Scrapbookpages Blog

February 16, 2012

5th grade class learns about a Danish Jew who was gassed at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:37 pm

I read this quote in the news today on this website in a story about Holocaust survivor Danny Goldsmith speaking to a 5th grade class:

Goldsmith recounted his childhood experience for the audience, explaining that his run from the Nazis began when his father was called to “work” for the Third Reich when he was about 10 years old. At that time, it was not known to Goldsmith that his father was actually being sent to Auschwitz, a concentration camp, where he was put to death in the gas chambers. Once the Nazis took his father away, Goldsmith’s mother joined the resistance, and sent Goldsmith and his sister into hiding.  […]

Goodsmith’s speech marked the culmination of the novel, “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry, which taught students about the Holocaust and the tragedies that occurred during the Nazi occupation of Europe.

So Goldsmith didn’t know, at the time that this happened, that his father had been put to death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz? How did he find out about it?  When did it become known that Jews from Denmark were sent to Auschwitz and gassed?  I didn’t know about the gassing of the Danish Jews, so I had to look it up.  I went to the Holocaust History Project where I read this:

It had been decided early in September that the Danish Jews should go to Theresienstadt not Auschwitz. About 360 were sent via the port of Swinemunde, and of these twenty died on the journey and fifty in the camp.

I went to the website of the USHMM here where I read this:

In the end, the Germans succeeded in arresting about 500 Jews [in Denmark] and deporting them to Theresienstadt, a ghetto and concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Even then, the Danish people sent parcels of food and provisions to their Jewish countrymen. This intense public focus quite possibly saved the Danish Jews in Theresienstadt from being transferred to Auschwitz and their imminent deaths.

The story of the Danish people uniting in peaceful resistance against the Nazis is a unique chapter in the history of the Holocaust. Today, the permanent exhibitions at Yad Vashem in Israel and at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum both include an original Danish fishing vessel that once ferried Jews to safety.

In another section of the USHMM website, I read this:

Between December 1941 and July 1942, the SS and police officials established five killing centers in German-occupied Poland: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka 2 (Treblinka 1 was a forced-labor camp for Jews), and Auschwitz-Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II. SS and police authorities in the Lublin District of the Generalgouvernement (that part of German-occupied Poland not directly annexed to Germany, attached to German East Prussia, or incorporated into the German-occupied Soviet Union) managed and coordinated the deportations to Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka within the framework of “Operation Reinhard.”  […]

In 1943 and 1944, the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center played a significant role in the German plan to kill the European Jews. Beginning in late winter 1943, trains arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on a regular basis carrying Jews from virtually every German-occupied country of Europe — from as far north as Norway to the Greek island of Rhodes off the coast of Turkey in the south, from the French slopes of the Pyrenees in the west to the easternmost reaches of German-occupied Poland and the Baltic states. Another concentration camp, located near Lublin and known as Majdanek, served as a site for murdering targeted groups of Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners by gas and other means.

The Germans killed nearly three million Jews in the five killing centers.

The official story of the Holocaust, which is protected by law in 16 countries, keeps changing and I can’t keep up with it.  Note that the USHMM has down-graded Majdanek to “a site for murdering targeted groups of Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners by gas and other means.”  In 1946, testimony was given by the Soviet Union at Nuremberg that 1.5 million people had been killed at Majdanek.

Do you think that any of these 10-year-old fifth grade students will bother to look up the facts on the website of the USHMM?  Or will they just believe what they are told by a guest speaker?  There oughta be a law against Holocaust survivors speaking to gullible fifth graders!