Maine Author Examines How Jews Fleeing Hitler Kept Out of U.S. on MPBN

Nazis killed millions during the World War II Holocaust. But many believe some of those deaths could have been avoided if other nations had been willing to open their borders to those – especially Jews – who wished to flee. Some of those accusing fingers point at Breckinridge Long, who, as a U.S. state department official, worked hard to keep European Jews out. MPBN Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talks with York resident Neil Rolde, who has written a biography of Long.
Maine Author Examines How Jews Fleeing Hitler Kept Out of U.S.

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Marie Jalowicz Simon: the Jewish woman who hid from Nazis in Berlin

Marie Jalowicz Simon, circa 1944The 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

Memoir: All But My Life author talks about the holocaust

“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

Holocaust history, as told to students by a survivor

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

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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by John Boyne

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Schindler’s List

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by Thomas Keneally

In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser and heavy drinker who enjoyed the good life, yet to them he became a saviour.

Thomas Keneally’s Booker Prize-winning novel recreates the story of Oskar Schindler, an Aryan who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who continually defied and outwitted the SS, and who was transformed by the war into an angel of mercy. It is an unforgettable tale, all the more extraordinary for being true. Continue reading

The Pianist

128066by Władysław Szpilman

The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin’s Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman’s account of the years inbetween, of the death and cruelty inflicted on the Jews of Warsaw and on Warsaw itself, related with a dispassionate restraint borne of shock. Szpilman, now 88, has not looked at his description since he wrote it in 1946 (the same time as Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man?; it is too personally painful. The rest of us have no such excuse. Continue reading