Painting for Mengele.

Painting

When you look at some bizarre connections in History, you cannot escape the fact that life sometimes has a ironic way of weaving a tapestry of coincidences.

One of Hitler’s favourite movies was the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” released in 1937.

Disney

One of the main animators of the movie was Art Babbitt. an animator who joined the Disney studio in 1932. He  was born to a Jewish family in Omaha, Nebraska.

But that’s not where this tapestry of coincidences,or even fate, stops.

Dina Gottliebová was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on January 21, 1923 .She was raised by her Mother, Johanna Schawl, a lone parent . Her mother had left Dina’s father when she was only 4 months old.

When Snow white and the Seven dwarfs was released, Dina must have seen the movie at least 7 times.

In 1939, when the Germans invaded her homeland, Dina was living in Prague, where she had enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1942  Dina’s mother received a summons that the Jews were being moved. Dina  left school and volunteered to be shipped out with her mother to , Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia.

Thersien

She was actually sent to Theresienstadt on Jan. 21, 1942, her 19th birthday. Dina and her mother stayed there until Sept. 7, 1943 when they were among 5,000 people transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

In 1944, while in Auschwitz, Dina was chosen by Mengele to draw portraits of Roma Gypsy prisoners .Mengele wished to capture the Roma’s skin coloration better than he could with camera and film at that time. Dina agreed if her own mother’s life were spared as well,Mengele agreed.

One of the people she painted was called Celine. Dina says of painting her muse back in 1944.

“She was very sad and I said, ‘Are you sick?’”  “Celine  said, ‘My baby just died.’ It was a 2-month-old baby and she couldn’t get anything to feed the baby and didn’t have any milk. And Celine couldn’t eat anything. We had black bread with something in it—too much bran or something that made people sick—and I said, ‘Well, can I help with something?’ She said, ‘You can get some white bread.’”

Dina asked Mengele for some white bread. He delivered and Dina sneaked it to Celine, but unfortunately Celine did not survive the death camp. (I believe the portrait below is of Celine but I could not verify it, But it is definitely one of Dina’s paintings)

celine portarit

Both Dina and her Mother survived the Holocaust.Dina moved to the US after the war.

However this is not where this tapestry of life stops. There was to be one more twist to Dina’s life. On April 27,1949, Dina married Art Babbitt. The man who was the main animator of the movie she had watched so many times.

Their marriage didn’t last though. They got divorced in 1963. Dina died aged 86 on July 29,2009, in Santa Cruz California

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Sources

Goodtimes.sc

The Jewish News of Northern California

IMDb.

 

 

 

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The Librarian of Auschwitz

Auschwitz

I started reading ‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ I got the book as a birthday present a few days ago. It is based on the story of Dita Kraus, it is partially fictional and historical.

However this blog will not be a book review nor will it be about Dita herself. The blog will be about Fredy Hirsch, one of the main people mentioned in the book.

I don’t think that people appreciate the remarkable bravery of this man. It is also one of the stories I really should have known but didn’t. Fredy was born in Aachen ,Germany which is a city not far away from where I was born and grew up, it was also a place which I visited several times a month.

To illustrate how close Aachen was to me hometwon of Geleen, in the Netherlands. In October 5th.1942 the RAF bombed Geleen, believing it to be Aachen.

But like so may other I had never heard of Fredy Hirsch. He was a revered, openly gay Jewish youth leader who brightened the lives of kids at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz and saved many from death.

Fredy

He was  the deputy supervisor of children at Theresienstadt and the supervisor of the children’s block known as Block 31  at the Theresienstadt family camp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

Due to the fact he was charismatic and German he was able to convince the SS guards to grant the children some privileges and persuaded them to allocate Block 31, for children younger than fourteen.

I will not go too much in the details of block 31 but will focus on what Fredy and others actually achieved here/ Fredy had convinced the Nazis that it would be beneficial for the children to learn German, this request was granted, But Fredy recruited others  who had been involved in education basically turned the block into a school. Knowing that education was forbidden, they also realized that it cost them their lives if it was ever discovered.

They used just the handful of books they had to educate the children. Again even the fact that they had books was punishable by death, and to make it even more dangerous for them some of the books had been from authors who were banned by the Nazi regime, Authors like H.G Wells.

Wells’s   works were banned from libraries and book stores. Wells, as president of PEN International (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), angered the Nazis by overseeing the expulsion of the German PEN club from the international body in 1934 following the German PEN’s refusal to admit non-Aryan writers to its membership. At a PEN conference in Ragusa, Wells refused to yield to Nazi sympathisers who demanded that the exiled author Ernst Toller be prevented from speaking. Even Germans caught possessing any of Well’s books could face harsh punishments.

Yet this did not deter Fredy and his fellow teachers to use Wells’s book “A Short History of the World ” as one of their educational tools.

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Fredy Hirsch died on March 8, 1944 and the circumstances are unclear, some say he committed suicide, others say he was poisoned. Fredy had been told that day about the preparations for the liquidation of the family camp and to urge him to lead an uprising.

But just let this sink in for a minute a Gay Jewish man educating children by using banned books in Auschwitz. The bravery of this is just beyond anything I can imagine.

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Sources

The Librarian of Auschwitz

USHMM

 

The Murder of a perfect child

Bernhard Leo

Dear little boy , you are perfect in every aspect . Even your imperfect hair is perfect.

Imperfect and perfect in one sentence is a paradox.

A paradox is what you are because you were hated event though all you gave was love.

It is said that the eyes are the portals to the soul and in your eyes I see perfect love.

Dear little boy your are perfect in every way because there are no imperfect 2 year old’s.

Jacob Loisstraat 12 a, Rotterdam a random address but to you it was the perfect place for it was your home.

Alas your home was not the safe place that every child deserves. Nit because you had a bad family.

No, they loved you for nearly 800 days and each day was perfect because you were in it.

Your home wasn’t safe for one reason only, hate.

Hate by those who didn’t even know you

Hate by those who children of 800 days themselves, so they should know you were perfect.

But their hate made them blind

Dear little boy your are perfect, you were Bernard Leo Laden age 2. Murdered by hate in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Dear little boy your are perfect, to me you shall always be perfect, may you rest in perfect peace.

 

Source

Joods Mounument

 

 

 

 

I wish I could put myself in your shoes! But I can’t.

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I wish I could myself in your shoes and understand what you went through, but I can’t.

I could never understand the pain you suffered or the hate you encountered.Nor could I imagine the anxiety you must have had.

I wish I could myself in your shoes or see the world through your eyes, ut I can’t.

I am not able to comprehend the evil that you have seen. Nor can I fathom the desperation you must have felt.

I wish I could put myself in your shoes and feel what you felt, but I can’t.

I a, mot a child like you were, I am an adult I don’t experience life like you did. Nor was my innocence ever betrayed.

I wish I could put myself in your shoes for our family names are nearly the same, only 2 letters of a difference.

You were Wolf Klein aged 6 when you were murdered by an evil ideology in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

 

Aerial evidence of Auschwitz

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The existence of concentration and extermination camps were well known before they were liberated. The reason why it was not acted upon is not clear to me. I have heard the theory that it was more important to win the war then to liberate the camps, for defeat of Nazi Germany would ultimately safe the victims. In a way I can understand the idea behind it but I don’t really agree with it. But then again I didn’t live in those times and I didn’t have to make those decisions.

On April 4 1944 an Allied de Havilland Mosquito surveillance aircraft of 60 Squadron SAAF photographed Auschwitz concentration camp.

The selection process of a recently arrived transport visible on the ramp has been completed, and those selected to die are being taken to Crematorium II. Photo released by the Central Intelligence Agency, 1979.

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From the CIA files

“On the photography of 4 April 1944, a small vehicle was identified in a specially secured annex adjacent to the Main Camp gas chamber. Eyewitness accounts describe how prisoners arriving in Auschwitz-Birkenau, not knowing they were destined for extermination, were comforted by the presence of a “Red Cross ambulance.” In reality, the SS used that vehicle to transport the deadly Zyklon-B crystals. Could this be that notorious vehicle?”

“The mission of 4 April 1944 produced very little photographic coverage of the I. G. Farben complex. It was not until the 26 June 1944 mission (Photos 1 & 1A) that an overall view of the complex, both as to extent and purpose, could be interpreted”

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Sources

CIA

 

I am Kira Zylberszac

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I am Kira Zylberszac or perhaps I should say I was Kira Zylberszac. My age is 7 years old

I died on August 19 1942 together with my younger brother Serge, We did not die because we were sick or someway a threat to the world. We died because of  an ideology.

You see we were Jewish and considered undesirable, we were less then animals. Well we must have been because the same people who send us to Auschwitz to die, they passed laws.

In 1933 the Nazis passed laws regulating the slaughter of animals. Hermann Goering announced an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and it was said that anyone who treated animals as inanimate property would be sent to a concentration camp.

Among other things, the law forbade any unnecessary harm to animals, banned the inhumane treatment of animals in the production of movies, and outlawed the use of dogs in hunting. Cutting the tails and ears of dogs without anesthesia was also banned, and livestock were supposed to be killed humanely. Strangely, the Nazis were particularly concerned with the suffering of lobsters in restaurants. In 1936, a special law was passed regarding the correct way of dispatching lobsters and crabs and thus mitigating their painful deaths.

But these laws did not apply to me and my brother.

Holocaust Remembered

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On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.

UN Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide.

“We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands”

Some of the pictures below are graphic and may be disturbing. But please do keep in mind disturbing as they may be, they are still fairly sanitized there are other images even more disturbing.

In 1948 ,a girl who grew up in a concentration camp was asked to draw “home” and what she drew was scribbles. It shows how the horrors of the concentration camp warped her mind. It’s a mystery what the lines truly mean to her, probably the chaos or the barbed wire.

A girl who grew up in a concentration camp draws a picture of home while living in a residence for disturbed children, 1948

Transport

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SS prison guards forced to load victims of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp into trucks for burial, 1945

SS prison guards forced to load victims of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp into a trucks for burial, 1945

Evil words

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Photos of Jewish children in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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Prisoners were stripped of all their possessions when they arrived at the camps. In an area of the camp called Canada people\’s personal belongings were processed, stored and then redistributed to Germans.

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Glasses collected from people murdered in the gas chambers.

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Jews being transported to the Camps

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A long-buried documentary, co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by Sidney Bernstein, provides unequivocal proof of the Holocaust’s horrors.

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SS guards humiliating Orthodox Jewish man

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German soldier shooting a woman with a child in her arms, Ivanograd, 1942.

EXECUTIONS OF KIEV JEWS BY GERMAN ARMY MOBILE KILLING UNITS, 1942

A group of holocaust victims that are often forgotten are the Roma

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Lithuanian nationalists clubbing Jewish Lithuanians to death. Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, June 27, 1941.

The Kovno Garage Massacre - Lithuanian nationalists clubbing Jewish Lithuanians to death, 1941 (1)

The liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army.

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I often hear people say “Leave the past in the past” but if we do that we repeat the mistakes, some of the mistakes have already been repeated.

NEVER FORGET.

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This is

This is Margot Jany  she was 8 years old when she was  murdered at Auschwitz-Birenkau on March 8, 1943.

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This is Ernest Frydman age 9 from Paris, France was  deported and murdered in Auschwitz on August 1942.

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This is Joseph and Mina Kiszelewski  murdered in the gas chamber on August 26, 1942 at age 9 and 6 years.

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This is Bernard Gutman age 8 from Paris, France was arrested then deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1942.

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This Leia Aingorun murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. Age 7

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This is Rudolf Höss one of the evil ones responsible for their deaths.

SS-Sturmbannführer_Rudolf_Höß

This is his appointment his permit to kill.

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This is my pledge NEVER FORGET how evil men can be, how innocence sometimes is seen as a threat.

 

Kanada a little bit of ‘heaven’ in Hell

RetrieveAsset

The possessions and precious belongings of the Jews transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau were left in the train carriages and on the ramp as their owners were quickly put through the selection process.

When the selection process was complete, a work group of prisoners called the ‘Kanada Kommando’ collected the belongings of victims and took them to the ‘Kanada’ warehouse facility for sorting and transporting back to Germany.

To prisoners Canada was a country that symbolised wealth. They, therefore, gave the ironic name Kanada (the German spelling of Canada) to the warehouse area as it was full of possessions, clothing and jewellery.

The prisoners working in the Kanada Kommando lived in barracks. The barracks were inside the warehouse, away from the rest of the prisoners in the camp. They were in a better position than the other inmates.

They could take extra food on which to survive, a pair of shoes or extra clothing to protect themselves from the severe winter weather. Some smuggled valuables to bribe the kapos or guards. If they were caught, they were killed.

Even with the dangers it must have felt as a little bit of ‘heaven’ to have a bit of reprieve of the horrors they witnessed on a daily basis in the main camps.

But of course that bit of heaven really was a slightly better version of hell.

Women prisoners of Kanadakommando sorting through the belongings confiscated from Jewish victims at Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Male and female prisoners in the “Kanada” section, the arrival of the trucks

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Jewish property that has been left on the platform, to be taken by trucks to the “Kanada” section.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then €2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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It’s the beauty that killed the beast:The bravery of Franceska Mann.

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Franceska Mann   (February 4, 1917 – October 23, 1943)

Franciszka Mann was a young dancer residing in Warsaw before the Second World War. She studied dance in the dance school of Irena Prusicka. Her friends at that time included Wiera Gran and Stefania Grodzieńska. In 1939 she placed 4th during the international dance competition in Brussels among 125 other young ballet dancers.She was considered one of the most beautiful and promising dancers of her generation in Poland both in classical and modern repertoire.

 

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At the beginning of the Second World War she was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She was a prisoner of Warsaw Ghetto.

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After  Nazi Germany had invaded and occupied Poland she escaped the ghetto and went into hiding on the “Aryan” site of Warsaw.
In spring 1943 the Germans declaired that all Polish Jews, who possessed visas of the neutral South American counties would be sent there.
Ms. Mann obtained (or forged) one of those visas and then sought refuge in “Hotel Polski”, transformed by the Nazis into the transit camp.

However, the allegedly neutral South American states that admitted numerous Nazi War criminals after 1945 did not lift a finger to rescue their victims, who were deported from “Hotel Polski” first to Bergen-Belsen and then (on October 23, 1943) to Auschwitz.
After the train arrived at the death camp the Jews were told that they were to be “disinfected” before crossing the Swiss border. While some began to comply with the SS orders to undress and enter the gas chamber, others hesitated, unwilling to take off clothes which contained their precious travel documents. As they delayed, the SS assumed more menacing stances, threatening the Jews with guns and finally beating them mercilessly with sticks.
Franceska Mann was a girl of striking beauty and had not lost it completely despite all suffering.

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Thus she attracted the attention of the SS man Schillinger, who ogled her as she undressed.
Suddenly she threw an article of clothing at Schillinger, hitting him in the head. As he opened his holster, Franceska Mann grabbed his pistol and shot twice mortally wounding him; the third shot wounded a second SS man, Emmerich, who later recovered, but was disabled.
Inspired by her courage the fellow prisoners attacked the SS guards and severely injured two of them, but could not do anything against the machine guns and were within minutes shot or driven into the gas chamber.

Franceska_Mann

 

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