The Human Spirit Under Siege

George Baum (BSJ55, MSJ66)

Ethnic cleansing. Genocide. Anti-Semitism. The Holocaust. Homophobia. Racism. All are seeds of crimes against humanity. Each continues occurring almost daily all over the world. There seems to be no end to the mind-bending numbers of humans under siege.

George A. Baum, a retired 20th century Chicago television journalist, views his new book,”The Human Spirit Under Siege,” as a chronicle of events that led to his incarceration in a concentration camp during the Holocaust, contrasting his experience to the world we live in now, when masses of humanity are recording their plight on their cell phones for everyone to witness.

The author was born the same year that Hitler became Chancellor in Nazi Germany. This book describes how their lives intersected a number of times in the following decade, culminating in the author’s three years in the concentration camp Therezienstadt  (Terezín in Czech) and in the disintegration of his family. The 15 Episodes of “The Human Spirit Under Siege” are a personal account observed through childhood memories, and brought into realities of the 21st century.
Two surveys in Canada and the U.S. taken in the past year, show an alarming ignorance of the Holocaust among 18 to 34 year olds. Just about half who took the survey couldn’t come up with the name of even one concentration camp.

Tim Kaiser, the Deputy Director of the Levine Institute of Holocaust Education at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., put it this way: “We recognize that, as Holocaust educators…we still have a lot of work to do.”