The prayer book that survived Theresienstadt

I am probably the most a-technical person on the planet. Fixing things is just something I am not equipped to do, that’s why I admire people that can repair things. I love a show on the BBC called the Repair Shop. It is a British television show that aired on BBC Two for series 1 to 3 and on BBC One for series 4 onwards, in which family heirlooms are restored for their owners by numerous experts with a broad range of specialisms.

Last night they had Gary Fisher as a guest who brought in the prayer book he inherited from his grandparents Emanuel and Gisela Fisher.

They had been unable to leave Austria after it was annexed by Germany in 1938 and were eventually sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp. They had been able to put their son, Gary’s father Harry, on the Kindertransport to England. Though many of Gary’s family didn’t survive the camps, at the end of the war Emanuel and Gisela were liberated along with the book. Signed by many of the camp’s other residents, it’s an important record of the era and a treasured family possession.

The book was in some disrepair when it was first brought to Jay Blades and his team at The Repair Shop, with the pages falling apart and faded and torn in some places. Repair Shop’s book binder Chris Shaw was tasked with fixing the item, brought in by Gary Fisher.

“My grandparents, they were in a concentration camp and they never knew when their time was going to be up, but they had their religion, they had their faith and that must have been a real comfort to them to never give up,” said Gary.

In 1942, Emanuel and Gisela Fisher and other family members were taken to Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia . Gary Fisher explained that Theresienstadt was a “show” camp, often shown to foreigners as proof of fair treatment of Jewish people. Because of this, his grandparents were allowed to keep the prayer book with them rather than have it confiscated, as would have happened in other concentration camps.

But it was only a mile and a half up the road where people were murdered in a gas chamber, like there were in many other Nazi death camps. Mr. Fischer was clearly very emotional and his eyes filled as he described how his great-grandparents, his grandfather’s sister and a 10-year-old nephew were all murdered in the gas chamber. “My grandparents were very lucky,” he added.

Mr. Fisher wanted to get the book fixed so it could be shared in a proper place for others to see it too. While at the camp, Mr. Fischer’s grandfather wrote a poem and drew a picture of the Jewish star hidden behind a drawing of the camp. He read the poem to the experts at The Repair Shop, stopping halfway as emotion got to him.

Below is an extract of the poem read by Mr Fischer that his grandfather wrote in his treasured prayer book, translated into English:

” Do you know we were also there,

We stood together through summer and winter,

Bind our arms and legs together and ease the pain of sleepless hours,

And soon a new day will come when we will part from one another,

But you will be prepared for when we see each other again,

And on that day we will all be free from tyranny.”

Bookbinder Shaw got to work fixing the book. He was clearly nervous because it was such an important book, Shaw said it was the most important book he ever repaired. When the final reveal was made, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Mr Fischer said, ahead of the unveiling: “I feel like my grandparents are here with me.” Once the beautiful, renewed cover was revealed, Mr. Fischer broke down in tears. “Welcome back,” he said, adding, “It’s amazing – it’s just a complete work of art.”

Uniquely, the prayer book was signed by the other survivors who were liberated at the same time, with over fifty signatures immortalised in the book’s pages,including a German phrase from one prisoner: ” So it’s finally over.”

It is stories like this that indicate that the Holocaust is still near to so many people, and will be for years to come. It is still living history for many.

sources.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0017g52/the-repair-shop-series-10-episode-2

https://www.hellomagazine.com/film/20220519140673/the-repair-shop-viewers-sobbing-emotional-guest-fix/

https://www.geni.com/people/Emanuel-Fischer/6000000080814212826

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/bbc-repair-shop-viewers-applaud-23999510

Two sides of the Holocaust-Innocence and Evil.

May 16 is a date which links two events in relation to the Holocaust, even though they are 15 years apart.

Hana Bradyová was born on 16 May 1931 in Prague, the daughter of Markéta (née Dubsky) and Karel Bradyová. Her family lived in Nové Město na Moravě in the Vysočina Region of Czechoslovakia.

Most people will know Hana Bradyová as Hana Brady, her story was brought to light in the book “Hana’s Suitcase” by Karen Levine.

Hana was described as a happy, active and athletic little girl who was very close to her family. Hana was just eight years old when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. The family’s life became restricted, and they were forced to hand over their radio and other valuables to the Nazis. Their Christian friends stopped playing with Hana and her brother George(Jiří ) , because their parents feared they would be punished for playing with Jewish children. Hana and George remained close and supported one another during this time.

In March 1941, their mother, Marketa, was assigned to a Nazi transport and taken away. Soon after, they were forced to sew yellow star badges to their clothing along with all the other Czech Jews. When one man in town refused to comply, a Nazi officer was furious and ordered the arrests of all the other Jewish men in town. Hana and George’s father Karel was arrested and taken away a few days later, and the two children were left with the family’s housekeeper.

In 1942 Hana and George were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hana was assigned to the girls’ home in barrack L410.In 1944, Hana was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. While her brother survived by working as a laborer, Hana was sent to the gas chambers a few hours after her arrival on 23 October 1944, she was murdered aged 13. Her body was cremated with other victims in the ovens at the crematorium.

Bruno Tesch

15 years after Hana’s birth Bruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher were executed, on May 16,1946.

Karl Weinbacher worked at Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung, which translates as German Corporation for Pest Control) until 1924, and then at Tesch & Stabenow (Testa, for short), where he received the position of manager in 1927, and by 1943 was director and deputy executive under owner and chief executive officer Bruno Tesch. Testa manufactured and sold Zyklon B, which was used control in the gas chambers of Auschwitz to murder people, including Hana Brady. Weinbacher received royalties on sales of Zyklon B.

Bruno Emil Tesch (14 August 1890 – 16 May 1946) was a German chemist and entrepreneur. Together with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, he invented Zyklon B, He was the owner of Tesch & Stabenow (called Testa), a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, which was a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi concentration camps.

Below is the transcript of a statement at the trial of Bruno Tesch.

By

Dr. Bruno TESCH

Dr. Bruno TESCH, having been duly sworn, states:–

My name is Dr. Bruno TESCH, born on 14th August 1890, in Berlin, and living at HAMBURG-BLANKENESE, Wittspark 14.

In 1924 I founded, together with Mr. STABENOW, the firm of TESCH & STABENOW, which, since 1927, has been under the direction of the Deutsche Gasellschaft für Schaedlingsbekaempfung. Our firm had the sole right to supply Cyan-Gas in the form of Zyklon B to the country east of the ELBE. On the foundation of the firm I held thirty-three and a third percent of the shares; in 1927, some time before the alleged suicide of my colleague, STABENOW, I acquired another eleven and two-thirds percent, so that my share was forty-five percent. In 1942 I acquired the remaining fifty-five percent and was therefore sole proprietor of the firm.

In 1933 I joined the NSDAP and in the same year became a supporting member of the SS.

Since 1927 Mr WEINBACHER was the Prokurist of the firm. All incoming orders went through his hands, and in my absence, approximately two hundred days a year, he took over the managament [sic] of the firm. Dr. Joachimhans DROSIHN was the biological adviser of the firm. He, too, was travelling most of the time. Mr. ZAUN was the head book-keeper. Mr. SEHM was a book-keeper. He had no reason to wish me ill; on the contrary he should be thankful as I once helped him in a situation.

I kept no ‘black book’ in which I recorded the misdeeds of my employees. Neither did I keep a sealed envelope about Dr. DROSIHN.

I wrote very exact travel reports about my journeys, which on my return I divided evenly over my secretaries for typing. My private secretary was Miss RATOKE; but also Mrs. UENZELMANN and Miss BIAGINI and the others wrote my reports.

I was never told in BERLIN at a conference, or by any other source, that Zyklon B gas should be used against human beings. I mentioned this fact in none of my travel reports and I have never spread no[r] heard such a rumour in my office.

Except Zyklon gas, my firm also supplied circulation plant for gas chambers of 10 cbm size. Chambers of the capacity of more than 50 cbm are not known to me, and therefore I did not know that the SS was our best customer. I also know nothing of the huge deliveries which we made to AUSCHWITZ in the years 1942-43. Since 1943 all orders of state customers went through the Haupt-sanitaetspark, BERLIN. Our firm never supplied the Wirtschafts-Verwaltungs Hauptaert (WVHA) either directly or indirectly. My accounts books were checked by Dr. PLINKER and I only know the yearly and monthly general balance.

SUMMARY PRODUCTION No. 10

Of sales of ZYKLON B to Concentration Camps during 1942 and 1943, extracted from Exhibits HG and HH.

KZ Camp 1942 1943
DATE Kg RM DATE Kg RM
AUSCHWITZ 6 Feb 480.0 3,038.0 13 Jan 1,004.4 6026.0
9 Mar 516.0 3,266.0 19 Jan 1,026.0 6156.0
3 Jun 50 317.0 29 Jan 999.0 5,994.0
3 Aug 495.0 3,133.0 24 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
6 Aug 1,756.8 11,120.0 10 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
31 Aug 1,008.0 6,381.0 22 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
8 Sep 504.0 3,190.0 29 Mar 1,018.0 6,108.0
8 Oct 489.6 3,099.0 31 Jul 216.0 1,231.0
8 Oct 489.6 3,099.0 30 Apr 1,018.0 6,108.0
28 Oct 1,497.6 9,480.0 17 Aug 810.0 4,617.0
9 Dec 192.0 1,152.0 30 Aug 972.0 5,540.0
7,478.6 44,575.0 14 Sep 999.0 5,694.0
30 Nov 999.0 5,694.0
31 Dec 116.5 699.0
12,174.9 71,849.0
SACHSEN-HAUSEN 10 Feb 72.0 456.0 22 Jan 192.0 1,152.0
25 Mar 96.0 608.0 5 Feb 192.0 1,152.0
24 Apr 96.0 608.0 26 Feb 288.0 1,728.0
15 Jun 96.0 608.0 8 Mar 288.0 1,728.0
18 Jul 96.0 608.0 17 Feb 192.0 1,152.0
13 Aug 96.0 608.0 18 Mar 288.0 1,728.0
31 Aug 96.0 608.0 6 Apr 288.0 1,728.0
28 Sep 96.0 608.0 6 Jul 288.0 1,641.0
28 Oct 96.0 608.0 31 Aug 288.0 1,641.0
6 Nov 96.0 576.0 28 Sep 288.0 1,641.0
26 Nov 192.0 1,152.0 17 Dec 288.0 1,641.0
15 Dec 192.0 1,152.0 31 Dec 33.6 201.0
23 May 118.0 683.0 2913.6 17,133.0
1,438.0 8,883.0
NEUEN- GAMME 3 Mar 24.0 152.0 21 Jan 60.0 360.0
9 Jun 12.0 76.0 29 Jan 60.0 360.0
14 Aug 12.0 76.0 17 Feb 60.0 360.0
9 Sep 36.0 228.0 10 Mar 60.0 360.0
9 Nov 36.0 216.0 10 Jun 60.0 342.0
18 Dec 60.0 360.0 30 Aug 60.0 342.0
180.0 1,108.0 19 Oct 60.0 342.0
31 Dec 7.0 42.0
427.0 2,508.0
GROSS-ROSEN NIL 8 Jan 60.0 360.0
27 Feb 120.0 720.0
8 Jun 124.5 710.0
17 Sep 125.0 713.0
429.5 2503.0
LUBLIN nil 19 Jul 513.0 2,924.0
14 Sep 999.0 5,694.0
31 Dec 115.5 693.0
1,627.5 9,311.0
Signed A. ZAUN.
PRODUCTION No. 10

KZ Camp 1942 1943
DATE Kg RM DATE Kg RM
RAVENSBRUCK NIL 19 Apr 114.0 684.0
10 Jun 114.0 650.0
15 Sep 90.0 313.0
19 Oct 30.0 171.0
31 Dec 3.5 21.0
351.5 2039.0

(Signed) Alfred ZAUN

Hamburg, the 26th of October 1945

Sworn before me Capt. R.A. Nightingale Int. Corps of No. 2 War Crimes Investigation Team this twenty-eighth day of October 1945.

(Signed) R.A. Nightingale

Capt

sources

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/trial-bruno-tesch/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/inside-house-zyklon-b-180965184/

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Westerbork Hospital-Creating the illusion of normal life.

When Westerbork was built in 1939 as a refugee center for Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria, it also included a hospital.

The hospital grounds were originally known as Centraal Vluchtelingenkamp Westerbork, a camp for refugees arriving mainly from the neighboring country, Germany. It was those refugees themselves who in 1939 built Barrack No.12 and converted it into a hospital equipped with little more than tweezers and scissors.From May 1940 to July 1942, the camp stayed under Dutch administration. Under the Dutch, conditions were still reasonably good.

When the Nazis took it over in 1942 however things changed. Westerbork became a transit camp, an stop over as such, before the prisoners were deported to the extermination camps. But it was important for the Nazis to keep the illusion going that things were still fairly normal. Therefor the Hospital played an important role.

While the doctors and managers had their heads in the sand, the harsh reality finally hit home in October 1942. A tsunami of new patients, including their doctors and nurses, inundated the camp. Jewish hospitals and nursing homes had been emptied straight into Westerbork’s hospital. This flooded the hospital’s capacity, created shortages, chaos, and one disease outbreak after the other. Both patients and personnel who fell ill found it hard to recover. Chronic fatigue was endemic. Camp disease and relentless diarrhea were common. Tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, yellow fever, whooping cough, scarlet fever, and lice all reigned supreme. Quarantine measures became necessary, and provided one last reason to delay transport. Escape was now virtually impossible. Suicide attempts increased to around four a week, and though the medical staff again managed to save most, the psychiatric ward in Barrack No. 3 exploded.

The disturbing thing is that people who were too sick to travel to the death camps, first had to be nursed back to a reasonable level of health, in order to be send to the extermination camps.

No one was safe in Westerbork and it didn’t matter what age you were. Whether you were an infant, like the children in the picture above, or a 102 year old woman. You eventually would be send to your death.

The photo aboveshows Mrs. Klara Brush-Engelsman. She was born in Amsterdam on April 30, 1842 and was to be murdered in Theresienstadt(although some sources say Auschwitz)at the age of 102, on October 12, 1944.
The oldest Dutch victim of the Nazi terror

Of course, the question was then also why these elderly people had to be deported for the ‘Arbeitseinsatz’. Statements by Nazis that older women could still change diapers were, of course, inhumane.

sources

https://www.geni.com/people/Klara-Engelsman/6000000088276943915

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/228136/klara-borstel-engelsman#intro

https://hekint.org/2017/02/22/westerbork-hospital-a-blessing-in-disguise/

Ghetto Fighters’ House Talking Memory: The First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz 03.27.2022

Last Sunday I once again had the privilege to be invited and attended a presentation, organised by the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum, As before I was astounded how little I actually know about the Holocaust.

This the the recording of that presentation and the explanation about the event.

If the Wannsee Conference discussed plans to target young Jewish women as part of its Final Solution protocol that part of the minutes was destroyed. What we do know is that a few weeks after that meeting, Himmler ordered the creation of a women’s camp in Auschwitz. In preparation, he visited Ravensbruck to commandeer female German prisoners to oversee the young Jewish women about to be imprisoned in the new women’s camp in Poland. So began the official systematic annihilation of Jews, which attacked, first and foremost, unmarried Jewish girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 32. This little-known history of how young women were targeted in 1942, reminds us of the plight of young women today.

Heather Dune Macadam, author of the book 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz, spoke about her research for the book and the soon-to-be-released film 999. She revealed these young women’s poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women’s history.

This first official transport to Auschwitz from Slovakia in March, 1942 deported almost 1000 young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad. One of the women on this transport was Prof. Hanna Yablonka’s aunt, Lila Klein, from the nearby town of Levoča, in the Tatra Mountains. Another young woman from the same town was Yuci [Jozi] Foldi (her Slovak name was Julia Skodova). She was one of the few women who survived the transport. Skovada’s testimony, which she chronicles in her book, Three Years Without a Name: Auschwitz 1942-1945, is extraordinary because she was a witness to what Hanna Yablonka has described as the “archeology of Auschwitz” – the step-by-step the implementation of the Final Solution in this camp.

In her presentation, Yablonka discussed the preparations to publish Skodova’s book, the unique experience of Slovakian Jews in the history of the Final Solution, including her family’s personal story, and the tragic fate of Julia Skodova.

source

https://www.gfh.org.il/eng

Report on the Holocaust-December 1942.

Following is the transcript of the report from the World Jewish Congress on the annihilation of Jews in Europe which was issued on December 1,1942. I just want to make it clear that these are not my word. Bizarrely we live in a time where I feel compelled I have to mention this, because despite the fact they are the words of people who witnessed it and lived in that time, there are people now who will be offended by it because it is not political correct.

WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS December 1st, 1942.

(BRITISH SECTION).

————

ANNIHILATION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY.

HITLER’S POLICY OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

“The Jews of Europe are being exterminated by the Nazis. It is not merely that atrocities are being committed against the Jews. They are being quite literally slaughtered in masses, in pursuance of a systematic plan and in accordance with a deliberate policy.

This is Hitler’s ‘final solution of the Jewish problem of Europe’. He has openly proclaimed his design. He is now executing his policy with a diabolical fiendishness unknown in the whole history of human savagery.

2,000,000 is the barest minimum number of Jews murdered, tortured and deliberately starved to death in Eastern Europe. The number is probably much greater.

It is now clear that the mass deportation of Jews from France, Belgium, Holland and other Western European countries, has been for the purpose of concentrating all the Jews of Nazi occupied Europe chiefly in Poland for the purpose of facilitating their mass massacre.

On the 27th November 1942, it was stated at the Polish National Council in London that at the beginning of last September about 1 ½ million Jews have been murdered in an organised way. About half a million were deported to the U.S.S.R. in 1940, and of the rest of the peace-time Jewish population of Poland, several hundred thousand Jews have died of starvation, disease and frightful living conditions imposed by the Nazis.

Several hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in the Nazi occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. and in the Ukraine.

Almost the entire Jewish population of the Baltic States have been exterminated.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews of Roumania have been deported to Transdniestria and there massacred.

In addition, scores of thousands of German, French, Belgian, Dutch, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav Jews have been deported to Poland and the occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. for mass slaughter.

Many transports of Jewish deportees from Western Europe do not reach their destination. The victims, crammed into closed cattle-trucks, either die of suffocation or disease on the way or are done to death by their captors.

It is known that at the beginning of last August train-loads of Jewish deportees reached Germany from Belgium, Holland and France. The compartments were filled with dead and living Jews crowded together.

POLAND HAS BECOME THE NAZI SLAUGHTER-HOUSE FOR THE JEWS OF EUROPE:

Massacres of Jews have been going on from the first say of the German occupation. The holocaust took on a formal design, under an explicit policy, in March 1942. Himmler then gave orders for the extermination of 50% of the Jewish population of the so-called Government-General. The extermination was to be completed by the end of 1942.

Not satisfied with the speed and extent of the mass massacres, Himmler, in July last, decreed the total destruction of all the Jews concentrated in Poland.

It is from approximately this date that the large-scale deportations of Jews from Western Europe began. The massacres started on July 21st 1942, when German Police cars invaded the Ghettoes, shooting the inhabitants indiscriminately and at sight. On that date all the Jewish members of the Jewish Council of Warsaw were arrested on bloc as hostages.

On July 22nd 1942, the Nazis ordered the deportation to Eastern Poland and the Ukraine of all Jews irrespective of the age and sex. The daily quota of deportees was fixed at 6,000. Later this quota was increased to 10,000. Victims were dragged from their homes or seized in the streets in organised manhunts.

Jews were congregated in the squares. Old people and invalids were driven to cemeteries and shot in droves. Others were loaded into trucks, 150 persons being crowded into the space normally holding a maximum of 40. The trucks were then driven off. Hundreds died of suffocation.

This process is now going on continuously. The floors of the trucks are covered with a thick layer of lime and chlorine sprinkled with water. The doors are locked. Often the trains remain on a siding for a day or two or longer. The fumes of lime and chlorine, the lack of air, water and food, cause hundreds of deaths, with the result that dead and living remain packed side by side.

On arrival at their destination, 50% of the deportees were found dead. The remainder were taken to the special camps of Treblinka, Belzec and Selibor, where they were shot. Neither children nor babies were spared. By the end of September 1942, 250,000 Jews had been thus exterminated.

The deportations are described by the Nazis as “the re-settlement of the Jews”. The “re-settlement” is a final one in the sense that few, if any, of the “re-settled” Jews remain alive.

THE WARSAW GHETTO:

In March 1942, according to official German statistics, there were 433,000 Jews packed into the Ghetto – the area walled off by the Nazis which formerly contained about 200,000 Jews.

According to ‘Arbeitsamt’ – the official Nazi Labour journal – only 40,000 Jews are to be left in the Warsaw Ghetto. These are the highly-skilled workers who the Nazis require for their war industry.

For September 1942, the Nazis distributed 120,000 ration cards for the Warsaw Ghetto. In October, the number issued was only 40,000.

The same process of elimination and massacre is going on in all the other Ghettoes of Poland. The reports state that the Ghetto of Lodz which formerly contained about 250,000 Jews has been entirely cleared of Jews.

NAZI METHODS OF EXTERMINATION:

Besides the Firing Squads, the Nazis are now facilitating mass executions by the use of electrocution and lethal gas chambers in which Jews are crowded and ‘eliminated’.

An electrocution station has been installed at the Belzec Camp. Transports of deportees are de-trained near the execution place, sheds with a metal plated floor. The sheds are then locked and an electrical current passed through the metal plates. Death is almost instantaneous.

A large digging machine for mass graves has been recently installed at Treblinka.

In Chelm, 10,000 Jews have been gassed recently.

The Germans have organised special Extermination Squads – Vernichtungskolonne – whose task is to round up and kill Jews on sight. The Squads fire indiscriminately into windows of Jewish houses.

The above summary takes no account of suicides, the insanities of mothers whose children are seized or murdered, and the innumerable outrages and atrocities resulting in the deaths of many thousands of Jewish men and women.

source

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/annihilation/

Miloš Forman’s extraordinary life..

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Amadeus, Goya’s Ghosts; Man on he Moon, these are some of my favourite movies. They were all directed by Miloš Forman. For two of them he received an academy award aka Oscar. That on its own is extraordinary, but it is nothing compared to Miloš’s story of his young life.

Miloš was born on February 18, 1932 in Čáslav, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) to Anna Švábová Forman who ran a summer hotel. Miloš grew up believing his biological father was professor Rudolf Forman. During the Nazi occupation, Rudolf Forman, a protestant teacher and activist, was arrested for distributing banned books. He died in the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in May 1944, either from typhus or during interrogation. Miloš’s mother had been murdered in Auschwitz in March the previous year, he had been witness to her arrest by the Gestapo. Forman said that he did not fully understand what had happened to them until he saw footage of the concentration camps when he was 16.

Miloš’ was raised by two uncles and by family friends after the murder of his parents . His older brother Pavel was a painter 12 years his senior and he emigrated to Australia after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Miloš discovered in 1964 that his biological father was in fact the Jewish architect Otto Kohn, who had emigrated with his family to Equador after the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. This meant Miloš had a half-brother, the mathematician Joseph J. Kohn.

Miloš died on April 19,2018 aged 86.However if the Nazis had found out his biological Father was Jewish, he more then likely not have survived the Holocaust.

I am not sure if the story of that part of Miloš ‘s life has ever been turned into a movie, it would make a fascinating film.

sources

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001232/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

https://www.timesofisrael.com/milos-forman-from-orphan-of-nazi-camps-to-oscar-winning-director/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Milo-Forman

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/apr/15/milos-forman-obituary

Donation

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The shoe of a boy-The story of murder.

I always found it hard to understand why the Nazis kept the shoes of those they murdered. Of all clothing items, shoes are the most personal. Even today you don’t go to a shoe shop and just pick a pair of the shelves. You sit down and you fit them first to see if they fit and if they are comfortable.

It baffles me therefore that the shoes were kept, they had no real value, they could not really be sold to others. Then why keep them? Of course the whole Nazi ideology made no sense.

In July 2020 staff in Auschwitz could match a shoe to the name of a 6 year old victim, Amos Steinberg,

Experts at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial found a pair of children’s shoes with a handwritten inscription detailing the child’s name, their mode of transport to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and their registration number.

But Amos was not just the owner of a pair of shoes. He was a human being, a young child with a future cut short.

Amos Steinberg was born in Prague on June 26, 1938. On August 10, 1942, Amos, his father Ludwig aka Ludvik , and his mother Ida were first imprisoned in Theresienstadt, and then deported from Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz. Amos was deported to Auschwitz along with his mother in the same transport on 4 October 1944, where they were most likely murdered in the Gas chambers when they arrived.

Researchers believe that Ida Steinberg put the note inside her six-year-old’s shoe to show to whom it belonged.

Those shoes should never have been taken off little Amos. He should have lived a full live, Kicking a ball with those same shoes, maybe even breaking a neighbour’s window because he accidentally kicked the ball through it.

Amos was one of the 1.5 million children murdered. 1.5 million, potential artists, athletes, , fathers, mothers, footballers, painters, electricians ,plumbers. The Nazis did not only murder these kids but also their future and the potential history we could have had.

Amos’s Father, Ludwig, was put on another transport, From Auschwitz to Dachau on October 10,1944. He survived the war. He was liberated from the Kaufering sub-camp. He emigrated to Israel in May 1949. He became a teacher and principal of several schools in Israel. He was highly valued and liked by his pupils and teachers who worked with him. He still loved music and worked as a cantor in several synagogues. He also conducted choirs. He passed away in 1985.

sources

https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/identity-of-child-murdered-in-auschwitz-found-scrawled-inside-old-shoe-14295

http://auschwitz.org/en/museum/news/little-shoe-and-suitcase-the-story-of-amos-steinberg-continues-,1446.html

https://www.timesofisrael.com/note-in-murdered-boys-shoe-lets-auschwitz-museum-match-with-fathers-briefcase/

https://www.foxnews.com/science/auschwitz-discovery-childrens-shoes

Holocaust Testimonies

There are millions of Holocaust stories I could write, but none will be as powerful as the testimonies of those who survived the darkest era.

Following are some of those testimonies.

Written by Zdeněk and Jiří Steiner, born 20. 5. 1929 in Prague, residents of Prague, former prisoners in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, residing in Prague XI., Vratislavova 13, Czech nationality.

“We left Prague bound for Theresienstadt on 22. 12. 1942 together with our parents and a great number of relatives. We spent 8½ months Theresienstadt, where things had been so-so for us. We left Theresienstadt on September 6th, 1943, and, after a miserable two-day journey, we finally arrived at the Neu-Berun train station. From there, they took us to the concentration camp in Birkenau. We were told that it was only a quarantine. After the usual procedures, such as a bath and a getting a tattoo (we were given the numbers 147742 and 147743), we were clothed in old rags (children in adult clothing) and housed in camp B II b, where we spent 6 whole months. We experienced so much in this place. Through the efforts of Fredy Hirsch, a children’s home was established. We children were better off than the adults because we didn’t have to work, our food was a little bit better, and, later, our clothes were better as well. Such was our life in the Birkenau children’s camp under extremely harsh conditions. A doctor arrived in December (each camp had a building for the sick and a single German doctor, who generally didn’t know how to do much else besides sending as many people as possible to their graves, served several of these buildings). With a wave of his fingers, Dr. Mengele decided who lived and who died, just like Nero did in ancient times. This renowned doctor was very interested in us twins, which was actually what saved us despite the fact that we came down with so many illnesses. Once, Dr. Mengele took a closer look at us, but then he contracted spotted typhus. In addition to him, we were tortured by the SS man Buntrock, who had a preference for beating children.

Another SS man, probably a Russian spy, who helped one of our people escape, was shot by other SS officers after he returned.

In the meantime, the fateful month of March began. This month took away our parents and all of our closest friends — the only thing that we still had in our lives. At the start of the month, it was rumored that the entire transport that had arrived in September 1943 would be taken to the labor camp in Heidebreck. And that’s exactly what happened. On March 5th, postcards on which we were supposed to write to our relatives that we were healthy and doing fine were handed out. These cards were sent dated March 25th-27th. We weren’t allowed to write about our departure. On the morning of March 6th, as usual: Blockälteste antreten — an order for the entire transport to go to the lower section of the camp immediately. From there they took us to camp B II a. There were so many rumors going about, for example that it wasn’t a labor transport, but a chimney. We didn’t believe it because we thought it was impossible. We waited all day, and in the evening we were told that the transport couldn’t depart because 100 persons were to be reclaimed. This news greatly disturbed us. A terrible sleepless night wreaked havoc with our nerves. The people, who were now extremely distraught, didn’t pay attention to anything; everyone just wished for this uncertainty to end. Midday, on March 7th, a call: Ordnung am Block, Raportführer Buntrok geht. And he really came, read the names of several doctors, and then we heard our names. We became very frightened, because father’s name wasn’t read, and mother wasn’t present on the block. Buntrok assured father that we would see one another in the evening, and we were taken to the Krankenbau of camp B II b. There, we found out what it was really all about. There were 32 of us in total, twins and doctors combined. Mengele reclaimed us twins because he was interested in us, as we’ve already mentioned. He came to see us the next day. When we told him that our parents had left on the transport, he said: Schade. In the meantime, we found out that the cars had driven off during the night ¨

“In the direction of the crematorium. The camp was empty; flames shot up from the crematorium. We will never forget this scene. But we didn’t believe that our parents were dead. However, we soon found out the truth from a doctor who was a member of the Sonderkommando, who was forced to do this work. Mengele arrived the following day, and took us by car to the Roma camp, which was where his station was. There, he precisely measured and weighed us, measured the length and width of our fingers and nails, the length and width of our noses, and anything else that could be measured and weighed. He also took down the color of our hair and skin. He carefully inspected us. He took fingerprints of our hands and feet. He worked alone; he never entrusted anyone else with the tasks he was performing. Then they brought us to the Krankenbau and life went on. We received 2 liters of soup per day, otherwise the food was the same as before. We were also photographed and x-rayed. Jewish doctors, who guaranteed the correctness of the examinations with their lives, had to examine our nerves, eyes, teeth, and ears.
The first labor transport from camp B II b left on 1. 7. In the meantime, another transport from Theresienstadt with 7½ thousand people arrived in May. This brought the number of people in the camp to 12,500, 3,000 of whom left to work. The rest were incinerated within 2 nights. We were taken to B II f. In this new camp, they drew our blood, which made our weakened bodies feel even worse. There is one horrible experience that we will never forget: one of our torturers, the camp doctor Thilo, was making a selection, i.e. choosing the people who would be sent to the crematorium, and he took our names down. What we felt when he did this cannot be described. Fortunately, Mengele heard this and saved us because he still needed us.

The front was approaching and the mood in the camp lifted. During this time, I became a Pipel in the Krankenbau, i.e. a runner, and so I was slightly better off. But then came winter and a new year, which was happier because we could hear the thunder of cannons. A rumor went around that the camp was going to be liquidated, but nothing happened. Finally, on January 16th, they led the first transport on foot out of Birkenau. The following days were extremely vexing, because one transport after another departed. Everyone left voluntarily and we children were the last to leave, partly because we didn’t want to go. People had to walk 60 km in the cold and frost, poorly clothed and hungry. We expected to be told that trains would come pick us up. We finally got what we wanted on January 20th, the day the last SSman left the camp. This was a wonderful time for us. We went wherever we wanted, ate whatever we wanted, did whatever we felt like doing. We roamed around the SS camp. In short, we were having a great time. We went without supervision for 5 days. Then, a group of SDmen arrived. They wanted to do us in, but didn’t get the chance. They, too, fled, and so we stayed until January 27th, when the victorious Red Army took over.

On March 27th, the Czech Svoboda’s Army took charge of us and brought us to Prague. Out of our family of 18, only 3 of us survived.”

Letter from Gerta Sachsová addressed to family friends. Gerta was deported with her husband from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in July 1943, from where she was sent to Auschwitz in autumn 1944. Her parents and husband were murdered . Gerta describes their fate and her difficult postwar adaptation..

“My Dears,

We are overjoyed that we are finally in written touch with you and that we can write to you in our mother tongue. We have so much to tell you that there isn’t enough paper in the world that could contain it all. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all bad news. So little of it is good. As you have perhaps already learned from Maruška, out of our whole family only Hanka and I returned, but we are happy that at least the two of us were reunited. I must tell you all about our departure from Prague. As you know, Kurt and I were transported to Theresienstadt in July 1943 to be with our parents and Hanka. We were together there for 1 ¼ years. We were doing rather well, all told. Kurt and my parents worked in the office, Hanka in the bakery, and I mostly did nothing because I was sick. Then, in the fall of 1944, we were gradually transported — father left separately, mother with Hanka, and I with Kurt. All of the transports went to Auschwitz. You cannot imagine what we suffered through. I don’t want to describe our experiences and so it’s perhaps a little cruel of me to write and tell you so directly that our dear mother died there. Father, who successfully made it past the selection process, was shot on the Czech border on May 3rd, 1945, just 5 days before the end of the war, during the evacuation of the labor camp where he was sent. Kurt was separated from me in Theresienstadt near the train and it was only when I returned to Prague that I learned that he was held for about 3 weeks in the Small Fortress and was supposedly shot there. We are positive regarding father since he was with Hanka’s young man, who returned. Jirka also returned and we’re living together with him now. I ran into Hanka by happy chance in Prague. She had come back one month earlier than I and she no longer believed that I would return. I’m sure you can imagine what our life is like now. Our financial situation is miserable; we don’t have enough clothes to wear.

I’ll likely find an office job. Hanka is graduating in September and then she’ll probably make her living as an illustrator. In short, this is all that we wanted to tell you about what we went through. We don’t know what the future holds. We are in touch with Maruška. Her little Jana is so adorable. We have visited them several times. Please write us soon and let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you, we have so much to tell. You can’t imagine how we are faring. But at least we are happy that you will come and see us.

sources

https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/learn/mengele-twin-stories.html?page=3

https://early-testimony.ehri-project.eu/

Donation

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Not Just Numbers

The approximate number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust by nation .

Poland 3,000.000; Ukraine 900,000;Hungary 450,000; Russia 352,000;Romania 300;000;BaltIc countries 228,000;Germany/Austria 210,000;the Netherlands 105,000;France 92,000;Slovakia 75,000; Greece 54,000;Belgium 40,000;Yugoslavia 26,000;Bulgaria 14,000 ;Italy 8,000,Luxembourg 1,000;Norway 900. Total 5,907,900.

These numbers are just estimates. I believe the number is actually higher, because not all suicides are included n this number nor are all the numbers of those who died during the transport.

However when I saw these numbers I had 2 questions. My first question was “How come there are no numbers for the Danish Jews?” The Danes had been very successful in saving their Jewish neighbours. Many of then were enabled to escape to Sweden with help from their Danish neighbours .Like 19 year old Henny Sinding who used hos boat ‘Geda III’ to smuggle Jews from Denmark to Sweden.

This is not to say that no Danish Jews died. Some did die either by suicide or they didn’t survive the escape journey to Sweden. There will also have been Danish Jews who lived elsewhere who would have been deported .

My second question was “Who was responsible for the Holocaust? ” The answer to that is not as easy as one might think. No one will doubt or deny that the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria were responsible for the death of millions, however their counterparts in other European countries also did play a part in this. The excuse of being occupied they had to do as they were told is often used, but the fact is many European governments were willing participants.

Even the countries which weren’t occupied played their part. The picture below and at the start of the blog are pictures of Jewish refugees Not much is known about the group of mostly Jewish refugees who came from the region of Moravská Ostrava/Mährisch Ostrau in former Czechoslovakia, and arrived in Great Britain on March 29 1939 ,shortly after Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia, but a day after the British Police deported them at and put them on a plane at Croydoen airport.

Although the exact number of murdered Jews will never really be known, in a way it doesn’t really matter. Because each of these numbers represent a person, a human being with a living soul. A human being like any other human being, but because they were seen as a lesser life form by a sick and twisted ideology they were murdered.

A human being like Max Baum a cattle dealer who was born in Linnich, Germany , 18 August 1907 but lived in Doenrade in the Netherlands and spent some time in Geleen. Maz was murdered in Auschwitz, 18 December 1943. His wife survived

sources

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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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https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/227984/max-baum

A smiley face on a passport application form.

passport

A smiley face on a passport application form.

A smiley face of a girl who had high hopes of travelling and get many stamps in her passport.

A smiley face of a girl who maybe one day would become a famous child actor, like Shirley Temple because she looks just like her. The same Shirley Temple who would become an ambassador of the US in the country where this passport application was issued.

A smiley face of a girl who perhaps one day would become the scientist who who find a vaccine for many diseases.

A smiley face of a girl who just wanted to be that, a girl. But she was not allowed to be a girl.

A smiley face of a girl who became a statistic, but she is not a statistic. She was murdered for the crime of being a human being.

She was born on 29. October. 1930 and was put on Transport B, no. 411 on 21. October . 1941, Prague to Łódź, where she was murdered.

Her name is Eva Abelesova.a girl with a smiley face.

Source

https://www.holocaust.cz/de/opferdatenbank/opfer/141943-eva-abelesova/