Amy Dahl, Sophomore
Locale: Orlando, Florida
Locale: Kraków, Poland
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Hadassa Cudzynowski Gerstner
I knew that life was normal for Jews before the war because the kids are outside playing on a bike or hanging out with their friends. They are also dressed normally and seem to be happy.
When I was searching through my family photos, I came across several that were similar to the pictures I had researched. I chose the picture of my brother on a tricycle because I found a picture of a little Jewish boy on his tricycle before the war. Both pictures show typical life, whether recent or back then, because most children have tricycles at some point in their early childhood.
The main similarity of both pictures is that they picture kids. Everywhere you go today you see children playing, and this also shows that Jewish children also did that before the war.
The comparison of these photos tells me that before the Nazis invaded their communities, Jews were free and able to live happily without persecution, just like me, because my photos are similar.
Crystal England, Junior
Locale: Loudonville, Ohio
Locale: Druskieniki, Poland (now Lithuania)
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Barbara Berkowicz Soloway
One of the photos that really reminded me of my family is the one with what seems to be a happy couple who look like they’re taking a break from working in their garden to pose for a picture; they are also holding one another, showing how much in love they are.
This photo relates to me because it reminds me of my own grandparents, who loved each other very much. My grandfather had a garden of his own, and my entire family would work in it with him in the summer. Even after my grandfather passed away, we still grew his garden every year. This picture reminds me of the times that I spent with my grandfather working in his garden, and the great times we shared.
In comparing my life to that of the Jews before the war, both are “normal.” Jews had the opportunity to live a very content and satisfied life, as proven to me through the smiling faces—the Jewish photos reminded me of my family and our content lives.
Tarah Beck, Junior
Locale: Ashland, Ohio
Locale: Budapest, Hungary
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of George Pick
After finding my photos, I could tell that life for the Jews was normal, because they were doing things that my family and I would do on a regular basis. In one picture, a schoolteacher was in a yard with her students playing in a sandbox. I played in the sandbox with anybody and everybody when I was little. There is nothing different from what those kids are doing to what any kid around the world does.
As I looked through my own family photos at home, I noticed that our photos showed the same type of things that I had seen while researching the photos of Jewish life. Really, no comparison is needed in looking at the two sets of photos. Jews did nothing different from what anybody in the world does. I already know what their life was like because it’s like any other human being’s in the world: They are normal, they do normal things, and they did nothing to get singled out for genocide.