Unloading: A rare photo of Jews being taken off the trains. There was only a one per cent chance that any visitor to the camp would still be alive after three hours
Persecuted: These colour photos show the liberation of Dachau. The first of the thousands of concentration camps that sprang up across Germany after the Nazis rose to power
Video: Andra and Tatiana Bucci were only 4 and 6 years old when they were taken to Auschwitz, the most infamous Nazi concentration camp. Almost seven decades later, they return to the site time and time again to teach Italian students about unspeakable loss, and the power of remembrance.
The oldest survivor of the concentration camps: Extraordinary story of 107-year-old who was imprisoned in THREE Nazi prisons
Survivor: At 107 Austrian born Mr Engleitner is the world’s oldest known holocaust survivor, and has had a film made about his unfailing faith
Oldest known Holocaust survivor who refused to give up his Jehovah’s Witness faith dies aged 107
Oldest known Auschwitz survivor who taught Polish children in defiance of Nazis dies aged 108
Antoni Dobrowolski, aged 105, speaking to Polish TV in 2009
Holocaust survivor tailors an American success story: Martin Greenfield immigrated to the United States after World War II and started a tailoring business that eventually took him as far as the White House.
“At Auschwitz, the prisoners were sorted by gender, and Martin’s 5-year-old brother, who had been hanging on him “like I was a hero,” went with his father. His younger sister was pulled away from his mother and other sister and sent in another direction because she had blond hair and blue eyes. When the registrars asked if anyone knew a trade, his father offered up Martin as a skilled mechanic.”
Frightened victims: Wilhelm Brasse took some 40,000-50,000 photographs inside Aushwitz for the Nazis including these shots of Czeslawa Kwoka after she was beaten by a guard
Haunting: The identity photographs of an Auschwitz inmate that Brasse took as part of the Nazi German effort to document their activities at the camp
Harsh truth: Polish inmate Brasse was among many put to work capturing such images
Haunting sketches of daily life at a Nazi concentration camp reveal prisoners’ incredible endurance in the face of terrible suffering
Despite the awfulness of her predicament, this Jewish woman manages to smile brightly for the camera as she poses for Jaeger
An elderly man with a yellow Star of David fixed to his chest, speaks with German officers as he and other Jews are rounded up in Kutno, German-occupied Poland in 1939
Innocent victims: These young Jewish girls couldn’t possibly have imagined the horrors that lay ahead as they pose outside their tent in another haunting photograph taken by the ardent Nazi Hugo Jaeger
While most Jaeger’s photographs focus on the glory and triumphalism of the Reich, here he has chosen instead to capture the misery of the conquered people instead
Makeshift dwelling: Jewish inhabitants of the Kutno Ghetto stand near a car which has been converted into a makeshift house in early 1940
A young woman clutches a jug as she escorts an elderly Jewish man through the Kutno Ghetto in early 1940
Fate: In 1942, as part of Hitler’s ‘final solution’ the Nazis began Operation Reinhardt, the plan to eliminate all of Poland’s Jews. In the spring of 1942 the Kutno Ghetto itself was ‘liquidated’
Oskar Schindler and me: Holocaust survivor dies too soon to see memoir hit shelves
Oskar Schindler and me: Holocaust survivor dies too soon to see memoir hit shelves
Leon Leyson was one of the youngest concentration camp victims to be rescued by the industrialist, but he died too soon to see his memoir published
Nick Clark Thursday 29 August 2013
He was one of the youngest Holocaust survivors to be saved by Oskar Schindler, and he waited almost 70 years to tell his story. Sadly, Leon Leyson died before he could see his memoir published. The extraordinary, horrifying and heart-breaking book The Boy on the Wooden Box, about a 13-year-old who found his way onto Schindler’s famous list, was released in the US by Simon & Schuster’s children’s division today.
Caitlyn Dlouhy, editorial director of Atheneum Books – a division of Simon & Schuster’s – which picked up the manuscript, said: “Within 50 pages I knew this was an astonishing piece. It was told without rancour or anger. He was just telling the story the way a little boy would have.”
She continued: “It’s such a shame he never saw it in print. For his wife Lis it is so bittersweet. She is so happy at the reception of the book; that it came out beautifully. She knows how proud Leon would have been but she can’t share it with him. It has to be so hard.”
Mr Leyson was born Leib Lejzon in 1929 and was just 10 years old when the Germans invaded Poland and his family were forced to move from Krakow to a Jewish ghetto in Podgorze, a suburb of the city.
They suffered regular harassment and had little food before the persecution intensified and the Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The book includes stories of his hiding from the Nazis; on one occasion he sat on a roof beam in a shed for two days as gunshots and screams grew louder.
The family was sent to the Plaszow camp in 1940, and Mr Leyson only managed to rejoin his family after sneaking past a guard at huge personal risk. He described stepping through the gates like “arriving at the innermost circle of hell” adding the moment he arrived “I was convinced I would never leave alive”.
The camp’s commandant was the infamous Amon Goeth. Among the frequent brushes with fate, Mr Leyson once had his leg bandaged at the infirmary, finding out later that Goeth had all the patients arbitrarily shot moments after he had left.
He described the living conditions – being too tired and hungry to care about the lice crawling through his hair and clothes, of harassment from the guards and having the same meal every day: hot water with a little salt or pepper and perhaps a bit of potato skin.
The camp commandant once had the young boy whipped on a whim. Those receiving the punishment had to call out the number of each of the 25 lashes – with whips that had ball bearings on the end – and if they got the count wrong, the guard would start again. It left him unable to sit or lie down for months.
In 1943, Schindler hired him and his mother to join his father and brother in Krakow. It was on the night shift that he got to know Schindler personally – writing that despite being a Nazi “he acted like he cared about us personally”. In the factory he was so small he had to stand on a box to operate the machinery, which gave his memoir its title.
Mr Leyson wrote of a man who was “tall and hefty with a booming voice” and after initially fearing him, looking forward to his visits. When the factory was moved to Czechoslovakia Schindler saved the family’s lives again, pulling them out of the line, heading for the death camps.
In a final act of salvation, in April 1945 with the Germans fleeing, they were ordered to murder all the Jewish workers in the Brinlitz camp. Schindler managed to thwart the plan and have the SS officer in charged transferred out of the area. He freed the workers giving them each a bottle of vodka and a bolt of cloth. Mr Leyson emigrated to the US in 1949 at the age of 20, five years after he was liberated from Czechoslovakia. He served in the US army during the Korean War, as he wanted to give something back to the country that had taken him in, and taught at Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles for 40 years.
Mr Leyson was to meet Schindler again some 20 years after the end of the war. Sweaty palmed at the thought of seeing him again, and wondering whether he would recognise a 35-year-old married army veteran, Schindler immediately picked him out of the welcoming committee at Los Angeles Airport saying: “I know who you are. You’re little Leyson.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film Schindler’s List and it was the film that prompted Mr Leyson to open up about his experiences for the first time after he was tracked down by a reporter.
In the book he even referenced one scene from the film where Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, pulls his accountant Itzhak Stern from a train bound for an extermination camp called Belzec.
What the film did not show was Schindler, in real life, spotting Mr Leyson’s brother – who refused to get off because his girlfriend Miriam was on the train. Both died at the camp.
The work had been seen as a companion piece to Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. “They are obviously very different books,” Ms Dlouhy, the publisher, said. “However the two of them never gave up hope. There’s always a chance that might be there. As tragic as it all is, it’s all about hope.”
She added: “He was continually grateful for where his life ended up. He refused to live in self-pity.”
He married Lis, a fellow school teacher in 1965, and they had two children. She said in the book’s afterword, written after his death: “The driving force that kept Leon telling his story year after year, even though he relived heartbreaking grief each time he spoke, was to honour the memory of his family and the millions of other victims of the Holocaust.”
Berthold Beitz, German Steel Industrialist Who Saved Jews, Dies at 99
By MELISSA EDDY
Published: August 1, 2013
BERLIN — The rise of Berthold Beitz to the head of ThyssenKrupp, the steel conglomerate, is the stuff of modern German legend. He played a critical role in the rebuilding of postwar Germany into an industrial powerhouse.
Mr. Beitz (pronounced BITES) worked for an oil company when the war broke out. But rather than calling him up for active duty, the Nazis sent him to supervise the Borislav oil fields, which had fallen into German hands with the invasion of Poland in 1939. Oil was crucial to Hitler’s war machine, and Mr. Beitz wielded considerable power. He used it to create unneeded jobs that spared hundreds of Poles and Jews from being deported to death camps.
His death, on the island of Sylt, off Germany’s northern coast, was announced by ThyssenKrupp.
Often called “the grand old man of German steel,” Mr. Beitz joined the company after the war and over the next six decades transformed it into a publicly traded international conglomerate. While continuing to make steel and armaments, it expanded into building and equipping factories and manufacturing elevators, among other things.
Mr. Beitz’s reputation for integrity, earned during the war, gained him the confidence of leaders beyond Germany’s industrial backbone in the Ruhr River Valley and placed him in a position after the war to renew business and restore diplomatic ties to countries in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer sent him on an exploratory mission to Poland in the 1960s, paving the way for Willy Brandt’s normalization of relations with East Germany and its allies a decade later.
“With the death of Berthold Beitz, Germany has lost one of its most eminent and successful corporate personalities, who helped to shape the country in important ways,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Born on Sept. 26, 1913, in the eastern German city of Zemmin, Mr. Beitz trained to become a banker, but his career took a turn in 1938 when he joined the Shell Oil Company in the northern port city of Hamburg. His experience there led to his war duty in Poland.
After the war, Poland awarded him its highest civilian honor, and the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations, its highest recognition for non-Jews who saved Jews from the Holocaust.
“I saw how people were shot, how they were lined up in the night,” he told The New York Times in 1983. “My motives were not political; they were purely humane, moral motives.”
After the war, as president of the German insurance company Iduna, Mr. Beitz adopted business methods, like bonuses and competitions, that were unusual at that time. His success caught the eye of Alfried Krupp, then 45 and the sole owner of the Krupp steel company. Mr. Krupp had recently left prison after serving part of a 12-year sentence for war crimes, including using slave labor.
Mr. Krupp needed someone with an unblemished reputation, and in 1953 he made Mr. Beitz the company’s chairman. One of his major tasks was to re-establish a sense of purpose and direction among the company’s demoralized employees.
Mr. Krupp died in 1967, leaving Mr. Beitz as executor of his will. Mr. Beitz persuaded Mr. Krupp’s sole heir to renounce his inheritance, with which he then established the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation and converted the company into a publicly traded corporation. The foundation today holds a 25.3 percent stake in ThyssenKrupp.
In recent years, ThyssenKrupp has suffered from Germany’s slow economic growth as the country’s center of economic power has shifted away from the Ruhr Valley.
Mindful of that shift, Mr. Beitz invested heavily in the arts and established a cultural foundation that helped transform the Ruhr Valley from an industrial heartland to a hub of postmodern and postindustrial art. The foundation provided the Folkwang Museum with financing for a new building, designed by David Chipperfield. It opened in January 2010.
Mr. Beitz is survived by his wife of more than 70 years, Else; three daughters, Barbara Ziff, Susanne Henle and Bettina Poullain; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Robert Ziff, a grandson, said Mr. Beitz did not like to talk about his experiences during the war. Instead, he gathered letters he had received from survivors and bound them in a book, which he gave to his family.
He “let that do the talking,” Mr. Ziff said.
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