ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST UNDERSTANDING & PREVENTION
For years the Holocaust Survivors lived their lives trying to forget. Remembering was unsettling and painful. Bad memories are hard to remember and hard to forget. One day those memories are coming back to life. Here are some forgotten memories:
I knew Fryda for over fifty years, and I did not know that she is a Holocaust Survivor, until one day asked her unexpectedly. "Fryda, how did you survive the war?"
Her face turned white. She stopped for a moment, like fighting the onrush of painful thoughts. "I never talk about this. I don't want remember those unpleasant.... Forgotten memories. But I will tell you..."
It was in 1943. We were hiding in a forest in Poland. There were about 15 people, living in a dugout. One day I was awaken by the screams of my mother: " Wake up Fryda, Wake up. We are going to get killed."
Without hesitation I jumped from the bundle of straw, that served as my bed. In the pale daylight, penetrating through the smoke hole, I saw weak frightened people trying to climb out. It looked like real hell.
My mother pushed me out from the bunker yelling: "Run child run. Run. Run for your life."
I was only eight years old. Sensing danger, I took off. After a few minutes of running through the underbrush of the forest, I reached an unpaved dirt road intersecting the forest. It was a foggy day. Through the dense mist I saw two German guarding the road. One German spotted me and raised his gun. He aimed at me.
"This is the end of me," I thought waiting for the shot, waiting for the hit. "I hope that it will not hurt me," I told myself, proceeding to cross the road. I
"Leave the child alone. Let somebody else kill her." I heard the voice of the other German. I was saved, at least for the moment. I crossed the road and found myself in the thicket of the forest. I heard the dogs barking. The shots were coming closer, when I spotted a big oak tree.
"This is a good place to hide." I swiftly climbed the tree . . . to discover that it sheltered another human being, a ten-year-old Jewish boy. His face was twisted with fear and he compulsively cling to the trunk of the oak.
We stayed together for a few hours and after the shots and screams died down, we descended the tree in search of food and shelter. After wandering for about an hour in the dark forest, we heard voices. They were Jewish voices. We were lucky, we found other Jews hiding in the forest.
We told them our story, and they did not believe us. "Those children are crazy. Don't believe them. We are safe in this forsaken forest." Yelled an old woman, hiding from us a piece of bread.
They let us sleep over but in the morning we were given two pieces of bread and asked to leave the hideout. I decided to search for my parents, and the boy followed me. We again crossed the road and.... I will never forget this awesome view.
At the edge of the forest I saw a pile of naked corpses; all stripped from the clothing and underwear, one row of corpses on top of the other. We stopped for a while, looking at the bloody bodies and the vultures circling above. Suddenly, I saw a hand sticking out form the pile, I recognized this hand, it belonged to my mother.
I screamed loudly and without thinking I ran back into the forest. The boy followed me closely. A few minutes later we heard remote shots and shouts, We climbed deep into the underbrush and stayed there for hours. After sunset we slowly started to move deeper into the forest, trying to find the bunker from which we were driven out. "They have to take us. We have no other place to go." I said to the boy.
When we arrived at the bunker, we discovered that the Germans already raided the bunker. All the clothing were scattered, some bodies were laying on the forest floor. We stopped, wiped out the tears, picked up some food and slowly retreated.
Run Children! Run! They are killing me! This was my mother screaming. My brother and me remained glued to the frozen ground of the forest. We were frightened and confused. We could not run and we could not stay.
After a few minutes a burly peasant appeared in the doorway of the hut. He was wiping off the blood from a butcher's knife. It was the blood of our mother.
Seeing us hiding nearby, his eyes lit up, he dropped the rag and holding the knife outstretched in his hand, he slowly approached us.
Without a moment of hesitation, we got up and ran as fast as we could. The murderer pursuit us., but after an hour he gave up the chase. We survived but our mother was dead.
My Forgotten Memories? They are hard to forget. It was in Budapest, Hungary in 1944. I looked out through the windows and saw the marching German troops, and said to my mother: " I am glad tat the Nazis are here. Now, we can kill all those dirty Jews."
The face of my mother turned ashen and she forcefully told me: "Never, never, never say this again. " I could not understand my mother's reaction, but two moths later both my parents were arrested and sent to a concentration camp. A priest who previously baptized me rescued me. He placed me in an Hungarian orphanage.
I spent the rest of the war like in a haze. Although I considered myself Christian I did not know who I am. I did not know where I am. I was always hungry, always looking for food.
In the orphanage, every day Hungarian Fascist showed with along list of children to be placed in foster homes. They mostly took Jewish looking children. After each selection, I was always disappointed. Why do I have to remain in this overcrowded, forbidden place?
And so I survived to the end of the war, and things became clearer to me. First of all, the children taken away from the orphanage, were shot and thrown into the Danube. The Blue Danube was red, colored with the blood of Jewish children.
Secondly, my mother miraculously survived Auschwitz and we were reunited and moved to Israel.
Chaja was afraid to be left alone. She was afraid to be abandoned. Why are you so afraid?
am scared to be abandoned, and this fear saved my life. So I I have this fear. It is a long story. In 1942 my Mother I left the Warsaw ghetto with my mother. She took me to a convent, where she told me to wait a minute. She went to the rest room and I … never saw her again.
I survived the war hiding in the convent. Always afraid to be abandoned. After the war I was placed in Jewish orphanage. One day I fell sick and was placed in the isolation room, in the hospital wing. I was scared, I was so scared that at night I crawled back to my bed,
At the same night, the Polish Underground bombarded the orphanage and destroyed the hospital wing. The fear of abandonment saved my life again.