Last Sunday I once again had the privilege to be invited and attended a presentation, organised by the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum, As before I was astounded how little I actually know about the Holocaust.
This the the recording of that presentation and the explanation about the event.
If the Wannsee Conference discussed plans to target young Jewish women as part of its Final Solution protocol that part of the minutes was destroyed. What we do know is that a few weeks after that meeting, Himmler ordered the creation of a women’s camp in Auschwitz. In preparation, he visited Ravensbruck to commandeer female German prisoners to oversee the young Jewish women about to be imprisoned in the new women’s camp in Poland. So began the official systematic annihilation of Jews, which attacked, first and foremost, unmarried Jewish girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 32. This little-known history of how young women were targeted in 1942, reminds us of the plight of young women today.
Heather Dune Macadam, author of the book 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz, spoke about her research for the book and the soon-to-be-released film 999. She revealed these young women’s poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women’s history.
This first official transport to Auschwitz from Slovakia in March, 1942 deported almost 1000 young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad. One of the women on this transport was Prof. Hanna Yablonka’s aunt, Lila Klein, from the nearby town of Levoča, in the Tatra Mountains. Another young woman from the same town was Yuci [Jozi] Foldi (her Slovak name was Julia Skodova). She was one of the few women who survived the transport. Skovada’s testimony, which she chronicles in her book, Three Years Without a Name: Auschwitz 1942-1945, is extraordinary because she was a witness to what Hanna Yablonka has described as the “archeology of Auschwitz” – the step-by-step the implementation of the Final Solution in this camp.
In her presentation, Yablonka discussed the preparations to publish Skodova’s book, the unique experience of Slovakian Jews in the history of the Final Solution, including her family’s personal story, and the tragic fate of Julia Skodova.