The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, in partnership with Georgia Public Library Services, is bringing the traveling exhibit "Witness to the Holocaust: WWII Veteran William Alexander Scott III at Buchenwald" to Porter Memorial Library from Oct. 7 to Nov. 15.
The exhibit will be introduced to the community by Dr. Jerry Legge of the University of Georgia on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. William Alexander "W.A." Scott III was a photographer in a segregated battalion of the U.S. Army during World War II. His witness testimony of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp is told in the traveling exhibit, which draws parallels between the Jim Crow Laws of the Old South 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 that is housed 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.
Scott was the son of W.A. Scott II, founder of the first black-owned daily newspaper in the United States, The Atlanta Daily World (1928). W.A. Scott III was a business and math major at Morehouse College in 1943 when he was unexpectedly drafted into the Army.
During the war, he was a reconnaissance sergeant, photographer, camoufleur, and part-time historian in S2 (the Intelligence Section) of the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion. On April 11, 1945, W.A. rode into Eisenach, Germany, in an Army convoy with the 8th Corps of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. At the time, the U.S. Army was segregated. Nothing in W.A.’s background could have prepared him for the horrors he witnessed at Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps established by the Nazis within 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 establish the first official national holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also was appointed by Georgia Govs. 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 "Witness to the Holocaust: WWII Veteran William Alexander Scott III at Buchenwald" exhibit is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.