TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, May 13, 2019 12:30:06
My Boulder for Erica.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, and due to the fact that I cannot be there in person, here is a pebble, a stone, a boulder of words for Erica' s worth to us all. The stones, when we see them at places like Treblinka, these Boulders, Rocks, Stones and the tiny individual Pebbles, a collective alongside these Monoliths to Memory, we share in their purpose to Remember. The very intricate gathering of the display always urging us to take the memories back from these dark places and shed light upon what it meant for those Jews Murdered here. From all too many Community's of Europe, these Jews who are eternally confined to spaces not of their choosing, speak to Erica of past memories she has enjoined with those she herself has brought forward. These Stones and Pebbles whether small, tiny or large, they are all piled in such a way that seems without form but always with a sense that a Community has come together to pay tribute to the best of us all and for us Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
"..power that comes from daring to continue to be vulnerable." Erica van Beek.
Erica was a vulnerable human being as some of us know her, and even while many have yet to experience the great loss of a Mother, what Erica deliver's to us is an acute pain of loss and deprivation. There are certain people, just like Erica, who need to be Remembered for what they stand for and in her search for a Mother who was so cruelly taken from her, she offers up her vulnerability. Erica van Beek also stands for the Survival of World Jewry, as it is to be presented by her and on from her to us all. Erica presents her memory also for The Jews of all of Europe as she is a testifier to what happened, not only to her but to her Mother Olga also. Erica also relates to those of Jewish Holland, and even an Austrian Jewry no longer able to urge us forward, as she emerged from Austria to Survive in Holland.
"..at ..time. At each address it must look as if I belonged. And a child who complains about when Mutti was returning ..was a danger for her surroundings. ..questions and even ..memory was so very quickly suppressed and eliminated by ..mental and physical coercion from outside. And ..multitude of impressions ..all relocations and new environments and ..induced fears ..memories indeed disappeared. Nobody ..apart from my Father ..had ever talked with me about my Mother." Erica van Beek.
Erica's Mother, Olga Bock, was born in Vienna on Tuesday November 19th. 1907 to Erica's Grandmother, Jozsefa, nee Karpfen, and her Grandfather, Armin Bock and these are Erica's Fraternal Grandparents. Here, Erica entrusted me with the very intimate detail of this revisited portion of her life and her lifelong and painful coming to terms with the deeply embedded trauma over her Mother's destruction. For Erica clearly, she never gave up hope of that reunion with her Mother, even though she knew that hope had been dwindled so far down, it was barely flickering. There is such a loss for her that is so overwhelming, which lesser beings would not have been able to continue to function let alone would they have endured. Erica would not have Survived all that she was put through without the resilience of a Woman who had been imparted with the values of conviction and strength.
"..I am aware that ..where this story began as a personal process ..it is now my Mother's story. I think it is ..fact that I want to know these things ..she could have told me if she had not ..been killed." Erica van Beek.
Erica was simply born to Survive and was driven relentlessly forward so as to ensure her course met ours. She proved tireless in reminding me of what was required Remembering, and she sent me details of the struggle History should not be having with The Holocaust on a constant basis. It seemed to us both that we have moved too far away from learning what should be learned toward adapting the lessons we should not now use against an other. I wish I now had the time to say to Erica, you have touched the soul of another so deeply, it has moved a colossal space to become more filled. There is all too often times when more should have been said and they were not said, but I am certain Erica grew to know the esteem in which I held her. Between 1935 when Erica was born, Thursday August 1st. 1935 and the intervening years till 1938, there was such an influx of Jews, escaping persecution within Poland, that Holland resounded to a differing air of Jewish sounds.
"..If I have ever had ..illusion that humanity has become wiser and better ..it is now absolutely over. ..I still had hope. Ethnic ..Nationalist wars ..in ..civilized ..Europe have broken out ..make me realize ..humanity has learned nothing." Erica van Beek.
Such was the influx of Polish, German, Austrian and other Jews, the diversity of Amsterdam, previously a metropolis for most European Jews, extended its cosmopolitan status. In all the moments of shared communication, I found Erica's long search, for the answers she clearly sought, to give me continued reason to hope I would find the form of comprehension to this travesty for the Jewish People I had always sought. Erica's never failing desire to greet us with a Mother she longed to embrace, held her in a perpetual drive to remind us of what loss truly means. We now find loss has moved her on toward a reunion I hope in all earnestness, greets her well. I know her growing disillusionment with the failures to learn left a bitter taste for her. Considering what she has Survived, it is completely understandable that she was irritated by the World we still inhabit.
"..From Vienna I remember little or nothing. A large ..gray ..barrack like building where all voices sound very hard. A big garden like a park. ..There I also have an Omama ..that in my memory is very big and stately. ..As I dive into ..past again without clear memories ..without images. ..feeling of very fine porcelain. ..scents of earl grey tea ..bergamot ..roses ..scent of certain perfumes ..from freesia’s. ..scents of Mutti." Erica van Beek.
But for Erica, her resolution and positive mindset was such, that she fully hoped to find that goodness in the World and in more and more of us. Slowly, as she limited more and more of her own accusation to fewer and fewer of those who were actually responsible for the rise of more and more hatred's, she recognised she could learn to relax more. But she never quite adjusted to what The Holocaust had been responsible for, and so back in history, we sought meaning from answers that had no resolution. As the devastating effects of a World's inability to resolve a Jewish Refugee crisis, the Cruise ship St. Louis landed in Antwerp on Saturday June 17th. 1939 after its failed bid to land in America or Cuba. But nations of Europe did respond, with Britain taking 287 of these Jewish passengers, France taking 224 of these Jewish passengers, Belgium taking 214 Jewish passengers and Holland taking 181 of these stranded Jewish passengers.
"..I feel again at one with ..persecuted ..oppressed ..that is where I belong. Among ..Jews ..Jewish Marx ..as well ..all oppressed peoples that come up in revolt who flash through my mind." Erica van Beek.
The plight of these Jews, having left Hamburg for Cuba a month earlier, these 934 Jewish passenger refugees were physically stranded between unconcern for their well being and a total indifference to their plight. A whole Month, 4 weeks on the open Seas, abandoned by Nations of the World and while 6 of these Jews did land in Cuba, having jumped overboard, the fate of a further 22 of these Jewish People is unknown. On Saturday August 26th. 1939 and while The Times of London's Literary Supplement alighted the entire World to Hitler’s intention of an impending Holocaust for its Jews, and we recognise what could have been done to alleviate a small portion of the plight of these Jews, Hitler guarantees the neutrality of Holland. Of course, history has taught the World already that words spoken by herr Hitler have no equivalence in truth or honesty.
"..What else do I need to get past ..letting myself be. Not everything has been worked out ..on paper or in my head." Erica van Beek.
From the remnants of Jewish Europe, the people who are these Jewish Survivor’s, they will continually beat themselves up about the reason why they are the ones to have Survived and why 6,000,000 other's were forced to die. At the time when Anne Frank was in hiding and Etty Hillesum was still in full view, all Jews in Holland were being monitored, identified for transportation East and for many of them, with a knowledge in some degree as to what was coming for them. Etty Hillesum, by no means a victim, though victimised sees in affording assistance to her fellow Jews in Westerbork, a gift which gives us the very taste of what Olga herself would soon experience. Anne Frank’s Diary, which would offer Erica clues as to what life in hiding was like for the Jews in fear for their lives, is a monument to what Jews feared and fretted over, Survival.
"..victims Jews ..in ..Netherlands ..mounted to 100,000 less than 2% of ..Final Solution of ..Jewish problem. In ..process ..Dutch Jewry was put outside ..law ..isolated ..robbed of all ..possessions ..deported ..cut down with near scientific precision." Dr. Jacob Presser.
For this transit Camp at Westerbork, identified all too often with Dutch Jewry, was the common denominator for any of those Jews found in Holland. Westerbork was the transit hub toward which they were directed and either Birkenau or Sobibor was where annihilation awaited the vast majority of them there. Around 140,000 Jewish People, according to census figures, lived in Holland as Hitler's forces poured across the Dutch border on Friday May 10th. 1940. It is no coincidence therefore, given that some 2 years later when Hitler's statisticians came up with the figure for The Wannsee Protocol, as 160,800 Jews within Holland’s border's, accuracy is obviously endorsed by Hitler's clear demands to know where his resolve for these Jews would be met. Of course, some of these Jews were from the St. Louis, and while many of these had crossed many borders to reach comparative safety from Poland and Austria, Olga indeed was amongst them.
"..2 issues from my earliest childhood are still ..flight from Vienna to Amsterdam ..and ..abrupt divorce of my Mother. From ..time ..to ..end of ..hiding I can figure out ..facts ..a predominant feeling of darkness and cold. Except for a few sunny memories from Hoorn." Erica van Beek.
The sense of a guaranteed safety did not last long for any Jews in Europe, let alone in Poland after 1939 or in Holland after Wednesday May 15th. 1940. Holland had fully capitulated within 5 days and had surrendered its ability to protect its Jewish Community for what now loomed. Four days later, on Sunday May 19th. 1940 Arthur Seyss Inquart is appointed Reich Commissioner over Holland and following on from that on Tuesday October 22nd. 1940, all Jewish businesses in Holland are to be registered. A deep and penetrating darkness has descended upon the Jews of Europe, and here in Holland as elsewhere, the escalating terms of the anti-Jewish bias, bigotry and hatred is mounting. On Monday November 4th. 1940 all Jewish Civil Servants are dismissed from their positions in Holland. Then, on Friday January 10th. 1941 the closer identification of the Jewish People is brought to bear as all Jews in Holland are to be clearly identified and registered.
"..my own traumatic life ..has made me aware of and empathetic to ..trauma ..fears ..and ..world of others. ..if I can do something with it ..surely that is a bonus. ..I sometimes get ..feeling I am found to be ..a voice in ..wilderness. ..if I keep quiet ..I feel ..responsible. ..I have my own way to express my dismay about ..horrors of our time. ..maybe too emotional ..but that is ..way I happen to be." Erica van Beek.
During the months of February, June and September 1941, a number of Dutch Jews are rounded up and transported to both Buchenwald and Mauthausen Concentration camps and are to be Murdered there. Following on from The Wannsee Conference Tuesday January 20th. 1942, while the escalating terms of The Final Solution had been underway, we see on Tuesday February 3rd. 1942, in Holland these terms binding all of German Society in Hitler's fatal resolve for the Jewish People, delivered by SS Gruppenfuhrer Dr. Wilhelm Harster to his officials dealing with The Final Solution in Holland. If ever there seemed a moment of safety for Erica and her Mother Olga, that moment of safety for all Jews remaining in Holland had come to an end. By Monday June 1st. 1942, with all Jews forced to wear 'The Jewish Star,' the Mogen Dawid, throughout Holland, the brutalising of the Jewish People intensifies.
"..Friday July 3rd. 1942 ..this new certainty ..that what they are after is our total destruction ..I accept it. I know it now ..I shall not burden other's with my fears. I shall not be bitter if other's fail to grasp what is happening to us Jews." Etty Hillesum.
Most of the Jewish People arrested in Amsterdam were first taken to the former theatre Hollandse Schouwburg. Here they were assembled alongside those Jews brought in on transports from the remainder of Holland proper. Some 400 Jews were detained in the Theatre and this became the eventual assembly point in Amsterdam for the transports East, beginning in July 1942. Sadly this is the fate that awaited Olga and while I never got to meet any of these Jewish Women of Holland, either Anne or Etty, nor those like Erica van Beek who convinced me of her great resilience and resolve, they had this dreadful trauma in common, though Erica was spared the final detail. I did learn to know Erica as an extraordinary Warm, Cultured and Understanding Human Being. I had planned to meet up with Erica, the next time I was in Amsterdam, Holland yet this was not to be.
"..Friday August 21st. 1942 ..so many houses are being searched for hidden bicycles ..Mr. Kugler thought it ..better to have a bookcase built in front of ..entrance to our hiding place." Anne Frank.
That hoped for meeting was very important to me as I sought to learn everything from Erica and those whose anguish would mark my opinion of the very culprits who forced Survival upon Erica and the other Survivor's. It is clear from what Etty knew, and what Anne would learn from Radio Broadcasts, these Jews in Holland, those like Olga and a further 106,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children would all add to the Slaughter in Hitler's resolve to end all Jewish existence on the Continent of Europe. So far, I have been introduced to Olga Bock, the Mother Erica lost, for whom no amount of words could console her, and through that pain, I gained an impression of the Person Erica was and the humanitarian he is. Back then, when Olga was picked up by a Dutch policeman and detained in a Dutch house on the Amstelveenseweg, we can barely speculate Erica's deeply emotional loss.
"..I have never taken leave or said goodbye. ..Mutti was gone." Erica van Beek.
In what was eventually seen by Erica as part of an on-going quota system of search and detention of all Jews, for a 7 year old Child there could be no figuring out why Olga had not returned, nor come home and was no longer there for her. As the inevitable street raids on individual Jews was common, this however was before the systematic scouring operations of entire Streets and Areas came into being. The timing of this was in August 1942 and we learn that it was assumed by Olga that her Sister Hilda was looking after Erica. This was clearly borne out in the letter dispatched just before Olga had reached camp Westerbork. Erica has informed us that, from an almost illegible note which her Mother wrote as she was transported toward Westerbork, of Olga's permanent concern for Erica. Though the letter is addressed to her Sister Hilda, it is full of Olga's concern over her removal to Westerbork and for Erica's newer predicament.
"..Mama's love had always been ..kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away. ..She loved ..people she saw in ..street ..and beyond ..her love took in ..City ..land of Holland ..World. And so I learned that love is larger than ..walls which shut it in." Corrie Ten Boom.
With this emotive scrap of paper too, Erica learned not to be closed in by walls and while the note itself remains a last personal attachment, which Erica eventually obtained from her Aunt, Erica had embraced a World which had sought her out. That actual document, an artefact, is in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. Erica can now identify with what I find in Emmanuel Halverstadt's description. It is his vision of a Westerbork all Dutch Jews who travelled through it and Survived would recognise. For Erica to know a little more of what Olga was forced to endure, the description will not lessen the pain. Nothing would. Nothing ever did. However, the process as it would greet every Jewish Person within Holland, forced to remain in Westerbork Camp until final Deportation, would be similar to this in every detail and would alert Erica to what her Mother met along the way. Of course, that final capture for Olga, which brought her hiding to an abrupt end, suggests she too was possibly taken, eventually, from within the theater Hollandse Schouwburg, Amsterdam to Westerbork.
"..Westerbork ..Barrack 60. ..military police entered ..barrack was sealed off. We had to pack everything ..put on transport to Auschwitz. ..We travelled 2 days and 3 nights. One night we stopped at a train station. ..next morning we left in daylight. ..stopped once more during ..day ..we could leave ..train under heavy escort. ..Gruenen polizei ..tried to take our watches gold jewellery. I did not give it to them. When we arrived at Auschwitz we stopped some 5 kilometres before ..Camp. We had to throw all ..luggage off ..train. After this ..SS came and beat us out of ..train wagons." Emmanuel Halverstadt.
From Westerbork, for the eventual transport to Birkenau there were some 57,800 Jews on 65 transports who went directly there, the vast majority to the Gas Chambers. For the removal Westerbork to Sobibor, there were some 34,313 Jews on 19 transports. This final stage on Olga's delivery to Birkenau was on Tuesday September 8th. 1942 when she was taken from Westerbork and on toward extinction. As with all the Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, though we may know the exact name of and even the place of Death, all too few of these Jews of Europe will have been availed of a personal grave site. It is evident that all such Killing Sites and Death Camps had open mass graves solely for the interring of those Jews delivered to them. The vast majority of these 6,000,000 Murdered Jews are to be recognised as Murdered, Interred, Exhumed and then their traces Obliterated.
"..Olga ..died in Auschwitz. .. journey lasted 3 days. This is true according to all ..information that I have ..official and informal. So that should be accepted. She fortunately only suffered for a short time. And now I am able to bury her ..to give her a grave and a Page of Testimony ..YadVashem in ..Hall of Names ..Jerusalem." Erica van Beek.
From all x6 Death Camps Hitler had built in Poland, in the containment Ghetto's of Poland and Eastern Europe and from amongst a multitude of places all too numerous to recount, the evisceration of the Jews of Europe took place. There are no records which specifically recognise accurately enough to know where the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews are. In each grave yard though, in every killing site or Death Camp, whether they are Dutch Jews, or the Jews from every nation within Europe, Hitler's resolve to destroy them all has filled an enormous space with the loss of human existence. Constantly, there is this exact same disregard for the humanity that was all too clearly abandoned there, resurfacing to deny them their final, though ambiguous resting place. It is for Erica, with the continuous saga of her tragedy sees her inability to lay to rest the memory of a Mother she did not have the time to say goodbye to. Added to that, and though Olga's final resting place is in Birkenau, amongst 1,100,000 other Jews, the space for her interring is both communal and unidentified.
"..National Institute for War Documentation. When Olga was arrested and held prisoner and deported to Westerbork ..I can maybe find something about it there." Erica van Beek.
On Thursday September 10th. 1942 the Transport from Westerbork arrived at the siding inside the Extermination Centre Birkenau, Poland. The ramp had been established to take the weight of numbers and to place them immediately before the Gas Chambers. Here, from this Transport, 874 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, were disembarked and 614 of these Dutch Jews are immediately selected to be Murdered. Olga's fate is not immediately sealed, though it was to be confirmed within Birkenau only a matter of days later. It is uncertain why, but while Olga Survived till Monday September 14th. 1942, she too was subsequently Murdered here within Birkenau. For Erica, the continued search is an endless array of places and institutions to contact for the next snippet of information. Though, as we approach the end of the Year and as 1942 rolls relentlessly on, Wednesday October 14th. 1942 strikes more indelibly at the Jews in Holland as they are virtually outlawed from amongst their former neighbours and community.
"..white ceramic jar with lid, wherein sits a packed piece of stone from Auschwitz, that a friend of Renco, my ex-husband, specially brought for me. That now can get an honorary place. Will I be able once again to visit there, as in Vienna, or at Yad Vashem, there to find my mother's name. First search in Westerbork barracks 41/0." Erica van Beek.
Then, on Thursday December 17th. 1942, as the Allied nations seek to condemn Hitler's Extermination of the Jews, and there is a pledge that is made by America, Belgium, Britain, Czechoslovakia, French National Committee, Greece, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Russia and Yugoslavia as the transports roll relentlessly on, pushing East. Here, with an officially termed condemnation of Hitler's aktionen, retribution will still not deliver all those guilty to any future meaningful punishment. Hitler's Nazi's, in the meanwhile, accumulate their assortment of rolling stock and as these Transport's continue to roll on and into Birkenau, there is no similar call to stem the flow of Jewish loss from Pope Pius II. There is no call from the Pope to cease the Murderous activity against Europe’s Jews. As a 'christian' of sorts it is with deep sadness that I am writing for Erica, who will be a massive Loss to me, to You all and to what the World will now be deprived of, as her life has been so dealt a blow at the hands of an ostensibly christian people. I am truly sad. I am completely shocked and I am so sorry I missed an opportunity to finally meet up with her!
"..Monday May 29th. 1944 ..Do you know where ..Jews of Austria ..and of Germany ..Holland ..Czechoslovakia and France. ..in Poland ..taken in cattle cars ..70 into each car. What happened to them I do not know ..I can only guess." Eva Heyman.
My loss is a great tragedy, as Erica was one of those People who could inspire anyone to make a difference. As Eva Heyman was scribing these words, as 106,000 of Dutch Jewry, all Men, Women and Children of them, including Erica's Mother Olga, were Murdered in one of x2 Death Camps in Poland and other camps throughout Hitler's greater Reich, the staggering assessment of loss requires measuring. For more than 34,000 Murdered Dutch Jews in Sobibor or the 60,000 Murdered Dutch Jews in Birkenau, Erica had a special space in her heart for them all. They were a part of her continued search for Olga which never ended. For those 12,000 other Dutch Jews who were Murdered either in Situ, Amsterdam, Westerbork, various Camps across the Reich and Greater Reich or in the many of the Dutch areas still attempting to conceal Jews from the Transports, Erica contemplated the what if's?. Unfortunately for Erica, Olga's fate was finally sealed within Birkenau and it would take Erica years to discover the whole truth. As Erica forms part of that Viennese Jewry which fared little better, with as many as 43,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children being Murdered, it is essential to recognise where Erica had fled from.
"..after 1945 ..every Jew stood alone ..bereaved of ..Parents ..Children ..Family ..Friends ..Acquaintances ..deprived of everything that once made up ..life." Dr. Jacob Presser.
As the World woke up to find that 6,000,000 Jews were expendable, we recognise so pervasively that what ended is a humanity which could not civilise us. As the world focused its attention on the War, 6,000,000 Jewish People had been routinely slaughtered, under the gaze of free standing powers. Entire nations, a World of indifference remained so unconvinced of the Jewish tragedy, there became no need to save a single one of these 6,000,000 Jews. On Saturday May 5th. 1945, as Hitler's forces surrender in Holland, and as this brings Erica so little relief, her search enters a new phase. It is to be sometime later, 18 years, that Erica is reconciled with the fact that her Mother will never return and will remain lost to her. Olga’s was Murdered while War distracted attention away from Hitler's personal aim, die Endlosung der Judenfrage, The Final Solution of The Jewish Question, The Holocaust of 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, Olga’s amongst them.
"..Only in 1963 was I ..suddenly ..confronted with my past. I received from ..Red Cross proof of her death. A Wiedergutmachungsgeld from Germany." Erica van Beek.
Erica's Father, Jacob (Jaap) died on Sunday November 28th. 1976 and this ended a passage for Erica which had been temporarily filled with at least one Parent she could look to. Regardless as to how a Jew in Europe felt themselves to be, secular, Hassidic, Orthodox and apathetic to all, the tenets of a 3,000 year old hatred was extracted and enacted upon every single one of them so as to define a person for Slaughter. The clothing of a Carmelite Nun could not prevent Edith Stein from being Murdered as a Jew, no matter how convinced she had been of her conversion. This status too would have applied to Erica, as she would have suffered the same fate, even as a Child of a non-Jewish Father. Olga would have been the defining Parent in the muddled legislation which affixed the sentence of death to all Jews. This of course would only have availed Hitler of a further victim if Erica had been discovered and history has given much to us to be thankful for Erica.
"..life of Jews in ..Netherlands. ..A book. ..All ..pages reveal ..this history is also mine. ..despite my not ..believing but still a real Jew. ..biological provability ..to be a child of a Jewish Mother still being Jewish." Erica van Beek.
Tragically, Erica passed from us this year 2019, a Saturday May 4th. and she will be sorely missed by those who knew her, those touched by her and by those yet to experience what Erica had so much to deliver. For me, it is reprehensible to be delivering this in the past tense. I have informed Erica that I considered her a Friend above everything else we sought to share. I come to the table with nothing to offer but the words I hope to make a difference with. My Books intrigued her, and I was to deliver a Book to her when I eventually saw her. What is there for me to say now that she has passed, and we are left bereft of a word that might make the difference to all those now lost moments. Erica, you have become a treasure to many. I will ensure that Treasure is spread far and wide. This World, which might not have known you too well, will know You more than it deserves.
"..knowledge of ..past ..of all that misery ..leading to fear ..significant uncertainty ..anxiety ..that leads to depression does not help. ..realized that again today. Will that also get better. It hinders my real development ..it keeps me in 2nd. or 3rd. place. Not that I'm ambitious. But it's a false modesty ..and resulting from fear to really stand out. It's something from ..hiding." Erica van Beek.
For those Survivors who emerged from the gravest tragedy ever to infect this world, how can a person be not wounded by such an experience. To suddenly be thrust into a World alone, fearful of being found out for who you are, as opposed to what some might consider what you are. To then place a blank page across ones memory so as to forget the past, so that it should not hinder the growth toward a future, was an obstacle to knowing. And then to measure this all with Erica's profound sense of loss for what happened to Olga, her Mother, I have only my own personal experience to suggest, I have insufficient suffering to suggest Erica's. Erica was one amongst some 35,000 Jews of Holland who managed to Survive so how can we detail, Ever, the understanding that should come from an atrocity so immense, we title it The Holocaust.
I have known you- and not known you my child
I have a picture of you, that is called Jacob;
An image of rebellion, fury and suffering
That binds you to my past.
I have built a picture of you, my child,
That put his arms around me and held my hand.
Not the boy who destroyed his life
But one who finds life fearful and unliveable.
That scared and angry and on the run
in life never found a shelter
and disbanded from his fear by his death
I loved you, my child that we knew.
And powerless, I watched how you
have wounded yourself so deadly.
Who wants to hear how trumpeter grief
Who will not run away for my nocturnal crying.
Hear how the land shakes under my feet thumping looking crying
Screaming for my children their hunters continue to be injured
And flee for my boundless grief
About him and his name can turn around
Flights as I approach come seeking solace
I want their names not know him forget
Never love again no more do not be complicit
Do not come closer I liked you even trust
Again memories should be to what was." Erica van Beek.
Message from Yessica Erica's Daughter.
First of all, I have to lose a bit How lame. I believe I have called that the funeral is coming and where it is, but I think I ended up completely forgetting to pass the date and time. Have E-mailed a lot of you, who were in Erica's address book. So it was mistakenly the assumption that I would have reached all of you. Apologies!
Monday, May 13th. 13:30 pm In the Aula of Crematory the New Ooster Kruislaan 126 Amsterdam.
After the end, there is an opportunity to pay condolences in the salon of the crematorium. To stay close to the Jewish tradition, we ask you to take one small pebble to put it on the chest.
I have an urgent request: If you want to come, do you want to let it know as soon as possible via:
firstname.lastname@example.org That is necessary due to the space, catering, etc. If you have already e-mailed that you are coming, then don't want to e-mail again, I'll count you double
And then a personal note: I see in the rushing a lot of fine, beautiful, heart warming messages pass by. I haven't gotten to it myself yet to sit down to read them and react. But know that I will do that at a later and calmer moment.
Finally from ME! My past has always been willing to accept the many wrongs in People, but I see the gravest wrong against an innocent People for being Jewish continually perpetuated, so I have always made it a point, when I meet with Survivors, to apologise to them on behalf of what an ostensibly 'christian' body of people has done. For the whole of Humanity that Sin of Perpetration, Intolerance or Indifference is a stain upon our own legitimacy as human beings. So just in case I do not get the opportunity to greet you in person, I apologise to You for the inability of those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, who cannot direct their appreciation and respect for what you have done and what you have achieved. In each of you the World entire has been saved.
Patrick Dempsey - Erica's Friend.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, April 30, 2019 22:02:36
"..When I came to Warsaw ..I found many restrictive laws that had already been proclaimed by ..Germans against ..Jews ..order for wearing ..badge or ..Shield of David ..marking of ..shops with ..Shield of David ..a ban on possessing foreign currency or property in excess of 2,000 zloty ..a ban on purchasing working tools ..a ban on medical aid Jewish doctors could give to non-Jews and vice versa. ..curfew ..which was a general one also for ..Polish population ..was advanced by 2 hours for ..Jews. ..It may be said that ..in ..first days of my reaching Warsaw ..I felt ..and other Jews in ..Ghetto felt ..that in essence we had been placed beyond any law ..and that any German could do whatever he pleased. However ..apart from these restrictive regulations ..many other decrees were issued within a short time ..business establishments were taken from Jews ..homes were taken from Jews ..they were forbidden to ride in ..trams ..forbidden to travel on ..trains ..forbidden to trade. ..apart from ..legal prohibitions ..from ..first days we became outlaws in matters of life and death ..and ..any German could do with us as he pleased. I will give you an example. In ..early days of ..Ghetto a Polish policeman was looking for a certain Jew to take vengeance upon him ..to arrest him. ..Jew drew a pistol and killed ..Polish policeman. As retribution for this ..Germans ..following morning ..entered ..courtyard of Nalewski 9 ..removed 50 Jews from among those living in this courtyard and from those who happened to be there by chance. They were taken away ..and didn't return to their families. This was done for deterrence. Hence in ..early days there prevailed this fear of being collectively responsible for ..acts of each individual Jew ..and if anyone lifted a finger ..or it would be even sufficient if any German or Pole mentioned that any Jew spoke out against ..Germans 100's of Jews paid for this with their lives ..for ..sake of deterrence. I remember another instance. One of our friends from before ..War ..a cultured Jew ..an important engineer ..had a Ukrainian friend ..who related that this Jew had reported a German. They came to him at night ..removed him from his bed without saying a word to his family ..only half a year later word reached his Wife that her Husband had been taken away ..and if she would pay ..she would be able to get ..ashes." Zivia Lubetkin.
I have a wish to remind any of those who read these few words, the necessity to carefully note that I single out Zivia Lubetkin clearly. Zivia Lubetkin is Remembered as a Woman, Recalled as a Jewish Woman and given the status as a spokesperson for all manner and forms of Jewish Resistance. Here, following on from what I wish to say about her, and those very many just like her, are her words for Memory to bring her ever forth to admonish those who damned her People and recognise she was a Giant amongst her Jewish People.
"..Immediately upon ..occupation of Poland by ..Germans ..Polish intelligentsia were arrested ..and ..in a special action ..Jewish intelligentsia ..leading public workers ..doctors ..engineers ..according to lists prepared beforehand ..were seized at night and taken to an unknown destination ..and even notice of their death did not reach their families. ..economic prohibitions ..were not only economic ..but ..aimed at degrading and depressing us ..and ..restrictions in ..field of cultural and social life. Right at ..beginning they issued a ban on ..opening of schools. Only primary school up to four grades was permitted. A prohibition was issued on ..holding of prayers in ..synagogue ..a prohibition ..on ..maintenance of public bodies ..Jewish political parties. A decree was issued dealing with ..closing of libraries ..and ..well known institute of Jewish Studies at Tlomackie 5. ..we became ..objects of anarchy. And if there had only been these laws and these restrictions ..intended to depress us ..to degrade us ..to bring us to ..ignominy of starvation ..we thought ..nevertheless ..Jews would somehow have been capable of circumventing ..restrictions and carrying on with their lives. But life did not turn out this way ..since ..we had been placed beyond ..law. ..I recall a day when I went out in ..morning to attend to matters ..streets ..full of Jews hastening to their work ..to seek a source of livelihood. Suddenly a column of Germans passed by in a hurry ..and without any reason they fired in all directions ..without distinction ..and we were left lying prone on that day ..at that hour ..as I saw it ..scores of People ..Women ..Children ..Men ..without knowing for what or why. When this thing happened day after day ..we realized that this was a means of frightening us ..of terrorizing us ..so that we should be afraid. ..indeed ..Jews feared they would pay with their lives. ..beyond ..scope of any law ..kidnapping for forced labour. A person would leave his house in ..morning ..would never know when ..and if he would return. ..formations of Germans were able to come in by day ..in ..morning ..or ..evening ..close a street ..and with screams of such a nature that it would be difficult today to describe them as actually being human voices ..they would first of all collect People by shooting ..and without taking note of age or sex ..seize people and take them off to work. Some of them ..on their return ..related that they had never engaged in any work ..there were those who simply carried stones from place to place ..there were those who dug holes and filled them in again. Again it was clear that this was a method of torture ..of terror ..of making our lives worthless." Zivia Lubetkin.
For Zivia personally, recognised by the custodians of all of History as a remarkable Human Being we accept that she alone, for her obvious ability to see with clarity what Hitler was set to achieve, she was present and was able to note what Poland was unprepared to prevent. Escaping the flames of Resistance, For Zivia to then identify for us, while Poland and the rest of the World stood so idly by and allowed all of this to happen to her People as Zivia too is an accusation which all too many now seek to circumvent.
"..In general ..number of Jews in ..city of Warsaw until ..Second World War was estimated at approximately 350,000. It is difficult for me to assess ..number of Jews at that time. Some of ..Jews moved to ..East ..a number of ..Jews were killed in ..bombings in ..are between Poland and Germany. ..I believe that at ..beginning of ..liquidation of ..Warsaw Ghetto ..there were about 500,000 Jews there. ..a flow of refugees ..from ..Warthegau. ..Jews from ..smaller towns and villages ..naturally attracted to ..larger city ..so that during ..times of The Holocaust ..which everybody knew was coming closer to realization ..they could be together with Jews. ..when ..Ghetto in Warsaw was already in existence ..Germans brought a number of Jews from ..nearby villages ..about 100,000 ..into ..Ghetto ..already crowded ..ultimately ..number of Jews was estimated to be 500,000. On ..Day of Atonement 1940 we heard an announcement on ..radio that there had been a declaration of ..establishment of a Jewish quarter. ..order stated that ..because disease had spread amongst ..Jews ..they must be put into a section of ..city ..for the sake of preserving ..health of the Aryans. ..secondly ..lives of ..Jews had ..been devoid of any protection ..had not been organized and not well ordered ..in this way ..Jews ..concentrated in special streets ..a special quarter ..where they would be able to live their lives in greater tranquillity ..enjoying cultural and social autonomy. It was stated thus in ..order ..in ..announcement. Within a few days ..Jews were obliged to leave their homes ..their places of residence .and to move to ..quarter designated for them. ..Jews ..placed in an area ..inadequate for ..150,000 ..over 300,000 ..put there. ..in ..course of a few days one could see scenes in ..streets ..Jews ..their families ..their possessions ..on hand carts ..abandoning ..houses ..apartments ..endeavouring to take with them ..property ..accumulated during 10's of years ..passing by ..moving in ..direction of ..quarter without knowing where to find shelter and what would be done with them. ..for whole days ..by day and night ..Jewish families stood in ..streets with nowhere to go to. Having no alternative ..Jews crowded together. ..in every room there dwelt 8 persons on ..average. ..this ..still before ..flood of refugees from ..country towns. ..entire City of Warsaw became ..a city of refugees. ..Out of ..blue ..beginning of November ..Jews got up in ..morning and everyone hurried to his work and his source of livelihood ..and suddenly was confronted with ..fact ..Ghetto was closed ..closed with gates ..German ..Polish guards ..standing at ..gates. This happened suddenly. If ..refugees ..uprooted from their homes and had not been able to take all their possessions ..suffered from starvation ..they were ..able to go out to ..Aryan side ..to work ..to trade ..now ..all this was over. ..Ghetto ..with its 100's of 1,000's of Jews became converted into ..huge prison ..in which each person ..throughout ..months ..years ..received 125 grams of bread ..a kilogram of jam per month ..a little soap substitute and some kilograms of coal waste for cooking and heating ..rooms. ..in prisons too ..there are ..rules. In this prison ..Ghetto ..there were no rules. Despite ..announcement that ..Ghetto would be a place where Jews would be able to live in greater tranquillity ..they would be able ..to put their lives in order ..misdeeds of ..Germans ..instead of stopping ..increased ..Germans who ..I had no doubt about it ..not then and not today ..had a single aim ..to torture us ..to degrade us ..to crush us." Zivia Lubetkin.
Zivia Lubetkin is a remarkable person of outstanding human quality, a soldier of courage and a human of such dimension, and while she was presented with such deep inhuman darkness she has shed such light on our own inability to see the near total destruction which Hitler sought to wreak upon her People. Perhaps though, and seduced by the fact of German civilisation, she too could not fully foresee what 6,000,000 Jews would be consumed within.
"..environs of ..Ghetto were guarded by ..Schutzpolizei ..Gestapo ..SS. Inside ..Ghetto ..even before it was closed off ..SS men ..Gestapo men ..made their rounds. ..people of Warsaw remember ..young German pilots ..blond hair ..strong young men ..and ..people of Warsaw were very well aware of their strength and their cruelty ..when they used them against helpless persons ..people of Warsaw remember ..Schutzpolizei ..people of Warsaw also remember ..ordinary soldiers who were able to enter ..Ghetto ..to loot ..to destroy ..to torture ..to kidnap ..to do whatever they pleased. We didn't know then that this was intended for a particular purpose ..but ..Germans issued an order that Jews were no longer to be left in ..small towns. Again they gave ..reason that their lives in ..small towns were more chaotic ..disorganized ..without means of subsistence. Therefore it was important to concentrate ..Jews in ..large towns ..together they would learn in ..larger towns how to organize their lives ..how to arrange their affairs ..and ..also how to work for ..Germans. ..on ..strength of this order about 100,000 Jews were moved to ..City of Warsaw from ..neighbouring towns within a few days. These were already death marches. Any weak person ..old Person ..Child ..anyone who groaned ..anyone who appeared to any German whatsoever to bear an expression that was more insolent ..was shot on ..spot. In this way 10's of 1,000's of people came into ..City of Warsaw ..carrying in their hands a small bundle ..and that was all they possessed. ..Ghetto in Warsaw was already ..terribly overcrowded ..and ..Jews of ..City of Warsaw had already been wandering around for days and weeks without a roof over their heads ..then you will understand that these 10's of 1.000's of Jews who entered ..Warsaw Ghetto were in actual fact without any means of subsistence ..of earning a livelihood ..without a penny in their pocket and ..homeless. ..Jews ..Jewish organizations ..tried to assist to ..best of their ability. To my great regret ..they weren't in a position to save ..situation. It could be taken for granted that in such terrible congestion there could be no sanitary facilities. At ..beginning there was not even water in ..Ghetto ..nor ..electricity. Later on ..matter was attended to. But since in one room near to me ..or we ourselves lived 12 to 15 persons in a room measuring 5 by 5 ..and these were already years of hunger in ..Ghetto ..obviously serious sickness broke out and claimed many victims. I want to point out ..particularly ..sanitary condition of these refugees. Owing to ..lack of space ..these refugees were placed in special houses ..occupants of which had been somehow evacuated. These were ..worst conditions of all in ..Ghetto. Once I entered such a refugee home ..a refugee shelter ..in order to look for a family I knew. I knew them before ..War as a well off family. He was a Teacher ..she was a Doctor. They had Children in ..Youth Movement who studied at school. They were ..normal type of people. When I came inside to look for them ..I found them on ..floor ..one on top of ..other. They were in a corner ..but I couldn't reach them ..for there was not a spare inch of floor where it was possible to place one's foot. There was no toilet in this house ..but in order to relieve themselves ..on 4th. floor they had to walk down to ..courtyard. There was no water in this house. In this way people sat there ..in this way 10's of 1,000's sat there and went from bad to worse ..since they did not have any chance of obtaining work. Under conditions of starvation ..under such sanitary conditions ..it was obvious that ..typhus which broke out in ..Ghetto started in these houses. It was impossible ..although they tried ..to keep ..sick separate ..and sometimes even ..dead who died from hunger ..particularly Children in their Mothers' arms." Zivia Lubetkin.
For us involved in History, caught up in the trauma that is The Holocaust, 6,000,000 Murdered Jews must capture for us what we can barely imagine. However, what will be the inevitable fate for these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, 3,000,000 Polish Jews of whom would be destroyed within the boundary of a land they assumed was their's also, lost a battle few of them knew they were in. However, levelled by stealth and confusion, those all too many Jews who then emerged into the light of realisation, just as the doors to the gas chambers swung closed or at the edge of a bloody ravine where their fallen had gone before them, recognised finally their fate.
"..when Ghetto was closed off ..most Jews were left without any means of subsistence ..without work and a source of livelihood. And then hunger began to take its toll of many victims. These were ..normal scenes to which we had already become accustomed ..to see in ..streets of ..cities whole families ..Father ..Mother ..Children ..families of 8 to 10 souls ..sitting in ..streets ..swollen by hunger. It was hard to say that they had a human appearance. Especially well I remember ..in ..evenings ..after ..curfew ..when silence prevailed in ..Ghetto ..everyone would hide in his corner ..voices of ..little Children ..a stikele broit ..a piece of bread ..and ..no one who could throw them a piece of bread ..for only a few of us ..had a piece of bread. ..they reached such a stage that they burrowed in ..garbage containers in order to seek potato peels. ..those days in ..Warsaw Ghetto there were times when 300 funerals took place each day. These were people who had died of starvation ..from diseases ..without help. ..at ..beginning there were 2 Ghettos ..a small and large one. Between ..2 Ghettos ..link ..by ..bridge ..built. This was ..notorious bridge in Warsaw. Many Jews passing over it paid with their lives. Police used to pass under .. bridge and Jews passed over it. German guards stood near ..bridge and watched lest Heaven forbid ..Jews should mix with ..Germans. In order to cross ..bridge one had to remove one's hat. Many young Jews did not remove their hats and naturally were shot to death on ..spot. ..any movement ..any sound ..without ..reason at all ..Jews were shot at ..bridge. Since there were ..people with family ..in both sections of ..Ghetto ..Jews could not forgo crossing it ..and thus ..day after day ..Jews crossed over there ..and day after day they paid with their lives. It can be said that ..Jewish Youth movements did not cease their activities from ..first day of ..outbreak of ..War. ..they continued ..in different ways ..until ..last Jew that remained alive in ..Warsaw Ghetto. Jewish Youth movements adjusted their works to ..new reality. Right from ..beginning ..when it appeared to us that ..German policy was to degrade us ..to depress us ..to starve us ..by closing libraries ..closing schools ..apart from 4 grades ..to change us into a nation of slaves ..ignorant people ..lacking culture ..we still believed that this was not total destruction. ..consequently our activities during that period ..until news of ..Extermination reached us ..we concentrated on ..war against these restrictive laws. If ..we thought that these prohibitive laws were intended to wipe out ..human image ..then our battle was to preserve ..human image ..to develop a spirit of revolt against these evil decrees. ..when I say revolt I do not refer at present to a particular rebellion but rather to preserve ..human ..social ..cultural character of ..youth. All our strength lay in ..fact that we were organized in communes. When I crossed ..border from Russia ..when I returned to Warsaw ..I had been sent there by ..headquarters of Hehalutz for 2 purposes. We said ..Jews have remained ..even though we heard about ..evil decrees of ..Germans ..Jews have remained there and ..Halutz movement has to be with them. Kovel ..a town which at that time was under Soviet rule. ..town of my birth was also in that region ..called Bytom. I left my parents there. But in that town of Kovel I was also together with a group of comrades ..we set out together from Warsaw. There we started activities. We sent people to Vilna so that they should be able to reach Palestine ..for a route had been opened up from there. ..second purpose ..was to encourage ..departure of ..Jews from ..German area and to direct them to ..territory of Lithuania. For at that time there were rumours ..and it was also true ..many were rescued and are to be found today in Israel ..that it was possible to reach Palestine from Lithuania. I arrived at a house called Dzielna 34. This had been ..until ..War ..building of ..headquarters of Hehalutz. When we ..were commanded by ..Polish authorities to leave and to travel to ..East ..this building rapidly became filled with people who had moved to Warsaw." Zivia Lubetkin.
For all of these 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, from Lithuania to Warsaw, Bytom, Kovel and Vilna. all of these who are now consigned to our keeping for us to Remember them, we do so willingly. From the passages of time, knowing how badly they were let down by this World, we admonish such cruelty as indifference does behave. For the Jews themselves, almost immediately upon realisation, when the Killing Site or Gas Chamber shared its deadly secret, none of these Jewish People had a place to turn.
"..First of all ..refugees who arrived from ..Warthegau ..but not only they ..many Jews gathered in Warsaw out of a feeling that ..somehow ..Jews being together might be able to overcome this period. And when I came there ..to Dzielna 34 ..right away in ..first months ..when ..Jewish street was already gripped by fear and terror of ..Germans ..and each Jew stood by himself in this very difficult struggle for his existence ..for a slice of bread for ..continuation of his life ..alone against this mighty War machine ..I ask you to remember that when a Jew saw a single German in ..Ghetto ..he knew that he possessed ..power ..that huge army that had occupied Europe and to which great nations had surrendered ..and he knew that there was such power behind him. And he stood alone ..by himself. Our strength lay in ..fact that we did not stand alone. I already found ..at this Dzielna Street house ..180 young Men and Women who did not stand alone when at ..time of ..bombings ..shared one glass of water between them ..for there was no water. And if one of them found a potato in ..camp ..he shared it with 6 others. Concentrations like this existed in Warsaw for all ..Youth movements 5 or 6 ..and these were concentrated there ..from where they radiated to Warsaw and beyond. At ..beginning ..when ..Ghetto was open and it was possible to travel ..we travelled to ..Jews and established contacts with them. ..afterwards ..when ..Ghetto was closed ..we sought other ways. ..main aspect of our activity was organization ..to organize ..Youth ..in order that it could preserve ..human and ..Jewish image ..to promote within themselves ..despite ..degradation and ..depression ..a feeling of Jewish self respect ..so ..they could stand firm against these decrees. ..indeed ..it was ..Youth ..when ..day came ..when it became clear to them that this was Extermination ..also took up arms. We also dealt with food smuggling ..although I must point out ..there were more professional people involved in it than we. One of our problems ..and there is no doubt that this was a national ..or could I say elementary human ..essential ..a holy activity ..smuggling of food into ..Ghetto. ..smuggling ..proceeded in various ways. ..commonest and most tested methods was ..bribing of Germans. No German unit ..SS ..Gestapo nor ..others ..abhorred Jewish money. ..through bribery it was possible to bring food into ..Ghetto. ..on more than one occasion it happened that ..guard duty of ..Germans who had taken ..bribe was changed in ..meanwhile and fresh guards arrived who had not received ..money ..and seeing that ..Jews sometimes ..came late ..10 minutes after ..guards were changed ..they paid for that with their lives. In ..worst periods of ..starvation there were whole families whose main breadwinners were Children aged ..7 to 11 ..since a Child aged 12 was regarded in ..Ghetto as an adult person. How did they support their parents. They used to assemble ..group by group ..near ..gates ..waiting for ..opportunity when ..Germans would turn away ..when ..Germans would light a cigarette ..and ..in their masses ..cross into ..Aryan sector. ..Germans always used to be quick in opening fire ..and there were always victims. But ..Children were nimble and ..hunger gave them courage ..and they used to scatter in all directions ..and to run around ..streets of Aryan Warsaw in order to gather bread crumbs ..potatoes ..and they used to return immediately with their prize so that they could bring it to their Parents ..Sisters ..Brothers. Many of these Parents waited in vain ..for ..Children did not come back ..as they had been killed in ..streets of Warsaw ..or on going out of ..gate or on entering ..Ghetto." Zivia Lubetkin.
Likewise, there was nothing to enable these Adult Jews to consider past what the Children, the Elderly or the infirm Jew could possibly achieve left to their own devices and their Murder was imminent. In all of this of course, we still have live Jews fending off the trauma, the brutality and seeking solace in their hoped for survival past another day. Clearly, as Zivia speaks for this individual bravery open to barely a few Jews, those who are unable to arm themselves, she too cannot foresee the distinct possibility of a Poland without its Jews.
"..It was understandable that ..Youth looked for us and found us. ..Its importance lay in ..very fact of our getting together ..when this getting together was forbidden. Its importance lay in ..fact that we conducted an intensive cultural activity. ..included ..secular movements and ..religious movements. ..There had been seminars such as this in No. 34 Dzielna. ..a short time before ..declaration about setting up ..Ghetto. Scores of Boys and Girls from 24 Towns ..Villages in Poland assembled ..and ..remained ..for 6 weeks. ..in Dzielna ..under conditions of hunger ..cold ..this was wintertime ..we studied ..Torah ..Pentateuch. ..value of ..seminar was very important both for ..Students and ..lecturers. ..Jewish intelligentsia in ..Warsaw Ghetto ..were amongst ..first victims because they didn't know how to conceal themselves ..they suffered from starvation ..for ..tremendous cultural potential with which this large community was endowed there was no way to express itself. ..when we were able to obtain only some 10's of them ..Professors ..Teachers ..Public Figures who ..during these confusing days ..were able to teach ..Torah ..and ..talk about faith in Man ..about our faith as Jews ..and ..teach ..history ..chapters of Jewish suffering and chapters of Jewish heroism ..and thereby to educate ..Young generation ..this was of great encouragement to them ..Students and ..us. These students would go out throughout ..towns of Poland to bring their message ..words of encouragement ..words to mould ..character ..words of revolt against ..Nazi oppressor that rose up to Exterminate us. ..We organized ..Youth ..one of ..things which enabled us at that time ..under such conditions ..not to lose ..human image. And this wasn't difficult. I don't know if any of you are aware what it is to experience starvation ..or more accurately semi starvation. ..when a person does not eat for days ..and ..is swollen from hunger ..he doesn't feel anything. But a person who has lived for months and years on a slice of bread and a plate of soup ..is not capable of thinking about anything in ..world except about a slice of bread. ..if ..we succeeded in inspiring this youth with ..spirit of life ..despite ..fact that their thoughts during ..day were centred on slices of bread ..then that was a great achievement. These seminars ..this cultural activity ..encompassed 1,000's of ..Youth in ..Warsaw and beyond it. There was another matter which was of great value. There was an underground press. ..underground newspapers ..included all ..Jewish organizations ..and first and foremost ..Jewish Youth Movements ..from right to left. From ..first days it was forbidden to listen to ..radio ..apart ..from ..German station. This was a decree for both Poles and Jews. ..we had a secret radio and listened to it. We issued bulletins. We passed on news about what was going on in ..world at large ..for we were cut off from ..world at large. At ..beginning this provided much encouragement. For some reason ..Jews believed that ..Russians would advance and defeat ..Germans ..and possibly ..end of ..War was approaching. In general it isn't difficult to understand that a person who is in trouble clutches with faith at any small thing ..perhaps. I myself did not belong to ..optimists in ..Ghetto. ..I believed in complete faith that ..end of ..forces of evil would come. But I knew we would have to stand up to this for years. ..those were ..years when ..Germans occupied ..whole of Europe. And we also believed with ..outbreak of ..war between Germany and Russia ..and with ..chaos that would be created with ..German retreat ..as usual there would first of all be massive outbreaks of violence against ..Jews. And then we set up an organization ..this was not yet ..Jewish fighting force ..whose function was that ..if there should be such outbreaks of violence ..it would resist. At that time there were still no arms. It was a matter of sticks and anything that we chanced upon." Zivia Lubetkin.
So while all too many of these Polish Jews have to become prepared so as to deliver their own ultimate sacrifice in order that they can deliver the last moments of compassion and love to their own, they have to secretly hold back their own fears and anxiety's. However, with approaching stealth and a well devised plan of subterfuge, there still remained a creeping sense that something incomprehensible was being waged. For all too many Jews, who could not see the deliberate nature of Hitler's true hatred and clinical resolve, a Final Solution was in the fuller sense, progressing.
"..We tried to establish contact with ..Armia Ludowa or more exactly with their political organization. During this period ..Polish underground was only beginning to be formed and did not carry out acts of actual war ..its activity consisted of getting themselves organized ..closing ranks and encouragement. But this was not yet ..period where they used arms. We set up ..organization called ..Anti Fascist League. This organization ..owing to ..fact that contacts with ..Polish underground were weak ..and meanwhile matters developed in a totally different way ..and this body was already in existence ..was of great value for several months ..for it trained people to use sticks. ..it was not so important that people should know how to use sticks and anything else that comes to hand ..but rather that it hardened ..spirit and prepared ..Youth for ..days to come. ..Meanwhile ..Germans advanced ..and ..occupied large areas populated by many Jews ..Vilna ..Lithuania ..Volhynia ..Polesie. ..places of close Jewish settlement. With ..advance of ..army ..we decided to establish contact with these Jewish centres. Since these were ..first months of ..War and there was great confusion on ..roads ..we decided for ..first time to send a certain Pole whose name was Heniek ..a member of ..Polish scouts with whom we were in touch from ..first days. I use this opportunity to mention ..name of ..Woman who was ..head of ..Polish scouts ..Irena Damowitz ..who from ..first day of our life in ..underground ..helped us ..and more than once .. risked her life. ..We sent Heniek to Vilna without knowing what was happening there ..but in order to inform us what was happening there ..how ..Jews were living and what was ..state of ..movement. He was given addresses ..for in Vilna there was a large concentration of youth who were planning to set out for Palestine ..but not all of them managed to get away. This we knew. 100's of halutzim ..who were unable to leave ..remained there. ..route there and back took him several months. In order to reach Vilna from Warsaw one had to cross 3 borders. ..on ..way to ..Baltic countries. Even a Pole who wished to reach Vilna in those days needed a great deal of courage ..a sense of orientation and a lot of luck. He was lucky." Zivia Lubetkin.
For what had so far been constantly denied the Jewish People, here within Poland and across the breadth of Europe, all of this stands as an immense measure of the Resistance to all that these Jews, abandoned and alone, could not Survive. Zivia Lubetkin, who remains a colossus amongst generations, and not just for Jews, inspires us still and now for me on this day, to write about what about her contribution to what is essentially, a Jewish Day of Mourning. With a greater sense of the shame that has been omitted from the World through inaction, and for what a World allowed to happen, I write in memory and for the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews in words much more relevant and delivered to us by Zivia.
"..already autumn or ..beginning of winter ..we had an agricultural farm outside Warsaw ..Czerniakow was its name. Apart from ..fact that it represented ..for ..Jewish Youth ..an honourable source of livelihood ..this place served as a starting off point for our Male and Female messengers whom we used to send out from ..Ghetto. ..it was a farm situated outside ..Ghetto ..and we also worked on a farm belonging to a Polish farmer ..as Jews. Our messengers roamed around ..Aryan streets of Warsaw. Any flicker of an eyelid of theirs could expose them to mortal danger ..lest someone ..would recognize that this was a Jew or a Jewess. They had this base which enabled them to come to ..farm by night and to arrive as Jews. This was something great. We maintained there a stock of newspapers ..and ..a store of arms. We received a phone call in ..Ghetto from ..farm at Czerniakow to ..effect that Heniek had arrived ..asking us to come to a meeting. We rejoiced at ..news. At that time we had various ways of leaving ..Ghetto ..despite ..efficient guard system. ..out of ..Ghetto we removed ..Shield of David from our persons ..and we would go about as Aryans. Many of us were killed. But nevertheless many kept up ..contact. When I reached Czerniakow at nightfall ..we sat in a hut. ..no electricity ..and Heniek told his story. ..for ..first time we heard that they were transporting ..Jews of Vilna in their 1,000's and their 10's of 1,000's to Ponar where Children ..Women ..Babies ..were put to death. ..already at the end of 1941. At ..beginning of 1942 a Jew escaped from Chelmno and came to Warsaw. ..he told us that ..in Chelmno ..Jews were being driven out of ..city in trucks and put to death by gas. This Jew reached Warsaw ..but on ..way went into a town ..to ..Rabbi ..told him ..story. ..Rabbi was convinced ..Jew had gone crazy ..and didn't believe him. After we had heard ..account from Vilna ..and ..story of Chelmno ..we believed that this was being done systematically. I must say that in ..previous years ..even we could not picture to ourselves that a nation in 20th. Century would indeed execute a death sentence on an entire people. We asked ourselves more than once: They are degrading us ..they are suppressing us ..are they truly thinking of destroying all of us. We did not believe it. ..doubt was gnawing at our hearts all ..time. We had been living in this way for years. ..when we received this information from Vilna and Chelmno within a short time ..when we sent our messengers to towns and villages in Poland and tales of disaster began to arrive from each place ..of course ..under a different disguise ..in Vilna because ..Jews were cooperating with ..Communists ..in Chelmno they did not disclose at all that this was extermination. We put all these incidents together ..and on ..same day we heard Heniek's testimony ..this was a decisive moment in ..life of ..Jewish underground movement. We stopped our social activities ..schools about which I haven't managed to tell you ..Hebrew Gymnasium ..drama groups and ..rest of our cultural activities ..all our efforts were now devoted to active self defence. But ..Jews didn't believe it. ..hard to imagine that in fact an entire people would be Exterminated. ..ordinary Jew didn't believe it ..nor did ..Jewish leadership. If you were to ask me why we believed it ..was this because we were wiser. Were we greater heroes. I would not say so. What stood us in good stead was our Halutz education that in normal times ..we were not afraid to face ..fate of ..Jews ..and to see it for what it was. That same youth believed it ..due to its world outlook and its personal education. I have no other explanation ..for there were many wise Jews in Warsaw ..heroes also ..did not believe it." Zivia Lubetkin.
I have sat through many meetings and for years of hoping to justly Remember the Jew's of The Holocaust, utilising in what for me was an appropriate date, January 27th. 1945. This date, recognising the arrival of Russian forces in Poland for the liberation of Auschwitz, is fundamentally an epoch moment for the future Survival of what was left of Polish Jewry and The European Jews. On this Liberation Day, and though the Surviving Jews of this space did not yet know it, full and future Survival in Poland was to be a gift of non-Jewish Poles that was not too willingly given.
"..In July 1942 ..liquidation of ..Warsaw Ghetto began. It started suddenly one day ..although there had already been rumours some days before ..and there was much concern amongst ..Jews. ..we were informed suddenly one day when we got up in ..morning ..by means of notices from ..Germans ..that it had been decided to transfer to ..East Aussiedlung nach dem Osten ..those Jews who were not working here ..who had no source of livelihood. Exempted from ..deportation were ..Jews who were working ..obviously first of all in German places of work in ..Ghetto ..which included ..Jewish organizations ..those that were legitimate ..Judenrat ..Jewish police ..members of their families ..various organizations of social welfare of all kinds ..hospitals. ..then ..Jews came to ..conclusion that ..this was only a small percentage which was destined for deportation. ..reasoning was ..these are Jews who don't have their source of livelihood here ..they were ..living under difficult conditions ..Germans would transfer them to a place ..East ..a place where they were required for labour ..and ..they would even receive good conditions. ..close to one of ..gates in the approaches to ..Warsaw Ghetto ..there was a railway track ..there was a large field there ..Umschlagsplatz ..where ..Jews were commanded to assemble ..and from that point they were loaded on ..wagons. This involved 70,000 to 100,000 Jews. To ..Extermination Camp ..Treblinka. ..beginning of ..deportation ..announced that Jews possessing foreign nationality ..neutrals .had to gather at a certain place and they would be taken out of ..Ghetto. ..concentrated in ..central prison of ..Ghetto ..Pawiak ..most of them were shot. I knew many of them. Amongst them ..workers for ..Joint ..American citizens ..Neustadt ..Segalowitz ..others ..who were shot and did not stay alive. ..Czerniakow ..head of ..Judenrat in ..Warsaw Ghetto. When ..became clear to him ..this was ..Extermination ..that it meant death ..he committed suicide. In view of ..fact that ..announcement concerning ..deportation was accompanied by an order that all those who worked would remain alive ..each Jew tried to find employment for himself and then workshops they were called Shops sprang up like mushrooms after ..rain. Jews used to walk along with a machine on their back ..as if it seemed to them that this was their ticket for staying alive. ..Germans organized workshops and ..Jews worked in them and they were given Kennkarten certificates that they were working in this particular Shop ..and it is a fact that in ..first deportation these Jews were not taken away. This operation of deportation ..from ..first day to ..last ..was disguised in an exceptional way. When ..hunger grew more severe at ..time of ..deportations and ..Angel of Death stalked ..Ghetto for 2 months ..100's of 1,000's of Jews were taken away ..also ..people were dying of starvation. Nobody went out and nobody came in. A kilogram of bread cost more than 100 zlotys ..and even this was impossible to obtain. Then ..Germans announced that anyone coming to ..Umschlag of his own free will would receive 3 kilograms of bread and 1 kilogram of jam ..Jews came there with their meagre bundles in order to receive ..3 kilograms of bread." Zivia Lubetkin.
Here though, while this date was supposedly signifying the end of the tragedy for Polish Jewry and of the Jewish presence in Europe, there was an abhorrent rise in antisemitic hatred bolstered by greed and avarice turned against a returning Jew looking for solace in a place they had known as home. For me, with the continued dilution of the term, The Holocaust, with its referencing in Holocaust Memorial Day toward other Genocide's, this had signalled a sea change in any form of reverence I thought should be wholly attributable to the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, who are The Holocaust.
"..transferred to Treblinka ..to ..Death Camp. ..Men ..Women ..Children. There were those familiar pictures of ..procession of Children from orphanages ..who walked in their shabby clothes towards ..Umschlag ..Children who walked with their Teachers ..Janusz Korczak ..who had made a name for himself ..and whom ..Germans wanted to release ..but he would not agree. ..beginning of September 1942. Within a few hours ..Jews were ordered ..all those who still remained and had not been deported ..to gather in 2 or 3 streets of Warsaw. ..120,000 Jews assembled. ..Jews were told to assemble in these streets in ..course of a few hours. ..ordered to assemble by 10 a.m. ..and anyone found elsewhere after this hour would be shot. Every Jew was obliged to leave all his possessions at home ..and to leave his apartment open. ..at that time ..a special unit which collected all Jewish property and sorted it ..furniture ..jewellery ..shoes ..and so on. ..Jews were ordered to leave their homes open. ..in order to maintain ..camouflage they were told to take with them a parcel limited to 10 kilograms and to bring it to Mila Street. It was impossible to enter ..houses. ..action ..lasted Week ..6 days. In ..course of this week ..60,000 Jews were removed from these streets. Many Jews were there ..and ..Shops were also there ..for ..Jews thought they would come together with ..Shops and with their documents ..and they would be taken off to work. In one street men of ..SS and ..Gestapo were standing at a table ..indicating by a movement of ..hand who was to go to ..right and who to ..left ..who was to live and who was to die. ..of course ..those chosen for death were Children ..great enemies of ..German Reich ..Children ..Women ..Aged ..Sick. .. healthier ..still allowed to live ..by means of a motion of ..hand to ..right. ..families would be separated. There were those terrible scenes ..since ..despite it all ..whole families were still going together. They knew what ..fate of ..Children would be ..and a Mother would attempt to make her Son look a little bigger ..paint ..cheeks of her Daughter ..to give her shoes with higher heels ..but all this was to no avail ..and they went ..same way as their Brothers. In ..course of a few days ..50,000 Jews were taken away. This action in ..Warsaw Ghetto was completed on Yom Kippur 1942 ..with ..liquidation of part of ..Jewish police ..concerning whom we were so sure at ..beginning of ..deportation that their lives would be spared. Their loyal cooperation with ..Germans did not help them ..they ..too ..taken to Treblinka with their families and on Yom Kippur 1942 ..out of 500,000 Jews in Warsaw ..about 60,000 Jews remained within ..Ghetto walls." Zivia Lubetkin.
Where once we contemplate 500,000 Jews of Warsaw reduced to 60,000 Jews, we have the incomprehensible value that 6,000,000 Annihilated Jews, Murdered solely for being Jews, brings forth an atrocious degradation of all humanity. So while this reduction in Human value stands before us, I wonder why it is necessary to withdraw a Jewish relevance from the term which wholly encompasses all that was measured against them. The Holocaust term has so been eroded by claims to recall all those dead through Genocide, it does not form the marker by which 6,000,000 Murdered Jews are registered as the intentional victims of Hitler's resolve for The Final Solution of The Jewish Question.
"..April 18th. 1943 was ..eve of Passover. 2 days before ..Gestapo's liaison officer ..Brandt came to ..Jewish Council office and said ..Council was not sufficiently concerned about ..Jewish Children. There was no greenery in ..Ghetto ..not sufficient food ..he proposed setting up kindergartens ..where Jewish Children would be able to play and also to laugh. ..he was certain that those Jews who remained in Warsaw were productive people and there was no danger of deportation threatening them. We had already learned from experience ..and we knew if there were such rumours and such a promise ..this was a bad omen. ..in recent days there had been various strange rumours circulating in ..Ghetto ..that on ..approach of Passover ..Germans were planning to destroy ..Warsaw Ghetto. ..immediately after these rumours ..others came along saying that they had heard from one German or another ..information that this was not true ..that ..Jews ..in ..Ghetto would remain there. ..18th of ..month ..during ..day ..a policeman of ours ..a Jew ..also a member of ..Jewish fighting force came to us at our headquarters ..and said that Polish policemen had told Jewish policemen ..there was no doubt that something was going to happen that night. ..Jewish fighting force ..was in existence and was organized inside ..Ghetto and had fighting units ..each unit having its own post ..prepared in advance. An alert was declared within ..units ..movement ceased ..everyone was to take his arms to his post ..to ..fortifications ..each officer and his men. At ..about midnight ..this policeman came to headquarters and informed us that ..Ghetto was surrounded. ..between January and April ..even before then ..Judenrat was no longer in charge of ..Ghetto. ..Ghetto as well as ..Judenrat acted in accordance with ..orders and instructions that we used to post up in ..streets of Warsaw. This was a time when ..Jews obeyed us ..obeyed us in everything. We dispersed among ..fighting units. I was at 23 Nalewski Street ..where ..officer in charge of that unit was Secharia Artstein. Mordechai Anilewicz and ..rest of my comrades were dispersed in ..other strong points. Mordechai Anilewicz came to ..post at 29 Mila Street. What did we tell ..Jews that night. We told them that anyone who possessed arms should come out to fight. Not only ..Jewish fighting force but ..ordinary Jews as well had arms. ..we advised those who did not have arms ..Women ..Children ..Babies ..should go down into ..bunkers ..and at ..first opportunity ..go over to ..Aryan sector ..break through and make their way to ..forest ..some would survive. ..we had no need to issue orders to ..fighting units ..those Boys and Girls had been waiting for months for ..moment ..they would be able to shoot at Germans. ..indeed ..moment had come. When ..day dawned ..I was standing in ..upper part of this building ..at 23 Nalewski ..I saw ..1,000's of Germans ..surrounding ..Ghetto ..with machine guns ..cannon ..1,000's of them ..with their weapons ..as if they were going to ..Russian front. ..there we stood opposite them ..some 20 young Men and Women. ..our weapons. ..a revolver ..a hand grenade ..entire unit had 2 rifles ..and ..homemade bombs ..primitive ones ..fuse ..had to be lit by ..match ..and Molotov Cocktails. ..strange to see ..some Jewish Boys and Girls ..confronting this enormous enemy with all his weapons ..were joyful and merry. Why were they joyful and merry. We knew that our end had come. We knew beforehand that they would defeat us ..but we also knew that they would pay a heavy price for our lives. ..they did. It is difficult to describe ..there will surely be many who will not believe it ..that when ..Germans came near ..foot of one of our strong points and passed by in formation ..and we threw ..bombs and ..hand grenades ..we saw German blood pouring in ..streets of Warsaw ..after so much Jewish blood and tears had previously flowed in ..streets of Warsaw ..we felt ..great rejoicing and it was of no importance what would happen ..following day. ..great rejoicing amongst ..Jewish fighters. ..behold ..miracle ..great German heroes withdrew in tremendous panic in ..face of ..handmade Jewish hand grenades and bombs. ..1 hour later ..a German officer was spurring ..soldiers on to go to battle ..to go out and bring in ..wounded ..and not one of them moved and they abandoned their wounded men whose weapons we subsequently collected. And so it happened ..that on ..first day we ..few ..with our scant arms ..drove ..Germans out of ..Ghetto. ..they came back. They were not short of ammunition ..bread ..water as we were. And they returned. They returned that day ..for a second time ..in greater strength ..with field guns and tanks ..and we with our Molotov Cocktails also set a tank on fire although this was not at ..post where I was but in Mila Street ..with another fighting unit. That day ..in ..evening ..we each reported. We had seen that ..with our meagre arms ..number of those killed in our ranks was negligible ..2 in all. ..a number of wounded. ..we knew that ..on that day 100's of Germans had fallen ..killed ..wounded. ..by chance ..I ..met a German on ..Aryan side ..a year after ..Warsaw Ghetto revolt ..posing as an Aryan ..and he had only one eye ..he told me that on that very day ..at 23 Nalewski ..he had lost his eye in a battle with ..Jews and that it was a big fight and we paid for it with many casualties ..I did not know then how to appreciate this. But if one may evaluate this years later ..when I saw my people proceeding on its final journey ..this was some slight consolation." Zivia Lubetkin.
As far as I am concerned, and translation cannot alter any intention otherwise, die Endlosung der Judenfrage speaks exclusively for what Hitler intended would be the total eradication of the Jewish People from within Europe. In accordance with the protocol established at The Wannsee Conference, this would account for 11,293,300 Jews of Europe, All Men, Women and Their Children to be systematically sought out for Slaughter and Murdered, in situ or in carefully prepared Killing Sites and the Gas Chambers. Firstly though. all of these Jews would be marked out for close attention, segregated and then marked for removal, firstly from their former homes and their own community’s, as they are finally removed from all existence, life itself.
"..battle continued for a number of days at ..same pace. ..Germans could not subdue us and on each occasion retreated from ..Ghetto. ..not all ..days were like ..first day. We paid with more losses and also killed less Germans. But ..in ..days following ..Germans changed their tactics and tried also to change our tactics. From street fighting in places we had prepared for ourselves ..we changed to a method of fighting in small groups. We split up into several groups who at night would find for themselves houses and strong points ..simply hid ..waiting for ..Germans. ..Germans ..no longer came into ..Ghetto in large numbers ..but in small units. ..like us ..we had rags on our feet so that they should not hear our footsteps ..they had rubber boots so that we should not hear their footsteps ..and each side sought ..other. In these days ..also ..we had ..upper hand ..we knew ..terrain ..houses ..prepared for ourselves places of refuge in attics and cellars ..not known to ..Germans. It continued in this way for days. It is difficult for me to describe life in ..Ghetto during that week ..and I had been in this Ghetto ..years. ..Jews embraced and kissed each other ..although it was clear to every single one that it was not certain whether he would remain alive ..or it was almost certain that he would not survive ..reached ..day of our taking revenge ..although no vengeance could fit our suffering. At least we were fighting for our lives ..and this feeling lightened his suffering and possibly also made it easier for him to die. I also remember that on ..second day ..it was ..Passover Seder ..in one of ..bunkers ..I came across Rabbi Meisel. There had been contacts between us and him ..since ..days of ..Halutz underground in ordinary times as well. ..Halutz underground ..in its operations ..had not always had an easy time on ..part of ..Jewish population ..they did not always accept us." Zivia Lubetkin.
It is a further catastrophe then as to which part of this atrocity does the world need to now dissolve let alone resolve while The Holocaust term becomes continually diluted. I am fully aware of the significance of YomHaShoah and it is that specific day in Israel right now, May 1st. 2019 that it is both poignant and reverential to all Jews wherever they are. As such, perhaps it is time to ensure the Jews know best how to mark what we seek to remember is a Jewish Catastrophe above and beyond all other's and ask the World to concentrate its attention on the debacle of The Holocaust, as a unifying act of Remembrance on this one day. With The Holocaust, there is this unique blend of legality, complicity, duplicity and the sheer scale of the atrocity which is all aimed exclusively at the Jews whose murder this present to us.
"..There were those who thought that we were bringing harm to their lives ..collective responsibility ..fear of ..Germans. ..this time ..when I entered ..bunker ..this Jew ..Rabbi Meisel ..interrupted ..Seder ..placed his hand on my head and said ..May you be blessed. Now it is good for me to die. Would that we had done this earlier. ..fighting went on ..for days. ..already from ..first day ..had been seeking liaison with ..Aryan side. We had many comrades on ..Aryan side ..Yitzhak Zuckerman ..among them. Their main activity in ..first days was ..acquisition of an additional supply of arms. ..after many endeavours this was achieved. But there was a problem of how to transfer it. In ..first days we had another link by means of ..telephone ..but apart from telephone contact ..connection still existed through ..Burial Society. Our cemetery was beyond ..boundaries of ..Ghetto ..and since ..Burial Society had its hands full ..it had ..to go out of ..Ghetto and to come back into it. And in this way we received a message from Yitzhak Zuckerman ..that he had received a number of rifles which we would be able to obtain ..through ..Burial Society ..we smuggled letters outside ..amongst them ..letter from Mordechai Anilewicz ..which has since been published. But this link ..too ..was soon cut off. ..We began to look for possibilities of sending out a number of comrades for ..purpose of obtaining help. We had a small number of comrades on ..Aryan side who were able to organize help and arms for us ..or food ..or later on to look for a place where a person could stay in ..event of his remaining alive. We thus began searching for a way of getting a number of people out. We were told that there was a bunker in a particular place ..near ..Ghetto wall. From ..bunker there was a canal leading to ..Aryan side. Afterwards it became clear to us ..Apart from ..Jewish fighting force ..which included ..all ..various ideological forces in Jewish public life ..left to right ..there existed a group of Revisionists ..in Muranowska Street. They had prepared this exit for themselves. ..several days of difficult and daring battle ..they decided to go out to ..Aryan sector. We encountered one of them who had been saved. All ..others had been caught and were killed. Without being aware of this ..we sent 2 of our comrades in this way to seek contact with our comrades on ..Aryan side ..Simha Ratajzer ..and another ..no longer alive. When they reached ..Aryan sector and a Polish policeman saw them ..he thought that they were Poles and said to them ..Why are you wandering around here. Do you know what happened here an hour ago. ..he told them about ..fight in ..Ghetto ..that ..entire quarter was full of SS ..and Gestapo ..and ..they were not allowing anyone to come out or to go in. Nevertheless ..due to their courage and ..perhaps ..also their good fortune ..they succeeded in passing by ..German sentries and establishing contact with Yitzhak. They represented an important reinforcement to ..tiny group ..many of whose members fell in ..first days of our fight in ..Ghetto in various actions on ..Aryan side ..to provide substantial aid ..which we subsequently broadened to help ..fighters inside ..Ghetto to assist in taking them out and to help any activity of ..Jewish underground ..which continued until ..liberation. We could not engage in open warfare. ..Germans set ..Ghetto on fire. ..impossible to fight against fire and conflagration ..they did not have to battle against us ..fire fought us." Zivia Lubetkin.
All of what Hitler aimed for, which makes this a particularly Jewish tragedy, and that is an unparalleled and an unprecedented atrocity in all time, wonders at why the World cannot allow the Remembrance for these Jews to be their's. For me then, and I speak here personally, as a non-Jew, if back then I had been a non-Jewish pole, barely surviving during the crime of the catastrophe for Polish Jewry and European Jews, I would have felt compelled to resist any and all of Hitler's clear intentions. Poland was at war with Germany, and all of Hitler's direction should have brokered an all out response by all of Poland to what was happening to its Jewish Community. It is reprehensible that Poland did not act in accord with its christian principles nor of its catholic dogma. The fact too that this would have created the ideal CV for anyone acting with human compassion would have seen a non-Jewish Pole who had taken a Jewish Family of 7, or even 70 from a extended Jewish Family, to the Woods and then assisted in the building of an underground bunker.
"..Scenes of Women ..Children ..Men are well known. We had previously told them ..called upon ..Jews to hide themselves ..those who did not have arms ..to hide in ..bunker. ..when ..building was suddenly set alight ..when ..smoke entered ..bunker ..it was no longer possible to get out. ..there were ..scenes ..from 4th. ..5th. and 6th. floors ..People jumped from a building enveloped in flames ..in most cases with Children in their arms. There were also scenes of People who jumped from fire into gunfire. ..German machine guns which surrounded ..wall did not miss them. Every such Jew in sight was shot on ..spot. They looked for hiding places in other bunkers. Many of them entered ..sewage canals for want of another way out. ..several People found shelter in ..ruins of ..burnt houses. ..Germans seized many of them and took them ..no longer to ..Umschlag ..but to Treblinka. There was no chance of defeating them in battle. That was clear. This was still in April 1943. ..victories of ..Red Army were only beginning. ..it was plain to us that we had no chance of winning in ..accepted sense of ..term. ..in ..military sense or ..accepted sense of today. ..believe me ..this is no empty phrase ..despite their power ..we knew that ultimately we would defeat them ..we ..weak ones ..because in this lay our strength. We believed in justice ..in humanity ..and in a regime different from ..one which they glorified. ..May 8th. 1943 ..When ..principal bunker of ..Jewish fighting force at 18 Mila was destroyed with Anilewicz and another 120 fighters ..quite by chance I was not there ..for on ..previous day I went on a mission to another part of ..Ghetto and returned after this had happened. I found no traces of ..bunker or of people ..only a small group of fighters who succeeded in getting out of there through some kind of side route ..at ..very last minute. They related their experiences." Zivia Lubetkin.
Here in such a bunker, where they would have Survived till the Russians had saved them, they would have been written my opus for me, a page in their History to be proudest of. Who could not be proud of such an act of saving lives, when all about Poland the stench of destruction infiltrated the very air poles breathed. For me it seems, humanity would have been keenly felt and a moral bridge would have been crossed. But none of this is as it should have been. The heroism of Parents, unable to assist the fight, struggling to ensure their Children did not know what awaited them, and as they succumbed in desperation to what Hitler intended and Poland did so little to stop, and as a World stood too idly by, they passed into History.
"That night we decided ..there were only a few of us left ..without food ..without water ..almost no weapons ..at any rate without bullets for ..revolvers and rifles ..to send a group of comrades to ..sewage canal ..so that they might cross to ..Aryan sector and see what could be done. These comrades ..on ..way to ..sewage canal ..encountered a delegation of our friends. One of them was ..same Simha Ratajzer ..who had gone out to Muranowska. This delegation had been sent by our comrades on ..Aryan Side in ..company of a Pole who showed them ..way ..to bring ..surviving fighters through ..sewage canal to ..Aryan side. We walked in ..sewage canal for 48 hours. .on May 12th. ..on a clear day ..when ..in spite of ..desire of ..Polish underground to come to our aid ..they did not have ..power to do much ..apart from several people who assisted us in carrying out ..operation ..and when it became clear to our comrades that they would not get any assistance ..they hired 2 trucks saying that they were required for moving furniture from one place to another. When they reached ..street where we were standing in ..sewage canal ..our comrades drew out revolvers ..aimed them at ..drivers and said ..This is not furniture but people ..and if you make even ..slightest noise ..you will endanger your lives. ..so they remained silent. ..sewage canal was opened and we came out of it ..about 50 fighters ..if I am not mistaken ..and we were loaded onto ..trucks. We drove through ..streets of noisy Warsaw ..naturally with weapons in our hands ..and ..reached ..Lomianki forest ..7 kilometres from Warsaw ..since we did not have anywhere ..where we could go to. ..We had a special sector of ..Jewish fighting force within ..Polish revolt in ..ranks of ..Armia Ludowa." Zivia Lubetkin.
As the remnants of Polish and Warsaw Jewry sat in bunkers, in attics or hidden in rooms, the flames of an unholy conflagration surrounded them. Many of these distraught Parents, People on the edge of this insanity, took hold of everything that was dear to them, their Children, comforted and relaxed them before signalling their intention to defy Hitler's marauder's and resisting finally that lasting resolve to accomplish what 3,000 years of History had failed to do. Outside the Ghetto, the city of Warsaw was bustling with non-Jewish life, looking on with a regard that has not entered mainstream History. So the scenes, as Zivia could relate them, have been secured for posterity to future accuse this Warsaw, this Poland and this World for what was left behind in the Jewish World. When Jews need to know what Resistance meant so as to know it definitively, or hear it, or re-listen to its retelling, then listen and learn from what Zivia Lubetkin relays and teaches us all.
"..August 1944. ..Poles decided to give themselves up and be taken prisoner ..our group did not do so. Having no alternative ..we remained in a bunker in one of ..places in Warsaw ..and this was now in Aryan Warsaw ..for Jewish Warsaw was no longer in existence at that time. But even in Aryan Warsaw ..Poles ..too ..were prohibited from being there at all. So we went into some house ..where there was a cellar ..a group of Jewish fighters ..carrying arms and we did not really know what to do with ourselves ..until we sent off a number of comrades ..mostly Girls ..to look for contacts on ..Aryan side. ..they found them and they returned with a delegation of ..Red Polish Army who made out as if it was known that there were sick people there ..typhus patients. Those fighters amongst us who had pronounced Jewish features had their imaginary wounds bandaged so they would not be recognized and were taken out as typhus patients. In this way we crossed into ..Aryan sector and in a village near Warsaw liberation came to us at ..hands of ..Russians." Zivia Lubetkin.
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.