I have always loved trains. I have many fond memories of the old steam engine trains and the “streamliners,” the fast trains in the 1940s that had diesel engines. Amtrak just isn’t the same. (more…)
April 19, 2011
The title of my blog post today is a line spoken by Yanina Cywinska in a video which was shown recently on a TV program.
Yanina Cywinska is an 82-year-old woman, now living in Concord, CA, whose Holocaust survivor story is in a book called The Sugar Plum Fairy Nut. In the book, we learn that she survived the gas chamber at Auschwitz. She lived in the Auschwitz camp for four more years before being sent on a death march to Dachau where she was liberated by Japanese soldiers in the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion. You can read about the 552nd on my web site here.
Yanina Cywinska was just 11 years old when she arrived at Auschwitz, where children under the age of 15 were sent immediately to the gas chamber. She was actually inside the gas chamber and the people around her were dying, but she survived because the gas was carbon monoxide. According to her story, the Nazis had not yet started using Zyklon-B at Auschwitz. A woman prisoner pulled her out of the pile of bodies and sneaked her into a work group. In the video, she mentions that a Nazi was standing in the corner of the gas chamber, watching the people die.
The title of Yanina Cywinska’s book is a reference to the name that the other prisoners at Auschwitz called her: “the Sugar Plum Nut.” The women at Auschwitz thought that Yanina was a “nut” because she dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer and dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy ballerina in the Nutcracker. As it turned out, she made it, so eat your heart out, Hitler.
Yanina had already had three years of ballet training before she was sent to Auschwitz in 1941, and as luck would have it, her ballet teacher was living in Paris after the war. Yanina was just 15 when she was liberated from Dachau. She made her way to Paris, where she moved in with her ballet teacher and resumed her training.
In the video, Yanina says that the Nazis were trying to kill as many people as possible to eliminate witnesses, and just before soldiers arrived to free the inmates at Dachau, the prisoners “were lined up to be shot.” But before the Nazis could shoot all the prisoners, the Japanese soldiers in the 552nd Field Artillery arrived in the nick of time.
Here is a quote from the web site of Mike Carroll, where you can read the story of Yanina and watch the video:
She had been born in Poland and raised in Warsaw. Her father was a doctor. After Germany invaded and they were living in occupation, her father was summoned to treat a high-ranking German officer inside the Warsaw Ghetto, where 500,000 Jews were barricaded in an area of only several city blocks. He was so appalled by the living conditions that he began smuggling food into the starving inhabitants. He was caught and he and his wife and children were loaded into railroad boxcars, along with the Jews from the Ghetto, and sent into the countryside.
When the train stopped and the people were herded out they were in a barbed wire prison. They were sent to get showered so they could begin to work. The doors to the shower chamber were closed, then the gas began to come out of the vents. When Yanina awoke she was lying among a pile of corpses, among them her family. Amazingly, she was still alive. A Jewish woman worker shook her to her feet and pressed her to work in one of the working gangs.
You can read about the Warsaw Ghetto on my web site here. You can read here about the Jews being sent from the Warsaw Ghetto to be gassed with carbon monoxide. The video about Yanina shows a photo of the Auschwitz gas chamber; you can see photos of the Auschwitz gas chamber on my web site here.
P.S. Yanina’s book is available on Amazon.com. I buy lots of books on Amazon and I always get suggestions for other books that I might like. The suggested books are listed as books purchased by other customers who have bought this book. I have some suggestions for people who buy Yanina’s book: Dennis Avey’s book and Irene Zisblatt’s book. BTW Yanina’s book has the “Search Inside” feature on Amazon.
I used the “Search Inside” feature on the Amazon web site and read a few pages of Yanina Cywinska’s book. I discovered that the book was first published on January 7, 2008. It was not written in the first person, so the real author is apparently a ghost writer.
I have hope that some day there will be a law against Holocaust lying, and Yanina will be carried into a courtroom on a stretcher to be prosecuted for her lies. I am assuming that the ghost writer just wrote down the lies, as told to her by Yanina. But the ghost writer should also be prosecuted as an accessory to the crime of Holocaust lying. Just reading a few pages of this book made me extremely angry and upset. I wish I had not turned on my computer today.