What is The Herman Grossman Project?
The Herman Grossman Project is a non-partisan Holocaust education project. The purpose is to continue the legacy of a Holocaust survivor named Herman Grossman by finding the language to talk about the Holocaust in a way that he was unable to express during his lifetime. Following liberation, most Holocaust survivors struggled with talking about the trauma they experienced during the years of 1939-1945. From databases, testimony from Herman’s wife, and photographs that Herman brought back from the war, we have learned about his incredible story.
The Herman Grossman Project believes we must take steps to ensure the Holocaust will never again recur. Through educating about the Holocaust, we can learn the ideological errors that facilitated an environment for an entire country to become complicit in the murder of millions of innocent people on an industrialized scale. As such, The Herman Grossman Project teaches about human obligation. Each one of us living on this earth has an obligation to behave with morality regardless of what the institutions or society around us becomes.
The other part of our project focuses on bringing hope to people who are struggling; if Herman could overcome what he went through and continue to love life and to be a moral, generous and kind person after the brutality he experienced, then all of us can too.
Who was Herman Grossman?
Herman Grossman was a child survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. He arrived by train at the camp in May of 1944. Upon arrival, Herman was selected to work in the crematoria unit. Herman worked as part of the sonderkommando unit in Auschwitz; these prisoners were forced to cremate bodies. The position of sonderkommando forced Herman to witness The Final Solution to Jewish Question in a cruelly intimate way. The Nazis would typically kill the sonderkommando units every three to six months, yet somehow Herman survived.
Herman overcame illness and disease in October of ’44 and was sent on a death march to Buchenwald in January of ’45 where he was liberated by American forces a few months later.
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