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8/29/2018 Member News
The Florida Holocaust Museum Releases the Seventeenth Story in its "25 Survivors, 25 Stories... Celebrating 25 Years!" Oral History Series

The Florida Holocaust Museum Releases the Seventeenth Story in its 

"25 Survivors, 25 Stories... Celebrating 25 Years!" Oral History Series

The FHM highlights the individual stories of 25 Holocaust Survivors

 

August 25, 2018 [St. Petersburg, FL] - The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) has partnered with Eckerd College to release a 25th Anniversary oral history series titled "25 Survivors, 25 Stories... Celebrating 25 Years!" 

 

Over the next 25 months, the Museum's oral history series will feature a different Holocaust Survivor on the 25th of every month. Each Survivor brings to the series an individual voice that enlivens our understanding of the Holocaust; the war's effects on individuals, families, and communities dispersed across the world; and its reverberations into the present moment. 

 

The seventeenth story was released this morning and features Holocaust Survivor Rob Nossen. An excerpt from the piece is as follows: 

Rob's family was sent back to Westerbork, just one year after being allowed to leave, and from there were deported to Theresienstadt, a "model ghetto" and concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia. In Theresienstadt, Rob lived with his mother, because he was only six years old, while his brother and father lived in a different section of the barracks. Eventually, Rob's family got a room in an officer's quarters, where five different families each had their own rooms but shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. "We were lucky," Rob recalled, to be able to live together as a family.

Living in Theresienstadt's ghetto, rather than its concentration camp, they were able to wear civilian clothes and work regular jobs. Rob's mother was an administrator at the hospital, and his father worked in a laboratory.  "The ghettos were set up so that the Jewish community ran the ghetto," Rob said, although the Nazis controlled the rations and other aspects of life in Theresienstadt. "But within the ghetto we had schools, we had a hospital, things like that."

In the summer of 1944, Germany used Theresienstadt to show representatives of the International and Danish Red Cross how Jews were being treated. Rob recalled how the Germans laid out walkways, set up dining halls, and even a field for children to play soccer, in order to create the impression that Jews were living comfortably. The Germans limited who the Red Cross representatives were allowed to talk to, in an attempt to preserve the illusion. "By 1944 the world knew about the gas chambers, they knew about the death camps," Rob explained. "It was a farce, the whole thing was a farce." As soon as the Red Cross left, the deportations increased.

By the last months of 1944, the Nazis began destroying evidence of their crimes. "The Nazis knew the Russians were coming. So they cut it down, they dismantled the gas chambers, the crematoriums, so that they wouldn't find them." At Theresienstadt, ashes were thrown into the river to hide how many had been killed...

To read Rob's story in its entirety, please visit: https://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/survivor-stories/story-17-rob-nossen.

A special thank you to the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida for connecting The Florida Holocaust Museum and Eckerd College with Rob Nossen. 

The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

About The Florida Holocaust Museum

2017 marked a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrated its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.

Photos and credits

Rob Nossen present day.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida

Rob Nossen's family papers from the El Salvadoran consulate in Geneva granting his family El Salvadoran citizenship.

Photo credit: Eckerd College, Courtesy of Rob Nossen

Rob Nossen's mother's passport. 

Photo credit: Eckerd College, Courtesy of Rob Nossen

Rob Nossen speaking with students at the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida