Stamps Behind Stories of Terrible Wartime Loss
Aucklander Bruce Chadderton, president of the Philatelic Society of New Zealand, has had his book Descent into the Abyss: The Shoah — a philatelic retelling published by the Society of Israel Philatelists after one of its members saw an exhibit in Johannesburg, South Africa, of Chadderton’s narrative of the Holocaust told through stamps he collected.
Chadderton’s book is dedicated, among others, to 86-year-old widower Martin Becker, who now lives in the United States, his brother-in-law, violinist Herbert Sohn, Sohn’s wife, Becker’s sister, Ilse, and their 3-year-old daughter, Chana. All three were loaded into rail cars March 1942 bound for the Izbica transit camp and ghetto in Poland. They died there, along with thousands of other Jews, of hunger and disease and mass killings.
Chadderton contacted Becker from a family history form Becker filled out at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, a world center for Holocaust documentation and research.
This November, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Becker will speak at the Albany Public Library in New York State, as he has for many years.
“I tell my story because I want young people to remember the Holocaust so that it doesn’t become just a blip in history,” Becker said.