A letter to God-The children of La Maison d’Izieu.

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I have seen so many gruesome images of the Holocaust, but for some reason the pictures of these smiling and playing children touche me more then any other. For I know none of them survived, the only crime they committed was being a child.

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On the morning of 6 April 1944, members of the Lyon Gestapo who had been tipped off by an informant carried out a raid on the children’s home in Izieu and arrested everyone there.  44 children aged 4-17, and seven staff members who had been taking care of them, were incarcerated in the prison in Lyon, and were deported to Drancy the following day.  The deportation order was issued by Klaus Barbie, head of the Gestapo in Lyon.  Barbie reported the arrest of the children  and adults at the children’s home in a telegram that he sent to Paris. During the children’s detention in Lyon, the Germans discovered the whereabouts of some of their family members, who were also then taken to Drancy and later deported to their deaths in Auschwitz.

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During the raid on Izieu, Leon Reifman, a medical student who took care of the sick children, managed to escape and hide in a nearby farm.  His sister, Dr. Sarah Lavan-Reifman, who was the children’s home doctor, his parents, Eva and Moisz-Moshe and his nephew, Claude Lavan-Reifman also lived in the home.  They were all murdered at Auschwitz.  Miron Zlatin, Sabine Zlatin’s husband who ran the children’s home with her, was deported on 15 May, together with two of the older boys from the children’s home, to Estonia, where they were all shot to death.

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By the end of June 1944, all the children and adults caught in Izieu had been deported from Drancy.  Most were sent to Auschwitz, including all the children and five of the adults, among them Sarah Lavan-Reifman, who refused to be parted from her son Claude, and was sent together with him to the gas chambers.

Léa Feldblum, one of the care-takers, had false papers that enabled her to evade the deportation to Auschwitz, but she chose to reveal her true identity while in Drancy, in order to stay with the children.  Feldblum survived Auschwitz and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1946.

One of the children of La Maison d’Izieu was eleven-year-old Liliane Gerenstein. Lilliane and her brother were sent to their deaths a few days after she wrote this letter to God:

“God? How good You are, how kind and if one had to count the number of goodnesses and kindnesses You have done, one would never finish.

God? It is You who command. It is You who are justice, it is You who reward the good and punish the evil.

God? It is thanks to You that I had a beautiful life before, that I was spoiled, that I had  lovely things that others do not have.

God? After that, I ask You one thing only: Make my parents come back, my poor parents protect them (even more than You protect me) so that I can see them again as soon as possible.

Make them come back again. Ah! I had such a good mother and such a good father! I have such faith in You and I thank You in advance.”

In 1987, Klaus Barbie was put on trial in France, and convicted of crimes against humanity.  He was sentenced to life-imprisonment.  Testifying at the trial, Laja Feldblum-Klepten said:

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“It is my duty to testify against Klaus Barbie in the name of my 44 children who were murdered at Auschwitz, because every night they appear before my very eyes

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A treasure with so little worth but yet so much value.

kist-mainThese were once the toys, clothing and medicine of Hugo Steenmeijer, the child of a Dutch father and an Inonesian mother.

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When Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies in 1942, his father was sent to work as a forced labourer on the Burma Railway. The Japanese imprisoned Europeans in internment camps. The 150,000 people native to the country, but with ties to the Dutch like Hugo’s mother, were left to their fate.

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As so-called buitenkampers (those outside the camps) they were extremely vulnerable. Because of their loyalty to the Dutch the Japanese often made their lives miserable and they also felt threatened by groups of native rebels set on Independence. Hugo’s mother struggled to survive in the city of Surabaya with her young son. After the war his father returned. But given Hugo was so frail, he died in 1947.

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Along with their two younger children, the couple left for the Netherlands in 1950. For years and years this box containing Hugo’s belongings was off-limits to everyone. When Hugo’s siblings finally decided to open this small chest after the death of their parents, they found something of Hugo’s long lost life inside.

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My name is Aleksander- A Lebensborn victim.

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Should we succeed in establishing
this Nordic race, and from this seed bed
produce a race of 200 million,
then the world will belong to us.

Heinrich Himmler
Mastermind of the Lebensborn Program

FOLKER HEINECKE

Everyone in the neighborhood admired the handsome young boy called Aleksander. Born in the Crimean town of Alnowa, he had blond hair and piercingly beautiful blue eyes.

When the child was 1 year and 10 months old, Hitler’s troops swooped into Crimea (which, at the time, was part of Russia). It was 1942, and Aleksander’s parents were about to experience something far worse than the German occupation of their town.

While Aleksander was playing outside of his parents’ home, two Nazi SS * officers spotted the child. The toddler fit a profile of children about whom the officers, like others in their unit, had been instructed. They were told to find … and … kidnap such children.

The SS officers took the boy from the front yard of his home.

Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and one of Hitler’s right-hand men, had concocted a plan about creating a “master race.” The race would be Aryan-based. Its people would be strong with blonde hair, blue eyes and with not a trace of any features which appeared “Jewish.”

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The program was called “Lebensborn”—meaning—“Fountain [or Spring] of Life.” The plan consisted of two very different parts:

  • SS officers, considered supremely Aryan, would either have four children each, with their Aryan-appearing wives or, if that were not possible, they would father children with blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordic women who were not their wives. In a sense, these offspring would be “Children of the Master Race.”
  • SS officers would remove Aryan-appearing children from families living in German-occupied lands, have them tested to be sure they were non-Jews and then give the kidnapped children (after they were “re-educated”) to pre-approved Nazi couples who would raise the children as their own.

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Aleksander, and his parents, were some of the unfortunates living in German-occupied territory.

After he was forcibly removed from his home, the toddler was taken to a town in Poland where he was examined. When he was found “worthy” of being “Germanized,” he spent about one year at Sonnenwiese (“Sun Meadow”), a large, institutional “home” for Lebensborn children in Kohren-Sahlis, near Leipzig.

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At Sun Meadow, the kidnapped children were not provided with love and comfort from their attenders. Instead, the Lebensborn nurses followed the child-rearing advice of Dr. Johanna Haarer (for whom rules and strict order were more important than love and tenderness).

Beyond having no one to help them deal with their pain and sense of loss, the Lebensborn chilren were treated like products-on-a-shelf when potential adoptive parents came to visit:

The Nazi-faithful foster parents came to this Lebensborn home in Kohren-Salis where they selected the children they desired, almost like products from a catalog – they could choose their German child. If the foster parents did not like us, it was also possible to return the child. So the child was simply a product, stolen goods.

After completing his reeducation-adoption program, Aleksander was given to a German couple for adoption.

His real parents never saw their son again.

For decades thereafter, Aleksander was (and still is) known as Folker Heinecke.

FOLKER HEINECKE

His “parents” raised him well, providing him with love and a good education, but he never really knew who he was. Nor, apparently, did his adoptive parents.

I have had a good life and I loved my adoptive parents, even though they were Nazis. I was just without roots and it was these roots that caused me to spend over 30 years of my life looking for the secrets of the past.

I had a good upbringing after the war. My parents gave me a good education, spells in London, Paris and Ireland. They believed in Nazism at the time but they weren’t war criminals and always did right by me.

But of course they could not answer the question of who I was. They didn’t know.

After their deaths, Folker searched and searched and searched for answers. Who was he? Where was he from? Who were his real parents? Where were they?

Not until the Red Cross opened a major Holocaust-era archive, in the German town of Bad Arolsen, did Folker get a chance to find answers to his questions. His quest, even at the archives which focus on displaced persons, was not easy.

Sifting through documents, potentially applicable to millions of people, he was able to piece-together his childhood story. It was then that Folker learned his real name and the town of his birth. As reported in various newspapers:

The files showed that he was first taken to Lodz in Poland—the Nazis called it Littmannstadt—where SS “doctors” examined him to find out if he was “worthy” of Aryanisation.

“The files show I was measured everywhere – head size, body size, whether I had ‘Jewish Aspects’ or not,” he recalled.

“Then I was declared to be capable of being Germanised and was shipped back to the Fatherland.”

What Folker does not know, and what he would like to find-out, is what happened to his real parents. If he can learn those details, he would like to visit their graves:

The former shipping agent, who lives in Hamburg, now has one quest left in life: to discover the grave of his real mother and lay flowers on it.

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The Children of WWII-Part 4

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A child is born with no state of mind,blind to the ways of mankind.

During WWII,as in any other war, all the children were victims,without exception.Of course the degree and severity on how they were victims had a significant difference. Some lost their lives,while others lost their innocence. Many of those who lost their innocence had to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, for they had been forced to do things no child should ever have to do.

The only ‘crime they committed was being born at the wrong time,in the wrong place and sometimes to the wrong parents.

The picture above is of a young boy in Germany trying to sell his Father’s iron cross in 1945.

Below are pictures of some the Children of WWII, some of these images may be distressing but I feel it is important to show them.

A child blinded by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. 1945.

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A child’s gas mask during WWII

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The internment of Japanese-Americans into camps during World War II was one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history. According to the census of 1940, 127,000 persons of Japanese ancestry lived in the United States, the majority on the West Coast.

A child looks at a soldier as he assembles for evacuation with his family.

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First graders at a public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the flag before evacuations are ordered.

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A mother and daughter assemble for relocation at a Los Angeles train station.

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On 2 October 1940, Ludwig Fischer, Governor of the Warsaw District in the occupied General Government of Poland, signed the order to officially create a Jewish district (ghetto) in Warsaw. It was to become the largest ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe. All Jewish people in Warsaw had to relocate to the area of the ghetto by 15 November 1940.

A young boy selling a handful of sweets from a chair in the street.

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Two emaciated children, one of them asleep or unconscious, begging on the street of the ghetto.

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Gas masks for babies tested at an English hospital, 1940

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Mothers outfitting their children with “baby helmets”.

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A Japanese boy standing at attention after having brought his dead younger brother to a cremation pyre, 1945

A Japanese boy standing at attention after having brought his dead younger brother to a cremation pyre, 1945

Then suddenly your classmate has gone. Forever!

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The most evil acts of the Nazi regime were done to children. I often have thought about how I would feel if suddenly my classmates suddenly started disappearing from school,mostly without any real reason given or sometimes only a  vague explanation.

This what happened in schools all across Europe during WWII, Below are just a few accounts of school children that suddenly disappeared.

JOSEPH MUSCHA MUELLER

Born: 1932, Bitterfeld, Germany

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Joseph was born in Bitterfeld, Germany, to Gypsy parents. For reasons unknown, he was raised in an orphanage for the first one-and-a-half years of his life. At the time of Joseph’s birth, some 26,000 Gypsies–members of either the Sinti or Roma tribes–lived in Germany. Though most were German citizens, they were often discriminated against by other Germans and subjected to harassment.

1933-39: At age one-and-a-half, Joseph was taken into foster care by a family living in Halle, a city some 20 miles from Bitterfeld. That same year, the Nazi party came to power. When Joseph was in school, he was often made the scapegoat for pranks in the classroom and beaten for “misbehaving.” He was also taunted with insults like “bastard” and “mulatto” by classmates who were members of the Hitler Youth movement.

1940-44: When Joseph was 12 he was taken from his classroom by two strangers who said he had “appendicitis” and needed immediate surgery. He protested, but was beaten and forcefully taken into surgery where he was sterilized, a procedure legalized by a Nazi law allowing the forced sterilization of “asocials,” a category that included Gypsies. After his recovery, Joseph was to be deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but his foster father managed to have him smuggled from the hospital and hidden.

Joseph survived the remainder of the war by hiding for five months in a garden shed.

JAN-PETER PFEFFER

Born: May 3, 1934, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Jan-Peter’s father, Heinz, was a German-Jewish refugee who married Henriette De Leeuw, a Dutch-Jewish woman. Frightened by the Nazi dictatorship and the murder of Heinz’s uncle in a concentration camp, they emigrated to the Netherlands when Henriette was nine months pregnant. They settled in Amsterdam.

1933-39: Jan-Peter was born soon after his parents arrived in the Netherlands. He was 18 months old when Tommy, his baby brother, was born. In 1939 the parents and brother of Jan-Peter’s father joined them in the Netherlands as refugees from Germany. Jan-Peter and Tommy grew up speaking Dutch as their native language, and they often spent time at their mother’s family home in the country.

1940-44: The Germans occupied Amsterdam in May 1940. Despite the German occupation, 6-year-old Jan-Peter did not feel much change in his day-to-day life. Then just after his ninth birthday, the Germans sent his grandmother to a camp called Westerbork. Six months later, Jan-Peter and his family were sent to the same camp, but his grandmother was no longer there. During the winter, the Pfeffers were sent to a faraway ghetto called Theresienstadt where Jan-Peter felt cold, scared, and hungry.

On May 18, 1944, Jan-Peter was deported with his family to Auschwitz. He was gassed on July 11, 1944. Jan-Peter was 10 years old.

NADINE SCHATZ

Born: September 10, 1930, Boulogne-Billancourt, France

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Nadine was the daughter of immigrant Jewish parents. Her Russian-born mother settled in France following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Nadine was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a city on the outskirts of Paris known for its automobile factories. She was fluent in Russian and French.

1933-39: Nadine attended elementary school in Paris. Her mother, Ludmilla, taught piano, and her Russian grandmother, Rosalia, lived with them. After France declared war on Germany in September 1939, Nadine’s mother moved the family to Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, a small village on the Brittany coast, hoping it would be safer. There, Nadine resumed her schooling.

1940-42: Victorious German troops reached Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in June 1940. After France surrendered to Germany, the Germans remained in Brittany. Nadine and her mother moved to the nearby city of Nantes. But local French officials frequently cooperated with the occupying Germans to help enforce anti-Jewish laws. In 1942 Nadine and her mother were arrested by French police. Nadine was separated from her mother and deported to the Drancy transit camp east of Paris.

Twelve-year-old Nadine was deported to Auschwitz on September 23, 1942. She was gassed shortly after arriving.

BERTHA ADLER

Born: June 20, 1928, Selo-Solotvina, Czechoslovakia

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Bertha was the second of three daughters born to Yiddish-speaking Jewish parents in a village in Czechoslovakia’s easternmost province. Soon after Bertha was born, her parents moved the family to Liege, an industrial, largely Catholic city in Belgium that had many immigrants from eastern Europe.

1933-39: Bertha’s parents sent her to a local elementary school, where most of her friends were Catholic. At school, Bertha spoke French. At home, she spoke Yiddish. Sometimes her parents spoke Hungarian to each other, a language they had learned while growing up. Bertha’s mother, who was religious, made sure that Bertha also studied Hebrew.

1940-44: Bertha was 11 when the Germans occupied Liege. Two years later, the Adlers, along with all the Jews, were ordered to register and Bertha and her sisters were forced out of school. Some Catholic friends helped the Adlers obtain false papers and rented them a house in a nearby village. There, Bertha’s father fell ill one Friday and went to the hospital. Bertha promised to visit him on Sunday to bring him shaving cream. That Sunday, the family was awakened at 5 a.m. by the Gestapo. They had been discovered.

Fifteen-year-old Bertha was deported to Auschwitz on May 19, 1944. She was gassed there two days later.

ANDRAS MUHLRAD

Born: July 27, 1930, Ujpest, Hungary

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The second of two children, Andras was born to Jewish parents living in a suburb of Budapest. His father was a pharmacist. The Muhlrads lived in a large house with Andras’ grandfather and aunts. As a toddler, Andras often played with his older sister, Eva, and their cousins in the big yard behind their home.

1933-39: Andras was 4 when his family moved to their own apartment. It was 1936 when he began primary school and Hitler had already been in power in Nazi Germany for three years. At night his father would turn on the radio to listen to news of the Third Reich. All this still seemed far away from Hungary. The young boy concentrated on earning good grades. He knew only a few top Jewish students were admitted to the public high school every year.

1940-44: Four months before Andras turned 14, the Germans invaded Hungary. Soon after, the Muhlrads had to leave their apartment and move in with the family of Andras’ friend Yannos, whose building had been marked with a Star of David. At first, living together was tolerable, but conditions became increasingly more crowded until there were 25 in the apartment. The residents were allowed to leave the building for errands a few hours a day. Then one day a gendarme took up guard in front of the entrance. The residents spent three days trapped inside fearing what would happen next.

Andras and his family were among the 435,000 Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz in the early summer of 1944. Andras was later moved to a camp in Bavaria, where he perished.

The destruction of innocence.

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A child is born with no state if mind,blind to the ways of mankind.However for the children who lived and died during the Holocaust this innocence was forever stolen and destroyed.

The survivors often lost their friends and families, but they always lost their childhood.Below are some drawings of children of the Holocaust.

Ella Liebermann. 16 years old. Eating and soup distribution. Bedzin’s ghetto. Poland.

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Helga Weissova. 13 years old. ‘Bread transported in a hearse’

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Alfred Kantor. 17 years old

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Pavel Sonnenschein, who died aged 13, painted the inside of a ghetto.

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Vilem Eisner, who was 13 when he died, painted a lesson being held in a dorm room

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This one touched me the most because it serves as a lesson to all of us, even in the bleakest of moments we can still have positive thoughts. It was painted by Ruth Cechova, who died aged 13, she painted her memories of sunbathing.

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Ending with 2 poems of Franta Bass, he was born September 4 1931. The date if his death is unknown.

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I AM A JEW

I am a Jew and will be a Jew forever.
Even if I should die from hunger,
never will I submit.

I will always fight for my people,
on my honor.
I will never be ashamed of them,
I give my word.

I am proud of my people,
how dignified they are.
Even though I am suppressed,
I will always come back to life.

A little Garden.

A little garden

Fragrant and full of roses

The path is narrow

And a little boy walks along it

 

A little boy , a sweet boy

Like that growing blossom

When the blossom comes to bloom

The little boy will be no more.

 

 

The Children’s perception of the Holocaust.

Malvina Lowova, who was killed aged 12, drew a family being deported under armed guard while farmers armed with pitchforks threaten them

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Helga Weissova. 13 years old. She tells in this drawing how the Germans forced them to reduce the bunks, with the aim of trying to make the hut appearance less narrow and then cheat the Red Cross inspection. Terezín.helga_1

Edita Pollakova. 9 years old. The deportation train arrives at Terezin. Edita died the October 4th of 1944 at Auschwitz.edita_pollakova

Yehuda Bacon. Being 16 years old he drew this portrait of his father recently gassed and burnt at Auschwitz. The face of his father emerges emaciated through a curtain of smoke.4.0.3P1

“Everyone was hungry” Liana Franklová 10 years old. Terezíneveryone-was-hungry

Helga Weissova. 13 years old. Drawing titled “Terezín arrival”. Helga entered in the concentration field with just 12 years old. She brought a box with paintings and a notebook. She draw more than 100 paintings doing what her father told her: “Paint whatever you see”. Here ended Helga’s childhood. With the responsibility of painting everything she saw and experienced. She was one of the few survivors.helga_4

The Children of WWII-Part 3

 

“A child is born with no state of mind,blind to the ways of mankind”

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During WWII,as in any other war, all the children were victims,without exception.Of course the degree and severity on how they were victims had a significant difference. Some lost their lives,while others lost their innocence. Many of those who lost their innocence had to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, for they had been forced to do things no child should ever have to do.

The only ‘crime they committed was being born at the wrong time,in the wrong place and sometimes to the wrong parents.

Following are pictures of some the Children of WWII, some of these images may be distressing but I feel it is important to show them.Th picture above is of a German child playing with abandoned weapons, Berlin, Germany, 1945.

Boy Refugee, Luxembourg, 1944.

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Helga Goebbels, died at 12, she was poisoned by her parents along with her five siblings in Hitler’s bunker on May 1, 1945 as the Soviet Army approached and the end of the Third Reich was at hand. Her parents, Joseph and Magda then killed themselves

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Portrait of a girl with a bandage nurse during the Warsaw uprising. Warsaw, Poland, 1944

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Yosef Brcencry’s youngest daughter, who perished in Auschwitz in 1944

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Eva Heyman, aged 13, in Hungary a few months before she was murdered in a gas chamber, 1944

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This photograph was taken at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Alexander Vorontsov, a Soviet photographer who accompanied the soldiers of the Red Army when they liberated the camp on 27 January 1945.  The photograph depicts thirteen children, one of whom (fifth from the right) is hidden from view, and only his cap is visible.

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Two Children of the Mochida Family, with Their Parents, Awaiting Evacuation Bus

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A Jewish boy who survived a gunfire mass execution.

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Irish doctor Robert Collis carrying child Holocaust survivor Zoltan Zinn-Collis, Bergen-Belsen 1945. After the war, Dr. Collis adopted 5 orphans from Belsen, including Zoltan and his sister.

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Dani Deutsch. Dani was deported to Auschwitz Death camp then sadly murdered on March 1943 at age 2

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A  Russian boy makes a swing from a broken German gun.

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Children in Liverpool playing while wearing gas masks and protective clothing. This picture was taken during the time known as the Blitz

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The murder of the toddler James Bulger

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This is probably one of the most disturbing murder cases in history. The fact that the victim was a toddler is awful enough but knowing  that two 10-year-old’s, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson from England, who killed and mutilated the body of the 2-year-old James Bulger, makes it nearly unfathomable.Even more disturbing is that the killers have been released from jail with new identities.

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The fact that the suspects were so young came as a shock to investigating officers, headed by Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby, of Merseyside Police. Early press reports and police statements had referred to Bulger being seen with “two youths” (suggesting that the killers were teenagers), the ages of the boys being difficult to ascertain from the images captured by CCTV.

Forensic tests confirmed that both boys had the same blue paint on their clothing as found on Bulger’s body. Both had blood on their shoes; the blood on Thompson’s shoe was matched to Bulger’s through DNA tests. A pattern of bruising on Bulger’s right cheek matched the features of the upper part of a shoe worn by Thompson; a paint mark in the toecap of one of Venables’s shoes indicated he must have used “some force” when he kicked Bulger.

The boys were each charged with the murder of James Bulger on 20 February 1993,[7] and appeared at South Sefton Youth Court on 22 February 1993, when they were remanded in custody to await trial. In the aftermath of their arrest, and throughout the media accounts of their trial, the boys were referred to as ‘Child A’ (Thompson) and ‘Child B’ (Venables).While awaiting trial, they were held in the secure units where they would eventually be sentenced to be detained indefinitely.

On that fateful day, the troubled boys were skipping school and wandering around a busy mall, stealing sweets, batteries and a bucket of paint – items that were later to be found at the murder scene. Casually observing children, they were looking for a child to abduct. The plan was to lead the victim to a busy road and push him into the path of oncoming traffic.

On February the 12th, 1993. James was out shopping with his mother in the New Strand Shopping Centre near Kirkby, England.

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His mother Denise was briefly distracted inside a butcher’s shop on the lower floor of the center. A minute later she realized her son had disappeared. James had been wandering by the open door of the shop when Thompson and Venables caught his attention and lured him out of the mall at 3:42 pm.

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Denise panicked and headed to the mall’s security office. She described her son’s appearance and what was he wearing: a blue jacket and grey sweat suit, a blue scarf with a white cat on it and a t-shirt with the word ‘Noddy’ on it. For security, it was a routine day. They often had to announce the description of a lost child over the loudspeaker so that parents could reunite with their child at the information centre. But what started off as a lost child in the mall, turned out to be one of the most prolific missing child cases in the history of the UK.

At 4:15 pm, the local Police Station was notified.

Sometimes he ran ahead, other times he fell behind. The boys were walking around aimlessly until they reached a nearby canal and proceeded to go under a bridge to an isolated area. There, they dropped James on his head. Venables and Thompson ran away, leaving the toddler crying. A lady saw James sobbing and assumed he was just playing with the local kids.

In his utter innocence, bruised and crying, James followed the boys once again. Several witnesses saw them and later described a boy crying and older boys kicking him. No one intervened, thinking that older brothers were just fooling around and watching over their younger sibling..

At approximately 5:30 pm, after more than a two-mile hike, Venables and Thompson decided to go to the railway tracks to finish the business. Between 5:45p m and 6:30 pm, James was brutally murdered.

The assault began with the boys pouring the stolen paint from the mall into James’ eyes. They pulled off his pants and underwear, mutilated his foreskin and inserted batteries into his anus. They kicked, threw stones and eventually smashed his skull with an iron bar. When they believed James was dead, they laid his body on the tracks, covering his bleeding head with bricks and rubbish, making it look like an accident.

They left just before the train came. The forensic pathologist of the case, Dr. Alan Williams, stated that James suffered so many injuries – 42 in total – that he was not able to confirm any one of them as the fatal blow, beyond the fact that he had died before the train cut his body in half.

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Police got a hold of the CCTV footage of James’ abduction. The disappearance made the evening news and calls immediately poured in. Two days later, the severed body was found lying on the tracks. When the circumstances became public, the crime scene was flooded with hundreds of bouquets of flowers. The tabloids denounced the people who had seen the abduction but had not intervened to aid him.

Three days later, a breakthrough came when a woman recognised Venables on the released low-resolution photo from the CCTV footage. The tip-off led to an arrest and the boys were taken to separate police stations where they gave a total of 20 interviews over three days.

The boys confessed and were found guilty on the 24th of November, 1993, and received the sentence that would keep them behind bars for at least until they reached the age of 25. This decision made Venables and Thompson the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history and the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century.

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In 1999, lawyers for Thompson and Venables appealed to the European Court of Human Rights that the boys’ trial had not been impartial, since they were too young to follow proceedings and understand an adult court. The European court dismissed their claim that the trial was inhuman and degrading treatment, but upheld their claim they were denied a fair hearing by the nature of the court proceedings. The European Court also held that Michael Howard’s intervention had led to a “highly charged atmosphere”, which resulted in an unfair judgment.On 15 March 1999, the court in Strasbourg ruled by 14 votes to five that there had been a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the fairness of the trial of Thompson and Venables, stating: “The public trial process in an adult court must be regarded in the case of an 11-year-old child as a severely intimidating procedure”.

In September 1999, Bulger’s parents applied to the European Court of Human Rights, but failed to persuade the court that a victim of a crime has the right to be involved in determining the sentence of the perpetrator.

The European court case led to the new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, reviewing the minimum sentence. In October 2000, he recommended the tariff be reduced from ten to eight years, adding that young offender institutions were a “corrosive atmosphere” for the juveniles.

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In June 2001, after a six-month review, the parole board ruled the boys were no longer a threat to public safety and could be released as their minimum tariff had expired in February of that year. The Home Secretary David Blunkett approved the decision, and they were released a few weeks later on lifelong licence after serving eight years.

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Both men “were given new identities and moved to secret locations under a “witness protection”-style programme.”  This was supported by the fabrication of passports, national insurance numbers, qualification certificates and medical records. Blunkett added his own conditions to their licence and insisted on being sent daily updates on the men’s actions.

The terms of their release include the following: they are not allowed to contact each other or Bulger’s family; they are prohibited from visiting the Merseyside region;curfews may be imposed on them and they must report to probation officers. If they breach these rules or are deemed a risk to the public, they can be returned to prison.

An injunction was imposed on the media after the trial, preventing the publication of details about the boys. The worldwide injunction was kept in force following their release on parole, so their new identities and locations could not be published.

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Blunkett stated in 2001: “The injunction was granted because there was a real and strong possibility that their lives would be at risk if their identities became known.

In the months after the trial, and the birth of their second son, the marriage of Bulger’s parents, Ralph and Denise, broke down; they divorced in 1995. Denise married Stuart Fergus and they have two sons together. Ralph also remarried and has three daughters by his second wife.

On 2 March 2010, the Ministry of Justice revealed that Jon Venables had been returned to prison for an unspecified violation of the terms of his licence of release. The Justice Secretary Jack Straw stated that Venables had been returned to prison because of “extremely serious allegations”, and stated that he was “unable to give further details of the reasons for Jon Venables’s return to custody, because it was not in the public interest to do so.”On 7 March, Venables was returned to prison on suspected child pornography charges.

In November 2011, it was reported that officials had decided that Venables would stay in prison for the foreseeable future, as he would be likely to reveal his true identity if released. A Ministry of Justice spokesman declined to comment on the reports. On 4 July 2013, it was reported that the Parole Board for England and Wales had approved the release of Venables.

On 3 September 2013, it was reported that Venables had been released from prison

 

The Children of WWII- Part 2

“A child is born with no state of mind,blind to the ways of mankind”

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During WWII,as in any other war, all the children were victims,without exception.Of course the degree and severity on how they were victims had a significant difference. Some lost their lives,while others lost their innocence. Many of those who lost their innocence had to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, for they had been forced to do things no child should ever have to do.

The only ‘crime they committed was being born at the wrong time,in the wrong place and sometimes to the wrong parents.

Below are pictures of some the Children of WWII, some of these images may be distressing but I feel it is important to show them.

These children are eating carrots on sticks, instead of ice

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Children from east London hold up pieces of anti-aircraft shell fragments they have collected

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A young child leaning next to her dead Mother in a camp for civilians somewhere in the Soviet Union.

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Adolescent German prisoners of war – almost children – in an American prison camp shortly after the end of World War II.

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Children being evacuated by train out of Berlin, Germany.

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Two young brothers, seated for a family photograph in the Kovno ghetto. One month later, they were deported to the Majdanek camp.

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A photograph of orphaned children within the Lodz ghetto

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Lodz, Poland, 1941, Nachman Zonabend distributing sweets to children at Hanukkah

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Ravensbrück, Germany

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Family members say goodbye to a child through a fence at the ghetto’s central prison where children, the sick, and the elderly were held before deportation .

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Children practising first aid, with dolls. They are playing in a bomb-damaged house during the Blitz

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The child soldiers

Jewish babies

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Nursery school children at play wearing their gas masks.

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