Natalie Scharf born in the year 1925 and passed from us on August 1st. 2021
“..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. ..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. ..God bless all liberators of this time in history.” Natalie Mehlman-Scharf.
Natalie was My Friend and though we were separated by generations, and enjoined by a tragedy I cannot begin to imagine, even though I seek from it comprehension on a daily basis, Natalie and I are kindred spirtis. For me, Natalie filled me with hope. Natalie gave me inspiration. Natalie just lifted my mood when it seemed so deeply down in the midst of a terror Natalie all too willingly relayed to me. Natalie Survived what 6,000,000 of her People, fellow Jews who did Not manage to do so and as such, these Slaughtered Jews are now the basis of a history which is termed The Holocaust we seek Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
“..September 1st. 1939 ..My Parents had a grocery store where we lived in Jaworzno ..Poland ..right by ..German border. They knew ..Nazis were seizing all Jewish businesses ..so they quietly began to bring sacks of flour ..sugar ..beans ..barley ..onions ..potatoes home to live off after they raided our storehouses.” Natalie Scharf.
What I know from our gentle discourse, the narrative of which has been confined to a platform I have been sensured from, is that over the years Natalie has inspired me toward what I now know of her place in the History of Jaworno, her birthplace in Poland. What I recognise in Natalie is her tenacity, her resilience, her generosity of spirit, her warmth, her incredible strength and the very fact that in the face of what can confront the World, she is resolute. For Natalie, her experience within the most unprecedented and unparalleled perpetration of hatred ever envisaged, ensures that Natalie, not only managed to Survive, she took that life experience to look objectively at the World we now occupy. The Holocaust World had prepared Natalie for what was to come and in particular, this present pandemic
“..I’m not comparing this to The Holocaust ..but seeing everything shut down ..hearing of closed borders ..food shortages ..no travel ..being afraid to go outdoors ..see family and even touch anything ..it feels like ..start of ..war. But now you don’t see ..enemy.” Natalie Scharf.
Natalie was born in the Town of Jaworzno, Poland in 1925 amongst a population of some 1,500 Jewish People, a vibrant community amidst a representing body of some 10% of the total population. Natalie’s Hebrew name is Necha bat Rasel. Here in Jaworzno, with her parents, Ichak and Rosalia, and her 3 sisters, Chava, Rivka and Sarah, all would be Murdered by the forces of Hitler’s deep hatred. Her Brother Leon and Sister Yadja would Survive along with Natalie, and though such was the decimation of her Family, it was in time she was to have it proved that this was all too difficult in healing the scars.
Natalie was to become a witness to the arrival of Hitler’s forces into her Town and shortly after it was bombed on September 1st. 1939, the forces of hatred descended upon the Jews of Jaworzno. At this time there were some 1,852 Jews who now lived in what was to be deemed a City, and these were about 8% of that City’s population. In the spring of 1940, the Germans concentrated a larger contingent of Jews within the City confines, Jews from Chorzow, Katowice and Siemianowice who were to be concentrated here for future removal to Birkenau.
It wasn’t until later on into 1940, when Natalie was 15, that the local Gestapo raided the Family Home, and during the night took Natalie away. Her lasting memory has been the sight of her Mother chasing after the truck tht was taking her, and 20 to 30 of her Female Friends, Class mates, awy. Natalie then endured periods of uncertainty about the survival of her entire Family and was incarerated in Camps in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Between July 12th. 1942 and July 13th. July 1942, all that remained of the Jewish presence in the City of Jaworzno, some 2,100 Jewish People, Men, Women and Their Children, all were transported out and toward the Death Camp at Birkenau where they would perish.
“..When I saw them marching with their torches in Charlottesville ..I had terrible heart palpitations. They looked just like ..Nazis of my Childhood ..and hearing them scream ..Jews will not replace us ..and blood and soil ..it was exactly as I remembered it. And this president said they were fine people. ..Good riddance. It feels like liberation. We made it.” Natalie Scharf.
Natalie Scharf Survived to become witness to the atrocity that can still be inflicted upon a people because of the negligence of so many other’s to the threats from right wing extremism and politicians who placate and enable theiur hatred. Natalie was very vocal about her resentment of the Country which delivered so much for her, that such times of race hatred toward anyone could be witnessed in her America.
I shared Natalie’s bitterness toward the lost lessons of a History she had been forced to endure. I noticed with disquiet that there were people all too willing to attack Natalie’s position, and this was reprehensible for one who is My Friend, a Survivor and a testifier of truth’s only lesson, its integrity!
“..It felt like ..end of the war. I felt a real obligation to vote for Biden. I don’t have to imagine how much worse it can get under trump. I lived through it.” Natalie Scharf.
My Friend, Natalie Mehlman-Scharf.