Through the eyes of a child | December 6, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- December 6, 2013

Through the eyes of a child

Palo Altan returns to concentration camp site to speak to local Germans

by Chris Kenrick

As a 6-year-old in the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in the final months of World War II, Elisabeth Seaman remembers looking out the window of the women's and children's barracks each morning and seeing piles of corpses.

This story contains 1227 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Subscribe

Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at


Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Bru is a registered user.

Thank you, I respect the courage it must have take to post this article, indeed to go back to that place. When I was a similar age as you were I was just finding out about the Holocaust, and an assassination of a President, and other political figures, and a war (Viet Nam) that seemed to have no purpose. The world is not supposed to work that way. I'd like to think the world is evolving and getting better but the jury is out on that one.

One thing I am interested in knowing. Are there Jews living in Europe, and how are they doing these days? The subject of the Holocaust is not much talked about except for the occasional nut or denier or tangent to the subject of the state of Israel. How do Europeans feel about the Jewish population?

Like this comment
Posted by E.S.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm

E.S. is a registered user.

In response to BRU. Yes, there are Jews living in Europe. In some locations they have rebuilt their communities but the numbers tend to be small. In response to your question, one can't generalize about how Europeans feel about the Jewish population any more than one can generalize about anything. Many of the Germans I have met are very interested in knowing from survivors about their experiences, are determined that the horrors of WWII will not be repeated and they want to learn to understand and live peaceably with a diverse population. They also want to understand what, in German society in the 1930s led to the rise and power of the Nazis. Many young people in Europe are being taught about the Holocaust, visit the sites of former concentration camps and meet with survivors. Some German cities have invited back and hosted former Jewish residents for visits to their former home towns.

Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Bru is a registered user.

ES, thank you for your response.

I thought there must be Jews living in Europe and wondered how they felt about living with this memory and what anxieties they have to live with. I suppose that situation is similar to blacks in the United States - a weakly understood and unspecified dread that I suppose anyone could relate to.

> They also want to understand what, in German society in the 1930s led to the rise and power of the Nazis.

Yes, that is something I wish there was more study and data on, and it seems like that should be one critical area of study in terms of history and psychology/sociology.

One hears a lot of comparisons of different things with Nazi Germany. Being in technology, I am always reminded that the Nazis computed and executed most of this with the most primitive punch card technology and more than a little propaganda support from some of the most elite business sectors of the United States private sector, i.e. Henry Ford has been mentioned as well as others in history books.

Compared with today those punch-cards were like sticks and stones compared with nuclear weapons - yet we are a species have such little understanding and who knows how much control over these kinds of forces that were brought about by empowered majorities.

I am glad you seem relatively positive on the subject. Often when it comes to the unacceptable in human nature, tragically it seems that good people have the least to say. This subject has always been unnerving to me and any attempt to broach it is meaningful. I am so sad you or anyone else had to have this kind of thing in your life. Honestly, I did not know how to comment here, but felt I had to say something to pay tribute to your courage.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.