Holocaust survivor who keeps 7,000 works of hate
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
Above: Langerman in front of a photo of an antisemitic statue, part of the exhibition in Caen; left, two French items in his collection