An Exhibition to Keep Memories Alive
The “Polenaktion” – or the Poland campaign - was the German plan to remove all Germans of immigrant Polish background from the country. In October 1938, more than 16,000 Jews who were citizens of Poland were arrested in Nazi Germany and deported to the Polish border. Many of them had been born in Germany or had lived there for decades.
Gertrud Pickhan, professor of history at the Institute of European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, has stated that while the Polenaktion marked the the beginning of the radicalization in Jewish persecution by the Nazis, "further research is needed on the Polenaktion as a separate chapter of history". Together with historian Alina Bothe, and students from Freie Universität, who independently investigated the family histories and fates of those affected, Pickhan has now explored the history of the Jewish residents of Berlin who were deported in 1938. The extensive, time-consuming project received the 2015-2016 USC Shoah Foundation Teaching Fellowship granted by the USC Shoah Foundation, which was founded in the U.S. by Steven Spielberg and collects the stories of Holocaust survivors on video worldwide to preserve them for posterity.
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