For Arnold Spielberg's birthday in the late 1950s, his wife, Leah, gave him a Brownie movie camera. He had little chance to enjoy the present because it was immediately appropriated by his 13-year-old son, Steven.
Gitta Seidner -- known at the time by the Christian name Jannine Spinette -- was abruptly awakened around 4:30 a.m. by a large commotion outside her farmhouse bedroom in Waterloo, Belgium. "No, no, no. What do you want with my goddaughter?" she heard her godmother, Alice Spinette, say. SS soldiers then kicked open the door and pulled the crying girl from her bed. "She's not Jewish," Alice insisted. The soldiers didn't listen. They ordered Alice to get Gitta dressed and drove them to SS headquarters in Brussels.
Like many memorialized Nazi concentration camps across Europe, Mauthausen, the largest such camp in Austria, is in the process of being renovated for a new generation of visitors. First opened to the public in 1970, the exhibition at the camp, which attracted 200,000 visitors each year, was in need of updating in light of new historical research and new ways of presenting that history.
For the first time, some survivors of Nazi-era ghettos are eligible for a one-time payment from the so-called Ghetto Fund in addition to the pensions they receive from the German government.