Day 33: Re-visiting The Past.

On this day in 1939, it is September 11th., and 560 of Ostrow’s Jews are murdered. Also, 12 of Karwodrza’s Jews are murdered while those who will lead the charge for The “Final Solution”, Odilo Globocnik takes up his position when he is appointed HSSPF for Lublin. The awareness of Society of what it means for the Jews under Hitler’s terror does not escape the higher echelons of the Military! Admiral Wilhelm Canaris reports his own knowledge of atrocities to Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Head of OKW.

“..end ..November 1940 ..8,000 ..were at ..Oswiecim camps. ..political prisoners ..criminal ..Jews. This last group ..persecuted most of all. Scarcely any of them came out alive. ..death notices. ..received. ..December 20,260 ..were sent. ..200 bodies ..being burned in ..crematorium each week.” Polish Fortnightly Review.

However hard I might try to liken my journey to that of The Jews of Europe, for the removal of the Jews from their Birthplaces, from their homes and deprived of their livelihoods, they were to be dissolved of their very existence. Their arrival at sites like Babi-Yar, Belzec, Bikernicki, Birkenau, the Sister Camp to Auschwitz where I will soon visit, at Bronna Gora, Chelmno, Liepaja, Majdanek, Ponary, Sobibor, Sudikov or Treblinka there must have been some sense of foreboding that could not shelter them all from the fear of what might await them there. The mode of Transport was essentially different. For those Jews who resided close to the Camps and Killings sites, a forced march ensued.

For those whose proximity to Poland was hundreds or even thousands of Miles away, evacuation was to be a tortuous affair! For many of these Jewish Transports, there was the reality that Death and Destruction awaited them. All those who journeyed on, what had been called a ‘resettlement East,’ could not possibly have known what awaited all of them! For the Polish Jews the journey was far shorter for them, evacuated from a myriad of Cities, Towns, Villages, Shtetls a few miles or ten to their particular Destruction. Surely more of them would have known than say those Jews of Greece or Holland? Of course, for the Jews of France, Hungary, Italy or Norway the route was longer, the knowledge of what awaited them less certain but the ending was always going to be the same? Total Destruction.

I survey the scene as Parents jostle their Children to secure their safety amongst the crowds of others who might simply stumble across little limbs chasing siblings in between rows of Adults and seats crammed with the waiting throng!

1940 September 11th. Quanza refused leave to disembark Jewish refugees in America or Mexico. From the earliest, when it was still possible to save many of the Jews of Europe, Nations from across the globe refused to admit Refugee Jews inside their Borders. Not only were these Jews fleeing persecution, as History now tells us, they were fleeing the cold and calculated Extermination of their being!

1941 September 11th. 7,000 Rudel Jewish Men, Women and Children murdered in the Stasino Gravel Pit at Stolin. 953 Seirijai Jewish Men, Women and Children murdered. 155 Leipalingis Jewish Men, Women and Children murdered.

1943 September 11th. A transport from Berlin with 54 Jews arrives at Auschwitz and 45 of them, Jewish Men, Women and Their Children are immediately gassed. There are German raids against the Jews of Nice commencing and Stefan Symoneko escapes from Auschwitz. The Family ‘transports’ from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz mean the destruction of those formerly “protected status” Jews.

1944 September 11th. 598 Jews from Stutthof Concentration Camp arrive on the ramparts at Auschwitz. 596 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children are sent to be immediately gassed. While Chaim Weizmann pleads for the RAF to bomb the approaches to Auschwitz, Allied leaders make the case for not diverting Air Bombardment away from the strategic requirement of the War Effort. That demand does not mean that Auschwitz cannot be Bombed. But the Bombing of Auschwitz is related to the Manufacture of Oil and Rubber, not the relief of the Jews being Murdered there. British troops have now arrived in Holland and those Jews remaining can breathe a little more easily.

Though the title of my First book is Called Testimony and Fading Memory in The Holocaust, this Blog is not merely about Books, or even words within Books! It is about attributing a Moral perspective to an awful event in history which should be, Always Remembered; these are the Children of all of us. They were taken, ruthlessly. They were treated harshly. They were starved, deprived of all sustenance and comfort. They were often beaten and then they were deposited at a site which consumed them wholly, without mercy!

September 11th. 1942 Convoy 31.

Max Flanenbaum Aged 2 years.
Richard Frenkel Aged 2 years.
Sylvain Frieder Aged 3 years.
Herbert Fuchs Aged 3 years.
Solange Grinsztejn Aged 2 years.
Sylvain Kozulski Aged 4 years.
Pierre Lublinski Aged 3 years.
Myriam Moscowicz Aged 4 years.
Therese Payouk Aged 2 years.
Saloman Pinkas Aged 4 years.
Esther Radomysler Aged 4 years.
Robert Slomovitz Aged 2 years.
Simone Slomovitz Aged 3 years.
Renate Stieglitz Aged 4 years.
Floride Weindling Aged 4 years.

A Book a Day, or so of suggested reading!

37: Elie Wiesel: Night.