Love during the Holocaust

Getting married is one of the mots wonderful things that can happen to you in life. It is a union of love which is quite powerful.

However it can also be nerve wrecking, admittedly more so for the bride then the groom. You want to make sure the day goes well, you hope the weather will be good and that the guests won’t complain too much. And of course then there is that all important wedding night, you may have made love before, but the wedding night is just that bit more special , and you may just want to be a bit more adventurous when it comes to sex.

Now go back to the period of 1940-1945. Your country has been occupied by a foreign power, helped by some of those you once may have known as friends or neighbours.

The Nazis who want to eradicate everyone like you, juts because you are Jewish. Your future is uncertain, you don’t know how long it will take before you are picked up and transported to who knows where.

But you are in love with a beautiful lady and the beautiful lady is in love with a handsome man. What do you do? Will you let hate stop you from loving each other?

No, because you know that despite everything there is no stronger power then love.

The loving couple is Elias(Edie) van Biene and Sonja Rood. I don’t know when they got married but it must have been after April 29,1942. That was the date the Dutch Jews were ordered to wear the Yellow star. I believe they got married in Rotterdam. Elias was murdered in Außernlager KZ Auschwitz, KZ Althammer, Poland. On January 20,1945. One week before Auschwitz was liberated. Elias was 26 when he died.

Sonja managed to hide initially, but she was captured and send to Auschwitz. She did survive and moved to Israel after the war where she died on April 25, 1971 aged 52.

Despite the horrors around them, and the hate that surrounded them. The love of these 2 people for each other conquered that hate and got married. The looks in their eyes shows pure unconditional love.

Love is stronger then hate.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/143581/elias-van-biene

https://www.geni.com/people/Sonja-Rood/6000000078350610530

https://www.geni.com/people/Elias-Edie-van-Biene/6000000056418936867

Father’s Day

This will be a blog post about my Dad because it is Father’s day.

There is so much I could say about my Dad and yet there is so little. For a long tome he had not been a part of my life, for 18 years to be precise. Especially the last years of those 18, I started to feel a hate for the man. That hate turned into bitterness, at that stage I realized that I had to do something about it. I had just got married and my wife deserved better then to have a bitter man.

I had found out where my Dad worked, which was in a restaurant in Valkenburg, the south east of the Netherlands which was only a few miles from where we lived. My wife and I, although she was still my girlfriend at the time, went to Valkenburg and sat down on a terrace of the restaurant where he worked.

I have to admit I was impressed to see him at work. Bringing out about 6 meals at the same time, balancing 3 meals on his left arm and 3 meals on his right arm, it was like watching an artist at work.

He did spot us and he came over to us and offered us a drink. It was a bit strange situation, awkward even, so we left after we finished our drinks.

A few months passed again and I decided to reach out to my Dad. But as is often the case, fate beat me to it. In early January 1996,my paternal grandmother died, a woman who I didn’t really know, but my Father called me and asked me if I wanted to come to the funeral. I had a chat with my wife and siblings, and we decided to go especially because our Mother gave us the blessing to go.

At the funeral I could not feel but sorry for the man who I recognized as my Father. We had a chat afterwards and said we would meet again, but had not set a date.

Alas fate hit again and on January 26th ,1996, my Mother suddenly passed away. This time it was my Dad’s turn to come to the funeral. My Mom was very loved by friends and neighbours which was evident at her funeral, because the church was packed. There were even people outside, my Dad was in the hall of the church.

When we walked out, he was there with his arms wide open, ready to embrace us.

The tragedy of my Mom’s death was also the moment that rekindled my relationship with my Dad. There were a few more unfortunate events though, both my wife and I were hospitalised, I in March and my wife in May of 1996. This however strengthened the bond between my Dad and I. He also ended up in hospital a few weeks later. So 1996 was a turbulent year for the family.

What copper fastened our relationship was the fact that one day my Dad visited me at home, we had a good chat and he asked me for forgiveness for the mistakes he had made. To me this was a very brave act, because I jus didn’t know how I may react to that. I also noticed that maybe I lost track of him, he definitely kept track of me, he even knew the grades I got for my school exams.

In 1997 my wife and I immigrated to Ireland, just to make sure that she would be close to her parents. At that stage air travel between Ireland and the Netherlands had become very affordable, therefor it would be possible for me and my Dad to visit each other whenever we wanted.

Our relationship grew stronger and stronger. I had come to understand my Father, his Dad was killed during World War 2, when my Father was still only very young, he was only 5 at the time. So he never really got to know his own Dad, and he never had a Father-Son bond with his own Dad. How could I hold a grudge, knowing this? I couldn’t, was the answer.

Despite having a few health scares he held on, Alas in 2015 he passed away. It was Father’s day 2015 that was the last time I got to see him and talk to him. This time we used modern technology, we had a chat via Skype. Little did we know then that so many would celebrate Father’s day in a similar way in 2020 and 2021. due to the Covid 19 pandemic

Six days later he died.

His story did not end there. He was cremated on July 2nd 2015.The following day my siblings and I decided to go his birthplace, Maastricht, to celebrate his life. When we were there we saw that Andre Rieu would start a week long of concerts, starting that day . We thought that this would be the perfect way to celebrate Dad, but we also knew it would be impossible to get tickets. We tried all the surrounding restaurants at the Vrijthof, where the concert would be held, they offered a dinner and the concert.

All of the restaurants said ‘no’ the tickets had been sold out for months. For some reason though, the last place we tried also said no, but he also he would try to get something sorted for us. He told us to come back just before the concert would start, but we were to come via the back entrance of the restaurant, We did as we were told and the man had arranged a table for us on the terrace, so we could see and hear the concert and also enjoy the meal. I thanked the man and explained to him why we were there that day. That must have touched him because when we wanted to pay, the waitress said there was no charge. We felt that moment our Father looked out for us.

Happy Father’s day to all the Fathers out there. Enjoy it and make the most of it, because you just don’t know what tomorrow brings.

I see more than shoes.

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Where some see shoes, I see a father desperately comforting his daughter telling her everything will be fine, where he knows it won’t be fine ever again.

Where some see shoes, I see missed opportunities of getting to know the people who wore them.

Where some see shoes, I see the sad face of a little boy who is just so exhausted after a train journey. Not a luxurious journey on the way to visit his grandparents or on a short vacation. A train journey packed with so many others, strangers, like cattle, Deprived from food and water.

Where some see shoes, I see an old woman who only celebrated her 99th birthday last week, but has now been killed in a gas chamber.

Where some see shoes, I see a teacher, a musician, an artist, a Doctor, a home maker, a cleaning lady, a garbage man, a lover, a poet, a child.

I see more than shoes. I see lives destroyed. futures disrupted, potential unfulfilled all because of hate.

I see more than shoes, I also see an opportunity for prayer and meditation any way of showing love to their souls wherever they may be now.

Hate will never win, Love will never stop.

 

My heart is broken

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I don’t know how often I have seen this picture but it is today it finally broke my heart.

I sat down and looked at it for a few minutes. Where before I only saw an woman, probably an elderly woman and 3 children walking towards the gas chambers.

What is so utterly disturbing about this is that they did not know what fate awaited them.

I cam clearly see their shies in the picture. Those shoes ended up in a pile of other shoes. Maybe were even sold on.

But what utterly devastated me is the innocence, one child is holding the hand of a younger child. I can only presume they are siblings.If I didn’t know the context in which this picture is places , I would think that it was a picture of a grandmother who is going to visit a family member or a friend with 3 kids who are reluctant to do so, but yet they do because they love their grand mother so much.

That is what I see in this picture, love. Love despite the hate that surrounded them.

 

There is no place for hate in this world.

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You killing me did not stop your hate. Hate is like a disease, a cancer, it eats on you bit by bit , the more you hate the sicker you get. Hate is like a tumout in your head,it drives you insane. Up to the point that you don’t even realize anymore that killing an 8 months old baby is an act of depravity.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum , born in Romania. I was 8 months young when you killed me in Auschwitz. Your hate died with you but the love for me grew stronger each day.

When people see my face they are equally amused and saddened. Amused because who doesn’t smile when they see the innocence of an infant. Saddened because they cannot comprehend the hate that killed me.

J am Ivan Rozenbaum, for ever remembered as a product of love between 2 people.

Don’t you realize that your birth was a result of an act of love. If there had been no love, there had been no you. Yet you wasted your time and energy with hate.

You should have spent your time learning about me and my people. We did not ask for you to become like us, all we wanted was for you to respect and except us. We will never become special by being the same, it is our differences that makes us special. But your hate stopped you seeing this. Your color was black and white and you missed out on all those colours in between.

Do I feel sorry for you? No! I pity you and the pathetic ideology you followed. An ideology based on hate. If you had only had the epiphany that Love is the strongest weapon you have, yet you never used it.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum and it saddens me that so many decades after my murder, some people still are not able to use that powerful weapon called love.

There is no place for hate in this world. But alas there are those who are so eager to create some space for hate. But hate will never win. It might win a few battles but never the war.

 

A TRAGIC LOVE STORY

Kapo

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She was the troubled daughter of the rabbi of Warsaw’s great synagogue; he was the son of a Polish Jewish leader. As neighbors they used to play together as children, but when they grew up, each went on their separate way. The leader’s son became a communist who fought in the Brigade in Spain, and did not immigrate to Israel with the rest of his family. The daughter of the rabbi married a successful lawyer and they were among the aristocratic Bohemia of Warsaw and were the parents of a single child, born after 11 years of marriage.
After the Nazi occupation, the spoiled boy arrived in the Warsaw ghetto, learned how to walk through cracks in the wall and bring food from the garbage cans. His mother called her former nanny who took him to her village, where she introduced the blue-eyed and blond-haired boy as her nephew, but warned him not to expose his body in front of other children.
The leader’s son was captured in France and sent to Auschwitz, where his friends asked him to represent them because he was a jurist and proficient in languages. In fact, he became a Kapo, and to this day, there are differences of opinion about the degree of cruelty he discovered in this position and the part he took in the resistance and camp’s underground.
The Rabbi’s daughter’s husband perished in the camp, and after the liberation she arrived in Jerusalem weighing 35 Kg. With the help of her family, she found her son in a village in Poland. She brought him to Israel but was unable to raise him and he was sent to ‘Kibbutz Ramat David’.
The leader’s son was arrested and tried in Paris as a collaborator with the Nazis, and some claim that the fact he opposed Stalin played a part against him. His father left all his pursuits and fought for his credit. After the trial ended and he was found ‘not guilty’, he came to Israel and lived in his parents’ house in Jerusalem, where he met again with the daughter of the rabbi and they fell in love. She started gaining weight and the two talked about getting married and the boy’s return from the kibbutz.
The leader’s son wanted to join the IDF but was refused because of his past, and was recruited only after the war of independence started. In a battle in Ramat-Rachel, an order of withdrawal was issued but the leader’s son stormed at the enemy in what appeared as a suicidal action, and was killed.
When the rabbi’s daughter heard of his death, she declined his parents’ offer to mourn with them, went to her home and took her own life.
Away from besieged Jerusalem, the child who knew in his life, wealth, hunger in the ghetto, life in a Polish village and a kibbutz was left orphaned and alone.

From the fascinating book “Kapo in Auschwitz” by Professor Tuvia Friling.

Link to the book’s preview:
https://www.academia.edu/26350561/A_Jewish_Kapo_in_Auschwitz_History_Memory_and_the_Politics_of_Survival
Link to the book’s reviews:
https://www.academia.edu/36873051/A_Jewish_Kapo_in_Auschwitz_-_Book_Reviews
Link to purchase the book:

 

Source

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HSA.Archive

 

Don’t lose your head on Valentine’s day

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Ah yes, it is that time of year again when men frantically rush into the shops to buy those last minutes cards and presents for their beloved. Sweaty palms, nervous twitches etc. I say men because lets face it, you hardly see any women in shops buying valentine’s gifts(they are clever, they would have bought  stuff a week earlier).

It is the feast day of love and romance but the origin of St Valentine’s day is a brutal one.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns.

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The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine.

A Roman priest named Valentine believing that the decree was unfair, went against the cruel emperor’s decree and continued to secretly wed young lovers. When his actions were discovered, Claudius had the defiant Roman priest arrested and put to death. Part of the legend is the priest’s farewell note for his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended. He signed it, “From Your Valentine.”

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Valentine was taken to the Prefect of Rome, who sentenced him to be beaten to death and beheaded. Valentine’s execution took place on February 14, around the year 270. He was declared a saint for his service, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Although not much is actually known about this St. Valentine (as there are actually several early Christian martyrs named Valentine), and whether he actually performed his heroic deed for lovers, the world has come to regard him as a true herald of love, and has been celebrating February 14 by exchanging love letters and special gifts.

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Eternal love

The 2800 years old kiss

These human remains were unearthed in 1972 at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The site was burned after a military attack. People from both fighting sides were killed in the fire, which apparently spread quite unexpectedly and quickly through the town. The skeletons were found in a plaster grain bin, probably hiding from soldiers, and they almost certainly asphyxiated quickly. The “head wound” is actually from modern-day excavators.

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The image depicts two human skeletons, seemingly in an embrace, which earned the photograph its title The 2800 Years Old Kiss. Though many sources identify the skeletons as both being male, according to “The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran” by Muhammad A. Dandamaev, Vladimir G. Lukonin, Philip L. Kohl published by Cambridge University Press, the skeletons are male and female (female on the left). Archaeology magazine also identifies them as male and female with the additional information of their height (around 5 foot 2 inches each).

The skeletons were found in a bin with no objects. The only feature is a stone slab under the head of the skeleton on the left hand side. Some sources claim that skeletons, appearing to kiss each other, were buried 6,000 years ago, but that’s not true. The archaeologist who studied the skeletons confirms they were there since 2,800 years ago. The University of Pennsylvania has determined that the couple died together around 800 BC. The skeletons do appear like they are kissing each other before they died – as if to signify that love is eternal.

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The original source of this image is the Penn Museum and officially named “The Lovers”. Its description in the museum label reads:

“The Lovers” from 1972 season at Hasanlu.
Hasanlu is an archaeological excavation site in Iran, Western Azerbaijan, Solduz Valley. Theses skeletons were found in a bin with no objects. The only feature is a stone slab under the head of the skeleton on the left hand side (SK335).

Teppe Hasanlu, located in northwest Iran is a very famous archaeological site of an ancient city and was excavated in ten seasons between 1956 and 1974 by a team from the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Many valuable artifact were unearthed, including this eternal couple.

David And Perla Szumiraj-An Auschwitz Love story

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Amid the horrors of the Nazi death camps, somehow, some people managed to survive. One such couple is David Szumiraj and his wife Perla, who actually met in Auschwitz.

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David Szumiraj went to Auschwitz in late 1942. During his time there, he tended potato fields, where he worked near a young woman named Perla. The two weren’t allowed to speak, but when guards weren’t looking they made eye contact.

The shared glances were enough for the two to develop feelings for each other. Once they were able to talk for the first time, David says, “It was already inside us, the idea that we were a couple, that we were going to get married.” Their first conversation ended with their first kiss.

In January 1945, with Soviet forces approaching, the Nazis began moving prisoners. The evacuation of Auschwitz was one of the most notorious death marches in history, killing 15,000 people.

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After a week of passengers eating nothing but snow, David’s train was attacked by British planes. Weighing just 38 kilograms (83 lb), he survived by eating grass until American soldiers picked him up. Today, he still won’t eat lettuce.

David had no idea where Perla was. He sent a friend to a camp in Hamburg that housed lots of women—and she was there. The first David knew of his friend’s success was when Perla jumped out from behind a tree at the army base where David was staying.

They married, had a daughter, and decided to move to Argentina to be with some of David’s surviving family.

But getting to Argentina was not easy for Jews. Argentina’s government had supported the Nazis during the war, and had issued a secret order, effectively banning Jewish immigrants.

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To enter Argentina, many Jews said they were Catholic. For others, the only way in was to pay large bribes

They couldn’t afford the $20,000 immigration fees, so they had themselves smuggled into the country from Paraguay instead,so they went to neighbouring Paraguay, where they got in touch with people smugglers who would take them to Argentina. When they finally arrived in Buenos Aires, David’s family was waiting.

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Love and War

It wasn’t only death and destruction during WWII, sometimes there was time for a bit of romance and love.

Whispering sweet nothings

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US Army Nurse kissing a Corporal. They were just married

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A daughter awaiting her father’s arrival home

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This “no, no, not yet” goodbye

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Welcome home, a family re-united.

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The kisses and tears of a goodbye between soldiers and their sweethearts after a brief leave in 1944, at Penn Station, New York City

 

A Canadian soldier and his new British girlfriend

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A soldier’s day off, might as well make the most of it.

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The Sacrifice

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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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