The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust in partnership with the Georgia Public Library Service is bringing the travelling exhibit “Witness to the Holocaust: WWII Veteran William Alexander Scott III at Buchenwald” to libraries throughout the state from May to November of 2013. This project is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.
The exhibit will be presented to the community at some locations by Viki E. Staley, Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and Dr. Jerry Legge, University of Georgia. Following the presentation of the exhibit, Dr. Legge will speak. The event is free and open to the public.
May 16, 7pm - Dade County Public Library, Trenton
June 3, 7pm - Vidalia-Toombs Public Library, Vidalia
June 25, 6:30pm - Bull Street Library, Savannah
September 12, 7pm - Oakland Library, Leesburg
October 21, 7pm - Porter Memorial Library, Covington
About the Exhibit
William Alexander “W.A.” Scott III was a photographer in a segregated battalion of the United States Army during World War II. His witness testimony of the liberation of Buchenwald is told in the travelling exhibit “Witness to the Holocaust”, which draws parallels to the Jim Crow Laws and the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935-1945 implemented in Germany and Nazi-controlled areas of Europe. The exhibit is based on a permanent exhibit of the same name which is hosted at the Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945 exhibit in Sandy Springs. It was curated by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust in 1997 and revised in 2012 for the traveling version.
Scott was the son of W.A. Scott II, founder of first black-owned daily newspaper in the United States: The Atlanta Daily World (1928). W.A. Scott III, was a Business and Mather major at Morehouse College in 1943 when he was unexpectedly drafted into the Army. Before being shipped overseas in 1944, he married his high school sweetheart, Marion Willis. W.A. Scott III was a reconnaissance sergeant, photographer, camoufleur, and part-time historian in S2 (Intelligence Section) of the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion. On April 11, 1945, W.A. rode into Eisenach, Germany, on an Army convoy with the 8th Corps of General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. At the time, the United States Army was segregated but nothing in W.A.’s background could have prepared him for the horrors he witnessed at Buchenwald. Buchenwald was one of the largest concentration camps established by the Nazis within the German borders. W.A. returned to Atlanta and completed his education at Morehouse. In 1948 he became circulation manager of the Atlanta Daily World and was very active in the Atlanta community. He served on the committee to celebrate the first official national holiday commemorating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. W.A. was appointed by Georgia Governors Joe Frank Harris and Zell Miller to be a member of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. He was also appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
His daughter, Alexis Scott, describes how his deeply experiences influenced him: “Because my father witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust and was experiencing the injustice of racial discrimination back at home, he was determined to do what he could to change things. One of the things he knew, based on his experiences as a soldier in World War II, is that there was a concerted effort to eliminate the Jews – a genocide – and that this was the extreme execution of hatred. He realized, in coming back to combat it here, that you cannot fight hate with hate. Hate only begets more hate.”
About Dr. Legge
Jerry Legge was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens and Long Island. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science at Emory and has taught at the University of Georgia since 1980. His book, Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers: The Roots of Prejudice in Contemporary Germany was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2003. Since that time, his research has focused on the Holocaust in Italy, the Malmédy Massacre of U.S. Army troops in the Battle of the Bulge, and on war criminals and collaborators who fled Europe after the war and settled in the U.S., Canada, and South America.
Dr. Legge has been a participant in several conferences at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. ). Two of his articles have been published in the Museum’s academic journal, Holocaust and Genocide Studies: “Resisting a War Crimes Trial: The Malmédy Massacre, the German Churches, and the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps” (fall of 2012) and “The Karl Linnas Deportation Case, the Office of Special Investigations, and American Ethnic Politics” (spring of 2010). In addition to his teaching and research, he presently serves as Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Professor of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, where he is responsible for strategic planning and institutional accreditation.
Dr. Legge resides in Sandy Springs, has three children, and is married to Janie Cohen-Legge. He is a member of Congregation B’nai Torah and an associate member of the Chabad of Cobb.