About this project
Holocaust survivor Asriel Strip used his brother’s diary to make an incredible connection to his family’s history of escaping Nazi persecution. Watch this video to learn about the importance of preserving diaries, the focus of the Museum’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign.
We’re thrilled by the response to this Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for cataloging and digitizing over 200 Holocaust diaries and translating and transcribing three of them.
After reaching our $250,000 goal we’re excited to announce a new stretch goal: An additional $50,000 to translate and transcribe 10 more diaries. Back this project today to help Save Their Stories!
This is no ordinary map.
It’s a deeply personal illustration of one family’s harrowing escape and survival during the Holocaust. It’s included in a diary—one of over 200 diaries the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has in its collections waiting to be cataloged, translated and published online.
We’re in a race against time to do this specialized, expensive and time-consuming work, and we urgently need your help.
We know first-person accounts are powerful. Most people are familiar with the diary of Anne Frank, and her personal account is often the first introduction that many have to the devastating history of the Holocaust. But it’s not the only diary of its kind.
Each of the diaries in our collection has an important story to tell, of suffering and strength, persecution and perseverance. Written by people young and old, from diverse backgrounds and countries, they bring to life a broad spectrum of individuals’ experiences during the Holocaust. Now, in the face of growing Holocaust denial, we must bring more stories to light before we lose the firsthand memories of survivors and witnesses who can shed light on the context of these diaries and other priceless artifacts in the Museum’s collection.
As the survivor generation passes, it is our responsibility to make sure their voices live on so that their experiences will not be forgotten. You can be a part of preserving history: Back this project and Save Their Stories.
For this project, we'll catalog, preserve, and make available online over 200 Holocaust diaries in the Museum’s collection -- for the first time ever. The handwritten pages and notes are in 17 different languages and will need to be transcribed and translated into English. While we would love to raise enough funds to complete the translation of every diary, reaching our project goal will enable us to translate into English three diaries written by Jewish refugees who fled their homes to escape the Holocaust:
- The diary of Joseph Strip, a young boy who wrote about his family’s harrowing experience over the grid-lined pages of his math notebook.
- The papers of Lucien Dreyfus, a journalist and schoolteacher from Strasbourg, France, who was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. His collection includes letters to his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter who escaped to the United States in 1942.
- The diary of Hans Vogel, who fled Paris with his family while his father was interned, which contains hand-drawn and colored maps of their journey.
Each of these three diaries will be published in its entirety online so that people everywhere can view the original pages and read the translations. Like Anne Frank’s personal record, these stories expose the truth of Holocaust history -- so that ever more researchers, authors, teachers, students can learn from them and help fulfill the promise of Never Again.
Here is our estimated timeline for this project:
- Summer/Fall 2018: Cataloging complete for all 200+ diaries
- Winter 2018: Digitization complete for all 200+ diaries
- Spring 2019: Collections for all 200+ diaries published online at ushmm.org
- Summer 2019: Translations and transcriptions for 3 feature diaries added to ushmm.org collections listings
The Museum has collected millions of pages of historic documents containing details on the individual experiences of Holocaust victims and survivors. Although we are committed to making our entire collection available online, the sheer size of it makes this a lengthy, expensive project.
Each additional first-person account or piece of evidence made available on the Museum’s website--which is visited by millions of people every year--has the potential to reveal a new aspect of Holocaust history or highlight its relevance to the world today.
These three are just some of the many accounts we hope to bring to the public:
Joseph Strip (formerly “Stripounsky”)
Joseph Stripounsky awoke early on the morning of May 10, 1940, to the sounds of aircraft and gunfire. The Germans had invaded his town of Antwerp, Belgium. He was just 17.
Joseph fled with his parents and younger brother, leaving almost everything they owned behind. He carried with him a math textbook and two math notebooks, one of which became his diary.
They joined thousands of others heading south through France, making a slow and arduous journey with very little food or money. In France, they spent a year trying to get farther away from the ever-encroaching Nazis. They managed to secure American visas through Joseph’s father’s employer and finally landed in New York in May 1941—just six weeks before Joseph’s 18th birthday, when he would have been legally required to stay in France.
Joseph tells the story of his family’s harrowing exodus through everyday details and extraordinary sketches.
Lucien Dreyfus was a dedicated journalist and professor of modern languages in Strasbourg, France. In 1940, anti-Jewish legislation was passed in France, and he was dismissed from his teaching position because of his faith.
As persecution against Jews intensified, he fled his town and sought safety in southern France. Refuge did not last long. In October 1943, he and his wife were arrested and just one month later, they were deported to Auschwitz and murdered.
Lucien had kept a diary since 1925, but his writing became more frequent during World War II, recording the realities of day-to-day life, the experiences of his students, and what he knew about Jewish persecution in other parts of Europe.
His diaries also contain deeply personal messages he wrote to his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter who were able to escape France in 1942 and eventually made it to the United States. Lucien knew he might never see them again, but continued to write with the hope that they would receive his diaries. Miraculously, they did years later.
At the age of seven, Hans Yakov Vogel fled Germany with his parents and elder brother in 1936, settling in Paris where they remained until the outbreak of war. His father was separated from the family and interned by the French as an enemy alien at Lisieux, and later at Gurs in the south of France. In May 1940, just 24 hours before the invading German forces reached Paris, the rest of the Vogel family fled south. They traveled among a stream of other refugees, mostly by foot, as the Luftwaffe shot machine guns at them.
Through the help of friends, the Vogels were reunited and settled in Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the unoccupied zone near the Spanish border. They remained there from June 1940 until April 1941, when they received papers from the United States Consulate allowing them to immigrate. They arrived in New York via Lisbon on the steamer Nyassa in August 1941. Two years later, Hans Vogel died at the age of 16 from an illness.
Hans kept an extraordinary diary of their flight, including photos and hand-drawn and colored maps tracing the family's journey from Germany through France and eventual immigration to the United States.
Your pledge doesn’t just get you access to behind-the-scenes updates on the work (and often the discoveries made) during the process of cataloging, translating, and publishing these stories. We're also offering fantastic rewards, exclusive to this Kickstarter project. Backers can receive rewards such as a "Save Their Stories" tote bag, limited edition watercolor prints from Holocaust survivor Simon Jeruchim, a "Save Their Stories" journal, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours at the Museum and its collection and conservation center (not open to the public), and much more.
Your pledge is tax deductible! The amount of your contribution that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the difference between your pledge minus the fair market value of the reward. If our project is completed and the goal is met, you will be asked to fill out a survey so that we can send you your reward. USHMM is unable to recognize your gift unless the informational survey is completed.
Please allow an additional 4–6 weeks for your reward to ship internationally. Note: we are not responsible for international custom fees.
Some of the rewards are experiences (tours, events, lectures) offered at a specific time and place. USHMM is not responsible for any backer’s travel or costs to participate in such experiences. Further, if a cause beyond USHMM’s control requires rescheduling or cancellation of an experience, USHMM is not responsible for any additional travel or costs a backer may incur in order to participate at the new time. USHMM cannot guarantee that experiences occurring on dates yet to be announced, or that must be rescheduled, will occur on a date that is convenient for all backers.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
Since its dedication in 1993, the Museum has welcomed more than 41 million visitors, including 99 heads of state and more than ten million school-age children. Its website, the world’s leading online authority on the Holocaust, is available in 16 languages and was visited in 2016 by more than 19 million people.
All photos unless otherwise noted: US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Risks and challenges
Challenges: No matter the outcome of this Kickstarter project, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will remain committed to its mission of rescuing Holocaust evidence, confronting hatred, and preventing genocide.
And, the Museum will continue to work to find funding for Save Their Stories—but the more than 200 diaries featured in this project will not be made accessible until the financing is secured. Without Kickstarter funding, there is no immediate date for being able to do this work and bring these first-person testimonies to light for students, teachers, scholars, and those wanting to learn more about the Holocaust and preserve the memory of its victims and survivors.
Risks concerning rewards: As always with manufacturing a product, it’s possible to come across production delays. We are confident that with successful funding, the Museum will be able to deliver our tangible and experiential rewards within the times stated for each. However, our rewards that feature live events are subject to change, given availability and circumstances outside of our control.
Should any changes be made to availability of rewards and events, the Museum will communicate these to backers as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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