Editor’s Note: My Name Is … The Lost Children of Kloster Indersdorf closes on Friday, January 12.
By Benjamin Shapiro
Perhaps the most horrific facet of Nazi cruelty was the regime’s crimes against children. The Final Solution included no mercy clauses for the young; toddlers and babies were sent to the gas chambers with their mothers. Those children who were selected to live were often ripped from their parents and siblings, forced to endure the horrors of concentration camps alone. Those children who managed to survive the war began the confusing and heartbreaking search for family members.
In 1945, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) established Kloster Indersdorf, an abandoned convent, as an international children’s center to shelter and assist unaccompanied children as they searched for family members and new homes.
In October of 1945, each child residing at Kloster Indersdorf was photographed holding a plaque with his or her name on it, for use by the UNRRA’s Central Tracing Bureau in the hopes of matching the children with family members throughout the world. A collection of these photos is on display in the Museum’s exhibition My Name Is … The Lost Children of Kloster Indersdorf.
There is some solace to be had in the viewing these photos. Each one is a triumph against the Nazi’s Final Solution. The existence of these children guaranteed a future for the Jewish people, and that the story of the Holocaust would be passed onto younger generations.
In the slideshow below, you will see some of these “Lost Children” in 2017, standing by the banners bearing their 1945 photos.
Benjamin Shapiro was a PR intern at the Museum.