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The men and women held there frequently know one another. Pupko; know, as Zylbersztajn does, that Dr. Some people are there with remnants of their families—brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers. Some succeed. Sometimes he beats and bloodies them, picks some among the beaten and shoots them. Sometimes he makes them lie face down on the ground all night, anyone who moves is beaten and kicked; some are killed, some survive, have to be hospitalized; some are shot by Feix. Feix walks behind them, shoots each one in the back of the head. One after another of the men drop to the ground.
The penalty for not hitting, and for hitting too hard, is death. Bitter falls down under the thousands of light blows, is dragged along the ground, dragged to the steps of a barracks, drenched with water, revived, dragged around, and hit again. Although some of them want to put the man out of his misery, no prisoner dares to hit Bitter hard enough to kill him: they are not allowed to and no one chooses to die. And on that spotlit stage, little escapes the eyes of Feix. Jakub cleans houses for the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht in the settlement at the end of the path; carries out buckets of urine and excrement from a house occupied by a German Feldtwebel and his Polish girlfriend; cleans cars for a German airman who knocks him half senseless against a wall when he accidentally pushes a button once and the car jumps.
It was simply a matter of luck. Sometimes brothers are re-united, friends meet friends from their home town or village. Feix turns to Lublin for help. The search goes on day and night. The thieves cannot be found. On Sunday, the prisoners are told to assemble, but witness, not the punishment of their fellows, but prisoner Aleks Einhorn on the guitar accompanying prisoner Shmulek Goldstein from Warsaw singing a farewell to Feix. And in this later period of his incarceration in the camp, Jakub has impressed on him again a lesson in how human beings behave when threatened. Somebody from one of the barracks escapes.
One, two, three, four, five—shoot. Nobody wants to be in front. The crowd of people, like cattle, like some kind of animal, stampedes to get out of the way. Nobody wants somebody else to be killed, but no one wants to be killed. The same was to have happened to you, but thanks to the efforts of the directors of the factory, you are to live.
I have received an order directly from Berlin to keep you alive. The factory expects excellent work of you in token of your gratitude. Fall turns to winter. The prisoners exchange their own clothing for striped concentration camp uniforms pulled off the dead of Majdanek, move out of the seven crowded, windowless, horse stables next to the settlement into forty spacious barracks with windows in the new, heavily guarded camp next to the factory. Again the inevitable selection. On the point of what would send him again to death, Jakub has an out-of-body experience: watches himself sprint in the other direction, expecting at any second to hear himself being shot from behind.
When he comes back to himself among the stronger, but his fatherly Luksemburg is not there. Lowered before dawn, raised in the dusk of evening; dark when they go in, dark when they come out. Jakub drills holes for rivets at a table in the dank mine whose salt walls drip water. Occasionally somebody touches an electric wire and electrocutes himself. All else is Darkness 47 darkness which occludes mind and memory, and silences the tongue. I was completely yellow.
But the transports in herald a transport out. This page intentionally left blank. Some are sick, some are dying, some are dead. Some weep. Some sing to pass the time, to keep up a spirit of some sort. Some sing a Hebrew song about a train, a valley, love. The name means little. People standing, walking, free in the sunlight. People in print dresses, trousers, shirts, open collars, shoes. People with hair swept back, parted, curled. People, he is sure, who are not as hungry as he. Envy overwhelms him. Another stop.
Another siding. Barking dogs; doors of boxcars crashing open; SS men legs akimbo, bayonets poised; Los! Screamed at and pushed and beaten the column of men is marched past the Kommandatur, through the gates, across the Appellplatz, and into a fenced area. Two large barn-like barracks without windows or sanitary facilities and equipped only with triple-tiered bunks stand in this enclosure—Barracks 20 and 21, the Zugangslager New Arrivals camp. Smoke rises from the crematorium and its assisting pyres.
In the background, gunshots play staccato, becoming as familiar as heartbeat, as birdsong. Sofort ausziehen! Strip immediately! He has learned where to position himself in the soup line. To stay away from the front where he might be noticed and where the soup would be thin; to stay away from the back where there might be no soup left; how to place his tin container under the ladle so as not to miss a drop. He has learned how to eat his bread: to hold it in his cupped hands and to lower his mouth to it, so as not to lose a crumb.
In Transit 51 When the SS walk by he knows he must not stand out, not draw attention to himself, not be seen. Maybe, it was just some type of Nazi joke. For the whole day, the naked men mill uncertainly, watchfully, around the enclosure. For he has learned that edema can herald death. Perhaps, after all, they are not here to be killed; perhaps, he has been brought here to work! Day gives way to evening. Evening gives way to night. The men are driven into the barracks. Identical days in the enclosure follow identical nights in the barracks.
A group of uniformed men arrives with prisoner assistants carrying brushes, pots of paint, and clipboards. One by one, the naked men stand before them. The assistants write notes on their pads, and then, without explaining anything, the uniformed group leaves. Everyone knows that the numbers are important, but not one of them knows what those numbers mean. In the testimony he gave to the U.
Group 4 was unable to do any work. Group 3 worked only within the limits of the camp. These selections were made by physicians. People in Group 4 were placed in the [convalescence barracks]. Group 3 worked within the camp carrying stone and levelling the ground, and some specialists among them were sent to the Messerschmidt plant.
Groups 1 and 2 worked in out details, or in outside camps. In this part of Germany, tracts of dense coniferous forest alternate with huge sweeps of bare hills and smooth valleys extending for miles to the horizon, and buffetted at all seasons of the year by the biting Oberpfalz winds. The venture was successful. An eight-hour work day was introduced; the workers formed political and labor unions, established sports teams, built themselves a sports club, acquired a voice in local affairs, and had their representatives on the local council.
In this way, the SS with their slaves at their backs looked down onto a world spreading seemingly endlessly before them, and the villagers looked up to the SS who were to be the models for the future Germany. German prisoners were transported from Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald to build the camp. Among them was Carl Schrade, a large-boned Swiss-German trader in industrial diamonds, who had been arrested in Berlin and incarcerated without trial in for making disparaging remarks against National Socialism.
Germans were beaten to death by Germans. In January , seven hundred Poles were transfered there from Auschwitz. The villagers saw SS guards goading prisoners down their street to various worksites. The villagers were able to request labor from the camp to perform heavier garden jobs or carpentry around the house—a particular boon for women whose husbands and sons were away serving in theWehrmacht. Young women were hired as maids by SS families, and happy to be so, as was the eighteen-year-old girl who was employed by the family of Ludwig Baumgartner, camp adjutant, because she found them kind employers who called a doctor in when she was sick, and gave her more to eat than she got at home.
Many of the girls in the village formed romantic liaisons with the elegantly uniformed SS men, were photographed smiling with them on the rocks at the foot of the fortress, drank and danced with them, and married them. There was nothing any of them could say against the SS. Over the years, the camp was enlarged. A crematorium was built to obviate the need of transporting corpses by night to the neighboring town of Selb.
Over the years, the administration of the camp changed. Jacob Weiseborn committed suicide by drinking poison in his room on January 20, , perhaps because he was being investigated in connection with embezzlement at Buchenwald. They observed that he trod very softly. Klasse overlayed with swords. The following month, a former baker and factory guard, Egon Zill, of Dachau, became Kommandant.
Most of the prisoners, men dispossessed of names and of all rights, even their own bodies, knew the SS, the booted and uniformed superior beings who told them they were not human and whose senses they offended, not by name but by physical attribute, by peculiar walk, by the color of glove on their hand, by the presence or absence of stars on their collars.
And as Kommandant replaced Kommandant, and one protective custody leader followed another, the prisoners noticed the passing of each only by his failure to appear in his appointed place, his absence that day from his spot by the gate as they marched out to work, or, perhaps, one day a different arm rose and fell, a new voice screamed, Los! Each Kommandant, each protective custody leader, each SS man repeated and added to the crimes of the other.
The prisoners dared not raise their eyes up to look at their faces for fear of being beaten or killed. The lower-ranking SS, murderers themselves, grew critical, not of the murders their superiors required and committed, but of their lack of moral leadership, laziness, dereliction of duties, sexual misconduct, and avoidance of military service. SS men took a picture of him as he rode on a horse into the woods, tied the horse [to] a tree, then he stood there embracing the girl even though his wife is expecting a child. We can only take those men who come from the front as an example but these only get mistreated by the leaders.
Disillusionment with the SS appeared in the village as well at this time, hackles were raised. In all cases they were beaten till they continued in the march column. But by social inequity. They have all their husbands here, none of them is in the frontlines —This is not right at all. It looks like just the poor people should carry the burden of the war. All these above mentioned people are SS leaders, who are supposed to be example forces.
Our husbands are getting shot on the frontline for their country to enable these women to keep their maids and their husbands home and away from the front. It is really terrible that something like this exists when one thinks of the poor soldier in the front lines and then sees the conditions that exist here. Orphaned at the age of twelve, Koegel had been a shepherd, a mountain guide, a thrice-wounded First World War soldier, and a failed business man.
Courage, incorruptibility, loyalty, diligence, and obedience must be demanded of you, if you want to be an SSman in a Concentration Camp. No SS-man will be subjected to as many temptations as you. A showman, Schmitz invited the SS in to watch him operate. We did not see him again. Some like A. It was operated like an assembly line, camp elder Karl Matthoi, a frequent visitor, recalled, with the women in rooms numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on. The men who were to be murdered were selected in groups of sixteen by native cities. Block 19 had been set aside for prisoners aged eight to eighteen by Kommandant Koegel because he wished to control homosexuality in the camp.
By August , it held eight hundred boys. The number climbed. The barracks was dilapidated. The drainage in the area was poor and over the years the pilings on which it stood rotted. Windows broke and fell out. The three tiers of wooden ledges, some of them spread with disintegrating paper pallets stuffed with wood shavings, ran down both sides of a bare aisle. Five toilets and a pissoir had to serve all the boys. Four boys occupied spaces constructed for one. There were not enough blankets to cover all of Drecksack! There was not enough coal to heat the barnlike space.
There were no cleaning materials, no soap. Gieselmann wore leather gloves; he carried a rubber hose; he carried a leather belt. He tore skin, cut eyes, broke bones. He walked down the aisle. Screamed Drecksack! The other boys in the barracks heard the crunch of skull bone. Boys went mad, and each morning the children and adolescents of Block 19, like the prisoners in all the other blocks, carried out their dead. For six days of the week, at the break of day, or shortly before, in the cold of autumn and in the frigid cold of winter, Jakub marches in formation with other men across the Appellplatz, past the small peak-roofed guardhouse and climbs up a hundred some granite steps to his workplace.
The wind has always blown there, across the village, over the thin, unyielding soil of the hills of that part of the Oberpfalz, through that same quarry when it had belonged to Wilhelm Jakob, and when, in those days before the introduction of the eight-hour work day, the village men had daily put in eleven hours of work. The cold had made their hard work harder then, too, but they had not been patrolled by hostile Drecksack! The return trip at evening is especially arduous, when, numbed with cold and exhausted beyond exhaustion, the men carry not only themselves, but also depleted comrades and dead ones back down into the camp.
Twice a day, Jakub marches that route. All this done at speed for eleven hours a day. In the evenings, he stands in the Appellplatz while the strength of the camp is counted man by man, barracks by barracks. The men stand for one hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, stand long into the night until the numbers tally. They stand at attention, eyes straight ahead, trying to avoid drawing the attention of the SS striding between their rows. Sometimes in the Appellplatz in the evenings the SS stage public hangings, and circulate among their prisoners looking straight in their faces to make sure their expressions register neither sorrow nor pain, that they are drawing the lesson that they, the SS, have power.
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One such hanging takes place on December 23, When the working group came from work they had to witness the hanging of six recaptured prisoners. In the meantime it got dark and the hanging prisoners were silhouetted against the light. Sundays, Jakub spends in the drab, gritty Appellplatz set amid the grids of dismal barracks separated by dismal narrow paths that end on all sides at the high-tension wire fence. Still alive, they already smell like corpses.
What appalls Jakub is the thought of their humanity—like his own—the thought of his kinship with these used-up men. He instinctively avoids them. Department 3 gave us reports from the outside camps. His was a privileged position, and one which enabled him to know well the ways of the camp. He was a friend of Carl Schrade, and, like him, used his position to help others when he could. Jakub runs to Kucera, too, the time that, as a joke, a German prisoner signs his name on the list for the brothel, a place forbidden to Jews.
Sometime early in , Milos Kucera gets Jakub assigned to the camp laundry next to Block The job is Drecksack! When he makes deliveries of linen to the brothel, one of the women held there gives him bread. Jakub now has something to give. Once, he is able to give Herszel a coat. Once, he gives him some shirts which Herszel gives to a German prisoner in his barracks in exchange for meat, for what looks like a drumstick. And it is because Rabbi Stockhammer had known his father that Jakub trades his bread for a cigarette to give him. For the most part, the only exchange possible between the prisoners standing at the table in the Messerschmidt factory for eleven hours is a whisper when no guard or SS man is near.
So, too, in the evenings when Jakub stands to attention in the Appellplatz to be counted and recounted. In addition, people he sees one day he no longer sees the next, either because they have fallen sick, been murdered, or transferred. Amid the undeviating routines of the camp—the constant, unrelenting, gnawing, crippling hunger; the constant, unrelenting cruelties and murders—he lives in constant, unrelenting vigilance against death.
He draws his shirt to his mouth and rubs the rough cloth across his teeth. He tries to reach the barracks washroom before it gets too crowded to enter. His senses blur. Hajlmar Schlacht, Dr. On February 13, 14, 15, and 16 three to four thousand prisoners arrive from Gross-Rosen. On March 17, an additional people are transported to Bergen-Belsen. On April 1, U. On April 8, Prince Albrecht and his family are moved to Dachau.
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On that day, too, several hundred prisoners are brought in from Brieg in Upper Silesia, all in bad condition, some have died on the journey. An hour or so later yet more concentration camp prisoners arrive. At dawn that day, the Schuschnigg family is driven away. The Special Prison is full so they are kept in a ward of the hospital until cells open up. Inside the Special Prison, doors open, doors close. German voices sound out German words. Crevices and cracks in doors give glimpses of naked people, the execution yard.
Inside the Special Prison, slits in the boards covering narrow windows yield a hillside, processions of laden stretchers, emaciated corpses spilling out onto ice. Inside the main camp, the prisoners are ever more pressed in their barracks. Ever more burning pyres assist the cre- Heat 77 matorium, ever more clouds of sickly smoke rain ever more human particles onto the ground. Where there is killing to be done, there Adjutant Baumgartner can still always be found. He is seen opening the food hatch of a cell door in the prison, and shooting the man in there.
He is seen supervising the hanging of three women from the Polish Home Army, among them a twenty-year-old pregnant woman whose dissection afterwards he oversees in the hospital. He is seen distributing cigars, tobacco, and schnapps to his subordinates after every execution.
He is seen on the path between prison and hospital summoning the corpse carrier to dispose of the dead. He is seen in the camp shooting the frail in the back. He is responsible for executions, for punishments, for starvations, the transports to Bergen-Belsen. On April 1, , he visits the Schuschniggs in their cell; suggests that their child be taken away; the special prison is no place for a child, the crematorium is close by and, from it, the smell of corpses is brought by the wind.
Koegel sits as associate judge at this trial. The court is in session far into the night. Still at their appointed places, Baumgartner and Koegel no longer own the assurance that what they are now, they will remain, and their mockery and their joking and their laughter have started to fade. They look, he thinks, very nervous. As usual, many of them collapse on the road leading into the camp.
An SS man and ten hand-picked prisoners are sent out with a truck to gather and dispose of the dead. Heat 79 Swedish Red Cross trucks are spied by the gate. The daily roll calls do not take as long as they did. A feeling, a sense of impending change, of end or liberation, an intuition as persistent as the Oberpfalz wind, stirs in the men in the camp.
He clutches them secretly to himself, these precious letters of transit, these amulets, and wonders in what order the various nationalities will be taken out of the camp. On Sunday April 15, winter loosens its grip on spring, the sky is blue, the sun shines. The SS orders the Jewish patients, including a twelveyear old Polish Jewish boy whose foot has been amputated, to be taken out of the hospital.
A whisper moves between Milos Kucera and Carl Schrade that tomorrow the Jews are going to be taken out of the camp. Kucera makes arrangements, seeks out Jakub among the crowd in the Appellplatz, tells the boy to go to the boiler room beneath the laundry, that the man in there is ready for him, will show him where he should hide. The SS, Koegel says, are leaving the camp. Tells Uhl he is free to go where he pleases.
Jakub's World: A Boy's Story of Loss and Survival in the Holocaust
They would both, it appears, prefer to remain on the job. Max Koegel must go. Alle Juden antreten! Herszel Zancberg, Rabbi Stockhammer, and sixteen hundred other Jewish men are routed from their barracks, assembled in the Appellplatz, and, then, under guard, escorted out. The sentries climb down from their guardtowers. Some men raid the kitchens. From some of the barracks comes the sound of Russian voices singing Russian songs.
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Some of the prisoners mutter that this is the end. Some that this is just a trick. Heat 81 Jakub lies sweltering in the suffocating heat underneath the Appellplatz, blinded by darkness. Above his head is a heavy asbestos covered pipe, beneath his back a heavy asbestos-covered pipe. He cannot stand, he cannot sit, he cannot stretch his arms out wide, he cannot raise his head, he cannot see, and his thoughts are as constrained as his body. He fears that the German with the green triangle, a man he does not know and under whose mercy he has placed himself, will denounce him, and he listens for the clatter of well-shod feet, for the kicking open of a door, more footsteps, German voices, shots.
Then, he hears footsteps, a German voice, but the voice is benign, the prisoner with the green triangle tells him the SS have left, it is safe now for him to emerge. As usual, the dead lie scattered in the Appellplatz and along the pathways, but Jakub sees that the glass enclosures at the peak of the guardtowers are free of SS guards. The Appellplatz is crowded. He sees the U.
He feels the uncertainty, but the spring sun is shining and, for now, with the SS gone there is nothing to fear. Exposed in the Appellplatz of a camp which, supposedly, had been cleared of Jews, Jakub is caught in more than the mortal danger usual in the camp. Nikolai, the boy from his barracks, notices Jakub standing near him, that he has seen that boy before and realizes that Jakub is Jewish. My compatriot! Is that you? Snow and rain begin to fall across the Oberpfalz. In the autopark on the other side of the fence, men work without ceasing readying trucks.
New reinforcements of SS men arrive at the camp. The French inmate doctors inject Sergeant Demmel in the foot with fenol so that he will be sent to a neighboring hospital instead of going as a guard on the march. Prisoners from other camps continue arriving; the weaker are shot; the path between the hospital and the special prison, the Appellplatz, and all the thoroughfares of the camp are piled higher than usual with dead and sodden with blood. The order comes down from Kommandant Koegel that all written records must be destroyed. For three days, documents burn. The question which creeps from prisoner to prisoner is no longer whether the end is at hand, but what will happen, and how, and when?
Jakub's World: A Boy's Story of Loss and Survival in the Holocaust by Alicia Nitecki
The SS wives and families have scattered. On the morning of April 20, the poor condemned men are told to evacuate the barracks. Some take a blanket to protect themselves from the cold, the rain, and the snow. They are ordered to assemble by block. They are issued a piece of bread, or a spoonful of raw grain, and marched out in groups of several thousand, beginning at around seven in the morning. He shoots those who, although they are still able to stand, are too weak to march, breaking his work twice to telephone his wife and tell her that he is leaving for Dachau after all the inmates have departed the camp.
SS-man Kirsamer, hands the key to the storeroom that he has looted over the years to Carl Schrade and leaves. Inside, all semblance of order has gone. He walks across the Appellplatz, walks by the hospital, kicks closed doors open to check that no one is hiding inside. A procession of eight men accompanies the wagon.
To the right, on the other side of the gate, stands a long, low barracks with narrow windows, and, beyond it, a taller one with what look like dormer windows and three thick, square chimneys. It is sleeting. Puddles glisten in the foreground, and the roofs of the two barracks are white. Whiteness smudges out whatever it is that lies in the distance beyond the buildings. What he feels is totally alone and profoundly depressed. It is 23d April at hours. One lieutenant and four other soldiers looked everything over. Russell of the 90th Division of the U. These prisoners are of various nationalities of German overrun territories.
They have formed a commission among themselves headed by a Swiss with each nationality group represented. All are suffering from malnutrition. The whole place is lousy. There is a crematory now operating for disposal of the dead. Transportation and supply of this bread will be arranged for. Starting April 24, rations per day will be supplied by the Division until such time as supplies can be brought up by teams under direction of Corps. This will not exceed 3 days duration. They had driven through the village whose inhabitants were nowhere to be seen.
At the gate into the camp, a Belgian prisoner had warned them not to enter because typhus raged inside. They entered, stayed half an hour or so. Others came. What these passers-through saw impressed itself on their memories. They heard a dreadful silence, and, above all, they smelled the camp even before they saw it.
Kelley said in a letter to him. Reid and Tec 5 Benjamin B. Reid, 2d. His name is Francis Pollack. He renders the medical report every morning giving the diseases, new cases, etc. Looking down the disease column the following line-up met the eye: Surgery, Typhus, T. I kidded him about it today. The Germans knocked out his upper teeth with a hammer and a punch. The one American citizen imprisoned at the camp, Sylvester Kressewitsch, had been visiting his grandparents in Yugoslavia when the war broke out, was drafted into their army and captured by the Germans on June 14, He is suffering from tuberculosis and his condition is thought to be terminal.
Yarborough of the 97th Division, later U. Lieutenant Ivan Brook Oppenheimer, Counter Intelligence Corps, gives Jakub, the youngest inmate remaining there, the job of opening and closing the gates to the contaminated camp. This young boy became our tour guide. He showed us one of the barracks where the prisoners stayed. He told of sleeping on the bare wooden bunks. Sometimes the person sleeping next to him had died in the night.
He told us that there were prisoners marked for death by starvation, but in whom the will to live was strong, and these were eliminated by holding their heads under water. He showed us the path from the main buildings where the prisoners had to remove their clothes before walking down a number of steps into a small open area where they had placed the gallows. This little kid. The inmates are still fearful that the SS will return and kill A Child Again 93 the sick as, according to rumors, they have done in other camps.
For this reason, Carl Schrade, even though he has spent eleven years in German concentration camps, refuses to leave until all the sick have been safely evacuated elsewhere. He is still there on May 27, when the last of the French inmates leave. Members of the U. On one occasion Captain Ivanov shoots two of them and they are hospitalized; on another occasion an SS man shoots an American sergeant and escapes. An SS man notorious for having shot a woman while raping her is killed by inmates.
It takes him twelve hours to die. Some Russians kill former camp elder, Anton Uhl, and cover his body with a boulder. No potatoes are being cooked in the kitchen right now for want of help. A few Russians, slightly older, were locked up. I told them that it was a very sorry state of affairs if they could not live together without having American soldiers as policemen. Fifteen-year-old Jakub does not immediately comprehend the unthreatening military men.
Ever present to his eye, they no longer register in his mind. Times without number before, Jakub has seen uniformed men killing defenseless beings. But now as he draws near to a group of prisoners who have asked one young U. The soldier turns his head away as he pulls the trigger, and Jakub is startled to see a uniformed man squeamish about killing. A German woman comes in to the guardhouse where he sleeps to clean and make his bed.
He cleans his teeth not with the edge of his jacket but with the toothbrush that the lieutenant has given him. The Captain, Dr. The lieutenant, Ivan B. Both these men, independently of each other, and without telling Jakub, make plans for his future. The colonel shares his packages of food from home with him; makes enquiries about adopting Jakub in order to obtain a U. Moundy left. April 29, Carl Schrade center. Louis Leland. Lawrence Salter. A Child Again Lt. Ivan B. On March 12, , Jakub disembarks in Norfolk, and arrives in New York the following morning to the sight of workmen hosing down the sidewalks and the smell of spring in the air.
Until a more permanent home is ready for him, Jakub stays with a large extended family, three sisters and their families, all living in close proximity to each other in Jackson Heights, and applies himself to learning English and forming links with his new world. When the gates of the camp opened and the realization hit that he was alone in the world, he relished the fatherly care and affection Lawrence Salter, Ivan Oppenheimer, and Louis Leland gave him, felt safe and complete at the times he was with them, as he had been once as a child with his parents, sisters, and brother.
You are welcome to stay with us. In those letters, also, can be traced a gradual relaxation of his tension and his delight in affection. It feels as though I have been here for a much longer time; especially when I summarize all the things I have done and learned in such a relative[ly] short time. His captain is my dentist who never takes any money from me.
A New World I will, therefore, use your ten dollars for something more constructive than a date. Here is a quote. I got quite respectable grades. Do you know? I would like to specialize in Paleontology, perhaps under the G. Bill after I get out of the army. He is working for a subsidiary of Standard Oil of California. In , the U.
Army had sent Jakub not to France, as he had expected, but to Germany, which he had not sought to revisit. From the ashes, desolations and terrors of his beginnings—unforgotten, approached, considered—Jakub builds not a prison but a new life. District Prefect Kurt Engels was arrested in the early s but committed suicide in jail before he could be brought to trial. She would like to see her again.
The former Polish ammunitions factory which Heinkel had taken manufactures ballbearings now. Its director, Roman Wereszczynski, gladly acts as a guide to the site of the camp that stood on its fringe. Reinhold Feix was never apprehended, although a case was brought against him. He is thought to have died in his own bed in Amberg in His son killed himself at the age of twenty-one.
Fritz Tauscher committed suicide in while in custody in Hamburg. The salt sculptures of Wieliczka are open to tourists again. The guides know about the existence of an aircraft factory and camp there during the war, but say they have little information about it and would like to have more. His successor at the camp, Karl Fritszch, died in the battle for Berlin.
After all, it was her husband, and even though her husband had had such a position, so she often told me, she still knew that he was not a murderer. He had carried out his orders just like every other soldier. Through me he shall not be betrayed. The Americans removed his shoes, belt, and tie. Before ten on the following morning, he tore off a piece of his undershirt and attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself from the doorknob in his cell. Lutz Baumgartner disappeared. His wife and her parents denied all knowledge of his whereabouts. She told her children that he had died on the Eastern Front.
The inmate hospital staff gave statements on his behalf to the Americans. Schmitz was executed on November 26, The Special Prison was kept as a museum, and its execution wall retained as a memorial to Canaris and the Widerstand. In , the government of Bavaria agreed to tear down the factory, cut down the trees, uncover the foundations of barracks, and use the Kommandatur to house the museum and archives. The contours of the camp are coming back into focus again.
Herszel came to the U. The virtuoso violinist Chaim Arbajtman became associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. They and Jakub remain friends. Jakub specialized in psychoanalysis, and evaluated and treated people who, like him, had lived through the camps and, with his colleagues, took part in groups studying survival. He was dismayed by what he discovered. In the s, the government of Chancellor Adenauer institutedWiedergutmachung legislation for camp inmates. Psychiatrists in Germany attributed dysfunctions they found in survivors to be constitutional or hereditary, unconnected to the trauma of persecution.
To counter them, psychiatrists in the U. Many of them found the stories the former inmates told too disturbing to hear and avoided in-depth analysis. Krystal and W. A great opportunity to learn and to understand the complexity of the human condition was lost. Mentioning these places summons up familiar images and elicits a variety of associations in both individual and communal conceptions of history.
They represent the system of National Socialist concentration camps and symbolize the mass murder of millions of people.
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This is true for public consciousness in the United States as well as Germany. Auschwitz symbolizes the epitome of National Socialist mass murder. Time and memory have turned it into a sacred place that appears inviolable. It has become a place in the mind, an abstraction, a ghostly manifestation. Young is suggesting here that Auschwitz cannot speak freely and for itself. Through political and academic debates, articles in the press and television reports, and also through public ceremonies of remembrance, the genocide of the National Socialists as well as the places associated with it have become a central component of our historical consciousness.
They materialize in the present. A topography of remembrance has formed itself out of the topography of terror. Never heard of it! In addition, Dachau now has its own importance within an international youth travel-culture and is the most frequented memorial in Germany, with over a million visitors a year.
Even the critical and discriminating studies by James E. Young2 and the recently published piece of research by Harold Marcuse3 succumb to the aura of this symbolically charged place. The fact that history, culture science, and reception history focus studies on these two locations reinforces the picture of the two places as being historically unique and possessing special features.
On no account will their uniqueness and special features be disputed or relativized here. In these other camps, in dimensions unimaginable to us, people suffered just as much and were tortured and murdered in a bestial manner. But not only the topographical and social dimension of the genocide has been shifted by the postwar reception.
The fact that many camps have been forgotten often means that their victims have been forgotten as well. Sometimes the fate of camp prisoners appeared less terrible because the camp itself was unknown. At most, the affected communities or civic authorities responsible put the remains to pragmatic use or reused them. Not only Germans were responsible for this but also the Allied liberators of the camps. What we must concern ourselves with is not only the past of the camps, but just as much with how this past is dealt with, the changes that have taken place in our dealing with this past and the present-day importance of the crimes.
In addition, the latter are embedded in a memory-culture. This is determined regionally by social framework and discourse and also in the microcosm of the local political context. Journalists from the United States have a different view of the former camps than the relatives of a Soviet prisoner of war who was murdered there. They mark out the topography of what happened there and are surrounded by an aura of supposed authenticity. The former camps and memorials are by no means identical.
The present architectural form of the memorials and the conceptions underlying their appearance express how each community deals with the history of the camp with which it is associated. They are embedded in both a local and regional remembrance culture that is determined by many different factors.
Lying behind the appearance and design of memorials there is always a concept of remembrance that is dependent on political and social discourse and on historical demand. Places of remembrance take on a life of their own that depends on the importance ascribed to them by those who debate or write about memorials, visit them, or live near such places. Second, there is the political and social evaluation of the memorials in the respective communites. Third, the efforts of the present residents to live a normal life in these places today. Some contemporary readers might get the impression that, as far as National Socialist genocide is concerned, everything has been researched and published.
Referring to the Dachau memorial, J. It has been judged more in terms of the appearance of its memorial and in accord with the de-thematization of its history in public and academic discourse. In the s the whole border region was regarded as underdeveloped and backward. However, the world economic crisis at the end of the twenties left its mark on this industry.
More than half the male inhabitants lost their jobs. There was an unforeseen boom for the stone industry because the megalomaniacal architectural plans of the National Socialists meant a demand for large public buildings. Indeed, to some extent there was a lack of manpower. The improvement in the labor market was directly connected with the supply of granite for the construction of the Nazi Party rally grounds in Nuremberg, where every year in September the National Socialists staged a presentation of the German National Community Volksgemeinschaft.
From one must speak of a new generation of concentration camps. This was responsible for organising and administering the production of building material in the new camps. First, the safeguarding and expansion of SS power. The cooperation with Speer guaranteed the continuation and extension of the concentration camp system. More importantly—and this was the second and decisive purpose— the growth in power due to the cooperation with Speer led to an expansion of the policy of persecution. In the beginning the overwhelming majority consisted of other groups of prisoners.
In the camp hierarchy Afterword they were mostly at the top, occupied functionary positions in the prison community and were a means of conveying the SS terror, often cruelly, to fellow prisoners. They erected the barracks, the administrative buildings, and the security installations. The prisoners themselves had to build their own prison. At the same time they began to work in the SS quarries.
The strict order in the camp, the constant maltreatment and torture of the prisoners, the totally inadequate food, and the extreme climate fundamentally contradicted any economic aims. However, from an economic point of view, using the prisoners was totally ineffective. Uppermost in the minds of the SS was the extermination of the prisoners, not the production of building material. Return to Book Page. Preview — Jakub's World by Alicia Nitecki.
Jack Terry. At first the humiliations inflicted by the Germans seem small, but the conditions worsen until eventually Jakub's family and much of his village are murdered, and he is sent to various concentration camps in Poland and Germany, where he str When German troops come to the small village of BeAzOEyce, Poland, in , nine-year-old Jakub Szabmacher's world is forever changed. At first the humiliations inflicted by the Germans seem small, but the conditions worsen until eventually Jakub's family and much of his village are murdered, and he is sent to various concentration camps in Poland and Germany, where he struggles to survive the terrible conditions of camp life.
Finally liberated in from the concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany, Jakub is befriended by American troops and with their help brought to the United States, where he takes the name Jack Terry. Coauthor Alicia Nitecki, whose grandfather was also imprisoned at Flossenburg, uses Terry's personal memories to tell young Jakub's story, as well as unpublished memoirs, private letters, and interviews with former inmates of the Flossenburg concentration camp and the townspeople of BeAzOEyce and Flossenburg. Part history, part autobiography, Jakub's World offers an anguished young boy's perspective on the Holocaust.
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Jun 01, Ann Riley rated it liked it Shelves: holocaust-genocide. The final chapter covers how the camp has been memorialized. Barnine Stephens marked it as to-read Apr 30, Loni marked it as to-read Mar 20,