Take a look at these lovely children. They are but a few of the victims of the Holocaust, with one difference. They survived. And now the US Memorial Holocaust Museum is trying to locate them and many others.
(Please view the You Tube video at bottom of the post.)
These children were photographed by social service agencies across Europe soon after World War II. There are more than 1,100 pictures, long stashed away and forgotten for 65 years. Not anymore.
The museum has posted the pictures online and spread the word that the search is on. The plan is to preserve their stories, fill in some gaps of history and then have them step before the camera once again.
The museum launched Twitter and Facebook campaigns and placed newspaper ads targeting Jewish and Polish readers in Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and New York.
The effort is called "Remember Me?" — the question mark underscores the public appeal for information about the photos. But as the people in the pictures started coming forward, the title assumed a new meaning, says Jude Richter, a historian at the museum's Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center.
Most of the photos were taken from 1945 to 1947 and come from the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. The bulk of nearly 170 others from Kloster Indersdorf, then a displaced Jewish children's home in Bavaria, belong to the Holocaust museum's collection. Those kids are shown holding placards with their names to help reconnect them with loved ones.
Since then, about 180 children have been identified from the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Scotland, Belgium, Hungary, Switzerland, Israel, England and Australia. The website has attracted more than 61,500 visitors from 150 countries, including amateur sleuths and others offering tips on possible variations in the spelling of names or clues to someone's whereabouts.
"The amazing thing for me is most of them established normal lives," says Michlean Amir. "They managed to marry, have healthy relations, have children and grandchildren. People go through much lesser trauma and are unable to function in society. I don't know — maybe it's to prove they were not defeated."