberation” which will be on display at the Museum September 1st through November 25th.

The film documents the story of Dallas Holocaust survivor and Jewish partisan Leon Bakst, who will speak following the film.

The October 11 event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by remarks and the film premiere at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is $5 for DHM/CET Upstander members, teachers, students and JCC members and $10 for non-members. The event is free for Survivors and DHM/CET Circle of Remembrance members.

RSVP by October 8th to or by phoning the Museum, 214-741-7500.

Teaching with Defiance: hands-on educator institute on teaching with the film set for October 12th

North Texas educators are invited to attend a special hands-on educator institute entitled “Teaching with Defiance” at the DHM/CET on Monday, October 12, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

The workshop will focus on Jewish Resistance and the Bielski Partisans, the subject of the Paramount Vintage film starring Daniel Craig and the subject of DHM/CET’s new special exhibit, Beyond the Lens: The Photography of Resistance and Liberation.

Each attendee will receive a DVD copy of Defiance with excerpts, a teacher’s guide to the DVD and excerpts along with additional educational materials and nine Jewish Partisans documentaries produced by the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation.

For more information, contact the Education Department of the DHM/CET at or call 214-741-7500.

German doctors admit complicity in experimentation on Holocaust prisoners

Two weeks ago, the German Medical Association (Bundesarztekammer) adopted a declaration acknowledging that German doctors, willingly and by choice, performed experiments on prisoners during the Holocaust. It had been widely accepted that the doctors were forced by the Naziregime to experiment on prisoners, most of whom died from unnecessary operations, from diseases given to them, or from the horrible physical trauma inflicted on them.
The news was reported by Arthur Caplan, PhD., the head of the Bioethics Department at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. In straightforward terms, a GMA representative issued the acknowledgement that he felt would set the record straight for survivors and the families of those who died. The association apologized for many doctors who under the Nazis were “guilty, contrary to their mission to heal, of scores of human rights violations and we ask the forgiveness of their victims, living and deceased, and of their descendants.”

The GMA says “these crimes were not the actions of individual doctors but involved leading members of the medical community” and should be taken as a warning for the future.

Caplan called the apology “the most important one made in the name of medicine. It’s better than continuing to deny it. That the doctors actually remember the victims is significant if only because they can’t forget the horror of what they inflicted.” According to Caplan, the GMA reached a unanimous decision to adopt the apology. The only redemption for many may be that these doctors if living, are witnesses and able to combat the rhetoric of Holocaust deniers.

Are you satisfied with this apology?
No. It’s not enough.
No. The apology is hollow and dispassionate.
No. Any of these doctors that are still living should go to prison for their crimes.
No. I want to know, why the association is coming forward now.

Student Opinions - Is there hope for Humanity in Bystander Voyeurism?

If you heard the rumors at my school today, you would have heard that four fights occurred. Rumors have a way of multiplying things. This is certainly not the first time there were fights at my high school. Even in an affluent town like Coppell, people have had their quarrels over the years.

I witnessed only one fight today, but it is the way I saw the fight that I find more disappointing than the fight itself. I watched it on someone’s iPhone. There they were, on the tiny screen, two young girls aggressively attacking each other. Why was I watching this? Why is my generation interested in watching and immortalizing two young women hurting each other? Has it come to this: we pull out our phones and film a fight rather than step up and stop it?

I am not naive. It is easier said than done to step in and stop a fight. In fact, it can be quite dangerous. But why is it that we would rather stand by in a circle and encourage a fight than to look for help, or shout at the participants to end it?
The physical harm, the sickening yells of “fight, fight, fight!” - these are not inherent of my generation alone. The sheer animalism of fighting is not unique either. However, this aggressive behavior is no longer confined to a single moment, an instant in time when we forgot that the power of love is greater than that of violence.

Now, these moments are captured on cameras and digitally downloaded, shared and available forever in the annals of a technological time warp. Anyone who wants another dose of adrenaline can watch those two girls going after each other as a voyeur in perpetuity.
As technology and social networking continue to dominate society, there is a likely chance that both the voyeurism and the hostile aggression will escalate. Still, it is my hope that we, my generation, can take a step back and realize that everything is not worth documenting. We must hold on to our compassion, our ability to be empathetic. Without compassion and empathy, we lose what makes us human. Share this message with your friends.

By Madison Ford, age 18

Racism in Review: Making Sense of the Hurt

That a scholarly publication entitled Racism Review exists may be a sad commentary about the state of humanity, but it’s a necessary one.
Recently, the publication featured a study by two San Francisco State University professors about the attitudes and reactions of Filipino-Americans, concerning racism. The study showed that Filipino-Americans who “confront racism boosted their self esteem.”

Yet, the same study by researchers Alvin Alvarez, professor of counseling, and Linda Juang, associate professor of psychology—entitled “Filipino Americans and Racism: A Multiple Mediation Model of Coping,” and published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology—reported that 99 percent of the study participants experienced at least one incident of “everyday racism.”

Subtle racism is the most commonplace form of discrimination—racism such as being ignored, ridiculed or treated differently. Lead researcher Alvarez explained that, “These are incidents that may seem innocent and small, but cumulatively they can have a powerful impact on an individual’s mental health. Trying to ignore these insidious incidents could become taxing and debilitating over time, chipping away at a person’s spirit.”
The chipping away of the spirit. This aptly describes the result of what is sadly termed “subtle, everyday racism.”

“Everyday racism” chips away at the most dynamic and prolific part of a human being, Alvarez said. “As an Asian American man who has experienced my share of racism, I offer a solution to all who bully and discriminate. In the words of Rollo May, ‘self-love is not only necessary and good; it is a prerequisite for loving others’".

The Secret Pain of the Most Bullied and Abused Ethnic Group in America

dhmasian_bullying Which ethnic group is targeted for discrimination, bullying and incivility more than any other group in the United States, according to a recent government study?

Yes, anti-Semitism has been on the rise for some time and in existence for centuries. According to some historians, anti-Semitism started in 63 B.C. when the Romans conquered Jerusalem, and it has escalated from there. Longevity, however, isn’t the issue. Contrary to popular belief about discrimination towards Jews, African- and Hispanic-Americans, the most victimized ethnic group in the U.S.—currently—is comprised of Asian Americans.

According to reporter Jeff Yang of The Wall Street Journal, “young Asian Americans are facing a bullying epidemic. Last year, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released a joint study, showing that over half of Asian American teens said they’d been the subject of targeted abuse at school, versus approximately a third of blacks, Hispanics and whites.”

Indeed, AAPI Nexus reported that Asian-American students are bullied in American schools much more frequently than students belonging to other ethnic group.

Why? Asian Americans are, disproportionately targeted for abuse due to their real or perceived “social awkwardness, physical frailty and academic overachievement…,” Yang reports, adding that in America there is rising animosity toward immigrants and to those who look different. Furthermore, Asian Americans are misperceived as being predominately Muslim, he reported.
Why is this news about Asian Americans a surprise to many of us? Because the targeted bullying of Asian Americans goes largely unreported by the media. Yang says, “cultural and familial expectations push [children of immigrants] to submit to bullying” and they suffer in silence.
But, their silence in the face of bullying has its consequences. “Over the last ten years, depression rates among Asian Americans have skyrocketed.” Suicide is now the fifth most common cause of death among Asian Americans.

One such suicide recently made international headlines. Private Danny Chen killed himself after allegedly facing considerable bullying and abuse by fellow soldiers while based in Afghanistan because of his Chinese heritage. While bullying in schools has reached pandemic levels, the silent suffering of many Asian-American youth is only now emerging as an urgent issue.

I trolled several avenues for information on racism against Asian Americans including the internet and discovered a three year old conversation on Yahoo initiated by a Asian American teenager who in desperation put the question out to the masses, “Why are people so racist against Asians?” Visit and read the 38 responses she got.

Local Holocaust Survivors, WW II Liberators to Celebrate VE Day at Special Program on May 9

Local Holocaust Survivors and WW II veterans who liberated Holocaust death camps will mark the 67th anniversary of VE Day at special program honoring both groups on May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

The local veterans and survivors—most of whom have never met before and are now in their 80s—will be interviewed about their respective experiences from April and May 1945, when Nazi death camps such as Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt were liberated by Allied forces.

Daughters of World War II and the Dallas Holocaust Museum are sponsoring the reunion of soldiers and survivors to celebrate Victory in Europe Day—known as V-E Day or VE Day—on May 8, 1945 when World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces ofNazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

Local media personality Scott Murray will emcee the program in the theater of the Museum, 211 N. Record Street. Parking is available at the Museum’s parking lot, Houston and Pacific Streets, directly across from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Admission to the special event is $20 for members of the Daughters of WWII and the Dallas Holocaust Museum and $25 for all other guests. WWII vets and a WWII-era guest may attend the event for free. Seating is limited. RSVP to

Dallas Holocaust Museum recognizes the importance of Anne Frank’s life in teaching others about theirs

annefrank Anne Frank was one of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. Born Annelies Marie Frank on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany to Otto and Edith Frank, Anne and her family fled to Amsterdam in 1933 after the Nazi seizure of power in Germany.

In May, 1940, the Germans occupied Amsterdam, and in July, 1942, began, with Dutch collaborators, to deport Jews to a transit camp near the German border and eventually to killing centers in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor in German-occupied Poland.

In July, 1942, Anne and her family went into hiding in a secret attic apartment that eventually housed four Dutch Jews, as well—Hermann, Auguste and Peter van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer. For two years, they lived in the apartment behind the family-owned business at 263 Prinsengracht Street, which Anne referred in her diary as “the Secret Annex.”

For two years, Otto Frank’s friends and colleagues, who had previously helped prepare the hiding place, smuggled food and clothing to the Franks at great risk to their own lives.

On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) discovered the hiding place after being tipped by an anonymous Dutch caller. That same day, the Franks were arrested.

While in the annex, Anne, who had just turned 13 when the family went into hiding, kept a diary in which she recorded her fears, hopes and experiences. Found in the secret apartment after the family was arrested, the diary was kept by one of the family friends who helped hide the Franks. The friend, Miep Geis, later gave the diary to the only survivor from those who had originally gone into hiding—Otto Frank, Anne’s father.
What is now The Diary of Anne Frank was first published in 1947 in many languages. The book is read by thousands of middle- and high-school students around the world. Along with Night by Elie Weisel and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a work of fiction, The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the widely-used Holocaust resources with more than 31 million copies sold.

Museum launches Anne Frank Initiative to supply every student a free copy of the classic book if they cannot afford one

The Dallas Holocaust Museum is launching a new initiative aimed at providing every student who wishes to read The Diary of Anne Frank a free copy of the book, which is a primary resource for teaching the Holocaust.

The Museum’s new Anne Frank Initiative will collect and redistribute copies of The Diary of Anne Frank through 2012 to students who are 13 and older at schools that do not have resources to purchase copies. The public may drop off donated copies of the book at selected locations.
Special workshops and programs on the significance of the diary, written by Anne Frank while hiding from the Nazis during World War II, are planned for both students and adults and will be announced in the Spring.

The Diary is used by teachers across North Texas to educate students not only about the Holocaust, prejudice and hatred, but also about the nobility in human compassion of those who hid Anne Frank, her family and four others during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The book has a universal appeal for teens, as Anne shares her struggles with adolescence, her relationship with her mother and her desire to find a friend she can relate to in a meaningful relationship.

The Diary is an honest, intimate portrayal of a unique individual in an extremely difficult and dangerous time in history. Anne Frank shows that no matter what is occurring in the world around us, we as humans share many of the same qualities”emotion, passion, love, desire, hope, fear and strength. Not only does the story educate us about an important historical event, but it reminds us of the importance of learning to accept our differences and embrace diversity.

New or used copies of The Diary of Anne Frank in English and Spanish may be dropped in special collection bins at:

Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
211 Record Street. Dallas, TX 75202
West End, Downtown Dallas

Jewish Community Center JCC (Foyer)
7900 Northaven Road Dallas, TX 75230-3392
North Dallas

Old Red Museum
100 South Houston Street Dallas, TX 75202
Dallas, TX 75230

Tycher Library
7900 Northaven Road
Dallas, TX 75230
North Dallas

Water Tower Theater
15650 Addison Road Addison, TX 75001
Near Addison Circle and the Addison Airport

Author of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers to speak at Museum on April 25

hitlerjewishsoldiersBryan Mark Rigg, author of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military, will discuss his book at a special lecture at the Museum on April 25.

Bryan Mark Rigg will talk about his time spent in Germany researching his book and the shocking revelations he uncovered.
Bryan Mark Rigg spent years researching the book, canvassing Germany and interviewing countless individuals, ultimately accumulating over 30,000 pages of records. Since then he has producing a stunning work, uncovering stories and a history that few have heard.

Bryan Mark Rigg received his B.A. with honors in history from Yale University in 1996. Yale awarded him the Henry Fellowship for graduate study at Cambridge University, where he received his M.A. in 1997 and Ph.D. in 2002. Currently Professor of History at American Military University, he has served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His research for this book has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and London Daily Telegraph. The thousands of pages of documents and oral testimonies that the author collected were purchased by the National Military Archive of Germany.

The Bryan Mark Rigg Collection is housed in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg, Germany. This work is the conclusion of a decade of Mr. Rigg’s research while a student first at Yale University and later at Cambridge University. Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military is the result of his efforts.

Rigg conducted groundbreaking research into the lives of the Jewish soldiers who served in Hitler’s armed forces including:

  • Blond-haired, blue-eyed Werner Goldberg, who kept his Jewish heritage a secret, was presented in Nazi propaganda as “The Ideal German Soldier”;

  • Luftwaffe General Helmut Wilberg, declared Aryan by Hitler in 1935 even though he was partly Jewish;

  • General Gotthard Heinrici along with his children and wife were awarded the “German blood certificate” although they had Jewish ancestors.