My letter to Henio Zytomirski

Henio

Henio Zytomirski was a 9 year old boy who was gassed at Majdanek concentration camp in Poland , on November 9 1942.

In 2005 a project was started in Lubin ,Poland, called ‘Letters to Henio. Each year on April 19 ,which is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland, pupils and citizens of Lublin are asked to send letters addressed to Henio Zytomirski at 11th Kowalska Street, the last known address of Henio in Lublin.

Although it is not the 19th of April today I still will send him a letter via this blog. It is not only a letter to Henio but also an indictment to those who want to silence people like me. People who desperately want to keep the memory of Henio ,and all the other victims alive, But often they are met by threats of those who take pleasure in the Holocaust and/or deny it, Or are threatened by history revisionists who lack the bravery and dignity to admit their nation made many mistakes, they rather sweep it under the carpet.More disturbingly they are being ridiculed by so called Holocaust scholars, not because they are telling untruths , but because they choose a different word then these so called scholars would and they start a war of semantics not realizing how much damage that does because it distracts from the message. The message of maintaining the memories alive , the memories like those of Henio.

My Letter to Henio

Dear Hennio,

I should not have to send you a letter. In fact I should not even know your name. You really should have lived a mundane or even boring life. Or perhaps a very exciting life but you didn’t.

You never got the chance to grow up . You were born 25 March 1933 and murdered in a most brutal way on November 9 1942. You were just 9 years old when you were killed.

Your life was taken from you but your memory isn’t.

Nowadays you would probably have been called an ‘influencer’ because you have several social media accounts with a great number of followers. But if I look at some of the pages dedicated to you I get sad, because they are using you as a way to get some political message across.

You were not a politician, How could you have been? You were only 9. All I want to do is to show your picture and a few details of your life so that people remember your name, and maybe they will even try to find out more about you, and that is good, because that means a piece of you is still alive.

There are some who want to stop me from telling your story and that of other children, but I won’t let them, Because these people have nothing to contribute to society.

If my day comes and I hope that won’t be any day soon, and I pass through I pass through the pearly gates,if I am allowed, I will look you up and we will talk then.

For now my young friend rest in peace in the knowledge you are not forgotten.

The parallel universe that was Auschwitz.

FUN

If you wouldn’t know the wider context of the picture, you would smile at it and think” a lovely picture of young people in the military enjoying themselves”.

And that is exactly what they did , they did enjoy themselves. However this weren’t just some random service men and women. These men and women all had a part to play in the industrial murder of innocent men,women and children, sometimes even newborn babies.

These men and women were all officers and guards of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This photo and others were taken by Karl Hoecker arrived at Auschwitz on May 25, 1944. He was adjutant to Richard Baer, who was a commandant of Auschwitz I concentration camp from May 1944 to December 1944.

karl

Prior to Auschwitz he worked in Majdanek . Majadenke Camp records showed that between May 1943 and May 1944 Höcker had acquired at least 3,610 kilograms of Zyklon B  for use in Majdanek from the Hamburg firm of Tesch & Stabenow.

People often ask me what pictures do I find I most disturbing from the Holocaust. It is not the pictures of children, although they churn my stomach every time I see them. Nor is it the pictures of the heaps of bodies piled on top of each other . It is the pictures like the ones from the Höcker album, which show such an apparent parallel universe that existed in Auschwitz and the sheer evil of people enjoying themselves after work , when they would have been responsible or at least witnessed at first hand, the destruction of so many innocent  lives, only because of hate fueled by a sick ideology.

Some of these men and women had children themselves, yet they did not hesitate killing children of other parents. As if the lives of Jews and other groups just didn’t matter.

kids

singing

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The teenager Meyer Abramczyk

Meyer A

Usually when I write a blog which contains the word ‘teenager’ it refers to somene who was murdered during the Holocaust.,Meyer Abramczyk wasn’t. In fact he sadly passed away when he was aged 87.

Metaphorically speaking the teenager Meyer was killed during the Holocaust. He was born on July 24, 1926 in Belchatow, Poland. His parents were Herschel and Toba Abramczyk. He had six brothers and sisters: Zelda, Hinda, Moshe, Jankiel, Channah, and Paula. At that time.

Meyer was age 13 when the Nazis invaded Poland.  During the 1st week of the war ,Belchatow, was designated a Jewish town. The Abramczyk family tried to flee but soon discovered this was virtually impossible. They were stopped by the SS on the way and were harassed by them. In 1940 Meyer was send to a work camp in Poznan. He was still only 13 at the time.

Age 13 his first year as a teenager. The teenage years are  some of the most important years of a young man’s life. They are the years that transform you from a child into a man. In any normal circumstance a teenager will have his parents and maybe even older siblings around him for support  . It is this support that is needed to cope with all the physical,mental and hormonal changes that happen in those years and the anxiety that goes with that.

For Meyer this support was  taken away. He was left to cope on his own under the most brutal circumstances one could imagine. It later emerged that this support was killed,As were Meyer’s teenage years, they were killed too. A time where he should be playing, exploring ,discovering and enjoying life as much as he could, but that time was taken away from him. He never got to be that teenager. His aim was now survival, and he may not even have  known it at the time that would become his goal, but he did survive and left a legacy and testimony.

Meyer spent of all his teenage years fearing for his life, not knowing what happened to his family.

Meyer’s story as a teenager is remarkable in more then one way. He survived several concentration camps, the last one being Auschwitz Birkenau. He also survived the Auschwitz death march and the sinking of the The Cap Arcona. The ship bombed by the allies, Of the estimated 5,000(some sources put that number higher)  concentration camps inmates  on board only 250 survived, the then still 18 tear old Meyer was one of them.

cap

For years after the war he searched for his family he eventually found out  they were all murdered.

There is a quote by George Herbert , it says ” Living well is the best revenge.” and Meyer certainly did that. He did move to Canada in 1956 and settled in Toronto . Where he married and had 3 children and 6 grandchildren.He worked as a butcher for 60 years and retired at the age of 80. One of his children is Toba, who I consider a friend, She once wrote a piece about her father called “Meyer Abramczyk-Our Hero” for the KehilaLinks Home Page for Belchatow. I do agree Meyer (aka Majer) was a Hero and an example for many generations to come.

Finishing this blog with a picture of Meyer and 3 Belchatow Survivors
in Föhrenwald Displaced Persons Camp, Germany, 1946.

DP

Thank you Toba Abramczyk for allowing me to write about your dad.

Sources

http://liebowitzes.com/belchatow/fohrenwald.htm

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/the-literary-representation-of-world-war-ii-childhood

 

 

Auschwitz May 20 1940

AUSCHWITZ

When people hear the word Auschwitz ,a shiver goes down their spine, and that is a good thing. However so many people do not really know that much about Auschwitz. They think it was only one camp, where there were really many other camps connected to Auschwitz. about 40.

Some even think that from day 1, thousands of Jewish prisoners were transported to Auschwitz, but the when the first transport tool place on May 20 1940, 80 years ago today, there were only 30 prisoners.

The transport consisted of some 30 German inmates, who were branded  as “professional criminals.”  In Nazi Germany it didn’t take much to be categorized a professional criminal .The SS had selected them from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside of Berlin

Less then a month later , on June 14 another 728 inmates were transported to Auschwitz. The transport consisted  of 728 Poles including 20 Polish Jews. They were dubbed ‘political prisoners’ and members of the Polish resistance.They were transported from a prison in Tarnow. Among them was Stanisław Ryniak he was designated number 31 and the first political prisoner.

transpor

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Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/auschwitz

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/auschwitz-key-dates

http://auschwitz.org/en/museum/auschwitz-prisoners/prisoner-numbers

 

This is how close the Holocaust still is.

no5

May 10, 2020 is Mother’s Day in most countries, with only a few exceptions like the UK and Ireland who had it on March 22. May 10 1943 is the date when one Jewish Mother and Grandmother was killed at Westerbork, aged 83. Her name was  Jeanette Meyer-Cahn, wife and  widow of Daniel Meyer. Daniel had died on 10 March 1941 in Geleen, the Netherlands.

Although Jeanette was originally from Leutesdorf, near Koblenz in Germany in 1938 Jeanette, Daniel and their youngest child, Max, and his in laws, the Kaufmann family moved to the Netherlands, initially to Sittard and on June 21,1939 to neighbouring Geleen. The address Jeanette and Daniel moved to was Graaf Huynlaan 5. The picture above is of that address. This is where suddenly the Holocaust comes very near to me again.

Not only passed I by that address a lot, because it was actually in the city centre, I even bought sunglasses a few times in the sunglasses shop right next to the house. It is also in the direct vicinity of the bank, ABN AMRO where I had an account, and in fact still have, but also my favourite restaurant, Akropolis, as the name suggest a Greek restaurant.

graaf

It was also near a bistro, named ‘t Wittebroodje, which served a great French onion soup.

Jeanette and Daniel had 5 children Walter, Rosa, Mathilde, Leo en Max Meyer, and 2 grand children Erich Meyer and Bruno Nathan(picture below)

btuno Walter was killed in WWI during the battle of Verdun. Leo and his wife had emigrated to South America in the 1930’s.

On August 25, 1942 Max and his wife Berta reported to the Market in Geleen, from there they are first deported to Maastricht and then to Poland via Westerbork, where in Poland they ended up isn’t clear. All we know is that they did not survive.

Jeanette’s 2 daughters and grandsons were all killed during the Holocaust.

Jeanette died  on 10 May 1943 in Westerbork transit camp, due to illness and exhaustion and she was cremated on 12 May 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery on field U, row 6, grave nr. 6.

Only Leo survived the war.

The war may have ended 75 year ago and with it also the Holocaust, it is a fact that decades on people like me can still find a connection with it.

REMEMBER ALWAYS

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

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SOURCES

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Jeanette-Meyer-Cahn

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/514769/about-jeanette-meyer-cahn

Auschwitz- Some forgotten facts.

AUSCHWITZ

Prisoners in Auschwitz were given a number which was tattooed on their arm. Marking people with a number makes it easier to treat them as objects rather then human beings. However not everyone got a number, there were occasions where they ran out of ink.

More people were killed in Auschwitz then the combined total  WWII military casualties of the US,UK and Canada. An estimated 1.1 million were murdered in Auschwitz. 845.800 UK/US and Canadian troops were killed during all of WWII .

A Star of David was placed above the entrance to the gas chamber and a sign was painted in Hebrew on a purple curtain covering the entrance to the gas chamber that said “This is the Gateway to God. Righteous men will pass through”

Of the estimated 7,500 -8000 guards only 750 were sentenced, and even those sentences were mostly relatively light sentences.

Auschwitz guards had their own athletics team. The camp for the  was like a small town, with its own staff canteen, cinema, theatre and grocery store.

gurads

The Nazis generated a revenue of  60 million Reichmarks, which is today’s equivalent of 163 million USD. from slave labour.

Auschwitz was of course a complex of about 40 camps.

Donation

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

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Sources

BBC

http://auschwitz.org/en/

 

There is no justification

angel

There is no, nor was there ever, nor will there ever be any justification for murdering a 6 year old child, or any child for that matter.

A 6 year old child should be send to school not an extermination camp. What sick twisted ideology thinks it is okay to murder a child?

Nelly Tarszis was born on July 10,1936 in Lodz Poland and was killed on 24 August 1942 in Chelmno. She was just aged 6.

Nowadays a typical school year starts on September 1st or near to that date, I believe it was the same in the 1940s.

Nelly would just have been one week or so away from her 1st school day, A highlight in any child’s life and indeed the lives of their parents, Education is a basic human right, Having that feeling of opening your first school book on your first page is a right that should never be stolen from any child, yet it was for Nelly and millions like her.

If we fail our children again, and at the moment there is a real possibility this may happen, we have utterly failed as a society, because now we have the benefit if hindsight, We know the signs, the rhetoric, they are not unique and not even that original.

DO NOT FAIL THE CHILDREN AGAIN

Faces of Auschwitz

Auschwitz

Some people think of Auschwitz as 1 camp but it was a complex of over 40  camps operated by the Nazis in occupied Poland.

It is estimated that at least at least 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, o which 1.1 million were murdered. But I do believe that number is higher,however since I cannot verify that I will go with the data which is available.

Regardless how many were deported the simple fact is that they were all innocent and the number deported and killed should be 0. Each one of them was a human being, although they did not commit any crimes they were treated like criminals. Even their pictures taken at Auschwitz were mug shots.

Below are just some of the faces of Auschwitz.

1

3

Donation

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

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Sources

USHMM

https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/

 

Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.

diary

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer,  for safekeeping. You see Renia could not write that line because one of those three shots was for her.

Zygmunt Schwarzer had helped Renia and his own parents  to hide in the attic of his Uncle’s house but an informant betrayed her whereabouts to the Nazis;s and Renia and Schwarzer’s parents  were shot in the street on July 30, 1942.

Her last name Spiegel means mirror in both the German and Dutch language. Renia’s story as so many others is a mirror we should look at. If we truly look into that mirror we can only come to one conclusion. So little has been learned form the horrors of the past, so little that we are bound to repeat them.

Ending this blog with some of Renia’s own words from July 15,1942 just over 2 weeks before she was killed . May her words  be a mirror to our souls.

“Remember this day; remember it well, You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Leaving the ghetto without a pass,  is punishable by death.

Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror,”

Donation

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

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Sources

The Smithsonian

The Guardian

Irish Times

 

A TRAGIC LOVE STORY

Kapo

++++courtesy of HSA-Holocaust Social Archive++++++++++++++++

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