This news article tells about a Jewish child who survived 5 concentration camps during the course of nearly 3 years while World War II, and the Holocaust, were going on.
This quote is from the news article, cited above:
… “Misa’s Fugue,” the documentary based on the true story of Frank “Misa” Grunwald’s almost three years in Nazi concentration camps as a child, has exceeded [Jennifer] Goss’ expectations in pretty much every way.
So when Goss, along with her husband, and Grunwald, the film’s director, Sean Gaston, and other important players in the making of the documentary found themselves at the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in Philadelphia on September 20, they knew all the late nights, and trips were worth it.
I know what you are going to say: How could a child survive FIVE concentration camps, during the genocide of the Jews, aka the Holocaust, when everyone knows that children under the age of 15 were immediately gassed.
Note that the article calls Terezin a “death camp.” Why send children from one death camp to another, and then let them survive? Was it because the Nazis wanted survivors to tell the story in documentaries 70 years later?
According to the article:
[Framk ”Misa”] Grunwald was born in Czechoslovakia in September of 1932. Four months later, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. “Misa’s Fugue” centers around Grunwald’s journey through Terezin [Theresienstadt], Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Melk and Gunskirchen concentration camps.
Nearly 1.5 million children were murdered during the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. Grunwald, now 82, was one of the less than 300 children who survived the Nazi death-camp at Terezin in the Czech Republic. For the next two years Grunwald found himself in various camps, in various countries, often getting there by death marches.
So Frank Grunwald spent a year, as a little boy, at Theresienstadt (now called Terezin) before he was hauled off to Auschwitz. According to the article, Terezin was a “death-camp.”
Grunwald was probably taken to the Auschwitz II camp, aka Auschwitz-Birkenau, where children under the age of 15 were immediately gassed.
Yet somehow, Grunwald was not gassed at Auschwitz, but instead, he was transferred to Mauthausen, a Class III camp for convicted criminals and “Return Unwanted” prisoners, where he was again not killed in the gas chamber, but was transferred to the Melk sub-camp and then to the Gunskirchen subcamp of Mauthausen. Records show that Gunskirchen had only 450 prisoners.
Why did the stupid Nazis keep moving Grunwald around like that? Did they want a child to survive to the age of 82, so that he could tell his “Holocaust survivor” story in a documentary?
I suspect that Frank “Misa” Grunwald was on the “death march” out of Auschwitz when the camp had to be abandoned because the Soviet liberators were on their way.
According to some Holocaust experts, the purpose of a “death march” was to kill the prisoners before the Soviets could save them. Some of the survivors of these death marches were sent to Mauthausen in Austria because this was as far away as they could get from the liberators who were coming to save the children.
Melk and Gunskirchen were both sub-camps of Mauthausen where prisoners were working in underground factories which were building Messerschmidtt airplanes.
The Gunskirchen camp was not set up until very late in the war, so there is not much information about it on the Internet.
Ebensee is much better known than Gunskirchen, and I have a page about it on my scrapbookpages website.
The photo below is an old photo which was taken at Ebensee. This photo proves that there were very young children taken to Austria near the end of the war.
Young children at the Ebensee camp in Austria
Notice that one of the young children has no shoes, although the older boy has a nice pair of boots.
You can see some old photos of Gunskirchen, taken by the American liberators of the camp, on this website: http://www.remember.org/mooney/images/thumbnails/index.html
The photo below shows the Melk sub-camp, which was in the same area of Austria as Gunskirchen.
Melk, a sub-camp of Mauthausen where Jews worked in factories
Survivors of Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen greet their liberators
Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen
The prisoners at Ebensee, shown in the photo above, worked in underground factories which manufactured Messerschmitt airplanes. German engineers and civilians also worked in these factories. The site was chosen because there were natural caves which could be enlarged into tunnels so that the munitions factories could be protected from Allied bombing raids.
Of course, some of the prisoners in these camps died, in spite of the fact that the Nazis tried to keep them alive so that they could work as slave laborers in the factories.
The photo below shows dead bodies at the Gusen sub-camp of Mauthausen.
Dead bodies found in the Gusen sub-camp of Mauthausen
After World War II ended, the Allies accused the Nazis of taking prisoners to Mauthausen to kill them in the tunnels of the sub-camps. I wrote about Ernst Kaltenbrunner’s defense to this charge at the Nuremberg IMT, on this blog post: http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/the-testimony-of-dr-ernst-kaltenbrunner-at-the-nuremberg-imt/
On my website, I wrote about the alleged order given by Ernst Kaltenbrunner to kill all the prisoners at Mauthausen and its sub-camps: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/ZiereisDeath.html