Sunday, October 21, 2012

Striped Pyjamas and a Yellow Star

Striped 'pyjama' trousers and the yellow star
(Part of the main WW2 exhibition at the IWM)
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

The IWM Holocaust exhibition

The display seen above forms part of the main WW2 display at the Imperial War Museum, London, where photography is allowed. Personal photography is not allowed in the main Holcaust exhibition on the upper floors. Although the IWM does not recommend the Holocaust exhibition for children under the age of 14, they are allowed entry at the discretion of their parents and should be supervised at all times.

The photograph shows a pair of striped trousers worn by prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps of WW2 and the yellow star worn by Jewish prisoners. Situated over two of the upper floors of the museum, the Holocaust exhibition traces the Nazi persecution and murder of European Jews between 1933 and 1945. Additionally, the exhibition deals with other groups targeted by the Nazis, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Freemasons, the disabled, Poles, Soviet POWs and Romanies.

Original artefacts from the 1930s and 1940s, documents and films are used in the exhibition. At the same time the personal oral testimones of 18 Holocaust survivors have been incorporated into the displays to give a personal and moving perspective on the Holcaust. For those who have borne witness to the Holocaust for this exhibition their hope is that mankind will learn from the horror they somehow managed to live through.

All the events of the Holocaust took place long ago and nothing like it could ever happen again .... or could it? Arguably, one might be able to make the case that this very question and the idea of the 'striped pyjamas' were the beginning and the end of the fictional tale of the Holocaust by the Irish writer John Boyne: "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas".

Not everyone found John Boyne's fable to their liking, including some of those from the communities that suffered most in the Holocaust. Could this partly be because its theme of the Holocaust is so dreadfully shocking? Could it be because, at least at first sight, John Boyne's book is a children's book? Could it be because his book is a fictional account of the Holocaust and represents it incorrectly?

If "The Boy in the Sriped Pyjamas" does indeed convey a false impression of the Holocaust, the same cannot be said of the Imperial War Museum's Holocaust exhibition. It conveys the full, terrible truth of what happened in a part of the world not too far from London and in a time not really that long ago. It is certainly worth a visit ... if only to learn the truth, to remember what happened and to determine that nothing like this should happen again.

Further reading:

(1) For additional information about the IWM Holocaust exhibition, click on the following link:
IWM Holocaust exhibition

(2) To view the fictional written tale of the Holocaust, 'The Boy in the striped Pyjamas' by John Boyne, click on the following link:
"The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" by John Boyne

Sunday, 21 October, 2012  

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