Illinois foundation acquires Holocaust letter exhibit

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CHICAGO — The faded papers hint at stark details in the lives of Nazi concentration camp inmates.

Letters secretly carried by children through the sewers of Warsaw, Poland, during the 1944 uprising. A 1933 card from a Dachau camp commander outlining strict rules for prisoner mail. A 1943 letter from a young man, who spent time in Auschwitz, to his parents.

The more than 250 World War II postal documents — cards, letters and stamps — have been acquired by an Illinois foundation from a private collector and will soon be on permanent display in a museum in suburban Chicago.

"These artifacts underscore the very personal dimension to this catastrophe," said Richard Hirschhaut, the executive director of the Skokie-based Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, where the exhibit will be housed next year when the museum opens.

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