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. The exhibit will be on display at the Dade County Public Library from May 16-29.
It will be presented to the community by Viki E. Staley, executive director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and Dr. Jerry Legge, University of Georgia, on May 16, at 7 p.m. Following the presentation of the exhibit, Dr. Legge will speak. The event is free and open to the public.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of key events in the Civil Rights Movement and now citizens across Georgia will have the opportunity to gain a uniquely local perspective on the struggle against discrimination. 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.
Mr. 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, Mr. Scott 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 Mr. Scott’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.
Mr. 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. Mr. 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.