by Dennis Dalman
That is the oft-repeated advisory that followed the systematic butchery of Jews and other “undesirables” and ethnic minorities during World War II in Europe.
Larry Tillemans is one man who has dedicated a major part of his life to ensure people never forget what happened in those death camps.
And now, Tillemans is getting help making his message travel far and wide. A documentary about him and his life’s work, entitled “The Typist,” will have a public showing at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 at Atwood Center on the St. Cloud State University campus. The movie and a discussion afterward will be part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is Jan. 27., the anniversary date of the liberation by the Allies of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. One of the people featured in “The Typist” is Dan Wildeson, director of the Holocaust and Education Center at SCSU. In the movie, Wildeson has high praises for Tillemans who single-handedly showed such determination to share the knowledge of what he knew about the horrors of the Holocaust.
“The Typist” was also shown Jan. 23 at the St. Cloud Public Library. There will soon be showings of the film throughout the state and the nation.
Tillemans, now 87, lived for years in St. Joseph but now lives in Country Manor in Sartell. Despite some health setbacks, he is as eager and willing as ever to keep talking about what he knows about the mass exterminations in Europe.
Tillemans was a U.S. Army typist during the Nuremburg War Crimes trials that took place in Nuremburg, Germany after the war ended in 1945. He and other typists transcribed a virtual mountain of papers detailing evidence of unspeakable crimes revealed during the trials of Nazi criminals, many of them directly responsible for the “Final Solution,” a Nazi term for the systematic butchery of at least 6 million people in forced-labor camps and death camps in which so many people – men, women and children – were sent to their deaths in gas chambers.
Tillemans was outraged and horrified by the evidence he learned about. That passionate determination to not let people forget has grown stronger in him as the years have passed. Tillemans is saddened by the fact many young people don’t seem to know about the Holocaust. He is angry some so-called scholars and even a recent leader of Iran claim the Holocaust never happened.
“The Typist” was produced by Chuck Czech, a producer from a public television station in Austin, who happened to learn about Tillemans when he and his wife were having dinner at Kay’s Kitchen in St. Joseph. The film was made with the help of co-producer and freelancer David Klassen. It took them three years to complete.