In June of 2012, I wrote about the remarkable Larry Tillemans and posted an interview with him.
Mr. Tillemans, an Eagle Scout from a family of Eagle Scouts in southwestern Minnesota, was a member of General George S. Patton's Third Army in the European Theater of Operations.
As a member of the Signal Corps, Mr. Tillemans was a clerk-stenographer at the Nuremberg and Dachau war crimes trials in 1945 and 1946.
Mr. Tillemans has spent much of the last twenty years touring Minnesota – sometimes with his friend Gerry Boe (a guard at the first Nuremberg War Crimes Trial) – telling Minnesotans what he learned at Nuremberg so people will not forget. (Click here for a story and interview with Gerry Boe.)
Capturing this story has been the equally remarkable documentary of co-producers David Klassen and Chuck Czech entitled "The Typist" for KSMQ public television of Austin Minnesota supported by the Minnesota Legacy’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. The documentary represents a huge commitment of time, resources and energy to tell a quintessential Minnesota story of one person's dedication and decency. The documentary also provides the opportunity to hear from renowned historian Deborah Lipstadt; veteran Justice Department prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum; and to see the outstanding and groundbreaking efforts of Holocaust and genocide education at St. Cloud State University with Prof. Daniel Wildeson and his students with whom the JCRC is proud to partner and share time in "The Typist."
David Klassen and Chuck Czech have been graciously partnering with the JCRC and screening the documentary around Minnesota.
On February 11, 2014, the JCRC and Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka screened the documentary before more than a 130 people, followed by a question and answer session with the co-producers and Larry Tillemans.
Click here for photos from the event. (Thank you to Rabbi Kravitz and Nina Samuels and the synagogue for their partnership.)
On February 24, 2014, the JCRC, St. Cloud State University and KSMQ screened the documentary at the Atwood Memorial Center for 50 students and faculty.
Click here for a photo from the event. (Thank you to President Earl Potter and Prof. Daniel Wildeson for your partnership.)
Further north and a few days later on February 27, the Transfer of Memory exhibit opened at the Otter Tail County Historical Society.
Transfer of Memory is a joint project of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas and Minneapolis photographer David Sherman. The exhibit features photographic portraits of Minnesota Holocaust survivors. The written vignettes below the portraits – by Lili Chester – capture the survivors' lives before, during and after the Shoah (Holocaust).
The portraits and vignettes transform an abstraction into a reality. The exhibit helps us appreciate the indomitable will of survivors in surviving the Holocaust and then in beginning lives anew in Minnesota and raising families and starting businesses. Their lives are constant reminders about the value of freedom and the enduring human spirit.
For more information please visit the Transfer of Memory website: www.TransferofMemory.org.
Despite the late February double digit sub-zero temperatures, the opening ceremony was standing-room only. The gathering heard from our partners whom we deeply thank: Chris Schuelke, Executive Director of Otter Tail County Historical Society; and Erin Smith, Director of Fergus Falls Public Library. The gathering also heard from me; photographer David Sherman; and Joni Sussman, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Joni Sussman screened the documentary "I Was Given Life Twice" about the survival of Joni's mother's family during the Holocaust. We also thank American Legion Post 30 and the Riverside Lions Club. The exhibition and its opening ceremony are also supported by the Minnesota Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Click here for photos from the opening reception. Photos are courtesy of David Sherman.