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A young German soldier tries to humiliate an elderly Polish Jew by cutting his beard. Beard-cutting was a method of humiliation favored by many Germans. As it is with all bullies and their victims, the strong bear the real shame for preying on the weak. The Jews of Europe bore such petty torments with exceptional dignity and fortitude. If this soldier were still alive to look back at this picture, would he feel ashamed? If he retained any humanity, he would.
Horrific testimony of Polish Jewess Helen Hammermasch. Hammermasch saw her mother, father, and five sisters killed during a purge of Jews in 1942. Arrested in Hungary, she was sent first to Auschwitz, then to Bergen-Belsen. Witness to every manner of inhuman acts, she survived to give evidence that helped bring those responsible to justice.
Polish Jews pose for a German camera. The man directly in front has been shorn of half of his beard, while the man to his left looks to be wearing some remnant of clothing around his head, undoubtedly put there by a German tormenter. The man wearing the hat behind the main group is dressed as a typical SS ethnic auxiliary, likely Hungarian, and a member of Einsatzgruppen A, which was active in the area of the Generalgouvernment.
Jürgen Stroop (1895 - 1952) was an SS General during World War II. He is best known for being in command against the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and for writing the Stroop Report, a booklength account of the operation. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, Stroop was prosecuted during the Dachau Trials and convicted of murdering nine American POWs. After his extradition to the People's Republic of Poland, Stroop was tried, convicted, and hanged for crimes against humanity.
Anna Zakrzewska served with the Polish underground army as a courier and a medical orderly. Zakrzewska's underground code name was Hanka Biała (White Hannah). She received training at the end of June and in July 1944 in the Wyszkowa forest. She was killed in the course of desperate combat during the Warsaw Uprising, aged 18.
Pictured is Tola Gryzgryn. This photograph was sent from the Sosnowiec ghetto to the Polanka labor camp, where her sister, Bronia Gryzgryn (now Bronia Rosmarin), was imprisoned. Tola was deported with her parents from Sosnowiec to Auschwitz, where they all perished. The Polish inscription on the photograph reads: "To my dearest sister as a memento, so that you'll never forget me - Tola; Sepember 2, 1942."