4wor[]ds: F-l-{o}W{e}-r-S, Forward, Afterw[_]r[]ds

4wor[]ds: F-l-{o}W{e}-r-S, Forward, Afterw[_]r[]ds

“HOLLA” [~re{W}[in]D~][RE][C]ost re:MiXed 

ALWAYS-BE-COLLABORATIVE

Bob Weil w/ Haustritre{X}

“Holo{c@us}t. -[ω]eMiX.edû

INTRODUCTORY RemarK<

Any><Bodies><COUNT[re]Y-<Before starting my remarks, allow me to make a few points so that there won’t be any misunderstanding about my talk.  First, I would like for you to know, that talking to you today (about the Holocaust) is to me a sacred privilege.  I want you to know also, that I choose both “sacred” and privilege judiciously and advisedly and not just frivolously.  I’m sure you will understand this even better at the end of my talk.

Secondly: if, in the course of my talk, I say things that might not be flattering to the Government of the United States, I would like for you to know, that I feel, that this country of ours is the greatest country on earth bar none.  I say this, because on my travels to various schools over the last few years, I could not help feeling, that most of the youngsters that were lucky enough to be born in this country take everything for granted: liberty, freedom and all the precious values that go with it like EDUCATION.  It seems to me many times, that those of us who were not that lucky to be born here but on foreign soil appreciate this great country of ours so much more.  As a matter of fact, some of us feel so strongly about it, that we laid our )on the line for this country in time of need.  I personally, am very proud to say, that I am one of them.

Lastly: If some of the stories you are going to hear today sound rather sad – and sad they are – I do not want you to think of me as a prophet of doom and gloom.  But, I hope, that at the end, you will remember me rather as a messenger.  A messenger of love.  Threefold love, that is.  Love for your fellowmen, no matter what their color or creed, love for this great nation of ours, the United States of America and thirdly love for God, no matter what your religious persuasion.  After all, So much for an introduction. Now..

Let me bring myself into perspective with today’s world.  It is now [1990] 40 years since the defeat of Hitler’s empire and the Allies armies liberation of the deathcamps.  Anyone who survived these camps is now well into or beyond middle age; most are elderly.  We are approaching the time when there will be no longer primary witnesses to these events.  “Not every victim was a Jew; but every Jew was a victim” (Wiesel) Some of those who perished in these camps were intellectuals; some were gypsies; some were Christians and clergymen whose consciences made the disruptive elements in Hitler’s new scheme.  BUT the vas majority were Jews.  They were sent there in Hitler’s attempt to wipe out completely a faith and all those who followed it with their families.  He almost succeeded.  The Holocaust will therefore have a special meaning to the Jews. But it would be historically, morally and ethically wrong to let the memory of the deathcamps be consigned to an exclusive Jewish heritage.  The message of the Holocaust deserves the most careful consideration of everyone of any religion.  It is a concern of mankind. Because, as Churchill so aptly phrased it: “The Holocaust stands out in the history of Mankind as the most heinous, the most detestable, the most horrifying item in the catalogue of crimes against mankind”.

As the last survivors are vanishing voices are already heard who want to rewrite the TRUE history and therefore pretend that it Never happened:  worse yet, they say it is a Jewish hoax.  Those of us who did survive therefore have a moral obligation as well as a sacred mission to tell the world the truth.  If for no other reason than for this simple one:  To make sure that this unspeakable tragedy in the history of mankind should NEVER happen again.  “As decent human beings, we shall be able to forgive, BUT WE SHALL NEVER FORGET”  History is liable to repeat itself if we do NOT learn from the Past.  Because, to quote Shakespeare, “The Past is just a prologue for the future”.  And so let us make sure that “Never again” should not just be a mere slogan, but mankind’s destiny.

 

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“THE HOLOCAUST”, a survivor’s AND liberator’s personal story.

Bob Weil
1540 Hower Road
Abington, Pa. 19001

     When N.B.C.-T.V. did broadcast the story of the Holocaust in May of 1978, it was the first time, to the best of my knowledge, that the American public at large was being made aware of the terrible tragedy that befell mankind in general and the Jewish people in particular in the late 30’s and early 40’s.  Never could I figure out why this horrible era in man’s history was hidden from the people like a ghost in a closet.  I was even more stunned recently, when through my work with the Center of Research in Social Change at Emory University of Atlanta, Ga. a document was made available to me which was printed in 1945 by the United States Government Printing office.  It is the official report of Congress about the atrocities in concentration camps in Germany.  It seems that General Eisenhower and his staff as well as the troops were so stunned, that he felt, that he wanted the Administration and the Congress to see for themselves the unbelievable facts they encountered.  And so, while the Gas-ovens were still hot, the blood was still fresh, the corpses still stacked up like cordwood and all the other ghastly things were in sight, he wanted them to see it firsthand.  A Committee of 6 Senators and 6 Congressmen was formed immediately, headed by Senator Barkley from Kentucky.  They went over, inspected 3 camps and gave a detailed report, that is to ghastly, so dastardly, so gruesome, that I will forgo even reading out of it.  Somehow or other even this official report was put on the backburner, so to say, and only recently discovered by the Research team of Emory University and made available to me through the good offices of Prof. Fred Crawford, who headed the team.  Why, I ask you, were facts hidden.  Was it possibly a sign of shame, was it possibly the sign of a guilty conscience?  I am not here to judge.  I only would like for you to know the facts; ad the truth.

     Be that as it may, it was in the days of the N. B.C. broadcast, that I was approached by a friend of mine, who is not only a school teacher in the Phila. Public School System but also the Chairman of a Social Action Committee of which I am an active member.  As a survivor of the Holocaust as well as a liberator of one those infamous concentration camps or, as they call me in scholastic terms, as a primary witness, I was asked to 


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come to the school and talk to the youngsters before they were to watch the telecast.  The teacher felt, that hearing it firsthand or from the horse’s mouth, to use a colloquial phrase, would enable the youngsters to understand the broadcast better and give them a more meaningful feeling of the impact.  The show was an assignment given the youngsters as part of their social study program.

     When I was first approached, I was rather reluctant to accept this challenge.  Because, deep in me, in my heart, there was an indelible wound encarved.   I also realized that, recalling those terrible memories would mean an enormous emotional drain; possibly even open up this old wound.  I was just not sure, if I was up to it.  I was afraid, I might even break down in front of the youngsters and possibly make a fool of myself, and old fool, at that, in their eyes.  I therefore asked the teacher to give me a week to think about it, before answering or even accepting this challenge.  But you know, the longer I contemplated and thought about it, the more did I convince myself, that not only should I talk to them but OUGHT to talk to them.  I felt and started to realize, that possibly if I handled it sensibly and rationally, my talk might give them food for thought, give them a meaningful message or two and possibly even make better human beings out of them in their adult lives.

     And so I accepted the challenge and went.  For the record, I would like to let you know, that somehow the Jewish Community Relations Council got a hold of me, put me on their speakers list and I have talked since then to literally thousands of youngsters all over the Phila. School district.  The youngsters, being mostly 8th, 9th, 10th graders, either Junior or High Schools.  For the most part these are non-Jewish kids, coming from various backgrounds. Both white and black. 

     Now, all of us know, that one a year there is one day in the calendar, called Holocaust day.  This day was introduced to the world at large by the Government of the State of Israel some 35 years or so ago.  The Hebrew word, for the day is: YOM HASHOA.  This is, what the Jewish people call it all over the world.  Except in Israel itself.  There, and that is significant, they call it: YOM HASHOA VEHAGEVURA.  GEVURA, means strength.  Why?  Because in Israel, the Israelis not only pay homage to the 6 million of their brethren, killed in the Holocaust; but at the same time they pay tribute to the countless young Jewish men and women who gave their very lives, in a valiant attempt to fight Nazi tyranny during that now historically famous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  In turn, this ties in with a beautiful Jewish custom and tradition:  At every occasion of sorrow or sadness the Jewish people add a touch of hope or a flicker of joy.  Vice versa: To each observance of joy we add a touch of somber thoughts.  The best example of the

 

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latter is the Jewish wedding ceremony.  When the bride and groom stand under the wedding canopy the last ceremony is, that the groom breaks a glass.  This is not done, as some believe, as a sign of luck or as some others believe, should symbolize the destruction of the temple.  No; the real meaning, as it was explained to me by one of my teachers, is, that the young man at the height of joy, when he takes this beautiful bride as a companion for life, even then, he should be reminded of the frailty of human life.  That is the deeper and real meaning of it.

     On the same idea of combining the sad with the glad, the day, Yom HASHOA was not picked at random by the Government of Israel.  They picked deliberately the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, because it is in such close proximity to a most joyful day in Israel; their Independence day.  They all it YOM HA’ATZMAUT.  It is being observed one week later, on the 5th day of the month of Ijar.  It is a day of unbelievable joy and exhilaration.  I say this advisedly, because my wife Edith and I were privileged in 1978 to be in Jerusalem at the 30th Independence day.  There are no words, adequate to describe it.  People are dancing in the streets until the wee hours of the next morning.  Loud speakers blast music all over the place.  It seemed that everybody, old and young, boys in uniforms and girls in uniforms, rich and poor, the lame as well as the blind are out in the street celebrating their freedom with utmost joy and in utmost ecstasy, singing, dancing and having clean fun.  HOWEVER, and again very significantly and meaningfully and in the same vain of combining the glad with the sad: the day before is a very somber day in the holy land.  It is their Memorial day, or as they call it: YOM HASICORON.  Upon the signal of a siren, it seems as though the whole country comes to a standstill.  There is no radio, no T.V., no movies, no music.  A very somber mood comes over the country of Israel.  EVERYBODY, and I mean everybody visits the military cemeteries, because every family in Israel is affected and they pay tribute to the over 13,000 young Israeli boys and girls, men and women who gave their lives for the creation, survival and existence of the State of Israel.  Then at the end of the day, bedlam breaks lose, when a siren announces the arrival of Independence day.

    And so, as I am about to tell you the sad story of my own life during the Holocaust, in the same spirit of combining light and dark it is my hope and prayer that not just my people, the Jewish people, but all mankind should always go from sadness to gladness, from tears to cheers, from agony to ecstasy; but moreover, that my talk should not leave you depressed but shall try to give you a message of hope, of courage of moral and ethical strength; and lastly another thought in this same respect:  It is not true, that, in 1948 the State of Israel came into being out of the ashes of places like Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen?  Think for a minute.

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     Here then is my own personal story:  To summarize it in advance.  My life story is not unusual.  It is the story of many thousands, yes millions.  What is unusual is only the fact, that I am lucky to be alive, so that I can talk about it.  There are about eleven million, not that lucky.  Six Million of them were Jews like myself.  They all were victims of what is generally known nowadays as the Holocaust.  I realize, when I throw around numbers like 11 or 6 million they are cold numbers like cold statistics, that don’t touch you in any way and are more or less meaningless to you.  You might not be able to relate to them.  But if I tell you, that among the 6 million Jews there were 1 & 1/2 million kids and youngsters like you or your kid brother or kid sister or your cousin, maybe these numbers are not just cold numbers any more but take on meaning even to you. 1 & 1/2 million kids were slaughtered, murdered, killed, gassed, burned to death, their lives snuffed out.  Not because they were drug addicts or got in trouble with the law.  NO, just because they were Jewish.  Think of it for a minute or two…please.

     The Holocaust, in short, is the story of man’s irrational, sadistic and godless inhuman treatment of other human fellow men.  It is the ill conceived idea, that one man is better than another.  That he is superior to the next fellow because of race, creed, color or whatnot.  Therefore he feels, he has a right to kill all the others.  This, in very simple unsophisticated terms, was madman Hitler’s idea.

     I am glad, I have learned recently that in Philadelphia the school authorities have finally decided to teach the Holocaust.  Little did I understand heretofore, that this infamous era of man’s history had been overlooked for over 30 years, completely ignored by most all history books and totally neglected by all authorities, not only school authorities.  It seems to me an inexcusable neglect which cried out for correction.   Holocaust, in my own opinion, should be taught, if for no other reason then for this one only and alone:  To make sure that events which happened in the 30s and 40s should never happen again.  As decent human beings we should be able to forgive; but we should never forget.  As an aside:  This phrase was picked up by a reporter who attended my talk at Roxborough High School in Philadelphia and used it in an article he reporter wrote in “Seventeen Magazine, entitled; “Teens learn about the Holocaust” and the subtitle: “Forgive – but don’t forget”.  It appeared in the November 1979 issue.  It took me all of 66 years to be written up in Seventeen Magazine.

     Let me say from the onset, that I am not a professional nor a polished public speaker.  I am a retired senior citizen, a naturalized citizen at that; a resident of Abington for the last 26 years, a husband, a father, a proud grandfather, a World War II combat veteran; I have the unique or dubious distinction to be a survivor of the Holocaust as well as a liberator of one of those deathcamps.  And last but not least, I am a Jew.

 

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     I do not intend to bother you with all the ugly details that went on in concentration camps.  I will only hint on them.  It is my intent to spare you the gruesome details.  However, I will be glad to give you some reference books that you might want to read.  I don’t intend to give you nightmares;  I come here to give you rather a message of hope not of despair.

     I am, what is commonly known here in the United States, a refugee.  A title, apparently given to all of us who came to these shores after the Holocaust.  In contrast to all other Americans, who, apparently, all came with the Mayflower; they believe, or at least seemed to make me believe in the very beginning.  I was born in Metz, France in 1913 which makes me 69 years “Young” today.  I say young advisedly, because age has nothing to do with numbers but rather with a mental attitude.  The first irony of my life:  Both my parents were born in Germany.  Thus, in 1919, after World War I my parents and I were expelled by the French, who had captured Metz again, like they had it some years before, because they considered us as Germans.  Thus in 1919, after World War I m parents and I were expelled by the French, who captured Metz again, like they had it some years before, because they considered us as Germans.  The second irony:  20 years later, the German Nazis expelled my family from Germany, because this time we were not considered “Pure” Germans, but “inferior Jews”.  You see the quirk and irony!!  And so I came to this country on February of 1939 on the French Quota.  America’s immigration laws considered me a Frenchman, as Metz was in French hands at the time of my application for my visa to come here.  My luck.  Because I was one of the few lucky ones to get out of Concentration camp Dachau, where I had been since November.   It was the French Consul of my hometown, who had intervened with the Nazi authorities to get me released and out.  You should know also, that the French Quota was never filled and my waiting number did not require any waiting period at all.  The German Quota for immigration to the States had a waiting period of almost 8 years; so that you could easily see, had I fallen under the German quota I would today be one of those statistics I mentioned in the beginning and most probably 6 feet under.  I did get my hearing for my visa before the American Consul in November 1938, at the beginning of the month.  However, before leaving Nazi Germany one had to bring to the Nazi authorities, the Gestapo, a th[o]rough life description; your background, your upbringing, your schooling and education and so forth.   I did this on the morning of November 10, 1938.   It was for clearance purposes.  I remember the day, as if it was yesterday.  I remember it also, because, although I had heard glass being broken during the preceding night, I did not realize at the time, that it was, what is nowadays commonly referred to: Crystal night, or Kristallnacht in German.  Crystal night for those of you, not familiar with it, was the night, when hundreds of places of Jewish worship, synagogues were set aflame, holy books were being desecrated and thousands of

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display windows of Jewish owned stores smashed to pieces by the German Nazis.  To continue my story however, when I came to Gestapo H.Q. with all my papers, I was told that everyone was out on important business (meaning beating up Jews) and that I should leave my papers on one of the many desks.  I, then, proceeded to take the street car back home; but to my shock, on the way home I saw our own synagogue on fire with all kinds of holy paraphernalia[s] like prayer{ }shawls, prayer[ ]books, Torah scrolls, e.t.c. not only scattered in the front yard of the synagogue but a big howling crowd of cheering German people watching with glee as everything went up in flames.

Needless to tell you that I got scared to death.  Because not only was I a young leader of one of the Jewish Youth Clubs and not only was I a member of a strictly Jewish fraternity during my Hitler abbreviated college career at the University of Heidelberg; but as a 16 year youngster I represented the Youth of the Congregation at the Congregational Board of Directors and at age 21 I was the Youth Representative at the Board of Governors for the State of Bade, which, in American terms, would be the equivalent to the State of Pennsylvania.  Continuing my story:  When I approached our own house, coming back from Gestapo H.Q. and with the Synagogue incident still alive in my mind, I noticed a big, huge crowd of people, a mob in other words, in front of our own house.  I saw that the big doors were broken, the neon lights of my father’s business totally destroyed and in shambles on the ground.  I knew right away what was going on…I knew.  Cautiously I went around the block to the back entrance which led to our workshop.  You see, my father had a fine custom tailor establishment with some 20 or so tailors working for him.  Our foreman, was the first I met.  He warned me to hide quickly, because, as he hurriedly told me, the mob had just broken in and dragged my father away.  My mother, whom I saw next, was of course hysterically upset, as you can imagine and in tears told me, how they had dragged my dad away in his shirtsleeves without coat or overcoat.  This, mind you, was in November, when in Europe, it gets bitterly cold, much more so than here.  Mom warned me to better hide or else, the mob might come after me too, and then she would have no one.  I, however, being single, brash and then in my early twenties, on the spur of the moment and very much to my mother’s dismay, decided, that I would go to Nazi H.Q., trying to find out where father is and not only bring him his coat and overcoat but try to make arrangement with them to have my father released and for me to take his place.  Because, after all, I was in my early 20s while he was in his late 50s.  To make the story short:  Not only did I NOT succeed in spite of my pleading with the Nazis but I was thrown into a prison cell, where by and by eventually

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the entire male Congregation was “assembled”.  After a short while we were chased out and herded into trucks, and with a hysterical mob hitting us and spitting at us we were taken to the stables of the military barracks.  There, we were lined up against the walls with hands up and Stormtroopers pointing machine guns at us.  Why they never pulled the triggers, I still do not know until today.  I, like everybody else, thought for sure, that would be the end for us.  In any case, during the course of a few hours the entire male Jewish population was rounded up and around midnight we were herded on trucks again, which took us to a train.  We were on our way to Dachau....

     In Munich there was a transfer from the curtain drawn train into cattle cars.  I hate to tell you the details of the transfer.  Suffice it to say, that beatings and stabbings with rifle butts, bayonets, even pitch forks, knives and other instruments were the order of the day.  There is one thing however, that i shall never forget, as long as i live.  After the doors were sh[o]t, in the darkness of the cattle car an old Jewish man started to sing the >Schema< prayer, one of our holiest prayers in Jewish tradition.  We all chimed in; this I shall never forget.  In fact I can still hear it today as if it was only yesterday.

     In Dachau, everybody was stripped, the hair on the head shaved off, everybody got a flimsy blue and white striped prison garb with a yellow Star of David on the left side and a number on the right.  From Bob Weil I was converted into Schutzhaft jude #20796.  That very first night in camp, fate would have it, that on the straw, spread out like for cattle on the ice cold barracks floor onto which were thrown, a seemingly old, d[i]lapidated man, next to me, whispered to me his name and where he was from…Believe it or not:  IT WAS MY OWN FATHER, whom I did not recognize.  With no hair, no mustache, no teeth, all banged up my father had been changed into a haggard, trembling, beaten up and broken down wreck and being……

     Dear young friends, I usually continue, -after finding some sort of composure, there are numerous books available to read about life in concentration camps.  Besides; all of you I am sure, have seen documentaries on T.V. or films e.t.c.  As promised, I shall therefore forego telling you the gruesome details of life in concentration camps.  I do recommend to you however to read books like “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by Shirer; or “The Mission” by [Hans] Habe and the deplorable attitude described in there, that was taken by our American Representative at a Conference in Evian, when the Allies tried to find means of some sort to help those poor, persecuted people;  OR READ A VERY BEAUTIFUL, SAD + YET HEARTWARMING BOOK “[C]Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust”

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Or read books likeThe Voyage of the Damned, another sad document against our nation, when a ship, loaded with refugees, when trying to get permission to land in Florida, was refused  to land and sent back to the ovens of Nazi Germany; and most of all read documented booksWhile Six Million died” by Arthur Morse.  A book, that describes the unbelievable apathy of the American Government under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; a book that is hard to believe; yet documented with truth and facts.  2nd, read books of this nature and you will get a fairly good picture as to what happened to us, so called “Refugees“.  Just let me add for the record that my father-in-law was held for 2 years in Camp Buchenwald and eventually came out as a cripple for the rest of his life; my own dad eventually perished in Camp de Milles in France, where he had fled to and where the Nazis caught up with him again, while my mother of bless memory, languished in Camp Gurs, another of those many lesser known camps in France.  All of them however, had a common denominator:  death camps.  Five members of my French part of the family were shot as hostages, when the underground killed one of the German soldiers.  The rest of my family all disappeared in camps, gas chambers, ovens maybe and God only knows, where.

     This is not the end of my story however, there is quite a bit more:  After 1.5 years in the United States I joined the U.S. Army, where I served for over 4.5 years in the Infantry during World War II.  Proudly, I can tell you, though humbly, that I served with distinction.  I was decorated with the Bronze Star; the Infantry Combat Badge and I also [received] the European Operation ribbon with four battle stars Mind you, the ratio of replacements in the field of our Division, the 8th Infantry Div. was 150%It means that everyone, theoretically got killed and of the replacements half again were killed.  This count is from the moment, we landed in Normandy until we joined up with the Russians in North East Germany.  I certainly consider myself most lucky to have come out of this alive too.

But let me tell you; having looked into the eyes of death both in deathcamps as well as in combat, death in every shape and form other than natural, be it hanging, shooting, stabbing, choking, clubbings and all other sophisticated methods like electrocuting and so forth and having survived all of this I made a vow to myself.  Namely, to dedicate myself, for the rest of my life, to the service of God, as much as I can, because I have so much to be thankful for, being alive today.  Without being a religious fanatic, I go to prayer service every morning and every night.  I am very active in my Congregation, serving on the Board of Directors, serving as Chairman of various Committees, acting as Archivist, giving tours and so forth.  On Fridays I devote myself to the old folks, when I give a little

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Sabbath service at the Geriatric Center, praying with the oldsters, singing, lighting candles and just plain talking to them.  Whenever called upon I give talks like this either to school youngsters or other groups.  I just hope, that I can live up to the goals and standards which I have set up for myself for the rest of my days.

     My friends, I said in the beginning, that mine is not an unusual story; stranger than fiction, and yet so true.  Names like Buchenwald, Dachau, Treblinka, Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen are not names of fiction as Neo-Nazis of today try to make you believe.  They were rea, although, I admit, hard to believe.  Some of us—too few unfortunately—are lucky enough to be able to talk about it.

     You, however, the generation of today and tomorrow, ought to learn from it, so that it will NEVER, NEVER happen again.  BUT let us remember: “NEVER AGAIN” should not just be a slogan; but mankind’s destiny!!!!!

     From the letters I have received afterwards both from school authorities as well as from hundreds of youngsters, you would think, that I was some kind of a hero.  Let me assure you, that is far from the truth.  To be honest: I was scared to death in concentration camp; I was equally scared in combat.  I consider myself just plain lucky.  I was lucky I came under the French Quota and not the German quota;  I was lucky that I spent only a few months in camp;  I was lucky I was only branded in my passport as a Jew, because later on they branded your # on the left arm like you brand cattle;  I was lucky they did not pull the trigger, when the had us lined up against the wall in the stables of the military barracks;  I was even lucky, when I was released from Dachau.  Because, before they released you, they stripped you to make sure, you have no marks from beatings, in order to hide from the outside world, what was going on inside of Germany.  It so happened that on my buttocks I still had blue, and yellow or black marks from a beating I received in the train to Dachau, when I threw myself on the Rabbi, whom they had singled out for a terrific beating.  As he was flat on the floor with his glasses broken, his teeth knocked out, I was afraid, that they would kill him and I threw myself on

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him deliberately to save his life.  I took the beating for him; but I saved his life.  Somehow or other, they let me go after a whisper conference between two so-called doctors.  Lucky once more.  Twice in combat, I had, what we called “close calls” when practically everybody around me got killed, while we were fighting in Normandy and once while fighting in Germany.  And finally I was lucky, that the horrible experience in concentration camp, horrible as it was, was diminutive compared to the fate that, unfortunately befell my fellow Jews two, three four and five years later, when the methods of torture and annihilation were much more scientifically perfected, much more sophisticated and immeasurably much more cruel with Gas ovens, crematoria and what not.  I can say this with authority, not because I read it in books or reports or saw it in films.  I say it, because wen I returned to Germany as an infantryman in the U.S. Army 5 years later we liberated one of those camps and I, as well as all my comrades in arms, saw with our own eyes corpses that were emaciated to skin and bones, stacked up like cordwood, hundreds of others thrown into open pits, naked, some of them with spikes still sticking out of their necks and throats and so forth and we liberated some half starved prisoners who looked like walking skeletons.

     No, my friends, I definitely was NOT a hero, in spite of what the kids write to me sometimes.  When you are in situations like these, you act out of instinct more than anything else, I suppose.  When you see fellow human beings cruelly mistreated and even forcefully put to death, there seems to be an inert drive in you to survive just in spite of it.  In retrospect, I assume, that is, what I had.  But moreover, I suppose, it is faith more than anything else, that sustains you.  Faith, my friends, is something that transcends the lines of any denomination.  It does not matter, if you are Christian, Jew, Hindu or Muslim, it does not matter if you are black, white or yellow.  Faith is Faith.  And faith is, what I, obviously, had.  Because I was fortunate to have been brought up in a religious home.  Thus, basic values, taught to me by my parents of blessed memory stayed with me within me.  Like so many others in my situation, I did not need the Holocaust to bring me back to believing in God.  If anything, the Holocaust only deepened in me the faith toward God.

     Now this great country of ours is based on fundamental and basic values of freedom, justice, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  These are all deeply religious beliefs.  They leave no room for prejudice or bigotry.  This country of ours can be a beacon of light to the rest of the worldIt is up to you and me to make it so by fighting prejudice, bigotry and injustice, wherever we see it.  It is up to all of us to see to it, that the words of the Prophets become a reality.  “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall men learn war any more.  For all men, both great and small, shall know the Lord”.  And let me add “Because all men are created equal.” 

I know of no better words to close my thoughts than with a slogan, which I saw recently on the bill board of the United Methodist Church in my neighborhood in Willow Grove and which read:

“It is sad, when man loses God and does not even miss him”.

Think deeply about these few words for a minute or so.  These words are profound and meaningful to me, and I hope to you as well.

Thank you for having been an attentive audience.

 

Felix Nussbaum, The Refugee (1939) -{a}rtwork {b}log {c}ommemoration

Nussbaum, a well-known artist in exhibit, was arrested in Belgium in 1940 after which he escaped and went into hiding in Brussels with his wife. His painting The Refugee shows the isolation of the wandering German Jew. “In the painting, he asks himself, ‘Where can I go in this world, where can I live, where can I work and exist?’” says Smerling. Nussbaum sent the painting to his father in Amsterdam, and after the murder of Nussbaum’s father in Auschwitz in 1944, it was transferred to private hands and sold at auction. “The painting hints at our current time, by pointing to the position of the refugee asking himself where he can go,” says Smerling, “today we have many people asking the same thing.” Nussbaum was ultimately murdered in Auschwitz in 1944 at the age of 39, together with his wife. (Credit: Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem) – #BBC 

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160203-art-from-the-holocaust-the-stories-behind-the-images

 

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Auschwitz Live Virtual Tour

Auschwitz-virtual-live-tour

An Auschwitz Virtual Live Tour transports visitors to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp for a unique learning experience, using historical footage, Holocaust survivor testimonies and modern animation combined with virtual reality tools to teach about the horrors that happened in the world’s most infamous concentration camp. 

The tours are live, led by expert tour guides in Poland who can answer questions and interact with participants. This tour is the most faithful representation of an in-person visit to the Auschwitz memorial #V # site. https://holocausteducation.center/auschwitzvirtualtour/ #KNOWLEDGE #Kno|t| #AGA #∠νV>∠ν-WeX-∠νg.mbelHAUS

Group tours are currently being scheduled. Visit holocausteducation.center/auschwitzvirtualtour.

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♛QUEEN EDITH AND KING BOB WEIL♚#1.g-