Happy Birthday Anne Frank

Dear Anne, today you would have turned 92, but we all know the history why that didn’t happen.

Some of that history is written in the diary you received on your 13th birthday, June 12 1942.So many people have read that diary, your private thoughts laid bare for the world to see. But I am sure you would not have minded that because aside it being a diary, it is also a historical record. You made sure of that because you could see and hear what was happening around you, You also heeded the call of the exiled Dutch government for people to record as much as they could.

What some people don’t realize if the Nazis would not have got to power, your diary would have looked so much different, it wouldn’t even have been written in Dutch but German, Because if the Nazis had not got to power your parents would not have had to move. Your German diary would have told a different story. The story about a different kind of anxiety. The anxiety of a regular teenage girl. Her first dance, her first kiss and perhaps even of the first time having sex with a boyfriend. The anxiety of seeing each other naked for the first time, and maybe how you blushed the first time he touched your breasts and you touched his penis. Who knows, what would be in that diary? I am not saying this to be disrespectful, far from it, like any other girl you deserved that level of intimacy but you were denied it. But your German diary would have been just that, a diary, only for you to read.

People call you an author. But you weren’t you were just a girl who had the endure something no girl should have to endure.

And like any other girl you had friends.

Lucia “Lucie” van Dijk , a Christian friend from the Montessori school. Lucie’s mother was an adamant member of the NSB,the Dutch Nazi party, until the end of the war, but Lucie’s disillusioned father left the party in 1942. You were shocked when the van Dijks became party members, but your dad ,Otto, patiently explained to her that they could still be good people even if they had distasteful politics.

Rie “Ietje” Swillens was another good friend of yours all the way through Montessori school.

Nanette Blitz Konig who was born on April 6, 1929 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. just a few months older then you. A friend and a class mate . You were in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum.

Like your family ,the Blitz family was arrested and taken to the Westerbork transit camp and from there were deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It was Nannette that reunited you with your sister Margot, in Bergen Belsen. However Nanette survived the war and the Holocaust. She now lives in Brazil.

Then there was another Nanette ; Nanette van Praag Sigaar.

You were also in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum, in Amsterdam. You even wrote about her in your diary. You said “Nannie is a funny, tiny, clever girl. I like her. She is smart.” What you didn’t know is that Nannie was murdered in Auschwitz on November 5,1942, just a few months after you received your diary as a birthday gift.

Your 13th birthday gift is now a gift to us all. Not just a gift but also a stark reminder of what humans are capable of doing to other humans.

You would have been 92 today. Nowadays you may have been famous as one of the first people being vaccinated against the Covid 19 virus. But you were killed by a much worse virus, hate.

Happy Birthday Anne, or rather Van Harte Gefeliciteerd.

sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/569313/uit-het-dagboek-van-anne-frank

https://www.geni.com/people/Nanette-van-Praag-Sigaar/6000000047467779849

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5235152/bio

Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty

Music is not just a few notes strung together to create a tune, often accompanied by lyrics. Music is much more then that. It is therapy. It gives hope where there is despair. It gives joy where there is grief. It can transport you back to the days of yore, when time was complicated. It gives you an outlet to voice an opinion in a creative way. It gives meaning to your soul.

Mordechai Gebirtig must have realized the power of music.

Mordechai Gebirtig , was an influential Yiddish poet and songwriter of the interwar period. He was shot by Germans in the Kraków Ghetto, Poland, during the Holocaust.

He had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary.

He was self-taught in music, played the shepherd’s pipe, and tapped out tunes on the piano with one finger. He earned his livelihood as a furniture maker. However music and theatre were his hobbies.

During the first years of the war, most Jews were expelled from the city of Kraków. In November 1940, along with his wife and daughters, Gebirtig settled in a nearby village, where – without a real income, adequate shelter, food or health services. Gebirtig gave many of his papers to his friend Hoffmann, who managed to preserve them throughout the war.

On October 2, 1940. Mordecai Gebirtig wrote the song ” Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty” to raise the spirits of the persecuted Jewish community in Krakow. The poet’s reference to “Haman” alludes to the ancient Persian enemy of the Jewish people.

But when daily deportations of Jews to the death camps began in January 1942, his songs became increasingly pessimistic and dark.

Es brent “It’s burning”, also known as undzer shtetl brent “our town is burning”, in Hebrew translation) is a Yiddish poem–song which was written in 1936 by Gebirtig. Although the poem is generally said to have been written in response to the Przytyk Pogrom of 1936, after the Holocaust the song was often used in Holocaust commemoration or in programmes of World War II Ghetto music, both in the original Yiddish and in Hebrew translation.This is probably Gebirtig’s best-known composition.

By 1939, with the changing political situation in Europe, he had changed the final line of the poem from “if the town is dear to you” to “if life is dear to you.”[4] Rising antisemitic censorship in Poland also made it so that Gebirtig was occasionally forbidden to perform the song in public.

During the war, the song was adopted by Jewish Partisans against the Nazi regime, particularly in Krakow. According to some recollections, whistling its melody was used as a code by imprisoned resistance fighters in the Montelupich Prison.

On 4 June 1942, Nazis surrounded the ghetto and began marching Jews to waiting cattle cars. The screams of the soldiers were accompanied by gunshots; all those too slow to keep up, or too ill or weak to stay on their feet, were shot. Among the first Jews to die on the way to the cars was Gebirtig. Although both the poet and his wife were murdered, his daughters managed to survive in hiding.

Sources

http://aha.org.pl/en/projects-en/15-the-mordechai-gebirtig-project

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/fr/places/ghettos/krakow/gebirtigmordechai/

https://archives.cjh.org//repositories/7/resources/3533

Born in Westerbork

I have 3 children and I witnessed the birth of all 3 of them. The birth of a child must be the greatest miracle, Sure the sex beforehand is wonderful, but just imagine it, a sperm cell from a fertile man swims up through the vagina and into the uterus of a woman and joins with the woman’s egg cell as it travels down one of the fallopian tubes from the ovary to the uterus.

This is when the baby is conceived. There is no better moment in a parent’s live to see that first glimpse of the tiny human being, a product of a sexual act and love of 2 people. Seeing their baby for the first time and the feeling that goes with is something which is impossible to describe. The only word that gets close is a miracle.

But what if that baby is born in captivity and you are not sure how long the child will live, or indeed how long you will live, how does that feel? It is something no one wants to experience, yet it was a reality for many people.

The picture above is of Marie Majerowicz she was born in Camp Westerbork.

Camp Westerbork was a concentration and transit camp in Drenthe province, northeastern Netherland.[ Established by the Dutch government in the summer of 1939, Camp Westerbork was meant to serve as a refugee camp for Germans and Austrians (German and Austrian Jews in particular), who had fled to the Netherlands to escape Nazi persecution.

But after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands ,the camp was repurposed and was utilized as a staging ground for the deportation of Jews, from 1942 to 1945. Only one-half square kilometer (119 acres) in area, the camp was not built for the purpose of industrial murder as were Nazi extermination camps. Westerbork was considered by Nazi standards as “humane”. Jewish inmates with families were housed in 200 interconnected cottages that contained two rooms, a toilet, a hot plate for cooking, and a small yard. Single inmates were placed in oblong barracks which contained a bathroom for each sex.

Marie Majerowicz was born in camp Westerbork on December 30,1942. In September 1944 she was deported to Theresienstadt from where, on 6 October 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. She was murdered in a gas chamber after selection. She was not even 2 yet.

Marie wasn’t the only child born in Westerbork. Most of the children died or were murdered when they were still babies. Some only lived for a few days.

Abraham Moritz Benjamins, born February 21,1943. Murdered in Auschwitz October 8,1943.

Tine Bloemendaal, born April 30 1943. Died in Westerbork June 5,1943.

Emanuel Snatager. born May 9,1942. Died in Westerbork May 26,1943.

Karin Walg,born June 19, 1943. Died in Westerbork, June 23,1943.

Bernard Gosschalk, born December 21,1942. Murdered in Auschwitz October 26,1943.

Benjamin Vleeschhouwer, born August 10,1943. Died in Westerbork October 26,1943.

These were just a few. There are so many and to be honest I don’t think I can go through all of their details, my heart just can’t take it.

Aside from the human cost and the sheer evil and horror of it. So much potential talent has been lost. Who know, the scientist who discovered a cure for all cancers could be one of these children. We will never know just because of the warped ideology of Nazism.

sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1066255

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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Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. You would have been 87 today. You were born on May 30 1934. in Amsterdam.

Your parents were Esther Pais Belinfante, your mother, and Wolf Belinfante, your Father. Both born in Amsterdam. Your Father was a butcher, nowadays in this Covid 19 era he would have been considered an essential worker. But he must have always been an essential worker. He made sure that people had meat for their dinners. And don’t we all need to eat?

The picture is a wedding picture of your parents. It looks like a normal wedding party. However most of the people on this picture would have been murdered just a few years later. You parents were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943.

Dear Willem you had 2 brothers, one whose name I don’t know, and a younger brother called Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, such a cool name.

It would have been your 87th birthday today dear Willem. But you died aged 9. You were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943, the same day as your parents and your younger brother ,Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, he was aged 6.

There is another brother but I don’t know his name. All I know is that he survived.

Your last name.Belinfante, is quite a famous name in the Netherlands. Joost Belinfante, is a musician and a composer who was linked to Dutch ska band called’ Doe Maar’. His sister Judith Belinfante was an elected member of parliament and the director of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, She was born 13 days before you were murdered.

I wonder if you were related?

You too could have become a musician and composer, or a director of a museum but an evil regime did not think you were fit for life, they decided your fate for you.

I hope your surviving brother found a nice family after the war. But I could never begin to imaging how he must feel, the pain and the uncertainty he had to endure.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. I hope you are having a beautiful cake in heaven with your family.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/176736/willem-belinfante

Seeing takes a second- The thoughts will last forever.

The title is the translation of a line of a Dutch song called ‘Blauw’ or “Blue”. I was listening to it in my car yesterday, while is was on my way to the Covid 19 vaccination centre.

That particular stuck with me. That is exactly what I go through every time I do an article about the very young Holocaust victims. Seeing them, or rather seeing a picture of them, only takes a second but the thought last forever. I don’t how may seconds I have seen pictures of children, all I know there faces stay with me

The picture above is of Rolf Dirk Ullmann, he was born on March 31,1943 in Westerbork, the Netherlands and was murdered in Auschwitz on October 8,1944. He was only about 18 months old.

He was first transported to Theresienstadt on January 20,1944. On October 6,1944, he was transported to Auschwitz. He arrived on October 8, he was murdered.

His first and last steps he took were in a concentration camp. His first words, if any, were uttered in a concentration camp. He got his first and his last feed in a concentration camp. All I ever knew was captivity and hate from those who put him there.

His mother Edith Ullmann-Fleischmann was born in Ebeslbach, Bavaria, Germany on October 31,1912. I don’t know for sure but I reckon she escaped Germany when the Nazis took power. More then likely she would have ended up in Westerbork, which was a refugee centre for Jews who escaped Germany and Austria prior to the outbreak of World War 2.

She ended up in Westerbork again during the war. This time it was a concentration camp, a so called transit camp. Here she gave birth to her son, Rolf Dirk Ullmann.

Edith also had a daughter, Ellen Wilhelmina Ullmann. She was born in the Netherlands on September 15,1939 in the town of Oud-Beijerland, which translates in to Old Bavarialand.

Ellen Wilhelmina was also murdered in Auschwitz on October 8,1944. Only a few weeks after her 5th birthday.

Edith Ullmann-Fleischmann was murdered on October 9, 1944 , a day after her children, In Auschwitz Birkenau. I don’t know why she was murdered a day later. I can also imagine after seeing her children being murdered, she gave up the will to live. As a parent I can fully understand that.

These 3 innocent souls are just a few of the 6 million Jews killed during the holocaust. Six million seconds, 1.666.66 hours or 69.44 days. But as the title said already, to me seeing every picture takes a second, the thoughts will last forever.

It is up to all of us to NEVER EVER let there be another Holocaust.

sources

https://map.stolpersteine.app/en/utrecht/locations/handelstraat-48

https://www.oorlogsgravenstichting.nl/persoon/156474/edith-ullmann-fleischmann#

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Rolf-Dirk-Ullmann/01/36729

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/41302/rolf-dirk-ullmann

Richard Dimbleby and Dirk Bogarde’s accounts on what they saw in Bergen Belsen

It absolutely amazes me that in this day and age there are still people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In fact there appears to be an increase of Holocaust deniers.

Some use the picture above, of liberated women in Bergen Belsen as their ‘evidence’ that the Holocaust was a myth. They say of you look at the picture you can see that the women are healthy and seem to be happy. Well of course they were happy, they had just been liberated and they may appear to be healthy, but they are fully covered up and you can’t see the scars and bruises. Additionally some were ‘healthy’ because the human soul and mind is a powerful thing, they just kept going no matter what.

From late 1944, food rations throughout Bergen-Belsen continued to shrink. By early 1945, prisoners would sometimes go without food for days; fresh water was also in short supply.

Sanitation was totally inadequate, with few toilets and water outlets for the tens of thousands of prisoners imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen at this time. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and the lack of adequate food, water, and shelter led to an outbreak of diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery, causing an ever increasing number of deaths. In the first few months of 1945, tens of thousands of prisoners died.

Despite all of this being well documented there are still some who deny the Holocaust.

The Holocaust did happen, but don’t take my word for it but take the words of 2 neutral and very reputable and trustworthy men, English broadcaster and Journalist Richard Dimbleby, and British actor Dirk Bogarde. Both men had been present at the liberation of Bergen Belsen, These are the accounts of what they saw that day.

Richard Dimbleby

“I have just returned from the Belsen concentration camp where I drove slowly about the place in a Jeep with the chief doctor of the Second Army. I had waited a day before going to the camp so that I could be absolutely sure of the facts now available.

I find it hard to describe adequately the horrible things that I’ve seen and heard but here unadorned are the facts.

There are 40,000 men, women and children in the camp, German and half a dozen other nationalities and thousands of them Jews. Of this total of forty thousand, four thousand two hundred and fifty are acutely ill or dying of virulent disease. Typhus, typhoid, diphtheria, dysentery, pneumonia and childbirth fever are rife.

25,600, three quarters of them women, are either ill from lack of food or are actually dying of starvation.

In the last few months alone thirty thousand prisoners have been killed off or allowed to die. Those are the simple horrible facts of Belsen.

But horrible as they are they can convey little or nothing in themselves.

I wish with all my heart that everyone fighting in this war – and above all those whose duty it is to direct the war from Britain and America – could have come with me through the barbed-wire fence that leads to the inner compound of the camp.

Outside it had been the lucky prisoners – the men and women who had only just arrived at Belsen before we captured it.

But beyond the barrier was a whirling cloud of dust, the dust of thousands of slowly moving people, laden in itself with the deadly typhus germ. And with the dust was a smell, sickly and thick, the smell of death and decay of corruption and filth.

I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare.

Dead bodies, some of them in decay lay strewn about the road.

And along the rutted tracks on each side of the road were brown wooden huts. There were faces at the windows. The bony emaciated faces of starving women too weak to come outside – propping themselves against the glass to see the daylight before they died.

And they were dying, every hour and every minute.

I saw a man wandering dazedly along the road then stagger and fall. Someone else looked down at him, took him by the heels and dragged him to the side of the road to join the other bodies lying unburied there. No one else took the slightest notice, they didn’t even trouble to turn their heads

Behind the huts two youths and two girls who’d found a morsel of food were sitting together on the grass in picnic fashion sharing it. They were not six feet from a pile of decomposing bodies

Inside the huts it was even worse.

I’ve seen many terrible sights in the last five years but nothing, nothing approaching the dreadful interior of this hut at Belsen0

The dead and the dying lay close together

I picked my way over corpse after corpse in the gloom until I heard one voice that rose above the gentle undulating moaning.

I found a girl, she was a living skeleton impossible to gauge her age for she had practically no hair left on her head and her face was only a yellow parchment sheet with two holes in it for eyes. She was stretching out her stick of an arm and gasping something. It was ‘English, English. Medicine, medicine’ And she was trying to cry but had not enough strength.

And beyond her down the passage and in the hut there were the convulsive movements of dying people too weak to raise themselves from the floor. They were crawling with lice and smeared with filth. They had no food for days. For the Germans sent it down into the camp en bloc and only those strong enough to come out of the huts could get it. The rest of them lay there in the shadows growing weaker and weaker

There was no one to take the bodies away when they died. And I had to look hard to see who was alive and who was dead

It was the same outside in the compounds. Men and women lying about the ground and the rest of the procession of ghosts wandering aimlessly about them.

In the shade of some trees lay a great collection of bodies. I walked round them trying to count. There were perhaps a hundred and fifty flung down on each other – all naked, all so thin that their yellow skins glistened like stretched rubber on their bones.

Some of the poor starved creatures whose bodies were there looked so utterly unreal and inhuman that I could have imagined that they had never lived at all. They were like polished skeletons, the skeletons that medical students like to play practical jokes with.

At one end of the pile a cluster of men and women were gathered around a fire. They were using rags and old shoes taken from the bodies to keep it alight and they were heating soup on it.

And close by was the enclosure where 500 children between the ages of five and twelve had been kept. They were not so hungry as the rest for the women had sacrificed themselves to keep them alive.

Babies were born at Belsen, some of them shrunken wizened little things that could not live because their mothers could not feed them.

One woman distraught to the point of madness flung herself at a British soldier who was on guard in the camp on the night that it was reached by the 11th Armoured Division. She begged him to give her some milk for the tiny baby she held in her arms. She laid the mite on the ground, threw herself at the sentry’s feet and kissed his boots. And when in his distress he asked her to get up, she put the baby in his arms and ran off crying that she would find milk for it because there was no milk in her breast. And when the soldier opened the bundle of rags to look at the child he found it had been dead for days.

I have never seen British soldiers so moved to cold fury as the men who opened the Belsen camp this week and those of the police and the RAMC who are now on duty there, trying to save the prisoners who are not too far gone in starvation.

The SS guards who shot several of the prisoners after we’d arrived in the camp when they thought no one was looking are now gathering up all the bodies and carting them away for burial. German prisoners are being sent up for the same sort of work.

Kramer, the SS major who was Commandant of the camp and who had been second-in-command of one of the mass murder camps in Poland lies today in a British prison cage.

As we went deeper into the camp and further from the main gate we saw more and more of the horrors of the place and I realised that what is so ghastly is not so much the individual acts of barbarism that take place in SS camps but the gradual breakdown of civilisation that happens when human beings are herded like animals behind barbed wire. Here in Belsen we were seeing people, many of them lawyers and doctors and chemists, musicians, authors, who’d long since ceased to care about the conventions and the customs of normal life.

There had been no privacy there of any kind. Women stood naked at the side of the track washing in cupfuls of water taken from British Army water trucks. Others squatted while they searched themselves for lice and examined each other’s hair. Sufferers from dysentery leaned against the huts straining helplessly. And all around and about them was this awful drifting tide of exhausted people neither caring nor waiting – just a few held out their withered hands to us as we passed by and blessed the doctor whom they knew had become the camp commander in the place of the brutal Kramer.

We were on our way down to the crematorium where the Germans had burned alive thousands of men and women in a single fire. The furnace was in a hut about the size of a single garage – and the hut was surrounded by a small stockade.

A little Pole whose prison number was tattooed on the inside of his forearm, as it was on all the others, told me how they burned the people. They brought them into the stockade, walked them in and then an SS guard hit them on the back of the neck with a club and stunned them and then they were fed straight into the fire, three at a time, two men, one woman. The opening was not big enough for three men and that I verified by measuring it. They burned 10,000 people in this fire in reprisal for the murder of two SS guards.

And back in the hut by the main gate of the camp I questioned the sergeant who’d been in charge of one of the SS squads. He was a fair-haired gangling creature with tiny crooked ears rather like gerbils and big hands. His SS uniform was undone and dirty; he was writing out his confession while a young North Country anti-tank gunner of the 11th Armored Division kept watch on him with a tommy gun that never moved. I asked him how many people he had killed. He looked vacant for a moment and then he replied ‘oh I don’t remember’.

I have set down these facts of length because in common with all of us who’ve been to the camp I feel that you should be told without reserve exactly what has been happening there.

Every fact I’ve so far given you has been verified but there is one more awful than all the others that I’ve kept to the end.

Far away in a corner of Belsen camp there is a pit the size of a tennis court. It’s 15 feet deep and at one end it’s piled to the very top with naked bodies that have been tumbled in one on top of the other.  Like this must have been the Plague pits in England 300 years ago, only nowadays we can help by digging them quicker with bulldozers, and already there’s a bulldozer at work in Belsen. 

Our army doctors on examining some of these bodies found in their sides a long slit apparently made by someone with surgical knowledge. They made enquiries and they established beyond doubt that in the frenzy of their starvation some of the people of Belsen had taken the wasted bodies of their fellow prisoners and had removed from them the only remaining flesh, the liver and the kidneys to eat.

May I add to this story only the assurance that everything that an army can do to save these men and women and children is being done and that those officers and men who’ve seen these things have gone back to the Second Army moved to an anger such as I have never seen in them before.

Richard Dimbleby, BBC, broadcast April 19th 1945.

Dirk Bogarde wasn’t sure about the date, he thought it was the 13th of April but the camp was liberated on the 15th of April 1945.

“I think it was on the 13th of April—I’m not quite sure what the date was when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked—you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP [Royal Military Police], and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the Military Police] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror—she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [Military Police] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.”

sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/richard-dimbleby-describes-belsen/zvw7cqt

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/bergen-belsen

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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Happy Birthday Charles Aznavour-Not just a singer.

Charles Aznavour born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, on 22 May 1924, he was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor voice:, clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a career as a composer, singer and songwriter, spanning over 70 years, he recorded more than 1,200 songs interpreted in 9 languages. Moreover, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others. If that wasn’t enough there is a lot more to the man.

Aznavour was born at the clinic Tarnier at 89, rue d’Assas in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement of Paris, into a family of artists living on rue Monsieur-le-Prince. His parents were Armenian immigrants Michael (Misha) Aznavourian was born in present-day Akhaltsikhe, Georgia,and his mother Knar Baghdasarian, was an Armenian Genocide survivor from Adapazarı (in present-day Sakarya, Turkey).His grandfather was a cook of Tsar Nicholas II. Charles’s father sang in restaurants in France before establishing a restaurant specialising in food from the Caucasus called Le Caucase. Charles’s parents introduced him to performing at an early age, and he dropped out of school at an early age , and took the stage name “Aznavour”.

His parents fled to France to escape the massacres that more than 20 countries have recognized as a genocide, a charge strongly denied by Turkey.

During the German occupation of France during World War II, Aznavour and his family hid a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities.

When the Resistance gained momentum in Nazi occupied Paris, the Germans got even more enraged and ruthless. Gestapo tightened its grip on searches and tortures day by day. It was under these conditions that Misha Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s father, volunteered with the Armenian resistance with great risk to his own life and that of his family.

During an interview Charles once said : “Armenian peddlers, including my father, looked after the stalls of the Jews after they were arrested in the mass deportation of Parisian Jews [“the roundup”] in July 1942. So taking in and hiding Jews in our home during the war was a very natural thing for us to do: they were our neighbors and friends,” he adds. “We had a life together. We were there for them and they were there for us. We had to try to help them, just as it was natural for us to try and help the Armenians who were drafted into the German army and deserted.”

The two Aznavour children, Charles and Aida , who were 16 and 17 at the start of the German occupation in 1940, pitched in to help, not knowing then that they would go on offering shelter to strangers. But then a woman came to the family, asking them to hide her Jewish husband, whose name was Simon. He had escaped from the Drancy internment camp, where the Jews of Paris were sent before being sent to the concentration camps outside of France. For a while, the family also sheltered another Jew, and later on their apartment also served as a hideout for Armenians who’d deserted after being forcibly drafted into the Germany army. Charles and his sister Aida recall that at one stage there were 11 refugees who were all hiding in the family’s apartment simultaneously. They hid in different corners of the house, and at night had to sleep on the floor.

The family prepared false papers for them, and one of the tasks assigned to the two children was to burn the deserters’ German uniforms and dispose of them far from the house.

On October 26,2017 Charles and Aida were given the Raoul Wallenberg Medal , for their family’s efforts to protect Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. They received the honor from President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke of his love of Aznavour’s music, saying “La Boheme” was his favorite song.

In 2011 Aznavour released a song with the title “J’ai connu”

“I knew the chains/I knew the wound/I knew the hate/I knew the hurt/ the thirst and hunger/I knew the fear/from one day to the next.”

The song is told from a perspective of a Jewish victim in the concentration camps.

Charles Aznavour died on 1 October 2018, aged 94. I think it is safe to say that he lived a full life.

While doing the research for this blog I was struggling to find a song to finish up with. I was torn between “She” and “Dance in the old fashioned way” I chose the latter.

sources

https://www.aish.com/ci/s/Charles-Aznavour-and-His-Family-Saved-Jews-during-the-Holocaust.html

https://en.aznavourfoundation.org/details-aznavours+in+wwii-222.html

https://www.timesofisrael.com/legendary-singer-aznavour-given-award-for-family-efforts-to-save-jews-in-wwii/

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/.premium-aznavour-sings-praises-of-his-family-who-saved-jews-during-war-1.5381024

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Aznavour#Death_and_funeral

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Martin Sealtiel, born May 19-1935. Murdered September 3-1943

It is strange sometimes how little you can find out of a person, yet you can still tell a story about him.

Martin Sealtiel was born on May 19,1935. There are no pictures of him. The only indication that he was born was a newspaper announcement in a local newspaper, placed on May 20-1935 by his parents. The announcement was of the birth of their son Martin. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In neighbouring Germany, the first section of the Reichsautobahn, connecting Frankfurt and Heidelberg, was opened by Hitler in Darmstadt.

Weather wise May 19,1935 was not a pleasant day. The temperature that day was between 3.9 °C and 13.0 °C and averaged 8.0 °C. There was 1.9 mm of rain during 2.0 hours. There was 8.6 hours of sunshine (54%). The average windspeed was 3 Bft (moderate breeze) and was prevailing from the west. T

Martin’s parents, Esther Sealtiel-Waterman and David Sealtiel, got married on January 31,1934.

The family lived in the Cronjéstraat 17 in Amsterdam. Martin’s dad was a sales rep for a Metal company. Martin’s mom sold lamp shades which she made herself.

On May 10,1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Although the lives of Jews didn’t change too much initially, gradually laws were introduced with the aim to eradicate every Jew in the Netherlands. The Nazis nearly succeeded.

On July 17,1943, the Sealtiel family is deported to Westerbork transit camp. On August 31,1943 Martin and his Mother are both transported to Auschwitz in Poland. They arrive on September 3,1943, they are both murdered on arrival. Martin was aged 8 at the time.

Martin’s dad ,David, is sent to a labour camp Warsaw,Poland. Here he has to clear rubble and debris from the ghetto. He died on June 30,1944 off pneumonia(at least that is what is death cert says) just over 9 months after his wife and son were murdered.

The whole Sealtiel of the Cronjéstraat 17, wiped away because of the warped ideology of Nazism.

I wish I could say that this was the only family, but that would be a lie. Millions were murdered and not only Jews. Homosexual, people with a disability, people with a different political point of view, Jehovah Witnesses and others were subject to the evil of the Nazis.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/207967/martin-sealtiel

https://westerborkportretten.nl/westerborkportretten/martin-sealtiel

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Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi medical experiments?

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ is one of the most difficult ethical questions to answer. At least for me it is, I am a man who bases a lot of his decisions on his gut feeling. In this case my gut feeling says no.

However if I keep my opinion of this devoid of all emotion, it throws up another question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments, to safe someone in your family?’. In that case I more then likely would come to a different answer.

I am not going to tell anyone what their answer should be. I will just highlight some of the experiments and how they were conducted. But I’ll start with one experiment and its conclusion.

At the start of August 1942, at Dachau concentration camp, prisoners were forced to sit in tanks of freezing water for up to three hours. After subjects were frozen, they then underwent different methods for rewarming. Many subjects died in this process. The data of this experiment did reveal that body-temperature recovery was fastest with immersion in warm water, but that rewarming and presumably survival were achieved with the other methods, too.

The horizontal axis shows minutes, and the vertical axis temperature (°C). The German title can be translated as “Effect of combined rewarming treatment: warm bath, massage and light box.” The water temperature was 8°C. The arrows and numbers (1 to 6) were superimposed by the present author. Translations of the corresponding notations from the German are: 1, in water; 2, period out of bath (no German notation); 3, warm bath; 4, massage; 5, light box; and 6, response to speech (regaining of consciousness).

Sterilization Experiments: Himmler’s interest in Dr Clauberg’s Cell Block 10 was sterilization. He convinced Clauberg to begin experiments on reversing his infertility treatments and to discover ways to block the fallopian tubes. Clauberg redirected all of his energies toward the single goal of effective mass sterilization. Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated in order to discover cheap methods of sterilization. The Nazis hoped that these methods could ultimately be applied to millions of “unwanted” prisoners. Women at Auschwitz were sterilized by injections of caustic substances into their cervix or uterus, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in the stomach, and bleeding. Young men had their testicles subjected to large doses of radiation and were subsequently castrated to ascertain the pathological change in their testes.

Mustard gas experiments: Between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims’ wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burn.

Poison Experiments: A research team at Buchenwald developed a method of individual execution through the intravenous injections of phenol gasoline and cyanide on Russian prisoners. The experiments were designed to see how fast the subjects would die.

Tuberculosis Experiments: The Nazis conducted experiments to determine whether there were any natural immunities to Tuberculosis (“TB”) and to develop a vaccination serum against TB. Doctor Heissmeyer sought to disprove the popular belief that TB was an infectious disease. Doctor Heissmeyer claimed that only an “exhaustive” organism was receptive to such infection, most of all the racially “inferior organism of the Jews.” Heissmeyer injected live tubercle bacilli into the subjects’ lungs to immunize against TB. He also removed the lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children. About 200 adult subjects perished, and twenty children were hanged at the Bullenhauser Dam in Heissmeyer’s effort to hide the experiments from the approaching Allied Army.

Malaria experiments: Between February 1942 to about April 1945, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp in order to investigate immunization for treatment of malaria. Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of female mosquitoes. After contracting the disease, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,200 people were used in these experiments and more than half died as a result .Other test subjects were left with permanent disabilities.

Malaria card of Father Bruno Stachowski from Claus Schilling’s research at Dachau. Approximately 1000 cards were kept back from destruction by the prisoner assistant Eugène Ost.

Epidemic Jaundice experiments: From about June 1943 to about January 1945 experiments were conducted at the Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the causes of, and inoculations against, epidemic jaundice. Experimental subjects were deliberately infected with epidemic jaundice, some of whom died as a result, and others were caused great pain and suffering.

Every prisoner of the regime was deemded to be a potential subject for inhuman research. Helpless victims, the inmates of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, were available for exploitation while alive. Leading scientists and professors took an active part in this ruthless abuse. Every university anatomical institute in Germany — and probably Austria — was the recipient of the cadavers of victims of Nazi terror, in particular, political victims executed by the Gestapo.

After the war, West Germany allowed Doctor Baron Otmar Von Verschuer to continue his professional career. Doctor Von Verschuer was the mentor, inspiration and sponsor of Mengele. After he executed his victims. Mengele would personally remove the victims’ eyes, while there were still warm, and ship them to Von Verschuer to analyze. n 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany.

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ will remain a controversial one.

sources

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199005173222006

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822534/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-medical-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/epidemic-jaundice-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/medicine-and-murder-in-the-third-reich#3

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ethics-of-using-medical-data-from-nazi-experiments#2

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The Billy Joel connections

Today is Billy Joel’s birthday and I was going to do a blog on his musical history, going back to the times when he joined a band called “Echoes”, aged 16, to the times when he joined the bands “the Hassles” and “Atilla”. But that I came across a story which connects Billy Joel with WWII , the Holocaust and a large German retail and travel company, and indirectly to 4 Olympic games and I thought that would make a much more interesting story.

Billy Joel was born William Martin Joel on may 9,1949 in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in Long Island. Billy’s father, Howard (born Helmut) Joel , a classical pianist and businessman, was born in Nuremberg, Germany, to a Jewish family, the son of merchant and manufacturer Karl Amson Joel.

Karl Amson Joel, started a business in household linens in 1927. The business was so profitable that he, his wife and their young son, Helmut, were able to move into an affluent area of Nuremberg. As Karl Joel’s business rose in prominence and the Nazis rose in power, the Nazis put their sights on eliminating the Joel’s and all other Jewish businesses.

After the rise to power of Nazism in 1933, Karl Amson Joel was increasingly discriminated against by the regional Nazi Party leaders, especially Julius Streicher, the founder and publisher of the virulently antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer.

In May 1933, Der Stürmer ran a front-page article calling Karl a “Yid” and accusing him of underpaying and sexually harassing his workers. Billy Joel’s dad Helmut aka Howard was one of four Jews in his Nuremberg classroom; they were directed to sit apart from their classmates.

Karl Amson Joel moved his company to Berlin in 1934, where he rented a factory site in Wedding and installed new packing machines. The stitching department, however, had to remain in Nuremberg. As persecution increased (e.g. deliveries had to be marked with a “J” for Jude, or Jew), and Jewish firms became Aryanized (the forced expulsion of Jews from business life in Nazi Germany, Axis-aligned states, and their occupied territories. It entailed the transfer of Jewish property into “Aryan”hands), Joel was forced to sell his company in 1938 to Josef Neckermann.

For fear of further persecutions Karl Amson Joel moved to Switzerland in July 1938 and later to the USA, via Cuba.

Neckermann made his fortune as the owner of one of Europe’s largest department stores. His business made him director of a very successful mail-order company under the slogan Neckermann macht’s möglich (Neckermann makes it possible) and also a travel company.

Shortly after World War II, Neckermann was sentenced to one year in a military prison.

In 1949, Karl Amson Joel successfully sued Neckermann for compensation in a Nuremberg court. After eight years, the parties settled and the files were closed.

In 1957,Karl Amson Joel got a compensation of 2 million West German marks for his former company from Neckermann who at that time ran the most successful German mail order selling company.

As I said earlier on in this blog there is also a connection to 4 Olympic games, albeit indirect . Josef Neckermann was also a German equestrian and Olympic champion . He was one of the richest private citizens to have ever competed at the Olympic Games, and he did quite well, winning six medals in the dressage. Neckermann’s Olympics medals were as follows: 1960 – individual bronze, 1964 – team gold (both for the mixed German team), 1968 – team gold and individual silver, 1972 – team silver and individual bronze, all for West Germany.

Other members of Billy Joel’s family were killed during the Holocaust.

I could not finish this blog without at least including one of his many songs. This is my favourite Billy Joel song.

sources

https://www.sarahlawrence.edu/magazine/then-now/campus/outback.html

https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/stranger-no-more/

https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/12487

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