Home Arts Photos That Helped to Document the Holocaust Were Taken by a Nazi

Photos That Helped to Document the Holocaust Were Taken by a Nazi

by Jersey Lady

AMSTERDAM — On June 20, 1943, a bewildered and terrified family was stuffed, marked with a yellow star, and shoved into one of the city’s most famous public squares, Olympia Square. rice field. Few knew where they were going or for how long, so when registering with the Nazi authorities, they wore winter coats despite the scorching sun.

Dutch photographer Hermann Hoekels moved through the crowds, photographing people who would soon be deported to concentration camps. His photograph became the final portrait of many of the 5,500 people he sent from Amsterdam to Westerbork transit his camp that day, before heading “east”. The majority will never return.

Huykels’ photograph is the most powerful historian has ever used to explain the Dutch Holocaust, which claimed the lives of over 102,000 of the estimated 140,000 Jewish civilians living in the Netherlands before World War II. part of the visual evidence.

But despite their ubiquity in books and movies, few people outside of academia know that these images were actually taken by Dutch Nazis. I was going to portray it as humiliating. Instead, he ended up giving clear testimony to the atrocities of the Third Reich.

“These are very famous photos and some of the most requested photos in our archive from all over the world,” he said. NIOD War, Holocaust and Genocide Research Institute in Amsterdam. The Institute maintains an archive of some 30 original Heukel photographs confiscated by the Dutch Ministry of Justice as part of the post-war collusion trial.

In recent months, a deeper sense of Heukel’s beliefs and motivations has emerged from a biography published in Holland this spring. betrayed the Jews from town, looted their businesses and property, and documented their history as a Dutch SS photojournalist.

“He captured their weakest moments,” Vlasblom said in an interview. Of course, he incorporated Nazi ideology into these images. “

How will this new information change the way we look at these photos? Or how will historians use them or contextualize them in the future?

Kees Ribbens, an NIOD researcher and professor of popular history culture and mass violence at Erasmus University Rotterdam, said the photographs were “very exceptional.” They show how the entire deportation bureaucracy worked. “

But these are “not innocent images,” said Ram Katzil, an Amsterdam-based Israeli artist. He recently used one of Heuchel’s paintings as the base of a monument he created for the site of the deportation. “Shadow” Released to mark the 79th anniversary of the June raids, the photograph recreates the shadow of the deportee at the exact spot where he was last recorded alive in Piazza Olympia.

“Nobody had the names of the victims,” ​​Katzil said, so he considered a lot about whether to include Heickels’ name on the information plaque. did. “It’s a double-edged image. Hiding it hides the role of the collaborator.”

“If you look at the information plaque, it stands exactly where the photographer stood,” Katzir added.

In fact, most of the surviving images of Jewish persecution in the Netherlands were “made from the persecutor’s point of view,” said Ribbens. These include bad de cockGerman photojournalist Franz Anton Stupf, a member of the Dutch Nazi party known as the NSB, captured some of the last images of Amsterdam’s Jewish community before it was decimated.

Janina Struk, author of her 2005 book Filming the Holocaust: Interpreting the Evidence, notes that after the war, photographs taken by bystanders, perpetrators and victims were “all sorts of jumbled together” and showed who shot them. He said that few people asked him if he had done so. For photography or whatever purpose.

“Until very recently, historians didn’t really care who took the picture, why they took it, or what they were doing it for,” she said. “Historians use photographs as illustrations of texts rather than as texts themselves.”

In recent years, the emphasis has been on contextualizing images, explaining how they were made, so that viewers can better understand what they are seeing and how people are feeling. She added that she can now make more ethical choices about what to look for.

When Ribbens learned that Heukels purpose was to have his photograph published in Storm SS, a Dutch Nazi propaganda weekly (the photograph was never published there), he I said I could think about what I chose to leave out of the frame. He said he did not see Nazi officials or Dutch police forcefully round up civilians in his series.

“It doesn’t automatically raise the question of who organized this, who is responsible for this persecution,” he said. “People show up, but what kind of stress they were under, why they were sent here, what options they had in leaving home, why they couldn’t find a hiding place. It’s not clear what? What was so intimidating about it?

NIOD researcher and photography expert Eric Sommers said the official policy of the German occupiers was that images of Jews could not be published in the “legal” Dutch press. explained. Propaganda newspapers, however, can print such images alongside articles with clearly anti-Semitic content.

As a result, the majority of Holocaust images, both in Holland and elsewhere, were taken by Nazi-approved propaganda photographers who were expressly permitted to bring their cameras, Struck said. Other images were from German soldiers who specifically sought out Jewish “memorabilia” images that seemed to fit physical stereotypes.

Cheryl Silver-Okayon, program director of Echoes and Reflections, the education arm of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, said, “The Germans are using photography as a weapon and spending a lot of money on propaganda pictures. I know you made an investment in

“It’s not that photography killed people, but what photography can do is justify ideology. You can justify the murder plot.”

Vlasblom began her research when a church friend, Gerard Visser, asked her to look at a family letter box he had inherited. He knew that the papers were about her two great-uncles, Hermann Hoykels and Jan Herhoykels, who were also Nazi collaborators, but said in her interview: to whom or why

The entire Visser family is delighted that Vlasblom’s book “We waren supermannen (We Were Supermen)”, which also contains information about Jan Heukels, has drawn the attention of the two ancestors who were collaborators. not.

“In Holland, we often hear stories of heroic resistance, but there are also people like Houkel who have done bad things.

Does knowing more about Herman Heukels’ personal biography mean that historians should use these photos differently?

Somers of the Dutch archive NIOD said these images continue to be a valuable source of historical information, while Heukelses’ story underscores the importance of providing context to the photographs.

“You have to find the elements of those photos from the beginning. Who took the photos, for what purpose, and in what context?”

Struk adds: it’s not. This is a highly edited version of what the photographer chose to photograph. “

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