Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Dolls of Tragedy

The dolls look so innocent, in their display case.
And the dollhouse with its rooms decorated in the fashions of time past seem so fascinating.
You look at the detail and smile at the girl in her room.
But then you look a little closer and the smile disappears. 

Look especially at the girl on the left, who has something on her coat right under the color.

It's hard to see, but if you know anything about the Holocaust, you know what it is.

It's a yellow Star of David, with the word "Jude" (German for Jew) written across it.  All Jews six and older in Germany and almost all other territories later occupied by the Nazis had to wear this badge, or a variation (including the word "Jew" in the language of the occupied country. 

A religious group, singled out, and made to dress in ways that immediately identified them to their persecutors.  The persecutions started out small.  Eventually, it grew into a horror that could not have been imagined by the citizens of our world.  A horror that is even denied by various people today.

But the tragedy doesn't end there.

These dolls, and the dollhouse, were owned by a woman, Bobbie King, a mother of 10, and the member of the congregation that runs Hanukkah House, a museum open every December in the city of Binghamton, New York.

Bobbie King, a woman who taught English to immigrants as one of her post-retirement careers, died on April 3, 2009, along with 13 of her students, gunned down in cold blood by a former student of the organization where she taught.  She was the oldest of the 13 victims.

Her doll collection was well known in the community.  She would sometimes give dolls to the children of the community.  Small portions of her collection are now displayed in the Hanukkah House museum thanks to the generosity of her family.

Bobbie King knew well that we must remember the lessons of history.  There are many lessons in the life and death of Bobbie King, and the others who died at the American Civic Association on April 3, 2009.

It's obvious we have not learned those lessons.  Will we ever?


  1. How unspeakably tragic - all of it. From the first abuses of Jews to the horrific death camps and on to the denial by some that it ever happened. And now this poor woman killed in cold blood. Why oh why do people behave this way? Thank you for this insight into Bobbie King's doll collection and her untimely, violent death.

  2. The dolls are beautiful.

    That's what always sets me off, the small, personal items left behind. The Holocaust Museum in Washington, seeing the shoes ... The 9/11 Museum here in NYC, a fare card from the PATH train ...

    Makes it more real, more human.

  3. What a terrible story. It doesn't seem like we're learning our lesson yet, does it?


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