Home / Community / ‘Crying Hands: The Deaf Experience Under Nazi Oppression’ at Congregation Beth El- December 5
(courtesy photo)

‘Crying Hands: The Deaf Experience Under Nazi Oppression’ at Congregation Beth El- December 5

Presented By United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

La Jolla CA— The deaf community’s experience is an often overlooked chapter in Holocaust history. Deaf Jews suffered the same fate as hearing Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe: discrimination, persecution, deportation and mass murder.

Nazi policy targeted deaf Germans, subjecting an unknown number of hereditarily deaf individuals to sterilization. Societal prejudice about the intelligence of persons with hearing disabilities led many individuals to be institutionalized. In those facilities, a small number of deaf Germans were murdered within the framework of the Nazi “euthanasia” effort, a program of mass killing directed at persons with disabilities.

On Thursday, December 5 at 7:45 p.m., the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will present “Crying Hands: The Deaf Experience Under Nazi Oppression,” a special program on the deaf experience during the Holocaust era with a Museum archivist and curator, along with the producers of an independently run traveling exhibition, In Der Nacht, which captured deaf survivors’ accounts in the late 1980s.

The Museum’s Deaf Victims of Nazi Persecution and the Holocaust Initiative is committed to preserving and telling the stories of deaf survivors. The program is co-presented with All The People. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow the program.

Panelists include:

  • Michelle Baron and Marla Petal, Executive Producers, All the People
  • James Gilmore, Archives Specialist, National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Suzy Snyder, Curator, National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Opening Remarks

Marla Eglash Abraham, Director, Western Regional Office, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


“The fate of deaf people in Nazi Europe must be heard and talked about because many people simply don’t know about this dark and sad chapter of Holocaust history,” said Marla Eglash Abraham, the Museum’s Western Regional Director. “For instance, many deaf victims of Nazi persecution were unable to emigrate because of their perceived disability. Along with deaf Germans, they were further targeted under Nazi policy, through forced sterilization and mass murder.

“This highly experienced group of experts will speak to the incredible suffering and stories of courage featured in the traveling exhibition In Der Nacht, as well as the Museum’s efforts to make sure generations never forget these victims of Nazi atrocity.”

In the 26 years since it opened, the Museum has educated and inspired more than 45 million visitors, including more than 10 million children and nearly 100 heads of state.

The Museum’s work is having a significant impact — here in the Western Region and around the world. Hundreds of Western regional schoolteachers — and thousands more from all 50 states — are trained each year in how to deliver quality Holocaust education while making it relevant and meaningful to young people. The Museum’s leadership programs are inspiring judges, police and military officers in various Western Region states to heed the lessons of the Holocaust and understand their roles as safeguards of democracy.

The “Crying Hands: The Deaf Experience under Nazi Oppression” program is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required at ushmm.org/events/cryinghands-la. For more information, contact the Museum’s Western Regional office at 310.556.3222 or email at western@ushmm.org.

Congregation Beth El is located 8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037.

About the Museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org