"The passing-away of living memory - the period when the last people who have experienced a historical event are dying - is crucial for the self-definition and historical identity of human communities. World War 11 and the Holocaust are now vanishing from first-hand experience, hence...museums on opposite sides of the Atlantic have gone up to ensure a particular kind of public remembrance." --Robert Bonte-Friedheim, 1994, The Freedom Review
Frank Grunwald, is a member of the shrinking eyewitness generation to the holocaust. At the age of 12, he survived incarceration in Terezin, Auschwitze and Mauthausen, but the rest of his family was lost. Last month Grunwald donated a rare letter to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. It was written by his mother shortly before she died in a gas chamber. Secrety penned in July 1944 it begins, “My Dearest One,” and represents a wife and mother’s final goodbye. It also represents an important piece of history from the now-fading eyewitness generation to the holocaust. The museum is aggressively curating such items along with stories in an effort to teach new generations about hatred, intolerance, and indifference.