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About the Collection

Holocaust Archives Project

These haunting images from the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston tell the personal stories of survivors and one liberator who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust.


The Holocaust Archives Project currently includes the Charles C. Cross Collection, the Harry and Erika Blas Collections, the Joe Engel Collection, the Martha Bauer Collection, the Pincus Kolender Collection, and the Willy Adler Collection.


The Charles C. Cross Collection includes nine black and white photographs and relating to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, established in Nazi Germany in 1937 and liberated by the allies on April 11, 1945. The photographs were taken or collected in April and May 1945 by Charles C. Cross, a corporal in the 807th Medical Air Evacuation.


The Harry and Erika Blas Collection includes 18 black and white and 2 color slides depicting the family of Harry (Herzl/Herschel) Blas (Blass) and Erika Blas (nee Stockfleth). Includes a short personal narrative by Harry Blas chronicling his young adulthood under German occupation in Lodz, Poland; his imprisonment in Auschwitz and eventual liberation; his search for missing family members in Europe after the war; his marriage to Erika in 1951 and their immigration to the United States in 1952. Also includes a brief handwritten genealogy of Erika Blas.


The Joe Engel Collection consists of 2 prewar and 11 postwar photographs mainly depicting Joe Engel and family. Joe Engel (b.1927, Zakroczym, Poland) was arrested in the Plonsk ghetto in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz in August or September of that year. In January 1945 he would take part in the death march out of Auschwitz when the Germans hurriedly evacuated the camps as the Soviet army approached. During one of these forced marches westward, Joe Engel escaped from a cattle car and was eventually liberated by the Soviets.


The Martha Bauer Collection includes photographs of family members of Felix Bauer and Martha Bauer (nee Mondschein). Unknown to one another, Felix Bauer and Martha Mondschein independently fled Europe and immigrated to the Dominican Republic, where they eventually met and married in 1943. Despite separate attempts to secure visas for family members left behind, most of the people depicted in these photographs perished in the Holocaust.


The Pincus Kolender collection consists of 7 prewar and 13 postwar photographs of the families of Pincus Kolender and his wife Renee Kolender (nee Fuchs). As a young teen Pincus spent several years in the Jewish ghetto in his hometown of Bochnia, Poland. While there he witnessed the execution of his mother, Rachel, by German soldiers and the deportation of his sister, Rose, to Treblinka. When the ghetto was completely liquidated in 1943, Pincus and his brother, Avrum, were sent to Auschwitz and his father, Chiel, to Plashov (where he was executed). Pincus would eventually escape from a cattle car during an Allied bombing raid in late April, 1945, during one of many forced migrations westward by the German army. He lost track of his brother during the first of these death marches in January, 1945, and his exact fate remains unknown. Renee Kolender was forced into labor during the war and spent time in ammunition factories in Skarzysko and Czestochowa, Poland. She was liberated when Czestochowa was overrun by the Red Army in January, 1945. In addition to the photographs, a copy of a testimonial by Pincus Kolender about life in the Bochnia ghetto is included.


The Willy Adler Collection contains three photographs of Willy Adler and his parents, Max and Berta Adler, all taken in Hamburg, Germany.