Shadows, A new memorial of  deportation in Amsterdam |  Artist Ram Katzir. Photograph from The New York Times.


My eyes are pulled into a series of photos embedded in an article by Nina Siegel in The New York Times, titled, Photos That Helped to Document the Holocaust Were Taken by a Nazi.

Dutch Jewish Leaders | Photographer Herman Heukels, Amsterdam 1943

Bewilderment | Photographer Herman Heukels, Amsterdam 1943

What do I see?  Individuals wearing stars, yellow stars, anxious faces, crowds…I stop scrolling and stay with the image of a father and daughter, looking ahead,  in the background, horizontal metal lines, luggage and despair.

Father and Daughter | Photographer Herman Heukels, Amsterdam 1943

It is June 20, 1943 a father and daughter are part of the roundup of Dutch Jews in the Olympiaplein, Amsterdam. It is a blazing hot day but they are wearing thick winter coats.

I am a German Jew and my father and mother were also rounded up but received their fateful summons  in Köln, Germany, after my escape to England.  If they had not sent me away that could well have been my father and I…

Herman Heukel’s photographs have been a great resource for historians of the Holocaust but only recently an old box of family letters came to light revealing that Herman Heukel was a Dutch Nazi and his purpose in circulating among the frightened Jews gathered in the Olympiaplein was to find images for propaganda.

What do I see in 2022?

Yesterday I watched a Wiener Holocaust Library Book talk titled, Antisemitism on Social Media and I ponder all those images and words, the propaganda that continually assault our senses.

Should I turn away and shut my eyes? 

Or seek to perceive,.. ask for insight?