Holo­caust survivor who keeps 7,000 works of hate

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY SHIRLI SITBON

MORE THAN 50 years ago, Arthur Langer­man saw an an­ti­semitic draw­ing for the first time. It was on sale at an auc­tion. Shocked and in­trigued, the young Bel­gian man bought the item. It was to be­come the first piece in an odd, vast col­lec­tion of an­ti­semitic ob­jects.

“I was ap­palled and wanted to un­der­stand why any­one would waste their time and tal­ent mak­ing such an evil thing. That’s why I started buy­ing the ob­jects. I thought they would help me un­der­stand an­ti­semitism and the Holo­caust,” he said.

Mr Langer­man, born in An­twerp in 1942, lost al­most all of his fam­ily in the Shoah. His mother was his only rel­a­tive who sur­vived, and she could not talk about what she had ex­pe­ri­enced.

“My par­ents were ar­rested by the Gestapo and de­ported in 1944 when I was one and a half. My fa­ther never re­turned. I’ve never known any of my grand­par­ents, aunts or cousins. About 30 of them were killed. Imag­ine how trau­ma­tis­ing that is. Peo­ple mourn when they lose one rel­a­tive and I lost al­most all of mine,” said Mr Langer­man. “I quickly un­der­stood that talk­ing about it was too pain­ful for my mother and I never asked her any ques­tions.”

Mr Langer­man only learned what hap­pened only at the age of 19 when he fol­lowed the Adolf Eich­mann trial.

“I kept won­der­ing why Jews had been treated this way. Why were they hated so much?” said Mr Langer­man.

His col­lec­tion grew over the years and he now owns more than 7,000 ob­jects, which still hor­rify him.

“The col­lec­tion is very shock­ing and dif­fi­cult to look at and what

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Above: Langer­man in front of a photo of an an­ti­semitic statue, part of the ex­hi­bi­tion in Caen; left, two French items in his col­lec­tion

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