Survival In Auschwitz is Primo Levi’s memoir which chronicles his time as a member of the Italian anti-fascist resistance during World War 2 as well as his nearly year long imprisonment in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Hundreds of survivors returned to the Holocaust’s infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, to mark the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. World leaders, including the presidents of Germany and France, joined about 300 survivors at a commemorative event at the Polish site on January 27,2015.
About 1,500 survivors returned in 2005. Many of the remaining survivors are now elderly and were children and teens when they were held in the concentration camp.
The site opened as a museum in 1947.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was notably not in attendance during the commemoration, even though the Soviet army was responsible for liberating the camp in 1945.
The following article in the Guardian is here.
Marie Jalowicz Simon was one of 1,700 ‘U-boats’, German Jews who survived the war submerged below the surface of daily life. Now she has told all in a book.
On 22 June 1942, Marie Jalowicz Simon woke to find a Gestapo officer standing by her bedside. “Get dressed. We need to interrogate you.” In a moment of inspired improvisation, the 20-year-old Berliner managed to distract first the Nazi official in her bedroom, then his colleague waiting at the bottom of the stairs, and escaped back into “submerged” illegality as a Jew in Nazi Germany.
Now, 16 years after Jalowicz Simon’s death, a new book tells the extraordinary story of her fate as one of around 1,700 “U-boats” – Jews who managed to survive the Nazi period submerged beneath the surface of everyday life. Continue reading
From Maine Insights:
Botso: The Teacher From Tbilisi had its worldwide premiere during the 16th Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) and was overwhelming voted the winner of the Audience Choice for Best Film.
“Botso’s story is an amazing example of human resilience, how someone can turn something horrific into something positive,” said Tom Walters, the co-producer and director of the full-length documentary.
For anyone who loves to learn about how someone overcame tremendous obstacles life put in his path, Botso’s story is sure to inspire. For anyone who believes in the power of teaching music and art, Botso’s story will touch your soul.
“I was able to see dad in prison; he was in a small cell, and he was holding my mom’s hand,” recalled Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli, 91, in the film. That day took place in 1936, just before Stalin had his father, celebrated Georgian actor Platon Korisheli, executed as an enemy of the people. “That’s where he told me everything he wanted to tell me for the rest of my life. He said to me, ‘When you go to bed each night, ask yourself: ‘Have I done enough today?’”
Botso was 14. Continue reading
“I love this country. I love it with the love that only one who has been hungry and homeless for as long as I have been.”
– Gerda Weissmann Klein
From a PBS interview:
GERDA WEISSMANN KLEIN, Holocaust survivor: I guess we all knew that this was going to be the first step to the end of the road, either to liberation or to — to doom.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Those first steps for 20-year-old Gerda Weissmann from Bielsko, Poland, that snowy, frigid January in 1945 did lead to liberation, but only after three-and-a-half months and 350 miles of unimaginable horror.
Of the more than 2,000 young Jewish women and girls who the German S.S. forced to walk that death march through the snows of Eastern Europe, fewer than 150 survived. Most already had endured six years of ghettos, concentration camps and slave labor after Hitler’s army had invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939.
All had been separated from their families and loved ones.
GERDA WEISSMANN KLEIN: I was the only one from my family who survived, the only one of my dearest friends. Continue reading
Schwartz endured in a concentration camp a few other teens evaded capture, like Hurbert Kurterer who wrote My Tainted Blood. Many tried to flee to the USA but were stopped by Breckenridge Long. This article is about Schwartz and his quest enlightening students about his experience.
By CHRIS COTTRELL, Published: December 27, 2013 in the New York Times
EMSDETTEN, Germany — LASZLO SCHWARTZ never had a proper adolescence. The Nazis made sure of that.He was 14 when he and his family disembarked from a cold boxcar onto the selection ramp at Auschwitz, and he says he still remembers the feel of Josef Mengele’s wide leather gloves pinching his scrawny biceps.
As the sadistic concentration camp physician known as the “Angel of Death” sized up the teenage Laszlo, ordering him to line up with the other children, a sinister flame rose in the distance, he said.
“I knew what they were doing, but I didn’t want to believe it,” Mr. Schwartz recently told a class of 50 high school students in this small town in western Germany. “My turn came for Mengele, and he asked me to make a muscle. He asked how old I am. I said 17. It didn’t help.” Continue reading
By Neil Rolde
With the Holocaust now having embedded itself deeply into the world’s conscience, interest in that period from the early 1930s when Hitler took power through to World War II and its immediate aftermath in the 1940s has remained high. The role of the United States and its government during this period is receiving increasing attention.
My biography of Breckinridge Long is a hitherto uncovered life story of the State Department assistant secretary who bureaucratically blocked many refugees, preponderantly Jewish, from escaping Hitler’s death machine, in their quest to seek asylum in America. In that role, Long has received much scrutiny from Holocaust historians, but who was this man? What motivated his behavior? What was his background? Those were questions I asked myself until I discovered that all his papers and diaries were at the Library of Congress, open for study.
“This book will fill a large, gaping hole in the field of Holocaust studies. It provides a window into Washington and into FDR’s White House (not to mention the State Department) and Democratic Party politics that is marvelous.” These are the words of Chris Breiseth, the retired former director of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park. Continue reading