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December 13, 2011

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, a second generation survivor of the Holocaust

The following quote is from Wikipedia:

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, an attorney in New York and the Founding Chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Survivors, is a leader of the Second Generation movement of children of survivors,[1] and has been described on the front page of the New York Times as one of the most prominent of the survivors’ sons and daughters.[2] […] In March 2009, Menachem Rosensaft was appointed as general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, the umbrella organization of Jewish communities around the world based in New York. […] The son of two survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, he was born on May 1, 1948 in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen in Germany. From 1945 until 1950, his father, the late Josef Rosensaft, was chairman of the Jewish Committee of the Bergen-Belsen DP camp and of the Central Jewish Committee in the British Zone of Germany.[8]

Note that Rosensaft’s parents survived Auschwitz and were transferred to Bergen-Belsen, but according to his story, his grandparents and his brother were gassed at Auschwitz.

The Displaced Persons camp at Bergen-Belsen was located in the German Army garrison, right next door to the Bergen-Belsen camp, which had been originally set up in 1943 as an exchange camp for Jews who wanted to go to Palestine.  The DP camp remained open for five years, as Jewish survivors of the Holocaust waited to emigrate to Palestine.

German Army Garrison and Training Center where DP camp was located from 1945 - 1950

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the remarkable story of Martin Hecht, a Holocaust survivor

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 5:41 am

Martin Hecht was among the Hungarian Jews who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be gassed in the Spring of 1944.  He was born in the town of Ruskova in Transylvania on March 2, 1931, so he was 13 years old when he arrived at Birkenau.  According to the book Auschwitz, a New History by Laurence Rees, published in 2005, almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944. Up until the Spring of 1944, it had been the three Operation Reinhard camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor, that were the main Nazi killing centers for the Jews, not Auschwitz.

Hungarian children under the age of 15, walking to the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A booklet which I purchased from the Auschwitz Museum stated that 434,351 of the Hungarian Jews were gassed upon arrival. If these figures are correct, only 3,051 Hungarian Jews, out of the 437,402 who were sent to Auschwitz, were registered in the camp. However, the former Auschwitz Museum director, Francizek Piper, wrote that 28,000 Hungarian Jews were registered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Men selected to work were registered at Auschwitz-Birkenau and given a uniform with no prison number

Martin Hecht was only 13 years old, too young to work, when he was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, so how did he manage to survive?  Children under 15 and adults over 45 were automatically sent to the gas chamber on the day that they arrived. Those who were selected to work were given a prison number but the photo above shows that the number was not put on the uniform, as Martin Hecht told a Ynetnews reporter.  Martin said that he did not get a tattoo on his arm.

According to an article which you can read in full on Ynetnews.com here, there were many times that Martin could have died while in captivity, but by some miracle, he survived.   (more…)