This modern page from the rampage of The Holocaust, a page mostly written by Natalie Mehlman Scharf, begins with her birth in 1925. As Hitler is gaining influence and while Europe is wrestling with the devastation and trauma after World War I, supposedly the War to end all Wars, Adolf Hitler has entered the political stage. Across Germany, and certainly within Poland, punitive measures are being sought which will decrease any influence the Jewish People are allowed to have within their own communities. Here, as antisemitism gains a newer voice, the threat to Jewish antecedence is not wholly appreciated. As the Schutzstaffel or SS is borne, Hitler now has a personal bodyguard which will be known to infamy as the pliable tool in the destruction of 6,000,000 of European Jewry. Also, Hitler’s first volume of his assumed book, Mein Kampf, his so called struggle is published and the warning signs as to the future treatment of the Jewish People is more clearly spelled out.
“..I was born November 15th. 1925 ..a ..10 year old little girl. I recall on Easter how ..Poles were coming out of ..Church full of scorn and anger at us ..cursed Jews ..for killing Jesus their God and Saviour. We stayed indoors till Easter was over.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
As Europe was composed of many differing factions, all vying for political power, the catholic church was unrelenting in its own issuance of edicts aimed against the Jewish People. Such pastoral letters would have fallen on fertile ground in Jaworzno and a particular pastoral letter from the Austrian Bishop, Johannes Gfollner of Linz, states most irreverently and without charity, that it is the duty of all catholics to adopt a moral form of antisemitism. This gives many antisemites leverage in their campaign to bully, abuse and take from the Jews what belongs to the Jews, especially within Poland. The following day of this pastoral letter, on January 30th. 1933 Adolf Hitler is appointed German Reichskanzler. This single event, as if to confirm the status of the Reich was in accord with the church, they would strike their bargain. All through the swathe of the 1930’s, amidst the political turmoil and financial unrest, the Jews of Germany and Austria faced a critical onslaught against their very integrity.
“..Marszalek Pilsudski died in 1935 ..start of our gehenna ..our hell.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
By May 12th. 1935, when the Polish dictator Jozef Pilsudski dies, ever more anti-Jewish measures escalate their opportune moment, ever more rancid and glaring, and within Poland, tangibly so. The government of Poland, and in fact most of the Polish political parties will call for discrimination, economic boycott, expulsion, and physical violence against their Jewish People. Young Natalie is becoming aware of the difference here presence is causing and she is not yet 10 years of age. Meanwhile, the Polish catholic church with most of its priests and the catholic press all advocating a more pronounced assault, the Jewish presence within Poland was under a consolidated and direct attack. Even catholic schools administer to the whim of bigotry and downright racism. Places of learning will sanction all manner of discrimination and or violence against their Jewish Community in School’s, Colleges and Universities.
Friday August 16th. 1935 “..solution of ..Jewish question ..is ..business of ..Fuhrer ..not ..individuals.” Heinrich Himmler.
Such was the succession of anti-Jewish rhetoric, it was difficult to hear above the rabble, the ameliorating terms of any ‘christian’ efficacy, tolerance nor understanding. The political will of the few was shaking the branch of the tolerant many and the entire infrastructure of any moral probity was being lopped off, root and branch. Such was the clamour for a victim, all too many rode the intolerance mode of hatred and indifference to what was being stated became a muted symbol of the culpable and complicit nature of duplicitous agreement with what was and would continue to emerge, until The Holocaust was fully formed. Along the way, individual assaulting of Jews gave way to individual killings of Jews until the growing spectre of mass killing, in the few, the dozen’s, the 100’s and then the 1,000’s became common place. By August 25th. of that year we even hear similar words from a protestant pastor, Martin Niemoeller, and with words no so called ‘christian’ should ever have uttered of an assault upon the human tolerance toward the individual, due to their difference.
Sunday August 25th. 1935 “..dark and sinister and under a curse for they brought ..Christ of God to ..cross but are also responsibility for ..blood of all ..righteous men who were ever murdered.” Martin Niemoeller.
Martin Niemoller, a reformed and then ardent anti-Nazi protestant church minister, who was convinced of the greater wrong to be achieved in even supporting Hitler, managed to initially support what Hitler stood for. Here, while he still preaches that the Jews are ‘The Christ Killers’, Niemoller is playing directly into the hands of those he opposed on a theological and religious basis. For Niemoller, it is clear to him that the history of the Jews is both a dark and sinister influence and as the age old hatred that has blighted human existence, Niemoller has liberally expounded and endorsed most readily, that the Jews were the culprits in the killing of christ. This church devotee’s antisemitic rhetoric of more than 2,000 years of hate filled illegitimacy, stands alongside even the most sinister of Hitler’s pronouncements. It is difficult, given the reverence attributed to Niemoller over his other wordy claim to fame, that when they came for all other’s he did not speak nor did he voice any concern over the Jewish plight.
“..First they came for ..socialists ..and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for ..trade unionists ..and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for ..Jews ..and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemoller.
Then, when it came for Martin Niemoller to be taken away, he recognised no one remained who would speak for him, because they had become inculcated in the Nazi crimes of hatred and murder of the Jews and others. So instead of Niemoller speaking out in earnest for the tolerance necessary to be truly ‘christian’ and though he did refute the Hitlerite legacy of ‘Race, Blood and Soil, Pastor Niemoller was consigned to concentration in the Dachau camp. When many of those who appear exemplary in their ministry, they are exposed critically when on September 15th., when the racist Nuremberg Laws are passed, and Jews are defined biologically by ‘race,’ there is little of any concerted effort to be heard in protest. The National Citizens Law now strips away Citizenship from its Jews and with the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, for European Jewry, this ‘Lawlessness’ became the Law unilaterally promulgated against them.
“..My poor kind Father asked a few of his customers ..begged them please help me ..my children are starving give me a few potatoes ..a few onions a carrot to make a potato soup ..for we are so hungry. Every one of them closed their doors and told us. ..I went with my Dad to help him carry ..food ..he could hardly walk ..he would say ..you eat I am full ..you are growing.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
I had already completed what I intended to write on the place of Jaworzno within The Holocaust and then am focused on what seems appropriate to alter that earlier intention. When I am reminded of Friendships and recognise that a Camp guard, extradited from the US to Germany might yet evade ‘justice’, I am urged to write even more on why we must never relinquish our hold on memory. I for one know where responsibility lies and I will contribute further to the understanding of Jaworzno’s place in The Final Solution of The Jewish Question with an unbounded accusation. With those resigned to a terminology which is used to conceal the clear cut intention to Murder all Jews, and let us not be complacent, die endlosung der Judenfrage was and always was intended on becoming, The Holocaust for 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, All Men, Women and Their Children of them. Essential in all aspects of what I have been delivering has considered the power which does not belong to us to forgive.
“..They told us don’t ever come to us. We cant even talk to you ..besides we have no food ourselves. Yet in ..back I saw a garden brimming with loads of fruits vegetables ..chickens ..cows ..pigs a veritable food haven.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
For these 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, including those many here at Jaworzno, forgiveness does not belong to me, nor to the Survivors and certainly not to any judiciary which singularly failed the loss to these many Jewish People. What belongs solely to those 6,000,000 Jewish Victims themselves is the essential in forgiveness, a gift that is freely given and these Jews have no ability to deliver it. I hold firmly to the contention that No one has Any right over that ability to forgive other than those directly involved in the Catastrophe itself. For those who Survived, they are at liberty to forgive those who rampaged against them, bullied and sullied them, abused and battered them and truly brought them to the brink of extinction. However, that does not reserve the right for anyone to then Forgive for the abuse, the barbarity, the execution or the annihilation which 6,000,000 Murdered Jews then suffered for which their ability to seek an apology or render any acceptance of it, has been so brutally slain.
The two positions are demonstrably and interminably separated by the final Catastrophe which overtook these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, those who did not Survive. Here too, though mine is a replacement detail for those who should and did not do anything, nor enough to alleviate Jewish suffering or stem the flow of atrocity toward them, my accusation bears no semblance of any forgiveness whatsoever. As a consequence of an intolerable atrocity, The Holocaust, fully underwritten by a World’s indifference to the Jews of Jaworzno and the struggle of 11,293,300 Jews to Survive, we owe a debt to All Jews which will Never be repaid. It is an irony that the policy of a Jewish State that might have saved more, was unacceptable to far too many Jews of the time. But how could these Jews of Europe, let alone Jaworzno know the horror that was to come? As the exacting detail that was set out by The Wannsee Conference shows, far more Jews than were destroyed would have been annihilated.
“..That’s ..way it was. I lived it. I remember it all.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
It is our fortune that those like you Natalie have Survived as a consequence of some haphazard form of luck which remains inexplicable. Sadly too, and for you Natalie this is a further tragedy, you have to relive a horror so blatant and cruel that we can come to understand or remotely comprehend what was so wrong back then and what continues to be an unlearned lesson in this world today. Much of what I write here is incomparable to what those, like Natalie Mehlman Scharf, Aron Krakauer or those like Ruth Marshansky and Nathan Roth came to know of. For me, it is to these Jews, both lost to us and those who survived the destructive efforts of far too many, who wrote words to deliver truth to us, it is for these that we must thank, and in Remembering their glorious effort to Survive and afford us their Testimony, recognise their uniquely precedent efforts. For those who have undergone or have learned of those experiences, this will trouble History for eternity.
“..I didn’t have any experience of a Polish worker giving me food ..I do remember ..area where they had their lunch and ..they did leave rather generous ..if you want to call them ..potato peelings from boiled potatoes.” Nathan Roth.
Also, and for those who still managed to Survive, we come to learn a horrid detail of a terrible lesson which 6,000,000 Jews fully experienced and cannot ever relate to us in person. Though many have left tiny capsules of their past, we cannot gain the terrible tragedy of their lives without constructing from the detail of other’s who suffered similarly up to the point of their own Survival. For that reason, I am eternally grateful to those like Natalie for the detail of her story and I write it down, not just for posterity, but to catalogue a Crime against all of Humanity which we must learn appropriately from. The truth we come so glaringly close to becoming a witness to, which Natalie and other’s relate is so evidential that this one person is now so enabled to relate it to us. Natalie allows for our intervention into a horror we cannot begin to know in any form of reality to feed our sense with terror so horrifying it seizes us and consumes our ability to suggest the inhumanity in human beings can be restricted to those we know are the evil doers.
“..Dear Patrick. I am 91 years old ..a faded old beauty ..born in Jaworzno ..Poland. I came from a family of 8. My father and Mother Ichak and Rosalia Mehlman. Kind law abiding people along with my three sisters Eva 29 ..Regina 28 ..Salusia 12 years old ..my nephew Willy 6 ..my niece Frieda 6 months old ..that I never saw.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, this piece, so appropriate to Jaworzno, or Neu-Dachs given its German name, related to you specifically as a member of this Jewish Community, who were forced into a Labour Camp where too few of the 1,600 to 3,700 Jews detained emerged. There your fellow Jewish neighbours were drilled into an extinction immeasurable in human terms and significantly so for Your close proximity to the scene of the atrocity itself. So before I go any further with my response to your willing ability to share with this World what you experienced, I wish to repeat a sentiment I share with all Survivor’s. I have always made it a point, when I meet with Survivors, to apologise to them on behalf of what an ostensibly ‘christian’ body of people has done. For the whole of Humanity that Sin of Perpetration, Intolerance or Indifference is a stain upon our own legitimacy as human beings. So just in case I do not get the opportunity to greet you in person, I apologise to You for the inability of those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, who cannot direct their own appreciation and respect for what you have done and what you have achieved on their behalf.
“..In 1942 was slaving ..starving ..infested with lice ..eaten by bedbugs in a Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia ..for 3 years until ..blessed day when we 350 very lucky young innocent girls ..were liberated by ..raggedy tired but victorious Red Army.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
In each of you Survivor’s, the World entire has been saved. It should not matter that I have issued this statement many times, but each time I do, it is with a profound respect for what you manage to achieve, in spite of the enormous injustices other’s have caused you. I took time out to learn a little more of the specific detail of Jaworzno and I wish to provide some basic facts about this little space, tragically present for its Jewish Citizens amongst The Holocaust. The town we will come to know is called Jaworzno, which lies in the Silesian Province of Southern Poland and was a mere 40 kilometres from what was to become the most sophisticated Murder Mill in all of History, Auschwitz and Birkenau. Here, within Jaworzno itself, local Jews and others from the Town and surrounding areas were worked toward Death to ensure the Destructive capacity at Birkenau was kept at a peak requirement. Jaworzno is some 22 kilometres Southeast of Katowice and about 301 kilometres Southwest of the Polish Capital, Warsaw.
Jaworzno has been in existence as a cross roads to the furthest reaches of the East ever since the 13th Century. Jaworzno opened its first Coal Mine in 1767 and this is where capital gain would meet the decapitation of its Jewish presence. By 1795 the spread of the Austrian Empire had gained sovereignty over Jaworzno and after annexing it from Poland, it became ensconced into the fabric of a more Austrian concern. Mining was to prove a stable enterprise as it enriched the locale and by the end of the 18th. Century there were close on 100 Jews residing within the Jaworzno Township. This Jewish influence steadily increased to close on 1,000 Jews throughout the 19th. and early 20th. Century. For the burgeoning community, both Jewish and Polish, an upturn in Jaworzno’s status moved the entire community more gradually away from a rural economy and more towards an industrial complexity of business.
“..Natalie Mehlman Scharf Survivor of Concentration Camp Gabersdorf part of Camp Gross Rosen now part of Poland.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Here, by the turn of the 20th. Century, and by which time the Town had become a City, life fitted both sets of the community. For the Jewish People of Jaworzno however, this was with a tentative acceptance of any Jewish presence by the non-Jewish and Polish majority. The Jews, from amongst a more voluble and learned status than perhaps the Poles enjoyed, still became a more acceptable influence. By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, of the 13,000 residents of Jaworzno, more than 1,300 were Jewish and 12 of these were members of the City Council. Both sides of the community suffered the incongruous nature of hostility in War and learned of their dead with equal solemnity. For Jaworzno between Wars, the World conflict did not consolidate that very close proximity to tragedy with any shared grief for the losses to the Jewish community. From amongst the still virulent antisemitic legacy of a church led antipathy towards the Jewish People, the community continued along a similarly strained path.
By the time Hitler Invaded Poland on September 1st. 1939, more than 1,800 Jewish People now lived in the City of Jaworzno. Their presence became a beacon for further biased and even brutal action rallied against them and the German presence instilled in the Polish community a more fixed attitude against their Jewish Neighbours. The German occupation saw the Ghettoisation of all local Jaworzno’s Jews and then the Jewish People from the surrounding areas and Jews from Chorzkow, Katowice and Siemianowice were all moved into the cramped space that formed the Ghetto of Jaworzno. For the Jewish People, and from the moment of the Nazi occupation, both the local Jews and those of the entire area were severely brutalised and many were even murdered. Here, as elsewhere, Hitler’s carefully phased segregation’s came into focus and in the latter part of 1940, with still more added restrictions upon Jewish life, the ability of the Jewish Community of Jaworzno to interact further with any degree of equanimity with their local neighbours was more abruptly curtailed.
“..Monday August 28th. 2017 07:00 am. Dear Patrick ..In June 1942 my whole family was still alive. In march 1943 most of them were gassed and burned in Auschwitz a town a walking distance from Jaworzno near Krakow were I was born.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Along with sporadic assaults, there was the continuous confiscation of Jewish goods and the property’s and lands of Jewish ownership were stolen from them. As well as the steady flow of Murders meted out to any Jew which both Nazi or Polish non-Jew saw fit, these were a regular occurrence in and around the City limits. For instance, on the Night of July 12th. 1942 more than 2,092 Jews were rounded up by the SS details officially ascribed to the area. With the assistance of the local Police force, the gradual evacuation of all the Jews were transported towards Auschwitz and then Birkenau and toward their eventual Destruction there. Fewer than 12 of these transported Jews of Jaworzno were admitted to the Auschwitz main Camp and the remainder were Murdered in Birkenau. Here, the fate of the last Jews of Jaworzno is intertwined with what remained of the Jews of Silesia, and from amongst the last Ghetto’s still to be liquidated in both Bedzin and Sosnowitz. Few Jews from Jaworzno had Survived the early onslaught, and if not Murdered by der Einsatzgruppe aktionen, transports to Ghetto’s awaited them further afield and the end result of being either gassed or shot was never far from them.
“..taking of my brother and my brother in-law ..March 42 ..left my Mother ..Father my 4 Sisters and my self completely broken ..minimal rations constant wailing ..fear ..who will be next of us to be taken. ..Taken where. ..To be beaten ..cut ..raped ..we were like dirt in ..street to be swept away.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
The following year, and on June 15th. 1943 the Jaworzno Camp, or Camp Neu-Dachs given its German title was numbered 3,296 in Hitler’s labelling system, was also an Auschwitz satellite Camp. The camp itself was established for the extraction of Jaworzno’s those coal reserves still contained and some 1,600 Jewish prisoner’s would be enslaved here. In order to keep both the power station there burning and also ensure adequate stock of coal reached Auschwitz, enslavement of the local Jewish populace was ordered as an essential. Subsequently, and along with the Bedzin, or Bendin Transport of August 1st. 1943, which contained the last x2 remaining Jewish Family’s of Jaworzno, and these were amongst 2,000 Jews drawn from the Bedzin Ghetto itself also from Gleitwitz and from Kattowice, and these are all transported to Auschwitz & Birkenau and certain death for all too many of them. Of these x5 transports of 2,000 Jews each, that is in excess of 10,000 Jews, some 1, 689 Jewish People were subjected to selection for labour and were not immediately gassed.
“..I will tell you how Hitler exterminated our entire family. ..March 1940 ..they arrested Mendele and took him to Berlin. ..2 years in jail ..released ..sent ..to Fiaski near Lublin and after 6 months to Majdanek and from then on there was no sign from him.” Aron Krakauer.
Of the 8,400 of these Jews, including the last Jewish Families of Jaworzno, were the Jews from Bedzin, Gleiwitz, Kattowice, these the remnants of Silesian Jewry all extinguished at Hitler’s behest. Hitler had clearly identified with the raw materials to be gained in pursuance of his twin aims, the War and The Final Solution. He saw in its promise a sustained war effort that would allow him his final resolve of that very Jewish Question which was to proceed at all costs. Let no one in History deliver to you any other recourse than that which Hitler had established for the Jews, ahead of World domination, his Weltanshauung, there stood The Final Solution of the Jewish Question. Unhindered and unhampered by any other concerns, the youth of Germany was squandered in a defence of a failed ideology that the majority of the German nation were in awe of. That it was an awesome brutality which would remain unrelenting until the very end of the flaccid life of the instigator himself, Adolf Hitler, is now measured in 6,000,000 selectively sought our Jews of Europe for systematic slaughter and 50 to 70 million dead in total, as a consequence of World War II.
“..And yet ..lives of ..Poles went on like before. ..They ate ..worked ..loved ..had children ..cows were grazing in ..fields ..Polish children ..My former friends were playing evenings in ..snow ..while we Jews at 4:00 pm had to be in our homes ..waiting in dread for ..morning.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Hitler of course had established many layers of perversion to gain his ultimate aim, this destruction of the Jews of Europe and here at Auschwitz & Birkenau and its many sub-Camps, one of which was here at Jaworzno, Hitler could exploit the already brutalised Jewish labour force. As Jaworzno itself was so near to the Jewish embattled population, at the very doorsteps to their own destruction in the Gas Chambers at Auschwitz & Birkenau, life became a temporary reprieve for those Jews Hitler could exploit further. Here, the labour camp at Jaworzno was doing just that, opened to exploit the Coal reserves in the area, and the production which kept the power station working also stoked the very furnaces of the destructive processes at Auschwitz and Birkenau which obliterated the last traces of any Jewish presence from the area. Aron Krakauer, a former resident of Jaworzno and Survivor of Auschwitz informs us of the fate of His Parents, Wolf and Lieba, and his siblings Mendele and Mentze, all of whom did not Survive.
“..I have suffered a lot. I ..don’t know how I survived.” Aron Krakauer.
For me personally, arriving in this arena of both a terrible wrong and an immense horror, I don’t EVER claim to know all the answers. This is why I have no wish to create the impression I am any authority on The Holocaust. I merely put words to an acknowledgement that those, like Yitzhak Arad, Professor Bauer, Yisrael Gutman, Lucy Dawidowicz are clearly the enlightenment I have sought. There have always been 6,000,000 reasons why this odyssey has been important for me. I cannot know what it is those I mention know, with certainty, with surety and with a front row seat to all the inexplicable horrors I flick through on a daily basis. Their understanding of what I seek to comprehend is set in a Memorial to 6,000,000 of their fellow Human Beings, all Murdered because they too were Jews. I have struggled with what emerged as my 4th. Book on The Holocaust of the Jews of Europe, but I have delivered it to posterity knowing that what Hitler sought to achieve, and Belzec was merely one instrument of that solution, at Jaworzno, Jewish People known to Natalie never returned.
“..Wolf and Lieba Krakauer lived in Rinek 3 ..Jaworzno ..ran a clothes store ..where both Jews and gentiles used to order suits. ..In ..1938 ..when Polish Jews were expelled from Germany ..family relatives ..arrived and stayed in ..house until they found a place to live. Lieba was especially loved by ..family.” Ruth Marshansky.
Wolf and Lieba Krakauer were both murdered during the period of The Holocaust, Lieba was transported to Auschwitz, and quite possibly from the transport of July 12th. 1942 and Wolf was also transported to Auschwitz, the following year in August 1943. I have endeavoured to ask various questions all the way through the writing process, certainly of those, like Natalie who provide the key to opening up a further aspect of The Holocaust all too often not quoted. These confidants, for whom I remain eternally grateful, have guided my awareness of the subject of the loss which is contained within the terms and the tenets of The Holocaust. As the World of war against Hitler progressed, here at Jaworzno camp more than 3,600 prisoner’s remained alive incarcerated. But of these, 3,000 were forcibly marched West and away from the liberating Russian Armies to deny the fundamental truth of a false ideology which could not ever explain the inequities of the horror’s Hitler and his follower’s heaped upon the Jewish People.
“..I was grabbed by ..SS April 17th. 1942. And never saw my dear kinfolk again ..and now ..deniers ..marching Nazis with arms and permits and trump defending them ..they had permits there were nice people amongst he said. Americans not just ..media ..fair Americans ..good folks in our land speak up.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
It is more important as time progresses us from this period, that we know from those who knew, what we are searching for in terms of comprehending any part of this atrocity. It is vital and essential that the Survivor, who will lend us the essential truth of their Survival, gives us a glimpse, almost a snap shot of the horror that consumed 6,000,000 Jewish lives. While communicating with Elie Wiesel I was struck by his determined approach and his suggestion that I should seek to not deliver a version of The Holocaust that was anything but an historical account. This has left me struggling to proceed with this, my 4th. attempt at a literary endeavour. I sought too to revisit Babi Yar, the most devastating single event within this destruction of the Jewish People, so as to deliver a narrative full of the sense of pain and abject despair for those Jews forced to endure and die in horrendous circumstances? How could I come close, ever, to understanding the magnitude of feeling each word that has been carefully wrenched from their deep seated experience, in order that it delivers for us all, everything we need to know.
“..Jaworzno went on day in and day out ..until in January there was an air raid. ..Russians were coming. ..air raid I remember were ..American ..planes were coming across. ..seeing ..American star ..hoping that they were going to start dropping bombs here.” Nathan Roth.
Survivor’s like Natalie can lend us the insight into a catastrophe which destroyed 33,771 Jews in those 2 days at Babi Yar and went on to annihilate 6,000,000 Jews of Europe. I merely borrow their words, ensure I achieve the form of care necessary for them and then lend them back to all who wish to experience what History has yet to learn from. My journey will not end until my understanding of the complexities of The Holocaust allow me to comprehend why one man can so direct his hatred onto so many other’s and its result is the Destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish People. I am bereft too of any understanding as to how this World stood so idly by, acknowledging the knowledge of it all, while ensuring they kept that knowledge in house and away from a World that would damn them for doing so! For me therefore, if the Slaughter of The Jews of Europe is to be the defining expression which is, The Holocaust, then places just like Jaworzno are key to appreciating individual losses on an intimate and more concentrated scale.
“..Our Dear Mother Lieba was sent ..July 1942 to Auschwitz ..our Dear Father Wolf ..August 1943 to Auschwitz and Dear Mentze also ..same at ..end of 1943. ..In January 1945 she was still there ..when ..Russians came closer they evacuated ..camp deep into Germany and on ..way ..shot ..90% of ..survivors.” Aron Krakauer.
Also, and surely the ‘Survivor’ is not only the Jew who emerged from within the ravine at Babi Yar, or the City of Jaworzno but is the Jew who emerged from within Hitler’s immediate grasp also? I don’t propose to know the despair of any Jew who faced this terrible, on going ordeal and ‘genocide’, but I know of that desperation and feeling of abandon through study, research and a human empathy which feels shame for those who stood so idly by. I carefully calculate from all of this, that any Jew who came out of the Death and Concentration Camp, from the Ghetto or who crawled away from Jaworzno, Babi Yar or Ponary, that Jew is the bearer of an extraordinary insight into an intolerable evil and is an accuser of such despicable intolerance’s and our indifference to their plight. What is intelligent of having such knowledge when the lives of 6,000,000 Jews are being destroyed with an other’s will. Can it be that such intelligence is greater than the sum total of abandoned lives, because simply, they were Jewish lives. The answer to the sheer indifference shown for these Jews is written in the vaults of government buildings in Europe and then throughout the World.
“..Uncle Wolf and Salla were shot on ..May 15th. 1942 in Z’abna. Aunt Leta was sent in February 1943 to Auschwitz. Little Hani at ..end of 1943 also to Auschwitz. Nechemia and Shlomek perished in ..camp. Yetke and Shaul to Auschwitz. Erna and ..children to Auschwitz. With Joshua and uncle Zagorsky ..I was all ..time together at ..camp. He died in July 1944 and poor Joshua was taken in August 1944 with ..sick transport to Auschwitz and from then on there was no sign of him.” Aron Krakauer.
For me, this is an ever spiralling curve of learning, and I have yet to catch the tail end of what is known, by those who knew, know and were made aware of. For what The Holocaust is, there are People like Natalie who know all to well the answer! So if we then accept, for argument sake, that Hitler’s intention was indeed to destroy all of World Jewry, as Wannsee insists, then from inception to an almost complete accomplishment of that fundamental demand, 6,000,000 Jews paid an inordinate bill and too heavy a price for us to contemplate. We must also accept within that remit, that Hitler gained such impetus from a World’s indifference, that we too are historically blighted with an acquiescence in the gravest crime ever to be inflicted upon the Jewish People! What we thus gain from the perspective of Hitler’s hold on power, when the function was initially perceived that the Jews could indeed be destroyed, and continually all the way up until 1945 when that full intention was catastrophically applied, any Jewish choice was totally removed from the Jewish People.
“..April 1942 they expelled ..Bragers from Kweltze to Hshanow. They couldn’t take anything and dear mother lent them 1,000 Marc ..60 Dollar. Mrs. Brager was meant to write to her children ..but regrettably ..they took ..Bragers together with Mother immediately thereafter. I was with their son together during 18 months at ..camp and I don’t know what happened to him later.” Aron Krakauer
For those Jews within Hitler’s reach, who looked to us, as ‘christians’, even catholics, and saw our fall from grace, we have to express clearly that what had been deemed by a so called civilised humanity, that this was a catastrophe of unparalleled brutality that is unequalled in all of history. Not just that, our failure to stand against this pernicious model of Hitler’s evil, runs concurrent alongside the greatest genocide ever inflicted upon a single People which remains as criminal as it is morally reprehensible. So for the Jews who would emerge from within the dragnet of Hitler’s clear goal to destroy them, these must be included amongst the list of Survivor’s an understanding and appreciation of the intention to murder them. That said, the Survivor clearly remains outside that term which held the Jew within The Holocaust’s reach. Like I have said, I cannot know what The Jew of The Holocaust knows, but I can know of, from a moral perspective, that any christian duty should have sought to deliver all Jews from any victimisation, harm or that capacity for destruction which consumed them.
.”..Dear Salomon ..I am writing now ..first letter after ..war. You can’t imagine in what a state I am. Besides being physically broken .my soul is completely broken. I am living without a family, without friends or acquaintances. I feel so lonely.” Aron Krakauer.
We are the accused and we must set about accepting that responsibility so that our future generations do not have to? I think that Yehuda Bauer argued in his worthy book, Jews for Sale, that The Final Solution to a Jewish Question was Hitler’s responsibility. But the outcome for the Jews of Europe must become the responsibility of all those who seek to ensure, we acknowledge the wrong done to the Jewish People, here in Jaworzno or wherever they were met with such enmity and hatred. The part the World played in allowing this all to happen is a detail we all must be reconciled with. Whether the World seeks to attribute to the destruction of 6,000,000 Jews our responsibility, or seeks to placate this with some unintended functioning, this is immaterial. The very fact that the World lost 6,000,000 Jews to a terrible accounting, while we added a crime to History, that is incomprehensible.
“..marched us ..west. ..maybe 2,000 of us ..from ..camp. ..day and night. ..SS used to come and pick some people to go back and pick up the corpses and bury them. 100’s and 100’s shot.” Nathan Roth.
There are those who might suggest antisemitism had a hand in this account which must resound and reverberate where it is a clear expression from the many who perpetrated the crimes? But lest we forget, the christian god sent his only son to die for us, so the christian god is not only culpable in the Crucifixion, that god stood aside while The Holocaust was vented upon the Jewish People and clearly, it was not the Jewish People that delivered christ to what god intended. Think then how any man can conjure with a title for a Book that has Jews for Sale as its header, and then we might approach a small detail of what Professor Bauer wishes to share with me, with You, with this World and with History! If we can come to terms with what the World allowed to be achieved in The Holocaust, we can perhaps accept that within Jaworzno, in the depths of The Holocaust, innocent People were callously slain to satiate a hatred that should never have been allowed to persist.
“..Sometimes I claim to God ..why I was ..only one of ..family ..who survived. I am not happy to be alive. Now I understand ..saying ..It would be better not to be born.” Aron Krakauer.
Quite often I find myself repeating a sentiment I have held dear for quite sometime, and it is difficult not to allow this to become sanitised when in fact it is a sentimental reflection upon what is lost. It is for that reason that I restate, The Holocaust has NEVER just been a part of History for me, and has ALWAYS been an affront to my person, as a Human Being. I have been entrusted with certain memories which I pass along in Remembrance of those Jews, from Jewish Community’s just like the one at Jaworzno almost completely extinguished, in order that we never forget them! Also, I have been given an opportunity, which I managed to promise to a Survivor along the way and that I would at least visit all x6 Death which Hitler had established in Poland. I felt it as a duty to do so that I could retrace the search for words I would use to describe the places of such a calamity. That said. I owe it to those like Natalie to ensure, Jaworzno is not only a mention from with The Holocaust, it is a place that establishes the depth and breadth of the Catastrophe which is The Holocaust of the Jews of Europe.
“..God bless all liberators of this time in history. My family was gassed and burned in Auschwitz Poland. My dear late husband Bernard Benny Scharf ..only survivor of his family and I met in 1946 Fell in love and came to our blessed land in 1947. We have 2 children ..Jeffrey I. Scharf MD Andrea R. Scharf Gal ..3 Grandsons.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Clearly, the Jewish grasp on life was to become an eradication which ensured by the conversion of a rhetorical hatred from one man. Hitler, whose vented rage contorted to a final resolve which was eventually accomplished by many who aspired toward similar hatreds was exacted in Jaworzno as equally brutally as it was in Auschwitz, Babi Yar, Belzec, Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Ponary, Sobibor, Treblinka or Tuchinka. Here, while I have always clearly stated that I am not an authority on The Holocaust, and that clear distinction belongs to the many fine Writers who experienced what it is I seek to know, I have become well aware of the opportunity my words have given the many who seek to add to their understanding of this greatest wrong! I have never equated anything I have experienced with anything from The Holocaust that so tormented a People or brutalised all too many of them and radically dealt in the Destruction of 6,000,000 of them for being Jews. From any sense of perspective, that is where my work for their memory clearly begins and ends.
“..To ..deniers I tell you. You deny as much as you want. ..only thing that will ever set you free from ..hatred that you have for my Jewish People is not ..shameless lies that you spread about us. This ..Truth! For Truth Shall Make You Free.” Natalie Mehlman Scharf.