Monday, April 28, 2014

The Soldiers of Genocide

If you call them victims
They will have died in vain.
They were martyrs, soldiers,
Who died in a war, a crime with no name.
Brought by failed experiments,
From the Island of Doctor Moreau.
They did not die for nothng,
Their blood and their ashes
Were the price they paid for us
To create our Israel.
And thus, they did not die in vain.
Am Israel Chai.

~ Samuel Lemkin

Dear Dr. Ballen,
I want people to know how great Hashem is!
I am a Holocaust survivor who originally came from Munkacz, Czechoslovakia.
When we arrived in Auschwitz, I was age 15. As we got down from the train, the first thing that I lost were all of my loved ones. I found myself all alone. A soldier pushed me off to the side, the side where people were being sent to the crematoriums. Then came another soldier, and he pushed me to the other side, the side where people were going to be "chosen" for different things.  At the time, it was not immediately clear to me, but soon after, I had realized what a miracle I had experienced. This was the first of many times I would be saved from certain death.
Another miracle was when I, along with a group of 15 and 16 year olds were facing the infamous Dr. Mengele.  He was selecting who would be put to work as slaves of the Nazis, and who would end up in the crematorium. He pointed to me, asking how old I was. Trying to save myself, I said I was 18. He asked when I was born. I was actually good at math, but I was so frightened that I began stuttering and he sent me to the crematoriums.
Once, when I was in Auschwitz, I was part of a group of people who were sent to take a "shower" (in the gas chambers), and where we were given a piece of "RYF soap" (Juden Fatte = Jewish Skin Fat). We were standing naked with the soap in our hands, and the gas malfunctioned! 
Another blatant miracle!
That day, I was crying so hard, as I knew my destiny had been determined; I was, with the very young, old and infirmed, who would end up murdered in the crematorium. People who were kept alive, were taken to the "toilet" (actually ditches) once a day. A woman who was on the line to be "toileted" was my saving angel; she simply grabbed me and said: "you're coming with us." She risked certain death if she were caught. I ended up going to the concentration camp of Christianstadt to work with the other women because of that angel.
Another time I was miraculously saved, was when I was part of a group of inmates chopping trees (yes, me, a young lady of 15!) and pulling apart train tracks. A wagon of sand toppled over me, and I was sure this would be the end of me! The other girls feverishly shoveled me out.
While working in Christianstadt, the inmates would make "soup" from dirty potato peels from the garbage. Someone accidentally knocked over the boiling pot which burnt me. I was forbidden from screaming from the horrible pain. I was told I would be sent to an infirmary if I was quiet, otherwise, I would be left alone to die with no one knowing the better.
I bit my tongue and lips...continue right here... 

With blessings,
Dr. Zev Ballen

Dr. Zev Ballen