Judenjagd – Jew Hunts in the Polish Forests

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[picture – Polish forest where Sam and Esther hid]

 

Dirty, hungry, thirsty, tired, lice-covered, cold, hot, scared.

This was the life of a Jew hiding in the Polish forest during the Holocaust.  Esther hid like this for two years and Sam, after his escape from Treblinka, joined her for the second of the two years.  They lived in barns, utility buildings on the Stys family property and a pit they dug in the ground, just outside of Stoczek.  Their survival is remarkable.

I just read a book by Christopher Browning about “ordinary” German men who were drafted into Battalion 101.  It opened my eyes even wider to the miracle of Sam and Esther’s survival in hiding.  In Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Mr. Browning discusses the work of this Battalion during the war.  One of the Battalion’s jobs was to search the forest for hidden Jews.  Though Battalion 101 was doing their “work” in the Lublin district of Poland, his descriptions paint a picture that extends out to all such searches. He quotes George Leffler, one of the members of the German Battalion:

“We were told that there were many Jews hiding in the forest.  We therefore searched through the woods in a skirmish line but could find nothing, because the Jews were obviously well hidden.  We combed the woods a second time.   Only then could we discover individual chimney pipes sticking out of the earth. We discovered that Jews had hidden themselves in underground bunkers here.  They were hauled out, with resistance in only one bunker.  Some of the comrades climbed down into this bunker and hauled the Jews out.  The Jews were then shot on the spot . . . the Jews had to lie face down on the ground and were killed by a neck shot. . .. Some fifty Jews were shot, including men and women of all ages, because entire families had hidden themselves there.”  (124)

The search and kill missions became routine for the men of Battalion 101.  The members called such forest forays – Judenjagd or “Jew Hunt.” (123)  Most often the Germans were tipped off by a local Polish resident.  The residents were eager to help, as they received a reward for each Jew found and the chance to keep the dead Jews’ clothing.[1]  When such information was received, a routine patrol would follow the Pole to the forest hiding place.  Locating the opening, the Germans threw grenades into the bunker.  Anyone who survived the initial blast was forced out and then shot in the neck, lying face down.  (126)

There were Jew Hunts in the forest where Sam and Esther were hiding.  On our trip to Poland we learned the name of one such Polish “Jew Hunter” hunting the forests outside of Stoczek – Andrzecjczuk.  In one of the many shocking moments of the trip, Shlomo saw Andrzecjczuk’s grave in the Stoczek cemetery when we visited the righteous Stys family graves.  He snapped a picture and has spent the past year processing the information.

Browning explains that a significant number of Polish Jews lost their lives because of “Jew Hunts.”  He describes these hunts as a “tenacious, remorseless, ongoing campaign in which the ‘hunters’ tracked down and killed their ‘prey’ in direct and personal confrontation.  It was not a passing phase but an existential condition of constant readiness and intention to kill every last Jew who could be found.” (132)

The pit that Sam and Esther dug and lived in for most of a year (August 1943 until liberation by the Red Army in the summer of 1944) did not have a chimney pipe to give it away and was well camouflaged with brush they pulled over the top with a rope- pulley system.  Neither Andrzecjczuk nor any other enterprising Pole found their hiding place.  The Nazis did not kill these Jews.  For this miracle (among the many), I am grateful.

[1] See Hayes, Peter, Why: Explaining the Holocaust at 251.

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AMULETS, EVIL EYE AND THE MAZHINKA

AMULET

What medicines, precautions, and other means are employed in order to have clever children?  

Do you know of the custom to seat the bride on a kneading trough, a noodle board with a pillow, etc.? Does this custom still exist today? 

These are just two of the 2087 questions put together by Shloyme Zanvil Rapoport, more commonly known as An-sky, in 1912.  He wrote these questions to gather ethnographic data of the Jews living in the Pale of Settlement – the area between the Black and Baltic Seas.   At the beginning of the 20th century, the Pale of Settlement was home to five million Jews and was dripping with Jewish folk culture and traditions.

From 1912 to 1914, An-sky took a team of “musicologists, photographers, and fieldworkers” and traveled to over 60 towns to collect data.   An-sky and his team put together a questionnaire and called it “The Jewish Ethnographic Program.”

In his book, The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement, Nathaniel Deutsch explains how An-sky believed that his ethnographic research would be immediately relevant to both Jews and Non-Jews:

“Non-Jews would learn that Jews were a legitimate people – not an atavistic survival or a parasitic economic class – possessing a rich folk culture that was both uniquely Jewish and deeply embedded within the local environment.  Jews, especially the growing ranks of the assimilated, would gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of their own folk traditions and, just as important, would now be able to redeploy these traditions as the raw material for a wide range of new and, as An-sky envisioned it, authentically Jewish cultural creations, including museum exhibitions, theatrical performances, musical compositions, fine art, and literature.  The result, An-sky hoped, would be a veritable renaissance of Jewish culture, one deeply rooted in tradition yet cutting edge in sensibility.” (11-12)

The encyclopedic questionnaire was published in 1914 in Saint Petersburg.  Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of WWI, the questionnaire was never distributed. (14)   We non-Yiddish speakers are blessed to have Mr. Deutsch’s careful translation of the questions.  He lists them by number in his book and includes notes detailing his extensive research.  These questions provide a glimpse into the life of Eastern European Jewry that, thirty years later, was destroyed by the Holocaust.

The Jewish Ethnographic Program was divided into five main sections:  (1) the Child; (2) from the Kheyder to the Wedding; (3) the Wedding; (4) Family Life; and (5) Death.  Below I list some of my favorite questions and provide some of the notations that Mr. Deutsch includes.

Put on your seat belt and enjoy the ride:

  1. What medicines, precautions, and other means are employed in order to have clever children? (110)
  2. Is it a common belief that in most cases the children will resemble the mother’s brother? (Id.)
  3. Is it a common belief that the appearance and resemblance of children depends on what the mother sees during the time that she is leaving the mikve [ritual bath, here taken by women after menstruation] and during her pregnancy? Therefore, a pregnant woman should not look at impure animals and fowl, on crippled, ugly, sinful, or evil people, or at ugly pictures? (Id.)
  4. What protective amulets, charms, and precautions are there to protect a woman from the Evil Eye? (111)
  5. Is it a custom for all the students from the kheyder [lit. a room, more broadly a religious elementary school . . .] in town or for students from just one kheyder to come over and to recite the verses beginning “Hear o Israel [see above, no. 95]? (125)
  6. Note to 125:  “Students from the kheyder that was nearest the newborn would visit. . . .  On the seventh day of life, the behelfer (teacher’s assistant) would lead the kheyder children after learning to the house of the woman who had given birth and there would recite the Shema with them. . . .  Morris Goldstein informed the author that boys from the town beys yesomim (orphanage) would come to recite the Shema a day before the bris.  . . .  [In another account – ] When a boy was born, the melamed would write out a Shir Hamayles.  The behelfer (also belfer), or teacher’s assistant, would then lead the students to the house of the woman who had given birth. The behelfer would attach the Shir Hamayles to the cradle rope and then lead the students in the Shema.  Upon leaving, . . . the local Jewish midwife, would reach into her apron full of nuts and candies and give some to each boy, declaring ‘God grant that you should be fruitful and multiply.’” (125-26)
  1. What do people say when a child sneezes?

Note on 277: “a lebn ssu dir (life to you); zolstu zayn gezunt (may you be healthy) and the most popular – tsu gezunt (to your health) Jewish sources operate on the principle that “sneezing carries the danger of breathing out the soul.” (140)

  1. What do people say when a child yawns? (Id.)

Note to 278: “[Y]awning could be a sign of the Evil Eye and therefore required protective measures, such as incantations and spitting.”  (Id.)

  1. What do people say when a child farts? (Id.)
  2. What do people say when a child coughs? (Id.)
  3. Do people smear the alefbeys tablet with honey so that the child will lick it? What is the reason for this?
  4. Is the kheyder located in the melamed’s home or in another house?

Note on 389: “Typically the kheder was held in a room in the home of the melamed.  . . . ‘Only in about 20 percent of the schools investigated was a separate room specially provided in the house of the teacher.  In the remaining 80 percent the schoolroom was the living room of the teacher’s family, which was at the same time the sleeping room, the kitchen, etc.’” (153)

  1. How do young scholars amuse themselves during the nights of Khanike [Hanukah] and nitl [Christmas]?

Note on 606: “Jews were encouraged to play games on Hanukkah.  For some Ashkenazi Jews, especially within Hasidic communities, Christmas Eve, known as nitl, was the only time during the year when Torah study was discouraged or even prohibited. The name nitl almost certainly derives from the phrase Natale Dominus though alternative folk etymologies also exist. Rather than learning Torah, Jews who followed this custom would typically play cards or other games. . . . However, Misnagdim did not accept this practice and continued to learn as on any other day.  (169)

  1. Do they play kvitlekh [special Jewish playing cards] cards?

Note on 607: “Jews did not use popular playing cards because of the crosses and other Christian symbols found on them. Instead, there were special, handmade Yiddish cards called Lamed-alefniks or kvitlekh.  The cards were decorated with Hebrew letters (standing for numbers), common objects – such as teapots, feathers, and sometimes portraits of biblical heroes.” (170)

  1. What do the rebetsins teach girls besides reading and writing Hebrew letters?

Note on 863: “In the girl’s khyeder, the rebetsin would teach the girls how to pray, read and write Yiddish, count, and write out an address in Russian.   The text books were the siddur, the tkhine, Tsene-rene and Nakhlas tsvi.”  (187)

  1. Do you know of cases or stories from the past in which a match was made between children before they were born? (195)
  2. What trades are generally considered vulgar, and what are their degrees? Which of them is considered more vulgar than the others?

Note on 1000:  “The water carrier, the vaser-treyger, was one step above the beggar.”  Indeed, the water carrier appears as the lowly laborer, par excellence, in many accounts of Jewish life in Eastern Europe.” (201)

  1. Is it still a custom to dance before the khupe [a canopy under which the marriage must take place] on a broom? Who dances, and what do people say at it?  The reason for it?

Note for 1119: “At the wedding of the last child in a family to be married, the mother of the bride would dance with a broom.  This dance, known as a mazhinka, signified the sweeping out of the household of marriageable children.” (114)

  1. Are there men and women in your community who can conjure away an Evil Eye? Who are they in general (religious school teachers, female bathhouse attendants)?

Note on 1600: “Exorcists and folk healers existed in every Jewish community of the Pale of Settlement.”

  1. Is it a custom to turn over or to cover the mirrors? What is the reason for this?

Note on 1707: “People cover mirrors with a cloth, so that they will not see the image of the Angel of Death with a knife in his hand, and it remains hanging like this for the entire shive week.” (271)

  1. Do people place forked wooden twigs [gepelekh] between the fingers of the corpse? What is the reason for this?

Note on 1909: “[T]o this very day [1882] among Polish Jews the dead are provided for their long subterranean journey [through underground tunnels following Resurrection, . . . ] with little wooden forks, with which at the sound of the great trumpet, they to dig and burrow their way from where they happen to be buried till they arrive in the Land of Palestine.” (291)

  1. Do you know any stories in which the soul of a dead person that cannot find rest becomes a dybbuk [lit. ‘something attached’, a malevolent spirit that attached itself to a living person] and enters a living person?

Note on 2034:  “The term dibbuk comes from a Hebrew root meaning ‘to cleave,’ and it refers to the malevolent soul of a dead person who inhabits or cleaves to the living person.  Dibbuk is the mirror image of the phenomenon known as ibbur, or ‘impregnation’ in Kabbalistic sources in which a righteous soul temporarily inhabits the body of a living person in order to help the latter perform a commandment or to perform a commandment that it was unable to perform itself in a previous incarnation.” (305-06)

Amazing right?   An-sky took the information he gained during his study and wrote about it. One of his works is the play The Dibbuk.   The play was made into a movie – in Yiddish with English subtitles.   You can rent it on amazon prime.

Shlomo and I watched it and loved it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030092/

 

GUEST BLOGGER – SHLOMO GOLDBERG The Blood Cries Out from the Earth.

Dear Reader:   My husband, Shlomo Goldberg, wrote a beautiful piece relating a verse in the book of Genesis to his parents.   I hope you find it as meaningful as I do. 

This picture  shows Shlomo standing by the sign on the way out of the farming village – Bagatele, Poland – where his father, Sam, was born and lived until 1939. 

Bagatele

This year I was struck by the verse:

הֵן֩ גֵּרַ֨שְׁתָּ אֹתִ֜י הַיּ֗וֹם מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה וּמִפָּנֶ֖יךָ אֶסָּתֵ֑ר וְהָיִ֜יתִי נָ֤ע וָנָד֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה כָל־מֹצְאִ֖י יַֽהַרְגֵֽנִי׃

Since You have banished me this day from the soil, and I must hide from Your presence and become a restless wanderer on earth—anyone who meets me may kill me!

It describes the panic that Cain felt after he was charged with the murder of  his brother.   It also struck me as what my father must have felt when he escaped form the Treblinka death camp.  I notice that the word Esther, my mother’s name, is in the verse.  It means hide.  It was my mother, Esther, who arranged for a hiding place for my father when he was running and “anyone he met could kill him.”  The verse is amazing.  One could even say that the troubles, the persecution, the need to hide, were the result of banishments: disenfranchisement from Poland, and, more remotely, exile from the Promised land, long ago.

But how does this situation work with Divine justice?  Cain had killed his brother.  His exile was standard punishment for unpremeditated murder.  Since there was no precedent, he did not know what would happen when he struck the lethal blow. But Cain had done something in his rage that deserved punishment.   What had my father, and all those who escaped with him, done? Part of the reason for the exile was that the blood of  Hevel cried out from the ground.  How much blood was crying out when my father was running?  But what could he have done? Was the only acceptable solution to die with his brothers and sisters?

When blood cries from the earth, no one is safe, anyone who meets you might kill you, it is a danger of exile.  Finding the right shelter is the Divine intervention

 

 

Sam Goldberg – Today is his Yartzheit (Anniversary of his Death) GUEST BLOGGER – SHLOMO GOLDBERG

(Picture on left:  Esther and Sam Goldberg.  Picture on Right: Sam Goldberg)

Dear Reader:  Today is My father-in-law, Sam Goldberg’s Yartzheit – anniversary of his death.  Shlomo, my husband, spoke these words this past Shabbat at Minyan Ohr Chadash.  

In Man’s Search For MeaningViktor Frankl emphasizes the importance of good posture in surviving the Nazi concentration camps. If the guard saw slouching, signaling weakness, the prisoner was beaten, weakening him further, and then she was killed   In the body of this book, Frankl also deals with moral posture, doing the right thing regardless of the circumstances.

This week’s Torah Portion – Nitzvavim, contains the phrase:

28 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The Torah Portion makes me confront the difference between hidden and the revealed and the obvious; the knowable and the unknowable, the unexamined and the explored.  The revealed things, the public things, require a code of behavior, require that I and others act in a predictable manner.  The secret things are between a person and God, or left to God alone.  How could it be otherwise? What are these secret things? Some are knowledge that is not yet acquired.  Knowledge that we do not (yet) have ways to know, missing techniques. Ideas that are not yet elucidated by science. Some secret things may be unknowable (Heisenberg uncertainty), knowledge may not apply to them. God knows! Some are truths that we are trying to hide. The money or the feelings, that we are trying to hide from others.  The feelings that we are trying to hide from ourselves.

Some of the secrets are ideas that we don’t want to examine.  God decides on their state of revelation. We are often forced to look at these secrets by circumstances.  The verse quoted above says that these are ours.

This week was the birthday of my father-in law, Irwin L Treiger. There was no one more upright than he.  I am honored to have merited marrying his daughter.  Irwin Treiger remained standing through all temptations, always maintaining honesty and fairness.  He made the covenant of his ancestors his priority, supporting Jewish education and Israel

Next week [today] is the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of my father, Sam Goldberg, who survived the Treblinka death camp.  My first memories of my father include seeing him in the bloody butcher’s apron.  Much later, I understand some of the secret of its symbolism.

This is the Shabbat before the yahrzeit of my father (z”l).  I chant the haftorah.  The haftorah comes from Isiah, never easy to grasp. It includes a section from chapter 63 that deals with bloody garments.  A hero emerges, but his clothes are sullied. He has survived alone, relying on himself.  This is my father.

When my father was in Treblinka, in the deepest aloneness, he washed clothes.  Each group was separate.  The clothes of the Germans had no visible stains, but the blood stains, the chimutz, in them could never be removed.  The Ukrainian henchmen’s uniforms showed the blood of their cruelty.  The victim’s gore clung to these raiment’s, the barbarity was evident. The clothes of the Jews, whose blood was spilled like sewage, had to be washed separately, to be recycled for the beneficiaries of the death machine.  My father survived through these bloody clothes.  The blood on the butchers’ apron was a symbol.

These stories that my father told covered more secrets than they revealed – day to day choices, questions of will and honor and survival. These secrets are for God, I have enough with the revealed.

When I was a boy, in part because of his reluctance to talk about the details of this place ( a place dubbed by Vasilly Grossman “Hell”), I feared that he had done terrible things in exchange for his survival. After I organized a meeting of the Treblinka survivors in Israel, I learned that my father was perfectly upright. He had kept his deal with God in the most trying of circumstances.  He had kept the agreement alluded to in the Torah Portion, the deal with those present today and those that are not present; a deal made before he was born and a deal that I try to keep.  He had chosen life.

Shlomo Zelig Goldberg

(PICTURE BELOW:  SAM AND HIS COUSIN SHAYA SCHLOSS AT DP CAMP – 1946)

DP Camp - Sam and Shaya

Gombin – It’s Poetry and Ethnography.

Mordechai pic clouds and sailboats

[photo by Mordechai Treiger – Seattle, Washington – September 13, 2017]

 

On the green grass,

behind the high mountain,

my sister Chaneh wanders around.

I call her in the nights –

sister mine, come!

She does not answer,

the chestnut trees rustle.

On a cool cloud,

in a blue ship,

my sister Chaneh sails around.

I cali [stet] her in the days –

sister mine, wait!

She does not answer –

and sails away.

But often the mirror weeps.

I look deeply into it.

into the sad eyes

of my sister Chaneh.

Her hair is gray now.

No, that is ash,

white, gray ash

of my sister Chaneh.

Written by Rajzel Zychlinsky, Translated by Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota.[1]

 

Rajzel Zychlinsky, the author of this poem, was born in Gombin, Poland in 1910 to Mordechai and Dwora.   Mordechai was a gravedigger.  You might imagine that it was hard to support a large family on a gravedigger’s salary, so Mordechai emigrated to America and traveled back and forth to visit.  Dwora didn’t want to move the children to America because she was afraid they would abandon their Judaism. Mordechai died in 1928 in Chicago, never learning the fate of his family during the Holocaust.

Rajzel began to write poetry in 1927 or 1928.  Many of her poems were published in the Yiddish newspaper, Folkscajtung.   Her first volume of poetry was published by Jewish PEN-Club and was titled Lider.   She moved to Warsaw and worked as a bank clerk,  where she met her husband, Isaak Kanter.  They survived the war in the USSR, first in Lviv, then at Isaak’s parents in Kolomyia and later in Kazan.  After the war, they moved back to Poland, living in a Displaced Persons’ Camp in Lower Silesia.  It was there that Rajzel learned that most of her family was murdered in Chelmno and Treblinka.[2]  She and her husband emigrated to America, where she studied literature, English literature, biology and philosophy.  Before she died in 2001, she published four more volumes of poetry.[3]

Gombin[5] is a Polish town, 112 kilometers northwest of Warsaw.  The first traces of Jewish life arose there in the 16th century.  Jews, who were craftsmen and merchants, settled there.  In 1710 they built a wooden synagogue “with a sculpted Ark and Polish crowned eagles on the candle holders inside.”[6]  The synagogue was burned down by the Nazis in 1939.   Over 2,000 Gombin Jews died in the Holocaust, with only 130 surviving.[7]  Besides Rejzl, another of Gombin’s Jews to survive was Adam Czyzewski’s grandmother.  I know Adam because his son, Aleksander, went to the Northwest Yeshiva High School with my son Jack.  When the war broke out, Adam’s grandmother found refuge in a Catholic Convent and was hidden there during the war.

Adam is currently the director of the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.  Ethnography is the study of peoples and cultures.  At the museum, he created an exhibit about the Gombin Jewish community, including a 3D replica of the Gombin synagogue, as well as a sukkah and beautiful pieces of Judaica.  I had the honor to see this exhibit when I was in Poland this past April.  As Adam wrote, what now seems like a natural part of the museum and Poland’s history, “would not have been so obvious a few years ago.”[8]

Adam organized a conference on Jewish ethnography in Warsaw in September of 2015. A thick book was published in connection with the conference called: The New Ethnography: Jewish Ethnography and Folkloristics in Poland Before 1945.  It includes academic articles about Jewish ethnography and about Gombin.  For example, Rabbi Michael Shudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, wrote a piece about Rabbi Avraham Gombiner, more commonly known as the Magen Avraham. The Magen Avraham wrote one of the major commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch – the Code of Jewish Law.   The Mogen Avraham (1637-1683) was born in Gombin.[9]  Another beautiful piece, written by Adam Czyzewski, details the project to reconstruct the model of the Synagogue in Gombin. [10]  The New Ethnography also includes an article about Rejzl Zychlinsky and many of her poems are published here.   I was deeply moved.

WE GO ON LIVING

We go on living on the earth

That has taken our blood to quench its thirst.

There is a green spring coming –

Our bones have been ground up into ash;

We go on living, a few left to say Kaddish.

We eat the bread of the wheat fields,

Drink from a well these days.

The sun is very kind now –

She touches us with her rays.

We pass, leading our children by the hand –

wrecked homes, wrecked walls that mournfully

stand.

We pass dead islands of dead childhood years.

Free as a bird the wind careers.

We go on living. The snow begins to fall.

We meet white trees, yes, we see them one and all.

Eyes dark, we drink the dusk; and without words

We speak – to little gray birds.

DEAR NEIGHBORS

Buy, buy dear neighbors,

buy this piece of earth.

Cheap!

You will build yourselves a house here,

dig a well,

and under the window a garden will bloom,

no ghost will come to haunt your place.

My mother won’t return from the gas chamber,

nor will her grandchildren appear.

Nor will I ever again be here

with my tear.

I only take a stone –

It used to feel my mother’s feet

In foreign, wanderer nights

it may pillow me asleep.

Thank you, Adam for sharing this with me.

[1] Published in The New Ethnography, Adam Czyzewski, Publisher and Project Director, 7/2015/08/2016.

[2] Id. at 144.

[3] Silent Door; Autumn squares; November sun; & New poems. Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Currently called Gabin.

[6] Szwarmcman-Czarnota, Bella, Rajzel From Gombin.  On Rajzel Zychlinsky’s Poetry, in The New Ethnography at 139-140.

[7] Id. at 141.

[8] Id. at 14.

[9][9] Id. at 131 – 137.

[10] Id. at 162-171.

A VISIT WITH SHAYA SCHLOSS

Shaya 8.27.17

Shaya Schloss is Sam Goldberg’s first cousin.  Their mothers were sisters – Faiga and Miriam Mishler.  The Mishler sisters grew up in Jasienitz, Poland, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Bagatele, Sam’s place of birth.

Faiga married Zelig Goldberg and moved to Bagatele.  Miriam married Yankev (Jacob) Schloss and made their home in Jasienitz.  The Schloss family ran a general store out of their home.  Shaya was the third of four Schloss children born to Yankev and Miriam.

From time to time, the Goldberg family visited the Schloss family, especially around Chanukah.  They would travel by horse and buggy.  And sometimes the children would visit the other’s family during summer holiday.  Shaya remembers visiting the Goldbergs during his summer vacations.

Shaya's family with Sam

This picture was taken in 1934 when Sam was visiting the Schloss family.  Shaya recalls that this was taken just before his family was forced to move from Jasienitz because of the antisemitism that made their life impossible. The Poles were boycotting their store.  Sam had come from Bagatele to help them move.  Shown in the picture are (left to right): back row: Yitzkak Schloss, Poja Schloss, Sam Goldberg; second row: Shaina Rochel Mishler (Miriam and Faiga’s mother), Miriam Mishler Schloss, Yankev Schloss; Bottom row: Shaya Schloss and Clara Schloss.  They called their grandmother Sheina Lechel, because she ran after them with a spoon.  Lechel is Yiddish for spoon.   Sheina Rochel died one week before Hitler invaded Poland.  She lived with the Schloss family in Ostrow.  She went out to feed the chickens, came back inside and told her daughter she wasn’t feeling well.  She went to bed and had a heart attack, dying a few hours later.  She was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Ostrow.   Of the others in the picture, only Sam and Shaya survived the Holocaust.

I had the pleasure last Sunday of spending the afternoon with Shaya and his two sons, Jack and Bruce, in Monsey, New York.  We had much to discuss about the old days and about their families today.  Here is a picture of the four of us.  From left to right:  Bruce Schloss, me, Shaya Schloss, Jack Schloss.

Shaya, Bruce and Jack 8.27.17

After the war, Shaya and his wife Faiga, made their way to Föhrenwald where they found Sam, Esther and baby Fay.  In the DP camp, there were professional photographers who took photos.  Shaya shared some of the photos from that time.  They are amazing.  Here are a few:

DP Camp - Sam, Eshter and Fay - close up

Sam, Esther and Fay.

DP Camp - Sam and Shaya

Sam and Shaya.

Top 2 – Fay; Bottom – Esther, Sam and Fay.

My blog posts have been sparse because I am working hard on the book.   I will let you all know as I progress towards publication.   It was a special treat to spend time with Shaya, Bruce and Jack.  I am grateful for the time we spent together.

 

STAND UP TO HATE

Occupy Wall Street protest

Charlottesville, Virginia.

[PHOTO FROM OCCUPY WALLSTREET – NOT CHARLOTTSVILLE – SORRY]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11-  10 PM:

Columns of white men carrying flaming torches marched through the streets of Charlottesville screaming “Jews will not replace us.”  “Blood and soil.” “White lives matter.”  Skirmishes with people protesting the march occurred, but nothing spiraled out of control.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12 –  1:30 PM.

A Vice reporter, Elle Reeve, interviewed Christopher Cantwell a leader of the Unite the Right – a white nationalist speaker, with others from his group gathered to watch.  

“How did you get to the “racial stuff”? she asked.

“It was when Trayvon Martin happened and Michael Brown and Tamir Rice,” Cantwell said.   “Every case some little black asshole acting like a savage gets himself in trouble, shockingly enough. . . . Of course we are capable of violence.  I am trying to make myself more capable of violence.  I am here to spread ideas, talk, in the hope that somebody more capable will come along and do that.  Somebody like Donald Trump who does doesn’t give his daughter to a Jew.”

“So, like Donald Trump, but more racist,” Reeve said.

“Ya – a lot more racists,” Cantwell continued.  “I don’t think you could feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl.”

Reeves reported that the Unite the Right group stated that they came to protest the removal of the statute of Robert E. Lee, but really they were there to show that “they are real, not just an internet meme” Reeves explained.  “That they can organize in a physical space.”  

The Unite the Right rally was told to move to a different park and Robert Ray, a “reporter” for the Daily Stormer (which tried to find on line but seems to be shut down), stated that they had to move because “the city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers.” 

The governor declared a state of emergency, thus making all assembly unlawful.  Matthew Heimbach, the founder of the Nationalist Front, a neo-Nazi group, was quick to tell Reeve that the “radical left” could not beat them, so they had to turn to the state for help.  “If that does not show,” he continued, “that the radical left, the corporations, the State are all on the same Jewish side, a moment like this proves it.” 

The video taken by the Vice reporters shifts to a large protest – 1:40 in the afternoon – near Emancipation Park.  Hundreds of people, protesting the “Unite the Right” rally, are seen marching through the street with signs that say “Defend our Rights” and shouting – “Whose streets? Our streets.”

Out of nowhere, a gray car appears speeding down the street and drives directly into another car that then pushes the car in front of it into a large crowd of people.  People fly into the air and fall to the ground.  The gray car, shoves into reverse and speeds back down the street – away.  A hit and run.

Cries, blood and people lying on the ground fill the street.  One person is attempting CPR on a victim.  People are helping each other to stand and some are being carried to ambulances.   As we know, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed by the car and dozens were injured. 

The Vice video can be seen here:

https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-tonight-full-episode-charlottesville-race-and-terror

After Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Chelmno, Auschwitz/Birkenau, to hear these white racists spew this Hitlerite hate and state that violence against those that are different is your right and you hope it happens, sticks a knife in my soul.   We are a mere 78 years past the destructive hatred of the Third Reich.  Now Hitler and the Reich are these peoples’ heroes and role models.  We cannot allow it.  We must stand with the people of Charlottesville and the people who stood up to them six days ago.  Each of us must raise our voice..

STAND UP TO HATE  

 hitler