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Seeborg Holocaust Collection

The Seeborg Holocaust Collection

“Every story is different. Each first-person account is unique. Each one held a particular interest for me.”

Lawrence Seeborg was raised in Pullman and graduated from Pullman High School. His father, Edward F. Seeborg, was a Cereal Chemist with the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Wilson Short Hall from 1948-1959. Lawrence Seeborg  graduated from WSU in 1962 with a BA in economics.

Seeborg began collecting first-person narratives by Holocaust survivors after seeing the movie version of The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959: “That’s what really got me started with collecting the books. That was the beginning of my interest.” Seeborg subsequently purchased a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank, which became the first book in his collection of Holocaust narratives; a collection that he would build on over the next 50 years.

In 1983, Lawrence Seeborg attended the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Washington, DC, where he met some of the authors of the books he collected. Mr. Seeborg’s collection emphasizes first-person accounts, as he explains: “Every story is different. Each first-person account is unique. Each one held a particular interest for me.”

His collection of Holocaust materials would eventually number over 400 titles. Mr. Seeborg highlights Serge Klarsfeld’s French Children of the Holocaust, as a work that made a great impression on him, further fueling his interest. Klarsfeld’s book includes over 2,502 photographs of the over 11,000 Jewish children who were deported by convoy from France, most going directly to Auschwitz. 

In 2017, Mr. Seeborg decided to donate his collection to WSU in honor of his father Edward. “I’ve had these books in my collection 30-40 years. These are people talking to me. I wanted these books to be kept together. There is a lot of satisfaction knowing that they will be."




Voices From the Holocaust: Personal Narratives in the Seeborg HolocaustCollection

Mary Berg survived the Łódź ghetto, Warsaw ghetto, and Vittel internment camp. Raised in Łódź, Poland, her family fled to Warsaw when the Nazis arrived. Her diary presents a vivid picture of life and tragedy in the Warsaw ghetto. Mary, her parents, and sister were eventually incarcerated in the Pawiak prison. Berg’s mother was American-born and her family was brought to the United States in March 1944 in a prisoner-of-war exchange.

Her 12-album diary was published in the Yiddish daily Der morgen Zshurnal.  The story was subsequently translated into English and published in 1945 by L.B. Fischer as Warsaw Ghetto. Her papers were acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC in 2014.

The diary excerpt below was written on July 29, 1941 during Berg's time in the Warsaw ghetto.

Where are you, foreign correspondents? Why don’t you come here and describe the sensational scenes of the ghetto? No doubt you don’t want to spoil your appetite. Or are you satisfied with what the Nazis tell you – that they locked up the Jews in the ghetto in order to protect the Aryan population from epidemics and dirt?

Some time ago, I red in the Nazi-controlled Nowy Kurjer Warszawski just such reports on the ghetto by Spanish and Rumanian correspondents. And how surprised I was to see that an American correspondent, too- one who represented a large magazine – had let himself be deceived by the Nazi propaganda about the hygienic necessity for a ghetto in Warsaw! Is the whole world poisoned? Is there no justice anywhere? Will no one hear our cries of despair?

Komitetowa Street, near Grzybowska, is a living graveyard of children devoured by scurvy. The inhabitants of this street live in long cellar-caves into which no ray of sun ever reaches. Through the small dirty window panes one can see emaciated faces and disheveled heads. These are the older people, who have not even the strength to rise from their cots. With dying eyes they gaze at the thousands of shoes that pass by in the street. Sometimes a bony hand stretched out from one of these little windows, begging for a piece of bread. (pp.80-81)

Jacob Barosin, 1906-2001

Born Jacob Udy in 1906 in Riga Latvia, Jacob Barosin received a doctorate in art history from Freiburg University. After the Nazi dictatorship gained control of Germany, Jacob fled to France with his wife, Sonia, where they changed their last name to Barosin. In May, 1940 he was arrested by the French as a hostile alien, and interned in camps in Southern France. A painter and an artist, Barosin painted during all of the war years, whether in camps, or in hiding. His paintings document “the exhaustion and despair borne of endless waiting,” and give “expression to the fear of the un - known.” Barosin immigrated to the United States, where he remained active as an artist and worked as an illustrator for the NBC television network. 

"Bewildered and frightened we stood there, Sonia and I, at the corner of Berlin’s Kurfurstendamm watching those goose stepping, noisily singing, torch carrying and flag-swinging storm troopers who by the thousands had come out to celebrate Hitler’s seizure of power on this 30th day of January, 1933. The crowds on the sidewalks were delirious, screaming, singing, holding up little swastika flags. There was a ground-swell of German irrationality, this massive and instinctive Furor Teutonicus that Tacitus writes about, this trance created by the heavy marching and deadly music. The ancient German tale of the Pied Piper, the rat exterminator of Hamelin, came to mind who, centuries ago, had led the children of that town to the river where they all drowned. The tune which the unrewarded and angry pipe-player produced was so alluring that all the kids marched singing behind him to their death. And here, this fateful night, hundreds of thousands of Berliners went overboard in their frenzy, their enthusiasm and their blind obedience to a leader that had promised to free them from all their ills, the central cause of which—naturally—were the Jews."

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