Reflect on The Exhibit

This exhibit touches on many themes relevant for understanding our lives and the world around us. Explore the objects that comprise the exhibit in new ways by joining the global dialogue below.
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Stutthoff Intake Form Showing Chiena’s Peresecki’s Entry

This Nazi document from July 1944 lists the names, birthdates, origins, and prisoner numbers of new camp inmates. It lists Chiena's name as Chjena Persecki.

What do you think would be the impact on Chiena of losing her name and being assigned a number? What are some ways we are assigned numbers in our current societies and how do those numbers change our interactions with others?

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Immigration Sponsorship Form

This 'Individual Assurance by Relative' form (affidavit) is a guarantee to U.S. immigration authorities that Ben Peresecki will be gainfully employed upon his arrival and will not become a burden on the state. This document was a crucial step in ensuring that Ben and his mother could immigrate to the United States.

By signing this document in 1948, Izzy Doubler, Ben’s uncle, ensured that Ben and his mother would have their first home since they were rounded up by their Lithuanian neighbors in July 1945. Why do you think they did not simply return to Lithuania? Do you think it should be so hard for war refugees […]

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Johann Eichelsdorfer, The Last Nazi Commandant at Kaufering

On the day that the 12th Armored Division of the United States 7th Army liberated Kaufering, the camp commandant was made to pose for pictures amongst the bodies of dead Jewish inmates.This image was later used during his trial, at which he was sentenced to death by hanging in the nearby Landsberg prison.

Why do you think the soldiers wanted Eichelsdorfer to pose for this picture? Notice his facial expression and his body language. Where is he looking? What do you think he is feeling at this moment? What do you think a camp survivor would be feeling at this moment?

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The Jacket

Benzion Peresecki’s concentration camp jacket from the Kaufering Labor Camp. It shows his prisoner number was 84679.

Notice the staining on the front of the jacket and the hand stitching of an interior pocket sewn under the prisoner number. If you found this garment at an estate sale, how would you go about verifying its authenticity?

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Chiena’s Letter to the Reparations Attorney

In this handwritten letter dated July 12, 1956, Chiena attempts to explain to her attorney why she cannot find any eyewitnesses to her son’s murder by the Nazis in July 1941. The German government had requested such an eyewitness statement in the course of evaluating Chiena's claim for reparations for his death.

Notice how the handwriting changes early in the second paragraph. The script becomes cursive and much larger, while the words begin crossing over the lines on the page. Why do you think this happened to Chiena’s handwriting?

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