Last night, my husband and I were both working at our desks when he looked over at me and said, “I received a video from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I think you’ll want to see this.”
It is a rare piece of footage from Vienna in 1938. I did watch it…3 times.
I have included the letter that was included with the link to the video.
Please take the time to read the letter and watch the video. It is important that we never forget!
When most of us think of family movies from trips, we imagine joyful images of sightseeing, museum visits, family dinners, and other fond memories.
But when Americans Helen and Ross Baker traveled to Vienna for a six-month visit in late 1937, the films they recorded showed something very different: Nazi troops entering Austria, and its terrible consequences for the Jewish community. With a diary and a Kodak movie camera, the Bakers documented the chaos in the city’s streets; Hitler’s speeches to huge, saluting crowds; Nazis forcibly preventing non-Jews from entering Jewish shops; Jewish shop owners compelled to mark Jude on their storefronts; and much more.
This rare film footage, along with the Bakers’ diary, are part of our Museum’s collection. Our staff compiled some of their footage into a short video to show you a unique glimpse into this tumultuous and terrifying time. Please take two minutes to watch these stirring images:
The Bakers could not have imagined that one year later Europe would be at war and in another two years genocidal tyranny would dominate the entire continent. The Bakers captured an ominous moment of intense persecution, but it was still a moment when the Holocaust could have been prevented.
This footage tells an important story about a pivotal time in history—one that was just as important for what the Nazis did as for what so many others failed to do. The Bakers understood the importance of documenting what they saw and sharing it with the world. Now we must ensure that their story continues to be shared as we seek to teach the lessons of the Holocaust.