Where’s the baby? Oh, just playing outside. In the cage!

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City apartments, as many people know, can be small and stuffy. And while fresh air is a wonderful, healthful thing for people of all ages, in the late 19th century, the idea of actively “airing” your baby to promote health started cropping up in parenting books.

The concept was introduced by Dr. Luther Emmett Holt who wrote about “airing” in his 1894 book The Care and Feeding of Children.

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A similar idaemakes an appearance in Louis Fischer’s 1920 book The Health-Care of the Baby, which describes “a convenient outdoor sleeping compartment readily attached to any window,” called the Boggins’ Window Crib. The wire device, 36″ x 24″ x 27″, is described as being “admirably adapted for city apartments,” with an insulated roof that will keep the baby cool enough to build up a cold-weather tolerance even in summer.

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In the 1930s baby cages were touted as the ‘it’ parenting product in Britain, with mothers everywhere dangling their tots out of windows and inside hutch-like contraptions so that their bundles of joy could be ‘aired’ and enjoy the fresh, outdoor air – without crawling away.

Just imagine walking through your town and seeing a baby dangling out of window these days.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the cages were out of fashion by the 1940s – and there hasn’t been resurgence since.

Babies would be placed in cages out of windows so that they could get ‘fresh air’

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Built in 1937 and distributed in London to members of the Chelsea Baby Club, the baby cage was meant for women with children but without a backyard, garden or terrace for them to play in or on.

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Thank got we don’t treat our children like animals anymore.

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Why them?

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I find it very hard to fathom any of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, but the one thing that gets to me most is the murder of children.

They did not pose any threat or any kind of danger, neither did their parents, but the children had no option to defend themselves.

They weren’t even led like lambs to the slaughter, because at least there is a purpose to slaughtered lambs. These children were killed because of some warped ideology that did not see them as human beings and often not even as animals.

In this blog are some pictures of children, no names, just the images of children.No graphic pictures. Their innocence will tell the story.

Followed by a poem I wrote to remember them.

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Little child, you are someone’s treasure, a product of love.

You are born like any other child, no burden nor danger are you.

And yet, they fear you and want to eradicate you as if you did not exist.

Why do you anger them and what makes them hate you so much?

 

Your eyes are sparkling like diamonds or bright stars above.

A pure miracle created by two people who are now in awe of you.

But alas that is not enough for you to be granted a long fulfilling life.

For there are those who do not see that purity, to them you’re less than a thing.

 

It is not your fault nor is it your parents mistake.

You are perfect but the world you’re born into isn’t

Little child you are someone’s treasure, a product of love.

But that just isn’t enough.

The Children of WWII-Part 6

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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.

They did not start the war, nor did they ask for it but yet it affected them more then anyone else,because they would have to live with the aftermath.

Two children make their way into a bomb shelter in London. The boy is carrying a box with a gas mask inside.

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Children sit in front of a bomb shelter and try on new shoes donated by an American charity. London. 1941.

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First graders of Japanese Americans at a public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the flag before evacuations to internment camps are ordered..

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A Polish woman and her grandchildren in a Red Cross camp in Tehran,1941-1942.

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Children search for their books amid the ruins of their school.
Coventry. April 10, 1941.

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A young boy selling a handful of sweets from a chair in the street, in the Warsaw ghetto 1941.

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Children waiting to be fed during the Dutch famine(hunger winter) of 1944–1945.

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Children play on the bomb sites and wrecked tanks in Berlin in the aftermath of the fighting there. 1945.

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A group of child survivors stand behind a barbed wire fence at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland on the day of the camp’s liberation by the Red Army. January 27, 1945.

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A young refugee hangs onto his dog’s leash whilst awaiting wartime evacuation. Location unspecified. 1940.

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The Children of WWII -part 5

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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 three young evacuees sit on their suitcases ready for their journey away from the danger of the city. England. 1940.

An elderly woman and several children walk to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poland. 1944.

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A horde of children wearing gas masks carry out a practice evacuation of a school in Kingston, Greater London, after a canister of tear gas was discharged. 1941.

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Jewish children, survivors of Auschwitz, stand with a nurse behind a barbed wire fence. Poland. February 1945.

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Two little girls read a board advertising carrots instead of ice pops. Wartime shortages of chocolate and ice cream made such substitutions a necessity. Location unspecified. 1941.

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A group of London children inspect bomb damage outside their front door. 1944.

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American Supply Sergeant Ralph Gordon kneels in a street to give a piece of gum to a barefoot German girl during the Allied occupation after the war. Scheinfeld, Germany. October 1945.

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A young “Sergeant Major” inspects some British schoolboys who have been evacuated to Kent at the start of the war. The “soldiers” are carrying carry wooden guns. 1939.

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Pre-school children on the way to their barrack homes from morning class at a Japanese-American intern camp.

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London children wear their gas masks as they skip in the park at their temporary homes on the south coast of England. 1940.

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A young child named Freddie Somer cries upon arriving at King’s Cross Station in London for wartime relocation. 1939.

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Mothers and their children step out of the train at Auschwitz concentration camp. Poland.

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

 

figure-1Don’t worry I haven’t suddenly become a Hip Hop artist. although the title of this blog does come from a classic Hip Ho[ track. called “the Message” by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, but it is a powerful line and oh so true.

Children don’t see the color of a skin or a religious background. All they will see is will they play with me or not.

Below are some more examples where the children put us adults to shame. Isn’t it ironic that the children are teaching us?

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A photo of a Jewish and a ‘Palestinian’ boy overlooking Jerusalem and embracing each

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A KKK child and a black State Trooper meet each other, 1992

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The Ku Klux Klan was holding a rally in the northeast Georgia community of Gainesville, where the white supremacist group hoped to breathe some life into its flagging revival campaign of the late 1980s and earl 1990s. Assigned as a backup photographer for the local daily, The Gainesville Times, was Todd Robertson. At the Klan rally, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of action for Robertson to record. According to news reports from the day, there were 66 KKK representatives, encircled by three times as many law enforcement personnel. The downtown square was otherwise empty, with about 100 observers at the fringe, mostly there to demonstrate against the Klan.

The white supremacists were out-of-towners with no real local support in Gainesville. Many people who came to these Klan events were not from the city. While reporters and the staff photographer focused on the speakers at the rally and watched for potential signs of conflict, Robertson chose to follow a mother and her two young boys, dressed in white robes and the KKK’s iconic pointy hats.

One of the boys approached a black state trooper, who was holding his riot shield on the ground. Seeing his reflection, the boy reached for the shield, and Robertson snapped the photo. Almost immediately, the mother swooped in and took away the toddler, whom she identified to Robertson as “Josh”. The moment was fleeting, and almost no one noticed it, but Robertson had captured it on film. Since that moment the photograph has become an iconic image of American race relations and to the postulate “No one is born racist”

 

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

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.

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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.