TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Thu, April 11, 2019 11:17:51
August 13th. 1943 "..In view of the tragic existence of the Jews, where the life of the individual depends on chance, and the life of the community as a whole has long been on the brink of cessation, one must, more than ever, see the situation comprehensively. An individual point of view - everyone will surely understand that now - is of no significance today. As individuals, we are all lost. The likelihood of staying alive is minute. Broken and alone there is not much we can expect of life. Dying together with Polish Jewry we must clearly visualize for ourselves the historic character of this time and tell ourselves with courage that our death does not spell the end of the world. The record of humanity and of the Jewish people will continue at its own speedin the future, even after we are safely under the ground. The numerical balance-sheet of the Jews will be sad when peace finally comes to the world after the historical blood-bath. This is indeed not the first defeat of a defenseless people scattered over the face of the earth. Slaughter, murders, confiscation of property, and the burning alive of people all these have been known to us for generations as the essential elements of our martyrology. But there has never been such wholesale extermination. Never did a situation develop like this, where there is no way out. Never before did great numbers of people armed with the most modern technology move against the Jews. Of 16 million Jews in the world, we shall scarcely reach 9 million after the war. And, most important of all, the Jews of Europe will no longer be there, those who up to now made up the healthiest part of the nation. Nobody held out a helping hand to the Jews who were being destroyed, nobody made any effort to helpthem to the extent that they could escape from the danger of extermination. They looked on our destruction as on the death of maggots, and not as the loss of a nation with high cultural values. When the question of the Jews came up even the hatred towards the Germans lessened. There was a solidarity with the enemy in the joy over the fall of the Jews. Only a few retained any degree of humanity, and even theydid not dare to give this public expression. The truth of aloneness was again confirmed. We shall carry the heavy burden of this isolation until the end of our days, and it points to the fact that the only proper approach is that of self-liberation: We have nobody on whom to depend except ourselves. All other political concepts will lead us astray. We have paid the highest possible price because we were lulled asleep by the prosperity of Europe, or guided by false hopes of rescue that would come from outside. We lost our sense of reality and instead of planning our independence we scattered invaluable forces in alien fields. Who knows what would have been the future of the Jewish people if there were no Yishuv (Community) of half a million in Palestine, that built its foundations before the war broke out and which has now reached a million souls? Only this nucleus of a Jewish State now offers assurance for thesurvival of the people. It makes us believe that an independent Jewish nation will rise again, a wellspring of profound spiritual values, as always. It is easier to die, therefore, in the knowledge that a genuine Jewish life still throbs there, that in that one small corner of the wide world we were not undesirables, lonely victims. There would be no sense in our death but for the feeling that, after we have gone, they will be the only ones who will think about us with genuine emotion. Therefore, despite certain death, we join them in their struggle for the future. Every one of our deeds paved the way for freedom, and furthers the building of an independent homeland. Our revolt is a protest against the evil that is engulfing the world. To counter the terror that has crushed our people, we shall stand prepared for the struggle for justice and freedom that should light up the life of humanity as a whole. We are willing to die in order that the shame of death in slavery shall not burden the future of the Jews, and that these Jews shall not have to recall the Jews of Europe with shame because they allowed themselves to be led unresisting to slaughter, and they had not the spirit and courage to defend themselves against destruction. As we had not been allowed to make our contribution to the creative work of building, we shall at least fulfill our historic duty here: it is we who must raise up the name of the lost people, to wipe away the mark of shame of slavery, and to place it among the ranks of people free in spirit.
Cracow Fighting Pioneer Underground Newspaper.
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, March 05, 2019 12:32:17
“..All around ..submerged sounds ..groaning ..choking ..sobbing of ..people not dead yet.” Dina Mironova Pronicheva.
All passages used here are from Babi Yar - A Jewish Catastrophe and they formed part of those presentations to Students, Tutors, Educator's and School Groups who shared an interest in the work I was doing. As each book has been Published I have written a draft presentation for those I will then speak to as to why I write. Contrary to what many see, as the need to write, mine is of that effort which is affixed to a more important element in my work, Remembering those I care to write about.
"..If ..statistic of atrocity at Babi-Yar is as true as it is accurate ..and Dina Mironova Pronicheva was ..only survivor ..fact that ..statistic at
Babi-Yar was not 33,772 must be considered." Patrick Dempsey.
Back in 2005, when Babi Yar came out, I did what I had done previously and written what it was I wished to state to all those who were prepared to listen. That drafting was so constantly tweaked, as I wished there to be differences for each and every presentation, delivering words which were constantly overlapping of course, but finding subtlety's to deliver individual presentations to each and every audience. I started writing on The Holocaust some 5 or 6 years previously and could so easily have written Babi Yar prior to this. But I could not forgoe the need to ensure what those Survivor's I had been talking to were lamenting, us allowing for them to be forgotten.
“..soldiers came ..firing bullets ..into any which appeared to be still living.” Dina Mironova Pronicheva.
The tragic fact, and it is a truth direct from those Survivor's who supplied me with the essential title to my first Book, that it was indeed the grave loss of those whose Memory was crucial to our search that required securing and a continued emphasis. That guarantee to secure their memory, while their own memory was continually fading, rang all too true every time I was informed that a Survivor had passed on. So I was in a constant race against time, a rush for that comprehension of the bestial atrocity that still eluded us, and as we were still coming to terms with its detail.
"..I use ..word hate very advisedly ..to counter ..feeling of horror that wrenches at my own understanding of ..lost meaning of humanity. Truly
..when I read passages as Dina Mironova Pronicheva describes ..can I know that humanity was lost." Patrick Dempsey.
Therefore, I could not arrive at the gates of Babi Yar without acknowledging the immensity of loss that the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe presents to us all. These many Jewish People, who are The Holocaust, are now being contained in a term being continuously diluted of them and for whom must never become lost within the vagaries of that fading memory. This Book then would provide me with a need to express, for the terror of an atrocity contained within the horror of an atrocity, a passage which fully secured for posterity a glimpse of what 33,771 Murdered Jewish losses presents.
“..after ..massacre of ..Jews ..Germans combed apartments ..houses. If they found children of ..Jewish mother they killed them.” Dina Mironova Pronicheva.
Nor could I realise, that I would not reach the outskirts of this particular atrocity, which is Babi Yar, without expanding on the vile force, der Einsatzgruppe, that would become established to ensure 1,250,000 Jews of Europe would be Murdered, and amongst these, the 33,771 Jews of Kiev. Here then in Babi Yar, these Jew of Kieve would be Murdered in that x2 day orgy of destruction, September 29th. till September 30th. 1941. It became essential then to ensure, that as much first hand evidence as could be found would deliver a more rounded and truthful detail as my search demanded. Dina Pronicheva formed an immense part of that demand.
"..Dina Mironova Pronicheva is reputed to be amongst ..only Survivors of ..two day atrocity to meet ..Jews of Kiev in Babi-Yar. And while we look to ..example and expression of such heroics that she exemplifies ..we are also witness to ..cowardly action against ..Jews of Kiev that was enacted." Patrick Dempsey.
I mention here Dina Pronicheva quite deliberately for it was her testimony which gave her the evidence as having survived, and this is a reminder of that draft I had written some 14 years ago which is lost in a Computer which blew up and a back up LapTop which I had not the sense to back that up also. I have rewritten many drafts of those presentations and still never conclude what is in essence the missing piece from the overall requirement. Forever missing will be the 6,000,000 Jewish souls whose vibrant and essential being has been torn from our own humanity.
“..scraping ..sand off ..scarcely daring to breathe ..used what strength ..left. ..got ..out from under ..earth.” Dina Mironova Pronicheva.
Sometimes, I do feel I tarnish the memory I wish to preserve by the mere mention of those whose perptration has delivered the very need to describe the atrocity. But such is the name of Paul Blobel, an SS Standartenfuhrer who was Kommander of Sk4a which delivered the full spectrum of this atrocity to us. But his name cannot be removed from identifying with what remains after he sought to destroy the very existence of these Jewish People. Here at Babi Yar, what still stands as the single most, individually encountered atrocity conceived against the Jews in The Holocaust, is to tarnish our History in perpetuity.
"..Blobel does not stand tall alongside ..likes of People like Dina Mironova Pronicheva ..or next to ..33,771 Jews of Kiev ..most of whom are as yet unnamed." Patrick Dempsey.
When we look to excesses completed in Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor or Treblinka and when based upon the Murders of 16,885 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children on any one given day, we find no comparison with Babi Yar. It was never my intention to seek comparison's, though within the period allocated to The Holocaust many such comparison's are indeed consistent, the Jewish People were Murdered here at Babi Yar in the most unpallatable, unique, unprecedented and unparalledled atrocity ever accomplished in all of our History. But I leave you with the words of such majesty, the sheer essence of Jewish Resistance, from a Daughter who was unable to leave the side of her Mother until it almost added her, Dina Mironova Pronicheva, to the Catastrophe that is Baby Yar.
"..I could not leave my mother alone. I embraced her ..burst into tears but was unable to leave her." Dina Mironova Pronicheva.
The Full Transcript of her evidential Testimony is presented here.
My name is Dina. Dina Mironovna Vasserman. I grew up in a poor Jewish family. I was brought up under the Soviet regime in the spirit of internationalism. Thus, it is not surprising that I fell in love with a Russian guy, Nikolai Pronichev, married him and lived with him in love and happiness. That is how I became Dina Mikhailovna Pronicheva. My passport said I was Russian. We had two children: a boy and a girl. Before the war I worked as an actress at the Kiev Children's Theater. On the second day of the way my husband joined the Soviet Army, and I was left with two children and my old sick mother.
Hitler's troops seized Kiev on September 19, 1941, and from the very first day they started plundering and killing Jews. Terrible stories about the treatment of Jews were circulating in the city. We lived in terror. When I saw announcements posted in the streets, ordering "all the Jews of the city of Kiev to gather at Babi Yar" (a place we had no idea about), I felt trouble was coming. I started shivering. I say that nothing good was awaiting us there. That is why I dressed my children, three and five years old, packed their stuff in a small bag and took them to my Russian mother-in-law. Then, following the order, my sick mother and I went along the road to Babi Yar.
"..Jews were walking in hundreds and thousands. Besides me there was an old Jew with a long white beard. He had on a tallis ..and teffilin. He was mumbling. He prayed exactly as my father did when I was a child. A woman was walking ahead of me. She was carrying two children and a third one was walking alongside ..holding her skirt. Sick women and elderly were riding in carts among piled up bags and suitcases. Small children were crying. Old people ..having trouble walking ..sighed and trudged on in their mournful journey. Russian husbands were walking with their Jewish wives. Russian wives were walking with their Jewish husbands. When we approached Babi Yar I heard shooting and inhuman shouting. I started to grasp what was going on but did not say anything to my mother. When we entered through ..gates we were ordered to turn in our papers and valuables and undress. A German came over to my mother and tore a gold ring off her finger.
Only then mother said ..Dinochka ..you are Pronicheva ..you are Russian. You should survive. Rush to your children. You should live for them. But I could not flee. We were surrounded by fascists with submachine guns ..Ukrainian policemen ..and ferocious dogs who were ready to tear a human being to pieces. And then ..I could not leave my mother alone. I embraced her ..burst into tears but was unable to leave her.
Mother pushed me away and yelled ..Hurry! I went to a table at which a fat officer was seated ..showed him my passport and said quietly ..I am Russian. He was contemplating my passport when a policeman came over and barked ..Don't believe her.. she's a Kike. We know her. ..German told me to step aside and wait. I saw groups of men ..women ..children ..elderly undress. They were taken to an open pit and shot by soldiers.
Then another group would come. I saw this horror with my own eyes. Even though I was not standing close to ..pit ..I could hear awful shrieks of terrified people ..weak voices of children ..crying ..Mother ..mother. I saw all that and was unable to understand how people could kill others because they are Jewish. And I concluded that ..fascists were not humans ..they were beasts. I saw a young completely naked woman feed her naked baby with ..breast when a policeman came to her ..took ..baby ..and thrust it into ..pit. ..mother rushed after ..child. A fascist shot her dead ..she fell into ..pit. Had someone told me this ..I would not believe it. It is impossible to believe. ..German who had ordered me to wait took me to his superior ..gave him my passport and said ..This woman says she is Russian ..but a policeman says she is Jewish. ..officer studied my passport for a while and then said ..Dina is not a Russian name.
You are Jewish. Take her! ..A policeman told me to undress and pushed me to ..edge of ..pit where another group was waiting for its fate. ..It was getting dark. ..They lined us up on a ledge which was so small that we couldn't get much of a footing on it. They began shooting us. I shut my eyes ..clenched my fists ..tensed all my muscles and took a plunge down before ..bullets hit me. ..before ..shooting started ..I driven by terror ..fell into ..pit. It seemed I was flying forever. But I landed safely on ..bodies. fell on dead bodies. At first ..I could not understand anything ..where was I ..How did I get there ..I thought I had gone mad. But when people started falling on me ..I came to my senses and understood everything. I started checking my arms ..legs ..abdomen ..head. It turned out I was not even wounded. I pretended to be dead.
Under me and above me there lay ..killed and wounded. Some of them breathed ..others moaned. Suddenly ..I heard a child cry ..Mommy! It seemed like it was my little daughter. I burst into tears. ..execution went on ..and people kept falling. I was pushing corpses away in fear of being buried alive. But I did this in a way so that ..policemen would not notice. All of a sudden everything was quiet. After I a while ..when ..shooting stopped ..I heard ..Germans with submachine guns were ..climbing into ..ravine ..killing those who had been wounded. They started finishing off all those who were not dead yet ..those who were moaning ..hiccuping ..tossing ..writhing in agony. They ran their flashlights over ..bodies and finished off all who moved. I was lying so still without stirring ..terrified of giving myself away.
I felt someone was standing above me ..pretended to be dead, no matter how hard it was. I felt I was done for. I decided to keep quiet. They started covering ..corpses over with earth. I closed my eyes to protect them. They must have put quite a lot over me because I felt I was beginning to suffocate. But I was afraid to move. I was gasping for breath. I knew I would suffocate. Then I decided it was better to be shot than buried alive. I stirred but I didn't know that it it became completely dark and quite deadly quiet in literal sense I opened my eyes and, having made sure no one was around and watching me. ..Using my left arm I managed to move a little way up. I dug myself out of sand that was covering me. Then I took a deep breath ..summoned up my waning strength and crawled out from under ..cover of earth. It was dark.
But all ..same it was dangerous to crawl because of ..searching beams of flashlight and they continued shooting at those who moaned. They might hit me. So I had to be careful. ..I saw the ditch filling with thousands of killed. I got scared. Here and there earth was moving ..half alive people were breathing ..I looked at myself and got scared. ..undershirt that was covering my body was all bloody. I tried to get up and could not. ..I said to myself..Dina ..get up ..leave ..run from here ..our children are waiting for you. Suddenly ..I felt something was stirring behind me. First I got scared and decided to wait for a while. I turned quietly and asked ..Who are you. A delicate ..scared child's voice answered ..Don't be afraid. It's me.
My first name is Fina. My last name is Shneiderman. I am 11 years old. Take me with you. I am very afraid of ..dark. I moved closer to ..boy ..embraced him and started crying. ..boy said ..Don't cry. We both started to move quietly. We reached ..edge of ..pit ..got some rest and continued climbing ..helping each other. We had already reached ..top of ..pit ..stood up to run away when ..suddenly ..I head a shot and understood that they noticed me. a shot was fired. We fell on ..ground instinctively and waited.. For some time we were quiet ..being afraid to speak. Having calmed down ..I moved closer to Fimochka ..touched him and asked in a whisper ..How are you doing ..Fimochka. There was no answer.
In ..dark I could feel his legs and arms. He did not stir. No signs of life. I got up a bit and looked in his face. He was lying with his eyes closed. I tried to open them but understood that ..boy was dead. Probably ..shot we heard had taken his life. I caressed his cold face ..said good bye to him. Without getting up ..I started moving toward ..high hill that surrounded ..pit. ..I was lucky enough to crawl up one of ..high walls of ..ravine ..and straining every nerve and muscle ..got out of it. I got up ..on my feet ..and ran. All was quiet. Having made sure that I was far from ..terrible place called Babi Yar ."
I decided to approach a house that could just about be seen in the dark. Shivering, I came to a window and knocked. In a few minutes a sleepy woman lifted up a curtain and asked:
"..Who is it? What do you want?"
I answered her:
"..I escaped from Babi Yar"
And then I heard her angry voice:
"..Go away. I don't have anything to do with you."
I left. I ran, because the day was breaking and I knew that they should not see me there. But there was no place to go, so I approached a second house and knocked. The door opened, and an elderly woman appeared on the porch. When she saw me in the undershirt she crossed herself and recoiled.
"..Who are you? Where have you come from?" she asked.
"..Don't be afraid ..dear. I am not a devil. I'm human."
And then I lied for the first time in my life.
"..I'm Ukrainian. I saw my friend to Babi Yar and barely escaped."
The old lady took my hand and let me in. Then she told me to wash myself, gave me a clean shirt, a blouse, a skirt, and old shoes. I looked at myself and got a shock: a real Ukrainian! My hostess gave me a glass of hot milk with home made bread and told me to get some rest. I ate with gust, went over the old lady, embraced her, kissed her, and burst into tears. My saviour also cried. But having wiped her tears with an apron, she said,
"..Daughter ..I know who you really are. But we are all alike for God. We have one God. Because I have helped you ..my two sons will come back from ..war alive. But my place is not safe for you. Police hounds search here every day. They are looking for Jews. These beasts pay money for Jews. Now ..go get some sleep. I'll give you some provisions and try to get to our people. May God help you."
I felt relieved because there were good people on earth who were ready to help others. The old lady made my bed and left. I slept for a while but could not sleep long. The images of the previous day were passing in from of my eyes. I believed I heard shots, shouting, and children crying somewhere. Who knows where my children are? Did my mother-in-law manage to save them? I did not have time to think. I was aware that the old lady could suffer because of me. And I decided to go. I looked in a mirror and was terrified to see my hair grey.
"..This is from last night" I thought.
I put some soot on the face to seem older, wrapped my head in a kerchief, as was done by old Ukrainian women, and said goodbye to my dear hostess and set out for the Daritsa. My friend Natalia, with whom I had played in the theatre, lived there. At first glance Natasha did not recognise me. When she did , she got scared. She told me take off my clothes and get some rest. But I felt something unnatural in her attitude toward me. There was some alienation. Once we had eaten, she said to me:
"..Dina ..I should tell you ..truth. You can't stay here for a long time. My husband Andrei deserted from ..Red Army. He hates ..Soviet power and ..Jews who invented it. I'm afraid he'll inform on you. You'd better leave."
And I left.
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Sat, March 02, 2019 15:21:47
Do we insist, in the case of a single Jewish Woman, raped continuously till death by a horde of wehrmacht and ss, that not all are guilty? Not all should be indicted? Not all should be tried? Or not All should have been executed! That incidence of Rape is not limited to just one single Jewish Woman, but to 1,000's of Jewish Women and Young Girl's so abused, that Death awaited them like a comforting blanket. I do not in any sense imply nor believe that Death was other than imposed, forced upon them, but it stalked the Jewish People and awaited them all, because they were Jews.
"..Americans ..British ..fly in these regions. ..Why did they not drop ..bombs on ..horrible tomb ..sixty kilometres from their Northern Frontier. They could have wrecked SS barracks ..ramps ..crematoriums ..roads ..rail track. Why didn't they." Alfred Wetzler.
In Escape from Hell, Wetzler lets us know from inside Auschwitz and Birkenau what was minutely detailed by those outside all Death Camps in Poland, all Ghettoes, Killing Sites and places were Jewish life was being extinguished clearly knew. So within my own Book, Babi Yar - A Jewish Catastrophe, which records the single most devastating Slaughter of 33,771 Jews of Kiev, that knowledge was known immediately to Allied powers. This incident then illicit's in the Einsatzgruppen Trial, though not exclusively for these Jews Murdered in a Ravine, the crime of not punishing the Crime. How do we then measure the Justice abstained here, by indictment of a force capable of Murdering 1,250,000 Jews from Europe? You might not want to own them, these Books of mine, which are for the Jewish Remembrance Never to be Forgotten, but if you read them carefully and know why I transpose such words to mean the Jewish People, you will know why 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust, must Never be Forgotten.
"..I hope I do not lack ..valid compassion ..proportional to ..Survivors ..for my words to offer an apology which has been so lacking in ..years preceding all that I describe." Patrick Dempsey.
In my Book, der Einsatzgruppe and The Destruction of European Jewry, which barely weaves through the trial of those all too few Einsatz indicted in Nuremberg Case No. 9, room is not immense enough. In what I acknowledge as a 'very short chapter', and because I am so disgusted with the term trial, the case against the Einsatzgruppe, auxilliaries and waffen ss and wehrmacht participants, requires a more expansive response. But that said, the entire Book is an indictment of a Worlds abject indifference to the whole sale Slaughter of more than 1,250,000 Jews, if truth breaches the dsarkness. In that way, all my Books are, in part, an accusation of a judicious system all too swift to ameliorate the toleration of such a catastrophe by those who perpetrated this, The Holocaust.
"..Many of ..personnel of ..Einsatzgruppe are well known to scholarly disciplines ..but ..make up of these formations has been lost to us due to ..cross over exploitation of other personnel ..and ..inclusion of various militia in ..detail of ..slaughter. It was only with a hollow victory ..once ..War had been lost ..and once ..trials of ..main protagonists and murderers was undertaken ..could ..wider world piece together ..exact nature of ..crimes we were then forced to at least attempt to comprehend." Patrick Dempsey.
All of my Books, and der Einsatzgruppe as it stands, explore the reaches of a an atrocity which becomes a travesty of missed intervention and reasoning. To stem the flow of Jewish Blood, war was provoked as the only reason to move forward ahead of the catastrophe clearly unfolding as the World watched on. All of my Books likewise, accuse all in the World whose clear and unequivocal knowledge bears down heavily on the indifference shown. What is seen over the immeasurable intolerance wreaked upon European Jewry, is that the Allied and Axis nations are a witness to this atrocity from day one.
“..Jews were compelled to establish relations with an alien ..hostile government that regarded them as subhuman ..fit only for exploitation and extermination. ..human values in which they believed and on which they had built their lives tottered and collapsed. In this cruel reality ..Vilna Jewry struggled to survive and seek rescue. ..daily struggle was for life itself ..survive in ..face of hunger ..disease. Jewish Vilna embodied
..majority of hardships ..torment ..European Jewry ..underwent during The Holocaust ..its responses sum up most of ..options ..available to ..Jews during this tragic epoch. Vilna Jewry was a microcosm of ..fate of all Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.” Yitzhak Arad.
While Arad has delivered some of the most brilliant exposing tomes on what we know of The Holocaust, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka and Ghetto in Flames in particular, to have Survived to write with such acclamation is beyond the capacity of mere historians to write. While Bauer was writing his Book, Jews for Sale, we recognise that it was not termed so that he sought to sell the Jews but clearly acknowledge and admonish the World for allowing Jews to be sold toward extinction.
"..People seldom learn from history. Can we be an exception." Yehuda Bauer.
For Raul Hilberg, who is a pre-eminent in the field of The Holocaust, his x3 Volume set on The Destruction of the European Jews is an art in research and deliverance. For my own search, I have spoken to some of the finest minds on The Holocaust who know and accept this fact attributed to Hilberg. But there are Survivor's who have written what I could never approach in detail, let alone deliver to posterity the intensity of one single incident in which the Survivor has a personal knowledge of. Now I will not bore you with the details of all the names of those I have written to, spoke to and acknlowedge with respect, for they are already detailed in all I seek to do, but they have not found my own effort unworthy of the remembrance for the 6,000,000 Jewish Murdered I present.
"..When in ..early days of 1933 ..first civil servant wrote ..first definition of non-Aryan ..fate of European Jewry was sealed." Raul Hilberg.
Like them all, it is for me too that we become the witnesses, the custodians and the testifiers to what those like Arad, Bauer, Hilberg, Losinski, Lanzmann and Wetzler have articulated, researched and amplified. Their pathway through the most unparalleled and unprecedentedly unique atrocity ever perpetrated against a People is for us to acknowledge and learn from. I note here too that a preference for the use of the term Shoah is widely referenced, so I will give you an idea of who I am by informing You of a salient point I am consistent with in relation to The Holocaust term.
"..Had I foreseen what it would become ..I might not have written The Painted Bird. But ..book ..like ..boy ..has weathered ..assaults. ..urge to Survive is inherently unfettered. Can ..imagination ..any more than ..boy ..be held Prisoner." Jerzy Kosinski.
I will not accept the further degrading of The Holocaust term. I know full well the narrative being driven is to deny these Jews their presence in the term. Emerging from The Final Solution of The Jewish Question, the term itself gave an original residence to the Jewish displacement. Its dilution, which is a further intolerance toward the residing principle given over to 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, is not acceptable for the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews and is not acceptable to me, personally. That personal approach could not be made without having understood the relevance of Kosinski's The Painted Bird, whose 'weathered assaults' did not save him from eventual collapse, before a still seemingly indifferent world, I extol the virtue of those who know exactly what it is I seek too to know of.
"..Incredulous ..I read ..reread this naked ..bloodless text. A strange force seems to have filled it through and through ..it resists ..it lives its own life. It is ..writing of ..disaster ..for me ..another mystery." Claude Lanzmann.
Here, with Lanzmann's Shoah in support, the art of the narrator is clearly not just in what is known but in how he allows a 'bloodless text' to elaborate what was and is the most disastrous and bloodied path through our times. It is an essential for those of You to know my work and for any of you to go out and find any one of my Books, marks my achievement before 6,000,000 plundered lives. For me to then find out what I know of the Jewish pain, and the suffering of their 6,000,000 People, has not stifled my own contempt for those who allowed this all to happen. There, in each and every passage of those Books to be read are the signals to where my Heart and Soul is etched across what 6,000,000 Murdered Jews have lost. For what we have subsequently lost, and it is my concern for the loss to Their Memory that is contained in each and every page of those works and for which I deliver here.
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Sat, February 23, 2019 16:57:00
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch MBE is a Survivor of both Auschwitz, from 1943 and Belsen from November 1944 and was born in Breslau in 1925. She came to Britain in 1946 and has inspired many to look more deeply at themselves for what those, like Anita suffered to Survive. I have none of the insite nor trauma from which I build a very disheartening narrative within a framework of words.
There are sentences that can be borrowed, that are regularly conveyed and are infinitely concerned with the lessons Anita and other Survivor's deliver. We are afforded a testimony that is in favour of all of those who were so systematically denied even the slightest of care or compassion. I hope, in all of this, the words I use are meaningfully constructed and which must always deliver the factual truth of what is The Holocaust.
Its very integrity and its remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jews destroyed within its reach is an imperative which cannot be allowed ever to be forgotten. What I do not do, and for those seeking to afford forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish People, for all those who were so totally destroyed, I do not offer any forgiveness. It is neither my place to do so, nor is it right to consider it so.
For the 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, they have no opportunity to now deliver any fragment of that anticipated forgiveness. I am equally certain, that for those seeking to reconcile with the past, no part of this reconciliation can be achieved without forgiveness for the grave wrongs done to those of that past. For these 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, ill disposed to ever Forgive, The Holocaust will be an unforgivable stain upon us all for an eternity.
Survivors too, who have the right to forgive what was done to them during this period, must do so if that is their wish. But! Neither they nor I have the right to forgive for what was achieved against any one of those Jews who did not Survive. I, detached from incidence, immediacy or the reality of The Holocaust, clearly have not be personally touched by The Holocaust and those certainly desttroyed.
Such immediacy as a Survivor would have, or a relative should have, even they have no right to afford any forgiveness for other than the hatred that was conducted against them. What transpired against the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, will stay with their remains. There are many Survivor's too who could not address their Survival without the guilt for having done so.
Whatever it was that mapped out their Survival, be it Luck or Fate, they hav secured a World entire for having done so. Whatever trick life played upon them to allow them their Survival, they owe it to themselves to fully recognise that they defeated the greatest technological slaughter house in history, be that Auschwitz, Belzec, Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka or where ever Hitler's reach sought them.
"..I swore that I would never set foot on German soil again. I was consumed by a boundless hatred of anything German." Anita Lasker-Wallfisch.
But Anita, who afforded us an Inherited Truth, did return, and in some way went toward reconciling her own feelings for what an ostensibly German nation did to her and 6,000,000 others of her fellow Jews. On Wednesday January 31st. 2018 Anita was once more in Germany and, before the Deutscher Bundestag, she gave an imassioned plea to the World. This is the body of that speech given by The Holocaust Survivor, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for inviting me to say a few words here in the Bundestag. I am one of the rapidly dwindling number of eyewitnesses to the catastrophe which befell us all those years ago.
No other genocide is as comprehensively documented as the Holocaust. There are hours of interviews with survivors, countless reports that you can read, should you wish to. And yet there are still the deniers, people who claim that all the accounts are fabricated and that the Holocaust never happened. They even send someone to Birkenau to scratch at the walls in the ruins of the gas chambers in order to produce proof that none of this is true. The reality is different. In January, 73 years ago, Auschwitz was liberated and the crimes against innocent people way beyond imagination gradually came to light. The scale of the catastrophe simply defied comprehension.
Six million is a number too big to grasp. it is easier to identify with an individual fate. So if I may, I would like to describe, in a few key words, our career as survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Renate and I were born in this country, so we are German. Our father was a lawyer and notary at the Oberlandesgericht the Higher Regional Court and our mother was a gifted violinist. We were three daughters, and we all learned to play a musical instrument. I played the cello with great enthusiasm. My sister Renate with somewhat less enthusiasm the violin.
There were some family rules which, as a child, I did not understand at all and, to be honest, found rather stupid. On Sundays, for example, we would only speak French. On Saturday afternoons, my family would come together to read the classics and my father would recount his experiences of fighting at the front in the First World War, when he was awarded the Iron Cross, and we would play chess. We owed it to our family name, for my uncle Edward Lasker was a Grand Master in America.
And then it all came to an abrupt end. Radical exclusion. There were notices everywhere:
“.Jews not welcome”.
We were no longer allowed to use the swimming baths or sit on park benches, and we had to hand in our bicycles. Jewish men were required to add the name “Israel”, and women “Sarah”, to their names. We were forced out of our home. Then, into the Middle Ages: we had to wear a yellow star, and I was spat at in the street and called a dirty Jew. Our father, an incurable optimist, could not believe what was happening. Surely the Germans cannot go along with this madness?
In the museum at Auschwitz, there are vast glass cabinets full of human hair, toothbrushes, eye glasses and even prosthetic limbs. Where did they come from? From Jewish soldiers who had fought at the front. This was the thanks they got from the Fatherland.
Then in 1938, there was Kristallnacht and one knew that one cannot stay here.
But it was too late. We were trapped. The mass shootings of Jews began soon afterwards, in 1939, with the occupation of Poland; then in 1942, the infamous Wannsee Conference took place. Supposedly cultured men sat around the table and discussed, in earnest, how best to rid the world of millions of people 1,000,000's of Jews. The only problem apparently concerned those of mixed blood what to do with those who were only half Jewish? Should they be murdered too?
By now, there were regular deportations of Jews from all the territories under German occupation. People were being sent to Auschwitz from as far away as Greece. Our parents were deported on 9 April 1942. Of course, we wanted to stay together, go with them. But our father wisely said no. “Where we are going, one gets there soon enough.”
Needless to say, we never saw them again. I was 16 years old.
So, my sister and I were now alone. We were sent to an orphanage, absolutely determined not to let it break our spirit, not to wait for somebody to take us away to be murdered simply because we were Jews. We were conscripted to work in a paper factory. There were French prisoners of war working there as well. We soon made contact and that’s how our career as forgers began, making counterfeit papers that the French POWs used to escape.
When we realised that we were being watched, we decided to try to escape as well. Our aim was to reach the unoccupied zone in France, travelling on forged papers - an absolutely absurd idea when I look back now. But what had we got to lose? Nothing at all.
Of course, this last desperate attempt was bound to fail. We made it as far as Breslau railway station but were arrested by the Gestapo as we attempted to board the train. I’ll be brief. We spent an entire year in prison. It was extremely lucky not to be sent straight to Auschwitz. We were to be tried in a Sondergericht – a special court. I think we have one of my father’s former colleagues to thank for that, a certain Dr Lukaschek, if I remember right. By then, the Buergerliches Gesetzbuch, the Civil Code, no longer applied and under the new rules, it was better to be classed as a criminal than a Jew. Because criminals were given a trial; Jews were fair game.
We were tried on charges of attempted escape, helping the enemy and forgery. The public defence lawyer didn’t show up and as strange as it might sound today, we didn’t want anyone to defend us anyway. The longer the sentence, the better. We already knew that prison would be preferable to a concentration camp.
It wasn’t very pleasant, it’s true: we were locked in our cells 24 hours a day, the only break from the monotony a half-hour shuffle round the prison yard in total silence, hands behind our backs, but prisoners were not murdered, at least not as a rule.
The sentence was three and a half years of hard labour for Renate and eighteen months in prison for me. We didn’t serve out our sentences. After a while, we were sent to Auschwitz separately. It’s hard to believe, but I was required to sign a document saying that I was going to Auschwitz voluntarily!
By then, people were aware of what was going on in Auschwitz but one simply did not want to believe it. Alas it was true.
So when I arrived in Auschwitz, I tried to prepare for the worst an almost impossible task.
But events took a different turn. I was not sent to Auschwitz on one of the mass transports of Jews, who were sentenced to live or die on arrival at the ramp. I arrived in Auschwitz as a convicted criminal. And it was better to be a criminal than a Jew. We were Karteihäftlinge we had criminal records. My head was shaved and the number 69388 was tattooed on my left arm. Anita Sara Lasker no longer existed.
It is hard to believe, but there was music in Auschwitz and it was urgently needed to find someone who could play the cello. So I became a member of the camp orchestra in Birkenau. The director was Alma Rosé, the niece of Gustav Mahler and daughter of Arnold Rosé, the leader of the Vienna Philharmonic for many years until he was “dismissed”. Why? Because he was a Jew.
The orchestra was based in Block 12, close to the end of the road into the camp, just a few metres from Crematorium I and with an unobstructed view of the ramp. We could see everything: the arrival ceremonies, the selections, the columns of people walking towards the gas chambers, soon to be transformed into smoke.
In 1944, the transports from Hungary arrived and the gas chambers could no longer keep pace. As Danuta Czech describes in her remarkable book Auschwitz Chronicle, 1939-1945: ‘The camp commandant Höß ordered 5 pits to be dug for the burning of corpses. So many transports arrived that sometimes, there was no space in Crematorium V for all the bodies. If there was no room in the gas chambers, people were shot instead. Many were thrown alive into the burning pits. This I also saw with my own eyes.
Even if you were not sent straight to the gas chamber, no one survived in Auschwitz for long – the most you could expect was about three months. But if they needed you for some reason, you had a tiny chance of survival. I had that chance I was “needed”.
We played marches at the camp gate for the prisoners who worked in the nearby factories IG Farben, Buna, Krupp etc. and we gave Sunday concerts around the camp for the people who worked there or anyone else who wanted to hear us play. For many, hearing music being performed in this living hell was the ultimate insult. But for others, perhaps, it was a chance to dream of another world, if only for a few moments.
Renate had been sentenced to hard labour and arrived in Auschwitz later than I did. We managed to find each other, completely by chance and against all the odds: Birkenau is unbelievably big. I can hardly describe the state my sister was in: a skeleton with open wounds on her legs, which simply never healed. Of course, we all had typhus. There was no escaping the lice. I will not even talk about the hunger. In some ways, a quiet death would have been a merciful release. Amazingly, she survived.
Suddenly, we were told: “Line up!” Jews on one side, Aryans on the other. That could only mean one thing – the gas chamber. But we were mistaken. We were loaded into a cattle truck. Renate quite simply came with us. We were determined not to be separated again. We were driven west to Bergen-Belsen.
Auschwitz was cleaned up and the gas chambers were dynamited, albeit not entirely successfully. Who would have believed that we would ever leave Auschwitz alive and not as smoke?
Was it any better in Belsen? Well, all I can say is that it was different. In Auschwitz, people were murdered in the most sophisticated ways; in Belsen, people simply perished. We existed, surrounded by rotting corpses, and waited for it all to end. And then on 15 April 1945, the British arrived and we were liberated. I was 19 years old.
I often talk about my experiences to young people in schools here and not only the young. One of the best questions that I’m always asked is, what happened next? Did you go home? No! Home no longer existed. We were that new species Displaced Persons, with all the problems that this entails. What was to be done with all these people? I don’t need to spell out the answer.
In 2000, the international conference was held in Stockholm and a decision was taken to make 27 January the official Holocaust Memorial Day and provide mandatory Holocaust education in schools. The mood was one of great hope for a better future.
It is now more than seventy years since the Holocaust, and the perpetrators’ generation is no longer alive. We cannot really take it amiss if today’s young people refuse to identify with these crimes. But to deny that this is part of German history as well?
That must not happen.
More to the point, cannot happen. And as for talk of drawing a line: what are we meant to draw the line under? What happened, happened, and it cannot be expunged by drawing a line. And it is not about feelings of guilt; they are quite out of place. It is about making certain that it can never never ever happen again here.
The eminent historian Professor Yehuda Bauer said in his address to the Bundestag that people seldom learn from history and that the Holocaust is no exception but that the Holocaust introduced a new dimension that had never been seen before: industrial mass murder. Human beings were, quite literally, recycled.
After the cataclysm that was the Holocaust, Germany’s conduct was exemplary. There was no denial. Anti-Semitism was no longer in vogue. Now, times have changed and today’s world is a world of refugees. For us, all those years ago, the borders were hermetically sealed, whereas now, they have been opened thanks to an incredibly generous and courageous humanitarian gesture made here.
Today, we remember the millions of innocent victims. But we should also remember the courageous helpers. There were some not enough but there were some: people who put their own lives at risk by helping others. We should not forget that either.
Anti-Semitism is a virus which is two thousand years old and apparently incurable. It mutates to take on new forms: religion, race. Only today, one does not necessarily say ‘Jews.’ Today it is the Israelis, without really understanding the context or knowing what is going on behind the scenes.
Jews are criticised for not having defended themselves, which simply confirms how impossible it is to imagine what it was like for us back then. And then the Jews are criticised for defending themselves. It’s scandalous that Jewish schools, even Jewish kindergartens have to have a police guard.
We should be asking why.
There are no excuses and no explanations for what happened all those years ago. All that remains is hope: the hope that ultimately, one day, reason will prevail.
I have been invited to come to Germany many times over the years and have very positive contact with young people. On my last visit, I had a less positive experience. I was in Bavaria, in Rosenheim. Two truly admirable history teachers, both women, had organised a reading tour to schools in Traunstein, doing so with great enthusiasm and no official funding at all. The plan was for two very different eye-witnesses to speak. One was Niklas Frank, son of Hans Frank, Governor-General of occupied Poland, also known as the Jew butcher, and myself.
We met in the restaurant at my hotel and talked about the forthcoming visits. A man nearby had obviously been listening and was furious. He came over to our table and complained that we were spoiling the pleasant atmosphere with all this talk of Auschwitz. And so on. Something like this would maybe not have been possible, five years ago, let’s say so be careful.
Sometimes, I think that the orchestra in Auschwitz was a kind of microcosm, a society in miniature that we can learn from. All the nationalities were represented. It was a Tower of Babel. Who can I talk to? Only to people who speak German or French. I can’t speak Russian or Polish, so I won’t talk to them. So instead, we eye each other mistrustfully and automatically assume that the other person is hostile; we don’t think to ask why the other person has ended up in Auschwitz as well.
Many years after these events, I am in close contact with one of these other prisoners, a Polish woman, a pure Aryan who played the violin in the orchestra. We never spoke to each other at the time. But thanks to an incredibly badly written book about the Women’s Orchestra, we came into contact again and met up in Krakow. We still have problems finding a common language but we talk and write to each other in English. In short, we have become friends and have found that we have far more in common than that which divides us. Perhaps this can serve as an example for today’s problems. Talk to each other. Build bridges.
And as for the resurgent anti-Semitism: ask yourselves who are the Jews? Why do we come across them everywhere? Is it perhaps because they were driven out of their homeland two thousand years ago and dispersed across the world, and have been searching ever since for a place where they hoped to live in peace and not to be murdered? “Jews” does not work as a collective term. Jews are just people people with a very unusual history, it’s true so often the scapegoat, persecuted, murdered, defamed.
What is positive is that on the 18th of this month, this House unanimously adopted a resolution stating that anti-Semitism must be combated resolutely. We can only hope that you win this fight. The future lies in your hands.
Eight years ago, Shimon Peres, the then President of the State of Israel, gave an address to this House in which he said this:
“..While my heart is breaking at the memory of the atrocious past my eyes envision a common future for a world that is young, a world free of all hatred. A world in which the words ‘war’ and ‘anti-Semitism’ will be dead words.” Utopia?
There were endless difficulties to overcome before we could leave Germany; it took almost a year, and I swore that I would never set foot on German soil again. I was consumed by a boundless hatred of anything German. As you see, I broke my oath many, many years ago and I have no regrets. It’s quite simple: hate is poison and ultimately, you poison yourself.
I shall take my leave of you now, with many thanks for your invitation and appreciation for the dignity and openness with which you mark this day of remembrance every year.
Somewhere, now perhaops it is in her book
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch - Inherit the Truth,
I recall her stating that soon there will be none of the Survivors left, and that what will remain will be books and history. Well I am here to 'Inherit her Truth' and I will add to History the Remembrance of those like Anita, who brought her story forward, fought her demons and managed a little reconcilliation with her past?
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Sun, January 27, 2019 11:39:33
SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger at The Wannsee Conference.
"..Kovno June 27th. 1941. ..not easy at first to set ..extensive pogrom against ..Jews. Klimatis ..leader of ..partisan unit ..succeeded in starting pogroms on ..basis of advice given ..by ..Vorkommando ..Kovno ..no German order or German instigation was noticed from ..outside. During ..first pogrom ..June 26th. ..Lithuanian partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews ..set fire to several synagogues ..burned down a Jewish ..district consisting ..60 houses. ..approximately 2,300 Jews ..rendered harmless in a similar way." SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Franz Walther Stahlecker.
Perhaps I should have stated this headline more accurately. History knows that the mass Murderer SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger was not present at The Wannsee Conference. On the other hand, those like SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Georg Karl Eberhard Schongarth and SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dr. Rudolf Lange, both these mass murderer's were conspicuously present. Lange, for his part, had become expert in mass shooting as witnessed by all too many Jews of Latvia, from its capital Riga and on into Rumbuli. Schongarth too brought similar expertise of his own mass killing operations from Poland, Byelorussia and from within Russia itself. What both these mass murderers brought to the table was what they clearly afforded as their personal advice based on their own intimate experience.
"..things I've experienced. In Latvia ..near Dvinsk ..there were mass executions of Jews carried out by ..ss. ..about 15 ss men ..perhaps 60 Latvians ..known to be ..most brutal people in ..world. ..one Sunday morning ..kept hearing ..salvos followed by small arms fire. ..Men ..Women Children ..counted off ..stripped naked. ..executioners first laid all ..clothes in one pile. Then 20 women had to take up their position ..naked ..on ..edge of ..trench. ..shot ..fell ..into it." Lieutenant General Heinrich Kittel.
What this achieved was in the delivery of that very evidence that clearly corroborated what an SS Standartenfuhrer like Jaeger could also boast. Jaeger, in a very detailed article called The Jaeger Report, which was forwarded through the command structure of the SS toward Hitler and Himmler's desk, would not be at all repellent to those now seeking to expand further and wider the killing spree. Some in History though, who seek now to abandon the evidence of The Holocaust commencement to a Wannsee date which is chronologically placed after the killing process had long become established, in both factually incorrect and wrong. For the document itself, I have no need to add any further to the dimension of atrocity associated with this Historical Artefact.
"..At ..latest in early July 1941 ..order was issued to wear yellow stars ..Jews ..no longer allowed to use sidewalks ..public transportation ..enter public buildings and other public installations. Soon ..Gestapo required ..Jewish elders to present themselves in their office. 4 ..5 persons went there ..Dr. Elchanan Elkes ..Rabbi Yakov Moshe Shmukler ..Rabbi Samuel Abba Snieg ..latter because ..Chief Rabbi of Kovno ..Mr. Avraham Duber Kahana Shapiro ..could excuse himself on grounds of age and infirmity." Jehoshua Rosenfeld.
It is a conscientious detail with the sheer rendition of the extreme and callous nature of Hitler and his regime's acceptance of the rights Hitler would choose to have over the life and death of the Jewish People. Anyone else Hitler took a supreme dislike to faced a similar end, and that is recognised within the framework of some 50/70 million killed during World War II. For those of you who have previously come across this detailed accounting of the Destructive Process in relation to the Lithuanian Baltic region, and as it pertains to this report, it is a shocking enough indictment to have to study and research further without recognising the human consequences of what we are scrutinising. One issue I have though is with the countenance given over to the position of The Wannsee Conference itself.
"..first day of my stay in Kaunus Lithuanian Lieutenant Bronius Norkus with his detachment had ..shot ..3,000 Jewish Men in Kaunus' VII Fort. ..following day. ..Jews ..were still lying in ..yard. ..a horrible sight. ..3,000 persons." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
There is an identification with the many who insist that The Holocaust only became mobilised after this conference. This will somehow allow for a superficially suspension of The Holocaust term to the subsidiary context of a Second World War. This war was fought and conducted regardless of the Jewish existence that was being systematically destroyed. Also, and it is rather disingenuous for anyone to even consider that The Holocaust itself commenced at the behest of The Wannsee Conference when it did not. Clearly, when such a document actively disputes this, we must more carefully align The Holocaust to when it first established the conducted Murders of the Jews of Europe to a date that is pertinent to its enacting. As each and every strand of Hitler's Reich was to become further embroiled in the tenets of this destruction, we are exposed to the catastrophe from an earlier date than many would wish to calculate from.
"..After returning to my office I had Norkus come to me and told him that he was to refrain from such independent shootings. ..he was to contact ..head of ..Stapo ..SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Schmitt ..or Obersturmfuhrer Joachim Hamann regarding ..execution of any measures ..also ..shootings. ..he was to take care of burying ..Jews previously shot." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
As all strands of the Reich steeped itself into the Catastrophe that had been falling upon the Jews of Poland since 1939, timing is a necessary tool in enabling the fullest truth to become recognised. It is clear also that from Jaeger's own efforts in inciting these attacks, these were further augmented by his very presence in Kaunus on July 2nd. 1941. From then on, this documented evidence from before Wannsee, and from July 4th. 1941 in fact, Jewish Lithuania was being obliterated. When in the proximity of the VII Fort in Kaunus, known also as Kovno and Kowno, this was evidence of Hitler's ultimate plan for the Jewish People, annihilation. What was conducted almost immediately upon Hitler's venture further East, after Barbarossa, was also a highly enacted and murderous assault upon the Jews already being slaughtered in Poland since 1939. SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger, who as Kommander of Einsatzkommando 3 of the Einsatzgruppe A, has clearly composed this detailed analysis of the very Slaughter he had accomplished.
"..final solution of ..Jewish question in ..area of ..Reichskommissariat Ostland will be in accordance with ..instructions ..my address of July 27th. 1941 in Kovno." Heinrich Lohse.
Jaeger brought the massed extermination of the Jews here in the Baltic region above and beyond what Polish Jewry had previously been subjected to. Jaeger clearly evidenced the essential demands Hitler placed upon him and his cohorts and all of this brought killing to a newer level of extermination. Exceeding some 138,000 Lithuanian and other Jews, all brutally Murdered, the excruciating detail marked humanity with a very deep laceration, if not the complete decapitation of its moral grounding. But this was not the only report filed by Jaeger, for which Hitler surely was aware of. The mechanics of mass murder always required that there be copious amounts of written accounting, despite the famed page in history that must not be written. It must be noted that Jaeger turned up in Lithuania and in Kaunus in particular, when local antisemitic collaborationists were conducting their own series of pogroms against their own Jewish Citizens.
"..on Thursday August 14th. 1941 ..at 6:00 in ..morning ..trucks with German SS ..drove into ..City and apprehended ..1,000 Jews ..brought to ..yellow jail ..and in ..afternoon ..shot in ..IV Fort. ..this operation ..Action of ..1,000 ..Thursday Action." Jehoshua Rosenfeld.
It then becomes clear that when any church is heavily involved in the activities raged against the Jewish People, it is incumbent upon all churches, which professes its humanitarian or charitable status, it is inherent upon their own dogma that they are obliged to assist. Here in Kovno, Lithuania, a particular Bishop, Vincentas Brizgys, the preliminary head of the Catholic Church of Lithuania refused openly to assist the Jews of his own community. True there are some who will point to those Jews who were saved by some intervention but on the other hand, while Lithuanian Police Battalions roamed amongst their Jewish Citizens killing them willingly, many of these individuals were active priests of that same catholic church, no doubt reflecting heavily upon the bishop's words of encouragement.
"..The Chief of the Security Police and the SD
August 16th. 1941
Operational Situation Report USSR No. 54
The attitude of the Church regarding the Jewish Question is, in general, clear. In addition, Bishop Brisgys has forbidden all clergymen to help Jews in any form whatsoever. He rejected several Jewish delegations who approached him personally and asked for his intervention with the German authorities. In the future he will not meet with any Jews at all. Conversion of Jews to the Catholic faith has not taken place so far. The Church would also object to this type of conversion. It is convinced that the Jews would not come to be converted out of conviction but because of the possible advantages connected with it."
It is clear, even if the German pronouncement which was afforded it was merely a rhetoric from this church, it dealt a deadly blow to Jewish hopes. Whole swathes of Jewish existence could not look to any church to seek shelter, let alone a catholic one which had filtered out its own christian compassion. At this time, for Rabbi S. Snaig, formerly Chief Rabbi to the Lithuanian Army, and many other Rabbi's with the same zeal to save their own flock, they too attempted to extract some form of that very human compassion from a fellow of god. For Rabbi Snaig however, he was clearly denied and his delegation rebuffed as the procession of Jewish Lithuania was catapulted into oblivion as the words of a catholic bishop must have sounded with apoplexy, the wrongs that were to be done as the church stood aside and witnessed with complicit acquiescence.
"..With all my regrets. I cannot do it. ..this may endanger ..position of ..catholic church in Lithuania. ..a responsibility I cannot take." Bishop Vincentas Brizgys.
That all too many within these local Baltic States dealt with such regrets, the Jews of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were victimised by their own neighbours who conducted these outrages with little provocation nor inducement. All of course ensured for those now enacting Hitler's expressed wish, that complicity would become duplicitous for so many who were unrestrained by a church they professed to have communion with. In case of any future prosecution of the Hitlerian attempt to Murder all the Jews of Europe, all too easily the shrouded indictment of church and state collusion would join forces to deny their fullest implications in the mass murder of their fellow nationals, on the basis of their Jewish status. With this physical incitement to procure a final settlement of the Jewish People led or collaborated with by nationalist elements of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, they simply formed into murdering their Jewish neighbours with far too much ease.
"..citizens in ..occupied zones ..including 1,000's of Ukrainians and Balts ..not only colluded in ..genocide but welcomed and abetted it." Catherine Anne Merridale.
Here too, and in Kovno in particular, more than 4,000 local Jewish People were rounded up and beaten to death prior to der Einsatz aktionen. The visible excitement of those on-lookers, many of them Einsatz killer's of the future or Police Battalion Murderer's, were witnesses to the horror that is gut wrenching. As it is shown in cold relief, its photographed form is an accusation of an open wound which cannot be healed. Back with this official document however, which shockingly affords itself a clearer affront to us all as it adds to the exclusive nature of The Final Solution for the Jews, we are never spared the nausea of such cold and calculating atrocity. From here, in a typed script we can see its measured progress as it leads relentlessly toward The Holocaust.
"..my turn came. Naked ..I approached ..pit ..I could hear ..screams of people ..still alive. ..a shot. ..thought I was dead. ..I fell a split second before he fired ..and ..bullet missed me. I could hear Schweinberger. ..I tore myself out of ..grave." Motel Gdud.
This troubling document is, for these Jews who are detailed in its ledger, their's is a lasting and final legacy that was not to be written. As these Jews had been clinically removed from existence, the document itself is the exacting detail of what the many 1,000's of German Einsatzkommando were involved in. Along the length and breadth of Hitler's advances into the North, South and East of his proposed worldview venture, mass murder was enacted that would set the seal on The Wannsee Conference and would not be the stage from which to begin what had already commenced as The Final Solution of The Jewish Question, The Holocaust.
"..implementation of ..Aktionen ..an organizational problem. ..Jews ..site ..selected ..pits dug. ..distance from ..concentration points to ..pits ..4 - 5 klms. ..Jews ..brought to ..place of execution in groups of 500 ..with a distance of at least 2 klms between groups" SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
Here in Lithuania, as in Estonia and Latvia also, local auxiliaries stepped up to the plate and were heavily involved in the shootings. As the escalation of numbers grew these auxiliary groups were augmented by various Waffen SS, Einsatz, Police and Wehrmacht personnel whose mechanisms, controls and coercions to further violence were clearly in operation for some 6 months before Wannsee. Notwithstanding, as an Historical document too, The Jaeger Report, which highlights the systematic nature of the assault upon the Jews of the entire region, it is written in such cold blood, that its depiction is in the form of an accounting which takes no notice of the very human fracture of decency, morality or ethical concern. The document is indeed reprehensible as the strictures of efficacy were so overlaid with a hatred by those who accomplished what Hitler had so vocally demanded. That these legions excelled in bestiality, brutality and excess is clearly identifying the inhumanity deeply rooted in populations.
"..At ..meeting ..order was issued that all Jews were to move to a part of ..Viljampole city district until August 15th. 1941. Thus 4 to 5 weeks were available for resettlement. ..resettlement of 30,000 to 35,000 Jews in such short time without ..necessary means of transportation ..without sufficient organization was ..confusing. ..On Friday August 15th.1941 ..Ghetto was hermetically sealed by barbed wire and guards." Jehoshua Rosenfeld.
All of this lack of human concern, which is clearly abandoned here in a document so vivid with depiction of the terms of reference, it is so obviously an exercise aimed singularly against the entire presence of Jewish existence that was still at large. The question arises too as to how we assess this Slaughter by a single Einsatz detachment, when the numbers detailed are so catastrophic to the Jewish eminence that once resided in The Baltic States and before this carnage was played out. Here alone, and while millions of Russian POW's were left starving to death in hastily erected cages, estimates suggest that aligned to this Jaeger effort, some 2,600,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children were shot and Murdered by der Einsatzgruppe. Bands of EinsatzKommando, Police Battalions, Waffen SS and Wehrmacht troops were roaming freely in Russia, Byelorussia, the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and as detailed, here in Lithuania, were murdering Jews and other's with impunity.
"..shootings were carried out under ..direction of Sturmbannfuhrer Dr. Lange ..Commander ..SD and Gestapo ..Latvia." SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln.
These roving bands of killers could ably rely upon the logistic effort of a German military machine that was supposedly detailed to engage only on a War footing. But before we finally arrive at such an unprecedented horror as Jaeger will detail, we recognise that by Saturday 25th. October 1941, conditions for the Jews swelled so exponentially and to an extreme of defined horrors, their presence in the entire region would be nearly obliterated. Under the supervision of SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dr.Rudolf Lange, the Concentration Camp at Riga, which was originally planned to contain 25,000 Jews, had a population of more than 30,000 Jews from Hitler's Reich and his Greater Reich. Hitler, if we care to recognise what he clearly recorded as evidenced, was moving gradually both internally and externally from the rhetoric of destruction to the removal of all Jews from any presence whatsoever in an annihilatory capacity.
"..goal of making Lithuania free of Jews could only be attained through ..deployment of a raiding commando with selected men under ..leadership of SS Obersturmfuhrer Hamann ..who completely and entirely adopted my goals and understood ..importance of ensuring ..cooperation of ..Lithuanian partisans and ..competent civilian positions." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
The Riga camp itself was similar in every aspect as any Concentration Camp that had existed in Germany. From their first inception as containment centre's, and on into Hitler's terror apparatus, they emerged as camp's that would deal a deadly blow to all the Jews they encountered. Here though, and while we clearly acknowledge that all Camps were a place of death and destruction for those Jews sent to them, they were not specifically The Death Camps. These particular factory's of destruction, that were erected in Poland, are exclusively designed for the eradication of all the Jews of Europe. It is not all that obvious to the onlooker though, that while Jews were systematically sought out for Slaughter, it was within Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka that it manifested itself into a mechanised destruction and upon an industrial scale that is unprecedented and unparalleled in all of history.
"..several high ranking SS Kommanders from ..Himmler's RSHA ..arrived. ..one ..a doctor. ..I described to them ..site with 1,000's ..dead. ..an SS Oberfuhrer ..as well as ..others were in agreement with these shootings." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
Also, and while some 5% of those Jews Murdered in The Holocaust, and by bullet decree, this singular atrocity had been conducted and was therefore attributable to both Jaeger and his EinsatzKommando 3, a matter of some 300,000 Murdered Jews. That the paring of Kommander and Kommando form part of this Jaeger document, it is not to be the end of the very detail of what both Jaeger and his command achieved. Also, what we cannot ever witness nor envisage in the sum total of this documents detail, is the very horror that is being clearly measured and collated in this document. Nor do we gain any insight into the further excesses of both Jaeger and his killers from it, who then went on to murder even more Jewish People as they moved on from the Baltic's and into Byelorussia.
"..November 30th. 1941 ..10,600 Jews ..shot ..Riga. ..HSSPF. ..EK took part." OSR No. 156.
When that role of the Einsatzgruppe was all but running its course, and The Final Solution of The Jewish Solution would continue, it would be superseded by the role of The Death Camps in an ever more catastrophic way. While the earliest experiment with the lethal effects of the death Camps was being explored, and here Chelmno was in operation prior to Wannsee, the gassing of the Jewish People sent there makes it clear that the fullest ramifications of The Holocaust, and for the Jewish People of Europe had a much earlier definition than what any conference would latterly issue or convey. The Holocaust itself was in full swing, the mass murder of the Jews of Europe was well under way, and Wannsee simply set the seal on what had been explored and what would be fully enhanced.
"..group that faced ..Nazis’ most concentrated violence ..a cruelty unparalleled even in this most vicious war ..was ..Jews." Catherine Anne Merridale.
An unrepentant Hitler would merely seek to secure, with Wannsee, the fullest duplicity of every facet of German society in the most cataclysmic and seismic event ever to be perpetrated against the civilising influence of humanity. By definition then, The Holocaust of the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe had commenced, not with The Wannsee Conference as some might suggest, but at the very moment a Jew was Murdered because Hitler had demanded it. Of course, with the presence of both Schongarth and Lange, the fuller credentials of the ability of Hitler's legions to deliver, on The Final Solution of that Jewish Question, were roundly evidenced before this audience. It was a meeting of similar minds that was both dutifully pliant and well aware of what had been striking at Jewish persistence since the 1930's.
"..December 22nd. 1941 ..English radio broadcasts ..during Russian offensive ..1,600 cities and towns ..taken back from ..Germans ..Germans flee 2o kilometres a day ..now 400 miles from Rostov. ..Will we hold out. Will we endure. our fate." Herman Kruk.
Here, around a table at Wannsee, we too are made aware that the enforced emigration of the Jews of Germany, Austria and the wider European Continent was to be the bloodiest murder for the Jews in the East. Here too, it is clear that the World would come to know of these events immediately, as they were played out cloaked by the field of battle. All of this was not simply common knowledge amongst these protagonists at the conference table, but was deeply imbedded within the intelligence services of the allied nations. Intercepts of these OSR's, the active Operational Situation Reports of the Einsatzgruppe in the occupied territory's, filed past officer's of the Army and then onto their respective commander's in chief's, president's and prime minister's of the Allied Nations of Europe. The scale of duplicity is conspicuous by its very absence from the exploratory nature of the research we undertake to establish the fullest truth and its ramifications.
"..Some ..dear and close to us ..are no longer with us. Your Aunt Hannah and Uncle Arieh were killed with 1,500 souls of ..Ghetto on October 4th. 1941." Dr. Elchanan Elkes.
We also have to consider too, that amongst the multifarious enterprises involved in the killing process thus far, it was essential to separate out the Systematic Slaughter from the capacity to gain financially from the end result. For that reason, Hitler, and through his various agencies, sought to legislate both the essential Murder process and the secondary consideration, the wealth to be gained from the mass Murder of European Jewry. Hence the fullest emphasis is placed on not only considering the economic account ahead of the final settlement, but The Final Solution of The Jewish Question also became an economy on its own. Though the document itself was type written on December 1st. 1941., such was the view of the witness onlookers, that the Jewish diminishing presence did not hold sway and especially with Stalin nor Russia, the Jews as a whole were not recognised as a particular group being significantly targeted.
Berlin Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories To:
Reichskommissar for Ostland re:
Jewish question The Jewish Question has presumably been clarified meanwhile by means of verbal discussion. In principle, economic considerations are not to be taken into account in the settlement of the problem. It is further requested that any questions that arise be settled directly with the Higher SS and Police Leader.
In effect, the Jewish People, who are fundamentally the root and branch of The Holocaust had become marginalised as more routinely the secondary victims than their 'special status' must certainly dictate. In truth, while the fuller evidence was made aware to allied leader's, who then chose to ignore the principle of humanity, their concentration was fixed on engaging Hitler only on the battlefield. Here though Braeutigam, proved the battle field for the Jewish People was to be their very existence, a systematic assailing of their integrity as human beings, being fully removed from our presence. Braeutigam, who was a lawyer and served and worked for Alfred Rosenberg's Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, was well placed to fashion decrees subservient to Hitler's needs for The Final Solution. As a German career diplomat too, Braeutigam was a representative of the German Foreign Office, Auswaertiges Amt.
"..January 17th. 1942. Today I received a formal invitation from Jewish artists in ..Ghetto ..first evening of ..local artistic circle will be held ..on Sunday 18th January in ..auditorium of ..Real Gymnasium ..Rudnicka 6. I felt offended. ..cultivating art is ..a good deed. But here in ..doleful situation of ..Vilna Ghetto ..in ..shadow of Ponar ..where of ..76,000 of Vilna Jews only 15,000 remain ..here ..at this moment ..this is a disgrace." Hermann Kruk.
Braeutigam mirrored what was Hitler's intention in inveigling all ministry's in the deeds of mass murdering the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, be they Men, Women or Their Children. The darkest deed was being done, it was being morphed from continuous intimidation through to assault and on to euthanizing and from that premise, of what could be achieved, the Jewish People were led all the way to mass murder of as many of these Jews as would be achieved. Here, in places like Vilna it remains an incredible success, that any form of culture could be maintained. But not only was a formative culture maintained, it actually enhanced the living spirit of the Jews in the midst of a cultural collapse that existed for them inside and outside the Ghetto. Each Ghetto they were sanctioned into, could not languish in despair for too long without jeopardising the hope that remained a constant for them. With any such cultural an event, this proved to lift the spirits of what remained of Vilna Jewry and as we see later, Hermann Kruk became an indelible part of that Cultural basis for extending Jewish Resistance to German insistence that they simply perish.
"..20 writers ..22 stage artists ..16 musicians and singers ..6 painters ..have joined ..association. ..purpose ..to provide mutual aid and an inducement to artistic creation in ..context of ,,Ghetto." Hermann Kruk.
Then, and when on Tuesday 20th. January 1942 with what became known as ‘The Wannsee Conference’, we recognise that the murder toll was already in an ascendancy. Here at this time, and beyond what humanity should have been incapable of, the telegraph wires were replete with mass murder and the pages of dissertations were written in clearly monstrous detail. Here before the mantle of history was a thesis of such enormous destruction, their pages weigh heavily upon all of humanity to this day. So, as we consider what this Conference is to be representative of, it is from a position as responsive to the aktionen that was taking place widely, and against all of European Jewry. Wannsee proves nothing but the embroiling of the entire administration of the Reich in the Slaughter with 1,000,000 Slaughtered Jews, and more, already confined. This conference is not linked then with the commencement of the slaughter at all.
"..extermination ..Jews ..Salaspils. ..makes me ..accessory to ..crime. ..Jews ..shot ..by ..my SD ..Security Police. ..Dr. Lange ..directly in charge of ..shootings. Other officers ..reported to me on ..shooting of Jews ..were ..Jost ..Pifrader ..Fuchs." SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln.
We see here too though, that in Hermann Kruk's Vilna, and in full view of the Nazi aim to destroy them, the Jews stood before The Holocaust, ahead of The Wannsee Conference and all that Hitler would direct against them and were bled dry before execution. Not withstanding this, many Jews established a resistance to the bleak and clearly pessimistic outlook. Here too, while I remonstrate with history and suggest that the Conference itself should not be, as some would have, the commencement of that very exacting and establishing killing process, the commencement date will be consigning Jews to the riches of The Holocaust for eternity. Clearly, what Jaeger had set before the desk for Hitler to pore over, Lange and Schongarth would be able to deliver to the table. As their evidence of the detailed destruction that was then to be set before the Heydrich and Eichmann agenda here at Wannsee, history must move the Jews Murdered prior to this out of The Holocaust term.
"..goal ..EK 2 ..radical solution ..Jewish problem ..execution of all Jews." SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dr. Rudolf Lange.
This conference, which is to be a pivotal moment in The Holocaust, does not wholly define the method nor means of the slaughter already in motion. Then, while the Vilna Ghetto at this exact time was being represented artistically, and from amongst its own, these included Shabse Shabtai Blacher, Yankev Gerstein, Hirsh Gutgestalt, Hermann Kruk, Zelig Kalmanowicz, Yankev Sher and Abraham Sutzkever, we are stretched to comprehend further the Jewish resilience. We realize also that while der Einsatzgruppe intervention would go on to Slaughter more than 1,250,000 Jews, it was only a provisional solution and was not yet ‘The Final Solution!’ An emerging declaration, toward a final Jewish ‘resettlement’, which had taken the Jewish People toward their mass murder by der Einsatzgruppe had been superseded by the murderous deeds of other's of Hitler's fledgling killers. The killing was no less accumulative nor brutal throughout the entire Baltic region but would significantly fail to reach the killing immensity of Hitler's Death Camp's.
"..all our family ..10 people all together ..except my 2 older Brothers and myself ..remained in Riga. ..in October 1941 ..all were taken to ..Riga Ghetto and killed during ..actions in ..Rumbula forest by ..German Nazis and their Latvian collaborators." Michael Genchik.
That this testimony has been replicated the length and breadth of Hitler's reach, brings forth the calamitous assault upon the very Jewish integrity in the World. That 6,000,000 of World Jewry who were consigned to such a destruction is tantamount to signalling the end of all civilisation. Here at Wannsee though, the deceleration of der Einsatzgruppe ‘Aktionen’ would follow, and in its wake, there would be a newer expectation from Hitler to achieve a more intense resolve. The correlated and corporate figures that were presented and assessed here at Wannsee, arrive as they acknowledge the achievements of der Einsatzgruppe in their murderous six month charge. Both Schongarth and Lange can vouch for the exactness and the magnitude of the murders already committed. Their inventory of destruction, was a prefixed scroll that would finally tabulate the murders of 6,000,000 Jewish People, and deliver The Holocaust away from the fledgling term of ‘The Final Solution of The Jewish Question’.
"..EK 3 ..achieved ..goal ..solving ..Jewish problem ..in Lithuania ..apart from working Jews ..their families. I wanted to eliminate ..working Jews ..their families as well." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
The much used euphemisms of emigration and ‘resettlement’, which remained even after Wannsee, now lay in their past tense of intention. Also, in as much as the bullet decree or the gassing van would be superseded by the static Gassing facility housed at 5 of the Death Camps, and whilst Chelmno was utilised wholly as a Gassing Van exercise, the learning progress gained by the Gassing Vans in the field would add weight to the emergence of the fully functioning Death Camps in Poland. As far as the efforts of der Einsatzgruppe was concerned now, as they continued with their ‘Aktionen’ through much of Eastern Europe, The Baltic States, Byelorussia, Russia and the Ukraine, and at least until expedience had made the depopulated action in the Countryside redundant, a bullet decree was never rescinded. However, inertia alone would not drive der Einsatzgruppe forces further East, though sweep after sweep of suppressed areas and clinical butchery of its Jewish presence was evidenced in intention as well as a desired demand.
"..It is true ..we are weak and helpless ..only answer to ..enemy is resistance. ..Better to die as ..fighters than to live at ..murderers’ mercy. ..Resistance to ..last breath." Abba Kovner.
Toward bolstering the faltering empirical claims that Hitler had made, der Einsatzgruppe accompanied by Waffen SS, Wehrmacht and Police Battalions cut a swathe through Jewish existence that Jewry has not recovered from. Of course, Hitler and his propaganda machinery's dissemination, offered much that could become interpreted so very differently. We know, however, that the truth of mass murder could not be stilled amidst the escalation of terms demonstrated in ‘The Final Solution of that Jewish Question’. As the Wannsee Conference got under way, there were fewer than 45,000 of Lithuania’s Jews left alive. The Wannsee figure itself added to this understanding while recording that 34,000 more of Lithuania's Jews were due to be dispatched in the coming months.
"..I have many blank spots in ..life of my Parents ..but now ..unfortunately ..there is no one I can ask. ..war parted us when I was only 17 years old ..and our destiny never brought us back together." Michael Genchik.
These Jews of Lithuania were already centred around holding areas, conurbations established within large urban ghettos. Vilna still held onto some 20,000 Jewish Lives. Kovno still had some 18,000 Jewish Lives within its confines. Siaulaii’s Jews amounted to no more than 5,500 souls left alive. In Oszmiana there was little more than 3,500 Jews left alive, while in Svencionys, there were a little over 500 Jews left alive in the whole of that Ghetto. So we can see that the momentum of annihilation had ground down Jewish persistence and this cannot be hidden beneath the paper exercise that was being confirmed in Wannsee. Added to these exacting confrontations with the annihilation proceeding against all of Jewry, what Michael Genchik delivers for us as he emerged from a Latvia he was born into, Eichmann could now confirm to Heydrich that barely 3,500 Latvian Jews were left alive.
"..an average 1,000 Jews were gassed daily. ..In many places Jews were deported to 'unknown destinations' and killed in neighbouring woods. In Vilna 50,000 Jews were murdered in November. ..total number slaughtered in this district and around Lithuanian Kovno is 300,000. Rovne ..murders began early in November. In three days and nights nearly 15,000 Men ..Women .. Children were shot. ..greatest massacre in ..world's history." The Daily Telegraph.
The need then, to continue whole scale murder operations and within Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would now see the expressed arrival of Reich Jews to be Murdered there. So as to fill the void left by the near extinction of Baltic Jewry, in the coming months the tempo of expulsions, for the Jews of Austria, Germany and Bohemia and Moravia increased, alarmingly. Of interest in this we must further highlight that both these two officers of the SS and SD, whose appearance at The Wannsee Conference, was confirmed so as to bolster their own glorification of their accomplishment along with der Einsatzgruppe in the areas of both Latvia and Lithuania. Beneath the fauna and flora of the widest expanses of Europe, much is still hidden the very truth of what was accomplished by Hitler and his accomplices.
"..executions through 1 February 1942 ..by EK 3 ..136,421 Jews ..55,556 women ..34,464 children ..Total: 138,272." SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger.
However, the enormity of this atrocity cannot remain hidden from view and the search of History wreaks with the accusations against those who sought to achieve that final goal. But also, we must search for all of those who achieved far too much in this and still leave a repository of like minded hater's who constantly seek to deny the very Jewish presence which is that Final Solution of a very Jewish Question, The Holocaust. What is manifestly clear in this Jaeger document, and is pertinent in that resolve to solve The Final Solution is that while not all the victims named were Jews, All Jews Were Indeed meant to be the Victims. Taking the exacting detail of the slaughter to the table at Wannsee, the very presence of both SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Georg Karl Eberhard Schongarth SD Commander Security Police & Security Service in the Government General.
"..taken from Vilna to ..camp in Estonia. ..then camps across Europe. ..I realised ..I was somewhere in Germany. ..didn't know what had happened to my family. ..a very ..very sad feeling." Phillip Maisel.
SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Dr. Rudolf Lange on the other hand, Kommander EinsatzKommando 2 of Einsatzgruppe A was very different being. As the Security Policy Commander of the Security Police and SD in the Generalbezirk Latvia, and the representative of the Commander of the Security Police and the SD for the Reichskommissariat Ostland, a clear message has been established. Both knowledge of what had been already accomplished and what then could manifestly become resolved would now inveigle more arms of the Reich than had previously been countenanced with a clearer picture of what Hitler had fully demanded. The influence then of such a document as The Jaeger Report cannot be underestimated and would have had a directional influence upon the conference proceedings. For SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger, who Kommanded Einsatzkommando 3 at Kovno, Lithuania and then into Byelorussia under Einsatzgruppe A's jurisdiction, the infamy which Jaeger has gained has been pronounced. Jaeger however failed to live up to his idealistic performance and committed suicide at Hohensperg on June 22nd. 1959 rather than accept any supposed ideological responsibility he so roundly achieved.
"..We are left ..a few ..of many. ..of ..35,000 Jews of Kovno ..approximately 17,000 remain ..out of a 250,000 Jews in Lithuania ..only 25,000 live also ..5,000 ..were deported to hard labour in Latvia." Dr. Elchanan Elkes.
The Commander of the Security Police and the SD Einsatzkommando 3
Kauen [Kaunas, Kovno]
December 1st. 1941
Secret Reich Business
Complete list of executions carried out in the EK 3 area up to 1 December 1941.
Security police duties in Lithuania taken over by Einsatzkommando 3 on 2 July 1941. (The Wilna [Vilnius] area was taken over by EK 3 on 9 Aug. 1941, the Schaulen area on 2 Oct. 1941. Up until these dates EK 9 operated in Wilna and EK 2 in Schaulen.) On my instructions and orders the following executions were conducted by Lithuanian partisans:
Date Location Totals
4.7.41 Kauen-Fort VII 416 Jews, 47 Jewesses 463
6.7.41 Kauen-Fort VII Jews 2,514
Following the formation of a raiding squad under the command of SS-Obersturmfuhrer Hamman and 8-10 reliable men from the Einsatzkommando the following actions were conducted in cooperation with Lithuanian partisans:
Date Location Totals
7.7.41 Mariampole 32 Jews 32
8.7.41 Mariampole 14 Jews, 5 Comm. officials 19
8.7.41 Girkalinei Comm. Officials 6
9.7.41 Wendziogala 32 Jews, 2 Jewesses, 1 Lithuanian, (f.), 2 Lithuanian Comm., 1 Russian Comm. 38
9.7.41 Kauen-Fort VII 21 Jews, 3 Jewesses 24
14.7.41 Mariampole 21 Jews, 1 Russ., 9 Lith. Comm. 31
17.7.41 Babtei 8 Comm. officals (inc. 6 Jews) 8
18.7.41 Mariampole 39 Jews, 14 Jewesses 53
19.7.41 Kauen-Fort VII 17 Jews, 2 Jewesses, 4 Lith. Comm., 2 Comm. Lithuanians (f.), 1 German Comm. 26
21.7.41 Panevezys 59 Jews, 11 Jewesses, 1 Lithuanian (f.), 1 Pole, 22 Lith. Comm., 9 Russ. Comm. 103
22.7.41 Panevezys 1 Jew 1
23.7.41 Kedainiai 83 Jews, 12 Jewesses, 14 Russ.Comm., 15 Lith. Comm., 1 Russ. O-Politruk 125
25.7.41 Mariampole 90 Jews, 13 Jewesses 103
28.7.41 Panevezys 234 Jews, 15 Jewesses, 19 Russ. Comm., 20 Lith. Comm. 288
29.7.41 Rasainiai 254 Jews, 3 Lith. Comm. 257
30.7.41 Ariogala 27 Jews, 11 Lith. Comm. 38
31.7.41 Utena 235 Jews, 16 Jewesses, 4 Lith. Comm., 1 robber/murderer 256
31.7.41 Wendziogala 13 Jews, 2 murderers 15
1.8.41 Ukmerge 254 Jews, 42 Jewesses, 1 Pol.Comm., 2 Lith. NKVD agents, 1 mayor of Jonava who gave order to set fire to Jonava 300
2.8.41 Kauen-Fort IV 170 Jews, 1 US Jewess, 33 Jewesses, 4 Lith. Comm. 209
4.8.41 Panevezys 362 Jews, 41 Jewesses, 5 Russ. Comm., 14 Lith. Comm. 422
5.8.41 Rasainiai 213 Jews, 66 Jewesses 279
7.8.41 Uteba 483 Jews, 87 Jewesses, 1 Lithuanian (robber of corpses of German soldiers) 571 8.8.41 Ukmerge 620 Jews, 82 Jewesses 702
9.8.41 Kauen-Fort IV 484 Jews, 50 Jewesses 534
11.8.41 Panevezys 450 Jews, 48 Jewesses, 1 Lith. 1 Russ. 500
13.8.41 Alytus 617 Jews, 100 Jewesses, 1 criminal 718
14.8.41 Jonava 497 Jews, 55 Jewesses 552
15-16.8.41 Rokiskis 3,200 Jews, Jewesses, and Jewish Children, 5 Lith. Comm., 1 Pole, 1 partisan 3207
9-16.8.41 Rassainiai 294 Jewesses, 4 Jewish children 298
27.6-14.8.41 Rokiskis 493 Jews, 432 Russians, 56 Lithuanians (all active communists) 981
18.8.41 Kauen-Fort IV 689 Jews, 402 Jewesses, 1 Pole (female), 711 Jewish intellectuals from Ghetto in reprisal for sabotage action 1,812
19.8.41 Ukmerge 298 Jews, 255 Jewesses, 1 Politruk, 88 Jewish children, 1 Russ. Comm. 643
22.8.41 Dunaburg 3 Russ. Comm., 5 Latvian, incl. 1 murderer, 1 Russ. Guardsman, 3 Poles, 3 gypsies (m.), 1 gypsy (f.), 1 gypsy child, 1 Jew, 1 Jewess, 1 Armenian (m.), 2 Politruks (prison inspection in Dunanburg 21
22.8.41 Aglona Mentally sick: 269 men, 227 women, 48 children 544
23.8.41 Panevezys 1,312 Jews, 4,602 Jewesses, 1,609 Jewish children 7,523
18-22.8.41 Kreis Rasainiai 466 Jews,440 Jewesses, 1020 Jewish children 1,926
25.8.41 Obeliai 112 Jews, 627 Jewesses, 421 Jewish children 1,160
25-26.8.41 Seduva 230 Jews, 275 Jewesses, 159 Jewish children 664
26.8.41 Zarasai 767 Jews, 1,113 Jewesses, 1 Lith. Comm., 687 Jewish children, 1 Russ.Comm. (f.) 2,569 Comm., 687 Jewish children, 1 Russ.Comm. (f.)
28.8.41 Pasvalys 402 Jews, 738 Jewesses, 209 Jewish children 1,349
26.8.41 Kaisiadorys All Jews, Jewesses, and Jewish children 1,911
27.8.41 Prienai All Jews, Jewesses, and Jewish Children 1,078
27.8.41 Dagda and Kraslawa 212 Jews, 4 Russ. POW's 216
27.8.41 Joniskia 47 Jews, 165 Jewesses, 143 Jewish children 355
28.8.41 Wilkia 76 Jews, 192 Jewesses, 134 Jewish children 402
28.8.41 Kedainiai 710 Jews, 767 Jewesses, 599 Jewish children 2,076
29.8.41 Rumsiskis undZiezmariai 20 Jews, 567 Jewesses, 197 Jewish children 784
29.8.41 Utena and Moletai 582 Jews, 1,731 Jewesses, 1,469 Jewish children 3,782
13-31.8.41 Alytus and environs 233 Jews 233
1.9.41 Mariampole 1,763 Jews, 1,812 Jewesses, 1,404 Jewish children, 109 mentally sick, 1 German subject (f.), married to a Jew, 1 Russian (f.) 5090
28.8-2.9.41 Darsuniskis 10 Jews, 69 Jewesses, 20 Jewish children 99
Carliava 73 Jews, 113 Jewesses, 61 Jewish children 247
Jonava 112 Jews, 1,200 Jewesses, 244 Jewish children 1,556
Petrasiunai 30 Jews, 72 Jewesses, 23 Jewish children 125
Jesuas 26 Jews, 72 Jewesses, 46 Jewish children 144
Ariogala 207 Jews, 260 Jewesses, 195 Jewish children 662
Jasvainai 86 Jews, 110 Jewesses, 86 Jewish children 282
Babtei 20 Jews, 41 Jewesses, 22 Jewish children 83
Wenziogala 42 Jews, 113 Jewesses, 97 Jewish children 252
Krakes 448 Jews, 476 Jewesses, 97 Jewish children 1,125
4.9.41 Pravenischkis 247 Jews, 6 Jewesses 253
Cekiske 22 Jews, 64 Jewesses, 60 Jewish children 146
Seredzius 6 Jews, 61 Jewesses, 126 Jewish children 193
Veliuona 2 Jews, 71 Jewesses, 86 Jewish children 159
Zapiskis 47 Jews, 118 Jewesses, 13 Jewish children 178
5.9.41 Ukmerge 1,23 Jews, 1849 Jewesses, 1737 Jewish children 4,709
25.8-6.9.41 Mopping up in:
Rasainiai 16 Jews, 412 Jewesses, 415 Jewish children 843
Georgenburg (Yurburg) All Jews, all Jewesses, all Jewish children 412
9.9.41 Alytus 287 Jews, 640 Jewesses, 352 Jewish children 1,279
9.9.41 Butrimonys 67 Jews, 370 Jewesses, 303 Jewish children 740
10.9.41 Merkine 223 Jews, 640 Jewesses, 276 Jewish children 854
10.9.41 Varena 541 Jews, 141 Jewesses, 149 Jewish children 831
11.9.41 Leipalingis 60 Jews, 70 Jewesses, 25 Jewish children 155
11.9.41 Seirijai 229 Jews, 384 Jewesses, 340 Jewish children 953
12.9.41 Simnas 68 Jews, 197 Jewesses, 149 Jewish children 414
11-12.9.41 Uzusalis Reprisal against inhabitants who fed Russ. partisans; some in possesion of weapons 43
26.9.41 Kauen-F.IV 412 Jews, 615 Jewesses, 581 Jewish children (sick and suspected epidemic cases) 1,608
2.10.41 Zagare 633 Jews, 1,107 Jewesses, 496 Jewish children (as these Jews were being led away a mutiny rose, which was however immediately put down; 150 Jews were shot immediately; 7 partisans wounded) 2,236
4.10.41 Kauen-F.IX 315 Jews, 712 Jewesses, 818 Jewish children (reprisal after German police officer shot in ghetto) 1,845
29.10.41 Kauen-F.IX 2,007 Jews, 2,920 Jewesses, 4,273 Jewish children (mopping up ghetto of superfluous Jews) 9,200
3.11.41 Lazdijai 485 Jews, 511 Jewesses, 539 Jewish children 1,535
15.11.41 Wilkowiski 36 Jews, 48 Jewesses, 31 Jewish children 115
25.11.41 Kauen-F.IX 1,159 Jews, 1,600 Jewesses, 175 Jewish children (resettlers from Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt am main) 2,934
29.11.41 Kauen-F.IX 693 Jews, 1,155 Jewesses, 152 Jewish children (resettlers from from Vienna and Breslau) 2,000
29.11.41 Kauen-F.IX 17 Jews, 1 Jewess, for contravention of ghetto law, 1 Reichs German who converted to the Jewish faith and attended rabbinical school, then 15 terrorists from the Kalinin group 34
EK 3 detachment in Dunanberg
13.7-21.8.41: 9,012 Jews, Jewesses and Jewish children, 573 active Comm. 9,585
EK 3 detachment in Wilna:
12.8-1.9.41 City of Wilna 425 Jews, 19 Jewesses, 8 Comm. (m.), 9 Comm. (f.) 461
2.9.41 City of Wilna 864 Jews, 2,019 Jewesses, 817 Jewish children (sonderaktion because German soldiers shot at by Jews) 3,700
12.9.41 City of Wilna 993 Jews, 1,670 Jewesses, 771 Jewish children 3,434
17.9.41 City of Wilna 337 Jews, 687 Jewesses, 247 Jewish children and 4 Lith. Comm. 1,271
20.9.41 Nemencing 128 Jews, 176 Jewesses, 99 Jewish children 403
22.9.41 Novo-Wilejka 468 Jews, 495 Jewesses, 196 Jewish children 1,159
24.9.41 Riesa 512 Jews, 744 Jewesses, 511 Jewish children 1,767
25.9.41 Jahiunai 215 Jews, 229 Jewesses, 131 Jewish children 575
27.9.41 Eysisky 989 Jews, 1,636 Jewesses, 821 Jewish children 3,446
30.9.41 Trakai 366 Jews, 483 Jewesses, 597 Jewish children 1,446
4.10.41 City of Wilna 432 Jews, 1,115 Jewesses, 436 Jewish children 1,983
6.10.41 Semiliski 213 Jews, 359 Jewesses, 390 Jewish children 962
9.10.41 Svenciany 1,169 Jews, 1,840 Jewesses, 717 Jewish children 3,726
16.10.41 City of Wilna 382 Jews, 507 Jewesses, 257 Jewish children 1,146
21.10.41 City of Wilna 718 Jews, 1,063 Jewesses, 586 Jewish children 2,367
25.10.41 City of Wilna 1,776 Jewesses, 812 Jewish children 2,578
27.10.41 City of Wilna 946 Jews, 184 Jewesses, 73 Jewish children 1,203
30.10.41 City of Wilna 382 Jews, 789 Jewesses, 36 Jewish children 1,553
6.11.41 City of Wilna 340 Jews, 749 Jewesses, 252 Jewish children 1,341
19.11.41 City of Wilna 76 Jews, 77 Jewesses, 18 Jewish children 171
19.11.41 City of Wilna 6 POW's, 8 Poles 14
20.11.41 City of Wilna 3 POW's 3
25.11.41 City of Wilna 9 Jews, 46 Jewesses, 8 Jewish children, 1 Pole for possesion of arms and other military equipment 64
EK 3 detachment in Minsk
28.9-17.10.41: Pleschnitza 620 Jews, 1,285 Jewesses,
Bischolin 1,126 Jewish children and 19 Scak Comm.
Bober Uzda 3,050
Prior to EK 3 taking over security police duties, Jews liquidated by pogroms and executions (including partisans) 4,000
Today I can confirm that our objective, to solve the Jewish problem for Lithuania, has been achieved by EK 3. In Lithuania there are no more Jews, apart from Jewish workers and their families. The distance between from the assembly point to the graves was on average 4 to 5 Km. I consider the Jewish action more or less terminated as far as Einsatzkommando 3 is concerned. Those working Jews and Jewesses still available are needed urgently and I can envisage that after the winter this workforce will be required even more urgently. I am of the view that the sterilization programme of the male worker Jews should be started immediately so that reproduction is prevented. If despite sterilization a Jewess becomes pregnant she will be liquidated.
Jaeger's accuracy is clearly documented and as we see, accounted in detail. For those Jaeger Murdered, we deal with losses so extraordinary, it is difficult for many to see the true cost to all of humanity, if the document is taken purely in its extraction. From here, and when the places of the mass murder which he names with systematic thoroughness we are dealt a heavy blow, acknowledging what is adding to in the report, the complete annihilation of entire Jewish Community's, totalling some 137,346 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children. In this, it is important not only that
Always to Remember, Never to Forget
Aglona, Ariogala, Alytus, Babtei, Bischolin, Bober Uzda, Butrimonys, Carliava, Cekiske, Dagda, Darsuniskis, Dunaburg, Dunanberg, Eyisky, Girkalinei, Jahiunai, Jasvainai, Jesuas, Jonava, Joniskia, Kaisiadorys, Kedainiai, Kovno, Krakes, Kraslawa, Kreis Rasainai, Lazdijai, Leipalingis, Mariampole, Merkine, Minsk, Moletai, Nemencing, Novo-Wilejka, Obeliai, Panevezys, Pasvalys, Petrasiunai, Pleschnitza, Pravenicshkis, Prienai, Rasainai, Riesa, Rokiskis, Rumsiskis, Seduva, Seirijai, Semiliski, Seredzius, Simnas, Svenciany, Trakai, Ukmerge, Uteba, Utena, Uzusalis, Varena, Veliuona, Vilna, Wendziogala, Wilkia, Wilkowiski, Yurburg, Zagare, Zapiskis, Zarasai and Ziezmariai.
It is clear also that within this remit to be exacting in the excrutiating detail of the Slaughter, many places were not confirmed as centres for Jaeger's killing operations. That said, it is realistic enough to assess that a greater capacity to mass murder might well have been concealed and hidden amongst the many Jews taken from the Shtetl's of Lithuania. It for these Jewish People, for whom, there now remains few records of all who have been taken from us. Those places following, which are marked with an *, have been dutifully presented into what Jaeger fully details is The Jaeger Report. It is essential too to fully appreciate that while Jaeger transposed the names of those Villages and Towns he sought to obliterate, with a certain Nazi arrogance so as not to conform to proper titles, he may well have used his own versions of local dilaects to name what these Shtetl's might otherwise have been pronounced. And while it is indeed tragic that these Shtetl's are mentioned, it is with a deep sadness that not only where their Jews taken from these Homes, but their names, many of whom will never be recalled, are written into pages of Books instead of life.
Abelnikas, Azvinsz, Azventis, Akmene, Akunik, Aleksandrobolis, Alkiskiai, Alove, Alsedziai, Alshishok, Alunta, Alvitas, *Alytus, Andriejava, Antaliepte, Antanavas, Antnemunis, Antuzava, Anyksciai, *Ariogala, Asminte, Aukstadvaris, Aukstoji, Avanaste and Azuolu-Buda.
*Babtai, Backininkeliai, Bagaslaviskis, Baisogala, Balbieriskis, Balninkai, Balsiai, Balsh, Baltiskis, Baltmiskis, Baltusova, Baranas, Bariunai, Barova, Barsenai, Barshon, Barstyciai, Bartininkai, Baruvke, Batakiai, Batshkinikel, Batshishok, Bazilionai, Belenarni, Bendzingai, Berezinsk, Berezovke, Berzina, Bentzingai, Berzai, Berzgainiai, Berzininkai, Berzole, Betygala, Birstonas, Birzai, Bitsun, Bobri, Bubeliai, Buckunai, Buda, Budavone, Budevoni, Budvietis, Buginiai, Bukants, Bulavenai, Burakova, Burbiskis, Burgiani, Burzshevits, Butkunai, Butskun, Bukonys, Bukta, Burginiai, Butkunai, Butkunai and *Butrimonys.
Dabeikiai, Dabikine, Darbenai, Darsuniskis, Daugai, Daugailiai, Daujenai, Dauksiskis, Deltuva, Dembove-Buda, Devangole, Didkiemis, Dikshne, Dilan, Dirvinishok, Dirviniskis, Dotnuva, Dovin, Dubingiai, Dubininkus, Dubinove, Dubrava, Dubrovitse, Dusetos, Dutkeme, Dvornova and Dvoruka,
Fertshan and Freda.
Gadunavas, Galgaudiskis, Gargzdai, Garliava, Gastinai, Gaudeliske, Gaure, Geguzine, Geleziai, Gelgaudiskis, Geltsin, Gelvonai, Giedraiciai, Gintaliske, Girkalnis, Gitelishke, Givai-Skrudzhai, Gliun, Goriskis, Graziskiai, Gribkele, Grimz, Grimzdai, Grinkiskis, Griskabudis, Grudzuniai, Gruslauke, Gruzdzia, Gudeleve, Gudeliaia, Gudiniskiai, Gudnove and Gudziunai.
Igliauka, Ilguva, Imbradas, Indrioniskis and Inkturke.
Jakubents, Janapole, Janishok, Jankai, Jashtaik, Jastanik, Javaravas, Jegliskis, Jenits, Jentsikes, Jieznas, Jokubaiciai, Jokubavas, *Jonava, Joniskelis, Joniskis-Siauliai, Joniskis-Utena, Josvainiai, Jovaravas, Jozda, Juknishki, Julinove, Juodkaimis, Juodupe, Juodupis, Jurbarkas, Jurdzike, Justinik and Juzintai.
Kaimelis, *Kaisiadorys, Kalian, Kalelishok, Kalinova, Kaltinenai, Kalvarija, Kamaja, Kamian, Kamirintse, Kapciamiestis, Karklenai, Kartena, Katautiske, Katiliske, Kaloverne, Karklenai, Kartena, Kartsi, *Kaunas, Kaunotavas, Kautvishok, Kavarskas, Kazlu-Ruda, Kazokiskes, Kazyliai, *Kedainiai, Kelme, Kernava, Keturvalakiai, Khavodki, Kiduliai, Kietaviskes, Kinderishki, Kirsne, Klaipeda, Klebiskis, Klovainiai, Klubianis, Klykuoliai, Koplitse, Kortsion, Kovli, Kozlova, *Krakes, Krasne-Selik, Kraziai, Krekenava, Kretinga, Kreve, Kriauniai, Kriaunos, Krincinas, Kriukai-Sakiai, Kriukai-Siauliai, Krivelian, Kruonis, Kruopiai, Kubilun, Kubiliunai, Kuciunai, Kudirkos Naumiestis, Kulautuva, Kulbes, Kuliai, Kuprelishik, Kupreliskis, Kupiskis, Kurdimkstai, Kurklets, Kurkliai, Kursenai, Kurtuvenai, Kutkiskes, Kutkiskiai, Kuziai, Kvedarna, Kvetkai, Kvietiskis and Kybartai.
Labanoras, Labinava, Labinak, Laibiskes, Laibushok, Laizuva, Lal, Lampedziai, Lanciunava, Lapiai, Laukeliskiai, Laukuva, Laukzeme, Laukzemis, Lazdena, *Lazdijai, Leckava, *Leipalingis, Lekeciai, Leliunai, Lents, Lieplauke, Lieponiai, Liksel, Linkmenys, Linksmadvaris, Linkuva, Lioliai, Liskiava, Liubavas, Liudvinavas, Lotava, Lucinava-Marijampole, Lucinava-Raseiniai, Lukodeme, Luksiai, Luoke, Lyduvenai and Lygumai.
Madziunai, Mantevidave, Marevianki,*Marijampole, Marsaiki, Marvele, Maurlishok, Mauruciai, Mazeikiai, Mazan, Mazonai, Medingenai, Mergalaukis, Mergelupke, *Merkine, Meskai, Meskuiciai, Meteliai, Mikalina, Mikaliskis, Mikhalen, Mikhelmant, Milinover Hauf, Miluntse, Minatsa, Mincia, Miroslavas, Misniunenai, Mitsintskas, Mishnun, Mizshuk, *Moletai, Mosedis, Muravani Panemun and Musninkai.
Nacioniskis, Nakan, Namaun, Natsianishok, Naujamiestis, Naujazeris, Naujokai, Nedinge, Nedzinge, Nekinishki, Nemaksciai, Nemaniunai, Nemajunai, Nemunaitis, Nemunelio-Radviliskis, Netshini, Nevarenai, Nevieriai, Niklisik, Nirak, Nociunai and Noraikishok.
*Obeliai, Olova, Olinova, Olite and Onuskis.
Pabaiskas, Paberze, Pabirze, Pacinelis, Padubysis, Padushe, Paduvise, Paezereliai, Paerzeriai, Pagegiai, Pagiriai, Pagramantis, Pajevonys, Pajuris, Pakalniskis, Pakelnishok, Pakesne, Pakriaunis, Pakruojus, Pakuonis, Palacionys, Palanga, Palevene, Paliuniskis, Palonai, Palova, Paluobiai, Palutsi, Pamerkiai, Pamuse, Pamusis, Pandelys, Panemune, Panemunelis, Panemunis, *Panevezys, Panosiskes, Panoteriai, Paobeliai, Paparciai, Papile, Papilys, Paportshe, Papyvesiai, Parozshnie, Parupe, Pasasva, Pasavona, Pasela, Paseyk, Pashela, Pasiause, Pasoirishok, Pasusvys, Pasvalys, Pasvitinys, Paupine, Pavandene, Pavidak, Percineliai, Perlai, Perloja, Pernava, Pestininkai, Pezinte, Pilnikali, Pilviskiai, Pikeliai, Piniava, Pivasiunai, Plateliai, Ploksciai, Plunge, Plusi, Pociuneliai, Podmeretshe, Poduve, Poduvise, Pokipine, Polevene, Popetaitsh, Popovese, Povaiguva, Povandine, Prastshi, Pratkunai, Pravieniskes, Preni, Priekule, *Prienai, Primusa, Pumpenai, Punia, Pusiauskely, Puskelniai, Purpele and Pusalotas.
Radeikiai, Radenai, Radute, Radviliskis, Rageliai, Raguva, Raguvele, Raiserad, Rakan, Rakishetsik, Ramygala, Ranishk, *Raseiniai, Raskovcizna, Raudenai, Raudenai-Raudenis, Raudondvaris, Raudone, Ribok, Ribukai, Rietavas, Rodzanai, Rogovike, Rokenai, *Rokiskis, Romanova, Rozalimas, Rudamina, Rudnia, Rumsiskes, Rusne, Rymsaniai.
Sabonis, Sakiai, Sakyna, Sateikiai, Saukenai, Saukotas, Sakalyne, Salakas, Salantai, Saldutiskis, Salociai, Salomenka, Sanesiski, Sasnava, Sateikai, Seciai, Seda, *Seduva, Seferne,*Seirijai, Semeliskes, *Seredzius Sergainiskis, Serpaits, Sestokai, Sesuoliai, Seta, Shaki, Shatkin, Shikli, Shil, Shilan, Shimak, Skrebishik, Shlashte, Shmidhan, Shnarglin, Shtaitsesik, Shtanishok, Shtarinke, Shtarkene, Shtarveniki, Shudinishki, Shvabeshik, Siaain, Siaudine, Siaudiniskiai, Siaudvige, Siaulenai, Siauliai, Siesikai, Silai, Silale, Silenai, Silute, Siluva, Simkaiciai, *Simnas, Simne, Sintautai, Sirvintos, Skaistgirys, Skapiskis, Skaudvile, Skiemonys, Skirpstauja, Skirsnemune, Skrebatiskis, Skriptave, Skudutiskis, Skuodas, Slavikai, Smalininkai, Smalvos, Smilgiai, Slobar, Solominke, Spernia, Stakliskes, Stasiunai, Stravenink, Strevininkai, Subacius, Sudargas, Sujainiai, Sukiskis, Sumskai, Sunskai, Surdegis, Surviliskis, Suvainiskis, Suvaletsek, Svaboda, Svedasai, Sventezeris, Svobiskis, Sveksna and Sventezeris.
Talon, Tarpun, Tartupis, Taubin, Taujenai, Taulkeve, Taumasheve, Taurage, Tauragenai, Tavrova, Telsiai, Teneniai, Teraskova, Terpits, Testalvitshne, Timegole, Tirksliai, Traupis, Trepkalnis, Troskunai, Truskava, Tryskiai, Tshabiski, Tshislivke, Tsikants, Tubines, Turishok, Turiskis, Turmantas, Turzenai, Tverai and Tytuvenai.
Ubila, *Ukmerge, Ulinova, Ungarine, Upyna, Upyte, *Utena, Uzdubysis, Uzpaliai, Uzuguostis and Uzventis.
Vabalninkas, Vadokliai, Vaiguva, Vainutas, Vaitkiskiai, Valeisiskis, Vandziogala, *Varena, Varestsine, Varniai, Vasiliskis, Vaskai, Vegeriai, Veidziai, Veisiejai, Veiveriai, Veivirzenai, *Veliuona, Vepriai, Verpena, Vershves, Vesulove, Vezaiciai, Videniskiai, Vidiskiai, Vidmant, Vidnishok, Vidukle, Viedziai, Vieksniai, Viesintos, Viesvenai, Vievis, Vikenai, Vikaviskis, Vikiautinis, Vilkija, Vilkiautinis, Virbalis, Virstinik, Visakio-Ruda, Visevienai, Vistytis, Vizeyts and Vyzuonos.
Zadeikiai, *Zagare, Zagrini, Zaidekan, Zaikinai, Zalants, Zalioji, Zalosia, Zapyskis, *Zarasai, Zarenai, Zasliai, Zelva, Zemaiciu-Kalvarija, Zemaiciu-Naumiestis, Zeimelis, Zeimiai, Zemaitkiemis, Zidikai, *Ziezmariai, Zshaidini, Zvirbliniai, Zydaviskis, Zydkaimis, Zydvaris, Zshving, Zshvirblants, Zudz, Zuriai, Zuvilun and Zvingiai.
Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
Anne FrankPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, December 17, 2018 17:40:24
As our Head is now leaving at half term, could you please introduce yourself to Anna, I think you did meet briefly who will be Head of School when you arrive in December. Perhaps outline what you did last time in case Anna needs to pass to Governors to get approval for your visit.
I have been asked to contact you with a view to me speaking to your Students about my work. This is the basis of that work.
I have spoken to your Students x2 years ago and would talk to them appreciably, about writing but ostensibly, why I write. I am mindful of the age group and would not wish to traumatise them with the subject matter.
Perhaps an overview of my visits to the Death Camps, my work and an question and answer session to give them a wider perspective on acceptance and Tolerance. Your view will be greatly appreciated. We can liaise this through Russell, if you so wish.
Provisionally! I could speak to your Children December 13th. till 18th. If this fits with You? Could you let myself or Russell know.
Huge apologies for taking so long to get back to you it has been a slightly manic week!
Thank you for your email. We greatly look forward to having you visit us again - I have booked the 13th December on the calendar so long as this date is still ok with you. What time do you envisage arriving? Would you need any resources in preparation for your session?
Thanks again and see you soon.
I can rearrange things for December 3rd., 4th. or 5th. I will work out the detail of the presentation and will put the images I will use on a memory stick for LapTop to Screen display?
"..By attempting to translate life into words ..I fear that I too have contributed to forgetting. I have ..inevitably ..left so much out. And as at ..beginning of this writing so now at its end ..meaning of wanton destruction continues to elude me. ..my words seem hollow." Irene Eber.
It is my love of Children, and just my own, which wishes to ensure they are guided correctly and given the intrinsic tools by which they will live and hopefully prosper. So often, I use the words of those whose chosen subject is The Holocaust in order for me to relay my own contention, my own resolve and my own desire to Remember what happened to 6,000,000 Jewish People of Europe, Their Children included. One such work is Irene Eber's Book - Choice, which for me signals a little known aspect, a factor for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews which was the limit to the Choice that was denied to them. Remember too though, Irene Eber's words add to a memory we seek to learn from, a desire for a comprehension those like Irene deliver with a first hand knowledge. Irene, amongst the many who deliver the horror with passion so remarkably devoid of anger fill a void and as such, the words are filled with meaning, resonance and feeling.
"..We feel ourselves linked together ..we cannot break free of our past. That we cannot forget." Yehuda Adelman.
We here have a responsibility to all History as to why we write about any single aspect of it and the integrity of the past must remain sacrosanct. In order that today we know the lessons for tomorrow are both truthful and honest, we have to learn with a resourceful nature that keenly seeks out the truth. The integrity of all History is guarded by bastions of a truth which cannot be distracted by impersonation. The truth is not open to debate. The Holocaust is not open to interpretation. The Holocaust is the factual truth of humanising systems that failed the Jewish People and allowed for 6,000,000 of them, Men, Women and Their Children to be ruthlessly sought out for slaughter. In case we forget, these many Jewish People is a Memory which belongs to those of us wishing Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
"..first victims were ..Jewish Children ..and I shall never forget ..harrowing scenes and ..blood curdling incidents when ..ss men ..cruelly attacked Children. ..Even today ..cries ..shrieking of those Children are clear in my mind." Adolf Berman.
For me in particular, writing exercises the need to learn from what I have and am reading, from the research conducted and from hearing from those who will always add to what is unbderstood, is The Holocaust. We must start with the premise that Hitler used his hatred of the Jewish People to gain power and then to convince other's that their own insignificance would be resolved by the intolerances to be shown towards others. Once Hitler had gained that power he used the infection of that resolution to debase and assault the integrity of the Jewish People. Once untethered by contraints Hitler sought not simply to assail the Jews, to assault these Jewish People but to entirely destroy all of European Jewry. No other resolve of Hitler's is more contemptible and certainly, The Final Solution became the result of that singular Hitler resolve which then annihilated 6,000,000 Jews of Europe.
"..We shall regain our health only by eliminating ..Jews." Adolf Hitler.
That Hitler's legion swept 6,000,000 Jews of Europe to oblivion and has laid waste to some 50 to 70 million people in total during World War II, affords any reverential term we must continually fight against. The man considered to have been Hitler's most effective tool in the delivery of these Jewish People toward destruction, an architect of annihilation, is Adolf Eichmann. This rather low ranked official in Hitler's Reich, an arm too of Himmler's more wieldy influence stated his contempt for Jewish existence very precisely. Clearly Eichmann was not merely a functionary and as he so succinctly declared his position, he strode the European stage an almost god like figure with supreme power over the life and subsequent destruction of these many Jews, Eichmann catapulted himself into the claim of an infamy manifestly abhorrent in all its configurations. At the behest of a Hitler who rarely explored the functioning of this aspect of his much acclaimed power, Eichmann wielded an inordinate power with precision and drive.
"..100 Dead are a catastrophe ..Millions of dead are a statistic." Adolf Eichmann.
Today, our own humanity should not have to conform to the ramifications of a statistic, a mathematical analysis which is without any merit when grouping together the detailed annihilation of an entire People. The mathematical sense in which Eichmann used this form of an accounting, fully seeking to confine a mass of Human Beings to a space in time has so many other differing forms. As for relating what is important in analysing the human loss, its immense catastrophe and the tragedy it has left for us to reach out and learn from, we are urged to remember the human dimension of what we have indeed lost. There is always a better course in the study of this research and is an example of what must be brought forward from the abyss. This has been clearly identified by Simon Wiesenthal when he states:
"..Murder of 6,000,000 Jews must never be reduced to a statistic." Simon Wiesenthal.
So I build my work around a contempt for words others might use when dealing with human lives that detract from their human dimension. Words so obviously matter when dealing with the destruction of 6,000,000 Human Beings, destroyed simply because they were Jews. With just 1 single word we start our sentence and this beginning is a selective process where inference and intention is chosen from an immense array of chosen words. These words, which are open to us all and which convey the correcting narrative of a perspective we adopt to best expand our own view, must be in the least reverential and at the most respectful of position over the loss Humanity can ill afford to ignore. We progress this narrative mindful of the calamity we are measuring in human terms and the seeming contempt clearly shown to 6,000,000 Jewish People.
"..I must state that I consider this murder ..this extermination of ..Jews ..to be one of ..most heinous crimes in ..history of mankind." Adolf Eichmann.
So by the time we have conceived of word 71, we have a paragraph which we have commenced and we have hopefully gained a narrative and creative flow. We then begin to accept that when the struggle for this Jewish life appeared so futile, and as it became discarded in the midst of The Holocaust, we must not allow for the actions of other's to influence how these wrongs are described as they are perceived. When all manner of evil is stacked against us, we must see the evil that men do as evil beyond the words of any contempt that could ever be delivered. This is not to say that men only delivered the level's of such an evil that we have come to recognise here in the terms of The Holocaust. Caught up in the hysteria of adulation, Women too took Hitler's words to diffuse their own common decency and slipped immorally from any ethical path toward the ignominy we see in 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish lives.
"..I will leap into my grave laughing because ..feeling that I have 5,000,000 human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Adolf Eichmann.
We are progressing amiably through words, but their definition must retain their meaning so that by the time we have written 771 of those words we have a page filled with our intention to a choice that was never afforded these Jews. However, that chosen subject on which we rest our associated dialogue has become a hopefully intelligible articulation of meaning for what Humanity has clearly lost. Further along, and as we get to 3,771 words we have established a first chapter which presents us with a figure beginning to present itself as informing us of the status of those Murdered Jews of Kiev is about to be confirmed. We cannot know, as we string the words together, to mark some form of memorial to what had previously existed that we will deliver a work that is credible to their memory.
"..Chief of ..Security Police and ..Security Service
Berlin, October 2nd. 1941
Operational Situation Report
Sonderkommando 4a in collaboration with Einsatzgruppe HQ and two Kommandos of police regiment South, executed 33,771 Jews in Kiev on September 29 and 30, 1941."
With the accumulation of 33,771 words we are a third of the way through to finishing this or any book. And this begins the story of a murder so calamitous, it is known as BabiYar. I gave my 3rd. Book the title Babi Yar - A Jewish Catastrophe for the very fact that on September 29th. and until Septemeber 30th. 1941, in a x2 day period of Slaughter, this place has shown an unprecedented event, even in the midst of the catastrophe which is the whole of The Holocaust. Here, BabiYar can be sectioned off into its own pocket of an atrocity so vast, it requires its own sentiment. But even with 33,771 words I cannot come close to giving any sense of meaning as to why BabiYar or The Holocaust occurred. Not only did human beings exact such an atrocity upon other Human Beings, but our World stood idly by as this was borne along.
. "..None has suffered more cruelly than ..Jew ..unspeakable evils wrought upon ..bodies and spirits of men by Hitler and his vile regime. ..Jew bore ..brunt of ..Nazi's first onslaught upon ..citadels of freedom and human dignity. He has borne and continued to bear a burden that might have seen beyond endurance. He has not allowed it to break his spirit ..he has never lost ..will to resist. Assuredly in ..day of victory ..Jew's suffering and his part in ..struggle will not be forgotten." Winston Churchill.
Toward the final stages of a calamity which breezed past 1,000,000's of Jewish lives to deliver 6,000,000 Jewish Slaughtered lives, history stands to accuse as duplicitous, many ministries in states which knew and so acquiesced their unhindered compliticty.
"..The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service
October 7th. 1941
Operational Situation Report
USSR No. 106
In cooperation with the HQ of EGC and two Kommandos of the police regiment South, Sonderkommando 4a executed 33,771 Jews on September 29 and 30. (1) Gold and valuables, linen, and clothing were secured."
In my wish to share with you, I have brought with me x2 files with Photographic Albums containing a series of Pictures I took on my Journey through the x6 Death Camps which Hitler had established in Poland. Each one of these x6 Death Camps has a figure attached to it which represents the grave loss to the Jewish People who were Murdered within their confines. The other Album, which is to me one of the more reprehensible series of images of The Holocaust to be explored, is of Jewish Children, some with their Families who are no more. As these photographs focus upon those Children taken from France and Murdered in Auschwitz and Birkenau, they are a lasting memorial to such an immeasureable loss, sympathy and empathy for the images can be witnessed from amongtst those who now bear witness to them. This memorial array was conceived of and presented to us by Serge Klarsfeld in a Book I find so devastating in its composition.
"..Remember this day ..remember it well ..you will tell generations to come about it one day. ..we have been shut away in ..ghetto. I live here now ..world is separated from me and I’m separated from ..world." Renia Spiegel.
Memory is essential if History is to become a measure of what we must remember as it is what we are required to learn. Nothing I will present to you can be considered in any way an enjoyable experience but it is hoped that in some way you will enjoy the presentation of the facts. The weight of responsibility, which will give you an insight into what was a very terrifying and deadly detail for those Jewish People we seek to recall, will move you forward toward a place where tolerance should always be first and foremost our demand. For me, loss has played such an important part in my own life and I have infilled this void with sought after words. Sadly, no matter how many words I contrive to deliver, nothing could compare to what was personal to these 6,000,000 brutally slaughtered Jews of Europe. The awesome duty however, to recall, to remember and to never forget what consumed these Jewish People, is way beyond any form of comparison.
"..When he shot me I was wounded in ..head. I still have a big scar on my head ..where I was wounded by ..Germans. I got to my feet to see that horrible scene. ..screaming was unbearable ..Children shouting Mama ..Papa. I ran over to ..Children ..maybe my daughter was there. I called out ..Markele. ..I didn't see her. ..Children. ..were covered with blood." Rivka Yosselevska.
From an early age I was instilled with a love of Books and the words which flowed from them became a companion to my life long search. That search for a meaning to life's greatest loss, those we have loved and who have loved us in return is unending. I wrote my 1st. Book at age about 6 or 7 realising later that I had formed the pages of what would be termed a Bibliography, an account of the Books I had read, was reading and would wish to read. Little did I know that Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, George Orwell would lead me toward Maya Angelou and Martin Luther King. I was continually searching for meaning and I came across what I understood to be Jesus Christ as the first socialist in a bible riven with ethical morality, there emerges a goodness which should always be chosen. Confirmation too that the only difference between catholic's and protestant's was the church in which they chose to celebrate their god.
"..most important mitzvah ..or commandment ..of ..post ..Holocaust era should be hakarat hatov ..recognition of goodness." Rabbi Harold Schulweis.
The Album that you will see firstly will share with you images of what is left behind, what is detaining the Humanity concealed beneath its surface, in these Death Camps. The immeasureable loss is represented by stones for the large part, by memorials and by monoliths to memory we are required Always to Remember, Never to Forget. It is brought to mind here too, as I had been talking to a Lady who was from Szczecin, or Stettin given its anglocised name, and I remembered a piece I had written about the City which bore similarity's to my own journey toward the Death Camp at Belzec. The piece relayed that on February 15th. 1940 and at a train station close to Lublin, these 1,300 expelled Stettin Jews, Men, Women and Their Children were force marched in minus 20 degree temperatures, in 2 foot of snow and for some 20 miles.
"..we are still 150 of about 700 here. ..We are still in shock from ..last few days. It is desolately empty." Martha Bauchwitz.
Admittedly, I had barely been walking for about x2 miles, but trudging through 2 feet of snow, in minus 18 degree temperatures toward the Belzec Death Camp, I recalled what I always said to myself at the entrance to each of these x6 Death Camps, I will walk out of this place once my visit has ended. Martha Bauchwitz relays that from an inital 1,300 Szczecin Jews, 600 had previously died, and then of the 700 left, barely 150 were still alive for her to comment upon their status. For literally 1,000,000's of Jewish People, and other's, this was also to be the deadly case. For the transported Jews, arriving at any of the Death Camps, their final moments were to be spent in the static Gassing Chambers erected for the purpose. Only in the case of Chelmno was there a fundamental difference, that enclosed space was inside a Removal Van converted for the specific purpose of gassing the Jews enroute to the burial and kremation sites.
"..picture which my informant gave me concerning ..treatment of Jews in Poland is such that it can hardly be expressed in writing. ..Intention is to exterminate them eventually. ..all ..Jews were assembled for what was officially announced as delousing. At ..entrance they were forced to take off their clothes ..delousing procedure ..consisted of gassing ..and ..afterward ..all ..could be stuffed into a mass grave. ..source from whom I obtained all ..information on ..conditions ..Generalgouvernement ..is such that not ..slightest shade of disbelief exists concerning ..truthfulness of my informant’s descriptions." Karl Ingve Vendel.
What is not so obvious from the photographs I took within these Death Camps, and whereas we might see some of these same or similar headstones in graveyards the World over, here many of them are representative of entire lost Community's. Such is our disbelief, an incredulity as much to do with how could any people do such a monstrous deed, as with the deed itself. Of those Jews interred in the various Death Camps, sometimes a stone or a Monument can represent 10's and even 100's of Jewish People. Yet still again, while there are other stones which will represent to History the loss of 10's of 1,000's of Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, all so callously swept aside, the images cannot begin to measure our loss. Of course, interpreting these images and giving words to their meaning might suppose that nothing can approach me on The Holocaust that can surprise me, but I am often caught out by the sheer human enormity of the catastrophe. That its individual status, as it might be relayed by those concerned with its calamity for all humanity, can render me shocked still or stunned.
"..because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." Anne Frank
Perhaps for me, what history allows us, and with the benefit of hindsight, is the luxury of an accusation that is so firmly and categorically to be gained. The Holocaust offers such an expanse of damning detail that it is hardly surprising that we can accuse so readily. The dilemma though is not with today, with the now but with the then, and in the immediacy of what was fully emerging within this final solution. It is perhaps that so much was done, and though this is the atrocity itself in its grotesque form, what was allowed to happen to 6,000,000 People simply because they were Jews is yet to be grappled with. The full scale of the catastrophe as it was initally perceived, as it was witnessed and as it was then enacted upon, before prying eyes and from keenly interested observers, is the morally corrupted view that is sought out. To be given to us to this day a disingenuous discourse concealing the truth of what was known, not only alters the perception of all of history, it corrupts it.
"..I have to accept ..fact of Edith's death ..but I keep hoping I can find my Children. That is what I am living for at ..moment. I gravitate between hope and fear." Otto Frank.
Today, there are 3 lessons I bring with me today which will guarantee you all, I hope, a way through what will instruct you in life. It is simply to read, to write and to know how to add those words together to gain their meaning. I have just been to Amsterdam and visited The Anne Frank Huis where all these lessons are brought to bear in a way that makes the difficulty in my work appear more necessary. Here, on a wall in the Museum, I was presented with an image of a desperate Father, knowing that his Wife Edith Frank had been Murdered, but hoping beyond hope that his Daughter's Margot Frank and Anne Frank would somehow Survive. Otto advertises for information upon them.
"..Margot Frank 19 years and Anne Frank 16 years in January on transport from Bergen-Belsen. Otto Frank, Prinsengracht 263, tel.37059."
For Otto Frank, that total loss was soon to be fully realised and an emotional abyss was presented to him. Both the Frank Sister's become terminally ill from Typhus in Belsen, and Margot, first to die somtime in February 1945 is followed by Anne a few days later. Certainty is never a given in all too much which presents itself in relation to the Jews of The Holocaust. With Margot and Anne's presence within the fuller terms of The Holocaust, it is a shrouded certainty. A few weeks after the loss of life of both Margot and Anne, and many 1,000's of fellow Survivor's, Belsen is liberated by British troops of the Allied Forces reclaiming all of Europe from Hitler. For me, the basic ingredient in what I have delivered for the past 20 years and more, is that if there is no truth in history, we have no History. So I lend my name to an integrity which seeks to recall and remember the sheer human dimension that was catapulted into an abyss.
"..As we approached to within a few hundred yards of ..camp ..shouts ..cries ..shots cut off further conversation. I noticed ..an unpleasant stench that seemed to have come from decomposing bodies mixed with horse manure. ..Estonian was ..completely impervious to it. He even began to hum some sort of folk tune to himself. We emerged directly in front of ..loud ..sobbing ..reeking camp of death." Jan Karski.
Jan Karski had descened into such an abyss, speculated to be at Belzec, and though we remain uncertain as to which Camp he describes, the stench in his nostrils clearly displays a reality all too familiar to the 1,000,000's of Jews confined within their sphere of destruction. Not just that, the consuming embers of that hatred lit up the surrounding areas, invaded the nostils of those within earshot of the noises related to an industrial capacity for mass murder. I do this detailed exercise continually, troubling myself with the sheer scale of the hatred that exposed the Jews of of Europe to such danger, it annihilated 6,000,000 of them completely. More exclusively, and in order to remind us that human frailty must never be given over to a hatred for another nor indeed should the intolerance's of anyone be allowed to convey the forms of hatred to be witnessed during the entire period of Hitler's rage against the Jewish People.
"..By resettling ..Jews out of ..European economic area to a yet to be determined territory. In ..framework of this ..5,800,000 Jews will be affected." Adolf Eichmann.
For what and who might appear as different to us will certainly afford the few a vehicle by which they will present themselves as the savious of some form of uniqueness.There are terms which will defeat our attempts to come to an understanding of our past and here, with The Holocaust in such glaring an atrocity, resettling comes to mean what Hitler intended would be The Final Solution of The Jewish Question. That resolve was wholle a Jewish Annihilation. We struggle ever to comprehend how this atrocity was ever allowed to proceed let alone happen in the World we live in. I am mindful here too though, that a man who drove this effort foward, and on behalf of a political leader whose hatred for the Jewish People, and others, makes Adolf Hitler a formidable component in the term now determining race hatred, was a tool in the arsenal of that hatred.
"..I was in Berlin at that time and saw some pretty revolting sights ..destruction of Jewish shops ..Jews being arrested and led away ..police standing by while ..gangs destroyed ..shops ..even groups of well dressed women cheering. Maybe those women had a hangover next morning ..as they were intoxicated all right when this was taking place. I found it ..utterly revolting. In fact to a German journalist who saw me on that day and asked me what I was doing there ..I remember I just said very coldly ..I'm studying German culture." Hugh Greene.
Unfortunately, and throughout the narrative accounting of our contact with this atrocity, numbers play such a weight upon the formation of words they might appear less and less significant. The 200,000 murdered Jews at Majdanek gives rise to the slaughter of 300,000 Jewish lives at Sobibor which somewhat fails to confront us with what 400,000 Murdered Jews at Chelmno should scream at us. When we then approach the pages of my 4th. book and we reveal that 884,700 Jewish lives were wholly destoyed within Hitler's Belzec, we think we have recounted enough to have suggested the extremes of an atrocity still yet to be defined in its entirety. We then enter a cognizance with this figure of 900,000 plundered Jewish lives to deliver for Treblinka a stockpile of lost humanity. Atop of a Hitler pledge to deliver more vast numbers of Jewish dead than we can fully articulate, we xceed any comprehension of such numbers. All too easily 1,100,000 Jews consigned to their fate in Auschwitz and Birkenau pale into the significance brought to bear by The Holocaust atrocity itself.
"..rumour is abroad ..execution was filmed." Fritz Dietrich.
We have the very evidence of all that was undertaken by the killing apparatus of Hitler's Reich. Be that is the small amount of Film attributed to the exercise at Liepaja. But, with 1,250,000 Jews subsequently shot by der Einsatzgruppe in the fields and in the Killing Sites through the policy of Hitler's forged Lebensraum, photographic evidence is not limiting in its accusation. Amonsgt the catalogue of these evidences are the photographs of some 1,500,000 losses, which is a particularly gruelling figure as it represents the number of Jewish Children Slaughtered by these Hitlerite murder forces. Though we ahve managed to ensure 4,700,000 Jewish names are known, this is a specific detail that YadVashem has managed to sift through from the debris and ash of 6,000,000 lost Jewish lives
The Official Wannsee Conference Figures.
The General Government 2,284,000 Jews.
Unoccupied France 700,000 Jews.
The Eastern Territories 420,000 Jews.
Bialystok 400,000 Jews.
Occupied France 165,000 Jews.
Holland 160,800 Jews.
Germany 131,800 Jews.
Bohemia & Moravia 74,200 Jews.
Greece 69,600 Jews.
Austria 43,700 Jews.
Belgium 43,000 Jews.
Lithuania 34,000 Jews.
Denmark 5,600 Jews.
Latvia 3,500 Jews.
Norway 1,300 Jews.
Estonia Free of Jews. (1,000 Jews)
The Official Wannsee Conference Figures.
Russia 5,000,000 Jews.
( with Ukraine and Byelorussia)
Hungary 742,800 Jews.
Rumania 342,000 Jews.
England 330,000 Jews.
Slovakia 88,000 Jews.
Italy 58,000 Jews.
Turkey 55,500 Jews.
Bulgaria 48,000 Jews.
Croatia 40,000 Jews.
Switzerland 18,000 Jews.
Serbia 10,000 Jews.
Sweden 8,000 Jews.
Spain 6,000 Jews.
Ireland 4,000 Jews.
Portugal 3,000 Jews.
Finland 2,300 Jews.
Albania 200 Jews.
TOTAL 11,293,300 Jews to be Murdered!
While history seeks to contemplate the loss of 6,000,000 Jews, who were so systematically sought out for Slaughter that they were then ritually Murdered in such a mechanised fashion and on so immense an industrial scale, words seem so imperfect in reflecting upon the human nature of these lives so permanently lost. For me, presented with the image of a 4 year old Jewish Child, Tovah 'Tokele' Olshak, I could not but write about The Holocaust. Remember too that within this unprecedented catastrophe for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust, 1,500,000 of these are Jewish Children. All of this made it essential that I research the atrocity fully, always borrowing from the Survivor's who have much to teach us and I have learned to lend my own words to those whose lives have been extinguished. For the past x20 years I have been adding to the Testimony of the missing to ensure it is never just a Fading Memory of their tragedy.
Albania 591 Murdered Jews
Austria, 65,000 Murdered Jews
Belgium 24,387 Murdered Jews
Bulgaria 7,335 Murdered Jews
Czechoslovakia 260,000 Murdered Jews
Denmark 116 Murdered Jews
Estonia 4,000 Murdered Jews
Finland 15 Murdered Jews
France 90,000 Murdered Jews
Germany 171,000 Murdered Jews
Greece 69,221 Murdered Jews
Holland 106,000 Murdered Jews
Hungary 559,000 Murdered Jews
Ireland 9 Murdered Jews
Italy 15,000 Murdered Jews
Latvia 85,000 Murdered Jews
Lithuania 135,000 Murdered Jews
Luxembourg 720 Murdered Jews
Norway 758 Murdered Jews
Poland, 2,880,000 Murdered Jews
Romania 469,632 Murdered Jews
Russia 1,100,000 Murdered Jews
Estimate of Total 6,042,784 Murdered Jews
These estimates must be held in check as there can be no assurance as to the exacting nature of their precise detail. If we take for instance Poland, we are uncertain as to whether there were 3,100,000 Jews or even 3,200,000 Jews alive in Poland for Hitler's assault to contain and detain them. Some 90% of all Polish Jewry was destroyed however this will account for either 2,790,000 Murdered Polish Jews or 2,880,000 Polish Jews annihilated. Either way, it is an inordinate cost to humanity to even have to contemplate the loss of any 1 Jewish Person within the context of a Slaughter let alone 6,000, 600,000 or in fact 6,042,784 Jewish Murdered. So with this commitment to the detail of the atrocity, which ensures Always to Remember, Never to Forget, this then becomes my raisond'etre to write in their memory. This research then led to what became the title of my first book which sought to add my own respect for the testimony given with regards to the now approaching loss of those who have afforded us first hand evidences. Between 1933 and 1945 the Number of Jews allowed to escape, those given any choice let alone chance to flee are given.
200,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to the US,
125,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Palestine,
70,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to England,
50,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Argentina,
27,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Brazil,
25,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to China
14,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Bolivia, and
14,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Chile.
This represeneted 425,000 Jewish Men, Women and some with Their Children who escaped and who were most likely saved from The Holocaust by circumstance. So my idea to write, and with Testimony and Fading Memory in The Holocaust, it was my hope for history, with The Holocaust as a terrible indictment of our own inhumanity toward those we consider different, that we will learn respect and tolerance for all. For me, what is then essential in the recording of such numbers as were Murdered, is in the duty to be objective. Knowing the human minds inability to compute the sheer human dimension of the catastrophe, it becomes more of an imperative that we are correct and truthful in all our assessments. All too often there is missing in the specific detail of the very evidence, which delivers to us another blow. The astonishing detail, involving 4 year old Jewish Children being deported from France, which leaves more than 75,000 French Jews missing from my initial observance, cannot then fail to recognise nearly all of them were murdered in the Death Camps in Poland.
World Jewry stood at 15,192,218 Jews
European Jewry stood at 9,418,248 Jews were resident within Europe,
In 1932, the American Jewish Yearbook shared part of a consensus which showed that these numbers of Jewish People were present for Hitler to forge his inhuman solution. Amongst these of course are those French Jews and Their Children whose images are presented. Their photographs, even those som few that I have presented, omit so many others whose tenure with life has been removed from them. Coincidence and similarity so often come into view as I traverse this terrifying arena. I have been talking to a particular Survivor for a number of years now and she is a remarkable Lady in so many ways. I hope she considers me her Friend. She has an image of her Mother at Auschwitz, circa 1942. And this image from the 1942 period of destruction, becomes a memory for me from another era in the midst of this, with the 1944 Hungarian Transports. Tragic images can so conflict with perceptions that we intermingle our own sense of grief with that of other's and these hidden are what truly defeats our inability to comprehend fully the entire tragedy itself.
"..Auschwitz defeated culture ..later ..it defeated art. ..truth of Auschwitz remains hidden in its ashes." Elie Wiesel.
When the Survivor's Mother, who had already been Murdered can issue an image which for all Mother's must strangle their immediate concerns, the choices to be made are steeped in deeply depressing reflection. I will never point to the fact that we see so many comparison's to individual grief, but we cannot then share the personal grief which we seek to reflect upon. However, if the Survivor has gained any such comfort from the image they project onto their own course through the tragedy, it is incumbent upon us all to see the individual grief as an immense tragedy, before we begin to contemplate the overall catastrophe which we are supposedly learning from. It is a lasting legacy of the Survior trauma, entering the Survivoral World without a Mother, a Father, Children, their entire Families, how would we all consider this dilemma. We, who will be remembered by those closest to us, how can we ever come to terms with what some Survivor's leave behind, in its entirety, everything.
"..If you were to ask me ..have we deserved victory ..I should say ..no ..not after what we've done. ..amount of human blood we've shed knowingly and as a result of our delusions and also partly instigated by ..lust of blood ..I now realize we've deserved defeat ..we've deserved our fate ..accusing myself as well." Major General Johannes Bruhn.
When the World finally comes to terms with what has been allowed to happen, when Germany has fully acknowledged what its own General's did and knew they had done, no Memorial, nor amount of them, will ever conceal the shame of what the World then allowed to happen to 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust. With the full scale of the slaughter confined to over 4 million square miles, each and every one of these Murdered Jews should qualify for their own patch of Earth half a square mile with which to Remember them by. In all that I have learned and written about over these years, which in no way fully qualifies me as Knowing what only 6,000,000 Murdered Jews can truly know, what the Survivor knows too, I continue forward looking for those answers to an incomprehensible wrong. True! There are those who have Survived this genocidal intention, and I accept readily what they are aware of. That which we seek to comprehend, they have lived through.
"..Let me explain that even though I had been in Auschwitz I did not know about ..gas chambers. Can you imagine that. We thought ..when we were there ..that our parents and ..children were taken to camps which were much better. We assumed that they couldn't live through ..camp we were in. It was not until a large contingent from Auschwitz came to Belsen that I had to give up that idea that they were safe. I met 2 women in their 30’s who spoke Hungarian and they asked if it was true that ..Hungarian transports were so severely selected people to ..camps and ..others to be gassed. I said ..What are you saying. ..And they looked at me as if I were foolish ..but they didn't want to destroy my hope and so didn't try to explain. I ran back to ..tent and collapsed. I think I cried for weeks. I finally realized that everybody was killed." Maria Frank Abrams.
What cannot remain hidden is the clear hatred shown toward 6,000,000 Jews who were wholly discarded from life. Such was the devious nature, and the conspiracy to deceive had clearly caught out the Jews of Europe, these Jews marched toward extinction not knowing they were headed for their demise. Here, as I struggle with the words to come to terms with the horror which soon faced 6,000,000 living Jews, I reflect back that I am in no way equiped to use an emotive term like hatred to describe how I feel about the particular protagonists, perpetrators and participators, including even Adolf Hitler. I abhor the fact that little has been done to bring to Justice the many 10's of 1,000's of these killers. I detest the sheer hipocrisy of a World of united nations unable to act judicially when such a monstrous deed was struck in their name. I am disgusted also and deeply ashamed that these individuals, perpetrators and participants could ever be considered human beings.
"..From now on ..do not answer by your name. ..felt like ..not ..human person anymore. ..shaved our heads ..I felt so ashamed. And also when they told us to undress and to shower ..they made us feel like ..animals. ..men were walking around ..laughing and looking at us. And you take a young girl at that age ..who had never been exposed to a person ..to a man ..and you stay there naked ..I wanted ..ground to open ..and I should go into it. We were packed like sardines. ..beds were bunks ..3 layers. I was on ..top layer. If one person wanted to turn ..we all had to turn. They gave me ..little rations of hard ..dried up bread which was half mildew ..I could hardly eat it. ..a tin can of soup ..so rotten and vile ..when I tasted it I couldn’t eat it. .. I just ate ..bread and drank a little water ..which was just rust running out from ..sink that they had over there. ..finally ..got so hungry ..knew I had to eat ..soup ..so vile. ..so terrible. I never ate anything like that in my whole life. ..If I want to survive I have to eat ..soup. ..So I started eating ..soup. And I ..forcing ..soup down my throat ..big tears coming down my face. Eating ..crying ..eating ..crying ..this is how I was in Birkenau. Every day ..I woke up and I would find 1 ..2 people who wanted to end their lives and couldn’t take it anymore. ..throw themselves to ..electric wires ..make an end of it. ..every once in a blue moon ..couldn’t take it anymore. ..try to sneak out of ..barracks late at night and I would see ..sky. ..talk to myself ..can’t believe ..stars ..looking down at us in this Hell ..this camp ..same stars ..shining at ..outside of ..world. ..other people ..looking at ..same stars ..they are free. ..to do what they want to do. ..living a good life. ..we are ..in Hell ..human beings worse than animals. ..nobody is doing anything about it. ..young as I was ..asking myself these questions. ..Where is ..world ..Why isn’t ..world doing anything about this ..I would question God ..Where is God ..How can He let us be killed like that ..after I cried myself out real good ..I would go back to ..barracks." Lily Appelbaum.
I do not know theses killers personally, though I am affected on a deeply personal level by the abrogation of Humanity in the Mass Murder of these innocent Jews. Human Beings being made to feel inhuman is inhumane so yes, I hate that Hitler hated and yes I hate that Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and Hoess delivered the form of hatred Hitler demanded so as to ensure an atrocity that is The Holocaust. 6,000,000 Murdered Jews who are that Holocaust deserve every emotive term we can bring to the fore in order to commend their Memory to our own and seek Always to Remember, Never to Forget the brutal facts that are shared. Before us on the spread sheet of such callous indifference is the duplicity of people and of history and we too will be recalled in this period of History as to its detailed intolerance that remains so complicit with the indifference so vastly shown to these innocent Jews of Europe.
"..Without moral and intellectual independence there is no anchor for national independence." David Ben-Gurion.
Today we must stretch past such indifferences and now wage a continued effort to confront the very denial which would add systemically to that intolerable hatred and indifference. For us to own any more of the intellectual leagcy formed out of such an enormous catastrophe, we have to struggle more readily with those who would denounce that effort. As we assess that even the most ardent denier of The Holocaust is not stupid enough to believe their own lies, we add to the scale of the atrocity itself with a deeply wounding crime against those very lives for ever lost. The denier simply works upon the premise that there are those, gullible, ill informed, incredulous or even ashamed of the Fact that it indeed happened, and in their name, the name of humanity. The shame therefore, of a humanity that is unwritten into that particular concord, which Hitler delivered to the World, is to be borne shameully. But it is to the Jewish People, who succumbed to every known trickery and deceit, that We owe our deepest apology!
"..Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon ..sympathy and magnanimity of their victors ..so that ..true facts ..never authoritatively recorded ..become obscured ..forgotten. ..in ..absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement ..a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With ..passage of time ..former tend to discount ..perhaps because of their very horror ..stories of aggression and atrocity ..latter ..credulous ..misled by perhaps fanatical and perhaps dishonest propagandists ..come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of that which they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal ..acting ..as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by ..victorious powers ..with complete and judicial objectivity ..will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth ..and future politicians for warning." Sir Hartley Shawcross.
For what happened to those Jews who Survived we should all apologise openly for we carry the burden of their having to accept an apology on behalf of 6,000,000 of their own People, which they are ill placed to accept. For me, and for what was allowed to happen and for the rancid hatred these Jews of Europe felt, how could we ever apologise enough! It is to be recognised also, that an epitaph to the terms of The Holocaust is rebounding upon civilisation to this day. Germany fully knows and appreciates the weight of that burden and it is shouldering its immense responsibility with a renewed sense of purpose. Few ever owned up to the responsibility necessary for that decline in Humanity that has allowed these Jews who suffered along with Hitler's resolve. There were those of course who saw the solution as a method of personal enrichment. Also, there are those who enlisted in the full scale atrocity as an opportunity to impress their own abilities upon their erstwhile masters.
"..Untersturmfuhrer Willhelm Rosenbaum was ..worst of all .. Gestapo men in ..Rabka district. ..others tried to hide their barbaric acts by committing them some distance outside ..town. Rosenbaum and Heinrich Hamann ..head of ..Gestapo in Nowy Targ ..committed ..atrocities in broad daylight for all to see. Rosenbaum's favourite place for executions was ..densely populated Salona quarter. ..doctors in ..sanatoriums complained that ..cries and shootings disturbed their patients ..but Rosenbaum paid ..complaints not ..slightest heed. Hamann selected Mishana Dolna for his executions. He demanded ..Judenrat collect an exorbitant amount of money ..supposedly to pay for ..deportation of ..Jews. When ..Judenrat could not come up with ..payment ..Hamann gathered 800 Jews in ..square and murdered them." Dr. David Yacobovitz.
That descent into barbarity is easily confronted by word of deed, and these many major protagonists remained hard. Though they were so determined and convinced of Hitler's position with regards to the Jews, they themselves often sought to have those orders confirmed, and in written form, so as to cover for their own moral neglect! Today, I resist such moral degeneracy and ethical decline so much so that if I seem to condone a Nazi salute or accept as normal the parading of a Swastika on the streets, am I not duplicitous. If these who parade in front of us are either deniers or antisemites am I not complicit in my failure to respond. If you issue a Nazi salute you are a Nazi and ignorant of the cost not only to 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust but to 50/70 millions who laid down their lives during WWII fighting what racism and hatred extolls today. If you wave a Swastika banner you are a Nazi and if you have the platform to condemn this, and don't, you are a complicit and duplicitous accepter and reprehensibly indecent.
"..If there were only one decent German ..then he should be cherished despite that whole barbaric gang ..and because of that one decent German it is wrong to pour hatred over an entire people." Etty Hillesum.
I remember having to come to terms with Etty Hillesum's place amidst the horror of the catastrophe. I assumed, in not finishing her Book, that I could put off the day of her own reckoning with her own destruction. I never fooled myself in the slightest and Etty so sought out the one decent German in order that humanity should prevail and somehow prevail on those evil Germans, she too is a part of the morass of inhumanity she sought to bridge. Indeed there are many such Germans who are equal to Etty's wish and there are many who did not act in unison with this monstrous deed. Equally though, there are many more who did not act at all in stemming the flow of Jewish blood for which Etty Hillesum has become a part of. For me, in never forgetting, it protects the memory of those like Etty Hillesum who make up the sum total of 6,000,000 Jews swept aside to be buried in our past.
"..a rush to get everything down in writing before ..generation of survivors dies away. There is also a search for knowledge and understanding by ..descendants of survivors ..leading ..young to rediscover their Jewish heritage. Jews are proudly calling themselves Jews once more. ..young people of today will be ..leaders of ..next generation. They and people of all nations have an obligation to protect ..memory of The Holocaust." Ann Kazimirski.
This case for memory which Ann Kazmirski here sees breached by the past, still ensure the future learning process which will give hope and resurgence of pride in learning. The truth here also enforces the certainty, clearly applied to preventing all future atrocity, that with the hoped for never again becoming prevalent, we will live in peace with all People everywhere. Perhaps History, with the benefit of hindsight allows us the luxury of accusation. The Holocaust itself offers us such an expanse of damning detail that it is hardly surprising that we accuse so readily. The dilemma, in the immediacy of what was fully emerging as an affront to all humanity is just not so much what was done, though this is the atrocity itself in grotesque form, but what was allowed to happen as it was perceived, witnessed and then enacted in all its perversion.
"..Hatred can be nurtured anywhere ..idealism can be perverted into sadism anywhere. If hatred and sadism combine with modern technology ..inferno could erupt anew anywhere." Simon Wiesenthal.
For forgiveness, it must be sought in the first place and none too many who enacted the atrocity in the midst of The Holocaust sought forgiveness out. While that lack of contrition lays exposed, or is being considered by many, there are 6,000,000 Jewish People who will Never afford those who seek any form of forgiveness their consent. I was presented with the image of a 4 year old Jewish Child, Tovah 'Tokele' Olshak, so I could not but write about her presence within The Holocaust itself. Remember too that within this unprecedented catastrophe for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust, 1,500,000 of these are Jewish Children. All of this made it essential I researched the atrocity fully, borrowing from the Survivor's who have much to teach us and using their words to bolster the impression of words I would give to those lost to us. I have continually lent my own words to those whose lives have been extinguished. For the past x20 years I have been adding to their Testimony to ensure it is never just a Fading Memory.
"..horrible sight ..I encountered during ..trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. ..things I saw beggar description. While I was touring ..camp I encountered ..3 men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. ..visual evidence and ..verbal testimony of starvation ..cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me ..sick. In one room ..where they were piled up 20 ..30 naked men ..killed by starvation ..George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made ..visit deliberately ..in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever ..in ..future ..there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda." General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
My own words are an attempt at the recompense all of these Jews deserve for their tragedy which all too many have refused to deliver. Also, an essential appreciation of how debased humanity can be must add to this commitment which ensures that I choose Always to Remember, Never to Forget and this becomes a raisond'etre which led to what became the title of my first book: Testimony and Fading Memory in The Holocaust. For history, The Holocaust is a terrible indictment of our own inhumanity toward those we consider different. What is then essential in the recording of such differing numbers is the duty we have to be objective in considering what we know is the human minds inability to compute this Human dimension. All too often there is missing in the specific detail, evidence of a further blow to recollection. Take the detail involving 4 year old Jewish Children being deported from France which leaves more than 75,000 French Jews so far missing from my observance. Nearly all of these French Jews are murdered in the Death Camps established in Poland.
"..millions of Jews ..captured ..who knows where they are. ..We have come ..from place where your brothers are. ..Two thousand years have we brought into this world children ..doomed to suffer." Moshe Flinker.
For many Western European Jews, who had never ventured further than their own border, Poland was to prove more than a wasteland for them all. We have the very evidence of their conduct toward extinction here and thanks to Serge Klarsfld, we have an immeasureable treasury of photographs too. Even those few that I have presented, still omit so many others whose tenure with life has been removed from them. I have been talking to a particular Survivor for a number of years now. She is a remarkable Lady and I hope she considers me her Friend. She has an image of her Mother at Auschwitz, circa 1942. This image from the 1942 period of destruction, and a memory from the 1944 Hungarian Transports are fused together. Images become powerful statements of when a Mother already Murdered, haunts her. That she has gained so much comfort from the image is something worth for her to cling to.
"..When my Parents were deported ..Eva needn't have gone. ..she might have been protected. But she didn't want to leave them." Leslie Baruch.
It is also a lasting legacy of her trauma, that she is entering this space, a Survivoral World without her Mother to console or remind her continually of their past together. That so many of these Survivor's have no other Family member to reconcile their deepest fears and terror to, the shock has been continual for more than 70 years now. For those like Arthur and Charlotte Baruch, Leslie Baruch's Parents, he knows too their fate and that of his Sister, Eva Baruch, as she too was deported to Riga and all were subsequently shot, sometime in 1942 in the Rumbula Forest. Surely such knowledge eats away at the core of the person, as surely as grief consumes us through our passage in our own time. It is inexplicable to me how such a coping mechanism can be extended to any Survivor who witnessed so must and knows far too much of an atrocity we are barely burdened with. But the Survivor knows and is enveloped in that knowledge we continually attempt to pry from them.
"..When I die there will be no one left who knew them. ..it keeps them alive when they are in people's memories." Leslie Baruch.
At some stage in our near future, the Survivor too will be gone and that too becomes the role of the writer to ensure that memory endures and the testimony for the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, for whom we did not know, that they are clearly Remembered. I have given myself 6,000,000 reasons to write and continuously write in their favour. All it has taken from me is to have a concern that is greater than my own, to share a grief that is ever present and deliver back to posterity a position that would not have ever countenanced this vast tragedy which has so diminished the civilising principles of our own humanity. That is then the key role of any of us who seek to deliver the message from those whose impression is an indellible link to the wastage of lives. That the actual atrocity must teach us that in their consumation from amongst us, which has added a massive stain to our own humanity, we pass along a love of those past so that we can deliver that empathy for others forward.
"..I have greatly enjoyed ..cooperation and friendship of my pupils. I have learned that ..in ..end nothing remains as satisfying as ..love of those who come after." Leonore Goldschmidt.
As I seek to end on a positive note, this journey of mine has encountered much and as I try and impress upon you the need to know that while denial will point away from the facts, the educating principles delivered within this School and to these Children will serve them well. If we are to acknowledge the sheer capacity of mass murder that was achieveable, we have to know too that it was enacted in a time of enlightenment of our civilising times. Clearly there is still a darkness surrounding the sought after remembrance of these 6,000,000 Jews and it is written in those same terms of an antisemitism that has persisted for more than 3,000 years. For me it is incomprehensible that after all they have suffered there is still a certain perception of these Murdered Jews which may be expressed as a hatred toward all Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or even nonJewish individuals and or even their property. While it is directed toward the Jewish community, its institutions and or its religious facilities, it endangers us all as intolerance maims us all.
What is gratifying to me is the empathy of the staff who are listening and the understanding of those Students catered for so capably.
This posting is for the Teachers, Pupils and Students of Our Lady of Compassion, a fitting name for those learning how best to deliver the ethos of Tolerance and Acceptance. So not only am I impressed by the way your attention was held, but your tribute to my effort ensures Memory goes forward with understanding. The number of thank you letters that have arrived are warming and quite humbling. My work feels more like a positive influence as you have taken on board the need to accept both tolerance and concern. History only moves forward once we have understood the message from the past and you, as our future, fully appreciate that the lessons taught are both poignant and truthful. My sincere thanks to you all, Teachers, Students and particularly for those named here, and I hope I have copied your names correctly, spelling not being a corrective text on its own, Thank You so Very Much.
Ailis, Ann, Anna, Antonia, Aoife, Bo, Claire, Chloe, Dan, Emelia, Evie, Fin, Harrison, J.E., Jack, James, June, Kim, Leon, Liam, Lorraine, Mary, Millie, Riyaan, Russell, Scarlett and Shay.
I am travelling back today and I wanted to thank you for the warmth of the welcome I received. Your Staff and Student body are a credit to the ethos of School governance. You should be rightly proud of the standard of empathy I witnessed. It was my privilege to know History is being learned with enthusiasm, care and concern. My message is a simple one and it has been greatly expanded by a Staff body keen to ensure lessons are learned. Your School has enhanced my experience.
Thank you Patrick.
Quite honestly it was my pleasure. With a subject so emotive, The Holocaust will always present challenges. Tolerance is high in that regard and your student body endorses the full ethos of the care and compassion necessary to ensure they become fully rounded and concerned Human Beings. I will publish my words and send them to you. Your School is known whenever I mention my work.
I hope that you have had a good weekend.
Thank you for the wonderful morning that you gave to our Year 5 and 6 children. I was so impressed at the way they were able to talk about what they had covered with you – it certainly left an impact – thanks again. I understand that the children were very reverent and listened well which is great to hear.
"..it is quite normal ..Sisters or Brothers quarrel ..at times ..so did Margot and Anne. ..main thing is to know ..you intend ..best ..even if opinions differ." Otto Frank.
ReflectionsPosted by P.A. Draigh Thu, December 13, 2018 20:39:15
"..More than once ..I've snapped at Mother. ..Why don't you just wash your hands of me. ..I'm a hopeless case." Anne Frank. Saturday January 30th. 1943.
We have a committed remit with History to recall with integrity what has occurred, what has transpired and what has taken place. As to what a tattooed fragment of a pyjama presents, we cannot estimate this if we might well lose sight of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. Such reading material, more novel than history, does not have a place in the context of The Holocaust which seeks to reveal the overall tragedy. For that reason, we simply must not plagiarise from Hitler's clear intention to annihilate the entirety of the Jewish World. For words to merely satiate a narrative so clearly undefined along the margins of the catastrophe is disingenuous to those Jews of this immense loss.
"..Why am I here. ..Because I am a Jew. ..Why am I telling you this. Because there are those who do not wish for my existence to be Remembered. Because I am a Jew. Because We are Jews. Because I am 4 years old. There is a Memorial plaque which recognises my existence but I would still have liked to have become a Person. A grown up. Please Always Remember Me. Never Forget I am Albert Finkelstein." Albert Finkelstein.
While the continuous predicament for European Jewry grew, Jews became more acutely aware of the hopelessness of their own worsening situation. Whether this awareness grew immediately from the resounding rhetoric of Hitler's 1920's speeches or from the burgeoning detail of the atrocity railed against the Jews of Germany, then Austria and the Czech lands throughout the 1930's, The Holocaust itslef fully emerged prior to History's giving of its accepted term. As Hitler's clear and Final Solution of the Jewish Question was delivered to the broader Reich, the broadest element of the Reich itself took to it and delivered a cataclysmic resolve which has 6,000,000 Jews interred, confined to spaces no longer known to History, let alone to the Jews who wish to remember the passing of their People.
"..I don't know secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know ..reasons why. There have been smarter ..stronger ..better looking men then me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost." Yisrael Kristal.
The destructive reality of what Hitler had envisaged came far too late for all too many of these Jews of Europe, given a hopeless choice which clearly did not exist to live past Hitler's intention to deprive them of life itself. Perceptibly, this suggestion of hopelessness is brought into life again and even in novel form it appears so as to transfix these Jews in time. In one such novel, there is that same symmetry between Anne Frank and where a writer details a life within the space of the atrocity and where bruno berates us with the sending away of gretel. Here, because she too was to be considered:
"..a Hopeless case." striped pyjamas. 2006.
we have an historical relevance from Anne Frank's very own Diary to borrow from. For anyone concerned with the full tenets of The Holocaust, or any of its sprawling aspects, its full certainty is neither open to debate nor delivered toward any contention. Nor should The Holocaust be positioned in any interpretation other than the occurrence of its factual nature. Perhaps some novel lessons are carefully contrived though, so by the time themes are adopted or words become borne by a newer narrative, we are moved toward an understanding along that very same road toward where we need to know and comprehend its fullest range of hate and atrocity. Here, where the Jewish People are met with rage and annihilation, there is little room for other than the positive aspects of research to give them a more meaningful place of respect.
"..I find myself standing at ..gates of Auschwitz. For it was there that my great-grandparents ..Moshe and Tzirel Herman ..and Yekusiel and Rivka Plattner ..were murdered ..leaving behind no graves at which to pray and meditate ..merely a few nameless fragments of bone and ash that have long since been swallowed by ..earth of that cursed ..hallowed place." Suri Cohen.
The Holocaust is in fact a hallowed space, a place so attached to the Memory of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, which manages still to live on, we cannot bar its way with deflection. We know that the lesson from the striped pyjamas was so ill learned by too many, as it is interpreted so wrongly that it becomes contentious to Jewish Memory. In the gassing of the kommandants Son, it was not damning enough of the extermination process as a whole, and became an opening to the interpretation which saw the gassing of that one individual Child as a singular wrong and not as a collective affront to our humanity. As the terror grips those inside, we should be fixed on the idea that our entire civilisation is exploding before our eyes and atrocity is the precursor to what will inevitably drive this World forward
"..reacting to something that has exploded on ..national conscience ..The Holocaust." Raul Hilberg.
But this illegitimacy over the over use of The Holocaust as a term of reference for anyone seeking to re-read the writings of those who Survived, those who certainly did not Survive or even those who have left us with a void in relation to their eternal presence in the catastrophe, this must not be confused by musings over narratives. This essential need to bring forth the memory of those whose own memory in extent within the destruction cannot be contrived to present an image which is illusionary. What is even more provocative, so as to strengthen the continuing causal debate over all and any accusation is this misuse of these Jews as an exercise in plaintive terms, unrelated to the truly shocking detail which consumed them. Certainly we accept the accusation of the personnel involved must fully extend to all those who remain complicit in the atrocity, but in terms which mark the destruction conducted by those responsible.
"..There is much to be done ..there is much that can be done. One person ..a Raoul Wallenberg ..an Albert Schweitzer ..one person of integrity ..can make a difference ..a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison ..our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry ..our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone ..that we are not forgetting them ..that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours ..that while their freedom depends on ours ..quality of our freedom depends on theirs." Elie Wiesel.
The accusation of History must especially apply to all of those duplicitous in any way and for those others both seeking to diminish or desensitise The Holocaust relevance. As a reminder too of what we have lost, we must protect the names of some 4,700,000 of these Murdered Jews and hopefully we will lead on toward knowing who all 6,000,000 Murdered Jews are. Elie Wiesel informed me personally, that I must not enter into this arena with other than the factual integrity inherent in the Truth of the Slaughter. So with that in mind, all x4 of my Books I hope and feel, were born with truth, honesty and an integrity belonging to 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. However, and for there is still a narrative discourse which might still overlay itself the crime of BabiYar, and this has halted a work of mine as it causes me concerns.
"..We had different measures of time ..we different ones. ..because of our difference were condemned once again." Ida Fink.
As I struggle with the evocative horror of The Holocaust in general and here at BabiYar in particular, away from those being different for my own difference, I am mindful of what separated those declared different and for murderous intentions. Attached to an historic resonance, the detail of the the Slaughter process can always be added to. Here too, and while I balk at the mere mention of wilkomirski, a fragment of whose integrity is totally debased, and I have no wish to relay the deviant nature of the words it contains, I am using words which will afford memory a more concerted promise than false words, biased words or lies. The truth is the only evocation that will ensure the finality for the existence of these 6,000,000 Jews is deep in meaning and relevant to us taking this World forward.
"..A good hearted female doctor was trying to hide my Child ..Mengele found her without effort. Eva's feet were full of sore wounds. ..He transported his human material to ..Krematorium on yellow colored trucks." Agnes Zsolt.
What any such works adds to the broadening struggle to remember must surely condemn the lies of those who demean the very nature of an intolerable evil done against innocent People for being Jewish People. So for me, to ensure the regularity and consistency of the truth is maintained, all factual relevance must be truthfully correct. Agreed, I borrow words which present meaning to the missing from those who save the memory of those they have truly lost. I am much identified with a curious derision for being outside the wounded of Judaism, whose suffering is spelled out harmfully, but with no desire to issue any further harm. But for those who know Eva Heyman's last moments were directed by one such as Mengele, I feel the pain, I too feel the anger and I too am shamed that this could be done.
"..I was ..not telling ..story of ..Holocaust ..but a Holocaust story ..Lale and Gita Sokolov's story." tatooist. 2018.
Of course there are victories to be had, and the story of Lale Sokolov and Gisela Furman is indeed one of those. It is as a love story borne out of the misery of Auschwitz that hope can still be instilled and even gained. Here, even in Auschwitz and Birkenau, in fact in all x6 Death Camps in Poland, simple choices could still be made. Even though any choice at all was to be made as directed within those given parameters left over from the destructive intention, the intention to destroy was never negated. That intention too was written in the form of a tattoo which limited the extended life of those Jews of Auschwitz. Here, for Jews whose furlow there was always ahead of the antechamber to Birkenau's destructive capacity, a choice to be made could never prevail over what had always been clearly intended for the Jews who entered here.
"..If you woke up and were alive ..it was a good day." Lale Sokolov.
Hope was always a choice and love could be forged from that hopeful desire to Survive on what could still be perceived as a good day. However, what we might borrow then from The Holocaust is only ever pertinent to the factual truth and its integrity. This usage of the Catastrophe to embellish the narrative or alter the perception of its direction must not deviate the course of a principled study of research. We must always remain vigilant and consistent with what is always going to be missing from the pages of history and these are the 6,000,000 Jewish lives, Jewish Men, Jewish Women and Their Jewish Children. How one is supposed to relate the facts of this sudden impactful change upon their very existence is best left to those who can equate it with the terms of reference appropriate to what actually happened to them.
"..on July 12 th. 1942 at 3:00 am ..our lives changed forever. ..forced ..to leave our apartment. ..only a few belongings ..we walked miles until we reached a truck depot. ..my family and 1,000's of Jews were crammed on to trucks ..driven to ..Paris sports stadium ..spent several days without food and water. ..smell was horrific. No one knew what was going on." Cecile Kaufer.
Of course the intention of the fragmentary pyjama or tatooist novella must be mindful of that regard for a history which fully relies upon what truth seeks to Remember. For 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish Men, Women and Their Children consumed within an all too often expressed intention, dilution of that more than obvious intention is an intolerable affront to these 6,000,000 Jewish memories. Reference points in any narrative that suggests other than the final demand of Hitler was to destroy all Jews within Europe must not gain any source toward resonance. The ugly truth of a demand which sought out for Slaughter these Jewish People is unequivocal in its certainty and there is no need to distinguish words from that fact. The last word becmes the commencement of all regards The Holocaust, a body taken fro us who stands so tall in pointing us frward and in the right direction.
"..A bundle of contradictions was ..end of my previous letter and is ..beginning of this one." Anne Frank. Tuesday August 1st. 1944.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, November 26, 2018 13:25:04
"..I hope I will be able to confide everything to you ..as I have never been able to confide in anyone ..and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support." Anne Frank.
I have been searching for the appropriate words to lend them toward some form of comprehension, not only for what happened to 6,000,000 Jews of Europe but for what we allowed to become Their Holocaust. I want to write a piece too on my relationship with the words of Anne 'Annalies Marie' Frank. For me, and because Anne is so well known, I will write more about the loss of Anne Frank to her Family and to us all than perhaps a more obvious narrative on her life in our times. To that end I will add to my recent travels to the x6 Death Camps in Poland, established by Hitler for the Destruction of all of European Jewry. From amongst Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka and Auschwitz Birkenau, this final industrial scale murder facility, will house Anne Frank and Family and the other occupants of The Secret Annexe.
For a time, all remained to survive here, but a permanent place of Remembrance is reserved for both Edith Frank and Hermann van Pels. For me, between November 2nd. and November 4th. 2018 I will visit Anne Frank's last bolt hole of Survival, The Anne Frank Museum. As Anne, and her Family and Friends struggled with what was impacting upon the community of Jews of all Europe, their complete destruction, the four walls which detained them are a permanent Memorial to why hatred is wrong and why Humanity is more important than not. Today, not only does The Anne Frank House stand as a memorial to a Young Girl, who gifted us so much in learning from her of the values of the tolerances required of a generation that so cruelly abandoned them, it is for us to ensure the proper lessons are taken forward. As the hatred unfolds toward the Jews of Europe, the Jewish population of Amsterdam was approximately 80,000 as some pro Nazi Dutch welcomed Hitler's Invasion of the Netherland's, on May 10th. 1940.
"..When disaster happens slowly ..in installments ..people have a tendency to accept each installment. ..This is what happened here. So I think we cannot afford to stay silent and just hope for ..best." Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs.
The previous declaration of neutrality, as Hitler struck at Poland September 1st. 1939 could not now save the Netherlands. Hitler's orders to invade the Country, and the subsequent and devastating assault upon Rotterdam on May 13th. 1940 brought the City to its knees and was followed by the Netherlands complete capitulation the following day, May 14th.1940. With the Dutch forces in disarray, they surrendered as the government and the Dutch Royal Family fled to London, and so abandoning all responsibility for its People. The whole of Holland, the Netherlands, was still home to more than 160,000 Jews, many of these refugees from Hitler's Jewish persecution in Germany, Austria and Poland and of these 106,000 Jews would never see the end of Hitler's War.
My visit to Amsterdam, and my purpoe in visiting The Anne Frank House, was fortuitous in many ways. Across the road from the Westerkerk, this church is located to the side of the Anne Frank House, I stayed in a Hotel within earshot of the same sounds which kept Anne somewhat occupied for some of those 2 years in hiding. Here, where Anne listened to these same chimes, and looked out onto the clock face on the Westertoren I could see for myself, I could walk past it and know, Anne too had been here. From the attic of the Secret Annexe, she noted in her Diary on July 11th. 1942 and wrote:
Saturday July 11th. 1942
"..Dearest Kitty ..Father ..Mother ..Margot still can't get used to ..chiming of ..Westertoren clock ..which tells us ..time every quarter of an hour. Not me ..I liked it from ..start ..it sounds so reassuring ..especially at night. You no doubt want to hear what I think of being in hiding. Well ..all I can say is that I don't really know yet. I don't think I'll ever feel at home in this house ..but that doesn't mean I hate it. It's more like being on vacation in some strange pension. Kind of an odd way to look at life in hiding ..but that's how things are. ..Annex is an ideal place to hide in. It may be damp and lopsided ..but there's probably not a more comfortable hiding place in all of Amsterdam. No ..in all of Holland. ..building on our right is a branch of ..Keg Company ..a firm from Zaandam ..and on ..left ..a furniture workshop. Though ..people who work there are not on ..premises after hours ..any sound we make might travel through ..walls. Someone's calling me. Yours." Anne.
Here too, alongside the spices Otto had imported were the Furniture and Keg makers plying their trades. Also, and from amongst these craftsmen are some of the 30 or so Diamond Exchange Centers that had existed for the World of Diamonds. Within Amsterdam, which was the oldest Exchange Centre for the trade in Diamonds right up until Hitler's intervention into the Netherlands, much of this particular trade has now been lost. Clearly, and due to the pertinent fact that most of the Diamond industry was conducted by Jewish workers, cutters and traders, the Jewish decimation in The Holocaust signalled, not only their loss of life, but was as significantly marked as it ensured their trading presence fell into such a sharp decline. Such loss though, still managed to secure for Hitler's coffers, a vast enrichment with the confiscation of all Diamonds.
Not just these, but their material worth in land, assets, monies and all gains from all and any Jewish enterprise encountered was to be confiscated. It is ironic though, that when you stand in a space the size of an average room and try and imagine how these 8 Jewish People could live, cramped up for nearly two years, there is no sense of how it was possible to be gained. However, from July 6th. 1942 until August 4th. 1944, Anne Frank, her Sister Margot Frank, Parents Edith Frank and Otto Frank and Auguste van Pels, Hermann van Pels, Peter van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer, all cohabited a space less fit for a Family of 4. Such is that space it is hard to imagine such a Family's trouble with the limited accomodation, let alone the tighter control exacted with an intrusion of 4 other hidden Jews. But Human kindness found its way into the darkest of difficult times and Otto's express wish to help, assist and cooperate with these 4 others, is a marvel of compassion.
Monday November 2nd. 1942
"..Dear Kitty ..Bep stayed with us Friday evening. It was fun ..but she didn't sleep very well because she'd drunk some wine. For ..rest ..there's nothing special to report. I had an awful headache yesterday and went to bed early. Margot's being exasperating again. This morning I began sorting out an index card file from ..office ..because it'd fallen over and gotten all mixed up. Before long I was going nuts. I asked Margot and Peter to help ..but they were too lazy ..so I put it away. I'm not crazy enough to do it all by myself." Anne Frank.
There are modest comic touches in what Anne can deliver and with Anne's deprecation of her own impatience, we can begin to see such a warm and gentle soul emerging. What with her mixing with the excesses of survival's greatest trick, managing to stay alert and not go nuts, Anne is somewhat gifted with an ability to make things seem somehow ordinary. It must never be forgotten though, tht in these x2 years of incarceration, nothing can be remotely declared as being in the slightest bit ordinary. Even the light through the windows hid a route in whch gave a spy or a collaborastor could catch a glimpse of another world hidden away from Hitler's express wish to harm all those inside. You stand in those closed in spaces and you cannot begin to visualise what was being enacted as tempers freyed and arguments aired themselves.
Thursday March 25th. 1943
"..Dearest Kitty ..Mother ..Father ..Margot and I were sitting quite pleasantly together last night when Peter suddenly came in and whispered in Father's ear. I caught ..words ..a barrel falling over in ..warehouse ..and ..someone fiddling with ..door. ..Margot heard it too ..but was trying to calm me down ..since I'd turned white as chalk and was extremely nervous. ..three of us waited while Father and Peter went downstairs. ..Once again we waited and waited ..but heard nothing. Finally we came to ..conclusion ..burglars had taken to their heels when they heard footsteps in an otherwise quiet building. ..problem now was ..chairs in ..private office ..were neatly grouped around ..radio ..tuned to England. If ..burglars had forced ..door and ..air raid wardens were to notice it and call ..police ..there could be very serious repercussions. ..Incidents like these are always accompanied by other disasters ..and this was no exception. ..Westertoren bells stopped chiming ..and I'd always found them so comforting. ..night had just begun ..we still weren't sure what to expect. ..somewhat reassured by ..fact ..between 8:15 when ..burglar had first entered ..building ..put our lives in jeopardy ..and 10:30 ..we hadn't heard a sound. ..more we thought about it ..less likely it seemed that a burglar would have forced a door so early in ..evening ..when there were still people out on ..streets. Besides ..it occurred to us that ..warehouse manager at ..Keg Company ..might still have been at work. What with ..excitement and ..thin walls ..it's easy to mistake ..sounds. ..your imagination often plays tricks on you in moments of danger. So we went to bed ..though not to sleep. Father ..Mother ..Mr. Dussel were awake most of ..night ..and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I hardly got a wink of sleep. Yours." Anne.
It goes without saying that the tension during the entire period would be even more heightened from time to time. Anne is often forthright in what she sees as near misses, as those misconceptions over what was happeneing outside came to haunt their innermost and hidden thoughts. Imagination is a great source of trickery to the minds eye which sees all manner of ailments in nothing more than a creaking floor or the wind through a crease in a roof tile. I am mindful of the renovation work that has been done to confer Museum status upon this Secret Annexe. But for me as I attempt to place Anne and the other's, either pacing the rooms or sitting still a panic looms again, I can still relate the sounds to previous endeavours for them to ignore their benign presence within their still cramped space.
Tuesday August 10th. 1943
"..Dearest Kitty ..We've all been a little confused this past week because our dearly beloved Westertoren bells have been carted off to be melted down for ..war ..so we have no ..idea of ..exact time ..either night or day. I still have hopes that they'll come up with a substitute ..made of tin or copper or some such thing ..to remind ..neighborhood of ..clock. ..Yours ..Anne." Anne Frank.
The chiming then of the carillon, the tuned bells in the Westertoren, the actual tower itself of this Westerkerk, was such a comfort for Anne. For me, and as I listened intently too, as I sought to imagine its delivery of a peace and soothing rendition to not just Anne, but perhaps to other's who might have been appraised on the passage of time and the nearness of liberation, I was in the pages of Anne's Diary recalling her exact words. However, for Anne, this source of comfort mocked an almost futile attempt by so many Jews to evade their own capture. For the sanctuary status of these church's, whether protestant or catholic as a whole, they mnaged not to share any greater indignation than what was demanded of a compassionate nor christian ethos. It is difficult for those whose own upbringing tught them the meaning of such compassion to know, it did not avail itself for those Jews, 106,000 of whom would be lost to the Netherlands in the grist mills of destruction that were Sobibor, Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Wednesday November 3rd. 1943
"..Dearest Kitty ..To take our minds off matters as well as to develop them ..Father ordered a catalog from a correspondence school. ..We've decided that from now on ..stove is going to be lit at 7:30 on Sunday mornings instead of 5:30. I think it's risky. What will ..neighbors think of our smoking chimney. ..same with ..curtains. Ever since we first went into hiding ..they've been tacked firmly to ..windows. ..That's how every act of carelessness begins and ends. No one will notice ..no one will hear ..no one will pay ..least bit of attention. Yours." Anne.
We tend to forget at times the very simple detail of cautious awareness that can seem largely exagerated at times. But, be it a lit stove, or a curtain that flickers open to deliver a brief glimpse of the hidden world behind it, would make the tension that could so grind the soul. As we stand here, almost privileged to immerse ourselves in their struggle for life, which was roundly to be denied 8 Jews here and from the entirety of World Jewry, none too many from the statistical analysis which Hitler had his charges undertake, would survive. We too have become aware that Otto was amongst these few, as he was the only one to Survive the secret of the annexe. Anne and the others shared the fate of some 6,000,000 other Jews, plundered from their homes and divested of life in a murder apparatus that sprung into aktionen on a continental scale.
Monday February 28th. 1944
"..My dearest Kitty ..It's like a nightmare, one that goes on long after I'm awake. .. In ..distance a clock was tolling. ..I'm sentimental ..I know. I'm despondent and foolish ..I know that too. Oh ..help me. Yours." Anne M. Frank.
We can so easily immerse ourselves, and so deeply engage in the tragedy for these Jews of The Holocaust, that we can still too easily forget their human tragedy. We can Never be immune to the effect of the overwhelming tragedy which swept 6,000,000 People toward oblivion, simply because they were Jews. For all my research, I am always prepared for what is next, and visits to the 6 Death Camps tested me as they required a knowledge of what lies beneath their surface, was literally countless 1,000,000's of Murdered Jewish People. So here I am in Amsterdam, and I was sat in my Hotel room and I could hear the peel of church bells. It was a simple sound but that it was from other than from the Westertoten itslef, it struck me. I wondered if I too was listening to that same clock toll its times and the sound from a clock which must have reminded Anne that life continues outside her hiding place, marks a reflective impression.
Friday March 10th. 1944
"..My dearest Kitty .. proverb ..Misfortunes never come singly ..definitely applies to today. ..Let me tell you ..awful things that have happened and ..are still hanging over our heads. ..Miep is sick. ..She caught cold in ..Westerkerk. ..police have arrested a man ..whose name I won't put in writing. It's terrible not only for him ..but for us as well ..since he's been supplying us with potatoes ..butter ..jam. Mr. M. ..has 5 children under ..13 ..another on ..way. Last night we had another ..scare ..in ..middle of dinner ..someone knocked on ..wall next door. For ..rest of ..evening we were nervous and gloomy. Yours." Anne M. Frank.
I could stand upon the balcony which faced the Westerkerk and I could clearly see that alongside this church there now stood the Anne Frank Museum. It appears as though a shield has been thrown around the old building, and surely these are purely there to stem the effects of weather degradation. But that defensive shroud, as we reflect back to Friday August 4th. 1944, where there is another day of fear is to torn from securing the safety of those soon to be exposed. Still, there is an expectation and there is a continued hope for those of the Annexe as another day beckons the future. However, at 10:30 am, the SD led by SS Hauptscharfuhrer Karl Josef Silberbauer, of the SS secret police, the Sicherheitsdienst, arrive at the factory. They are fully armed so as to ensure the peaceable arrest of those Jews they have been informed are hidden and they have come to collect.
As these Nazi's seek the attention of those they now are aware have been secretly hiding Anne and the other Jews of the Annexe, an emotional fear braces these helpers. Making their way forward, up the stairs and finding that the Annexe is secreted behind the bookcase. Behind that bookcase, which now lays open, there is a step which leads to a white door and beyond this, Otto Frank, Edith Frank, Margot Frank, Anne Frank, Hermann van Pels, Auguste van Pels, Peter van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer are taken by surprise. As their secret has been uncovered all manner of fear and terror must have confronted them. Here in microcosym, the fate of so many is played out and even after 2 years of hiding, there was always the hope of safety and the fear of being exposed. That exposition came abruptly and the wheels of a final resolve would be brought to bear and 7 more Jews would add to the Catastrophe weighted so heavily against them.
"..It did not end with ..betrayal ..I believe that my father blackmailed Otto Frank." Anton Ahlers.
The tragedy for Dutch Jewry is exemplified here in terrifying exactness and in cold relief we are witness to the mounting tragedy which had engulfed European Jewry over the past 4 years in the Netherlands. Though the entire tragedy for Dutch Jewry is under exposed, it is equally less disclosed than it should be. While history has not forgotten what many Dutch people did for their Jewish Community, we must remember the sheer enormity of the assault upon Jewish existence here in the Netherlands. While strikes were held and protests made, and when it became a struggle over life or death, many like the 4 main helpers of the Secret Annexe, acted with courage, compassion and a moral probity that was ethically firm.
Here, and if we take as an example the case of Anne Frank, we know full well the tragedy for those 8 of the secret Annexe. Though Otto Frank Survived to remind us of the struggle that they has all fought to Survive, Otto's soul was destroyed by an incalculable loss. What brought the end to the captive security from within the Secret Annexe cannot now be answered by the man who so betrayed them, Tonny Ahlers. However, as with all collaboration, and also with the opposite response from those, in saving Jews from Hitler, it would not only be the Jews alone who would be penalised for both any collaborative effort on behalf of those who might betray the Jewish People and more certainly for those who showed their humanity was shown.
"..All 4 immediately agreed ..though they were fully aware of ..dangerous task they would be taking upon themselves them in doing so. By Nazi law everyone helping Jews was severely punished and risked being put into prison ..being deported or ..shot." Otto Frank.
For Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl the ramifications for their shared humanity were enormous. As for Jan Gies, Miep's Husband and for Jan Voskuijl, Bep's Father, their assistance came with the same level of deadly threat. The fall out for any of these could have so easily been extended to every branch of all of these Familily's. In truth, no one knew exactly where the sword would fall for the correctness of an attempt to save human beings from persecution, prosecution and destruction. How could these saviours of human dignity know their own fate. How could the fate of so many helpers of Jews, and throughout these Netherlands be considered other than fluid. With Hitler hell bent upon the destruction of all of Jewry, and by 1944 that resolve was clearly known to all who chose to see, hear and witness its reality.
"..Never have they uttered a single word about ..burden we must be ..never have they complained that we were too much trouble. They come upstairs every day and talk to ..Men about business and politics ..to ..Women about food and wartime difficulties and to ..Children about books and newspapers." Anne Frank.
Wherever the drive for The Final Solution raged, and for all those who acted with similar compassion for Friends, Neighbours or complete strangers, their fate would be inextricably weighted against them, and alongside the Annihilation awaiting All Jews. By now, SS Hauptcharfuhrer Silbebauer has called for a truck to deliver the 8, former Jewish residents of the Secret Annexe to Gestapo headquarters at Euterpestraat. Within minutes all 8 of these hidden Jews were out on the Street in the full glare of day and seeing their first sign of outside daylight in over 2 years. Gestapo headquarters at Euterpestraat was a brief sojourn for the 8 before their removal to the prison on Weteringschans the following Morning, Saturday August 5th. 1944. Then, on Tuesday August 8th. 1944 they were all again moved toward Amsterdam's Central Station
"..Frank girls looked terrible ..their hands and bodies covered with spots and sores from ..scabies. ..They were in a very bad way ..pitiful ..that’s how I thought of them." Ronnie Goldstein van Cleef.
From the train Station, and along with 72 other's, they were embarked on the next stage of the journey, this time to the Westerbork Concentration Camp. Westerbork detention camp, and hut 67 now awaited them and this too was merely a prelude from harm. Along that road toward their total degradation this transport hub for so many Jews being sent toward the East was a focal point from where where both Sobibor and Auschwitz awaited the Jews of the Netherlands. The transport which took Anne and her fellow Annexe survivors was amongst the last Dutch transports to leave toward Auschwitz. Indeed, their own transport on September 3rd. 1944 was the final transport of some 83 such resettlement transports which took 106,000 Dutch Jews toward extinction. This final transport however, was still specifically a death train, even as Russian pressure along the entire front was now fast approaching Auschwitz itself.
"..They had little squabbles ..caused by their illness, because it was clear they had typhus. " Rachel van Amerongen Frankfoorder.
Along the route of these journeys, in the Camps that came to recognise Anne and Margot's presence, there would be Janny Brandes Brilleslijper, Lenie de Jong van Naarden, Bloeme Evers Emden, Ronnie Goldstein van Cleef, Hannah Goslar, Nanette Konig and Rachel van Amerongen Frankfoorder who would recall them. Here, and these were amongst many Jews from all over Europe who touched upon Anne and Margot's fight for Survival, little knowing the impact Anne would have upon the World. Those who recalled Anne, Margot and even Edith would be forced to come to terms with what was known at the time and what will be then become known as The Holocaust. Separately, these individuals had met both Anne and Margot, either in both the transit Camp at Westerbork or then into Birkenau.
"..When ..Anne was in hiding ..her Mother was someone against whom she rebelled. ..in ..camp ..all of that actually completely fell away. By giving each other mutual support ..they were able to keep each other alive ..although no one can fight typhus." Bloeme Evers-Emden.
Their arrival at Auschwitz was on the Night of September 5th. and 6th. 1944 and upon their arrival at Camp of Auschwitz, they were sent forward toward Birkenau. Having been sealed into a cattle car for some 48 hours, they were amongst 1,019 Jews on this SD Transport. Amongst them, 498 Jewish Men, 442 Jewish Women and 79 Jewish Children, a selection was made. Of these 258 Jewish Men were selected for a momentary reprieve as were 212 Jewish Women, selective to service the demands of the SS overseers. However, for all of these other 549 Jews from this transport, these Jewish People are immediately gassed. There was the hand of fate playing here and all the Annexed 8 managed to survive this immediate selection. It is now known to History what happened and when, though not strictly in any sense of an exacting date for the final many for many of them.
There is no particualr resting place for them all as can be stressed for the 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust. Finally though, Birkenau expelled Anne and Margot and enroute toward Belsen, they heaed toward the space where both Anne and Margot did not Survive. Many other's travelled along the same route and some of these remained to recollect their memory of them both. In a mixture of the Camps that both Anne and Margot were in, they touched other's. For the 8 of the Secret Annexe, their story is a well worn narrative. For Otto Frank, who was born on May 12th. 1889, much of his story will be told through the narrative account of his future Wife Edith Holland Frank and their two Daughter's Margot and of course Anne. Some time between July and August 1933 Otto Frank goes to Holland to establish a new business.
On September 15th. 1933 Otto sets up his Opekta import business in Amsterdam and what history makes us aware of is, that Otto is secretly extricating himself and his Family from Hitler's Nazi control. The vitriol of hatred has spread from the rhetoric of hate to the commital of hatred. The vile and vicious nature of that hatred is being applied thoroughly and throughout his beloved Germany. While Edith, Margot and Anne stay behind in Aachen, Otto is concerned enough about the swell of anti-Jewish feeling, that he ventures forth alone. Soon after, and during November 1933 Edith joins her Husband while Margot follows in December. Anne remains behind until February 16th. 1934 and once again they are a united Family together. This is in a way a Birthday surprise for Anne's big Sister Margot.
The success of Otto's gambit is witnessed by which the Frank Family manage integrate into Dutch Society. But that ease of situation is not a permanent one when Hitler's forces cross into the Netherlands, May 14th. 1940. History is now entwined in the passages of a Book that has yet to be written. As we move firmly toward betrayal and the savagery that is to be witnessed by all Jews who enter places like Auschwitz and Birkenau, that detail is to be experienced by in excess of 4,000,000 Jews of Europe. Skipping forward, Otto Frank was admitted to the Auschwitz Death Camp, Birkenau and received his tatooed number B-9174. What that experience amounted to is the subject of Otto's own life tale. His progress toward safety is not easily made and the fretful duration brings him to the realisation of what he has lost and a realignment with whjat remains for him.
The day of liberation, what is recalled as Holocaust Remembrance day, January 27th. 1945 sees Otto free to make his journey home. He would make it firstly toward to Odessa en-route toward finding out all that he had ever loved had been taken away from him. What Otto was finally forced to acknowledge came in a letter he wrote on July 7th. 1945 and a snippet of that sentiment struck me as I read it on the Wall in the Anne Frank Huis. Having studied The Holocaust for so long now, I realised I was never going to remain immune from what intrinsically touches one's inner being, the loss to Humanity of these 6,000,000 Human Beings. To see in such cold relief the astonishing level of hatred that consumed these People, and simply because of their Jewish antecedence. This all stands in marked contrast to the reality that faced all the Jews of Europe threatened by Hitler and it is a margin which runs between fear and hope.
"..I have to accept ..fact of Edith's death ..but I keep hoping I can find my Children. That is what I am living for at ..moment. I gravitate between hope and fear." Otto Frank.
Edith (Hollander) Frank was born on January 16th. 1900 and in between her early life and coming to prominence in the story of a Young Girl's hope's and aspirations, this Mother is born. Edith had a typical upbringing and schooling, though a Christian Girl's School does appear somewhat at odds and apart from what enmeshed the Jewish People in a wholly unchristian context. On May 12th. however life has its up and in 1925 Edith Hollander marries Otto Frank and now comes to our attention as the narrative of this story finally emerges. I think it is with a huge level of sadness that what Otto finally discovers in the pages of Anne's Diary will be the common theme of a Young Girl emerging from the shadow of a Mother who gave rise to her prominence.
"..I was concerned ..there was not a particularly good understanding between my Wife and Anne ..and I believe my Wife suffered more from this than Anne. In reality ..she was an excellent mother ..who went to any lengths for her children. She often complained that Anne was against everything she did but it was consolation for her to know that Anne trusted me." Otto Frank.
Edith is often so much a a hidden character in what we learn from Anne but she is a constant in all the lives of the Frank's and those who came to seek a shelter from the impending storm. Edith managed to Survive until weeks, or even days before the final liberation of Auschwitz on January 27th. 1945, even though liberation was not the full saving grace for so many totally debilitated Survivors. For Edith, the certainty was to be a cold reality which faced all too many and yet, it was always an opportunity to know you had Survived Hitler's intentions for those gifted to do so. It is somewhat ironic that in conversation with Miep Gies Edith confided in her that she shielded her entire Family and the other hidden of the Annexe of her fears for their future.
"..What she needed to talk about ..which she couldn’t talk about in front of ..others ..was that she was suffering under a great weight of despair. Although ..others were counting ..days until ..Allies came ..Mrs. Frank confessed that she was deeply ashamed of ..fact that she felt ..end would never come." Miep Gies.
It has to be imagined, that in that hidden 2 year period, hope was beginning to slip away from all of those couped up in such a small space, and Edith was no exception. It is evidently clear though, Edith never gave way to any such negative feelings of open despair. Though Edith must have been sharply in contradiction with herself as the hopeful expression given over to succeeding, survivng and staying alive did not betray her inner fear. Toward the latter part of her life, as Stalin's forces relentlessly advanced and reached into the heart of Poland, Edith was drawing close to her last moments. It was abundantly clear to a World at War, and by the end of September 1944 it was more apparent than ever that Hitler's grasping hold on a greater Reich was being gradually diminished, beaten and then crushed.
However, this did not preclude further transports reaching Auschwitz for Birkenau and they dutifully arrived from Budapest, Lodz, Pruszkow, these remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Slovenia, Vienna and of course the Westerbork Transport which had brought the detainees from the Secret Annexe. Then, during October 1944 from amongst many of the camp’s 39,000 women prisoners, both Margot and Anne were entrained for Belsen. From here on in, and while it is without certainty exactly when, Edith Frank finally succumbed sometime on January 6th. 1945 to the grief over the obvious loss of her Children Margot and Anne and to a place that was to remain unknown to her. I have no doubt too that Edith was further impacted by the very debilitating and catastrophic effects of exhaustion and starvation that was the mainstay for those Jews held over temporsrily from the immediate intention to Murder them all.
"..Edith died ..in bed ..next to me." Rosa de Winter-Levy.
Edith had been compelled to allow both Margot and Anne to leave Birkenau and her broken heart fixed Edith to that space within Birkenau. As another Dutch Jew, who knew the Frank Women, Young and Older at Auschwitz, a little more light is shone on a very dark chapter in Jewish existence and the Frnk's persistence. When the Sisters were confined to the scabies barrack, Lenie de Jong van Naarden helped Edith Frank dig a hole under the structure of the barrack so as to smuggle bread to her daughters. The ingenuity of captives, even within the Death Camp system, was remarkably adaptive to the prevailing stench of destruction which surrounded them. Life, marginally above the level of what existed for those who were consumed with the gas chambers, served to remind all Jews, their fate was sealed.
"..In ..barracks where ..Frank girls were ..Women went crazy ..completely crazy. ..There were people who threw themselves against ..electric fence. ..To work it out completely alone ..that didn’t work ..even very strong women broke down." Lenie de Jong van Naarden.
Margot Frank, was born on February 16th. 1926 and is schooled early on in her life, in Germany and then in Amsterdam. After Otto feels certain that all their lives are at risk, Schooling in Germany becomes a deeply negative concept. Laws were passed which would place all Jews outside the remit for education, outside the remit for life within Germany and finally, outside the essential to life itself for them. For any Child growing amidst the terrifying spectacle of outright hatred for them, because they were Jews, I cannot even begin to inform you here of what that must have been like. How Children must have felt or bre the scars of such intolerances toward them or indeed how Parents could recover their Children from the very trauma they faced on a daily basis and simply for being Jews, so escapes me it shocks my core.
"..Margot is very kind and would like me to confide in her ..but I can't tell her everything. She takes me too seriously ..far too seriously ..and spends a lot of time thinking about her loony Sister ..looking at me closely whenever I open my mouth and wondering ..is she acting ..or does she really mean it." Anne Frank.
The pace of Margot's life is ground to a stalled halt as on July 5th. 1942, Margot herself receives her summons. This letter from the Gestapo, for Margot to report to a work camp somewhere in Germany stuns a frightened Family. This clearly alerts Otto once again to the grave danger for them and they set upon a course that is about to move them out of harms way. It is important to reflect her that all through their lives, Margot was with her Sister and in these formative years, it all proves pivotal in their growth as Sister's, as Friends at the best and worst of times and always totally reliant upon each other. Through the dark days of the Annexe in hiding and then discovery, through arrest, incarceration, imprisonment and then on to the Westerbork Concentration Camp, Margot and Anne were connected, rooted to each other. Together they then resisted the struggle to simply die in the Birkenau Death Camp.
"..Typhus was ..hallmark of ..Belsen ..Anne and Margot had those hollowed out faces ..skin over bone. They were terribly cold. They had ..least desirable places in ..barracks ..below ..near ..door ..which was constantly opened and closed. You could really see both of them dying." Rachel van Amerongen Frankfoorder.
Even before Margor or Anne could be liberated by the approaching Russian forces, both she and Anne were removed toward Belsen. Here, in this holding Camp, where the utter chaos of death had replaced the organised structure of destruction was also to become an antechamber to that hell which had always been Auschwitz and more certainly Birkenau. In Belsen, Margot was the first to die, and she succumbed to the brutality of an intolerance heavily weighted against her. At sometime during February 1945, and this is contested and uncertain, Margot dies of the effects of typhus. Also, and hile her Sister Anne died days later, their close proximity to each other within the confines of Belsen holds them bonded together more closely and by more than their Jewish nature which had condemned them both to this end.
"..Margot had fallen out of bed onto ..stone floor ..she couldn’t get up anymore. Anne died a day later. 3 days before her death from typhus was when Anne had thrown away all of her clothes during dreadful hallucinations. That happened just before ..liberation." Janny Brandes Brilleslijper.
Annalies Marie Frank, better known to the World of Humanity as Anne Frank, was born on June 12th. 1929. The very detail of Anne's life is well written and documented into the very fabric of what The Holocaust means for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. That is true also for the Jewish People in general and for Humanity in particular. For Anne Frank, who was with her Sister Margot to the very end and for whom both had resisted the struggle to die in the Birkenau Death Camp, life would be now measured by the struggle to live. After just a few weeks, within that deeply disturbing struggle to survive what Birkenau threw at them, both Anne and Margot contracted scabies.
This ailment, which was so rampant amongst these debilitated human beings so low in their immunity to disease, took hold of those who had little resources to fight them off. These skin mites tore at the human defence mechanism like no other and further brought the disintegration of so many survivng, ever closer toward extinction. It is a calamity for anyone to have to speak in such terms about Human beings, for them being so on the brink of annihilation and to being so ravaged by their situation that they disintgrated externally as they disappeared internally. But this was the reality for 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, whose course had wound them toward such an ignominy and insistence upon their destruction. Of course so many other's suffered a similar fate, but it has never been decidedly confirmed so systematically, as Hitler had placed for the Jews as on the Final Solution of the Jewish People.
"..I saw Anne walking on ..other side of some barbed wire. I couldn't go near it .though ..I would have been tortured or killed. ..later ..able to talk. ..She was depleted ..wrapped in blankets because her clothes were full of lice. ..It was from Anne that I learnt what was happening in Auschwitz." Nanette Konig.
Within the scabies barrack, both Margot and Anne were alone, no longer sheltered from the storm by the closeness of Family. Though Edith somehow managed and made efforts to ensure they were as cared for as was humanly possible, it is an unbearable reality for all Jews confined within the sphere of the intention to destroy them, that Family ties were merely a momentry interlude in what was always Hitler's intention for them all. Somehow both Margot and Anne survived, but only until they were forced elsewhere, and Belsen will find them both consigned to the fate Hitler had assigned them. Here in Belsen, Margot was the first to die of the effects of typhus while Anne died later both uncertain as to the fate of the other it has to be assumed and both almost certainly unsure as to the fate of both of their Parents, Edith and Otto.
"..We did our best to help them. ..Not only Anne and Margot ..but also ..other girls we knew went regularly to provide them with a little balance and sometimes a little culture." Janny Brandes Brilleslijper.
Some testimony's give the specific date for Anne's death as March 31st. 1945, but certainty cannot be given over to this as clarity is hardly the prevailing recollections for those who struck a deal with death so as to gain life. Clearly though, both Anne and Margot were to be remembered by some of those who touched them and were even touched by their prevailing strength in having survived for so long. Many survivors too speak of both Sister's as they too followed them through the struggle for life in the Camps of Westerbork and Auschwitz and even into the jaws of the destructive capacity that was the Death Camp Birkenau and then onto the camp of death that was Belsen. It is essential to ensure memory does not diffuse the differences with the similarity's that met those Jews who did not emerge from the system of Camps, Hitler established.
"..Anne was very calm and quiet and somewhat withdrawn ..and often stood next to me at appell and Margot was close by. ..fact that they had ended up there had affected Anne profoundly ..that was obvious." Ronnie Goldstein-van Cleef.
There were a total of x6 Death Camps, established by Hitler within Poland and these were solely designed for the purpose of the annihilation of those Jews assigned to them. That other than Jew's died in those Death Camps is certain. That Jews did and were Murdered in every Camp that Hitler established, also within Poland but elsewhere throughout Europe, camps designed to wholly contain them, does not make of them Death Camps. Even though Jewish death was a product of the camps existence, the systematic, mechanised and industrial scale of the murder process was attributable only to those x6 Death Camps in Poland, namely, Auschwitz and Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Here, in excess of 4,000,000 Jews of Europe were consumed and if the full facts were reexamined and detailed, far in excess of this number of Jewish Murdered would be applied to History.
"..Anne thought that her parents were dead. I have always thought that if Anne had known that her father was still alive ..she would have found .. strength to go on living." Hannah Goslar.
It is impossible to speculate over the inner feelings of another Person without a direct insight into their being. But I can assume so much given Anne's telling ways and words which marked her as an extraordinary individual. To borrow from another Survivor, Halina Birenbaum who wrote, Hope is The Last to Die, and as that hope springs eternal, we know the grasp of hope can be the mainstay of that very hold onto life. For Anne, knowledge of the fate of her Father Otto in particular, and the sure need of a Mom who had always nurtured her forthrightness, would have given her a little more comfort and perhaps even a stronger will to fight back from the brink of death. But we know from history that none of this gave Anne, nor Margot, nor indeed the 6,000,000 Jews who perished, a hope that would not die.
It would appear that, as Anne would spend her time speaking, tutoring and even engaging in the distraction of the Children, life managed to hold a notion of hope could be obtained. For entertaining the Children as Anne and Margot went along, life here is so far from human expectation, it is troubling to even consider this as life. It appears too that both Margot and Anne made deeply human connections with those they came into contact with. Even here in Belsen, where life both transitory and an illusion, if we are then to be convinced either or both Margot or Anne believed that their Parents were dead, was hope also dead. Life along that margin is still recalled by those touched by them and it effects for us a sense that while there was a will to maintain some grasp on life, the reality was always markedly different and prone to the whims of brutal and unrestrained progression toward certin death.
"..At a certain moment in her final days ..Anne stood in front of me. ..She didn’t have any more tears ..and she told me that she had such a horror of ..lice and fleas in her clothes ..that she had thrown all of her clothes away. It was ..middle of winter and she was wrapped in one blanket. I gathered up everything I could find to give her so that she was dressed again." Janny Brandes Brilleslijper.
Hermann van Pels was born on March 31st. 1898 and would not Survive the rigorous process at Auschwitz. In these coming days, while the other 7 managed to fix a space for themselves in this life outside life, age and strength played a heavy hand. Herman van Pels suffered a hand injury which prevented him from working toward the Nazi goal. With relentless finality, and on October 3rd. 1944, Hermann van Pels was selected for destruction and was gassed and cremated in the complex of Birkenau on November 26th. 1944.
Auguste van Pels, who was born on September 9th. 1900 and having survived for these both the Annexe, Westerboprk and even Auschwitz and Birkenau, was sent to the Belsen Concentration Camp in northern Germany and lasted 2 months in that particular hell. She was amongst a group of 8 other Jewish Women who embarked upon the journey toward Belsen. On February 6th. 1945, Auguste van Pels was further deported to the Raguhn subcamp of Buchenwald, and she died somewhere in Germany or Czechoslovakia, between April 9th and May 8th 1945. It is clear though, that while being once more deported, and to the Ghetto Camp at Theresienstadt, the guards detailed to escort this transport threw Auguste van Pels in front of that transport train and she was killed instantly.
Peter van Pels was born on November 8th. 1926 and journeyed though our times and from the Secret Annex toward Westerbork and onto Auschwitz and Birkenau. From Birkenau Peter van Pels was sent on a Death March and away from Auschwitz. Peter arrived days later at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp on January 25th. 1945. Peter van Pels died at the Mauthausen Camp on May 10th.1945.
Fritz Pfeffer was born on April 30th. 1989 and he too came to our recollectioin as he was brought to the safety of the Secret Annexe. For x2 years that safety seemed assured but eventually discovered he too wound his way toward Westerbork. From here to Auschwitz and Birkenau where he has to leave Birkenau sometime in October 1944. The Nazis send him to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp near Hamburg in Northern Germany. Here, all manner of prisoner are forced into labour, the heavy work debilitating, starving and crushing their spirit. As was the status in all Camps of Hitler's demands, rations were so scarce, very little food was made available for the detainees to eat. Fritz Pfeffer finally succumbs to the pressures and ill, time marks him and he died on December 20th. 1944.
This brings me up to today and my recent visit to the Anne Frank House. Study has always taught me that the unexpected can creep up and surprise, regardless of the years of research which supposedly should prepare you for all eventualities. I was never ever prepared for the depth of emotion which swept over me as I surveyed the devastating places that had been formerly, The Death Camps. I knew full well here though that the misfortunes never came singly, and The Secret Annexe, where all 8 hidden are a testimony to that truth. In a 2 year time span Anne Frank, her Family and 4 others in hiding would be eventually removed to face Hitler's resolve to Murder them all. What I did not suspect, which would mitigate my own attempts to be prepared for what might confront me was a simple quote from Otto Frank.
Otto, the only Survivor of the 8 mmembers from the Secret Annexe, knowing already that his Wife had been Murdered, but was still hoping that both his Children, Margor and Anne would return. How could he know then what I know now that they wouldn't and We all know that both Anne and Margot died in Belsen. It was deeply sad, knowing full well what Otto had completely hoped for and we, with history behind us, are all too aware of their fate. The tragedy is well known the World over but on June 21st. 1945, for a momentary light to have flashged through the darkest despair for a Husband and a Father, it has long since been dimmed by the reality of the factual truth, that all 3, Edith, Margot and Anne had died an intolerable death.
"..I just can't think how I would go on without ..Children having lost Edith already. ..It's too upsetting for me to write about them. Naturally I still hope." Otto Frank.
Here, what Otto Frank hopes for, we know History has delivered us to the cruelest of news, and it is an enshrined fact that Edith, Margot and Anne have died and I am staring at words on a wall which offer a hope we know are dashed. They had all been consigned to a fate outside what Humanity considers compassionate. Anne and Margot's Mother, Edith Frank had perished in Auschwitz, this other Annexe to Jewish existence and though severely malnourished and debilitated, Anne and Margot were forced toward Belsen, another camp which was undignified in its worst excesses toward those Jews and other's forced to remain there. It is for posterity that we bear these facts and know why reason must ensure that these lessons are learned and are taught well and that they are respected and are fully comprehended.
"..I bought ..little book last week ..to see if I was mentioned there ..I saw that I was not." Karl Josef Silberbauer.
Here, what Silberbauer stated in 1963 is typical of the selfish importance he placed above the lack of compassion or humanity he clearly had shown. For the 8 innocent Jewish People he set along the road toward annihilation, history will judge him accusingly. His personal concern goes way beyond that too for the Writer of this 'LITTLE BOOK' whose energy surpasses his wasted insignificance. Here, and while not even realising that he could have completely denied the entire World the gift of the Book. The Diary, which has given hope to so many, leaves his charmless life behind as it ebbs into obscurity, here mentioned merely as an after thought for more concerning principles dominating human concern, compassion and toleration for all others.
"..I turned 100 years ..April ..a beautiful birthday party surrounded by my grandchildren ..great grandchildren and other family members. I even danced a little. Willard Scott mentioned my name on television. But such a time is also for reflection. I decided to overcome my long reluctance to revisit terrible times. Older people must tell their stories. With ..help of Jonathan Alter ..here’s a bit of mine. ..Hitler came to power ..and like many other Jews ..we fled to Holland. As ..Nazis closed in ..we sent one Daughter abroad with relatives and the other into hiding with my Sister and her children in ..Hague. My Husband and I could not hide so easily ..and in 1941 we were sent ..to Westerbork ..stayed about a year ..and later to ..Belsen ..from where 1,000's of innocent people were sent to Extermination Camps. There were no ovens at ..Belsen ..instead ..Nazis killed us with starvation and disease. My husband and brother both died there. I stayed for about 3 years before it was liberated ..Spring ..1945. When I went in ..I weighed more than 125 pounds. When I left ..I weighed 78 pounds." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
All witness testimony is essential in adding to any narrative wishing to come to terms with the facts in History. But in terms of the conduct of those who delivered 6,000,000 Jews toward Destruction, and in examining the life of any particular person within that catalogue of hatred, that essential is even more pertinent. Independent testimony is not only corroborative, it also lends an insight into the prevailing awareness of the condtitions surrounding those we seek to recall, in extremis. For Miep Gies and Jan Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, Bep Voskuijl and for Jan Voskuijl, their assistance in secuing a period of safety for The Secret Annexe hidden, is enlightening as far as a Dutch will to resisist and assist is concerned. Anne Frank has infilled the blank spaces of the lives she shared with those closely involved here and these in turn extend her words to further mean what can be gained from them.
"..After I arrived at ..Belsen ..I was told I was ..barracks leader. ..I .. had no choice. ..Nazi Kommandant ..was from my home town in Germany ..studied with my uncle in Strasbourg. This coincidence probably helped save my life. ..About once every 3 weeks ..he would ask to see me. I was always afraid. It was very dangerous. Jews were often shot over nothing. After ..war ..I heard he had committed suicide." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
The 49 year old SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Adolf Haas was born in Hachenburg and though it is uncertain as to how he died, it is either believed he was missing in action, committed suicide or was killed elsewhere, his irreleavnce also does little to balance The Holocaust, a book of shame written in 6,000,000 titles. As a company commander of a panzier grenadier battalion, he was pitted against the rising tide of Allied advances on Hitler's Reich. As Irma has stated however, while suicide is just as likely to have been his route away from being indicted as a war criminal, it lessen's the knowledge we can gain. Given his credentials as a Kommandant at Belsen and other Nazi installations, this route out was often times the reaction of so many to being caught and made to answer for their crimes. That so many of these supposed ideologues took such a premature end, speaks of the immaturity of the system spawning them.
"..more evacuation transports arrived in ..Belsen ..more catastrophic ..situation became. ..over crowded huts ..often without any heating lacked all equipment or furnishings and people had to lie on ..bare floors. ..camp authorities deliberately refrained from easing ..situation and made no attempt to draw on ..reserves of food ..clothing ..medical supplies ..stored at ..nearby military training grounds. ..lack of water was so severe that prisoners in ..Belsen died of thirst. Others went mad with hunger and thirst. " Belsen Memorial Booklet.
With the incarcerated and the interned, with the thretened Jewish fate being an annihilatory one, the narrative is both an intimate insight and a captive one. The lesser known journey, for those of the secret annexe, and after their secret had been revealed, is no less concerning. Here too, many give voice to that search for what happened to Anne and the other's as they progressed toward and back from their own annihilation and then to their eventual destruction . Here, Janny Brandes Brilleslijper, Lenie de Jong van Naarden, Bloeme Evers Emden, Ronnie Goldstein van Cleef, Hannah Goslar, Nanette Konig and Rachel van Amerongen Frankfoorder lend us their recollections of both Anne and Margot Frank. Also, and with a short insight into what deeply affected, traumatised and eventually delivered Edith Frank into The Holocaust, we perhaps gain what Anne failed to deliver in her own testimony about her Mother.
"..There were about 500 Women and Girls in my barracks. Conditions were extremely crowded and unsanitary. No heat at all. Every morning ..up at 5 and wake ..rest. 6 ..we went to appell. ..wait there for hours ..no matter ..weather. ..we worked as slave labor in ..factory ..making bullets for German soldiers. When we left Holland ..I had taken only 2 changes of clothes ..toothbrush ..no books or other possessions. ..I had a few more clothes ..including a warm jacket ..which came from someone who died. Men ..Women lined up for hours to wash their clothes in ..few sinks. ..no showers. ..no bedding. ..day ..spent working and waiting. At 10 p.m ..lights out. ..midnight ..inspection came 3 or 4 soldiers. I had to say everything ..in good condition when ..conditions were beyond miserable. ..again at 5." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
We gain from those traumatically connected to the ebb and flow of life where life is permanently endangered, a cared for Mother caring for her Children, a Mother, maternal, loving and dutiful to the last. Furthermore, as the focus is and has been on Anne, we can not afford to forget the significance of those who all played a part in Anne's coming to our attention. Then, and for anyone who could so declare that as a prisoner in Belsen that 'I Saw Anne Frank Die', her evidence must be considered especially crucial. It is not simply the fact that this evidence exists but that it adds a newer dimension to Anne which has been guessed about, worked upon and posited for these past 70 years and more. We have perhaps gained our own insight into a young girl whose diary has delivered so much that has been taken from it. Here, we have an addition to those pages which emerge as added depth to a person we have sought to know.
"..One of ..Children in my barracks toward ..end of ..war was Anne Frank ..whose diary became famous after her death. I didn’t know her family beforehand ..and I don’t recall much about her ..but I do remember her as a quiet child. When I heard later that she was 15 when she was in ..camps ..I was surprised. She seemed younger to me. Pen and paper were hard to find ..but I have a memory of her writing a bit. Typhus was a terrible problem ..especially for ..Children. Of 500 in my barracks ..maybe 100 got it ..and most of them died. Many others starved to death. When Anne Frank got sick with typhus ..I remember telling her she could stay in ..barracks ..she didn’t have to go to appell." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
"..There was so little to eat. In my early days there ..we were each given one roll of bread for 8 days ..we tore it up ..piece by piece. One cup of black coffee a day and one cup of soup. And water. That was all. Later there was even less. When I asked ..kommandant for a little bit of gruel for ..Children’s diet ..he would sometimes give me some extra cereal. Anne Frank was among those who asked for cereal ..but how could I find cereal for her. It was only for ..little Children ..and only a little bit. ..Children died anyway. A couple of trained nurses were among ..inmates ..and they reported to me. In ..evening ..we tried to help ..sickest. In ..morning ..it was part of my job to tell ..soldiers how many had died ..night before. Then they would throw ..bodies on ..fire." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
I will not even begin to catalogue the Books that are available referencing Anne Frank, which is a catologue on its own. Without The Diary of Anne Frank, there would have been no following that could inspire so much, both reverential and dissecting with regards the inhumanity that could not destroy the humanity which is in each of us. Anne's life, her times and the tumult of those times have accused humanity, judged history and haunted reams of paper with dissertation and the flow of words unable to capture the essential needlessness of her Destruction. So for me, I will Catalogue those Books I have, I have Read and I would reference in connection with the life of a remarkable Young Girl seeking to inform us, which I know accutely well and I would urge all those keen to learn more, know more and perhaps understand even less, to search the:
Anne Frank House. Museum with a Story.
"..Anne Frank House is a museum with a story. ..Attention is ..given to ..traces left behind by ..inhabitants of ..Secret Annex ..images Anne pasted on her bedroom wall and ..pencil marks indicating how much Anne and Margot grew during ..2 years in hiding." Ronald Leopold.
Anne Frank House. House.
"..There is much to learn from ..story of this young Woman amid ..terrible times." Jeffrey Shandler.
Denenberg, Barry. Shadow Life.
"..We live at a time when insensitivity to ..value of human life is on rise .. ..reading about Anne Frank is ..especially ..meaningful now. ..Perhaps we will finally understand ..object of hate ..violence ..evil may be a Child just like ourselves. ..even a young girl living in Amsterdam who has ..celebrated her 13th. Birthday ..has ..received .only gift she cared about ..a diary. ..her whole life before her." Barry Denenberg.
Frank, Anne. Dreaming, Thinking, Writing.
"..I am almost 90 now ..my strength is gradually declining. ..task ..Anne set before me keeps giving me new strength ..to struggle for reconciliation and for human rights ..world over." Otto Frank.
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl.
Saturday July 15th. 1944
"..It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals ..they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them ..because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion ..misery ..death. I see ..world gradually being turned into a wilderness ..I hear ..ever approaching thunder ..which will destroy us too ..I can feel ..sufferings of 1,000,000's and yet ..if I look up into ..heavens ..I think that it will all come right ..that this cruelty too will end ..and that peace and tranquillity will return again. In ..meantime ..I must uphold my ideals ..for perhaps ..time will come when I shall be able to carry them out ". Anne M Frank.
Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank:
The Critical Edition.
Saturday July 15th. 1944
"..It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals ..they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them ..because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion ..misery ..death. I see ..world gradually being turned into a wilderness ..I hear ..ever approaching thunder ..which will destroy us too ..I can feel ..sufferings of 1,000,000's and yet ..if I look up into ..heavens ..I think that it will all come right ..that this cruelty too will end ..and that peace and tranquillity will return again. In ..meantime ..I must uphold my ideals ..for perhaps ..time will come when I shall be able to carry them out. " Yours Anne.
Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank:
The Definitive Edition.
Saturday July 15th. 1944
"..It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals ..they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them ..because I still believe ..in spite of everything that people are truly good at heart. It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos ..suffering ..death. I see ..world being slowly transformed into a wilderness ..I hear ..approaching thunder that ..one day ..will destroy us too ..I feel ..suffering of 1,000,000's. ..yet ..when I look up at ..sky ..I somehow feel that everything will change for ..better ..that this cruelty too will end ..that peace and tranquillity will return once more. In ..meantime ..I must hold on to my ideals. ..Perhaps ..day will come when I'll be able to realize them. " Yours Anne M Frank.
Frank, Anne. Tales from the Secret Annexe.
"..message of hope in that one person can make a difference. ..Otto Frank's determination lead us to learn how not to hate." Gillian Walnes.
Gies, Miep. Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family.
"..More than 20,000 Dutch people helped to hide Jews ..in need of hiding. ..I willingly did what I could. ..My husband did. ..It was not enough. ..place ..Anne Frank holds in history ..what her story has come to mean for ..many millions ..touched by it." Miep Gies.
Lee, Carol Ann. Otto Frank.
"..arrest ..led by ss Oberscharfuhrer Karl Josef Silberbauer ..took place in ..annexe of ..spice company ..it included ..director of ..company ..Otto Frank ..and his Family. ..calamity had spread across ..life of Otto Frank like a sheet of flame ..and ..embers ..burned many years later," Carol Ann Lee.
Lindwer, Willy. The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank.
"..Women speak ..Women ..like Anne ..were in Westerbork ..Auschwitz ..Belsen. ..knew Anne. ..describe what happened on ..transports ..in ..camps where Anne stayed. ..what Anne and these women ..who approached ..limits of human endurance ..went through." Willy Lindwer.
Schloss, Eva. After Auschwitz.
"..I feel I have a responsibility to help others understand that we are capable of overcoming ..most difficult circumstances." Eva Schloss.
Schloss, Eva, with Evelyn J. Kent. Eva's Story: A Survivor's Tale by the Step-Sister of Anne Frank.
"..So by ..tragedy in both our lives ..together we found new happiness." Fritzi Frank.
I am mindful there should be an Epitaph that would extend beyond those memorials to Anne, that already exist, that would be able to trace her arrest, review her detention and then follow her on the transport to and from Westerbork. Following her toward Auschwitz and Birkenau and then from there and onto Belsen is a duty for many but an effort for few. These traces would further ensure we commemorate Anne's presence, a life that was taken from us. There is always the fact that Anne, a viable person, is recalled as having been here and in each of these places. The delivery of Anne toward destruction could be retraced from her Birthplace to Holland and from safety to destruction. Perhaps a documentary on what Anne might have seen enroute to Westerbork, Auschwitz and Birkenau and then Belsen would avail us of more of the fact of this intriguing Young Girl's legacy to us.
"..I have a dim memory of Anne Frank speaking of her father. She was a nice ..fine person. ..When she slipped into a coma ..I took her in my arms. She didn’t know that she was dying. She didn’t know that she was so sick. You never know. At ..Belsen ..you did not have feelings anymore. You became paralyzed. In all ..years since ..I almost never talked about ..Belsen. I couldn’t. It was too much. When ..war was over ..we went in a cattle truck to a place where we stole everything out of a house. I stole a pig ..and we had a butcher who slaughtered it. Eating this ..when we had eaten so little before ..was bad for us. It made many even sicker. But you can’t imagine how hungry we were. At ..end ..we had absolutely nothing to eat. I asked an American soldier holding a piece of bread if I could have a bite. He gave me ..whole bread. That was really something for me." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
Sadly, this survival was not to be the fate for Anne, nor 6,000,000 Jews of Europe upon whom I remark. And as I reflect and rcall as I sat on that train, a Railway journey that was stopping off along the very route Anne would have taken from Central Station Amsterdam toward Westerbork, how could she then know what awaited her. Asking questions from those in the neighbourhood of Anne’s former residence, we gain a clearer picture of Anne's kind hearted though mischievous soul. Within Westerbork, Auschwitz and Birkenau and then Belsen, moments creep out which still present newer emphasis of her to us. Anne, nor the many 1,000,000's from within the 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish catastrophe itself, can see those who have profitted most from the removal of the Jews from these areas of former Jewish presence. No moral concern delivers to History a wrong righted, especially given this expropriation of what has been Jewish before being taken, including these Jewish lives.
There are traces of the former lives of th Jew of Europe, which seem owned by tother's not rihtly belonging to them. We see owned former Jewish property’s, possibly from those Jews now disappeared, overtaken by other's who have no right to the claims. As I stand before the memorial statue of Anne Frank, which is situated a few yards from The Anne Frank House and outside the Westerkerk, I am struck by its seeming paucity of stature as I recognise with equivalence the place of Amsterdam in Jewish a former presence now largely disipated. Here too the Art World is open to similar accusation. Art, though it is becoming the aristocrat of greed and the symbol of a divisiveness unseen since the Renaissance created such brilliance, has been so misapproipriated as to be complicit in all that Anne represents and all that 6,000,000 Jews have lost.
The profit of ownership far outways the diligence afforded People deprived of a living standard so beneath a living standard, People die of hunger, neglect and the lack of human concern or compassion reminisecent of a past we are meant to learn positively from. Invariably I dislike comparison because in doing so it throws up a dissent which might even demean the discourse I wish to traverse. Here though, with The Holocaust a gaping wound before all of History, unprecedented in nature and unparalled in its extreme and systematic atrocity, Anne Frank too remains incomparable. In a literal sense, and in Humanitarian terms, Anne's reach is unsurmountable. For instance, take an artist like Rembrandt, who considers himself the equal of, or the aspiring student whose view toward superior artists, in many ways, does his demand some harm.
The likes of Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Raphael or Titian, to share their world prominence, one must share an ability that is remotely comparable in the least. For the artist Rembrandt,1606 till 1669, he fits that remit in so many ways, and his work is rightly revered for its dexterity, mood and brilliance. For some 13 years prior to his death, and for perhaps 17 years, he worked and painted in Amsterdam. But I am not here to commend such artistry, as it is rightly held, but to compare the inequality given over to the exploitation of gifts, talents and legacies. For an almost comparable length of time Anne Frank too spent time in Amsterdam, from February 16th. 1934 until her betrayal on August 4th. 1944. Also, there were a further 7 Human Beings cowering in a shelter insulated somewhat from what was now ravaging Jewish existence throughout the rest of Europe.
Already sheltering from an approaching storm as Hitler's rhetoric was converted into abuse, assault and Murder, Otto Frank formed an astute recognition of the dangers for his Family, as Jews, even here in 1933. Here in Amsterdam, their collective Survival would rest largely upon that intuition for the proceeding 12 year period. Added to this, for 2 years of that time, between 1942 -1944 Anne and the Family and the van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer remained hidden and concealed from a murderous attempt, soon to be recognised as, The Holocaust. So we reach a climate of the gravest concern for all of humanity and for which the artistry of Anne's words strives to a given mention of the horror to come and for us to attain a comprehension which is inconceiveable and incomprehensible to human nature. So do we weigh the relevance of words with a statue which pales in comparison to that of Remembrandt's or suggest a bias that once persisted still exists for which Anne deserves better than she is given.
"..When I got back to Holland ..no one knew anything. I finally found a priest who had ..address where my Sister and Daughter were. I didn’t know if they were living or not. They were. They had been hidden by a man who worked for my brother. That was luck. I found them and began crying. I was so thin that at first they didn’t recognize me. There are many stories like mine ..locked inside people for decades. Even my family heard only a little of this one until recently. Whatever stories you have in your family ..tell them. It helps." Irma Sonnenberg Menkel.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Fri, November 09, 2018 19:31:06
"..You must first remember ..context of my experience. In 1938 ..I was 13 years old and had experienced Nazi Germany for ..last 5 years. I was 8 years old in 1933 when ..Nazi party took over ..German government. Even with this beginning event ..my whole lifestyle as a Jewish child changed drastically." Werner Coppel.
I have no wish to omit one single Jew from within the term, The Holocaust. For that reason alone, I am overly cautious about where I would suggest we find the commencement date of the beginnings of the very atrocity attributed to its reach, depth and even terms of reference. For me, all or anything that would have confined any Jew, of any description, Male, Female or der Kinder, must be considered ever present in what Hitler fully intended for them all.
"..I was living in Hamburg at ..time. ..a student at an advanced preparatory school next to our synagogue. I remember we could look out ..windows of ..school and see ..synagogue. ..morning after Kristallnacht ..we could see just strands of glass where ..windows of ..synagogue had been destroyed. ..entire inside of ..synagogue had been burnt out. Our teacher got there in ..morning and then let us out early due to what had happened." Hugo Eichelberg.
Therefore, we cannot ever discard from the narrative of Hitler's constructed Final Solution of The Jewish Question, the very presence of any Murdered Jew. From the period of Hitler's presence in any political guise, and during Hitler's rise to, his coming to and the then approved power base of his brokerage of that power, the Jewish People were centre stage in what was a clearly Hitler's murderous intention for all and any Jew. While supposition would promote the commencement of the overall catastrophe sometime after The Wannsee Conference, on January 20th. 1942.
"..All ..children gathered in ..synagogue every day. ..cub scouts and girl scouts were put together ..based on what training they had. There were Zionist overtones to our community ..ultimate goal was to return to Israel. When we were in ..synagogue ..we were not bothered with what was going on in ..outside world. It was in that very room in ..synagogue that I was able to celebrate my Bar Mitzvah in February of 1938. It was a very simple celebration with soft drinks and cake ..but it was held in a safe environment." Werner Coppel.
This starting point is being considered while der Einsatzgruppe was already Murdering what would approach the Slaughter of 1,250,000 Jews. Even adhering to the jump off point for these roving bands of killers with Hitler's attack on Russia, Operation Barbarossa on June 22nd. 1941, der Einsatzgrupope had previously scouted the arena of the mass murder of the Jews, though in a less intensive way. Here too though, with the Death Camp at Chelmno, which was adding to the approaching tragedy, and was indeed in operation on December 7th. 1941, these both preceded Wannsee.
"..Early in ..morning we suddenly heard loud banging on ..door to ..building and then shouts and boots stomping up the stairs. We didn’t know what was happening ..it was clear ..it was something terrible. We closed ..shutters facing ..street and sat on my parents’ bed at ..end of ..corridor. We hugged each other and trembled with fear." Daniel Heiman.
A Death Camp competing with an arsenal of Murderer's shooting their way through entire Jewish Community's, murdering with increasing speed all Jews from along the length and breadth of a War Front, and in the case of Chelmno, all around the area of Poland with Lodz especially expelling its Jewish Ghetto Community increasingly regularly. So these commencement dates cannot be as definitive as some would state, and even with regards the case of The Wannsee Conference when this was largely convened so as Hitler could administratively procure an intention to inveigle all arms of the Reich in the Murder process.
"..There are some important things to keep in mind. Our Rabbi ..who played a great role in my growth and development ..refused to leave Germany ..but ..knew exactly what was going on. Much like a captain refusing to abandon ship ..he stayed. Also ..Hamburg was not at this time antisemitic. ..Nazis had to import people from southern Germany to do their dirty work in destroying Hamburg’s synagogues. ..people in Hamburg would not destroy anything ..not lay a finger on ..Jewish buildings. ..After Kristallnacht ..we moved to a Spanish ..Portuguese synagogue. It was not completely orthodox but we were able to make changes to make it work for us. We were ..only place in Germany that was still able to worship in a synagogue after Kristallnacht took place." Hugo Eichelberg.
At this time though the apparatus of Jewish Destruction was not yet as refined as Hitler would demand. But soon Auschwitz, which was being sought out to convert a nearby site into Auschwitz II, for The Death Camp Birkenau. Also, and coming on stream were the Aktion Reinhard Death Camps at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka while Majdanek too would resolve for Hitler his one anticipated goal, the termination of all Jewiosh existence. All of which was practicably and fully formed in terms of mass murder though its administration could not yet inculcate all of Germany in Hitler's resolve.
"..we heard ..noise of furniture being thrown from ..top floor to ..street ..then a terrible shout and a thud. They threw Mr. Ulfelder out of ..window ..he was killed." Daniel Heiman.
Also, and there are two salient points of concern here relating fully to why many seem to insist upon a starting line for the commencement of The Holocaust. Please always bear in mind, what was termed, die Endlosung der Judenfrage was Hitler's resolve and it was aimed at destroying all the Jews of Europe. This detailed Jewish assessment of routes to be taken toward a final end, which culminates in 6,000,000 of their number being annihilated, was as a resolve to this particular Final Solution of The Jewish Question.
"..We left Hamburg on ..last day of Passover and took a train to Italy. In Italy there were 2 boats ..Manhattan and ..Roma. ..Roma was an Italian boat ..but its passengers never got to depart because Mussolini did not allow ..ship to sail. I do not know what happened to ..passengers of that boat. My Mother and I were on ..Manhattan ..which left as scheduled ..sailed to New York. My Father left England 3 days later and we eventually met up in New York ..where we stayed for 11 weeks. After those 11 weeks ..we moved to Cincinnati ..where we had relatives." Hugo Eichelberg.
From this it is very clear, and the very fact that a formative Einsatzgruppe had already been operating in, and Murdering Polish Jewry since Hitler Invaded Poland on September 1st. 1939, the contention arises which places the Einsatz murder process back nearly two years. Then there is the case of SS Sturbnnfuhrer Dr. Herbert Lange, the first kommandant at Chelmno. Lange had been Murdering the Jews of Lodz, and some within Chelmno as far back as April 20th. 1940 when he first took up his post. This decreases the relevance of Wannsee as both the Death Camp system and der Einsatzgruppe aktionen is way ahead in operationl terms.
"..While I was traveling to Dinslaken I heard in ..train that antisemitic riots had broken out everywhere and that many Jews had been arrested. Synagogues everywhere are burning." Yitzhak Stephen Herz.
The Holocaust, in its murderous assault upon the Jewish People should not then deny the presence of any Murdered Jews demanded by Hitler's hatred. So while we have a wish to recall and remember here, that at Kristallnacht this might be seen as a catalyst toward the escalating terms of the atrocity, this Pogrom too should not avail us of a start date for The Holocaust. The night of November 9th. and 10th. 1938, which should not deny any Jew who was Murdered anytime prior to this Pogrom from being a Jew of The Holocaust. For me, Kristallnacht also cannot be described as the commencement date for what is recognised as The Holocaust.
"..It happened on November 9th. I had heard 2 or 3 days earlier that vom Rath had been shot and killed by a Jewish boy in Paris. I had no idea what would happen later." Werner Coppel.
While many studies might seek to state that the commencement of The Holocaust began with Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, that too would be erroneous. While this assault was indeed the promotion of a move from the rhetoric of hatred to the mob mentality of violent action's, Jews had previously been Murdered under Hitler's tutelage. Of what finally emerged as Hitler's plan for the total destruction of the entirety of the Jewish People has not been confined to a single date, the Murder's of the Jews themselves was conducted widely and throughout the period of Hitler's presence as an antagonist of Jewish hatred.
"..Growing up ..we were told that we were ..ones who got out decades before ..Nazis destroyed our family’s hometowns. My Mother’s family came in ..first decades of ..20th. Century ..my Father’s family a decade or so later. All of my grandparents were born in ..United States ..attending public schools in Boston and Chicago when Kristallnacht hit Germany’s Jews in November 1938." Ben Sales.
This Kristallnacht atrocity, which occured on the night of November 9th. and 10th. 1938 finally convinced the Jewish People that Hitler's tone was no longer entirely rhetorical. Many 1,000's of Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, and most of German Jewry as a body was more convinced than ever, that Hitler had crossed a rubicon of hatred. Now there was a steadier Nazi progression toward them and this was a more aggressive approach with a violence of intention being orchestrated. While the Jews had been severely hampered by legislation, The Nuremberg Laws passed on September 15th. 1935 were aimed at isolating, abusing and then severely and more brutally making them aware of their immediate predicament.
"..After Kristallnacht not only hell breaks loose in Germany ..but ..panic among Jewish citizens in surrounding countries." Erica van Beek.
While some 50,000 Jewish Men in Germany were deported to a number of Concentration Camps, Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenburg and Sachsenhausen amongst them. In parallel to this many more of them were further deported back to their Country of origin, Poland especially. Heydrich here now provides Goering with the list of those interred under a protective custody order. Of the many 1,000's of German, Austrian and even Sudeten Synagogues, more than 1,400 of these were defiled, desecrated or otherwise damaged. A conservative estimate suggests that some 267 of these were totally Burned out and Destroyed.
"..I lived in Moers ..a small town with a very small Jewish community. There were about 220 Jews in my community ..and only about 22 Jewish children. Our whole life centered on a small room in our town’s synagogue ..which was our safe haven from ..outside world and from Nazi Germany. At this point in time ..Jews were not allowed on playgrounds or in parks. We were not allowed entrance to movies or restaurants. There were signs that stated ..Jews and dogs prohibited ..or ..Jews die in ..gutter." Werner Coppel.
On top of this, 7,500 Jewish Shops, Warehouses, Cemetery's and various other Jewish Businesses and whole Enterprises and Homes were either looted, destroyed or both. Tombs were broken into and smashed, as were gravetones which were uprooted and the graves violated. Bonfires were set and all combustibles, Torahs, other prayer books and scrolls, exquisite artwork and furniture were piled high and set ablaze. The desecration of anything considered sacred to Jewish antecedence was vandalised at the least, obliterated at the extreme. This Night was the single most decisive assault upon the integrity of the Jewish People since Hitler came to power.
"..What do you think about ..synagogues burning. All those synagogues ..all those ..Torahs ..all that glass breaking in ..stores. Next thing they'll be burning Jews." Yitzhak Stephen Herz.
We saw too that more than 240 German, Austrian and former Czech Sudetenland Jews, and those Jews from other nations caught up in the violence, all were murdered. The illusion had now been lifted and Jewry as a whole was more accepting of fleeing their Homelands, Homes and Livelihoods rather than risk what prospect might lay ahead. Within the coming months the race to exit steadily grew apace and as Hitler's hatred boiled over into brutal excess, we recognise that more than 200,000 of the 500,000 Jews who had been on the German 1933 Census had already emigrated.
"..Michelsberg Synagogue of Wiesbaden. ..this large and imposing edifice was totally destroyed during the November 10 th. 1938 murderous devastation known as Kristallnacht ..various congregations combined into one. ..we worshipped at a smaller synagogue at a different address. This Friedrichstrasse Synagogue escaped burning ..was looted ..desecrated." Charlotte Guthmann Opfermann.
However, there was a dual purpose of concern that was not limited to Jews exiting the Country but where were these Jews to go and who wanted them. For me it is a question History will never answer as to why these nations did not open their doors a little wider to save ever more of these now brutalised Jews. More than 9,000 of these Jews fled to Poland and into harms way, while more than 2,000 fleeing Jews made it to the relative safety of Palestine. Of course, this desire to remove themselves and so mitigate their fears barely applied to those Jews who could ill afford to leave. The emerging and vociferous call for a more resolute Solution to The Jewish Question was gaining a prominence within Hitler's inner circle.
"..We were aware of ..Nazis and events in Germany from ..newspapers. I remember ..incident at Zbaszyn when ..Polish citizens were expelled from Germany and were forced to return to Poland. This led up to Kristallnacht ..which happened in Germany. I remember that one refugee family did not have a place to live ..and my father gave them a room." Eva Galler.
Jewry's existence, under the steely gaze of a more repugnant Hitler, would be fatally altered here at Kristallnacht. For all time, The Holocaust would be seen from the very intrinsic move toward a more exacting resolve than mere words had previously suggested. Once Kristallnacht was augmented with such an extreme violence, Jewish lives were put under immense and perilous pressure. While German troops and civilians acted with impunity, SA and even SS knives were brought to the fore as Jewish life itself became an expendable commodity.
"..We saw them starting to march on ..streets and ..next day ..all ..stores already had signs saying ..Juden sind hier unerwunscht ..Jews are not wanted here. ..Jewish stores ..they wrote Jude on them and all kinds of things happened. ..I see my Mother ..cleaning ..street. ..They took her to clean up. ..She didn’t want me to stay there. ..I cried tremendously and I didn’t go home ..I stayed there. ..people ..had no compassion whatsoever. ..full of hate. All of them. All of them. ..In ..winter they came and picked up my Father and Mother and we had to shovel ..snow. We had to shovel snow for hours. ..people were standing around laughing." Thea Rumstein.
Into this mix, which flowed with the wealth, assets, property's and titles of more and more Jews and straight into Hitler's bulging pockets. Many Jewish Community's, especially from Rural areas, were forced out toward major Centres and were compelled to congregate amongst their Jewish City neighbours. Now fully fending for themselves, the Jewish People saw Kristallnacht for what it was, an attack upon their very existence. As social welfare efforts were adopted, and increasingly more urgently by the Reich's Deputation of the German Jews, this Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden, reacted.
"..war broke out very soon after ..Germany invaded Poland ..and England and France got involved. My father went to Scotland Yard and informed ..English that he had family in Germany. Before we could leave to join him ..however ..my Mother was called to meet ..Gestapo ..where they asked her about my Father. ..Gestapo had intercepted a letter ..and on ..7th day of ..Passover ..Gestapo gave me and my Mother 24 hours to leave Germany ..or we would be arrested." Hugo Eichelberg.
However, the reality was not being lost that insufficient funding would not avail all of assistance. With a collective of agencies, numbering some 19 diverse groups of concered Jews now came together to administer Jewish relief, assurance and a modicum of hope. With some $400,000,000 of fines levied by Hitler through Goering and against German Jewry for the Kristallnacht destruction, German Jewry was forced to pay for the harm and damage done to them. This procurement was authored on December 12th. 1938 and for an assault that had been railed against the Jewish People, for being Jews in their own German lands.
"..What took place yesterday ..we know ..what will be tomorrow ..we do not know ..but what happens today ..that we have witnessed ..outside this church ..synagogue is burning ..and that also is a house of God." Bernhard Lichtenberg.
The World had now become witness to an escalating tragedy for German, Austria and Sudeten Jewry. The World could not now remain ignorant nor indifferent as it was now cognizant of what Hitler's clear intentions for the Jewish People was. Let us not forget that with the judicious enactment that was setting forth the legally immoral Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and with the very evident destruction of Jewish Life during the Kristallnacht Pogrom, Hitler's verbal rhetoric is now becoming more violently stated and punitive.
"..During that time there were ..brown shirts ..SA and ..black shirts ..SS. ..They had a quota for ..number of Men they had to arrest. They sat in front of ..home of our rabbi ..but for some reason he was not arrested. My father was also not arrested ..despite ..fact that we lived just across ..courtyard from an SS. Many others were imprisoned and interned in ..camps. My family decided it was best if my father left Germany. In June ..1939 ..all his papers were in order ..and he left for England in September of 1939." Hugo Eichelberg.
Then, for the damage of Kristallnacht to be paid for by the Jews themselves, Jewish presence in any lands bordering Hitler's grasping Weltanschauung, his prospective Wroldview, became untenable. With both a visibly and now physically stated intention, the humiliation of the Jewish People is being given over further to their physical eradication. Few in the West could now doubt the intention of Hitler was only to deal more brutally with a Jewish presence. Even though the terms of the murderous reference had not been clearly expressed or even identified, it was given sovereignty.
"..Most Holocaust reflections are personal and not communal. ..Most do not gather up ..shards of glass from Kristallnacht and surround their art with them." Yitzhak Stephen Herz.
The eventual solution was finally moving toward the end resolve for the resolution of 'The Jewish Question.' Here in History, and out of the flames of so much broken glass, hope and expectation, the Kindertransport was borne. From this physical shock wave of hatred, we will many 1,000's of Jewish Children eventually arrive in Britain and accept their safety is secured. Tragically, and without realising it, the true extent to which they would lose all touch with their Parents, Families and Friends was to be expressed in the destructive capacity of the Death Camps.
"..After Kristallnacht we succeeded in getting a sizable number of Jews to Palestine. That was thanks to ..Captain Frank Foley who did all he could to enable Jews to immigrate. ..he saved 1,000's of Jews from death.” Benno Cohn.
That clearer capacity was to consume many 1,000,000's of their most dearest. For a deep sigh of regret for having to do so, I place before you a series of names. Here, where Synagogues once resided peaceably and were attacked and either Destroyed wholly, were looted, damaged or desecrated in a myriad of ways, their names are known. If nothing else is to be drawn from this, civilising humanity was burned down during Kristallnacht. Not just in these Towns or City's where Synagogues were set to flame but in the hearts and minds of individuals who saw nothing wrong in the assault upon their Jewish Neighbours.
"..Now as I look back 70 years later ..lesson for all of us is that what happened in Germany was a consequence of racism ..hate ..and prejudice. Every new generation must be aware that ..cancer of hate and prejudice is also with us today. ..no way anyone can walk away from messages that contain racism ..prejudice. ..You must always stand up against racism and prejudice ..even if you are not being directly persecuted." Werner Coppel.
The names of these Towns and City's are chosen at random for the Synagogues presence amidst the conflagration. They are now merely an indication of the more widespread atrocity that was filtering through German, Austrian and Sudeten civilised society. Given the insurmountable challenge to Jewish persistance, how can we ever reclaim what was taken from them. I am certain too that at the time, we have lost much of the detail of the very exacting nature of all the crimes committed in the name of Kristallnacht of those consumed in its reach.
"..When we entered ..house we saw ..destruction. ..all ..closets and furniture had been turned over ..their contents spread all over ..floor. Everything was in ruins with broken glass and precious crystals. In ..midst of it all my aunt sat in shock." Daniel Heiman.
For lack of space, and for the time constraints of such a testimonial piece as this, I do not have a permit for a far more widespread indictment. I have always stated my commitment to those Jews of The Holocaust is not just in recalling their presence and their traversing through our time, but it is an accusation of our great wrong, in terms of a so called christian action. Of all that was done by all those who sought to achieve this atrocity, we cannot enable History to forget what was achieved and how it was achieved by both the doers and the bystanders. Know then that the assault upon the Jewish Synagogue was an attack upon Jews caught in the flames of a hatred that had been fanned by Hitler and those like him.
"..All ..synagogues in Germany were destroyed. In our town ..synagogue was not burned ..because if it was burned it would have burned down ..entire block ..and ..Nazis did not want this. However ..no one stopped them from destroying ..entire inside of ..synagogue. This changed my entire life ..as this had been our safe haven. ..Kristallnacht ..every Jewish male had to add ..name ..Israel ..and every Jewish female had to add ..name ..Sarah. ..I became Werner Israel Coppel. My entire social life stopped ..and life changed direction completely. I was ..sent to Auschwitz in 1945." Werner Coppel.
Aach, Aachen, Ahaus, Ahrensburg, Allenstein, Alpen, Altdorf, Altenstadt, Amberg, Anklam, Annaberg, Arnswalde, Arolsen, Auerbach.
Bacharach, Baden-Baden, Bamberg, Bassum, Bautzen, Bayruth, Berlin, Bernberg, Bibra, Bielefield, Billerbeck, Bocholt, Bochum, Bodenfeld, Bonn, Borken, Braunschweig, Bremen, Breslau, Brieg, Bruhl, Buchen, Bunde, Burgdorf, Bytom.
Celle, Cham, Chemnitz, Coburg, Cologne, Cosel, Cottbus, Cranz, Creglingen.
Dahn, Dannenberg, Darmstadt, Dillingen, Dobling, Dorsten, Dortmund, Dramburg, Dresden, Drossen, Duren, Dusseldorf.
Eberbach, Eberswalde, Efringen, Ellrich, Emmerich, Erfurt, Erlangen, Eschau, Eschwege, Essenheim, Essingen.
Fasanenstrasse, Festenberg, Flacht, Flatow, Floss, Forst, Frankenthal, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Freienwalde, Freystadt, Friedrichstadt, Furstenwalde.
Gallingen, Gelsenkirchen, Gemund, Gerden, Gernsbach, Gliwice, Glockengasse, Goch, Goldbach, Gollnow, Gorlitz, Goslar, Graben, Greifenberg, Guttentag.
Halberstadt, Halle, Hamm, Hanover, Harburg, Heidelberg, Heilbron, Hietzinger, Hockenheim, Hofheim, Horb.
Ihringen, Illereichen, Illingen, Ingolstadt, Irrel.
Jastrow, Jauer, Jebnitz, Jever.
Kaiserlautern, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Kiel, Kirchheim, Kirf, Konigsberg, Konstanz, Koslin, Krefeld, Krojanke, Kuppenheim, Kusel.
Labbes, Lahr, Lambsheim, Landau, Landeshut, Landsberg, Lauenburg, Leipzig, Leopoldstadter, Liegnitz, Linz, Lubbecke, Lubeck, Lunen, Lyck.
Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Marienburg, Marburg, Mayern, Memmigen, Meppen, Mohrungen, Moringen, Mosbach, Munich,
Nalbach, Namslau, Naugard, Neidenburg, Netra, Neudeggergasse, Neuenkirchen, Neustadt, Nordhausen, Nuremberg.
Oedheim, Oels, Ohlau, Oldenburg, Opole, Oppeln, Oppenheim, Osann, Osnabruck, Osterode, Osthofen, Ottensoos.
Pappenheim, Pasewalk, Pazmaniten, Peine, Plauen, Plettenberg, Polnische, Potsdam.
Ratibor, Ratzebuhr, Reckendorf, Regensburg, Riesenburg, Rimbach, Robel, Rosenberg, Rosenthal, Rostock, Rothnburg, Rottweil, Rummelsburg, Rust.
Saalfeld, Saarbrucken, Sagan, Salzburg, Schlochau, Schwelm, Schwerin, Seeburg, Semper, Siegen, Soest, Sommerfeld, Sontra, Sorau, Spandau, Speyer, Stettin, Stolp, Storkow, Stuttgart, Suhl.
Talheim, Tann, Taplau, Templin, Themar, Tilsit, Trachenberg, Treis, Treuburg, Tubingen, Tutz, Twistringen.
Vienna, Vierheim, Viersen, Vietz, Vilshofen, Vohl.
Waldorf, Walsrode, Wangen, Warburg, Wehlau, Wertheim, Wiesbaden, Wilhelmshaven, Windsheim, Wollin, Worms, Worstadt, Worth, Wuppertal, Wurzburg.
Zell, Zeven, Ziebingen, Zielenzig, Zullichau, Zulz, Zwickau.
"..I look back ..it is important to realize that this can happen in any country. It is not an isolated event in Germany. We must make our own destiny." Hugo Eichelberg.
HolocaustPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, October 29, 2018 16:11:03
"..mood in Grayeve was very heavy. All ..Jews expected bad times but they did not know that they were standing over an abyss and that their days were numbered. Poles talked openly of murdering ..Jews ..yet Jews in Grayeve as all over Poland never anticipated and did not conceive of such a huge tragedy and such annihilation as befell them a few years later." Dr. George Gorin.
There is little new in these few lines to offer peace to the Memory of those Jews of Grajewo, and while its truth is known to many, it is not quite known to all. Far too often the detailed space occupied by those Murdered of Grajewo, and all too many other spaces removed of its Jews, is lost in the very narrative content which is The Holocaust. I hope I have brought newer recall to those who Survived to know we are here Always to Remember, Never to Forget them. We are made aware of what the Survivor has achieved, but largely require a reminder as to what we allowed to happen to their compatriots from Grajewo and more tellingly, what was allowed to happen to 6,000,000 of Their Family, Friends and Neighbours for being Jews. There is a work, a book by Dr. George Gorin, Grajewo Poland, Memorial (Yizkor) and it is precisely about these, the Jews of Grajewo. This now is my effort to add to both memory and remembrance and is merely a supplement to that specific detail.
"..Ghettos ..torture by neighbors ..deportation to camps. So much diversity of murder in a small town." Evelyn Fine.
Much of this underlying narrative, which underscores the very essence of Grajewo's Jews, is written by those intimately connected to the catastrophic events which consumed this Community of Jews. Other contributing testimony's, whose flow of words echo the Jewish refrain that signalled those events which litter Polish history, add to the broader dimension which becomes The Holocaust itself. With an intolerance, indifferent to the slaughter of a People, 3,000,000 of whom were their own Polish Jewry, the fate of Polish Jewry was in cold relief here in Grajewo. For me it is essential, and while I clearly acknowledge that I owe more to History than it owes to me, that applies to Jewish History in particular. The loss of our own Humanity, cannot remain eternally lost without us attempting to gain at least part of what is detained within The Holocaust. This effort is gaining ground in our understanding. But it remains an ingrained loss, contributed to in no small measure by the attitude of Poles, Europeans and the World at large to the struggle and decimation of Jewish life under Hitler.
"..It was late at night and a community of Jews slept uneasily ..surrounded by a hateful wrathful world ..enveloped in black shadows of reaction and enmity." Dr. George Gorin.
For me, there is the thread of a further narrative echoing through this work on the Jews of Grajewo and it comes for their past and from those who wished to share their knowledge of that past. Their entitled integrity is a combined effort, and it is of the inescapable truth which tore Jewish Grajewo to shreds. So while this is merely a hint of what Grajewo must mean for those Jews intimately connected to its unravelling atrocity in The Holocaust, and for History and our Humanity, let us remember also the diversity of its Human dimension. No one can ever approach the deep loss felt by those whose very devastation is complete. In all that proved too much to have to bear, for what could still be done in the name of the oldest hatred, which is antisemitism we urge their memory to deliver their pain ever more increasingly. For me, empathy will allow for all of us to come closer to appreciating this huge loss, even when we can never know the totality of all that has gone and taken from us.
"..village ..built on that spot was therefore known as Vyerbove. After resting briefly ..Adam and Eve continued walking. Enchanted by ..beauty of their new surroundings ..Adam called to Eve ..Play ..Eve. ..This is how the future town built on this spot came to be known as Grayeve." Khaye Golding-Kayman.
What we have all too often, is a lack of the context in which the Jews themselves strove to Survive and in every event were forced to endure. If not, they would simply topple over at the point of a gun or in the Gas Chambers of Birkenau, Treblinka or Majdanek which would consume their very existence. We move carefully onto a History of a place, not wholly Jewish but steeped in the Jewish tradition of the education of its People. These were Jews of trade and diversity all the while coping with the ramshackle relations between their non-Jewish Neighbours. Here, the expression of peasants, who held petty grudges and aspirations beyond their means was driven by a church which stood for equally obnoxious sentiments as any hatred would confirm and professed them often. Grajewo, known also as Grajevo, Grayavah and Grayeve was a small provincial town in the Bialystok region of Poland where Jewish settlers began establishing themselves around the early 1700’s. By the end of that century the Jewish People had fully established a thriving and benevolent community there.
"..I simply seek a friend. I seek somebody I could tell about my worries and joys of everyday life. Somebody who would feel what I feel ..who would believe me ..who would never reveal my secrets." Renia Spiegel.
I had begun to write a piece of work in the faint hope I could formulate a recall of the Grajewo tragedy. Here though I need to stress fully that I cannot begin to ever know the loss to our humanity over the Murders of these Jews, and not just the Jews of Grajewo but for the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe who are The Holocaust. Also, and for the entirety of the Jewish People of The Holocaust, and we know their number, it is 6,000,000, but we cannot know them all on any other lvel that in a past sense of an immense loss. What we do know and must accept is that these Jews of Europe, these are in fact The Holocaust. Desparingly too, we have but the names for 4,500,000 of these Jews from within the catastrophe. While that is a monumental effort in itself, given Hitler’s clear attempt to obliterate all traces of any Jewish presence from within Europe on an individual basis, We cannot know these Jews personally.
"..I understood ..meaning of these gruesome deaths from ..stories ..Rabbi used to tell us in kheyder ..religious school ..but could not imagine that such a dreadful death would befall my own father in ..Hitler gehenem ..hell ..of torment ..suffering." Dr. George Gorin.
Without each and every individual atrocity, We cannot arrive at the depth of that Jewish Catastrophe that is to be the coming of The Holocaust. While we need to learn who Lejzer Hersz Abkevitz, Pinkus Abkiewicz, Shimon Kolko, Yosel Levitt, Abraham Mordecai Piorko, Yankel Rutski and Zalman Sutker were, we indeed learn who we are. Along with Ari Ibn Zaav or Sholem Zaidenberg we need to appreciate their place in the History of the approach to an astonishing destruction, brought relentlessly forward so as to sweep them from life. From amongst all of this we cannot seemingly extract further from those missing names of the 1,500,000 Jews of The Holocaust entire, still missing to us. So here, in these formative days of Grajewo's Jewish existence, which is getting further away from its rural persistence, the Jews operated a number of factories and many of them opened small shops.
"..attitude of ..Polish fascists and semi fascists even in such a dangerous situation as ..threatened German attack did not alter." Nakhman Rapp.
In places like Grajewo, the essential to add individually to what has been taken from us all must not be submerged by the essence of 6,000,000 personal, individual and human losses. According to the census of 1765, there were 83 Jews aged over one year old, and these from some 17 differing families. From amongst these, 6 Family's resided in their own houses and 11 other’s had actually leased their homes to ensure Jewish roots were being firmly established. Also, there were some 336 Jews who were living in 38 villages in close proximity to Grajewo and these Jews leased taverns or were occupied as small traders, especially artisans, craftsmen in both tailoring and tinsmithing. Until 1862 Grajewo was included in the towns of the Russian-German border zone, where Jewish residence was subjected to various restrictions, controls and bias. In the 1800’s many Jews in Grajewo exported agricultural produce and artisan goods across the border to Eastern Prussia. This was a cross border trade that had flourished with little of the anti-Jewish feeling to come forward later on.
"..I left for ..train accompanied by my Parents ..Brother and Sister. Tears were choking me and I felt like a person saving himself from a danger and leaving his dearest behind alone. ..Grayeve streets were dark and abandoned." Dr. George Gorin.
However, once the rhetoric of hatred had been inbibed and given free reign in Poland, an antisemitism which had sought to purge from its Polish christian midst its Jewish presence, it had been sought out again from that same hatred developed over the centuries. The church inculcated itself with vehemence in many anti-Jewish pogroms and when the words of Hitler would ring out, it struck a chord and resonated with the basest instincts of those Poles already converted to their own brand of Jewish hatred. In Poland, antisemitism had been given an almost universal expression and this hatred they now adapted and explored. By now, the Grajewo Jewish community numbered 197 or roughly 39% of the total population of the Shtetl of over 500 people in 1808. This had risen to some 727 Jews, or about 57% of the total population of around 1,300 people in 1827.
By the time we reached 1857 there were some 1,457 Jews representing some 76% of this still considered Shtetl population of more than 1,900 people. With the first Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1892, the Jews of Grayeve were already caught up in Zionist thought. Home away from threats to their own integrity could not be contenanced on an on-going basis forever. Here, the whole Jewish Shtetl underwent a suprising shift in growth and by 1897 there were some 4,336 Jews living in Grajewo. With Rebbe Avraham Piorko, who was a prominent Hebrew teacher, he became a central figure in Grajewo and was much loved. An aspirational outlook blossomed once more and Reb Piorko inspired both the educated Jews and the scholarly Jews of the Town. By the time of the Zionist Congress that was held in Minsk in 1902, Grajewo was represented by Elimelekh Pomerants at its congregation. Here too, Miryam Markel-Mosessohn was part of an aspiring Yiddish Press in Grajewo at the turn of the century marking its progression.
"..we were more afraid of ..Poles than of ..Germans." Khaye Golding-Kayman.
With the Balfour Declaration of November 2nd. 1917 there was a great call for celebration for World Jewry and in Grajewo it was no exception. World Jewry could now look toward the prospect of their own Homeland in Palestine. In 1913, shortly before World War I, Moshe Avigdor Amiel became the Rabbi of Grajewo, a member of the Mizrachi movement with his pius influence so keenly felt. Rabbi Amiel did manage to escape the horror’s of The Holocaust and died in 1946 knowing then what we are still coming to terms with, the loss of his People. There developed in Grajewo also a strong sense of identity which had long been sought by them. From their aspirational and educating principles of furtherance, Jewish identity grew in evidence and relevance. Residents remembered here are Avrom and Itche Gershtonsky, Leyble Remigolsky, Simche Sarn, Izze Epstein, Mr. Gortshitsky, Gershuny Eisenstat, Chaim Friedman, Isaac Kolko, Mr. Lifshitz and the two Teacher's, Miss Kolko, who was Shimon Kolko's daughter and Miss Barkovska, and all were well respected.
"..gray and cold days with ..worries for ..coming winter. ..whole city gets ready. Homeowners buy loads of potatoes to be stored in cellars ..sheds replenished with firewood and peat. ..hamlet braces itself for survival of ..oncoming winter." Dr. George Gorin.
Grajewo became the source of culture for the local region and Zalmen Sutker, Grajewo's own theater director, set up a movie house in Shtutzin. Shtutzin, less than 10 miles away was presented with US style movies twice a week. The Great War of 1914-1918 did not escape the Jews of Grajewo, nor did it escape much of Poland. World War I was to be the War to end all Wars, given the depth of destruction meted out in the trenches. But side by side Polish Jew fought with non-Jewish Pole in furtherance of a greater deed than petty hatreds all too easily expressed in antisemitic tones. The end of WWI however, did not afford Jews any respite from the previous pettiness and pogroms were continually unleashed in Poland. 16 Jewish Youths from Grajewo, including the 3 Brother's Segalevitsh were set upon by non-Jewish Poles in Ogustove, now Augustow. They were being brought back to Grajewo and they stopped off in the Village of Belda for some respite.
There, the Polish escort Murdered all 16 of these Grajewo Jews and their bodies were dumped into a communal grave there.The Jews of Grajewo and Shtutzin had a shared liviehood going back over generations which was a vibrant and vital co-dependence. Grajewo had its own train station, where Buses met, and Trucks dispatched all manner of goods from the arriving trains. This made Grajewo the dominant hub in the area. Travel to Bialystok and Warsaw was effected here and all major Polish centres too could be reached. All those seeking to escape Poland too, to Palestine or America transferred from here and toward Germany and a hoped for prosperity. Unknown at the time, all such moves would also secure them safety against the murderous net Hitler was beginning to cast. Education still proved both liberating and steadying, so much so that a prayer and study house and Yiddish School was to become prominent in Grajewo.
"..a sunny spring day in 1921 when ..for ..first time ..left my beloved ..Grayeve ..a feeling of longing and loss nagged in my heart ..every house ..every street ..every fence ..connected with so many memories ..everyone ..a friend or ..acquaintance. ..a departure ..from Grayeve ..also ..my childhood." Dr. George Gorin.
In what was becoming a fortress for prayer and religious study, and what was now a burgeoning Town, Jewish Grajewo was thriving. The San Remo Conference, during April 1920, saw the Allied Nations, who had fought together in World War One, reaffirm their commitment to the pledge given in The Balfour Declaration of a Jewish sovereignty. This, providing World Jewry future hope of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine was to be grasped enthusiastically. Given that the murders of these 16 Young Grajew Jews had caused an upsurge in both local and national expressions of antiemitism, pogroms and other murders, that declaration appeared opportune In 1921, while census figures throughout Poland recognised the integrity of 2,855,000 Jews who were present within Poland, these numbers were not allowed to give Polish Jewry any real sense of stability or belonging.
"..Poles ..in Grajewo ..as well as in Shtutzin ..first murdered ..Jewish intellectuals and householders ..so as to immediately get their hands on their property. ..All classes of Polish society took part in ..slaughter." Khaye Golding-Kayman.
After the ravages of World War I there had been sought out many vicious accounts from amongst non Jewish Polish and against Polish Jews of both the whole Poland and from here within Grajewo. Perhaps most cruelly, and unaware what the ending of mass immigration to America would ultimately mean, with the passage of the Immigration Law of 1924 it carried with it greater restrictions for those Jews deperately seeking a way out of Poland and out of harms way. At the time this was simply a migration of Polish Jews on the grounds of economic consideration, though all manner of abuses played a leading hand in the decision making process. But this was not yet to become a matter of life over their death, a death which would eventually consume them. For more than 3,000,000 of Polish Jewry, that murder process came in a systemised, industrial, mechanised and annihilatory Slaughter.
Here too in Grajewo, while there were now some 2,834 Jews, or 39% of a total population of 7,346 residents of the Town, we understand a great loss was made of Jewish life in the world conflict. In 1928 there set in upon the area the deepest winter cold, an intensity of cold that was not recorded again until the occupation period just prior to Hitler’s attack on Russia in 1941. In 1929 there was a Jewish Revisionist Party founded in Grajewo and the era of Zionism, now speaking for a national shelter for World Jewry had arrived in all its forms. Also, and with the realisation of Hitler's confirming intention to strike at World Jewry, the prospect of taking Polish Jewry away from the scourge of an antisemitism that was 2,000 years in the making appeared less reactionary and more a realistic prospect for the sanctity of Jewish life.
"..silence does not last long. A door opens and closes with a bang. A boy with a brass kettle in his hand runs to River Street for tea. Slowly ..whole hamlet arouses from ..deep slumber. This is how it was in summertime ..every Saturday afternoon ..year in ..year out." Dr. George Gorin.
The essence of a more National identity did not leave the Jews, and those thoughts of Eretz Yisroel while taking shape, still had home firmly fixed under foot in Poland. However, since Hitler’s rise to power, the region itself became a hotbed of anti-Jewish feelings once more, empowered somewhat by the rhetoric of hatred coming from within Germany. Educationally, great determined studies were adapted and they were clearly refined by local Scholars which many non-Jewish Poles did not avail of, and this bolstered the misguided belief in an educated Germany undermining the racist hatred of Hitler. Amongst the Scholars to give hope to Grajewo were Dr. Emanuel Olschwanger, Abraham Mordecai Piorko, Professor Simon Rawidowicz, Dr. Zwi Woyslavski and Ari Ibn Zaav and many others, all are markedly renowned as innovators and leaders.
"..Particularly horrible was ..case of Miss Elkon ..a Woman ..mentally unbalanced person whom ..Nazi had dragged into ..Bogusha woods. They put out her eyes and left her blind and dying. A peasant had found her and brought her home in ..wagon." Nakhman Rapp.
With learning proving key to the growth of Jewish understanding, great strides were still being made collectively, for Jewish enterprise in Grajewo. In 1933 and then through 1934, 1935 and again into 1936 the sting of widespread Pogroms filtered back into Polish actions. The boycotts of Jewish Business and assaults against the Jewish People were never controlled, were sporadic and less coordinated. But still, they continued across Poland as if to sanction somehow the bile which Hitler presented now on a World stage. Gradually, Polish non-Jewish intentions became more clear and assaults upon the local Jewish integrity started to become more focused and even politically motivated and organized. In 1937, on what would be Dr. George Gorin's last visit to Grajewo before the Catastrophe, the chill of hatred failed to wrm the spirit of his visit and he was increasingly concerned for the future structure of Poland with its Jews locked within its rapidly closing borders.
"..a fiery antisemitic sermon in church and ..murderous instincts had been aroused. Peasants came to that market day with axes and sticks to beat and kill Jews and they had not forgotten to bring huge sacks in which to pack up ..merchandise from robbed Jewish businesses." Dr. George Gorin.
This was the atmposphere which had greeted Dr. Gorin on this occasion of his visit, which he attempted to make to Grajewo at least once a year. While Jewish strength grew through learnings, catholic church officials could incite the worst excesses of ignorant bigotry which many non-Jewish Poles subscribed to. It was not too difficult to attract this age old bias and bigoted hatred and it resurfaced all too often. Every strata of governance was emboldened and then embroiled in this push toward the very ignorance which should have been enlightenly shelved. The Polish government of Marshal Pilsudski, along with the rightist Sanacja was so debilitated by its focus upon the Jewish question. It is abundantly clear that it too became a bankrupt, undignified and politically ruinous right wing oppressor of its own Jewish strength of Population. This Polish government’s own failure to speak more loudly against the tirade of abuses suffered by Polish Jewry was an abdication of a duty of care and responsibility.
"..It doesn't suffice from them to merely see us die. They had to rape us in addition. Gestapo men and some Poles did ..job. Brother Jews! Take revenge for us and for our shame." Sarah Mayek.
What always allowed for this seeming acquiesence, which sought to further bolster the strength of antisemitic assaults, was both a culpable and calamitous duplicity. While Jewish property was under constant attact, Jewish businesses were robbed and Jewish houses were broken into. Jewish Women were regularly violated and these attacks were widely common place. With so many Jewish doors and windows smashed, and far too often, and with the physical assault against any Jewish neighbour becoming too regular, Jewish life suffered greatly. Even after what appeared an enlightenment post WWI, even when so much promise and expecttion had been raised, the chill wind of conflict bloomed. Then, with the Munich Pact signed between Britain and Hitler on September 30th. 1938, and with the appeasing of Hitler's hate filled aspiration, this agreement practicably ensured for the Jews of Europe, Poland and Grajewo that they now knew they were to be abandoned to the whim of a Hitler hell bent upon destroying them.
"..Thursday ..day before war broke out ..entire population was at ..railroad station. ..heart rending cries of ..mothers whose sons were leaving for ..front mixed with ..shouting of those who had not been able to leave earlier and were now in panic. Drunken Polish soldiers leaped from ..cars into ..Jews ..shouting that ..war had come because of ..Jews and that now they would get even." Nakhman Rapp.
No piece of paper can have so defined the betrayal of all Europe than this abandonment of the very integrity of individual nations here in Munich. In the intervening year, in which European Jewry was somewhat lulled into a false sense of security again, it never matched the certain shock waves of despair that had wrung out after the treachery they initially felt, and so accutely. Hope was in abundance though, and by 1939, with 3,850 Jews constituting 40% of Grajewo's population, artesans, tradesmen skilled and un-skilled with Doctor's, Teachers and other professionals being well established, optimism could offer the hope that the disquiet would not. By this time some 400,000 Jews had already left Poland for Palestine and elsewhere, and all this, covering the past few years. However, this still saw 3,250,000 Jews recorded as Polish Citizenry at the time and though hope was held tightly on to, and with no inkling of what was coming, troubled Polish Jewry on the whole, sank back into the sanctity of their belief that all was well.
"..I ran to ..window to see what was happening. A thick column of smoke rose to ..sky blocking out ..light. Were it not for ..constant firing and explosions ..one might have thought that ..city was not being attacked but merely put to ..torch. Not being able to see anything through ..window ..I went ..onto ..porch. But as soon as I put my hand outside ..I was hit by a piece of shrapnel which tore off ..2 fingers. I fainted and my wife carried me indoors." Yosef Kalski.
Imitation is never the best form of flattery and that should certainly be subscribed to the Polish conduct and their efforts to resemble the Nazi assaults and Murders being reigned down upon the Jewish People in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Right up until it became Polish Jewry's turn to feel the weight of Nazi aggression, in full and even in Grajewo itself, Grajewo was immediately impacted by Hitler’s Invasion of Poland on September 1st. 1939. Here, Polish sovereignty was all but quashed and under the yoke of Hitler's aggression, Polish Jewry and the non-Jewish Pole would suffer these consequences, but not as The Final Solution of The Jewish Question would contend. Almost immediately, Polish Jewry was set to be Murdered in their entirety, amongst the very many Poles who had fallen defending their Country, were the many Jews who had fought alongside their erstwhile Cousins.
"..Remember this day ..remember it well ..you will tell generations to come about it one day. ..we have been shut away in ..ghetto. I live here now ..world is separated from me and I’m separated from ..world." Renia Spiegel.
Jews, even affected as they were by the rampant antisemitism present within Poland, and this did not disappear once they entered the Military, they joined up for the exact same reasons that National pride must dictate. Alongside these were those Polish Jews who had come from Grajewo to stand squarely for that very reason which dictated what would be a unity of spirit. However, that was barely reserved for Jews in Polish Military service once Poland had tasted defeat. Here though, for the loss to the Jews of Grajewo, and I mention barely a few of those lost to us, it cannot be forgotten the good and decent non-Jewish Pole who saw nothing different in serving alongside any Pole, Jew or not, in the service of their Nation, and its pride. With the close proximity of Grajewo to the Polish border, this meant that these regional Poles and Jews were the first to fall in battle. While any of these military survivals were treated wholly differently by the invading Nazi’s, it was especially so for the Jews.
"..There is very little documentary material available on ..subject. ..Polish Army ..defeated ..left no written records of its men taken prisoner ..scanty files of ..Polish Government in Exile in London hardly mention ..fate of ..Jewish prisoners of war." Shmuel Krakowski.
Bearing in mind there was little of any Polish Military command structure after Hitler's victory, the Polish Army command had run away and across the Romanian border. Petty squabbles once again settled in and age old hatreds came to the surface to either blame or accuse the Jews for the defeat. With German inflammation of such divisiveness, former comrades in arms saw the Jewish plight as a method to ameliorate their own predicament. With the formative Einsatzkommando operating with impunity, identifying Jewish pow's was often gifted these Einsatz supplementary forces. Of course, there is little substantive evidence for what was politically motivated or even militarily expedient. But with regards the treatment of the Polish Jewish Military, past comraderie was placed else where. Certainly, German treatment of Polish pow's was severe, though that Jewish status emerged to ensure as Jews, they were brutalised incrementally more savagely than their former non-Jewish military colleagues. The Jews indeed received the most barbaric and brutal of treatments, whether they were Jews of the military or not. As to the Jewish soldiers treatment by their non-Jewish former Polish Military, once the defeat had settled upon them, which was clearly subscribed by Nazi intention, former shared heroics were selfishly confined to self and was tribal.
"..I see before my eyes my Brothers ..Sisters of my birthplace Grajewo ..who died under torture and in great pain. I hear their last desire unspoken ..tell of our deaths. ..Let not our memory ..memory of our sorrows be forgotten. ..Let ..memory of our martyrdom remain as a headstone for ..few survivors of our city where they may come to weep and recall ..tragic loss. ..for our people ..let it remain as a spark which ignites a great flame ..a constant reminder." Nakhman Rapp.
The Jewish People were singled out for being Jews and it is a reprehensible course which then segregates them out, and also within the Polish Military any mutual code was displaced. Jews were made unequal from their non-Jewish Polish comrades despite their equal effort in fighting against the common enemy. Once battle had been done though, and from amongst the prisoner’s of War were these Grajewo Jews forced to die, Chaim Epstein, and though Yakov Shia Kaminski was captured, he managed to escape but would later be Murdered in the Ghetto with his Parents. Any and all forms of Survival was a temporary measure required by Hitler for those Jews whose fate within Poland he had sourced and then secured. There was Benyomen Kureyvowski, Chaim Kurzhondkowski, Chaim Mendel Levine, Yosel Levitt, Yankel Rutski, the Son of Falk Rutski the Painter, Tobiashora, Gershon Viernik, Moishe Viernik, Moishe Yitzhok, Leibl Zeligson all lost for doing what Citizens’ have been doing for Century’s, fighting to protect their Homes, their Nations, their status in Statehood.
"..They took ..youth and especially ..males into ..synagogue and tortured them for 2 weeks. There in ..synagogue it was a real hell. Such tortures ..it would be better to die rather than suffer so much. They twisted their arms ..ripped out their tongues ..tore out their nails. They whipped them every day in ..morning ..100 lashes each. When one of those tortured fainted ..they threw him into water with chlorine and lime ..and when he regained consciousness there was another new torture ..jumping over various barricades ..over benches ..tables." Christina Helene Nadolna.
The Town itself fell victim pretty quickly and though many of the Polish administration took flight and made its way to Bialystok, there were many Jewish residents who both chose to stay or could not afford to flee their homes. Those intial 2 weeks of September were crucial in establishing German clear intentions, as many places of Jewish worship or study were attacked and even burned down. With the killing of many of those Jews, who were completely at a loss as to such scenes, this was an unimagineable horror from supposedly civilised a nation. Jewish Grajewo was often times traumatised in the past, now it was more entrenched and from an external source. The enforced transport of many Jews to places unknown was a further concern for all Jews, both present and returning. Meanwhile the brutality against those Jews remaining knew no bounds as Dovid Rapp, the 17 year Son of Itsik Rapp the baker, was quartered alive with swords by Nazi murderers. On September 17th. 1939, and though the Jews of Grajewo could not have known it, while 20 of Laskarzew's Jews were being murdered in their homes and streets, Russia occupied the Eastern portion of Poland.
"..young engineer Kirshboym. ..was not from Grayeve ..came as a refugee from Warsaw. ..was happy to jump from ..2nd. story and tried to run away. Poles ..standing around and taking pleasure in ..Jews' suffering ..caught ..Jewish engineer and threw him into ..big pit near ..shul. ..pit was a ..big ..garbage pit ..Germans ..made near the shul. After they threw him in ..unfortunate engineer swam around and grabbed ..boards of ..rim with his hands and tried to crawl out of ..excrement." Yan Kalski.
We learn the names of othrs of Grajewo's Jews, Moyshe Pinievski was amongst the bakers of Grajewo but it was Khaym Leyzer, who had a bakery on Shul Street whose Daughter was blown apart with a handgrenade. These Jews faced the wrath of the German's for no good reason other than their Jewish antecedence. Khaym Leyzer's Son Srolke, just simply disappeared. A few residents also known to Grajewo History included Avraham-Itsik Faynshtayn, Shabtsi Frida, Mr. Genakhovski, Itsik Gershtanski, Sender Guzhik, Mr. Gvirtsman, Mr. Kahane, Tsvi Kaptshavski, Mr. Kats, Khaim Katsprovski, Beynesh Kolko, Mr. Kravtsinski, Ruvn Malakhovski, Mr. Markus, Elimelekh Pomerants, Khaim Itsik Ravidovits, Henekh Raykhelzon, Mordkhe Rembelinker, Mordkhe Rinkovski, Alter Tsuker, Mr. Vapinski, Elihu Vaks, Dr. Tsvi Vayslavski, Dr. Velikovski, Dr. Viner, Itsik Vitkievits and Mr. Yezherski. Amonsgt the many Jews taken away were the 15 year old Son of Khaytshe Baykovski, Abrasha Baykovski and Khaym Fridman, the Son of Feyge Malke Fridman. Khaym Fridman was the only one of these Grajewo Jews removed to a killing site in the Bogusze Forest who managed to escape and return.
"..After that they stood them all up in rows and each tenth person had to jump through ..second story window. If anyone jumped and lived ..Germans killed him on ..spot. They twisted ..Jews' hands with barbed wire ..and with ..same wire they twisted their heads backwards and threw them into ..cellar of ..shul like that ..so that they would die there. ..dead bodies of ..tortured were only taken out a year later ..completely decayed. You could not recognize who anyone was. ..workers who were driven together for that work became deathly ill with several diseases. ..corpses were thrown into a pit with lime that had been in ..cellar." Christina Helene Nadolna.
Other’s taken away for Slaughter were the Rabbi, Itsik Ayzik Grosman and the owner of the mill, Avromtshe Ayzenshtat. Such was the onslaught in those formative days, that for those Jews who did manage to flee, they began their return only once it appeared German influence could be assuaged by Russian intervention in their areas. Under the Soviet occupation of September 20th. 1939 until June 22nd. 1941, when Hitler launched his operation Barbarossa and Invaded Russia, Jewish businesses were nationalized and Polish Jewry West of the demarcation line were left to the mercy of Hitler’s murderous legions. On September 21st. 1939 Heydrich issued clearer instructions as to the Einsatzgruppe aktionen to be taken against the Jews of all Poland and this too was keenly felt in Grajewo. Gradually too, the very Jewish complexion of Grajewo settled into a post apocalyptic calm and business resumed as it had before. The Jewish People were not oblivious to the on going threat to their presence, livliehoods and even lives, and though many were resigned to a fate as yet unknown, there were many who spread the word of those atrocity's to disbelieving ears and incredulous minds.
"..standing around ..laughing at ..zhyd ..submerged ..in ..filth. When they saw ..young man was crawling out ..ran to him and with iron shovels split ..unfortunate's head into pieces." Yan Kalski.
The Russians for their part entered Poland on the side of Hitler and his regime, and here, some of the most influential Jews of Poland, along with their Families, were extracted by the Russians. The Russian administration were somewhat bemused by the Polish non-Jewish conduct toward their Jewish Neighbours. This anti-Jewish antipathy cannot be stated without acknowledging the great rift that was present amonsgt the Russian elite and their Jewish counterparts in Russia. The Jews of Russian were not always seen kindly or treated well. During March and April 1941, military subscription was brought in by the Russian Red Army and all those of Military age were conscripted into Stalin’s realm. The Jews of Grajewo were not slow in signing up and those who went were, amongst many, Chaim Adanstein, Leibel Dorf, Gershon Gringross, the Son of the Butcher, Zorach Gringross, Shamai Marcus, Yosel Mayek and Yankel Roimer. All went on to fight against the Nazi terror which tore apart the very existence of Jewish Grajewo.
"…we sat down on ..earth with our feet tied together and so ..night was passed. ..night was very terrible. First ..because they would not allow us out to urinate ..people suffered a lot. Second ..at such a time all kinds of thoughts occur. One says ..they will set us on fire ..another says something else." Mayer Kletski.
On June 19th. 1941, and from Grajewo itself, a number of Jewish families, the Beykowskis, Yosef Bialostocki and his family, the Kirshenbaum’s, the nurse Mania Kaplan and Aaron Leizerson were all moved to what might be considered safety, the hinterland of Russia. Some of these Grajewo Jewish residents, and many other Polish Jews, and even non-Jews were exiled from Poland into deepest Siberia. For these Jews expelled, exiled, removed, for those who survived the rigours of Russian climbs, they indeed Survive what Hitler had intended for them. In Grajewo, the old synagogue, which had been burned down by Hitler's horde was replaced by a theatre, described as beautiful and which could safely accomodate the seating of 1,500 of those attending Plays, Shows and Concerts. The intention to dismantle the study system and the belief system of the Jewish People was fixed but circumvented.
"..I often returned to find there consolation and a retreat from ..strange wild world." Dr. George Gorin.
Hitler’s legions did him proud as they had burned all the synagogues of Grajewo, and elsewhere throughout Poland, their Synagogues became recognisable targets. A Grajewo communal prayer house was conducted in Moishe Piniewski’s home. Moishe was another of Grajewo’s baker’s, and so some semblance of Religious life resumed. Although in somewhat more cramped surroundings and with an air of strick secrecy surrounding it, Judaism was given light in the still darkness. A part of the Yiddish School too was set aside for Religious activity and this was ably conducted by Anshel Kotchak. When the Germans set fire to the large synagogue Yitshok Grobgeld succeeded in saving one Holy Scroll and a number of prayer books which were of great use during this time. By June 24th 1941 a German military kommandatur arrived in Grajewo and it settled into its Headquarters on Pilsudskiego Street.
"..Grayeve Ghetto was larger than that of Shtutzin. Not just one small street ..but several streets and ..2 or 3 well constructed buildings." Khaye Golding-Kayman.
Normality of sorts for the theatre actors, who so graciously strode the stage, was for all too many of them their swan song as they did not Survive Hitler's intentions. Nor did any of Grajewo's Children who had wistfully watched so many of these fine performances. All Grajewo's Jews were either Murdered by the Nazi's and their collaborator's, on the spot or within Majdanek, Treblinka or Auschwitz. Then, as Hitler's forces prepared for Barbarossa, the unprovoked attack on his former ally Mother Russia, many of those already exiled Polish Jews would now be saved from certain annihilation. The Germans recaptured Grajewo on June 22nd. 1941, and instituted a reign of terror against its Jewish Community. As the Germans reoccupied the Town, Assaults, Rapes and Murder were immediately conducted against these innocent Jewish inhabitants. The Ghetto within Grajewo, which would eventually contain more than 3,000 Jews was in existence the following day, from June 23rd. 1941.
"..In ..morning ..overseers came in and asked with a smile ..So ..little Jews ..How did you sleep." Mayer Kletski.
Within Grajewo itself, and with it its immediate regional Jewish life, all was forfeit to the whim of the Nazi administration and also to the local antisemitism of fascist Polish organizations. In what has been termed the Bermuda Triangle of atrocity against Polish Jewry, this triangulation was the area of Bialystok, Grajewo and Lomza, the Polish non-Jewish population was freed from restraint and were driven enthusiastically toward atrocity against their former Jewish Neighbours. I remember here, as I took my own persoanl journey from Warsaw to Malkinia, and I would be setting foot in the Treblinka Death Camp, which had consumed 900,000 Jews from Europe, Poland and Grajewo, I witnessed signs which pointed to Augustow. I also noticed the very names of these 3 Cities and Town's which were forming that triangle of Destruction Bialystok, Grajewo and Lomza.
"..A city is like a living creature. It has a heart that feels ..moods of melancholy ..frivolity ..enthusiasm ..worries. It seems there were a lot of Grayeves ..each ..a different face ..depending on ..different circumstances." Dr. George Gorin.
There too the signs pointed towards Szczuczyn, all of these places bridging that abyss between my own knowledge and its integrity that was buried in each of these places I mention. I sat on my train journet and realised that this cascading effort in atrocity, which reached in from Germany and would consume Polish Jewry in almost its entirety, was particualrly rampant along the border areas in those initial stages. Warsaw and hence Treblinka would become part of that onslaught while Grajewo had been reeling from its effects from day one. With anti-Jewish attacks escalating even further, and immediately after Hitler's invasion of Russia, the Jewish predicament went from precarious to annihilatory. The Stronictwo Narodowe, the ‘SN’ was a staunchly anti-Jewish element and they were instrumental in the attacks against many of the Jews who found themselves beaten and even Murdered in Grajewo and elsewhere.
"..After ..Germans entered ..our lives ..changed completely. We were in constant fear that we would be deported to ..Camp. We knew that it is happening. We were very worried about our future. We met our neighbors and discussed what would happen to us. We were afraid ..still afraid." Runia Lunski.
When, on June 25th. 1941 the Yellow Star decree was enforced, few in Grajewo saw other than a distinguishing mark rendering them prey to easier recognition, even though the banner of its pride was somewhat raised. The full scale of what Hitler had intended for all the Jews of Europe was now more clearly on display, locally, Nationally and within Europe as a whole. The divisiveness of anti-Jewish feeling was keenly felt and the segregation of communities impacted sorely. Resonating within the Jewish presence throughout Europe, as newer strains of anti-Jewish violence entangled its Jews, and while here in Poland and here in Grajewo, it was more immediate the echoe grew louder, vocifierous and stronger. On June 29th. 1941 local non-Jewish Poles attacked their Jewish Neighbours and 10 of Grajewo’s Jews were Murdered and a further 30 of the Town’s Jews were injured.
"..People smile again in harmony with nature ..grateful not only for ..fact of being freed from ..bondage of Egypt ..but also from ..severe ..long ..lonely winterpictures of Grayeve stand before my eyes, etched in my soul. They are unforgettable, like still impressions and happenings of the childhood years which remain a part of us for the rest of our lives." Dr. George Gorin.
Then, on June 30th. 1941, with the German occupation forces facilitating a further bloody assault upon the Jewish Community, with a further 500 of Grajewo’s Jews, who were rounded up and confined to the marketplace and here, where the non-Jewish Poles stood, they brutally attacked and injured 100 of these innocent Jews out of vindictiveness and because they could. This all appears in a running commentary on hatred's most vile expression, an antisemitism that has persisted for far too long. Given the very educating experience and principles of civilised reasoning, how could any enlightened society turn to the barbarism of brutality, atrocity and mass Murder. However, on July 3rd. 1941 a further round up was sought which saw barely 300 Jews surrender their person, fearing what they now knew awaited them. These who arrived, as suspected, were savagely beaten and then detained in the local Theatre. Here they remained right through till August 1941.
"..One night ..Germans came to our apartment and took us to ..Camp that was on ..edge of ..Town. ..They gathered all ..People from ..area. There was not much food. We hardly ate anythin." Runia Lunski.
Some of these Jews were forced to jump from the floors of the Shul to their deaths. For these Jews, and unless they had not survived the non-Jewish Poles assembled below, they were brutally killed with shovels and pry-bars. Velvl Piekarevitsh, the Son of the Staviski blacksmith Avrom Shleyme, was one of these so brutally Murdered. No amount of interpretation can deliver to the reader the maximum terror and horro of such incidents. That this seeks to add to a memory all too many would allow to fade into the shrouded history of our terrible past, words find newer meaning in their emphasis. Velvl Piekarevitsh himself, who had jumped through the window of the Shul and ran toward the Jewish cemetery, was one such Grajewo Jew who is in Memory for the horror inflicted upon him.
"..On Wednesday July 25th 1941 at 10:00 am ..they drove all ..Jews together in ..middle of ..market square and ..town kommandant Greiss read aloud for them ..decree from ..high command." Mayer Kletski.
Giving chase, the non-Jewish Poles caught up with Velvl and threw him still alive into the lime pit near the shul. What then followed was the enforced labour, continued assault and the constant threat and enacted Murders of some 40 of these Jews. This entire atrocity proceeded with a relentless zeal. Released for a selection from the Shul, and from amongst the entire Jewish Community, as many as 10 more of these incarcerated Jews were Murdered. Amonsgt those brutally taunted, assaulted and brutalised there was Mayer Kletski and he informs us of the feelings of terror and horror as a Survivor of that nightmare. With that said, what no one reading any such account can comprehend, nor will they come close to the terms with which they are decribed. We recognise for its completeness the significance of testimony in delivery of the essential truth that we seek.
"..Jewish nation is a criminal nation and as such has earned a hard and eternal punishment of hard labor and imprisonment. They are forbidden to live free and together with other peoples ..because they do not have pure blood. Sooner or later they must all die. They must be obedient to every German ..under penalty of death. ..Jews will be distinguished by a yellow star ..which they must wear on ..shoulder and breast as a sign of their shame." Greiss.
On August 7th 1941 between 100 and 300 Jews, including Children, were shot in the local Cemetery and some 1,600 to 2,000 of Grajewo’s remaining Jews were then confined to create The Grajewo Ghetto. The Ghetto itself was enclosed and bounded by Dolna, Lazienna and Zielona Street. It was established on August 10th. 1941 with Zalman Sutker as its President. Zalman, who was heading a Judenrate with 1,600 Jews initially, were all contained within the Grajewo Ghetto boundary. Zalman Sutker, who was born April 24th. 1892 oversaw this Jewish Ghetto population expand toward 2,000 over the coming days. The Jews of Grajewo at the time worked closely with the Judenrate president, all seemingly believing that this mechanism would truly represent the route toward their very existence. Active amonsgt the Grajewo Jewish Community were Joseph Bialystotski, Luba Fabilinska, Julian Glatt, Chaim Goldberg, Abraham Grinberg, Yehuda Grinberg, Leyzer Leishke Grossman, Shloime Gumovitch, Shmuel Kaminski, Karbowski, Berl Khilare, Berl Kletski, Meyer Kletski, Joseph Marcus, Iosher Tevel Oz and Lea Popovski the Secretary.
Tuesday October 7th. 1941 "..In exceedingly severe fashion ..politics of antisemitism ..applied. ..arbitrarily on October 7th. order given by ..officer. Jewish personnel personnel sent to Koltubanska ..put under ..command of ..officer ..known to be ..antisemitie. Jews ..removed from other formations ..segregated ..discharged en masse." Stanislaw Kot.
Amongst other's who simply understood they were hopefully facilitating the relief of their own Jewish People and controlling, with expedience, their own Community's relief from the trauma which surrounded them were Neiman Reubin, Moishe Slovatitski, Pinyeh Suraski, Tennenbaum, Yitzhok Voyslavski, Sholem Zaidenberg, Yitzhok Zharkowski and Vovek Zilbershteyn. While we look back to History and recognise the tortuous times the Jews lived in, at the time, and while these informed Jews clearly recognised that the Jewish serving soldier in the Polish armies fared no better than any civilian Jew within Poland, they contended with it being a Polish assault. However, at the hands of non-Jewish Poles, it became routing and though they somewhat expected better from the more accultured and supposedly classically civilised forces of Hitler's Germany, they were to be so cruelly betrayed by their own belief in all humanity.
"..pictures of Grayeve stand before my eyes ..etched in my soul. ..unforgettable ..like still impressions and happenings of ..childhood years ..part of us for ..rest of our lives." Dr. George Gorin.
Now though, with Hitler fully engaged in Russia, many scores were settled by the Polish military against the many exemplary Jewish military commanders. All due to that aged old hatred, Jewish officers and the ordinary Jewish recruits were severely treated and totally discredited on the basis solely of their Jewish antecedence. Maligned in many ways this insensitive, intolerable and indifferent outlook spilled out and over the national status of the Polish Jews. All of this was to be the focused experience for many all too civilian Jews in Poland in the wake of defeat. In many Villages, Towns, Cities, Shtetl's the length and breadth of the Country, Jewish life and existence was at the mercy of yobs of Polish miscreants. These roving bands of brigands were totally unfettered by an absent Polish government which had clearly run away from any and all responsibility for its nation and its People.
Thursday January 1st. 1942 "..Hitler aims to destroy all ..Jews of Europe. ..Jews of Lithuania are fated to be ..first in line." Abba Kovner.
The wildly diverging strains of 3,000 years of antisemitism in the World became polarised here in Poland at a time when Jews too were aligned and had been fighting for the better good of the Polish nation. However, and no matter how exemplary had been the Jewish conduct in the recent battle to save national pride, the Jew was still a Jew and was deserving of nothing other than a derisory, contemptable and a wholly despicable treatment. Unfortunately, this state of affairs was not solely the Jewish experience in only Poland. The varying assault upon the Jewish presence was rampant throughout The Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and in the Balkans region amongst the Croats. Tragically for History, it is difficult to name any Country which did not possess the abiltiy to show an immense intolerance toward the Jews.
"..Jews of Grayeve ..were kind hearted people ..proud of their city." Dr. George Gorin.
Such was the hatred that was latched on to, the intolerance shown was never compensated for by
church which seemingly shared such a sentiment as was rife with sheer religious indifference. Often seen and witnessed even with a fervour which some of the christian churches clearly and callously stoked, the strains of any christian tolerance and human charity was consigned to the remaining vestiges of a sadly lacking concern. As the criminal pyres raged and the flames consumed the Jews of Europe, a conflagration that was unprecedented and unparalleled in all of History, Grajewo was gripped by its own sense of foreboding. During June 1942 most of the young Jewish Women of Augustow arrived in an enforced attachment to the Ghetto and were settled into ever cramped and delapidated surroundings.
Saturday August 15th. 1942 "..pogrom of Jews in Poland ..a preliminary probing operation ..to test ..behaviour of conquered nations. ..pogroms help ..police ..become more efficient ..intimidate. ..Shaulises ..Latvian fascists ..well trained in ..murders ..preparing. ..crimes against ..Jews ..to be looked upon as a ..warning." Polish Freedom Tribune.
Then, and unlike previous events when Pogroms forced the Jewish People to consider their national status, this time, and while they considered it would all pass by, something more cruelly stringent was in the air. Here, while awareness of the great wrongs being done to Polish Jewry does not seem to limit the very vehicles of Polish freedom, such tomes are clearly expressing some satisfaction at the Jewish plight. This polish freedom tribune was noting this too as a warning of worse to come. Not just that, elements of the Polish state were so confident in the very nature of the atrocity against their Polish Jews being accomplished by roving bands of Shaulises, the Latvian militia willing to adopt all and any methodology in the procurement of the Jewish Slaughter, little protest was ever stressed. Such mercenary undertakings, whether Latvian, Polish or Ukrainian should have greatly rankled Polish sensitivities.
What with the Germans occupying the whole of Poland now, with Polish sovereignty now non existent, it beggars belief that other nationals could be thus employed. Why there was no need to protest these other foreign nationals behaving with such impunity upon Polish soil. Perhaps the answer indeed lies in the fact that the abusive treatment of the Jewish People was considered an acceptable loss to Polish pride at the time? Through whole swathes of the Polish nation, many government agencies, churches, groups and individuals all turned a very blind eye to what befell their Jewish Community. That a nation, on the whole grew deaf to any Jewish pleas is enough of an accusation which History owes to posterity to accuse as many as can be identified for such intolerances and indifferences.
Thursday August 20th. 1942 "..200,000 Ghetto residents ..already ..deported. ..lootings ..with ..German Police ..Lithuanians ..Ukrainians ..Latvians all taking their turns. ..succeeded in finding out ..way to kill .in ..Treblinka ..is ..gas chamber. ..24 hours a day ..dredging machine ..digs a deep ditch. ..corpses ..simply tossed into that ditch." Armia Krajowa. The Polish Home Army.
What we knew of the time, from both the residents of The Warsaw Ghetto, who were the Jews of Warsaw and its surrounding districts, is accurately stated in the pages of dispatches sent to the Allied powers. We do not need to enter here into the debate as to why der Einsatzgruppe reports had been intercepted but were largely ignored with regard to their Jewish content. But we are certain that the very detail which contained the excess and Murder against 100's of 1,000's of Jews throughout The Baltic States, Poland and the Ukraine were known to Allied intelligence and recorded as such in Nazi telexes, the OSR's or Operational Situation Reports. Also, and in the many other such statements made and these were made on a regular basis by the supposedly resisting Polish Home Army, such was the truth that could not ever be denied.
As such, that very truth and cognisant awareness of the awakening resolve to Murder all of Poland's Jews has found all too many willing now to deny the very fact of what here has been clearly acknowledged with its factually truthful integrity. With the expellation of Warsaw Ghetto Jewry toward Treblinka, this ensured that these 200,000 Jews were recorded as having being transported to be Murdered in the Treblinka Gas Chambers. Here too, with the corpses to be interred in the ditches dredged by the dredging machines on a 24 hour basis, and on every single day, such information never appear to have formed the Polish resistance toward this genocidal effort. On behalf of the Jews who were being exterminated, until it was enacted by the Jews themselves, resistance was in very short supply from those more ably equipped to do so, the non-Jewish Polish forces of the state.
"..I talked with Zalmen Sutker ..Julian Glatt ..Leyzer Grossman ..Vovek Zilbershteyn and others I met in ..Judenrate." Khaye Golding-Kayman.
On October 25th. 1942, and with the arrival of 600 Jews from the Rajgrod district, this was to be a fore warning of an approaching storm for all the remaining Jews of Grajewo. On November 2nd. 1942 the Ghetto itslef, in accordance with The Final Solution protocol was surrounded by Police units, SD and SS from 4:30 am. With measured and attentive force the Jews of the Ghetto were brutally dragged from their homes and made to gather in the square. Any attempts to hide or even resist was met with immediate death and during this whole liquidation process, 6 entire Jewish Ghetto Family's were murdered on the spot. The Ghetto, which had lasted until this day had contained as many as 3,000 Jews. They had been drawn from Grajewo itself, from Bialystok, Grodno, Jasionowka, Krynki, Pruzany, Rajgrod and Sokolka and all of the smaller Shtetl's and Villages with pocketed the surrounding areas.
Then, on November 11th. 1942, when those few survivng Jews of Grajewo's Ghetto faced the consequences of their own final end, no outside clamour for their safeguarding was ever muted, motioned or heard. After its final dissolution, with at least 2,500 of these Grajewo's Jews having been sent straight to Treblinka, the hollowness to what remained echoes throughout Poland as a desolation of the fountain of Jewish existence. Many others of these Grajewo Jews, still managing to resist toard a bitter end would be held over for later deportation to Auschwitz. The final impact on the entire Jewish existence in Grajewo was both colossal and terminal. Any of the remaining 2,500 Grajewo, and those otherJews from the district, who were either Murdered on the spot or were transported to the Slave Labour Camp and Ghetto at Bogusze, these then formed that subsequent Auschwitz transport.
"..We did not know where we are going to. We stopped in Czestochowa. In ..ghetto there was family. ..husband pulled me out of ..carriage. ..Germans did not fire. ..perhaps 2 soldiers for 250 Jews ..they did not notice us. Somebody from ..car threw us a coat." Runia Lunski.
For these, the very remnants of Grajewo Jewry, who were told they would be sent to a Labour Camp in the area of Silesia, where Auschwitz and Birkenau awaited them, they were duped further as they by-passed the Treblinka Death Camp along from Malkinia. Then, by December 15th. 1942, most of the remainder of Grajewo's Jews had been finally readied for transport to be resettled in Treblinka and where extermination awaited them there also. Zalman Sutker and his entire Family were included in the Treblinka resettlement and were indeed expelled toward Bogusze and then onto Treblinka. On December 16th. 1942 with his Wife, Ida Vilenska Sutker, Father, Meir Icko Sutker, Mother, Basia Itke Wojewodzka Sutker, Berl Sutker and Feiga Sutker, Zalman entire Family headed for a fate only they can know and toward what they may have felt was a certain destruction.
"..On January 2nd. 1943 ..Germans ordered ..Jews to pack up and prepare to leave ..next day." Nakhman Rapp.
However, while rumours abounded that this transport was being sent to the crematoria of Treblinka and annihilation there, hope, that last feeling to cling to, was their consideration. For who would believe such things could be, and this became their reality. Initially, the rumour was not believed and as the Bogushe Camp was emptied of 5,000 of its 7,500 Jews, amongst them Leyzer Grossman, Zalman Zutker and his Family, Treblinka was their final destination. After that, Birkenau now awaited the residue of Jewish Grajewo existence with their entire presence all but finally eviscerated. This terminal period arrived for these Jews on January 6th. 1943, as assigned to the Augustow transport and resettled in Auschwitz. As Grajewo is now declared Judenrein, or cleared of its Jewish People, their History is extinguished to a faded memory upheld by fewer and fewer of those Survivor's who truly knew and lived through the catastrophe. On January 7th. 1943, the Augustow transport arrived, and on the ramps at Birkenau, of the 2,000 Jews who were summarily assessed, 296 Jewish Men and 215 Jewish Women were separated out for work.
"..highlighting Grajewo. ..A cousin of my father’s escaped ..carnage and joined ..partisans. ..defeat of Russians and occupation by Germany was done in ..blink of an eye. Eyewitness reports exist in ..Yizkor book so there were a few Survivors. But of course they fled. Grajewo was Judenrein so very quickly." Evelyn Fine.
This temporary reprieve to work in the Camp, did not extend to the remainder of the transport as 1,489 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children were immeidtaely gassed. This now sees Grajewo’s few remaining Jews, who were transported here to Auschwitz and destruction in Birkenau, complete the transition toward their destruction at Hitler's behest. Much of the sheer evidence of Jewish existence, from the German Polish border through Grajewo and into Poland, heading deeper and deeper Eastward, was almost completely obliterated in an account it has proved impossible to wholly reclaim. Of course, there were vestiges of Jewish persistence, but while most of Grajewo's Jews had been reduced to ash, and the culture of that hereditary life had been brutally vanquished, study resurrects barely their memory. Despite what The Final Solution of the Jewish Question sought to achieve we have sifted through that clear intention to obliterate not only all of European Jewry, but the very evidence of their transport through History and time and the very evidences of all that had been enacted against them. For the study of such Jewish eminence, the echo of any Jewish past no longer resounds with its usual vibrancy and the crucifying and hollowed resonance which marked the Jewish presence within Poland.
"..On January 3rd. 1943 ..last Grajewo Jews left ..Bogushe camp forever. In jammed cars ..they left ..Prostken railway station and rolled on through Bialystok ..Warsaw ..Treblinka. When ..train passed Treblinka and did not stop ..a ray of hope shone among ..unfortunate. They did not yet know that there were other Death Camps besides Treblinka." Nakhman Rapp.
In places like Grajewo there is deafening quiet, a depleted and destroyed presence no longer vibrant nor tangible. All those Jews of the East, Murdered, riven from places with their decimation sustain a very vocal stillness, stubborn with certainty that time will not allow us to forget them. Of all Jewish presence in the areas of former Jewish existence, Graveyards to a Jewish past, but hidden under a pile of blood and the ash of their Existence, we tread across lands saturated in atrocity. It is an understatement for the Polish underground of the time to not only conclude that some 3,000,000 of Poland's Jews have been effectively Murdered, it would be disingenuous for them not to do so. Knowing too well the full order of that destruction in places like Auschwitz, Belzec, Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka and every single Community where Jews had lived fruitfully for 1,000's of years, words cannot be left to any attempt to undermine this truth. What has awakened a Jewish and non-Jewish scholarly endeavour to Remember, Recall and acknowledge their Annihilation drives forth the Memory to be recorded.
Tuesday March 23rd. 1943 "..Insofar as ..can be ascertained ..fate of ..Jews has undergone a further deterioration. Considering barely several hundred thousand Jews have remained out of 3,500,000 one has a fair insight concening ..scale of atrocities ..perpetrated." Polish Underground.
But for those, the witness who also was the Perpetrator, the Participator and the willing, complict, duplicitous collaborator in the scale of the atrocity waged against their own Jewish Citizens, their words must not prove culpable in any attempt to ameliorate what we know. The Grajewo Teacher, Ezra M. Obodzinski, was part of that very resistance, though his was a Jewish Resistance, that was active. Ezra was a participant in the Bialystok Ghetto uprising, a resolve that fought so valiantly from August 15th. till August 22nd. 1943. Ezra had served well already the student body of Grajewo and alongside other Teacher's like Beykowski, Yisroel Borekh, Fromer, Haika (Chaja) Grosman, Josef Jambor, Kureivovski, Moshe Pomerantz, Lea Popovski, Chanan Rubin and Abraham Shlonsky, Velvel (Vovak) Silberstein, Dora Wapinska and Shlome Wronsberg, these others taught too the values that life could bring to their students. That the student body of Grajewo was hugely dissolved and Murdered makes us all the more willing to listen and to learn from the examples those like Ezra have set. However, as Hitler unfurled his Murderous campaign and resolve to destroy all Jews, many of these Teacher’s too suffered the fate of their Student’s.
Ezra, after escaping to the Knyszyn Forest joined the group of Vafroid Jewish partisans but he was subsequently killed fighting against those same Nazi's in the region who were Murdering his own People. Many Jews throughout Poland spoke of the fate of their People and many of them died with a defiance upon their lips so largely omitted from History. From amidst the nations which had courted them, even as Jews, allowing them to establish themselves, even as Jews, few others fought hard to protect the continuing onslaught upon their very existence. Even as non-Jews, the war against Hitler was being waged and no account was gven to the Jewish People over what else Hitler had asssigned them. When Gisi Fleischmann wrote her letter to the Daughter she had resigned herself to never seeing again, we become witness not only to the trauma of the Jews of Europe, of Poland and here in Grajewo, but we find a very distinct heroism that was present amongst these very communites. From amongst the 6,000,000 Jews who were annihilated, culled, executed, exrtracted and always murdered, Jewish Resistance persisted, even when pressed hard against the force of a bullet.
Monday September 6th. 1943 "..Fate has willed us apart. ..Yet ..same fate has also willed that during ..years of our people’s greatest misery ..your mother is fulfilling a great mission in order to ease this terrible suffering. If I survive this difficult period ..I think I will be able to say that I have not lived in vain. In this spirit you must bear this separation. ..suffering of ..People of Israel stands above any personal pain." Gisi Fleischmann.
We can all wish to stand above personal pain and do so reluctantly, and while many even wish to condemn the Jews for the Slaughter inflicted upon them, we cannot legislate the Jewish mood of hope or expectancy. Who would foresee, from the nation of German's who should have acted with all Humanity, the barabarity that was unleashed, unfettered and unprecedented. Remember too, that what Elie Wiesel sought to insist, and that while not all victims were Jews, All Jews Were made Victims by Hitler and German intervention. From that very clear premise we know, and while we are very certain that Hitler sought to enslave the Poles, Hitler even allowed for their demise at a cost to productiveness, but here any comparison ends. To enter into the destruction of a People, wholly intended and offer up any form of comparison, to do so would be unjustified in the course of History. Relevance clearly shows that with Poland and its Jews, it was with typical Hitlerite inconsideration for their lives that their lives were lost.
While some 3 million non-Jewish Poles paid for that sought after slave labour with their lives, this was not immediately sought. However, none of the actions against any other of the People's of Europe was as systematically legislated for and directed as was The Final Solution of the Jews of Poland and then all the Jewish People on Continental Europe. That the non-Jewish Poles were not sougtht out for total eradication, slaughter, annihilation nor extermination is clearly expressed. Every facet of Hitler's claims for the Jews of Europe sought out the Jewish People for an unparalleled atrocity. The Polish Jews and their entire being on the Continent of Europe, were already forfeit as Jews to the whim of Hitler. When Poland was assailed in 1939, Polish intelligentsia was sought out too for Murder, but all and any Jew was sought out for Slaughter, all 3,000,000 plus of them.
"..Grajewo ..Judenrein ..can sleep peacefully. No more Jews in Grajewo. But ..earth of Grajewo shall not rest for a long ..long time. Long ..very long shall sleep be taken from ..eyes of those in Grajewo who helped in ..great crime. ..pain of ..murdered Women ..Children ..Fathers ..Sons ..shall long disturb their rest. Mortal fear shall grip them by night and black melancholy shall torture them by day for ..awful deeds that they have done. ..curse which our martyrs cast in ..final moments of their being shall pursue them eternally to ..end of their days. ..Then ..blood of martyrs shall be quieted." Nakhman Rapp.
What has since emerged from the trauma of realisation, has seen a resurrgence of a Jewish persistence of spirit, and in places like Poland which seeks to justify its unjustifiable position with regards to their Jewish Community, the Jewish People persist. More than 90% of Polish Jewry was wasted in a claim to destroy them all. On the back of this intolerance, which then sought the assistance of a monumental indiffernce to all Jewish struggle, Polish Jewry was submerged in such cruelty, it is unfathomable. Largely lost to all eternity, more than 3,000,000 of Polish Jewry has not been given up to a past forgotten. Nor has their destruction abandoned the call for a State which would have secured more of a safety net for them than the World provided. With the Right to Return, this Law, The Law of Return was passed on July 5th. 1950 and it signalled for the entire World of Jewry, the remnants of Polish Jewry and those Jews of Grajewo who Survived, as we speak of them a space they can call Home awaits them.
Ever since the inception of the State of Israel, created out of the trauma of Survival and our abandonment of them, on May 14th. 1948 for what must be the accepted moral and ethical realisiation of that Jewish space. After what we allowed to happen to their People, the 3,000 year Diasporan Jew could finally cease their wandering, if they so choose. Here in Israel, the weary Jew, the World Jew, what is left of the Polish Jew and what remains of the Grajewo Jew can settle amongst their fellow Jews in a Land promised to them. I do not solely speak of a mandate of Jewish Humanity, but of a god of Judaism and christianity who acknowledge that right of return. That return fully recognises an equality that would be enshrined in what would be wholly deliverable to all Israeli Citizens, whether they are Jewish or not. In the gravest of terms, which persist to this Day, life for the Jewish People is not enshrined in their liberty, livlihood nor their ability to contribute to all and any community they live amongst without fear.
"..past ..will never return. ..only thing that remains are memories ..sweet ..lovely. ..Dniester River ..which keeps flowing ..distant ..strange ..cold ..which hums ..not for me anymore." Renia Spiegel.
The Right of Return.
I Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an Oleh.
II Aliyah shall be by Oleh's visa.
An Oleh's visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration is satisfied that the applicant
i is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or
ii is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
III A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an Oleh's certificate.
The restrictions specified in section 2 (b) shall apply also to the grant of an Oleh's certificate; but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his arrival in Israel.
IV Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an Oleh under this Law.
V The Minister of Immigration is charged with the implementation of this Law and may make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation and also as to the grant of Oleh's visas and Oleh's certificates to minors up to the age of 18 years.
So when the Jews went in search of a European meaning to a tragedy of the Shoah, they found a precedent had been set in The Holocaust term. For that tragedy alone, which met 6,000,000 Jews and Murdered them wholesale, there is a greater need to maintain reference to them within that term than to deny them the last vestiges of our human decency denying them its space. So the meaning is clear. The Jews of the World, whether they emerged from the deep trauma of a hostile environment and from the murderous tentacles of The Holocaust, or whether they now wish simply to live amongst like minded, spiritual and efficatious Jewry, Israel afforded them a space to call their own. Even though the Jewish State is under constant threat of its destruction, we are morally obliged to support and assist the after our broken covenant with Humanity. I have made an effort to steer clear of politicising the terms of reference given to The Holocaust, but the right to Jewish existence must be given a consideration above all other's by dint of what the World allowed to happen to 6,000,000 of their own, Our own.
"..senseless murder of 6,000,000 Jews is difficult to understand ..even more difficult is that ..World was silent. ..I stopped trying to understand it because it defies logic ..I prefer to use ..lessons I have learned ..stand ..against all evil ..never give up ..treat people with fairness ..forgive your worst enemy ..think of one thing you can do to make ..world better." Eva Moses Kor.
So while I have listed some of these, these Jews of Grajewo which We have all lost, who were Murdered intentionally and were chosen systematically by Adolf Hitler, and solely for being Jews, no account will ever be complete. For Hitler who epitomises an enemy of our own Humanity, each and every Jewish name, mentioned here in the account I can barely comprehend, they all stand as an accusation of the inhumanity that was allowed to be shown and as an affirmation of a loss we will seek Always to Remember, Never to Forget. The account is not in the least bit as complete in detail as it should be and toward the Memory we seek to Remember for them, it is sadly incomplete by many 1,000's. While every attempt has been made to identify with Grajewo's Murdered, it is likely too that many who were born elsewhere were Murdered here. It is also a case of happenstance that might include those Married to a Jew of Grajewo. There was for some, who were merely a Jewish visitor to the Grajewo an assault upon them which forms their enclosed status as a Jew of the Town that was Murdered.
Lejzer Hersz Abkevitz, Boruch Abkewicz, Brajna Abkewicz, Fishel Abkewicz, Khana Abkewicz, Motl Abkewicz, Rywka Abkewicz,Wela Voula Abkewicz, Brynke Abkewitz, Layki Abkewitz, Rochel Abkewitz, Shayna Merka Abkewitz, Velinki Abkewitz, Chaszka Khasia Abkiewicz, Mendel Abkiewicz, Mosek Abkiewicz, Pinkus Abkiewicz, Wela Sara Abkiewicz, Ben Abkiewicz, Jochewet Abramska, Sara Abramska, Jakub Abramski, Josef Abramski, Matatiahu Abramski, Szejna Abramski, Szymon Abramski, Taibe Abramski, Tova Abramski, Mordekhai Abramski, Rivka Abramski, Yaacov Abramsky, Yokheved Abramsky, Kivel Abramson, Guta Adamshtein, Awezer Adamski, Chaim Adamski, Faiwel Adamski, Guta Adamski, Lazar Adamski, Guta Adamstein, Abram Adamstein, Khaia Agushevich, Moshe Agushevich, Zelda Agushevich, Cyla Tzipora Ajzensztadt, Cypora Ajzensztadt, Jakob Ajzensztadt, Mina Ajzensztadt, Jacques Ajzensztat, Jankel Ajzensztat, Yakob Ajzensztat, Avromtshe Ayzenshtat, Abram Bajkowski, Hersz Bajkowski, Khano Baykovski, Cipa Bialystocki, Cypa Bialostocki, Dawid Bialostocki, Dawid Bialystocki, Rachel Bialystocki, Rakhel Bialostocki, Yokheved Burshtein, Aviezer Dorf, Breina Dorf, Ester Dorf, Frida Dorf, Luba Dorf, Moniek Dorf, Sara Dorf, Yisrael Yaakov Dorf, Yitzkhak Dorf, Yosef Dorf, Peshka Fabritzki, Abraham Fainstein, Hadasa Fainstein, Khaim Fridman, Menukha Fridman, Yacob Leib Fridman, Malka Fridman, Chaim Friedman, Chana Friedman, Faige Malke Friedman, Menocha Friedman, Shaindel Friedman, Liptza Frydman, Sarah Frydman,Doba Chana Glas, Dora Glas, Tzura Glass, Chaim Goldberg, Abraham Grinberg, Chaja Khava Grinberg, Khaia Grinberg, Yehuda Grinberg, Yisrael Grinberg, Abraham Isak Gringrass, Itsik Ayzik Grosman, Khana Grosman, Masia Grosman, Mina Grossman, Natan Grosman, Rachela Grosman, Riwka Grosman, Yitzkhak Grosman, Juda Gruenberg, Chawa Grunberg, Frida Zmojewski Grunberg, Afroim Guzik, Jankiel Guzik, Kalman Guzik, Motek Guzik, Sara Guzik, Chaja Kac, Rubin Kaminski, Avrum Kaminsky, Chana Kaminsky, Tzvia Kaminsky, Refael Karmin, Avraham Mordekhai Katz, Chonon Wolf Klecki, Sheina Zelda Klecki, Dov Klecki-Kaletzki, Hershel Tzvi Klecki-Kaletzki, Khaim Yehuda Klecki-Kaletzki, Shprisha Kolka, Gitel Kolko, Hersz Kolko, Izzak Kolko, Moshe Kolko, Nella Kolko, Reina Rakhel Kolko, Reizl Kolko, Sprysza Kolko, Szymon Kolko, Yaakov Kolko, Arie Leib Levit, Mendel Lewin, Yda Hinda Lejzerson, Srolke Leyzer, Sara Liner, Berko Malachowsky, Josef Malachowscki, Ezra M. Obodzinski, Velvl Piekarevitsh, Chemio Piorko, Miriam Piorko, Mojzesz Piorko, Mosze Piorko, Mosze Piorko, Relka Piorko, Sara Piorko, Tzipa Piorko, Mirjam Piurko, Rela Piurko, Lea Popovski, Mina Mindo Radak, Dovid Rapp, Yehuda Reimer, Chaja Alta Rozenbaum, Abram Rynkowski, Chackiel Rynkowski, Chaim Rynkowski, Rachel Rynkowski, Rywka Rynkowski, Ahuva Luba Sarna, Rejza Serejski, Ester Sosnowicz, Basia Itke Ida Sutker, Berl Sutker, Feiga Sutker, Ida Sutker, Meir Icko Sutker, Zalman Sutker, Mordechy Vapinski, Rachel Vapinsky, Chana Waks, Lea Waks, Meir Waks, Mejlach Waks, Rachel Wapinska, Chaya Alte Wiernik, Dina Zilbershtein, Szulamit Zylbersztejn.