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Birkenau-Auschwitz and Dachau Holocaust Survivor

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Jude (Jew)

Judenstern (1)

Judenstern (2)

Judenstern (3)

Judentransport (Transport of Jews)

Judenverfolgung [The Persecutions of the Jews (1)]

Judenverfolgung [The Persecutions of the Jews (2)]








The Nazi concentration camp were crammed with:

Thousands, tens of Thousands of "asocial elements" -- tramps, poachers, beggars, rogues, babblers, pimps, prostitutes. They wore a black triangle on the chest as a dist6inctive sign. The homosexuals wore as pink triangle.

Thousand, tens of thousands of law-breakers -- thieves, highwaymen, swindlers, murderess and professional killers. They wore a green triangle.

Thousands, tens of thousands of political detainee. They wore a red triangle. The clergymen wore a violet triangle.

Millions of Juden, of Jews. They wore a yellow triangle.

All detainees -- thousands and hundreds of hundreds of thousands of them &emdash; who wore black, pink, green, red triangles has been interned in camps on the ground of a real, invented, presumed or suspected charge. They were accused or suspected of having done something wrong.

The millions of detainees wearing the yellow triangle were not accused of anything, They were not suspected of having committed a crime against someone else. Not were they suspected of doing it in the future. They were being interned in Vernichtungslagern1 because they were Juden, Jews.

Because they had been born.

And because they were still alive.

In Europe there were 11,000,000 Jews. But for the ensuing one thousand years on the old continent, turned into Nazi Lebensraum2, there was not place for any Jude. For any Jew at all.


Camps for mass extermination.
Living space. 




Judenstern (1)


 Der Judenstern, the yellow star with six pointed rays, was invented by the Nazis as a sign of public stigmatization, of outlawing a whole people. As a matter of fact, by the time the compulsory wearing of the Juderstern was decided, the Jews in the Reich had already been stigmatized, outlawed, isolated.

Starting 1933, anti-Jewish measures proliferated in geometrical progression with every passing year. The Jews were persecuted, removed from all activities, banished from all friends. They had been taken everything and had been forbidden everything. The Nazis, however, were not satisfied. It seemed to them that, although banished from the economic and social life, the Jews had not been humiliated enough. They would have liked that each Arian of pure blood be able to single out the Jews and enjoy at their sufferings and humiliation. Consequently, in July 1935, the Jews were bound to show that they were Jews -- whether asked to or not -- whenever they came in direct contact with the authorities. Thus, upon entering an institution, a Jew who wished to address someone, no matter what he wanted, had the obligation to begin by saying: "Ich bin Jude", "I am a Jew."

A few months later a further measure was taken to the same effect. All Jews, irrespective of their name, were compelled to adopt an extra first name (the man -- Israel; the women -- Sarah) which they had to mention when introducing themselves, and even in writing.

Then the amalgamation of Jewish families in "Jewish houses" followed. On September 1, 1939 preparation began, under the direction of Heidrich, for the delimitation of the ghettoes.

And so, when the star with six pointed rays made of yellow cloth, applied against a black background and bearing the inscription Jude, Jew, was introduced throughout the Reich it no longer signified stigmatization, out lapwing and isolation -- they were already by-gone things -- but served as a passport for the gas chambers in the East.

A few weeks later long trains full of deportees were running towards Maidanek, Treblinka, Birkenau-Auschwitz.

In front of the crematoria at Birkenau, the deportees were asked neither their name, nor the country they were coming from. On seeing the Judenstern, the yellow star on the chest, back or right arm of the deportees, the SS-men hurried to push them into the gas chambers as quickly as possible.





Judenstern (2)


On March 28, 1944, in the evening, when I heard the newspaper vendor shouting in the streets of Cluj, occupied by Horthysts, "Special edition... Special... The final settlement of the Jewish question... Tomorrow the Council of Ministers will debate upon the ordinances regarding the radical settlement of the Jewish question... Special edition... Special", I was not scared.

Nor did I panic when I read the following announcement printed in huge letters on the front page of the newspapers: "Staring tomorrow, Jews are compelled to wear a 10 x 10 cm yellow star with six pointed rays on the left side of their chest." It was on the night of April 4 to 5, when everybody in the house began to sew the Judenstern, the yellow star with six pointed rays, in their clothes that I was seized with fear.

The next morning, when I went out in the street and saw that everybody was gazing at me I felt as if my blood had been all of a sudden drained out of me, that I had lost my strength. I leaned against the wall lest I should fall.

Since childhood I had reconciled myself to the thought that I did not have the same rights with people of my age, that I had to follow my way receive blows I did not deserve. But I stifled my grief and hid it from other people, and when I went out in the street I was like everybody else. Now, however, everyone was pointing his finger at me, humiliating me with his prying eyes. And I could not keep my grief, hidden in the deepest corner of my hart, from being defiled.

Someone who has not gone through that ordeal might wonder why we had not defied those around us, for it was the Horthysts that deserved all contempt. The answer is simple. If I alone, out of the whole town, had been compelled to wear the yellow star, I should have done it my head up, defying everybody. As it was, when all your folk, parents and brothers, and all people of your and their age, from children to a grandfather who could hardly walk, had to wear the mark of humiliation and disdain you simply lacked that moral support enabling you to behave like a hero.

When you go out in the street with the mark of shame on your chest, in that street that saw you spending your childhood, going to school or embracing a young girl under the chestnut trees for the first time in your life, when you go out in that street with the Judenstern, the yellow star, on your chest for the first time you may fall dead to the ground quicker than if mown down by machine-gun fire.

I did not die, bur something inside me broke for good and all. The burn of the yellow star is incurable, its wound never heals up.





Judenstern (3)


One July night in the summer of 1944 I squeezed out of barrack No. 21 in camp E and looked through the interval between the barracks at the neighboring camp, D, to the road that crossed Birkenau, which, while separating camps D and C, linked the selection platform to crematoria III and IV. In the dark -- the moonlight could not penetrate the violet-black smoke layer above the camp -- I could only see the road swept from either side by the rays of the searchlights in the watchtowers. A long column of people selected for the gas chambers right after their arrival was dragging along the road. I knew there were mothers and children, old and sick people, but I could not make out their faces. Nor the outline of their bodies. Only the Judensterne, the yellow stars with six pointed rays, on the chest or arms of those in that long column dragging along towards crematoria III or IV twinkled in the searchlight rays.

 It was three months since, one night, I had been compelled to sew the Judenstern, the yellow star, on my clothes, since something had broken inside my heart for good and all.

Yes, exactly three mounts after that July night, and all the nights that followed in the cursed summer of 1944, looking from behind barrack No. 21 at the road separating camps D and C, and obsessed with the fantastic twinkling of the Judensterne, the yellow stars, on the chests or arms of those dragging along towards the crematoria, I had the feeling that something had broken in the gigantic mechanism of the universe, and the stars were ceaselessly falling down, along the road cutting the camp into two, into the huge catacombs in the basement of the crematoria, where, in contact with Cyclon B, they suddenly stopped rolling, ceasing to twinkle for ever.







In the thirties, the detainees were carried to the concentration camps in black or gray vans, escorted by Gestapo men. Later on, when the vans proved insufficient to cope with that tack, the detainees were transported by the last carriage of trains.

In early 1943, after the new crematoria and modern gas cambers of Birkenau-Auschwitz were put into operation, the Gestapo passed on the organization of the so-called Judentransporte, transport of Jews, special trains of 50 wagons each, 70-80 persons and all their belongings begin crowded in each and every wagon.

"The moment we feel that the carriage jerks -- Magda Simon, the survivor of the ghetto in Oradea would recall -- a white- bearded old man begin to say the age-old prayer: El mole rachamim..."

"A moan of devastating grief suddenly raises from the crowd. Bent over one another and hitting their chests with their fists, the people burst out into a heart-rending cry as if they were burning themselves."

"... We are travelling for barely a few hours, and the varnish of civilization, so to say, is already gone. Because of the unbearable heat and the suffocating lack of air we are little by little taking off our clothes. With just their petticoats on, women are not embarrassed to huddle against men. We blush and hesitate to relieve nature in a bucket placed in a corner of the carriage for the purpose. At the beginning an overcoat or another garment is held suspended in the air to screen the person sitting on the bucket, but with our strength and patience fading away, nobody cares about it any more."

"... A woman screams with pain and puts her hand upon her heart. The people around her are jumping back in horror. The woman is staggering and about to collapse but she is caught and supported before falling to the ground. A doctor feels her pulse with is no longer beating."

Such a Judentransport, transport of Jews, the fifth one which on June 6, 1944 set out from the town of Cluj, occupied by Horthysts at that time, was to carry me, my parents, my brothers and sisters away, in its last but one wagon, together with other seventy people and their belongings. Because of the pell-mell of people, trunks, backpacks, and all those heaps on heaps of rags it was impossible to move. One no longer knew which ballot belonged to whom. The children were crying. One was sick, another one thirsty, a third wanted by all means to go out and play. How could he understand that playing was over for him forever?

The air had become undreathable. People ware relieving nature in buckets, which could not be emptied. Not even the corpses could be taken out of the wagons, because the doors were locked. The heat intensified the stink. Mothers were screaming for air, for fear their children should get suffocated. On the third day, there was no longer even a drop of water and food was running out, too. The old prayed and cursed, the children were crying. Urges to calmness and hope came up against dismayed, hysterical shouts and the train rolled on without stop, continuing its mad journey through the fascist night.

On the fourth day, the train that had stealthily crossed the cities of Hungary, the villages of Czechoslovakia, the forests of Poland finally came to a halt. The long shrill, sinister whistle of the engine gave us a start. We crowded towards the door of the van, happy that finally we arrived at our destination but at the same time filled with sinister foreboding. We looked out through the slits in the door and wagon walls and shuddered. All we saw was barbed-wire fences, barracks and watch towers with armed SS-men about to pull the trigger. Among the barracks we saw thousands, tens of thousands people, all dressed in streaked clothes. Black, stifling smoke was ominously rising above in huge black, gray wreaths.

We had arrived at Birkenau-Auschwitz. It was on June 9, 1944, around 11.00 o'clock.

Those were our last moments together, bothers and sisters, parents and children...





Judenverfolgung (1)



Die Judenverfolgung, the persecutions of the Jews in the Nazi Reich started in March 1933 with S.A.-men blocking the entrances to the Jewish owned shops and stores, and ended, after several years, with opening the doors of the Birkenau-Auschwitz gas chambers to the endless columns of Jews deported from all over Hitlerism overrun Europe.

From March 1933, year after year, month after month, week after week and, in certain periods, day after day, the newspaper announced new measures, which amplified and generalized die Judenverfolgung, the persecution of the Jews.

The blocking of the entrances to the Jewish shops and stores was successively followed by their compulsory boycotting from 10.00 a.m. till evening, by the interdiction for the Jews to run retail and wholesale stores, domestic industries, trade firms, agricultural enterprises, as well as to sell in markets, fairs and exhibitions... by the closing of all Jewish enterprises, and their Aryanizing.

The exclusion of Jews from the other fields of activity started with the cancellation of all labor contracts of the Jewish physicians in the Berlin hospitals. It was followed by: the forced dismissing of judges and public prosecutors, the withdrawal of the right to hold any public office, the forced resignation of all Jewish physicians from the Reich's hospitals, the non-recognition of their certificates, the disbarring of Jewish lawyers, the abrogation of all exceptions initially granted to some Jews on the ground that their fathers or sons had fought and died on the front in the First Would war. Then, the Jews were excluded from guard duties, from the information bureau, from land trading and house management and from peddling.

Referring to the numerous anti-Jewish laws, decrees and orders, Göbbels turgidly states to the international press: "The legal regulation is the most loyal and human method." By virtue of this loyalty and humanness, the Jews of the Reich were successively forbidden: to go to spas, beaches, rivers, lakes... to go to theatres, cinematography, concerts, exhibitions...then also to reading-rooms, libraries, museums, sports grounds, open-air swimming... to use sleeping-cars and restaurant-cars.

Again under the auspices of Nazi loyalty and humanness the Jewish and democratic literature was proscribed. The works of August Bebel, Karl Liebknecht and Karl Marx, of Lion Feuchtwanger, Egon Erwin Kisch, Thomas Mass and Erich Maria Remarque were consumed by flames in town squares.

All over the Reich, on buildings, in shop windows, at the entrance into localities, in parks, on benches, on the doors of public houses, in the streets, plates and posters bearing the inscriptions "Forbidden to the Jews: or "For Aryans only" were getting more and more numerous. In August 1936, as if by charm, they disappeared from Berlin, but only during the Olympic Games. Immediately after that they reappeared with an even more obsessive frequency.

Göbbels had the incredible cynicism to refer to loyalty and humanness when, in the Reich, only 1.5 per cent of the young Jews had the right to attend schools, being however forbidden to take part, after classes, in fetes, excursions, performances or sports games organized by the respective schools, and subsequently, all, without excerption, were expelled from any educational from; when the Jews' diplomas in medicine. Law and pharmacy were declared null; when marriages between Jews and German citizens were forbidden, the Jew born on the banks of the Rhine from time immemorial being not considered Reischsbürger, citizen of the Reich.

With the same cynicism and impudence, Hitler stated: "The Nürnberg laws are not anti-Jewish, but pro-German ones." In the opinion of the Führer, the laws adopted on September 15, 1935, at Nürnberg, according to which the Jews were outlawed and deprived of any right, had nothing anti-Jewish in them. After they were gradually excluded from all domains, after they were forbidden to practice any profession, decrees and orders started appearing whereby the Jews were compelled to surrender all their possessions. First, all gold, silver and platinum objects, all precious stones and pearls... then the cars and motorcycles... after that the radio sets... then...

When all was forbidden to them and everything was taken from them, when they had nothing else to surrender but their life, die Judenverfolgung, the persecution of Jews, passed into a mew stage, called "Die Endlösung der Judenfrage", the "final solutions of the Jewish question" or, in plain English, the total extermination of Jews from Europe.





Judenverfolgung (2)


During the first stage of Judenverfolgung, as shown during the trial in Nürnberg, "The Jews were forcibly interned in ghettoes and compelled to do convicts' work; they were denied the possibility to practice their professions; their properties were expropriated and they were forbidden any cultural life, the access to the press, to theatres and schools. The SD had the task to keep them under surveillance, a sinister tutelage, indeed". Concomitantly, all propaganda channels were used to denigrate the Jews, to arouse hatred against them and incite the masses to pogroms, while the police had been issued written orders" not to interfere in the event of possible actions taken by the population against Jews." The same order stipulated: "The foremost major goal of the German steps should be the isolation of the Jews from the rest of the population. This implies first the registering of the rest of the population. This implies the registering of the Jews with a view to removing them, and other similar measures. These will be immediately followed by the obligation to wear a distinctive mark, the Jewish yellow star, and by their deprivation of any freedom. They will be moved into ghettoes, where men will be separated from women. All Jewish proprieties should be confiscated, except for those things that are strictly necessary to live a miserable life.

With the overrunning of new territories, the Nazi expanded the Judenverfolgung, the persecution of the Jews, to the whole Europe. The persecution methods already tested were applied with increase brutality in the territories freshly included in the Reich, and also in the occupied territories or in those under the influence of Berlin.

At Nürnberg a report drawn up by Brigadebführer Dr. Staleker and sent to Himmler in 1942 was presented, in which the former showed: "The anti-Semite forces were incited to pogroms against the Jews already during the first hours after the occupation of the territories, although this proved to be a very difficult thing.

"In pursuance of our indications, the security police evinced utmost determination to solve the Jewish question by all possible means."

"However, it has been considered as desirable that the security police should not come immediately to the frontage, at least not from the outset, as the extraordinary cruelty of the steps taken might have aroused the indignation even of the German quarters. Things should be organized in such a way as to prove the world that the local population itself was the first to protest spontaneously..."

The Judenverfolgung, the persecutions of the Jews, increased in scope with every passing year, while the cruelty with which it was being conducted was beyond imagination. During the trial in Nürnberg, H. Jackson, the main US prosecutor, declared in his introductory expose: "In the occupied western countries Jews were killed and their properties confiscated. That campaign, however, reached its acme in terms of cruelty in the East. The eastern Jews suffered as no people had even suffered before. The sufferings inflicted upon Jews were meticulously reported by the local bodies in order to proved their attachment to the Nazi plan. I will submit to you only such evidence those are relevant for the scope of the Nazi project and of the overall plan regarding the extermination of the Jews. If I tell you about all these horrors myself, you may think that I am exaggerating and that my words are not worth believing. Fortunately, we do not need other witnesses but the Germans themselves. I invite you to take knowledge of a few orders and reports out of a huge number of captured German document that will attest to what Nazi invasion meant. These documents demonstrate that in 1942 there was not the Judenverfolgung, the persecutions of the Jews that was being pursued, but the Endlösung der Judenfrage, the "final settlement" of the Jewish question, that is the Ausrottung aller Juden, the extermination of all Jews."


To Oliver Lustig's Biographical Sketch

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