Then suddenly your classmate has gone. Forever!

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The most evil acts of the Nazi regime were done to children. I often have thought about how I would feel if suddenly my classmates suddenly started disappearing from school,mostly without any real reason given or sometimes only a  vague explanation.

This what happened in schools all across Europe during WWII, Below are just a few accounts of school children that suddenly disappeared.

JOSEPH MUSCHA MUELLER

Born: 1932, Bitterfeld, Germany

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Joseph was born in Bitterfeld, Germany, to Gypsy parents. For reasons unknown, he was raised in an orphanage for the first one-and-a-half years of his life. At the time of Joseph’s birth, some 26,000 Gypsies–members of either the Sinti or Roma tribes–lived in Germany. Though most were German citizens, they were often discriminated against by other Germans and subjected to harassment.

1933-39: At age one-and-a-half, Joseph was taken into foster care by a family living in Halle, a city some 20 miles from Bitterfeld. That same year, the Nazi party came to power. When Joseph was in school, he was often made the scapegoat for pranks in the classroom and beaten for “misbehaving.” He was also taunted with insults like “bastard” and “mulatto” by classmates who were members of the Hitler Youth movement.

1940-44: When Joseph was 12 he was taken from his classroom by two strangers who said he had “appendicitis” and needed immediate surgery. He protested, but was beaten and forcefully taken into surgery where he was sterilized, a procedure legalized by a Nazi law allowing the forced sterilization of “asocials,” a category that included Gypsies. After his recovery, Joseph was to be deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but his foster father managed to have him smuggled from the hospital and hidden.

Joseph survived the remainder of the war by hiding for five months in a garden shed.

JAN-PETER PFEFFER

Born: May 3, 1934, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Jan-Peter’s father, Heinz, was a German-Jewish refugee who married Henriette De Leeuw, a Dutch-Jewish woman. Frightened by the Nazi dictatorship and the murder of Heinz’s uncle in a concentration camp, they emigrated to the Netherlands when Henriette was nine months pregnant. They settled in Amsterdam.

1933-39: Jan-Peter was born soon after his parents arrived in the Netherlands. He was 18 months old when Tommy, his baby brother, was born. In 1939 the parents and brother of Jan-Peter’s father joined them in the Netherlands as refugees from Germany. Jan-Peter and Tommy grew up speaking Dutch as their native language, and they often spent time at their mother’s family home in the country.

1940-44: The Germans occupied Amsterdam in May 1940. Despite the German occupation, 6-year-old Jan-Peter did not feel much change in his day-to-day life. Then just after his ninth birthday, the Germans sent his grandmother to a camp called Westerbork. Six months later, Jan-Peter and his family were sent to the same camp, but his grandmother was no longer there. During the winter, the Pfeffers were sent to a faraway ghetto called Theresienstadt where Jan-Peter felt cold, scared, and hungry.

On May 18, 1944, Jan-Peter was deported with his family to Auschwitz. He was gassed on July 11, 1944. Jan-Peter was 10 years old.

NADINE SCHATZ

Born: September 10, 1930, Boulogne-Billancourt, France

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Nadine was the daughter of immigrant Jewish parents. Her Russian-born mother settled in France following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Nadine was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a city on the outskirts of Paris known for its automobile factories. She was fluent in Russian and French.

1933-39: Nadine attended elementary school in Paris. Her mother, Ludmilla, taught piano, and her Russian grandmother, Rosalia, lived with them. After France declared war on Germany in September 1939, Nadine’s mother moved the family to Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, a small village on the Brittany coast, hoping it would be safer. There, Nadine resumed her schooling.

1940-42: Victorious German troops reached Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in June 1940. After France surrendered to Germany, the Germans remained in Brittany. Nadine and her mother moved to the nearby city of Nantes. But local French officials frequently cooperated with the occupying Germans to help enforce anti-Jewish laws. In 1942 Nadine and her mother were arrested by French police. Nadine was separated from her mother and deported to the Drancy transit camp east of Paris.

Twelve-year-old Nadine was deported to Auschwitz on September 23, 1942. She was gassed shortly after arriving.

BERTHA ADLER

Born: June 20, 1928, Selo-Solotvina, Czechoslovakia

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Bertha was the second of three daughters born to Yiddish-speaking Jewish parents in a village in Czechoslovakia’s easternmost province. Soon after Bertha was born, her parents moved the family to Liege, an industrial, largely Catholic city in Belgium that had many immigrants from eastern Europe.

1933-39: Bertha’s parents sent her to a local elementary school, where most of her friends were Catholic. At school, Bertha spoke French. At home, she spoke Yiddish. Sometimes her parents spoke Hungarian to each other, a language they had learned while growing up. Bertha’s mother, who was religious, made sure that Bertha also studied Hebrew.

1940-44: Bertha was 11 when the Germans occupied Liege. Two years later, the Adlers, along with all the Jews, were ordered to register and Bertha and her sisters were forced out of school. Some Catholic friends helped the Adlers obtain false papers and rented them a house in a nearby village. There, Bertha’s father fell ill one Friday and went to the hospital. Bertha promised to visit him on Sunday to bring him shaving cream. That Sunday, the family was awakened at 5 a.m. by the Gestapo. They had been discovered.

Fifteen-year-old Bertha was deported to Auschwitz on May 19, 1944. She was gassed there two days later.

ANDRAS MUHLRAD

Born: July 27, 1930, Ujpest, Hungary

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The second of two children, Andras was born to Jewish parents living in a suburb of Budapest. His father was a pharmacist. The Muhlrads lived in a large house with Andras’ grandfather and aunts. As a toddler, Andras often played with his older sister, Eva, and their cousins in the big yard behind their home.

1933-39: Andras was 4 when his family moved to their own apartment. It was 1936 when he began primary school and Hitler had already been in power in Nazi Germany for three years. At night his father would turn on the radio to listen to news of the Third Reich. All this still seemed far away from Hungary. The young boy concentrated on earning good grades. He knew only a few top Jewish students were admitted to the public high school every year.

1940-44: Four months before Andras turned 14, the Germans invaded Hungary. Soon after, the Muhlrads had to leave their apartment and move in with the family of Andras’ friend Yannos, whose building had been marked with a Star of David. At first, living together was tolerable, but conditions became increasingly more crowded until there were 25 in the apartment. The residents were allowed to leave the building for errands a few hours a day. Then one day a gendarme took up guard in front of the entrance. The residents spent three days trapped inside fearing what would happen next.

Andras and his family were among the 435,000 Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz in the early summer of 1944. Andras was later moved to a camp in Bavaria, where he perished.

 

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Bath School massacre

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The Bath School massacre, was a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan which killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and 6 adults and injured at least 58 other people. Kehoe killed his wife and firebombed his farm, then detonated an explosion in the Bath Consolidated School before committing suicide by detonating a final device in his truck.It is the deadliest mass murder to take place at a school in United States history.

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Andrew Kehoe was the 55-year-old school board treasurer and was angered by increased taxes and his defeat in the Spring 1926 election for township clerk. He was thought to have planned his “murderous revenge” after that public defeat.Kehoe left behind a stenciled sign on his farm fence that read “Criminals are made, not born.”

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He had a reputation for difficulty on the school board and in personal dealings. In addition, he was notified that his mortgage was going to be foreclosed upon in June 1926. For much of the next year, a neighbor noticed that he had stopped working on his farm and thought that he might be planning suicide. During that period, Kehoe purchased explosives and discreetly planted them on his property and under the school.

Prior to May 18, Kehoe had loaded the back seat of his truck with all sorts of metal debris capable of producing shrapnel during an explosion. He also bought a new set of tires for his truck so it wouldn’t break down when transporting the explosives. He didn’t want it to look suspicious that his truck was full of dangerous products. He made many trips to Lansing for more explosives, as well as the school, town, and his house.

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Many of his neighbors noticed how busy he was driving around, but never thought to make any comment about it. Multiple times, a neighbor to the school saw a man carrying objects into the building at night, but never thought to mention it to anyone.

Nellie Kehoe had been discharged on May 16 from Lansing’s St. Lawrence Hospital.[16] Between her release and the bombings two days later, Kehoe killed his wife. He put her body in a wheelbarrow located in the rear of the farm’s chicken coop, where it was found in a heavily charred state after the farm explosions and fire. Piled around the cart were silverware and a metal cash box. Ashes of several bank notes could be seen through a slit in the cash box. Kehoe had placed and wired homemade pyrotol firebombs in the house and all the buildings of the farm. The burned remains of his two horses were found tied in their enclosures with their legs wired together, to prevent their rescue during the fire.

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Classes began at 8:30 a.m. that morning. At about 8:45 a.m., in the basement of the north wing of the school, an alarm clock set by Kehoe detonated the dynamite and pyrotol he had hidden there.

Rescuers heading to the scene of the Kehoe farm fire heard the explosion at the school building, turned back and headed toward the school. Parents within the rural community also began rushing to the school. The school building had turned into a war zone] with thirty-eight people, mostly children, being killed in the initial explosion.

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First-grade teacher Bernice Sterling told an Associated Press reporter that the explosion was like an earthquake:

“It seemed as though the floor went up several feet,” she said. “After the first shock I thought for a moment I was blind. When it came the air seemed to be full of children and flying desks and books. Children were tossed high in the air; some were catapulted out of the building.

About a half hour after the explosion, Kehoe drove up to the school and saw Superintendent Huyck. Kehoe summoned the superintendent over to his truck. Charles Hawson testified at the Inquest that he saw the two men struggle over some type of long gun and that the car then exploded.killing Superintendent Huyck, Kehoe, Nelson McFarren (a retired farmer)] and Cleo Clayton, an eight-year-old second grader. Clayton, a survivor of the first blast, had wandered out of the school building debris and was killed by the fragmentation from the exploding vehicle.

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The explosion also mortally wounded postmaster Glenn O. Smith (who lost a leg and died later that day of his wounds) and injured several others.

 

The Luftwaffe Bombing of Sandhurst Road School

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The bombing of Sandhurst Road School occurred during an air raid on Wednesday, 20 January 1943 when the school on Minard Road, Catford, south east London was seriously damaged. A German fighter-bomber dropped a single 500 kg (1,100 lb) bomb on the school at 12.30 pm, killing 38 children (32 killed at the school and 6 more died in hospital) and 6 staff and injuring another 60 people. Many were buried for hours under the rubble.

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The German attack was part of a raid by 28 Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-4U3 fighter-bombers escorted by Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters, which took off at noon from an airfield in German-occupied France.

The planes were to attack any targets of opportunity in what the Germans called a Terrorangriff (“terror raid”).The German pilot who attacked the school was Hauptmann Heinz Schumann from Jagdgeschwader 2. He was flying a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-4 carrying a single 500 kg SC 500 bomb.

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It is debated whether Schumann deliberately targeted the school, or simply attacked what looked like a large factory (the school was several stories high).

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Due to inefficiencies of the warning system, the air raid siren had not sounded by the time the German planes arrived. Many children were having their lunch and the attack destroyed the area of the school where they were eating. Witness reports suggest the attacking planes first flew past the school and then bombed it on a second run.Another plane is alleged to have also strafed the playground and local streets. In the same raid four barrage balloon sites were destroyed in Lewisham, a large gas holder in Sydenham was set alight, a Deptford power station suffered three direct hits, and the President’s House at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

The bomb killed (either immediately or later in hospital) 24 pupils and 2 teachers in the dining room. Five more children were killed on a staircase and nine in second floor classrooms. The blast also destroyed the staff room killing three teachers and another was killed in a science room. Roughly 60 others were injured. The teachers who died were: Mrs Connie Taylor, Mrs Ethel Betts, Mrs Virginia Carr, Miss Mary Jukes, Miss Gladys Knowelden and Miss Harriet Langdon.

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Of the 38 children and 6 teachers killed by the bombing, 31 children and 1 teacher were buried together at Hither Green Cemetery in a civilian war dead plot. The mass grave has a rectangular stone surround that contains a raised tablet with inscription. The burial was conducted by the Bishop of Southwark Bertram Simpson, and over 7,000 mourners attended The school now has both a stained glass window and a memorial garden commemorating the event.

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