The forgotten children of the Holocaust. Part II. The Warsaw ghetto

Three homeless Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto (1941–1943). USHMM
The same three homeless Jewish children, now in despair, in the Warsaw ghetto (1941–1943).

Before WWII, Warsaw had a population of 1,300,000 inhabitants (350,000 were Jewish). The Jewish community of Warsaw was the biggest of Europe and the second biggest in the world (after New York).

28 days after the invasion of Poland, the Germans entered Warsaw (September 29, 1939). On November 23, all the Jewish people above 10 years old were ordered by the Germans to wear the Judenstern.

In November 1940, more than 400,000 Jewish men, women and children were sealed inside the Warsaw ghetto. The ghetto had only 2 square kms and was separated from the rest of the city by a 3-meter wall with a barbed wire.

Over 80,000 Jewish men, women and children died as a result of starvation, diseases and brutality in the Warsaw ghetto. In March 1941, the Jewish population of the Warsaw ghetto reached a peak of more than 460,000 (85,000 were children up to the age of 14).

In July 1942, the deportations to the extermination camps (mainly Treblinka) begun. The German code name for the deportations was Grossaktion Warsaw. Adam Czerniakow, head of the Judenrat refused to make the lists for the deportations and committed suicide. From July 22 to September 12, 1942, the Germans deported 265,000 Jewish men, women and children to Treblinka to be gassed. Another 35,000 Jews were murdered in the ghetto during the deportations. 

In January 1943, the Germans intended to liquidate the ghetto (80,000 Jewish men, women and children were left) but the Jewish people resisted. The Germans deported 5,000 Jews and withdrew. 

From April 19 to May 16, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising took place. The Germans deported 49,000 Jews to Treblinka, Majdanek and other camps. After the liquidation of the ghetto 20,000 Jews continued living clandestinely in the “Arian” area of Warsaw.  

From August 1 to October 2, 1944, the Warsaw uprising took place. 150,000 Poles and 17,000 Jews died during the Warsaw uprising. Warsaw was completely destroyed.  

On January 17, 1945 (Warsaw’s liberation day), there were only 174,000 Poles and 11,500 Jews left alive in Warsaw. Let’s not forget that Warsaw had had a population of 1,300,000 people before 1939, including 350,000 Jews. 

Jewish men, women and children being sealed into the ghetto by the Germans Zelezny street. 1940. Yad Vashem
Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto, 1940. USHMM
Jewish men, women and children from other parts of the Generalgouverenment arriving in a train/tram for passengers (not a freight car) to the Warsaw ghetto. USHMM
Two starving Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto (1940–1943). USHMM 
Three Jewish children and a baby lying on a street of the Warsaw ghetto. Yad Vashem
Jewish men, women and children waiting in line for food. Nalewki street, 33. Warsaw ghetto.  Yad Vashem
 
Five Jewish girls and one Jewish boy eating bread and soup. Warsaw ghetto. Yad Vashem 
Jewish men, women and children living inside the synagogue of Nalewki street, 37. Warsaw ghetto. Yad Vashem
Jewish mother holding her child. Warsaw ghetto, June–August 1941. USHMM
Dying Jewish child lying on the street. Warsaw ghetto, September 19, 1941. USHMM
A Jewish boy and a Jewish girl on a street of the Warsaw ghetto. Yad Vashem
Jewish men, women and children selling and buying food. Warsaw ghetto, June–August 1941. USHMM 
Jewish woman and two smiling children in the Warsaw ghetto. 1941. IWM
Jewish men and boys smiling for the photo. Warsaw ghetto, June–August 1941. USHMM
Starving Jewish child eating a piece of bread. Warsaw ghetto, summer 1941. IWM
Two Jewish girls: Gina Tabaczynska -right-, b. 1925, and Hanka Birenbaum) in the Warsaw ghetto. 1940–1943. Gina survived the Holocaust. USHMM
Jewish boy with a jacket made of scraps. Warsaw ghetto, September 19, 1941. USHMM.  
A smiling Jewish boy selling the "Gazeta Żydowska - Jewish Gazette". Warsaw ghetto, 1941. IWM
A dying Jewish child begging in the street. Warsaw ghetto. Summer 1941. IWM
A Jewish mother with her two daughters in the Warsaw ghetto. Summer 1941. IWM
Two emaciated Jewish children in the street. Warsaw ghetto. Summer 1941. IWM
A street in the Warsaw ghetto, 1942. 
A crowed street in the Warsaw ghetto, 1942. USHMM 
Jewish boy selling candy in the Warsaw ghetto. IWM
Jewish people at the "market". Warsaw ghetto. IWM
Dying father with his children lying on the street. Warsaw ghetto. 1941. IWM

Die Großaktion: Deportation and mass murder of the Jewish men, women and children of the Warsaw ghetto organised and carried out by the Germans (July 22–September 12, 1942)

Umschlagplatz. Deportation of Jewish men, women and children from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. Großaktion Warsaw. Summer 1942.
Umschlagplatz. Deportation of Jewish men, women and children from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. Großaktion Warsaw. 1942–43.
Umschlagplatz. Jewish men, women and children from the Warsaw ghetto ready to be deported. Großaktion Warsaw. 1942–43. USHMM

The Warsaw ghetto (April 19–May 16, 1943) and liquidation of the ghetto: 150,000 Poles and 7,000 Jews died during the uprising. The Germans deported 49,000 Jews to Treblinka, Majdanek and other camps. After the liquidation of the ghetto 20,000 Jews continued living clandestinely in the “Arian” area of Warsaw.  

The Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
German pigs cowardly bombing the Warsaw ghetto during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Ruins of the Warsaw ghetto during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Brave Jewish men ready to jump and commit suicide rather than being captured by the German murderers. April 22, 1943. USHMM
The bodies of Jewish victims lie in front of the ruins of the ghetto. Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Jewish men and women captured during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Jewish men, women and children captured after the Warsaw ghetto uprising being herded to the Umschlagplatz for deportation. The little girl and the two women seen in the front perished. The man behind the little girl (Avraham Neyer) survived the Holocaust. USHMM
Jewish men, women and adolescents captured by German pigs being held next to the ghetto wall before being sent to the Umschlagplatz for deportation. Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM 
A fat SS pig overseeing the deportation of the Jewish survivors of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Jewish men, women and children captured by the Germans during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. April 19–August 16, 1943. USHMM
Jewish men, women and children captured after the Warsaw ghetto uprising being herded down Nowolipie street to the Umschlagplatz for deportation. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
Jewish families surrendering to the German murderers. Warsaw ghetto uprising. A mother holding her little boy can be seen. April 19–May 16, 1943.
USHMM 
Probably the most famous photo of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The little girl on the left was Hanka Lamet. The little boy in the front has been identified as Arthur Domb Semiontek, Israel Rondel, Tsvi Nussbaum or Levi Zeilinwarger. USHMM
Jewish men, women and children captured by German murderers during the Warsaw ghetto uprising force to load a truck for deportation. April 19–May 16, 1943. USHMM
An aerial photo showing the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. After May 16, 1943. USHMM
The destroyed grounds of the former Warsaw ghetto. 1946. USHMM 
Postwar view of the former Warsaw ghetto, 1947. USHMM 

The Warsaw uprising (August 1–October 2, 1944): 150,000 Poles and 17,000 Jews died during the Warsaw uprising. Warsaw was completely destroyed.  

Polish women and children from Warsaw deported to  Ravensbrück after the Warsaw uprising. October 1944. USHMM
Jan Kostanski (right), b. 1925, during the Warsaw uprising. October, 1944. He helped many Jewish people. He survived the war and was recognised Righteous Among the Nations in 1984. USHMM

Never forget and never forgive. We remember!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, January 17, 2021

CREDITS

Yad Vashem

USHMM

Imperial War Museum UK: Daily Life in the Warsaw Ghetto

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

The forgotten children of the Holocaust. Part I. Before the war

Hebrew school class of Gustav Schonfeld (the little boy seated in front of the rabbi), Munkacs, Hungary, 1939. In this photo, little Gustav was the only survivor.

Christian antisemitism (especially Protestant antisemitism –Von den Juden und ihren Lügen seems to bless the atrocities of WWII), together with a redemptive and eliminationist antisemitism (see Hilberg and Goldhagen) made the massacring, extermination and gassing of 1,500,000 children possible, from 1939 to 1945. From these children, the vast majority were Jewish.

The victims of genocide were only Jewish and Roma and Sinti. 6,000,000 Jewish men, women and children and c. 220.000 Roma and Sinti men, women and children were victims of the atrocity of the Germans and their allies. C. 1,500,000 Jewish children and thousands of Roma and Sinti children died: killed in the ghettos and the Lager, or perished because of starvation, exhaustion, typhus, dysentery and tuberculosis in the ghettos and concentration camps, in death marches, massacred by the German (and Austrian) Einsatzgruppen, Orpo and Wehrmacht, or in the gas chambers of the six extermination camps: Auschwitz, Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, and Majdanek.

Yehuda Bauer argues in Rethinking the Holocaust that in 1940–1941 the vast majority of Germans sympathised with the humiliation, exclusion and massacres of Jewish men, women and children: “Browning believes that the percentage of policemen examined who were opposed to murder was 10 to 20%. Goldhagen says 10% of all Germans were opposed. In either case, the statement that the vast majority of the German population were willing to be recruited for the murder of Jews stands” (p. 103).

The gigantic and super-structured extermination machine that made the Holocaust possible had the willing and effective collaboration of millions of common Germans. Not only 800,000 sadistic SS killed and massacred Jewish men, women and children. No. The young German soldiers of the Wehrmacht (the vast majority lovers of the Nazi party) burnt synagogues with Jewish men, women and children inside, and committed big atrocities against the Jewish people and also against non-Jews: “Wehrmacht units …committed horrors against Serbs, Poles, Greeks, and Russians as well as Jews … ordinary Germans (and ordinary others) committed mass murders of the worst kind” (Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust, p. 108). After the war, Germany (and the world) forgot its German murderers so fast!

In 1920, the Nazi Party had only 60 members. In 1945 it had 8,500,000 members. But it’s important to have in mind that millions of common Germans collaborated without being necessarily members of the Party (90% of the population, according to Bauer and Goldhagen). And the vast majority did it for real conviction (a combination of ferocious antisemitism and sick ultra-nationalism). Only in very very very few cases did they do it for fear, according to Hannah Arendt. These kind Germans were bureaucrats, professors, teachers, intellectuals, doctors, pseudo-anthropologists, pastors, lawyers, businessmen, train drivers, architects, secretaries, housewives… The killing machine needed every German, and, oh, boy, it really succeed it!

And now, about the children. Only in Auschwitz were deported c. 220,000 children (boys, girls, and babies): c. 200,000 were Jewish and c. 11,000 were Roma and Sinti. They were also deported c. 1,650 children who were Poles and c. 1,000 Soviet children (non-Jewish). From these 220,000 children only 20,000 were registered. This means that the rest (c. 200.000) were gassed upon arrival.

Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. In the camp there were 435 children alive (survivors of the macabre “medical” experiments). c. 60% of these children suffered starvation and malnutrition, and c. 40% had tuberculosis. The younger children didn’t even know their own names or from where they were. The vast majority of these children never saw their families again (their parents perished in the Holocaust) and suffered physical disabilities and mental trauma all their lives.

And what about non-Jewish children? 5,000–7,000 non-Jewish German and Austrian children with disabilities died through the macabre Euthanasia Plan (Aktion T4). And thousands of Poles and Soviet children were deported to concentration and extermination camps (mainly to Auschwitz).

10,000 Jewish children were saved thanks to the Kindertransport, and some other were saved thanks to some heroes who risked their lives and hid Jewish children during the war. But almost all of these children lost their families in the Shoah.

This is a visual journey to remember the million and a half children who perished in the Holocaust under the most horrific atrocities (perpetrated by one of the most cultivated countries in the world, and not so long ago). It also serves to commemorate the few children who managed to escape the horror.

I. Photos from before the war

Henye Rosenbaum age 2, Drohiczyn Nad Bugiem, Poland, 1938. USHMM
Henye Rosembaum was massacred with her family  in October 1941; she was 5 years old. Her 8-year-old brother Yosef and their parents Menachem and Sarah Rosenbaum were massacred too. Her relatives Zlate Riva Rosenbaum Grynblatt, Avraham Yaakov Grynblatt and Aron (2 years old), Yankel Rosenbaum, Chana Malka Perkovitzky Rosenbaum, Chaieh Guta Laye Rosenbaum Taumtschen, Rabbi Chaim Taumtschenan and Yankel (8 years old) were also murdered next to her.  

Gyorgy Freedman (born on December 7, 1936) and his little sister (both Jewish Hungarian) died in the Holocaust. USHMM
Henio Zytomirski (Polish Jewish boy) aged 6 in Lublin, 1939. Henio was gassed in Majdanek on November 9, 1942. He was 9 years old. 
Stella Knobel with her cousin Elisabeta (Polish Jewish) before antes de la guerra. Elisabeta (white shirt) and her mother were murdered in the Holocaust. Stella and her parents emigrated in time to Israel. Yad Vashem
Genia Judzki and her son Michal, Jewish, were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. They both died in Auschwitz. Michal was 7 years old. He used to say to his mother Solía "Mommy, we're going to die together". Genia's husband was murdered in the liquidation of the Sosnowiec ghetto in 1943. Yad Vashem
Selma Meerbaum (Ukrainian Jewish girl) loved to write poetry. In October 1941 she and her parents were trapped in the ghetto. In June 1942 they were deported to Transnistria and, after a long march, to the Michailowka labor camp, where she died of typhus on December 16, 1942, aged 18. Her parents also perished in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem

korczak
Janus Korczak with his orphans in the Orphanage Nasz Dom. Pruszkow, c. 1920–28. 
Florida Center for Instructional Technology

Janus Korczak (July 22, 1878 or 1879 – August 7, 1942) (the famous Polish Jewish doctor) and his 192 orphans suffered the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto (starvation, sickness, brutality, fear). On August 5, 1942, they were all deported to Treblinka and gassed upon arrival. When Korczak was marching with his orphans to the train station, an SS recognised him as the author of his favorite children books and offered him to escape, but Korczak refused to abandon the children. He heroically decided to accompany his orphans until the end and died with them in the gas chambers.

 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, January 14, 2021

CREDITS

Yad Vashem

USHMM

St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum

Warsaw Ghetto Museum

The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute

Posted in Auschwitz, Holocaust, Shoah | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please keep creating, Woody. The world needs your art!

There are some (very few) people who make this world a better place. Woody is one of them. Thanks for your amazing art, Woody! Please keep creating. The world needs your movies. Happy 85th birthday to my hero!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, December 1st, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody, WOODY ALLEN | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy birthday to my hero!

Woody was actually born on November 30, 1935 –not December 1st!

“Finally, I enter the world. A world I will never feel comfortable in, never understand, and never approve of or forgive. Allan Stewart Konigsberg, born on December 1, 1935. Actually, I was born on the thirtieth of November very close to midnight, and my parents pushed the date so I could start off on a day one. This has given me zero advantage in life, and I would have much preferred they left me an enormous trust fund. I mention it only because in a meaningless bit of irony, my sister was born eight years later on the exact same day. This remarkable coincidence and fifteen cents will get you on the subway” (Woody Allen, Apropos of Nothing, pp. 10–11).

So, happy happy happy 85th birthday to my hero!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, November 30, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Have a wonderful week, Woody Allen fans!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, November 29, 2020

Posted in WOODY ALLEN | Tagged | Leave a comment

Confinados, no; castigados. La psicosis del Covid

Cuando el sentido común se pierde, estamos doblemente perdidos.

Para la primera ola del Covid había excusa. Para la segunda, ya no. En siete meses, los palurdos políticos españoles, en lugar de construir nuevos hospitales en cada ciudad, equipados de UCIs y respiradores, en lugar de contratar a doctores, enfermeros, auxiliares de enfermería y estudiantes de Medicina de último año, en lugar de reforzar a mil el sistema sanitario, han estado insultándose y sacándose los ojos como niños pequeños. Y los que estamos pagando esta incompetencia y esta falta de sentido común somos todos los españoles, especialmente los niños.

En Madrid las terrazas y los bares están repletos de jóvenes y no tan jóvenes tomándose sus cañitas y cafés sin mascarilla, pero aquí están preocupados de los contagios en los colegios y de confinar a los niños.

Los niños viven en una situación constante de estrés y miedo por la psicosis del Covid. Los protocolos exagerados en los colegios tal vez frenen algún contagio, pero están causando mucho daño psicológico a los niños. Y lo peor es que ni los profesores se dan cuenta.

Los confinamientos forzosos de contactos estrechos en los colegios son lo más ridículo de esta pandemia. Entiendo perfectamente que se confine a un niño (y a un adulto) que es positivo, pero confinar a los contactos estrechos de ese niño en un colegio, ¿qué sentido tiene? Tiene un único sentido: infundir miedo, inseguridad y frustración. La burla final es que los niños sin síntomas a los que sus padres les han pagado una PCR y han dado negativo tienen que, de todas maneras, seguir confinados y sin colegio hasta que pasen la cuarentena.

Aquí en España se trata igual al caso positivo, al contacto estrecho dentro de la familia de un caso positivo y al contacto estrecho en un colegio. No hay nada más absurdo. Todos los niños españoles están usando mascarillas, geles, distancia y grupitos burbuja en sus colegios.

Mis hijos tienen amigos que ya llevan dos confinamientos forzosos (de 10 días cada uno) desde que ha empezado el curso porque algún compañero ha dado positivo y ellos han sido calificados por el colegio de contacto estrecho. ¡20 días confinados por haber estado en contacto estrecho con un compañero! ¿Contacto estrecho? Entonces, ¿para qué diablos obligan a los niños a tanta mascarilla, gel, mampara en los comedores y separación de amigos? Luego, si un niño confinado por ser contacto estrecho se hace la PCR (e incluso un estudio serológico) y da negativo, da igual, tiene que seguir confinado. Eso no es precaución. Eso es un escupitajo. Este virus durará un par de años más. ¿Qué sacan los colegios y los políticos castigando a los niños?

Es verdad que los colegios están haciendo un gran esfuerzo para contener el virus, pero en cuanto hay un caso positivo entran en pánico y empiezan a mandar a niños a casa. Y no solo eso. Los niños, en pleno otoño, no pueden ni toser en el colegio porque, si lo hacen, se van castigados a enfermería. Y de enfermería, a casa. Los colegios dicen, orgullosos y a la defensiva, que ellos solo siguen el protocolo, pero, en realidad, lo que están haciendo es enviar el bulto a casa y lavarse las manos.

¿Que muchos niños son asintomáticos? Sí, lo sé. Es por ello que los colegios ya están tomando medidas: mascarilla, geles, distancia, grupos burbuja, separación de amigos. Un contacto estrecho que se ha hecho una PCR y ha dado negativo tiene menos posibilidad de tener el virus que otro alumno que sigue en clase y no se ha hecho una PCR. Pero esto poco importa. Lo importante es tener a la gente asustadita. Hitchcock hubiera hecho sin duda una buena película sobre la psicosis del Covid.

Los niños son personas y se merecen respeto, educación, amiguitos y seguridad física y psicológica. Son más importantes los colegios que las cañitas y las tapas. Cuando el sentido común se pierde, estamos doblemente perdidos.

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, 23 de octubre de 2020

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

My kids absolutely adored Rifkin’s Festival!

My kids absolutely adored Rifkin’s Festival! (They are huge Woody Allen fans).

Bravo, Woody! Such a beautiful film! Thanks a lot! You’re the best!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 4, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody, WOODY ALLEN | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rifkin’s Festival: A homage to cinema and existentialism. Nobody makes movies like Woody any more!

Rifkin’s Festival is a masterpiece!

A homage to cinema and existentialism. So so so beautiful! And meaningful! (even if Woody wouldn’t agree). Nobody makes movies like Woody any more.

This movie really touched my heart: it moved me, it made me laugh and it made me think about life, love, and death. I got my dosis of philosophy and art for a year!

Rifkin’s Festival is a real gem. One of Woody’s best films! Poetic, philosophical, magical, funny, sad, delightful, entertaining, and magnificent. A marvellous script, a spectacular cast, an exquisite cinematography, and wonderful music. Delicious and indispensable!

The movie is so incredibly good and it says so much that I really hope it is not Woody’s last film.

Bravo, Woody! Thank you so much for your art! Please, keep creating!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 2, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody, WOODY ALLEN | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Today is the day!

Today is the day of Rifkin’s Festival! Olé, olé, olé.

Woody’s films are indispensable for the heart.

Thank you, Woody!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 2, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Only one day left here in Spain for Rifkin’s Festival!

Only one day left here in Spain for Rifkin’s Festival! We can’t wait!

Woody’s films make life better!

Thank you for your art, Woody!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 1, 2020

Posted in #IBelieveWoody | Tagged , , | Leave a comment