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

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Happy Birthday Aron Polak

Aron would have been 80 today, but he didn’t even get to the age of 2. He was born in Amsterdam on September 8, 1941. He was murdered in Sobibor March 26,1943.

The fact that he was murdered at such a young age is not even the saddest part of his story. There was actually a change he could have survived.

Aron’s Father, Joseph, was sent to Westerbork, I am not sure on what date, bur sometime after November 1941. After that Aron’s Mother, Lena, went into hiding with Aron. She moved several times. Eventually she stayed with Family but due to tensions Lena decided to voluntarily report herself and Aron to Westerbork.

Lena actually believed that her Husband had a job in Westerbork, sorting out gold and silver. She probably thought that he could provide for his family, even in Westerbork.

Lena and her son Aron eventually reported themselves voluntarily in Westerbork on 27 February 1943. They stayed in barrack 72 and on the 1st of March, Joseph was also in that barrack. On March 23,1943, , the Polak family was deported to Sobibor and on arrival there on 26 March 1943 immediately sent to the gas chambers, and were murdered.

What is so disturbing about this, is that the Nazis somehow created the illusion that even when you were sent to Westerbork, there was a chance of a reasonable normal life.

As for young Aron, I will be looking up to the sky tonight, imagining he is one of the stars I will see. Happy Birthday little man, you were a star to your parents, and you are a star for all of us. A beacon to remind us of what you went through.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/649374/het-lot-van-lena-barend-haar-man-joseph-polak-en-hun-zoontje-aron.

https://geheugenvanoost.amsterdam/page/26420/geen-afscheid

Remembering Isaias(Sjakie) Degen

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for his breakthrough work in science.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great book he wrote.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great painting he painted.

I wish I could say that Sjakie Degen was the Sjakie mentioned in the Dutch song “Sjakie van de hoek” Sjakie from the corner, the mischievous boy who broke a window by kicking a ball through it.

But none of that would be true, Sjakie Degen was just a boy.

He was born on December 13.1939 the first born son of Loutje and Beppie Degen and was nearly 3 1/2 years old, when he and his parents were registered in Camp Westerbork on 23 March 1943. He stayed with his parents for a few days in barrack 60. They were all deported on the 6th April to Sobibor. Upon arrival there on 9 April 1943, Sjakie and his parents were murdered in the gas chambers the very same day.

So all I can say about Sjakie is that he was murdered 25 years and 1 day before I was born.

He had brother who survived.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/562959/about-isaias-sjakie-degen