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July 25, 2010

Remarkable stories about the Holocaust

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, TV shows — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 6:19 am

This morning, I came across two remarkable stories about the Holocaust.  The first one is about a 13 year old Jewish boy who was sent to the Auschwitz death camp in 1944. The Jews under 15 years of age at Auschwitz were sent to the gas chamber, but for some reason, this boy stayed in Auschwitz  for 5 months, and then he was sent to the Kaufering IV camp, a sub-camp of Dachau near Landsberg am Lech.

Kaufering IV was a “sick camp” where prisoners from the other 10 Kaufering camps were sent to die when they were too sick to work. Most of the sick prisoners at Kaufering IV had typhus, but remarkably one of them recovered; his story is told here.

This is a quote about the boy who was sent to Kaufering IV:

In October 1944, at the age of 13, after five months in Auschwitz, I was transferred to Dachau, where I was assigned to Camp #4, located near the Bavarian town of Lomitsberg. For some reason, perhaps because I was the only young boy in the entire camp, I found favor with the SS officer in charge of food supplies and services for both prisoners and guards in Camp #4, and so I was assigned to the kitchen. My job was to stand at the kitchen gate all day and to shout “Achtung!” when this SS officer entered for his periodic inspection of the kitchen.

[…]

Being on the kitchen staff meant that I had access to food. This was a lifesaving privilege not only for me but for others. I was constantly besieged by prisoners begging for any scraps of food I could get for them. I took what I could and was able to help keep many, many people alive. Many of these people survived only because of this kitchen job that I was lucky to get, and some still live in Williamsburg today.

American soldiers view the bodies at Kaufering IV on May 1, 1945

Civilians from the town of Hurlach were forced at gunpoint to bury the bodies of prisoners who had died of typhus at Kaufering IV

The photo above shows a real-life scene which was re-created in the TV series “Band of Brothers.”  You can read all about Kaufering IV  here. I previously blogged about the remarkable story of seven Jewish women who were sent to Kaufering IV because they were pregnant; their babies were born there and the mothers with their babies were evacuated to the main camp so that they could be surrendered to the Allies. You can read about the mothers and their babies who survived Kaufering IV here.

The second remarkable story about the Holocaust is told here.  This is the story of Jews who were hidden during the Holocaust and didn’t know that they were Jews until long after World War II.

This is a quote from the story:

After the Iron Curtain was lifted in Europe twenty years ago, a surprising thing occurred – thousands of people who had been raised as gentiles came to the startling realization that they were actually Jews. Poland is home to thousands of such stories. During the Holocaust and under Communist rule, many Jews there hid their identities and continued to conceal them even after the fall of Communism. On their deathbeds, some of them have revealed their true identities to their children or grandchildren. Other people found out from old family records or through other means.