Dolls are fast becoming a leading seller in art galleries and shows around the world. The latest additions are spunky, funny, and like mini-sculptures with attitude.
Collectors of these dolls are growing in number, and the artists are being propelled into notoriety. But It was a recent article in the newspaper that got me thinking about dolls; especially my own as a child.
Her name was Shirley, and I carried her around by the arm because she was fairly large for my toddler body. Made out of a celluloid material that looked like a cross between wood and papier-mâché’ her toes and fingers wore down into white scuffs and eventually holes.
The article in the paper told about a Jewish woman’s doll and the travels it made during World War II. She and her doll were separated many times, but they always managed with the help of others to be re-united. The dolls of these children were especially important to Holocaust victims and survivors.
Sometimes mothers made simple dolls and toys for their children in the camps. Often a family would say that their daughters or sons were twins so they wouldn’t be separated. Unfortunately, these children were selected for tortuous medical experiments by Dr. Mengele and his staff.
Today, some of these dolls reside in Holocaust museums:
Two dolls taken away from Jewish sisters during the Holocaust found a home with a French family — for three generations.
Denise and Micheline Levy, 10 and 9 at the time, were being lined up in the French village of Gemeaux, when a gendarme grabbed the dolls and threw them on the ground. (The complete story and two endearing photos are on the reports. link.) A family in the village took the two dolls home, one in a pink dress, another in a blue.
“None of us ever played with the dolls. We knew the story,” Frederique Gilles, whose grandmother first found the dolls, said. “Our family tried to find out what happened to the two girls, but they never came back. We were unable to trace any relatives.”
Gilles decided to turn the dolls over to the Shoah Memorial in Paris last week, saying she felt wrong passing them down to her four-year-old daughter. “It wasn’t easy to give them up but it was the best thing we could do for the memory of those little girls,” she said.
The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be militarily occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed by the Nazis.
1.5 million children were murdered. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of handicapped children.
The Holocaust is a history of enduring horror and sorrow. It seems as though there is no spark of human concern, no act of humanity, to lighten that dark history.
– Louis Bülow
There is a new book out that I want to read called “Mischling” a German word that means half-breed. The author, Affinity Konar, bases her book on actual Auschwitz survivors Eva and Miriam Mozes and the details they shared of infamous Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.
The haunting words of George Santayana remind us that the lessons of history are invaluable in determining the course of the future: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Sadly many Millennial’s and college students stick today’s politicians with the “Hitler” label without even studying the history and the horrors of what Hitler and his cohorts actually did. Politics is, indeed, a blood sport; and words can kill! Please be informed before you speak!
https://youtu.be/saZcy4RAXIY Dolls in Orlando’s Holocaust Museum.
https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005142 link for more info on children