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 January to July of 2014.
|West Georgia Regional Library - Carrollton||January 1 - January 20|
|Augusta-Richmond County Public Library - Augusta||January 14 - February 7|
|Dalton-Whitfield Public Library - Dalton||February 13 - February 27|
|Brunswick-Glynn County Library - Brunswick||March 5 - March 19|
|De Soto Trail Regional Library - Camilla||March 25 - April 8|
|Chattooga County Library - Summerville||April 14 - April 30|
|South Georgia Regional Library - Valdosta||May 6 - May 20|
|Catoosa County Public Library - Ringgold||June 1 - July 1|
The travelling exhibit is a series of 10 panels highlighting World War II veteran and civil rights activist, William Alexander Scott III, whose father founded the first black-owned daily newspaper in the United States – The Atlanta Daily World. Scott was a photographer in a segregated battalion of the United States Army during World War II. His witness testimony of the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp draws parallels between the Jim Crow Laws and the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935-1945 implemented in Germany and Nazi-controlled areas of Europe.
Scott was a Business and Math 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. Scott was a reconnaissance sergeant, photographer, camoufleur, and part-time historian in S2 (Intelligence Section) of the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion.
During World War II the United States Army was, like much of the nation itself, segregated. As a soldier in an all-black battalion, Scott and his comrades were fighting for rights they could not enjoy themselves at home. This fact was magnified as the Allies began to witness first-hand the treatment of Jewish people and other targeted groups in camps across Europe.
On April 11, 1945, Scott rode into Eisenach, Germany, on an Army convoy with the 8th Corps of General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. Buchenwald was one of the largest concentration camps established by the Nazis within the German borders. Through the lens of his camera, Scott witnessed the consequences of unchecked bigotry and documented the crimes of the Nazis and their collaborators.
Scott 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. Scott 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.
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.