Jocko Podcast 219 w/ Rose Schindler: Auschwitz Survivor. Never Give Up Hope.

Jocko Podcast 219 w/ Rose Schindler: Auschwitz Survivor. Never Give Up Hope.


this is Jocko podcast number 219 with
echo Charles and me Jocko willing good evening echo good evening the train
station is very busy tata says the train cars they are using are called cattle
cars which are usually used to transport animals or dry goods every day more
cattle cars arrive and get filled completely as each train leaves
I wonder where is going and hope it is somewhere wonderful when our name is
finally called it is our turn to load up on the train we are packed in like
preserved pickles in a jar once the car is filled with sixty to eighty people
they lock the doors the car has no seats or toilets and no water there are small
openings at the top of the car to provide air but only those tall enough
can see out and the openings do not provide enough ventilation I am not tall
enough to see out so I have no idea where we are or where we are headed it
is colder than usual this April and hard to stay warm even packed together like
sardines the Train does not stop for any reason
so we ride and ride for a few days standing all the while mama on Lee and
Tata tried to comfort us children even though I feel overwhelmed I try not to
cry or complain I want to show mama and Tata that I am big girl now
a group man read their Bibles and quietly recite
prayers the cars get stinky because of the poor ventilation and no toilets I
don’t understand why we are treated this way the looks of panic on the faces of
the adults and the cries of the younger children unsettle me at long last the
train finally slows down and comes to a stop the door is unlocked and a man in a
blue and white uniform climbs into our cattle car and tells us we are in
Auschwitz Poland ouch wits and I don’t know if there is a
name in the world that conjures up more vile and a more evil part of human
nature than ash words ash wits was a concentration camp in Poland established
and operated by the Nazis who occupied Poland at the time it had been a Polish
army barracks but the Nazis converted it into a prison initially it was used for
political prisoners and the camp quickly became a sadistic nightmare and in the
five years that it was functioning 1.3 million people were sent there and 1.1
million of those died and that number includes 15,000 Soviet
prisoners of war it includes 21,000 Romani people it includes 74,000 Polish
people and it includes 960,000 Jews 865 thousand of whom were sent to the gas
chambers and murdered immediately upon their arrival at Auschwitz and many of
those who were not gassed died of disease of starvation of exhaustion of
vicious beatings of medical experiments or of just individual executions unspeakable horror worse than you can
even imagine an actual hell on earth created by people but in that nightmare in that evil story
of sadism and anguish and torment there are also stories of Hope stories of
sacrifice stories of love and stories of survival and it is an honor to be able
to share one of those stories with you today the opening that I read is from a
book called – who survived keeping hope alive while surviving the Holocaust the
story of rose and Max Schindler which was documented by Emily Connelly and it
is an honor to have Rose Schindler with us here today to share her story Rose
welcome and thank you so much for coming on I wanted to say it’s a tremendous
thing that you’re doing okay because there are so many people that have no
idea what happened to us during the war so thank you very much for doing this
well I hope we can share and educate people on on what you went through on
what your family went through on and on what happened to millions millions of
people and you know I got lucky because you were doing a speech here in
San Diego and my wife went to see you and my wife came home and said darling
you have to get this woman on your podcast and immediately she no she told
me and we were able to connect through your son Ben so you know she brought
home the book I read the book in a day and just tried to make this happen as
quickly as possible so so thank you for coming in and like I said the name of
the book is – who survived and as I always have to
tell people on the podcast I don’t not gonna read the whole book
you can order the book and we’ll put our word at the end of how to do that but
you have to get this book to get the whole picture we’ll go through some of
the some of the points of it today but it’s a phenomenal book it reads very
easily it’s it’s it the language is great it’s it sounds like you read it
like you’re telling a story which is exactly what it sounds like that’s how
it’s written that’s how it comes across and so the book is called – who survived
and I’ll jump into reading some of it right now okay my name is Rosie Schwartz
I’m 8 years old and in third grade I like to tell stories I was born on
December 28 1929 the fourth child and a family of six girls and two boys how you
solder is 15 you ki is 13 and they’re their names the English names is Helen
and Judy fishel or Phillip is 1110 Chu is five blim Chu is three Fei is two and
mire bear is just a baby Mama’s name is Regina or rifka and Tatas
name is Solomon not all families have eight kids but many do my family lives
in Czechoslovakia and we learn to speak Czech in school mom and taught I learned
Hungarian in school when they were my age after World War one in 1918 the
government changed from austro-hungarian Empire to the Democratic Czechoslovakia
sometimes when the government changes the official language changes – that is
when our language changed from Hungarian to check since now it’s 1937 it’s been
almost 20 years in Tata says everyone is used to speaking Czech so what so what
language were you speaking at home at this time
Yiddish Yiddish and that’s why you got the Yiddish names right trying to get
trying to force me to try and say Yiddish names which I’m not great at I
well you’re not perfect but you’re great okay I’ll take that and eight eight
people in the family or is that eight kids right eight kids ten people in the
family and you say that’s my parents say the Czech government is good to us
everyone has equal rights and my family does all we can to be good citizens
neighbors help each other and are always friendly we speak Hungarian check with
our friends Ukrainian is also a similar language and is spoken by many because
we are Jewish we speak Yiddish the language of our faith at home my father
sister aunt Li am I saying that right yes aunt Li lives with us her husband
died in the first world war when her son was only 17 years old and he decided to
move to the Holy Land leaving her by herself now what’s interesting about
this is I’m assuming that he fought her her husband fought and died in the First
World War right I’m assuming he fought for Hungary
which was aligned with Germany right absolutely it was austria-hungary before
the first day there was a hundred thousand German Jews who served on the
side of the Germans in World War one there was 12,000 German Jews who were
killed in World War one fighting on the side of the Germans and there was 18,000
German Jews that were awarded the Iron Cross in World War two I didn’t know
that mnsure you know the reason that I thought and I had heard that before like
I told you before we started I study war a lot and I read a lot about war and to
me you know you sometimes you hear oh the the anti-semitism is this
long-standing thing that everybody knew about for a really long time and yet you
this is only 20 years prior you had a hundred thousand Jews that were fighting
on the side of the Germans just like everybody else
yeah and that’s how quickly things can change if we’re
yes unfortunately yes you go on here since she was alone
my parents invited her to live with our family aunt Lee is a seamstress so she
sells all our clothes when one girl grows out of a dress that goes to the
next sister to use we call these hand-me-downs we’re gonna head out Lee
lives with us because she is a friend with mama and helps take care of the
kids mama thoughts are raising us as Orthodox
Jews and we follow the rules faithfully we always eat foods that are especially
prepared to honor Jewish dietary laws called kosher each week we celebrate
Shabbat on Friday night before the holy day on Saturday we attend synagogue we
believe strongly that God will protect us from anything bad our code of conduct
says that the way we act in life is how we show our faith
now that sounds good except for I got to this part that says I do not like
homework we have to do every evening I have three more years of school before
I’m done I think I’ll learn to be a seamstress seamstress when I grow up so
I can sew clothes for my family we have a comfortable three room house on Main
Street our kitchens the largest room of all the kitchen oven is so big that I
could lie down inside of it if I wanted to one of my favorite things mama breaks
is rye bread when mama allows us to have some of the warm bread with melting
butter on it I am the happiest girl anywhere mama is strict with us so we
learned how to live good Jewish life but she’s also loving even when her mama
scolds me I know she is teaching me how to be good I want to be like mama when I
grow up because our family has many children every room in our house has
been the bed in the kitchen is at the far end near the pantry that this is
where my two brothers official and Meir bear sleep the living room has two beds
where all six of us girls sleep I sleep with you convey in one bed I don’t mind
because I am small and there’s enough room Fanny Fanny it’s a big girl to
sleep next to her because she gets scared easily hi Sara
sleeps with peh-chu and glim true so you guys are you guys are making good use of
the real estate yeah yeah this and again I’m skipping through
a bunch of this book so people can read it on their own but really it just is
such a it paints a very kind of idyllic picture of this beautiful family all
living this you know nice quaint life you stay here every night we light the
house with kerosene lanterns that give the house of gold and glow and a special
smell we are cozy and warm in the house on the
cold winter nights our water pump is a modern metal hand pump that pumps water
up to the spigot every time you push the handle down this is a modern invention
you’re talking about there right because you mentioned some of the other family
still had the bucket that you’re drawing well we had a well in the other house
yes so I mean anytime we needed water we
take go to the well and let it down and then we bring it up and that’s how we
had big that got the water you continue on here we have plenty to eat each day
most of it grows on our farm all of us kids help momma manage the animals and
the vegetables mama says our farm is one acre but it feels as big to me as a
whole meadow I help tend to the garden and collect eggs our garden needs
attention nearly every day in the spring and summer to keep the weeds away and
the vegetables picked as they ripen we also have chicken cows and geese so it’s
the is is the farm located on your house and main street or is it somewhere else
oh no it’s right there it’s right there but we also have a lot of land out of
the out of the village like maybe a couple of miles away sure okay but it’s
we throw the wheat and the corn and I don’t know what else but all the bread
that we ate came from the wheat okay so we do not have enough room to the area
where we lived so we had additional land out of the village and that’s where they
used to crawl the corn and the wheat got it you say this Tata
says the bar mitzvah is simple but it changes everything
he becomes a man and may in turn learn a trade or may and may in turn to learn a
trade once he completes his internship he begins to work girls don’t have a Bar
Mitzvah but they do sometimes learn a trade when they finish school after
sixth grade many girls become seamstresses because knowing how to sew
for a family is important most girls marry by the time they are 18
or 20 with the help of a matchmaker girls plan to get married and become a
mother so learning a trade is less important for them so is that where you
saw your life going rank just you’ll 18 or 19 or 20 you’ll get the matchmaker
will come along right give you a match just did this wouldn’t work with my
daughters I’ll tell you that’s how life was in those days simple but it was
great yeah till the war broke out yeah yeah the I mean again this this really
idyllic picture even though our village isn’t very big it has nearly everything
we need when I walked down the street many people I see are Jewish mama says
there are about 2,000 people in Cerdan how do you say the name of the Fettig
yeah said ed yeah I would I’m going to try that one again
well it’s s er D and E it’s right between montage and Anwar and this is a
pretty rural place yes we I don’t think I don’t know how many people we had
there but I don’t think we had more than between 1,500 and maybe I don’t think we
had 2,000 people there but the next towns on either side of us they had like
20 to 25,000 people in each like Czech Slovak
I mean hung excuse me Oliver and moon Koch okay and they were about half an
hour away is that right um well it was it was I would say 20 miles on either
side but that was the insanity means middle so if anybody wanted to go from
Saraya to montage or over you know it was like about 20 miles but if anybody
wanted to go from Malaysia to where they had to go through saranya that was the
only road over there you guys also had a pharmacy
a dressmaker a fabric store a cabinet maker a plant pots and pans maker
we can either buy new pots and pans or get your old ones or there’s an open
market farmers market farmers market middle of the city town you said you had
an uncle that lived in the states that sometimes sent you things right and you
were pretty proud to have have things from America right it was exciting
they said we didn’t have unfortunately when I never met my uncle okay we came
to this country and he he didn’t want to know us I don’t know why he when we came
to the United States the Jewish organization was involved in that okay
even though my husband’s family sent us epidemics to come to America but still
the Jewish organizations needed to know who’s coming what’s coming and
everything else so they asked me do I have any relatives from my side of the
family not mex aside I said yes I have an uncle who lives in McKeesport and my
mother’s brother okay and we used to actually correspond with him from when
we lived in Europe and so and when we came to America I even tried to be try
to be in touch and we actually we did spoke on the phone sometime or
correspondent but he never invited us to come to meet them we lived in New York
we came to New York in 1951 and so the first year wasn’t too easy but after one
year we found my husband’s uncle had an apartment house so we got a two-bedroom
apartment house which was great in those days and and I used to write to them I
have room you could come and stay with me
you know we’d love to meet you they never invited us so we never met them
well let’s you mentioned your husband let’s jump in a max a little bit Frank
because you you both wrote this poem you both
you both have both your stories kind of how you started separately and then
eventually you get together but max gives his kind of childhood which was
which is certainly different than yours right it’s pretty it comes pretty clear
that you were a country girl and he was a city absolutely so he says my name is
max Schindler I was born on June 18th 1929 and I’m 8 years old my family lives
in cottbus am I saying that right right caught bus German canvas caught bus
Germany which is south of Berlin dad says this is a big city with 55,000
people we live in a multi-story apartment building that is filled with
families that is why there are so many boys to play with after school every day
dad knows so many good people and has friends everywhere sometimes he goes out
to play cards with his friends but otherwise he is at home with us every
night my parents tell us they have come a long way in life they are both
originally from Poland and speak Polish fluently they met fell in love and
married in Poland however they wanted more than their farm life and developed
a plan to moved to Germany they speak German well and enjoy the modern life
and progressive teachings of Germany dad said it was important to them to move to
the city before having kids so they did just that
dad says Germany is known for his for its advanced knowledge in science
innovative ways to get information to everyone quickly and new ways to produce
things he says Germany is the place to get the best education so we will have
the most opportunities in life my dad mom and dad really like Germany and
again this is just you know this is this is what 19 1937 right and totally having
a great life in Germany yes he says my dad Benjamin is one of nine children he
says his family is very religious following all the Jewish laws about how
to live therefore he is the one who teaches us about our religion dad says
he’s pleased to see how we are growing up he is more relaxed than his other
family members about our faith and likes to say we are German first and Jewish
second that had fewer business opportunities in
Poland but he found a good business in Germany he runs a wine and liquor store
he makes enough money for us to live in our large apartment and have a maid our
apartment is filled with new furniture furniture and fancy carvings so he’s
doing pretty good right the Schindler’s yes yes every Friday night we attend
Shabbat services at the synagogue there aren’t a lot of Jews in my neighborhood
or apartment building but there are plenty at the synagogue many of our
friends go to churches in town no one cares which faiths other people
practice it seems like families only talk about their faith at home so again
you know I had to mention that because religion wasn’t at the forefront of
people’s minds it’s it and they’re thinking about it so that’s what that’s
that’s kind of the opening of the book and again I skipped through a bunch of
it and but it kind of lays out you know the the country girl and the and the
city boy right but the you know I thought that it was important to point
out both of you living very nice comfortable enjoyable
lives in these in these different areas yes yes the next chapter is called winds
of change unfortunately so you say life is changing I don’t like
fourth grade as much as third grade it is harder than last year and other kids
won’t help me so far 1938 is not my best year I don’t understand why but some of
my friends are not talking to me as much as they used to some have even started
ignoring me I find myself mostly talking to my
Jewish friends so this is 1938 right and you’re starting to even as a kid even as
a as a fourth grader you’re realizing that some of the kids that would talk to
you before all of a sudden they’re not talking anymore
all of a sudden we don’t have the rights anymore so many things are changing
daily unbelievable I’m gonna fast forward a little bit
within a few weeks on the way home from school
I see soldiers in the village I’ve never seen soldiers before and I smile and
wave at them as I walk toward our house none of the soldiers wave back at me and
suddenly I feel scared when I get home I asked mama and Tata why the soldiers
have come to sarahdan yay did I get it said yeah yeah pretty good
they tell us the soldiers are Hungarians and they are here to take over tata says
there may be changes coming but we are not to worry
after a few weeks I realized Tatas right many things are changing now with the
Hungarians arrival and none of them none of the changes are good no one knows
what is happening yet no one resists when I asked Tata why no one does
anything he says that we have to follow the rules and be good citizens this
doesn’t quite make sense to me but he explains that I will understand more
when I’m older so even even you’re you’re I guess you’re nine years old and
when you see the Hungarians show up and you see this kind of intimidation
starting even you think hey why aren’t we saying anything well you know
sometimes the less you say is better and if you complain too much you might get
into trouble that’s another thing all of a sudden we don’t have the rights like
we used to before we were practically the leaders of the village the Jewish
people because they were all in business and mostly on the farm their non-jewish
people were mostly farmers and we got along very well we had no problems at
all you continue on now the adults seem frightened when I go into the village in
town all the adults huddled together in small groups i watch as they cautiously
look over their shoulders before whispering together for several minutes
no one smiles and waves to me as they usually did this puzzles me but I
figured it has something to do with the fact that everyone becomes nervous when
a Hungarian soldier walks by I also notice
that people who go to our synagogue no longer talk with people that are not
Jewish I don’t understand why because until
things started to change everyone had been nice to one another when I visit
Tata at a shop I only see Jewish customers Tata had made suits for
everyone so it seemed strange to me Tata says not to worry about it Tata
also says that everyone is nervous about what the change to Hungarian rule will
mean for our village over the next few weeks the Hungarians make many changes
the biggest changes for us kids is that all Jews are not allowed to go to our
public school and we must be inside our homes by 6:00 p.m. and the evenings they
call this a curfew it makes me sad because I like to play outside until the
Sun sets and Mama calls us in for dinner the neighborhood kids have become mean
to us throwing rocks and calling us names like dirty Jew good fortunately
one day when I’m walking and talking with Yuki a boy calls us from across the
street stop laughing and behave yourself you
you dirty Jews he yells as he picks up a rock I will hurt you if you don’t so
though the kids everyone yeah into September 1939 and I’m nearly 10
years old I don’t like the new Hungarian rules but we are doing fine and staying
at home with Mama I don’t miss going to school at all
tonight Tata has a strange look on his face when he walks in the house he looks
pale and is pacing back and forth he seems to be having trouble saying what
he means then he tells mama that his shop and everything in it are gone gone
what do you mean mama asks her eyes getting big I can see your hands start
to shake as she suddenly sits down heavily on one of the kitchen chairs I
was cutting fabric when three Hungarian soldiers walked into the shop they
approached me and told me that all of us have to leave they said that all Jewish
businesses now belong to them and that we too were to leave and never to return
Toth has voice shakes he too sits down on the chair running his hands through
his hair so now this is sort of a transition from hey they’re putting some
rules on you but now all of a sudden they’re taking property noodles every
day every day they had noodles right thank God they didn’t take our homes
away that’s one thing the businesses were all taken away and did that happen
like to everyone in the town at the same time all the Jewish businesses were
taken away yes you continue on you say life is not
normal at all news has spread that Germany is at war with Poland no one
knows what will come next now we we’re gonna witness now max go
through the same kind of similar transition right this is max it’s the
fall of 1937 now and after just a few weeks back at home from a relaxing
summer at Grandma Swedes farm I realized that something is very different it’s
not just nerves about returning to school
the adults are whispering in the grocery store lines while washing laundry in the
basement and at dads store even mom and dad wait for us to leave the room to
talk something is not right I know fred senses it as well so we asked mom and
dad what is going on it seems there is growing concern about Adolf Hitler who
has a hatred for all Jews and that there’s a possibility for war one day
dad comes home from work to tell us that there are yellow Jewish stars and signs
painted on the windows of his store that say udin rouse meaning Jews get out of
here fast forward a little bit the next day dad informs us that the Germans came
to his liquor store and took all its contents he was ordered not to return
Fred and I are jumping up and yelling they can’t do that he orders us to sit
down and listen he continues saying that throughout the ordeal people were
throwing rocks and calling him a dirty Jew he had no choice but to walk away
dad wants us to understand that we are in no position to resist the Germans
doing so could have serious consequences he will now become a traveling liquor
salesman and you go on or sorry max goes on dad continues to try and move the
paperwork along for immigration of the US so he had he had realized we gotta
get out of here and he starts putting through the paperwork to get out of
Germany and get to the US and it’s it’s taking it’s taken a lot of time it’s a
bureaucracy said you see max says here dad is even more eager now to get us out
of Germany he has completed the paperwork for the entire family to move
to the United States with help of his relatives in San Francisco
even with their help there are many hurdles to jump the paper takes longer
than dad thinks they should so he is anxious although is nothing more he can
do to speed up the process in September of 1938 after another fun summer in
Poland we prepare again to return to school Fred’s new school and Fred is
Max’s brother I fail to mention it’s all in the book Fred’s new school is called
Adolf Hitler junior high school and he talks about how because they were
because they were polish they were able to go to the school right even though
they were Jewish this is this is a little bit of a longer section but you
know I’ve written a bunch of kids books and you know the kids books are written
from the perspective of a 10 year old kid and then he turns 11 and then he
turns 12 but the mind you know when I wrote them of course I’ve kind of got
myself into the mindset of a 10 year old kid and what their thoughts are and when
I’m reading this section from the perspective of a 10 year old kid or a
nine year old kid which max was at the time it really it it’s it’s very hard to
get through to understand what it was like for kids so this is from max yeah
on October 28th 1938 I am nine years old and settling into fourth grade math
class where we are working on the eight times tables although it is not common
on this day I make an error in multiplying my teacher approaches me and
slaps me across the face I am shocked it’s not the pain from the slap that
upsets me I am upset because no one has ever treated me like this at school
before and I don’t know how to respond for the moment I choose to be quiet
so as to not draw attention to myself again I will have to think about what is
happening here before I choose to act my cheek burns from the slap and from shame
later that day two German SI officers known as
troopers or brown shirts come to the class and call out my name I stand at my
desk to acknowledge that they called me wondering why did they somehow know
about the math error for which I’d been slapped my heart is pumping even harder
than it was after the slap the officers approach me take me under their arms and
begin walking I have no idea idea where we are going or why but I have no choice
but to go with them I don’t understand what is happening that German SA
officers don’t explain anything and I decide not to ask despite being very
frightened and wanting to know where they’re taking me they marched me out of
the school and through the town never pausing or explaining to me what is
happening along the way we pass our synagogue where people ask where are you
going I respond that I don’t know we march straight to the local jail and
they shove me behind bars without explanation the jail is loud confusing
and frightening there are many other Polish Jews with me in jail I can tell
by their clothes that all of them were taken from their task at hand and
brought directly there there are women still wearing aprons
from their cooking in their kitchens men are wearing suits from their work
children have their school bags from the classroom no one understands what is
happening many keep asking for explanations and some are crying Jews of
all ages and professions have been rounded up and brought to this jail so and he goes into this he thinks that
the reason that all this is happening in his mind is cuz he got a math problem
wrong and he continues to think that for a little while fast forward a little bit
the officers command everyone to listen up all Polish Jews are being sent back
to Poland dad says they call it the repatriation of Jews to Poland but he
says the truth is Polish Jews are now exiled from Germany shortly thereafter
everyone in jails told the march in a group and then here they go getting on
board of a train as I climb onto the train I realize it is packed with Polish
Jews there is no extra room at all the doors are then locked dad says the train
is moving toward Poland dad has to hand over almost all our money as well
no one resists this injustice but our parents faces show me how much of a
problem this is for our family fast forward it takes some time but we can
feel and hear the movement of the engine on the tracks as it leaves behind us as
it leaves us behind the guards unlock our train car and allow everyone to
leave mom and dad tell us that they saw a sign as we pulled into the station and
we are now in Sebastian Poland so they’ve been relocated and at one point
and he tells a harrowing story in here where his mom and dad leave then they
say hey you just stay here on the train and they leave to try and figure out
what they’re gonna do when they leave another the train starts to move yes and
Max and his brothers don’t know what to do but they figure you know their mom
and dad had said stay here you know stay wait for us we’ll be back so they decide
they’re gonna jump out of the Train so they throw their luggage in their
bags and they jump out of the Train and it turns out that the train was just
being kind of relocated on the tracks a little bit just going back and forth a
little bit but the the just horror that forces them to make this split-second
decision and again you’re talking about kids talk about little kids so now they’re in Poland in the middle
of night November 1930 and our parents decide to continue on to Brett’s Co
Jessica Jessica Jessica Jessica Poland to Grandpa Schindler’s house after two
weeks our parents tell us we are leaving and again I’m I’m just reading some of
the highlights to capture the story yeah you’ve got the detail that he puts in
here is is really powerful after two weeks our tell our parents tell us we
are leaving this time we are going to get grandma shreads
she is rides home her big farm house has enough space for all of us also because
the farm is in a small village out of the country there seems to be less risk
of Germans soldiers finding us mom and dad let us know that this is where we
plan to stay grandma’s farm is self-sustaining with horses cows ducks
chickens fields with crops and a big garden I’m not accustomed to this much
farming caring for animals using an outhouse and keeping light and lighting
kerosene lamps instead of turning on a switch Fred feels the same but we both
know not to complain this is our new life and we need to adjust because there
are no other options we get lessons in all farm life topics because we must
work the farm to help our family dad cannot sell liquor like he did before he
is now a farmer while we are working in the fields hoeing picking and planning
dad teaches about teaches us about farming and our Jewish faith the Polish
kids are not kind to us or any of the Jewish children the Jewish students
stick together to avoid the Polish kids as much as possible and fast-forwarding
here as the war approaches the hostility and aggression towards Jews
gets noticeably worse my polish classmates harassed me and want to fight
with me I get involved in some serious fights with these kids our fights often
include throwing rocks into homes the situation has become truly dangerous I
am fortunate to have my brother and cousins close by when kids attempt to
fight with me I can always find support and family members so fast-forward a little bit now the war
kicks off within a day or two the beginning of the war the polls aligned
with the Germans they put on German uniforms and want to be part of the
German war effort they call themselves the Polish Fox Deutsch and circulate
rumors that the whole city of is going to be gassed the local people are very
frightened and go indoors sealing their windows and tape with tape to keep the
gas out all the villagers including us stay inside for two or three days as a
result the streets are barren of people this is how the Germans march in and
take over the city without firing a single shot the Germans now occupy all
of Poland and have taken over there is a real possibility of being captured
during the German SS roundups the Jews that are caught are sent into a
ghetto or a concentration camp my parents are frantic about this
possibility and will do nearly anything to avoid it they have heard about the
horrors of life in the ghettos and the concentration camps our parents are now
frightened and trying to find a safe place for us I know I am terrified there
doesn’t seem to be any good choices left so many things keep changing while we
were in occupied Poland the German officers nail orders to trees and
signposts to communicate their latest edicts this is how we learned that
Jewish kids can no longer attend school another edict is posted in 1941 ordering
all Jews to wear a Jewish star on their clothes over their heart mom sews the
stars on our clothes for us while explaining that we must follow the
orders in order to avoid being punished we know that we may have lost their
lives by resisting we know that many have lost their lives by resisting the
Germans are dangerous and unpredictable so we do what we are told many times the
Germans marched down the Main Street near Grandma’s house when this happens
news of the German soldiers coming travels quickly to the families this
this time we hear about them from the neighbors and move hurry and quietly
into the forest to hide mom grabs food and water because we may have to stay
all day long or even overnight until the Germans leave the area while we are
hiding in the woods grandma stays in her store and acts
relaxed and normal serving the German soldiers to make us to keep us safe she
tells them she is old widow just trying to make a living
the soldiers must believe her because they do not search for us mom and dad
talk about how brave she is grandma’s risking her life because if the soldiers
found out she was hiding Jews on her farm we would all certainly be shot yeah
this is a matter of years you had to have so much hope in situations like
this hoping that it’s going to get better
okay things will change that’s a lot of us survived it’s it’s shocking to me how
quickly all this happens and how you go these I mean even in your small village
you go okay well there’s 2,000 people in that village it takes a and and it gets
through that village pretty quickly you can understand that but now we’re
talking about all of Germany all of Poland this is before the internet this
is before cellphones this is word-of-mouth and people nailing
edicts to trees and this transition from this idyllic situation for for both your
families and for the Jews in these situations to to this horror in a matter
of a couple of years right unbelievable well this was going on nobody nobody
said a word the whole world was quiet where was the world when this was going
on on a personal level what was it like with you know a little Christian girl a
little girl that you knew that you played with and then one day she doesn’t
play with you right she they started calling us dirty Jew throwing rocks at
us they didn’t want to have anything to do with us
and before that most of the people made a living from the Jews yeah all worked
for us because they’re all in business the Jewish people so now we just have to hope that things
will get better the the the non resisting in both your parents and Max’s
parents both are look we gotta just do what we’re told right we have no choice
and the reason is because the that you otherwise it’s almost like an immediate
execution right this is it’s so hard to believe what we went through it’s really
hard for anybody to believe what we gone through but it’s so horrible hard for
what what happened going back to you one of your parts in
the book in 1941 I’m nearly eleven years old and there’s another new rule we must
wear a gold star of david’ on our sleeve so everyone will know we are Jewish I
don’t understand why only Jewish people have to wear an identifying patch and
follow special rules a few months later another change comes into our family on
Sunday the men and boys are that are old enough are rounded up by soldiers and
loaded onto trucks that includes Tata and fishel they are driven out of town
and as I watch the truck pull out of sight I wonder where they are taking
them a few days later when the men haven’t returned I hear women in the
village questioning aloud to one another if the men are ever coming back
thoughts I will find a way to come home to us I know when the men finally
arrived home on a Friday night Tata official look exhausted as they descent
from the truck tantas face has deep grooves in it that are dark brown with
dirt officials clothes which used to be blue and gray now on muddy brown flakes
of cake caked on mud shed off as close as he makes his way over to us when they
approach they say nothing only nodded us tiredly tata smiles at me when i wave
and takes my hand in his as we walked toward the house later that night after
tata unofficial watch up wash up we are all sitting around the Shabbat dinner
table Tata tells mamma that they are being forced to work for the Germans it
is hard labor labor and the men feel like slaves as they are never
for their work they are given very little food and very little water when
mama asks what they are doing for the Germans Tata says they pave roads cut
wood for bridges lay foundations dig ditches and sometimes they work in
factories no matter what they are doing they work hard long hours the guards
watch them closely throughout the day and threaten anyone who hasn’t working
hard enough Tata says he and fishel keep their heads
down and work steadily so they can come home to us on Friday nights yeah you
can’t even explain how horrible this was unbelievable one night when Tata and
fishel are sitting quietly by the stove I asked Tata why no one does anything
about this situation doctor sighs and says Rosie we have to be patient follow
the rules since we are not in charge of course we would like to be paid but we
can’t force them to pay us God will reward us for being kind to the
Hungarians people whisper all around me that Jews are to turn in their radios we
are no longer allowed access to public information or news program I hear
whispers among the adults about what could be happening in other places many
people look grim and shake their heads as they head home to inform their
families I run nearly all the way home to tell
mama I learned later that only one Jewish family keeps a radio in the
cellar of their home defying their rule this is a huge risk because if the
Hungarians find out they will kill all the people in that house right now I’m
gonna fast forward you guys live under these conditions I mean just brutal
conditions and then we get in the spring of 1944 I’m nearly 14 years old and
living under the fascist rule of the Hungarians my village is different
lockdown and under their rule Jews are prisoners in our village forced to stay
put and avoid being seen or noticed non-jews run the town having taken over
all the shops mama looks tired and Tata has gone most of the time I miss him so
much especially because he always helped me understand
world right now the world doesn’t make any sense to me I missed my old life
even school one morning a month before Passover as I am playing with my sisters
in the lane I hear loud noises coming from down the road as we watch soldiers
in dark green uniforms and black helmets March into town they wear tall black
boots thick leather belt to a shiny buckles and a large red armband with a
spider on it I’m unsure who these soldiers are I’ve never seen uniforms
like these before I am worried this this time I do not
wave to the soldiers they make me feel worried Germans
I hear several women whisper I studied the outfits of the German soldiers and
wonder how these women know them to be German how have they come to take over
our country those are SS one announces what’s the SS
another asks the Secret Service I heard they are the most brutal of the
German Nazi forces it’s interesting that even you as a
young girl when you saw the Hungarian soldiers you know you were a little
concerned but when you see the Nazis your instinct is lately different
absolutely because my mother and father actually were born in Hungary so we
didn’t think it was so awful because they were born in Hungary and nothing
would happen but of course everything did we never expect never thought
anything so Honda was ahead of us what happened to us you go on here one day as
we are all chopping vegetables in the chicken in the kitchen
mama interrupts the conversation with a very serious look on her face girls I
know that things are confusing you need to continue to act as if nothing is
wrong acting strangely can get us into trouble if you mind your own business
and act natural the soldiers will ignore you and leave you alone that’s the hope
yeah fast forward a little bit here when the
seven days of Passover are over mama sends me to the bakery to buy bread
during Passover we eat no bread I cannot wait to taste bread again and I hurry
into town to buy it on my way out of the bakery with my fresh loaves tucked under
my arm I hear the town crier beating his drum I
joined the other people and gather around him to listen to the news he
tells everyone that all Jews are being shipped out by train they need to pack a
bag of belongings and go to the school within 48 hours I rushed home to tell
mama but she has already heard the news I’m relieved
tops unofficial our home and not at work camp so we can all be together mama and
Tata also know we need to bring valuables to the school for registration
and safekeeping Tata decides not to follow this rule and wants to hide our
valuable jewelry instead so he actually takes some of the jewelry
hides it a little shoe polish box and then puts it up up above a beam between
the ceiling and the wall and the corner and your sisters didn’t even want to
know where it was gonna be you’re the only one that was brave enough to say
okay dad tell me my father said come with me I want to
show it to you so when you come back after the wall you know where it is so
my two sisters my Helen enjoyed it they don’t want any part of it so I told my
father I’ll go with you so we went to the corner of one of the
rooms in the house took a ladder and my father opened a little area between the
ceiling and the wall in the corner and we put there wasn’t much jewelry because
we didn’t you have my jewelry in those days my father had an wedding band and I
Anna and his pocket watch by the way this is a chain from my my father’s
pocket watch I wear that every day that’s the chain he put into that box
this is one of the chains and my mother all she had was a pair of earrings a
necklace and a wedding band there maybe a little something else so a little shoe
polish box was plenty big for that so we hit it and we had we covered it with
dirt so nobody should notice it so after we came back after the war I knew
exactly where it was and so we divided the jewelry between the three of us so
now the day comes when the day when the next day arrives mama instructs us to
wear three layers of our best clothes because we don’t know where we are going
or how long we’ll be gone no one knows when we will be able to do laundry I
choose my warmest clothes and Mama packs are down quilts in case it gets cold we
each pack a burlap bag with our belongings I’m excited to travel on a
train for the first time as I have never gone beyond the neighboring towns on
either side of my village when the time comes to leave we are all packed and
ready it’s april 1944 and how you sarah who is now 21 and yuki who is 19 helped
mama and aunt Lee with the younger kids fishless 16 and I am 14 years old Paige
thirteen blim chu is 10 Faye is maybe our fire bear is 6 years old
Tata and Mama lead her whole family toward the school with each of the older
kids carrying a burlap bag of belongings there are a lot of people at the school
when we arrive and all of them are Jewish this train station is the biggest
building I’ve ever been in I hear some of the adults talking about how the
station transports shipments of bricks all over Europe from the brick factory
here mama points out that Jews from all the neighboring villages are here in
Anwar with us we remain in the train station for 3 or 4 weeks under the
watchful eyes of Hungarian soldiers with guard dogs we sleep in tents at night
the soldiers remind us regularly that Jews are not to try and run away or they
will be shot our parents continue to reassure us that we should not worry as
God will protect us and then the story here is the story that I read in the
opening of you actually getting on the train you’re packed in there you’re
traveling for days and finally when the when the when you arrive the door is
unlocked and a man in a blue and white uniform climbs into our cattle car and
tells us we know hash words our store it’s Poland he begins telling people
what to do next and helping them move their belongings he asked me how old I
am and I tell him I’m 14 years old he murmurs tell them you’re 18 you key is
telling is holding my little brother Meyer bare the man asks her if this is
her child no he’s my brother she replies he tells her that young children must
stay with their mothers he gives information to many people as we climb
down off the cattle car once we once on the ground all luggage and possessions
are tossed into a big pile we are put into rows of five people and directed to
walk on for about five minutes there’s no talking allowed and everyone is
confused because we don’t know what’s coming next when we arrive in front of
three German SS officers in uniform they begin to
separate us into groups one of them asked me how old I am
and I follow the advice of the man on the train I tell the soldier that I’m 18
years old hi Astoria responds no she isn’t she’s 14
no I’m 18 I insist the officers waved my sisters and me to the left Totten
official are directed to the line in the right while mama aunt Lee and my three
little sisters and baby brother go forward joining another line of people I
don’t know why they are separating us but you keep telling me to be quiet and
not ask questions just do what they say she insists the guards quickly move
everyone along so there is no time to talk to mama or Tata I try to keep my
eyes on them as their lines move and off in different directions
but I quickly lose sight of them I wonder how long it will be until I see
them again maybe they separate men from women here
but that doesn’t explain why mama aunt Lee and the little kids went in another
line so many things are happening that don’t make sense to me my thoughts get
interrupted when the soldiers yell at us to keep moving Yuki hiya Sora and I
follow our line into a big bathroom marked lager camp see maybe here we will
wash up after being stuck in the cattle car for days instead we are ordered to
take off all our clothes and toss them in a pile I slowly remove the three
dresses that mama had me wear I pause when I have stripped down to my
underwear and look at the many women around me everyone is undressing I have
never been naked in front of strangers before and I am feeling confused and
humiliated this is so wrong but no one is saying anything when hiya Sora and
Yuki start removing their undergarments like the other women I slowly do too I
am shivering and feel scared the soldiers take photograph of photographs
as US of us humiliating us further I think this must be held because I have
never experienced anything worse I am appalled to realize that the next step
is to have every hair shaved off our bodies I cannot understand why they need
to take hair off my head arms legs and even my most private places I can see
other Jewish women don’t understand what is going on either and look ashamed
the faces of all the women shaving us are like stone showing no emotion at all
I feel so exposed with no clothes and now no hair to cover me I reach up to
touch my hairless head and I’m shocked to feel my nubby and bruised scalp from
the rough handling of the emotionless women with the razor after we are shaved
we are ordered to grab a dress from a pile on the cement floor and given
wooden clogs the clog seemed to be all the same size but don’t really fit
anymore they are hard and difficult to walk in I have to shuffle the get any
wear my hair straight my dress hangs down to the ground like a sack since my
head is freezing I tear off a piece of fabric from the bottom of my dress to
wrap around my head at least my head is covered but I am still very cold I don’t
understand why I can’t retrieve my old socks and undergarments that are in a
heap on the floor close by as soon as we are dressed we are forced to go outside
and line up for zell Appel say a lot poems a lapel which is a roll call right
it is now late in the evening and there are so many people moving about that I
get separated for my sister’s I’m frightened and frantically call out
their names two bald women and dingy dresses approached me they reach for me
and reassure me Rosie it’s us I hug them both fiercely and stammer I did not
recognize you I’m so relieved to be with them that I can’t stop shaking so I mean any illusion that things were
gonna work out in any way that could be remotely considered humane musts are
completely shattered at this point completely shattered I mean you know
when you’re being told hey pack a bag hey get on the train like those things
don’t sound good but they at least sound they at least sounded somewhat
reasonable they sound like a reasonable okay we got our bag we’re going to be
taken somewhere all that is completely gone now absolutely absolutely and
you’re 14 years old right how tall are you 5 1 so you’re this little girl just followed rules whatever they are saying
we have to just follow them things happened so fast
you cannot imagine we didn’t even have time to think about anything go here go
there do this do that and that’s it you know it’s it’s one of the things that
they do in the military right is they take you they take everything that you
have they shave your head and they’re they’re trying to get rid of your
individuality right they want to they want to remove some of that and this is
just the exact you know what they’re did there but they’re doing it to a to an
absolute extreme you know stripping you naked and shaving your entire body and
just removing anything that you had from the past I don’t think you can compare
that to the military no I’m not I’m not trying to compare it to the military I’m
I guess I’m just trying to say that the idea I guess well the idea of when they
shave your head in the military part of what they’re doing is trying to take
away from some of your individuality right so that you can become part of the
group here they’re trying to take away your humanity
that’s it that’s what they did going on here it says all of us notice a
huge fire spewing heavy smoke that looks like a burning Mountain across the open
area from us I can see shadows of people moving
through the smoke and can hear the cries of children there is an overpowering
foul smell coming from the fire somehow I taste the fire in my mouth
Yuki asked the guard as she gestures toward the fire what is all that noise
about the guard responds they’re burning hair
Yuki replies burning hair would not make such a noise to which he snaps they are
burning cripples a sick feeling comes over me as I realized the guards and
soldiers are barbaric cold-blooded animals so that’s your first recognition
that we are going to receive zero right humanity from these guards absolutely you can’t even explain how things were
they were so horrible so unbelievable and this all went on for so long nobody
tried to help us because this is 1944 right so this had been going on this was
five months before our part of the world was liberated you know that by September
1944 our part was liberated by the Russians going back to the book berrak 26 is our
sleeping quarters I’ve never seen anything like it before
dirt floors and rows of wooden three-tiered bunks no straw filled
mattresses no blankets or pillows no heat a fireplace that doesn’t work hi
you Sarah Yuki and I are assigned to the top bunk with five other women we climb
up in huddle body to body to stay warm during the freezing cold night I am so
thankful that my sisters are with me because everything is foreign harsh
unexplained and unbearably cold the next morning I decide to look around the camp
to figure out where we are I assure my sisters there are a lot of
people milling around and I can blend in or hide I will be careful I walk outside
I’m shocked to see many barracks just like the one we slept in arranged in
rows of buildings there are dozens of people walking around outdoors all
shaved all shivering some are wandering around like zombies when I try to talk
to one of these zombie like women she just stares through me doesn’t answer
and keeps walking she is truly frightening to me it is as though she is
here but not really here at all there is a 12-foot electric fence encircling the
camp dead people hang from the fence their
bodies contorted I wonder why so many would grab onto the electric fence to
end their life what kind of hell are we in why are we prisoners feeling like a
second-class citizen at home was nothing compared to this I’m on a mission to
learn all I can so I ask those who have been here longer to help me understand
most of the women are very patient with me asking questions because they
remember how frightening in foreign everything was for them when they
arrived they explained that some people cannot endure the severity of the camp
and know that if they hold onto the electric electrified fence their life
ends in 20 seconds one thing I learned for certain is no one can escape there
are guards with guns the deadly electric fence and people watching your every
move this must be hell unbelievable unexplainable the half-dead
zombie like people in the bodies clinging to the electric fence or
overpowering I am in a daze seeing the true horrors of war here as I walk
around I think I hear my Yiddish name called out softly how could anyone in
this godforsaken place know my Yiddish name but then I hear it again
Rosie I turned to see a man in a striped uniform who I did not recognize but who
is beckoning to me he approaches me and says don’t you know who I am
I’m your Tata with a wave of pure shock I realized it is Tata I’m tremendously
relieved at home thoughts always wore a suit and a hat and glasses and had a
beard I look again at this man with no hair and I know it’s him I hug him as
tight as I can cry and kiss him and kiss him some more his arms around me are the
first sense of warmth I’ve felt since arriving
top-2 explains that he and fishel were selected to go work in a factory they
will leave soon but in the meantime he has been looking everywhere for his
family he decided we must be in the this all-women’s camp where the Hungarian
people are sent where is your mother he asks I don’t know but I have you keen
how you solder with me whatever you do stay together because you will have a
much better chance of survival Tata replies I think what chance does a
fourteen-year-old have of surviving in a place like this but I don’t say anything
Tata holds both of my arms at my side it looks me in the eyes and sternly says
make sure you stay alive so you can tell the world what they are doing to us I
sure am I will do my best then he and I make plans for us to meet again tomorrow
at this spot that’s a heavy charge from yeah
unbelievable you know every time I open the book and I go through it a little
bit i I just can’t believe that this happened to us that the world allowed
this and the world knew what was going on but nobody tried to help us just
because you’re very Jewish I’m gonna continue on the next day
yu-gi-oh Sora and I wait at the designated spot to meet up with Tata and
Vishal when we see them I cry in relief we all hug and kiss each other and we
are so happy to have time together tata repeats his solemn advice to each of us
do your best to stay together stay alive so you can tell the world what they are
doing to us the next day we go to our spot to meet Tata official as planned we
wait and wait and wait for what seems to like an eternity but they do not come fast forward a little bit how you Sora
Yuki and I have no choice but to stay together in this evil place we share a
bunk bed meals and one bathroom with a thousand women no one is allowed to use
the bathroom at night it has sinks with cold running water but no soap for us to
wash up there’s no toilet just a hole in the ground there is nowhere to shower or
take baths we only have one plain dress we were are wearing and no way to clean
it except with the cold water without a shower or soap we are constantly filthy
we are always itching with the bites of lice and bedbugs we can rinse out our
dress and walk around naked while it dries it doesn’t really matter because
we are surrounded by 28,000 women in the same predicament we have no way really
to clean our dress or our clogs we are left to rot for months in the same
horrible dress I realize quickly this concentration camp has some predictable
events every day as they count us every day they count us as we stand in rows of
five people at 5 a.m. the guard shouts get up get up
Chanel schnell quick quick we all rise and run outdoors to be counted whether
it is freezing rainy or sunny we stand in lines for hours three times a day
until the guards have a tally then we are released back to our barracks I’m
told this is how they know how much space is available for the new people
they bring in by train every day people leave to go to work in factories get
killed or are gassed so the counting is necessary sometimes we are forced to
kneel and hold up rocks until our arms if you
like they will break in the rocks fall other times they make us move rocks from
one spot to another then back to the original location it doesn’t make any
sense but we don’t ask questions we keep our heads down and do what we are told
because any resistance may mean we will be shot I’ve seen it happen I cannot escape the horrible smell of
the crematoriums chimney of the burning bodies 24 hours a day the sickening
stench of burning flesh makes me want to vomit and never becomes less upsetting
emotionally the smoke and smell burn a black hole in my heart we have to find a
way out of this place and that will require me knowing as much as possible
about how it is run women explained that prisoners are chosen for jobs and they
must comply any Jewish worker who resists is shot dead on the spot
strong Jewish women called Capo’s are put in charge of running each barrack
the Capitals live amongst us in the barrack and watch everything they are
not paid but they have certain rights that others lack they may get more food
but they are doing the dirty work for the Germans the cooks preparing the
meals are Jewish as well Jews clean out the bathroom in the
barracks that is used by 28 thousand women Jews even worked the gas chamber
everything was done by the Jews if you didn’t do it they would shoot you on the
spot you had no choice they would see their own families go into the gas
chamber and there was not anything they could do
or say you say here this is too much for me to
process and I begin to see why some people touch the electric fence to end
their misery I asked repeatedly why we can hear
people crying out near the crematorium I learned that when a group is gassed in
the showers not all the people are dead when they burn the bodies maybe they
don’t give them enough gas because we can hear the screaming coming from the
crematorium the men running the incinerators called Sonderkommando s’
will be sent in to them soon so they cannot tell the world what is happening
so you even have the the Jews are running the factories they’re joining
the gas chambers they’re running everything and eventually they’re going
in them too absolutely yes usually the gas chambers I’ve heard from
many people say that after three months they would change the guards at the gas
chambers livid every three months a bur changing the ones that were there three
months they put him in the gas chamber and they get new ones in so the end of
three months you’re going to the gas chamber yes the people working there yes
at the gas chambers would you talk to other people would you talk to other
people besides your sisters was there any sense of community no was it just
broken spirit a broken spirit and the thing is Pete came to Auschwitz and they
were always people he couldn’t make you couldn’t become friends with any of the
people here because we were all only there we were in camp see ok and how
she’s working out and this was a transitional camp you come you get
selected and you lead the only people that stayed behind this ones like me
because I was skin and bone and it wouldn’t select me to go to work I would
run out of the gas chamber line and hope nobody sees me they would see me they
would shoot me on the spot they did not want to take people to factories the
word that were scanner Bowen okay so so it’s just you and your
sisters everyone else is kind of transient yes and your and there’s no
feeling of community no none whatsoever it’s just broken spirits absolutely you
never know who’s gonna be there tomorrow we had 28 we had 30 barracks in this
place okay well one barrack was a kitchen one bear it was a bathroom and
people were coming in all the time coming and going coming and going and of
course there were so many dead bodies always and in our camp they would come
they would commit suicide by touching the electric fences they just good luck
couldn’t take it anymore you touch the fence 20 seconds later you see blood
coming out of the nose and you’re dead and they would pick up they would come
with those big wheelbarrows every day to collect the dead bodies you say here one day I asked a woman who
I haven’t seen my mother on my little sisters and brother the lady is careful
to gently tell me what I think I already know she sadly affirms that my worst
fears are correct when they got off the train they were put in a line that led
directly to the gas chamber I would say 80% of the people that came in on the
trains went into the gas chamber all the mothers children the sick the crippled
the old age the only people they try to say were the ones that could go for
slave labor go to factories to work you continue on
here they remind me of how lucky I was to be accepted as being 18 and eligible
for the adult factory work line if thus orders had known I was 14 I would have
gone with my mother and aunt and younger siblings straight to the gas chamber I
do not feel lucky in any way right now I just can’t get used to the idea that my
mother three sisters and little brother are gone it is beyond beyond
comprehension when you ki house ara and I try to talk about it we cannot speak
we just cry yeah we have to keep going like Tata told us it will eventually get
better we believe we need to have hope right I have difficulty processing all
of this and have to keep asking myself why why why and I think this this
section right here is one of the most powerful pieces you say this one of the
ladies hugs me close and says you will never understand what these Germans are
doing because it is beyond comprehension it does not make sense and it never will
they are crazy out of their minds you are not remember
you are the sane one here go where you need to go
inside of yourself and remember who you are they cannot steal your soul unless
you give it to them never give them your soul follow the rules and survive so
that the real you can blossom again when you are free war is a horrible thing but
it will end when it does there is another life for you outside of
Auschwitz and you need to live for that that’s how I survived really by hoping
and think things no no no that things would be better someday and I guess I
mean the difference between having that attitude of things will get better
someday and thinking that they won’t those are the people that are gonna go
and grab the electric fence that’s it they just gave up they couldn’t handle
it anymore who was this woman do you remember who this woman was that told
you this I have no idea probably some somebody much older than
me remember I was a 14 year old I was a young kid did you did you believe I mean
it had to be hard looking at these surroundings to believe that this could
be that there really could be hope beyond this well if I did not have hope
I listened to my father he said whatever you do stay alive so you can tell the
world what they’re doing to us okay that was your mission that was my mission
actually it was more my mission they my to sit all the sisters they would get
very angry with me sometime because I would do things that was not the right
thing to do in a place like this okay well you take risks right absolutely
you’re a little bit of a hard person to subdue actually even as a child many
times the mother said you’re acting like a boy you’re not acting like a young
lady here’s another little part about what
you guys are eating the only thing we got for breakfast is black coffee new to
describe what the black coffees the black off he’s not coffee at all it’s
horrible it was horrible I took one sip and that that’s the only
time I ever tried it I thought I was gonna throw up so hard
but you say we are literally starving we are absolutely lunch is nothing but a
piece of bread slice of thin slice of bread was a piece of larger yes
occasionally will give us butter to put on it the bread is dry and hard and
there we are told they put sawdust in it we line up outdoors to get a bread to
get our bread at a table staffed by the kitchen and women we do not share our
bread it is coveted and sometimes hidden away for later the food tastes horrible
and is not enough to live on it is not surprising that some prisoners here have
a German nickname muscleman that right yeah which means skeletal or skin and
bones so many people are too thin and I am becoming one of them at dinner time
we get a pot of soup to share among a dozen women we are hungry every day
there’s never enough to eat an officer comes in the barracks and shouts I need
300 women for selection for factory work many women hurry outside to be selected
anything must be better than this place once they line up everyone removes their
clothes the officers can examine their physique to decide if they are healthy
and strong enough to do factory or work if a woman is too weak or thin they
label her as a muscleman and send her to the gas chamber I don’t know if it is
because of food or illness but I have a bad bout of diarrhea and I’m very weak I
can’t stand and walk for the first few weeks of my illness utsuki and higher
sada will not go outside to be selected without me so we hide when the officers
call for volunteers it’s not hard to hide with a thousand people in the
barracks and they only need 200 or 300 women the officers do not notice me this
works for the first three or four weeks but I am just skin and bones now I know
I need to be selected for a factory to get out of here yukine hire saara
help me stand up and pinch my cheeks so I look like I have some color the
comes when I undress I’m so frightened because I know I’m too thin and weak to
be chosen my worst fears come true when the officers call me muscleman and send
me to the gas chamber line it is a torturous few minutes walk into that
line my sisters help me get there holding me under my arms as we cry and
panic there’s so much going on around us that I begin to wonder if we can somehow
sneak away I tell you keen hi Sarah what I am thinking and we agreed to try it we
have no other choice at the agreed-upon moment we calmly step out of the line
and head straight back to our barrack all of our hearts are pumping wildly if
an SS officer notices will be shot on the spot luckily there are a lot of
women moving about the camp and no one notices you have any idea what you wait
at this point I have no idea but you’re just skin and bones I was very I was
even at home I was very thin okay I was not a big eater this wasn’t good that
wasn’t good you know when you’re a child and and the gas chamber line that’s you
know exactly what that is absolutely you know when I get in this line I’m gonna
be dead in three minutes or whatever the nine minutes is and they they’re just
walking down the line they look at you two skinny muscleman go over there one
over here one over there right so they always put me in the gas chamber line
okay and I would make sure nobody sees me I would get out of the gas chamber
line if they would catch me they would probably shoot me on the spot remember
we had we had close to over 28,000 people women in that camp okay and and
you know they brought in over 500,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz April and
May of 1944 and everybody that came into our streets
he went into camp see or the gas chambers you had to have a
lot of guts to survive and also hope hope for a better day okay and you you
are a risk-taker yes I mean clearly you’re taking a risk by
going out there getting in line you’re taking a risk by getting out of line
yeah you got a lot of bravery in these situations you had to if you didn’t
you’re gone the only people that survive are the ones that are bravest really you
say food is such a problem for all of us but particularly for me since I am too
thin at lunch one day we stand in line outside to get our bread as usual the
capo gives me a slice of bread which I noticed is half its usual size I am
hungry so I speak without thinking my bread is cut in half I cruised accuse
her the capo is furious with me because my accusation can get hurt a lot of
trouble with the Germans she pulls me out of line and takes me to where the
German SS officers will be sure to see her actions she beats me so brutally
that I cannot stand for three days afterwards my sisters are both concerned
and frustrated with me for getting into trouble
Yuki tells me next time just shut up don’t ever complain about anything again
it’ll only get you in trouble do you want to get shot I know she’s right but
I struggled at the injustice we are already starving how can they steal half
my meager food still I need to learn to keep my mouth shut well what was the what how did you guys
look at the kapos I don’t know if we even looked at them all we knew is Avery
there okay we didn’t see them too often the only time we saw them is when they
came to select people to go to factories to work did you look at them as fellow
Jews David oh you mean a cop Oh tapas oh excuse me I thought you were talking
about the SS well they had to do the work otherwise they would get shot if
they don’t do what they were asked to do and they would not do the job but when
the cop was when they did get these jobs they could get extra food they could
get extra all kinds of things you know what I mean they were in charge of a
thousand women in every batter so they had to be very strong and do the right
thing otherwise they wouldn’t do it they wouldn’t choose him to do it what
was the V was your view of the Capo’s like hey they’re just doing what they
have to do to survive I don’t know if he did when we were there but now I know
that they had to do what they chosen to do they had no choice okay but they were
our own people that did this work you go in here today good fortune is upon us
one of the ladies in barrack 26 tells us that we have a cousins in barrack 3 we
are shocked and all three of us begin asking questions in rapid succession
what are the names how did you find them are you sure
how do you figure out we’re related and barrack 3 my cousins are in charge of
the whole barrack including food distribution they help give me extra
food every day and I begin to gain weight and think more clearly
it literally saves my life to have a little more food I’m so thankful to be
with them in this horrible place yeah so there’s another little thing that
allows you to survive right right it was amazing that they found out I mean so
many thousands of women over there and they were all the way in the beginning
of the camp number 2 or 3 I’m not really sure ok and they were in charge of
giving out the food so of course when we got there we would get extra whatever
there was as the months go slowly by in September
of 1944 we noticed that Ash wits begins to empty out our cousins are taken to
work in a factory and so we are sad to see them go as the barracks residence
dwindle it makes our exit more urgent now there
are less people hiding nest less people to hide among we at risk of being
noticed I am getting stronger and less skeletal so I urge my sister’s just to
try selection with me again but I am labeled as a muscleman and sent to the
gas chamber like skin and bones mousse oh man at least I can get out of line
now on my own and head back to the barrack I do this repeatedly enough that
we decide I can no longer go through the selection process at all sooner or later
though I will be caught sneaking away from the line and shot there has to be
another way we have to get out of here repeats over and over in my mind I know
we cannot give up because I have hope I always remember what my father told me
stay together because your chances of survival will be much better it is not
easy to keep hope alive and we are in camp giving up seems easier and we see
many who do give up and end up on the electric fencing there are a few good
rumors that help us have hope women gather in the bathroom to hear the
latest rumor that the Americans or Russians may liberate us the hope that
we will reunite with Tata and fishel keeps us alive even with this hope it is
hard to continue believing in something we all question our faith in God how
could God allow this to happen following the Jewish laws got us nowhere one day in 1944 the SS officers arrived
at the barracks and announcing they need 300 women to go to a German factory in
Freud and how frightened thyroid in doubt this is the day that Yuki house
ara and I will be chosen I know it as we are getting up to the line as we were
preparing to line up I look at my sisters and tell them go get selected
and save me a place in line I will fail find a way to sneak into the group how
you saw her and Yuki both look worried but go out and front the front door and
get selected I must find a way to get in line
being detected meanwhile I am working feverishly to come up with a plan to
join them our barracks are always guarded by capitals no matter what my
heart races so loudly that I wonder that if others can hear it as I try to figure
out what to do I don’t have much time I must think fast i watch a woman who
gives out food from our kitchen as she exits the back of the barrack suddenly I
find myself running as fast as I can down the long hallway of the barrack
toward the back door the female capo guarding the door raises her hand to
stop me my heart is beating hard in my chest as she looks at me you can’t go
out this door you have to go out that way to be selected for work she says
pointing in the opposite direction I don’t want to go to work I say shaking
my head my mother has just gone out that door and I need to go with her as I
point to the door behind her the seconds pass the seconds that passed before she
responds feel like hours I continue to reach toward the door employing her to
let help me somehow the capo takes pity on me and lets me out the door i scan
the area for guards as I sneak around the building to join my sisters in line
there are enough people moving about that no one sees me enter the group I
can see my sisters and they have a spot for me to slide into I feel a sense of
freedom for the first time in a long time suddenly I know I am strong and
brave it is as though an angel is looking after me I think as I look
upward maybe it’s my mother who helps me out of
this terrible situation maybe things will get better for us now I make eye
contact with hi you saw her she has sheer joy on her face as I approached
she elbows you key to indicate that I am on my way over as I end of a line Yuuki
immediately grabs my arm and squeezes it so tight all of us are frightened and
excited at the same time hi you saw her you ki are relieved that I am with them
and even have even a little surprise that I made it I can see the questions
on their faces but silently indicate we can’t talk about it now I will explain
how I did this later when we are alone the three of us try to act calm so no
one will notice that I am not supposed to be in line I feel their hands as
tight as I can so tight that I can’t feel my own fingers we have to celebrate
internally and happiness springs up inside me hope and fear war within me
before leaving the camp for the factory we need to go through a cleaning process
we now we know we all smell I remember when I first came to camp I smelled a
sour pungent odor everywhere on everyone I guess I’ve smelled it for
so long now that I don’t notice it anymore
but you can only see the revulsion on the faces of new prisoners when they
arrive it is the stench of death on living bodies I can see the dirt in the
lines on people’s faces our hands don’t come clean when we rinse them the hair
that grew back in the last four months is stuck to our heads and has a foul
odor it is clear to me that we are not supposed to have been here this long but
now that time will end if I can make it through the cleaning without being
labeled a Muslimin so once again talking about your courage yes to do that it was
unbelievable how this all came to me how I did it I don’t I don’t remember but I
did it the main thing was to get out of there and some time you have to do you
have to do all kinds of things okay to get what you want to go and also you
should never give up hope without hope you’re lost so whenever you’re in
anybody’s in trouble they have to remember that things will get better and
that’s how we survived the three of us you guys get cleaned up they shave you
again they delouse you full of life they
didn’t have cleaning in four months can you imagine no in four months actually I
took my dress up a couple of times in the summer because we you know we were
also lucky that we were there in the summer not in the winter if we would
have been there in the winter we would have frozen to death so we were there in
summary so I would take my dress off and wash it
there was no soap know nothing and let it dry and then put it back on you say hey after after you get D Loused
and cleaned you say this finally we are giving decent street street clothes –
where is the first time in four months I’ve changed my clothes
one of the women pins a piece of paper with a number on it to my dress she
tells me that this will be my number that identifies me from now on
they’ve taken away my name I am no longer Rosie
or even a Schwartz now I am just a number a 2 5 8 9 3 yep see yet mm-hmm you know a lot of the
survivors after the war they had taken off but in you know in the 50s surgery
wasn’t like today they would always have a mark on their arms you know and never
to me I never even occurred to me to do that and my kids were little they would
ask me what it is I would tell him it’s my telephone number they process you now
and get you loaded onto a truck that drives you guys out of the camp and you
say as we pass through the gates I feel an incredible weight lifted off my
shoulders this is truly a moment to remember I know that my life may not be
easier at the work Factory but at least we are alive we are scared and weak but
we have left the hell about what’s behind us at the factory they provide us
with more decent street clothes similar what I previously owned the building is
so cold so we go to bed fully dressed even our blankets are not enough to keep
us warm but at least we have blankets the building has a musty odor but I have
my own bed with a mattress sheets blanket and pillow we are allowed to
access bathrooms at night we can even get a shower with soap and you’re even
given clean clothes once a week the showers and bathroom are just down the
hall compared to the hell of a sweat stone this feels like heaven so this is
your your new location right and it really is this is what you’ve been
striving for to get into the one of these work yes did you know that the
work camp was better living or were you just knowing that anything is better
than house which we didn’t know but everything anything was better than now
it’s okay I don’t think there could be any worse than our Schmitz on our first day of work the numbers
that were pinned to our clothes are tattooed onto our left forearms I know
that I should feel pain but I don’t as I watch them scratch the needle across my
skin in my mind I am thinking about the law that Jews may not take make any
cuttings or print any marks on their bodies how will God take this new
development I’m not in any position to resist the permanent tattoo that reminds
me every single day that I am NOT free a 2 5 8 9 3 is emblazoned for the world to
see every time I reach my hand out to touch my sister or grab a piece of
machinery each day as we leave the factory we show our tattoo
which confirms that we are Jews who belong in the camp and not one of the
free citizens that goes home at night so when you’re working this camp there’s
actually regular civilians that are working there right Germans or the
Germans Germans absolutely and mostly women because all the men wear them but
in the military wording yes you say this sometimes the German lady who works next
to me brings me an apple yes is a big risk for her to offer me any special
treatment because she could be labeled as a Jewish sympathizer and be taken to
jail or shot it is also a risk for me because I can be labeled to thief there
are no apples given a Jews here so how would I get one it would be up to a
guard to decide my fate if I were caught with an apple we are very careful that
no one of authority is around when she hands me the Apple I think she realizes
how hard our lives aren’t feels a bit sorry for me it is so good to see the
humanity in some people because we have lived for months and some of us for
years surrounded by inhuman and savage guards
every day we have been treated as though we are not human so this is like the
first sympathetic person right she was very nice did you have conversations
with her you talked to her we would not have conversations not too much no
because we were both working at different things but she but she but she
would bring an extra piece of something sometimes an apple or a soother
even though compared to Auschwitz this was like
Haman okay you Yuki was in an area working on ammunition it’s you to come
Utica so sorry Yuka Yuka you get well how
about how am I doing with you how you solder bad how do you say how you solder
hiya sorta are you sir that’s a Yiddish name how you sorry
Helen Helen her English name was Helen or in Czech it was Helen car okay I need
to stick with one she’s sewing Yuka yes is working on ammunition and you’re
working our gas masks i inspecting gas masks which is obviously a hard thing
because you’re thinking these gas masks are for german soldiers it’s gonna say
absolutely absolutely but we had no choice i would sit on a high chair coin
and then have to pick up the guests get gas masks look inside it and put it down
up and down twelve hours every day or so and judy and judy my sister Trudy and my
sister Helen one of them worked on uniforms and one of them worked on guns
we were all in different areas it was a big factory over there you know this
this idea that you had of sticking together of being a family and how that
increases your chances for survival I as I read that it seemed a little bit
counterintuitive to me because I always think well if I just have to take care
of myself it seems like you’d be able to make more things happen as opposed to
you’re looking out for other people but what I failed to realize and what I
think is that because you’re sticking together you’re looking out for each
other you’re keeping you know maybe you give a little bit of extra bread you
share some bread so you’re able to take care of each other at people that went
by themselves had less of a chance to survive absolutely absolutely
a lot of women that came there to our camp that were alone I would say most of
them didn’t make it being alone is so hard but then you have
you are with sisters you know at least you have more hope to survive you say
here I’m always afraid that if I attract the attention of the guards they will
realize I’m too skinny to work and will kill me then who will help my sisters
stay together I have to stay alive and do his Tata said after a month the
factory I gather the courage to speak to the person in charge I take a deep
breath before approaching the intimidating officer my hands shake as
he looks down at me I am still very short for my 14 years and with no heels
or hair to help me seem taller I’m sure I look like a younger child this is hard
work I say shock that out confident my voice sounds because my hands are
shaking I press them into my sides hoping you won’t notice I should get an
extra meal to conserve my strength to my utter surprise the officer allows me an
extra meal each day yes I would take it to the living quarters and I would share
it with my sisters over time my sisters and I realized that the German doctors
in white coats conduct experiments on the prisoners I don’t remember the
incident but my sisters tell me I was taken by one of the doctors for several
hours upon my return my mouth remained painful for several days I asked my
sisters to look at my mouth to find out why it was so sore they noticed that all
my teeth are drilled out and filled with something grey that looks like Street
cement I cannot see inside my mouth because we have no mirrors but I had no
fillings in my teeth before coming to the factory the procedure is so awful I
blocked it out it takes weeks for the pain to subside yeah so that just a
random yeah you get taken away right I may have complained that I had some pain
in my teeth I’m not really sure about that all I know is when we were
liberated I had my teeth filled with cement our daily lives contend this is
fast-forwarding a bit and again people have to get the book to read it to get
all the all the details which are incredible to read harrowing to read
yeah but I’m gonna fast forward it but you say our daily lives continue as each
and every day we wake each work walk back to our quarters wash eat and sleep
it seems like a never-ending monotony but we are grateful for it
this routine feels safe al Schwartz had no predictability since any situation
could turn into a nightmare in a second safety is rare these days so we embraced
as much as possible the guards mostly leave us alone unless
someone steps out of line hardly any as any of us do that anymore because we all
recognize there is safety in submission going forward a little bit more and
again you you you tell some really really kind of fascinating stories about
what goes on inside and and people need to get the book to see those to read
about those I’m gonna fast forward but after eight months of working and living
at the factory something starts to change I start to feel eyes watching me
steadily I’ve known that the guards watch us but never felt this kind of
observation I can feel their eyes on me watching like a hawk waiting for me to
make a mistake I think they are planning to take me back to the camp and to my
death one day I’m looking through the glass of a gas mask when Rivka payors in
front of me in front of my distorted glass I’m so startled that I jump off my
stool what are you doing they will see you I kiss her she should not leave her
place of the line surely a guard will discover her and we will both get in
trouble have you heard she asked in a whisper
heard what I asked confused no one has spoken to me at all day autumn all at
all today apart from my supervisor who barks
orders that up at us once every hour we are to be marched she says gravely I
have no idea what she means by that but from her face I know it is not good
marched where by whom I don’t know I heard some God’s guards talking about
how the Russians are coming she replies the word Russians makes my heart feel
makes my heart beat faster I know that they are fighting against the Germans
for liberation but what does liberation look like no one knows
we know is that right now the Russians are the only people who want to get us
out of this prison on May 6 1945 we wake up to a gray
gloomy morning and prepare for work there is an odd energy running through
the room as we make our way to the door to line up I wonder why everyone is so
jittery are there extra guards outside are they moving us are we going on the
March we line up and from in front of the door like always but instead of the
silence that usually permeates the air whispers fly along the line what is
happening someone asks are they sending us back to the camps I don’t know where
the guards they should be here by now another person answers one brave souls
ventures one brave soul ventures to the door after about 15 minutes all of us
are nervous she opens the door and we see no one the usually locked door
swings open without resistance we cautiously move out to the yard to find
the gates to our quarters wide open this has never happened before and all of us
are very worried we look around for the guards as we walk toward the gate there
on the fence is a plain white bed sheet someone wrote on it in German it reads
there will be no work for a few days there will be a March that all of you
will be in wait here until we come for you I didn’t even remember that scene
that well I know I said the guards didn’t come to walk us to the factory ok
and after being hours and hours away after we were waiting all these hours I
said to my sisters I’m going out I want to see what’s going on
I was probably the youngest kid in the group we were 300 women I believe I go
outside and the offense the gate to the fence because we had electric fences
surrounding us was wide open the Germans run away everybody run away and of
course Here I am and all the women are in the building they’re all afraid to
come out and I’m screaming at them actually coming out I think the SS all
ran away and I hear the planes going over us and I hear the shooting up
because behind but we were living they had all
kinds of cornfields they were growing a lot of corn the Russians were coming
through the cornfields and they came and so and I saw that of course I said I
better go in front of the Russians but how am I gonna go you know they might
think I’m German because I had hair already the same sized hair like and
regular clothes and so being I guess my hair was not that big that long okay
they might but we did not have any any marks on our dresses saying who we are
okay but I thought that maybe they think I’m German okay so I thought a piece of
my dress up and I found a stick and I put that down I went in front of the
Russians like this there what was their reaction
oh they hugged me and kissed me I mean and I told them we have the 300 women
here they came they liberated us and it was an amazing day did you I mean at
that point were you how long did it take you to realize that that this was this
was the end of everything you’ve been through well we’ve been looking forward
to this for so long it finally happened okay you may you stayed with your
sisters the whole time right absolutely oh yeah I don’t know if I would have
survived without my sisters I don’t know if my sisters would have survived
without me because I did things that nobody did you know in a condition in a
situation like this you have to do certain things to survive okay you say
in the book this is the moment we had dreamed of hoped for and waited long
months to see you as well as wonderful as any of the dreams I had all of us
were overjoyed at the news we waited so long to hear Helen
Judy and I are survivors right we are finally free
we stayed together like Tonto said because it would improve our chance to
survive that he was right yeah that the Russians tell you hey go out into town
take what you want right they did but I didn’t go alone I went with the Russians
the Russian soldiers came to our living quarters and they would offer their help
they were very good for us to us and were the were their Germans still in the
houses or were they gone oh no they left are you kidding they ran
away as soon as the Russians they saw the Russians they all fled so you’re
just going from no food no clothes and all of a sudden you’re got normal food
and everything right away no food after that no no but the Russians were very
good too I say took us into town and and they also brought food for us if we
needed anything they would get it for us so you um you eventually decide that
you’re gonna head back to your home village of course you say after four
weeks on the trains we finally arrive and walk to our little farm our once
beautiful and cozy home is hardly recognizable the roof is almost gone
likely from a bomb all our belongings are gone
they must have housed German horses in it since there was horsemen or
everywhere I remember we’re tots I hid the jewelry and I rushed to find it I am
relieved to find the spot is untouched even though the roof is largely gone
I caught the mud to uncover the shoebox when my fingertips tap a corner of the
box I rapidly removed the mud to extract it relieved that it remained
undiscovered I climbed down to show you key and how you solder
I sort of highest suited high you solder yes we sit down on our kitchen floor to
carefully open the lid inside his top does pocket watch chain which is the one
you’re wearing right my parents wedding rings earrings and a couple of gold
chains all of us cry at the discovery these are the only things that remain
from our past you start to get you start to get news
you start to get rumors and information one man reported that he knew nothing of
Tata but was in a camp with fishel where they were where they sewed SS uniforms
he described how well my brother didn’t camp just days before the end of the war
all 300 men in his camp were marched into the forest and forced to dig a
large hole the Germans then stood them all at the edge of the hole and shot
them yeah as they fell into the hole it became a mass grave the man told me that
the Germans goal is to destroy any proof of what they did during the war so they
made sure that there would be no survivors to talk about what happened in
the camps yeah I asked the man how he survived if everyone else died he tells
me that he was too ill to get up so he hid in the back of the barracks and no
one noticed him poor fishel came within days of liberation only to be
slaughtered by the Nazis later another local man returns with news of our
father this man was with Tata in a factory where Tata had become very sick
he had sores on his legs and that would not heal because Tata did not recover
and could not work they shipped him back to Auschwitz where he was murdered I
repeatedly think about him and the injustice wondering if he was scared
my brave intelligence for intelligent father’s face swims in my mind I wonder
if he thought of us before he died I’m sure he did sure he did
the fate of our immediate family is now clear of the 11 Schwartz family members
taken there are only three who survived over time we get word of our extended
family our wonderful family of nearly 150 is reduced to only 11 survivors unfortunately yet I maybe may have been
more than 150 people because in those days you know Jewish families they they
they did not believe in contraceptives they didn’t use those and so everybody
had a lot of kids and my mother and my father they each had three or four or
maybe five sisters and brothers so and the only ones that came back maybe it
does nervous and we know of there may have been other survivors and many men
may not know about okay they lived in different places because in those days
it was not much when you lived in different cities we did not keep in
touch too much so you hear about the central British
fund right and they have a program where they’re taking orphaned survivor
children from the Holocaust and bringing them to England right and you apply for
this program and this is they it says so they’re called the CF CBF despite the
CBF’s attempt to gather a thousand survivor orphans they can only locate
732 kids right On February 19 1946 I joined the last transport of survivors
to load into a Royal Air Force planes David all bomber planes used to use but
transporting us the first transport started in August of 1945 and the last
transport was 1946 of February 12 Sen I was in the last transport and so with it
there was only 732 yes that’s all they could find yes or only that registered
for the program mm-hmm so maybe they were more but we’d I didn’t I don’t know
why they didn’t register so you fly across and you end up in Scotland
Scotland at the point in the house right unless made just called les major you
say here in this unexpected start to a new life we have no parents and most of
us have no siblings but we have each other we all stick together we become
like family this simple life falls into pattern of predictable safe days which
comforts all of us we are encouraged to have fun and relax together all of us
are equal to eager to feel normal again with our new family our days are routine
and comforting the counselors talk to us about our new life and what to expect
now we need a long-term plan the only plans we had this hopefully
maybe going getting coming to America we’re going to Israel okay because all
our city said we came from they were little pet in the past when um like I
said there’s both both you and Max have sections in this book and the Max’s
section describes what he went through right and you know it’s a similar start
and edict is nailed to the trees around the village that all Jews to report to
the nearby ghetto his dad does a pretty good maneuver where he basically bribes
one of the Germans and says hey my family can work all of us can work and
gets the whole family sent to commando flossenbürg which is a forest laborer
company and he says they they go into this kind of self-contained all Jewish
work camp and even though they don’t get paid like they’re not being tortured
they vie view this as a good thing that they’re in this forced labour camp right
they need that labor also he works there for about a year and then they get told
that they’re going to get moved so they have to break down all the equipment
that they’re using in his factory they loaded onto trucks they move it from the
trucks to to a salt mine which was a bad decision by the Germans because inside
the salt mine all the equipment starts to rust almost immediately so they have
to break it down and pack it up again which they do and then they get shipped off again I’ll
read this little section here soon after donning our blue and white uniform we
enter a long line that moves very slowly each person exits the front of the line
I can see them examining their forearm one man shows us his forearm and blurts
and Yiddish they are tattooing these letters on our arms how will God view
this he must be an Orthodox Jew our faith forbids us to have tattoos in this
moment I am thankful that we are not Orthodox and were raised to be more
relaxed about our faith I can see the pain on the man’s face data shows him
God would never punish you for something you cannot control the tattoo on his
forearm says KL I intend to find out what that means so we are waiting in
line for a tattoo I wonder why we did tattoo here if we didn’t need one at the
last camp this new camp is worse in so many ways already dad and the other men
quickly find out from the inmates that KL is shortened from the word
concentration lager concentrates yeah which means concentration concentration
camp right the tattoo identifies us as prisoners of a concentration camp
dad feared we would end up here so max ends up in a work as a worker ends up
since he’s small he’s only 14 years old ends up working inside of airplane wings
he says the poles hate us and will not help us in any way because the he once
again he’s working alongside of Polish people the normals normal polish
civilians every night we lay on the straw teeming
with lice and bedbugs there are 300 boys and men per barrack all of whom are
suffering the same challenges bug mite the bug bites make it difficult to sleep
at night and in daytime they cause itchy irritation in addition we must wear the
same uniform for a month before we get a new one getting rid of the bugs is
impossible sanitation in the case labor camp is awful there is a cold water
trough where we rinse our hands and face there’s no soap there are no showers
latrines or pits with a wooden board over them the board has a round opening
for us to squat over but there’s no toilet paper so many people use the
latrine it always stinks Jewish inmates are assigned to clean it in fact I
realize now that Jews are doing all the work in the camp the guards are just
directing them lunch is a bowl of soup dinner is three or four ounces of bread
everyone in the camp is weak and malnourished we go to work no matter
what everyone knows prisoners who cannot work
are shot or sent to the gas chamber didn’t keep us there to have a good time ends up in another concentration camp
called Plaza Plaza rush of flash off the rumen in the camp is that the Russians
are now close to Warsaw and are threatening to override the Germans the
Allies are coming Poland and Germany are bracing for attack the soldiers here are
more tense than at the other camps we need to be very careful not to test
their patience because they become more explosive with every little provocation
now at this camp we are to do work not in a factory instead we move around the
city to dig ditches and build fortifications for the German troops once again your do you’re doing
something that’s gonna help the people that are that are torturing you and
killing you we have no choice ends up getting moved again and again
you got to read this book to to get this story I’m going through the hot the high
points of it right now or the low points I guess but in the end
he gets transport again and ash wits is the destination but the train comes to
rest in near Dresden we remain at this location for nearly a year we work in
the factory our work in the factory is consistent and comfortably predictable
we hear with increasing frequency that from the grapevine that the Allies are
closer even some of the local Germans talk about what will happen if allies
enter Dresden the night of February 13 1945 the Allies saturation bombing of
Dresden begins the sky lights up with flares from the first wave of planes
subsequent waves of bombers dropped phosphorus bombs that cause fires after
exposing the entire cities become a giant torch when our factory housing
gets hit fire spreads quickly pandemonium breaks out as we prisoners
run down the stairs to the bomb shelters the words survived survive survive
repeat in my head like a comforting chant two days later the bombing is
finally over when we crawl out of the bomb shelter we see that the factory is
half gone and the accommodations upstairs for the inmates is lost we must
now sleep with no roof it’s literally freezing temperatures and we have no
blankets so yeah that’s some that’s the the bombing of Dresden tonight which was
a historical you know that’s they bombed with these incendiary bombs which caught
fire and I want to say 250,000 people were killed in those in that and not
bombing penalty and a lot of civilians mostly civilians and you know people
look at that in various different ways but at this point in the war it was a
decision that was made I think Churchill really drew
that decision because the Germans the Nazis had been bombing and killing
civilians in England and he said okay well yep and that’s what they did and a
curse Kurt Vonnegut’s slaughterhouse-five book is about coming
out of the coming out of the P o W camps prisons prison camps after that as well
because everything was just destroyed by bombing that city for two days he gets
moved around again and yeah they go on a they get marched right they go on and I
got I got to read this section after a few days the German SS soldiers with
their guns on their soldiers roundup the commando group this is them
the commando frozen burg group again and we set off on a forced march we are 300
to 350 men marching through the forest into Czechoslovakia the March takes a
few weeks but feels more like a year and it is ghastly for our group we march on
one side of the river watching bombs explode on the other side with snow on
the ground all of us are freezing as we climb up the mountains I can’t feel my
toes and try to walk with my hands tucked into my armpits we get very
little to eat and we are all starving we marched through several towns as people
stand on the side of the road and silently watch
we are told not to speak to the townspeople or accept anything from them
or else we will be shot not one person offers us anything no
food or jackets or boots or blankets it is a disastrous death march from
bombed-out Dresden to little me Reese I see men fall give up and die or sit down
and refuse to go on these people are all shot dad’s health declines and he is in
bad shape he is very weak and cannot walk alone Fred and I support him on
either side with his arms over over our shoulders we get tired after hours of
assisting him with other men when we get tired
after hours of assisting him other men from our group help hold him up the
German stuff us in a barn in a barn in a sub camp our first two nights after the
death march at long last we are given a small amount of food which is our first
food in 8 to 10 days we sleep on the dirt floors squashed
together to try and stay warm our first night’s sleep in almost 10
days no one cares about the important living conditions and we are completely
exhausted and barely alive two days later when we arrive at the ghetto in
late March of 1945 there are only about 80 of our group who are still alive
after the forced death march the rest are dead out of 300 so I mean at this point they’re they’re
put into another cameo max says here everyone is near death completely
exhausted and starving the camp is overcrowded filthy and disorganized they
get marched to a place called The Fault the small fortress which was just
another nightmarish hell on May 8th and again I’m skipping forward but you’ve
got to get this book to read through what actually happened on May 1945
Soviet troops enter the small fortress to liberate the camps a dead Asian stop
what is that the name of the town Terezin could this be the day we have
waited so long for the troops are indeed here to liberate us our imprisonment at
the hands of the Germans is over at last even the weakest of us is celebrating to
know we are finally finally free we did survive we are no longer captives
prisoners and slaves to the German Nazis the three of us so it’s max Fred End and
the dad their dad despite all the odds have survived to today’s liberation
although dad is very likely at death’s door yeah I can now proudly wear dad’s
gold watch-chain rather than hide it and again there’s a incredible story and
it’s a it’s a similar story to yours in that your death Max’s dad had a chain
except for max kept it with him the whole time and him and his brother Fred
traded it back and forth and kept it and hid it over all that time now he’s able
to take that watch chain out and actually wear it he says this we slowly
came to the realization that dad did not survive the typhus epidemic Fred and I
share along knowing look we both know I can see it in his eyes Benjamin
Schindler is dead after a quiet period we begin talking about what likely
happened I hope that dad lived long enough to
know liberation Fred believes this is true he says after liberation people
wander around looking confused relieved and angry and all have questions about
their loved ones makes them Fred they were they were came down with typhoid so
they kept them six weeks in one place and by the time they came out of this
disease they could get up and go outside they looked for the father and there was
no where couldn’t find him anywhere so a lot of people that a lot of people died
after liberation and they buried a lot of people in Terezin but they had no
names because none of us had names in the camps I mean when we were in terror
sea and in frightened I’ll be had the names but we didn’t have it on our
clothes or anything so most camps no you didn’t have the names on your clothes or
anything there’s no way to identify oh wait I didn’t know family to identify so
when someone died it was just uh that’s it nameless body right so that’s what
happened to makes his father he says here with the help of the Red Cross we
find out that mom and Cecilia went to student off she’s too tall for camp in
East Prussia that concentration camp reportedly expanded several times adding
more barracks and extermination chambers during the war they tell us that rich
ella ella and cecilia gender Schindler were killed there just before liberation
all surviving inmates were loaded onto barges pushed out into the baltic sea
and were deliberately sunk our worst fear is realized we worried about mom
and Cecilia’s safety every day we were suffering in the camps keeping hope
alive that they would survive learning with certainty that they are dead is a
tremendous blow the Red Cross is also investigated the Red Cross also
investigated our family in Poland that went into the ghetto they tell us that
our cousins aunts on chuckles and grandma shread saying the
right choice ride were all killed none of them survived we also find out that
our dear grandpa Schindler refused to go into a ghetto when the Jews were rounded
up in 1942 he was shot in the street near his home a ninety years old he
refused to leave his home we now know that our whole family is gone murdered
by the German Nazis dad is dead mom and cecilia are gone our extended family no
longer exists it is just Fred and me in the world all that remains from our
former life is the gold chain that dad wore to hold his watch it’s not an easy
book to read that was not I’ve read it so many times and yet every time I break
out in tears I can’t help it I mean both both to to to hear and read about both
of your family and Max’s family the entire family’s gone for no reason just
because they were Jewish the world doesn’t realize what they’ve lost who
knows maybe one of those people could have been the doctor who would have
found a cure for cancer okay because we believe a lot of in
education okay max finds out about the same program
that you were enrolled into of looking for orphan survivors and the maximum age
for that group is 16 Fred is 17 so Fred max decides they’re gonna lie about
their ages to get in there yeah we had no IDs we had nothing we had was
the clothes on our bodies nothing else no identification of any kind so max you
know max gets to England and again you just got to read the book to go through
that transition of what it’s like to go from a from a concentration camp to
England right with white sheets and white bread and he he’s got a part of
there where he explains he thinks white bread is basically like cake he thinks
they’re making sandwiches on cake because it tastes so delicious to him
yeah just just it’s a really it’s just powerful and you know one of the things
that I I called out in here is that he says we attend school we attended
organization and rehabilitation and training school for half a day five days
a week the school is designed to prepare us for life and work and and you know I
just read that as his focus and it seems like everyone’s focus was like okay
we’re gonna move forward we gotta find a new job we got to find out how we’re
gonna put our lives together you have to do that if you don’t you’re lost and
there’s also what’s the UM name of mr. Montefiore am I saying that right I’m on
the feudal and what was his position he was a wealthy Jewish philanthropist in
London and he offered to take us to England he was kind of supplying a lot
of financial backing behind absolutely yes actually sir Leonard
the bureau walked me down the aisle room we got married in London because I had
no parents and so he offered to do that ya know that’s why I definitely wanted
to call out his name because I knew he was an important figure oh yes he was a
very important person in England and very important person in Israel when you
have you ever been to Israel I have not in Israel many of the cities have a lot
of certain liner Monty Fury’s all over the place but she built this and he
built that and all kinds of things you guys there’s there’s a great line in
here again you know it’s this the counselors tell us that we did not
deserve the suffering that we endured that it cannot stop us now and that any
that we can be anything we want to if we are willing to work hard ranked which is
just you know again the the mentality of look we’ve got to move forward and also
it’s interesting you can be anything you want but you still have to be willing to
work hard even after everything you’ve been through you’re still gonna have to
get out there and absolutely and we did and we did all of us let me tell you
something if you’re gonna count all the survivors that’s that remained from all
the people that were killed and that came to this United States okay I bet
you not one would have gone on welfare because the first thing they did get a
job okay our education was very low I mean I had
three and a half years Abed you came close to four years of education I never
even thought of going back to school and wasn’t even on my mind
first of all in Europe we only had education till the age of fourteen even
though I didn’t have it in Europe because we couldn’t go after I was like
nine years old but we all work very hard to get where we are okay you do a you do a great job of going
through like kind of how all this stuff unfolds and it’s it’s really just a
beautiful part of the book when you there’s five of you girls that show up
in where is it Bedford hostel and it’s a bunch of a bunch of the young men
survivors that’s when you uh well that’s when you that’s when you meet one
handsome young gentleman who says hello I’m max this is my brother Fred yeah
welcome to Bedford and when I saw him I said I’m gonna marry him you made the
call huh I made the call plus he already had a girlfriend because
all the girls from Bedford the town the non-jewish girls he would come to the to
the hostel they liked the Jewish boys so you had to I had to it took me some time
but I got him test your patience right that’s what you need to do in life but
you gotta go after what you want gonna take a little risk sometimes
coming from Rose you uh you uh you get jobs you learn English now you move to
London who is it that moves to London is it this is it you max and Fred that all
moved to London together yes yes we did and because the hostel was closing the
kids were leaving they were finding relatives in the United States they’re
going to Israel they’re going to Australia you know because we had all
orphans and a lot of us remembered we had relatives here there and everywhere
okay so a lot of them so a lot of us from England you know came to England
and then we went over to the United States and you are you guys get married
you say it when you guys get married your receptions 95% of the guests are
survivors in the hall all survivors we kind of stuck together mm-hmm
you know what I mean yeah the veteran hostels together and then even when we
came to London we did not live in a hostel day you know they put us in
private homes in there would pay for our upkeep you uh you go
on now honeymoon is it a honeymoon when you guys go to Paris yes you say I never
thought I could be this happy again after all we lived through in the camps
as we head back to England I think of my parents and wonder if they were ever
this happy thinking of my parents makes me miss them for a moment and I am sad
but then we arrive at our destination of the thaad sad thoughts are pushed aside
in favor of hope for the future this is just such a common theme that you talk
about all the time that you’re not going to get caught up in the past and it’s
not that you’re gonna forget about the past but you’re not gonna dwell there
right well you cannot get the you cannot life is to look forward for better
things I mean if you’re going to look for the past all the time it’s not gonna
get you anywhere okay so we just have to hope for the best and do the best we can
you say here London is a fun city for us we have lots of friends and enjoy our
jobs five years have flown by since leaving the hostel and we are so happy
for our new life here together and again I’m fast-forwarding through a bunch of
really really good stuff and then you say one night over a wonderful dinner of
fish and chips max proclaims Rose I think it’s time for us to move to
America his statement takes me by surprise max periodically talked about
moving to America since we met we talked about America as a destination for some
day but I never considered that some day might be today he told me that his
father had been trying to get the family immigration visas before the Germans
rounded up all the Jews I don’t know max what we do in America whatever we want
he tells me with a smile so that was your vision of America night was we’re
gonna go there and yes that was our hope the uncle I had he didn’t offer to bring
us but Max’s family offered to bring us send us affidavits okay
the affidavits for their to come to America so they just got a sign that hey
we’re gonna responsible for your okay they were responsible for us for five
years okay so of course when we came to America we spoke perfect English already
within 34 days we had jobs land of opportunities and ever put your lots of
opportunities here right although I I thought well maybe you can expand on
this a little bit because well first of all October 30 1951 Rose and I this is
max max talking rose and I we’re both where our fathers watch chains as we
leave the apartment when we reach New York City on October 12th my uncle and
second cousins meet us at the dock and put us up in a Manhattan hotel for two
nights our hotel window looks out into a junkyard which makes us want to check
out as soon as possible after a quick breath breakfast on our
second full day in America my uncle gives us $20 and says good luck you’re
on your own right from then on we will never stay in family again I do not feel
we need them we can make it here in America on our own as long as Rose and I
have each other I tell you very lucky to have these
relatives okay makes us family they were really amazing people okay and we loved
each other deeply okay they welcomed us like their own kids thank God we never
needed their help so he gets a job at a scale company working on making making
scales and then he notices some some little up growing company called
International Business Machines or IBM realizes maybe that could be a
good job he gets involved in that you end up passing out one time on the train
get to go to the doctor and then and then Max says when Rose calls me the
next day she tells me there’s nothing at all to worry about excitedly she says
the doctor says that there’s only one thing going on with me and that is that
I am pregnant right 19:55 max decides he’s going to come and
check out a little place called San Diego California we all know what
happens when you come to San Diego first nobody wants to do it once we max
included and then you arrived in april of nineteen fifty six baby roxanne and
then you end up with a place in North Park you get a job at Golden State
fabrics right and then you start you start raising your family yeah Ben
arrives in 1957 who I met today mm-hmm it was a second I have a daughter who is
65 years old and Ben is 62 so we came to San Diego in 1956 I came to send max
came Christmastime first he came for the three-day visit and he never went back
to New York it calls me two days later he says Rose we’re moving to San Diego
we got a job at so large okay okay and worked for so loud for five years and
then he went to General Dynamics he retired after working at General
Dynamics for 28 years good good a good career and a great
place to settle down so we lived in Norfolk for six months and then we
bought a house in LA Gardens you don’t you know I’m gonna take a little aside
here you say this you say occasionally I still wonder if there is a God how could
there be with all the terror that happened to us and to others surely God
would not have allowed it when I think about this it makes me angry I asked
myself why God would have allowed the Holocaust to happen and I’d never come
up with an answer I cannot sort out with what I feel so
this question has to be put aside to allow me to continue with all the good
in my life that’s a very big question losing so
many people complete families wiped out there are so many complete families
wiped out you know I the one woman that talked to
you inside Auschwitz that said you will never make any sense of this because it
doesn’t make any sense like this is too insane to understand right it’s too you
can’t comprehend it cuz it’s incomprehensible it is I mean we’re
sitting here talking about you know you and your direct family and then you
multiply it times two to get you and your direct family and Max and his
direct family but then you have to do that hundreds and hundreds and hundreds
of times over and over again and every one of those unidentified bodies that
got buried in a mass grave with no identification at no family every one of
those and you know this is something I talk about a lot because it happens in
war all the time oh there was there was a 22 soldiers killed oh there was you
know 428 soldiers killed on this attack in World War one those aren’t just
soldiers you know those are people it’s not and these people these bodies
unidentified bodies every one of them had a family yeah hopes max convinces it
sounds like he kind of convinced his Fred to come out and move to move to
California it sounds like Fred had a harder time after he did he did he had a
harder time he lost his hair in the camp so after liberation his hair never came
back and he was more a lot of people are more obsessed from the past the best
thing is some time to forget some you know not to think always about the past
because you want to go ahead yeah thing that I talk to people when I talk about
loss right because I’ve lost a lot of friends and when people ask me about how
they handle that I tell them to remember but don’t dwell so we never want to
forget what happened but we don’t want to as you’re saying we don’t want to sit
there in the past because we need to think about the future value move
forward Mac says we don’t really talk about the
camp’s much at all our friends don’t want to hear about the atrocities and we
don’t want to relive them even in our survivors group it’s not a big subject
it is difficult to talk about losing absolutely everything your home your
family everything you own even your family photos for most Jewish families
the only people to survive are those who left Europe or hid our circumstances are
rare even rose and I have an unspoken agreement not to speak of it between us
we both understand and do not need to talk about it we are focused on going
forward right looking ahead and working on everything together that’s that’s
what life is all about when you talked about again just just Max’s career then
he said and he’s one of the things that he said about his career he said I want
my children to see that anything is possible with determination hard work
and an eagerness to learn right if max if the world wouldn’t have been
affecting max so badly I mean his whole family he would have been really
something very special it was a very smart man I mean also we have no
education there were a lot of big plans for the Schindler boys and before the
ball okay of course it all went to hell when you your son Steve’s 13 years old and tell
us about what happened there that kind of kind of changed the direction of your
life a little bit well he was in the pn frank story and he played the part of
peter okay and the teacher found out that his parents are Holocaust survivors
at Lois junior high and allied gardens and that’s when I started speaking about
the Holocaust before we didn’t want to talk about it okay because life goes on
and so we didn’t want to even tell our kids a lot about what happened so when
when Steve was in this play they started calling me to go and talk about the
Holocaust so that’s and I’ve been speaking there that it’s close to fifty
years now Steve is 62 no he’s six he’s no excuse me he’s 60 Ben is 62 Steve is
gonna be 64 next month so you can imagine how many years I’ve been
speaking about the Holocaust well one thing that you said in here that I think
really is a bold statement you say the Germans did not succeed in their
endeavor to silence the Jews or prevent anyone from telling their of their
atrocities I am one of the few who remain and I can tell the world 82 five
eight nine three on my forearm has a new value and I am not wanting to pass up an
opportunity this may be my first time speaking but I will find more places to
share my story that’s what you said after you got done speaking to those
kids for the first time you were talking to max after you did
the after you talked to the kids 16 yeah you guys are having this conversation
and this is max talking he says he’s asking you you know what what what were
they asking you about he says what else did they ask and it says Rose thought
for a moment before responding one child asked why do I think I survived
Auschwitz she says softly the fact that a child
asked this is interesting to me sometimes children say things that
adults won’t I know that Rose has thought about this before so I’m
interested to hear her answer I push a little further and what was your answer
I asked quietly it’s a miracle that I survived Auschwitz also I really do
think part of it is because I kept looking out and trying new things I
would not give up I just continued and never gave up hope as I process her
words she squeezes my hands across the table and says you did the exact same
thing this takes me aback for a moment it is true but I’ve never thought about
my time in the camps in this way before it really is true that you don’t know
when the next attempt that survival might be the one that succeeds I say I
smile and squeeze her hand back you really are amazing Rose we got to this
place together max Rose replies before placing a kiss on my cheek we said
silently for a moment as we both ponder how our lives could have been different
before this moment is broken I squeezed her hand to get her attention
we have climbed mountains I did not know we could climb we made it rose we made
it yep and um actually as we as we came in
observe us he’s gone over three years now married sixty-seven years well I think that the incredible life
that you shared together is something that is a beautiful story and then when
he came in he said he’d been let he said he’d been listening to the podcast a
little bit to kind of get a get a feel for it and talk to you a little bit
about what was gonna be like and he was listen to one of the podcasts and one of
the podcasts what I was saying in the podcast was keep moving forward like hey
things are gonna be hard you keep moving forward and he actually brought in a
photograph of of max’s tombstone and it has the single quote that max you know
that that the family decided to put on the gravestone was live day to day and
keep moving forward and and I gotta say like I said this
whole thing got started when my wife wouldn’t saw you speak and and just just
looking at this book you you know you didn’t know her at the time but you made
a little inscription to my wife and it just says Helen never give up hope signed rose Schindler and I think that only did I tied that I
wrote that right there no kidding never give up hope yet never give up yeah so I
mean I think that really between never give up hope and keep moving forward
those are all very strong sayings strong sayings and and you and Max are shining
examples of how to actually do that how to actually do that in life I know I’ve
had you trapped in here for a while um you have a website the name of the book
is – who survived – loose if I’m calm yes there’s a website called – who
survived calm the book is available there the book is available on Amazon
we’ll have a link to it so people can get it through our through our website
to make it easy for them because they know our podcast website is jockle
podcast you also have social media so despite the fact that you’re not quite a
teenager anymore you still have Twitter Instagram and Facebook and all those are
are at – who survived it’s delet it’s written out t wo who survives and the
book I’m telling you I read a little I read a fraction the book today there’s
so many details in there the stories the two intertwining stories are so moving
they’re so powerful you know and it’s and like I said it reads like a story
reads like it’s a it’s a real story exactly what happened and the language
is just it feels like you’re sitting across the table hearing it first
languages actually we did this for middle school well it was perfect for me
then yes for everybody I guess but we thought it’s so important for us to tell
it to the kids at school what happened to us okay
yeah it’s a it’s um it’s it’s a beautiful book I mean despite the fact
that it’s filled with horror it still is a beautiful book about about
the strength of that human beings can display right even in the face of the
evil of other human beings do you have any uh any closing thoughts Rose because
I I don’t want to keep you in here I want to thank you for doing that I hope
people will enjoy your your story okay I don’t even know where it if I turn on
my it’s not a radio I don’t even know what you call it my I’ll explain no I’ll
explain defend how to get it done well we have we have since max passed away I
don’t even use my great and plotter radio it’s a whole set well I’ll make
sure to talk to Bennett so that you can you can listen to it and watch it
actually be you can watch it too cuz it’ll be on it’ll be on something called
YouTube which is Sulekha a television that you can watch I’m on YouTube
already yeah well I’ve watched some of your
stuff you’ll be on there more but it’s really funny because I’ve never even put
on my it’s not a radio that I have it’s a whole set like a stereo system stereo
system I should put it on sometime maxi just max used it all the time but ever
since he passed away things are so different for me well yeah you know what
I do recommend you go and put the stereo system on put some records on there yeah
well you should see all the records we have I bet that max would like to sit
down with you there and listen to some of those some of those albums so I
recommend you do it okay thank you very much have a beautiful day yeah you too
and have a beautiful life and just remember if you have a problem if
something is going not going so well remember tomorrow is gonna be better
I will do that thank you so much for coming on thanks for sharing your story
and thank you for forgiving us an example thank you for doing this okay
it’s an honor to have you thank you and with that Rose Schindler has left the
building what a what an honor to have her on what
a story pretty unbelievable echo you made it through yes it’s kind of its
kind of harrowing when you think about it from the perspective of a 9 10 11 12
year-old kid yes right yeah and there’s so there’s two things
that I well there’s a bunch of things that I pulled from it but two things
that really stand out small seemingly small but kind of big where like so they
stuck together you know and so what that was essentially was covering move yeah
the whole time absolutely because he was yeah so that was kind of like an you
know how you said it was Connor Connor into hunger intuitive yeah where it’s
like oh yeah like hey if I don’t have to depend on this person or whatever I
identified the root of that thought in my brain yeah I when I was in Sri Lanka
and I worked closely with their special operations forces over there there was
an army guy who was saying when he was a he was a normally infantry commander and
there’s a brutal civil war going on in Sri Lanka
and he was telling me how hard it was to be in charge and he said listen if I was
alone on the battlefield he goes I will 100% live and do the right thing
100% yeah he says when I got all these other guys relying on me and making you
know I’m responsible for them he says I it’s so much so much harder and that’s
what I was thinking so I was thinking that hey you if you just if you just got
to take care of yourself it’s gonna be easier but then I thought the same thing
you thought which was wait a second and that’s exactly what I said to her you
know you’re taking care of each other you’re covering moving for each other
yeah because that day where you’re hurting that day where you
could use an extra quarter slice of bread you know maybe you’re some morning
your sisters can give it to you and no one else in the world would so yeah the
the idea of sticking together and having that and you know obviously like that’s
what is that’s what the seal platoon is you know that’s what any any team is
right your your your sum is greater the sum is greater than the parts and that’s
what this is a another proof of you know yeah that was one thing was the other
thing oh just like there’s no real formula to
survive there’s like a lot of luck you know but man her bravery basically was
the function or was the result of just milking that luck because she was
basically sent to die plenty times but she would like sneak out of line and do
all this stuff or whatever and that’s like the kind like you just get one
person to see like hey or even realize you know the kind were you good you know
she goes for selection and they’re like no you’re too skinny
you’re a muscle man is that what it is it’s funny because it sounds like muscle
man yeah unless it takes one guard to be like hey wait didn’t I just send you to
go die yesterday kind of thing you still doing here yeah walk with me
yeah I’m gonna make sure this time kind of thing you know yeah the amount of and
I was thinking about that too you know how we have well it’s literally called
survivor bias right where when you only hear from the people that made it and it
seems like that’s what you should do because how many thousands of people
said oh I’m gonna sneak out of this line and they got seen and they got do you
think I killed you know that happened over and over and over and over again
yeah and it’s he I mean you know according to her like you just do one
single you know sign of resistance you’re like oh they’ll just kill you
because like and it makes sense because it’s like not even we need people to
work and obey that’s it like otherwise like you we want love to be not here
yeah if you don’t want to do those two things then we’re just gonna kill you in
with no second thoughts whatsoever yeah yeah and then ya know it’s um it is and
isn’t it crazy what a human being can get through you know can’t survive and
it makes you realize that we have like just we are overwhelmed with opportunity
you know even if you consider that opportunity is just like gonna go home
and drink some water some clean water I’m gonna go home and clean yourself
yeah gonna go home and not have bed bugs and lice that’s that’s the plan that’s
what I’m gonna do today when I go home I’m not gonna have bed bugs and lice
yeah that’s that’s we got that yeah yeah right we have food you know leftovers
probably hey let’s let’s do it you know there’s parts in the book ID like
there’s parts in there where she’s she figures out where they’ve basically
cleaned the dirty kitchen where from where they make the soup and every once
in a while she can find potato peels right and she’s she has to keep it a
secret because you know she just shares the potato peels with her sisters only
yeah and if anyone else figures out that there’s potato peels out there there
won’t be any like everyone will be there yeah so so yeah that’s the kind of thing
where you think well you’re just because you have sisters it’s helpful because
what did the sisters do that helped her she did that to help the sisters even
there’s the time and I know you’re probably feeling this too where where
she or might have been max I forget which story it was but they went from
the oh yeah when she went to work mmm right before when they’re just in harsh
conditions and then they went to work and then they could like take a shower
once a week or season Rica with soap yeah you know when when she you know
when you’re going down the list of all the new things that they had or whatever
when you think about it comparatively you know – what we have whatever still
like bro those are like slave conditions really still offer but since you’re
cutting engrossed in the story one that when you started reviewing it I was like
woohoo that’s that feels like a relief even to me you know hearing it but man
that’s that’s how that’s like that demonstrates you know like how thankful
we should be yeah opportunities everywhere opportunities and one
opportunity you have is to live yeah yeah live you’re not sitting here
worried about dying no do not worry about getting hey go in that line over
there by the way you’ll be dead in three minutes that’s what’s about to happen
yeah do that nine times so well let’s take advantage of the fact that we’re
alive is that seems like a good plan mm-hmm and let’s do right what can we do
what can we do to take advantage of the fact that we’re alive right now I’ll
tell you we be and remain capable that’s a big deal to capability in health
gratitude is a big one mm-hm obviously part of that health part of it is
jiu-jitsu obviously and capability to allows for greater capability
exponentially greater my opinion I would agree in all aspects yes so anyway a lot
of a lot of us are doing jiu-jitsu a lot of us are about to do jiu-jitsu
we’re gonna need a geek what key do we get origin gay okay also if you do
noogie get an Origin rash guard the other part of the uniform in the
totalitarian ki and noogie scenario that’s not really totalitarian but it’s
yeah I just learned that mortality is what you meant totalitarian would mean
there’s a regime that’s not what I mean at all
like I said I just learned that word so you know I’m practicing and you know
we’ll get it right next time for sure anyway
origen main comm that’s where you can get this stuff but we also have jeans
you know in the event of you not doing jiu-jitsu at any point of the day where
some which is unfortunate well you know yeah you know but we gotta be thankful
you know yeah you you get the by the way I did a bad thing which was talk about
the Delta 68 jeans before they were really you know ready to be released
maybe I got overexcited right maybe I just lost my mind a little bit but I
will say this I have seen the Delta 68 jeans which are the most comfortable leg
garments ever created by man of any kind are in production right now I think I’ve
said that before and I was inaccurate the last time I said they’re in
production it sounded cool but it was a little bit of a like I was assuming I
made an assumption which we know is not good the assumption was oh yeah they
must be in production by now they weren’t we were moving the fact we were
moving the boot line into the new factory blah blah blah a bunch of things
were going on we weren’t in production yet guess what we are now we are in
production we are in production with Delta 68 jeans and you claim that
they’re the most comfortable leg garment they not claimed I’m saying I have
warned every different type of leg garment in my life
so the joggers these are the most comfortable and the best more than the
Duggars yeah well I didn’t really the joggers aren’t for me no and they don’t
look normal yes and they don’t feel more this is my little theory hypothesis
whatever you put on the joggers he felt the physical comfort but the
psychological and emotional discomfort trumped it so I can’t be the
front-runner of comfort soon saying I’m gonna tell you no you’re actually wrong
I will tell you the Delta 68 jeans are as comfortable if not more comfortable
than the jogger syczyk Lee physically more comfortable if I had to sleep in
one or the other I picked the jeans I’m not
what do you call you’re not gonna call me a liar you’re not gonna call you
later I’m not gonna refute your own opinion so hey man all good but on a
factual level I’m just gonna say I don’t know a hundred percent if I agree with
you okay so there’s two theoretical presumptions that are being made by each
of us one of them is that these joggers are the most comfortable like garments
ever not as functional by the way or just as fun
no but the Delta 68 in my opinion of are the most not only functional but also
most comfortable okay so there you go there you go hey you know when we get
them we can see for ourselves you know mm-hmm and if you want to get
em you get them from Orange in Maine Oh Jimmy calm which is also where you can
get supplements yes supplements joint supplements very important very
important joint supplements during warfare krill super krill oil also
additional protein in the form of dessert called monk also a version for
the warrior kids or you’ve kid milk many different different flavors that’s the
one you’re gonna have to choose for yourself
yep I’m not gonna say hey mint chocolate is actually the best one well that’s a
matter of opinion it’s not like the Delta 60 rice as a
matter of fact well questionable fact we’ll see this got that got talk of
white tea as well don’t forget about that the Jocko discipline in a go did
jock would discipline can it’s so good it’s so good and it makes you feel
really good gets you up on step will say right if you’re gonna train if you
trained against a clone of yourself and one of you had Jocko discipline go and
the other one didn’t the one with Jocko discipline go would
win a hundred percent of the day 100% of the time no question am I wrong
double-blind though that’s been tested by the way oh yeah we can test that with
you and Jade twins you know theoretically no but no your twins no
sorry boner ethically yes but I’ll give you know the Jocko discipline go
you’ll go against Jay prove it’ll be proven for that that’s it I can take all
this stuff up at origin made calm or you the supplement stuff you can get at the
vitamin shop which is a retail outlet all over the place and they’re stocking
up if they were low on stock we’re taking care of that
they got stock now yes big time also when you are getting your copy of two
who survived to the let I didn’t know this till the end – like the letter to T
wo who survived as opposed to what I thought I thought it was like a letter
to who survived you see I’m saying I like you like I
think okay I got it it was dedicated kind of kind of situation anyway all
right – to serve who survived we go to Jocko podcast.com click on the top where
it says books from the episodes boom we got you so you can get it through there
easy way to just navigate him find it also we have our own store it’s called
chocolate store so you go to Jocko store calm and this is where you can get more
rash guards represent the path while you’re doing your jujitsu or surfing or
whatever you use rash guards for some guys and when they do powerlifting it
gives you all the range a little bit of compression you know it’s very
functional garment as it were you know I have some t-shirts on there represent
the path discipline Eagles freedom the attitude of good you know shirts
t-shirts hoodies light and heavy weight laughs stuff on there if you like it if
you want something get something good way to support as well also subscribe to
the podcast yes it’s important to subscribe to the podcast I guess mmm
varying levels of importance how about that here’s the deal
if you want to go ahead if you don’t want to continue to be lame that choice
is yours don’t forget we also have the grounded podcast which there’s a new
episode out of the grounded podcast and so you can get you can get just right up
to date on the ground and podcast we also put warrior kid podcast because
let’s face it or your kids need more your podcasts so
we got that for them and also don’t forget about the you or your kids soap
from Irish Oaks ranch calm have you gotten a have you got any killer soap
yes no no yes so for the hey well here’s the thing I just heard I was informed
yes that we they the the nice the great people up at Irish Oaks ranch sent me
some and you some oh okay well let’s just make that a little clearer they
sent two bars to my house neither one of those was labeled echo okay I’ll just
put it to you like that but I will say this killer soap is the
best soap ever and I’m not even kidding it is so good it’s it’s everything I
ever could have imagined it is soap it’s a square most industrial looking bar
it’s got a skull on it and it says killer scope its killer soap and it’s
black black soap yeah so yeah we and and we’re gonna sell it on our yep site so
so soon you’ll be able to get Jacko’s soap you’ll be able to get killer soap
made by a kid a warrior kid by the way so there you go you know it’s true also
we have a YouTube channel official get a little check mark on our YouTube channel
by the way Brad that’s something it’s not not did not I was not aware official
anyway not just you know okay that means what it means but here’s here’s what it
actually means I have no idea what this means
well sometimes people will they’ll take your content okay and they’ll put it on
their YouTube channel which is you know it spreads the words so that’s cool but
you know sometimes if people want it because there was a time where someone’s
trying to kind of impersonate a little bit oh yeah it could have been
misconstrued you know so people might not be able to read right unless you get
check mark boom they know that’s the official one that’s what the check mark
it so we’re kind of in the game now yeah yeah 100%
anyway a YouTube channel for the video version of this podcast if you want to
see what Rose Schindler looks like yes then you can check it out here you can
also see Ecco make some what he calls enhanced videos they’re visually
enhanced we don’t know if it’s necessarily an improvement all the time
on reality mm-hm I kind of think it is an improvement on reality of some things
I think sometimes echoes vision of the world is a little bit better than
everyone then the normal vision of the world just a little enhance why not if I
speak why not have things exploding around me I think it works so there’s
that they don’t forget about psychological warfare if you need a
little if you need a little psychological hater then check out
psychological warfare it’s on iTunes Google Play mp3 check out flipside count
campus.com if you need a little visual hitter to get you in the game Dakota
Meyer owns that listen em up on guys 115 get in the game with Dakota I’ve got
some books leadership strategy and tactics Field Manual we got the way of
the warrior kid series we got Mikey and the Dragons we got this one equals
freedom Field Manual we got extreme ownership and the dichotomy leadership
these are all books that will help you and the people around you be better and
win in life straight up all of them we also have two who survived by rose and
max Schindler and also it’s a capture the stories captured by M Lee Connelly
but you can get that book as well it’s it’s an outstanding read national on
front leadership consultancy what we do is solve problems through leadership if
you listen to us talk about leadership and you’d like to have help employing
these leadership strategies tactics and principles inside your organization go
to a salon front calm that’s what we do we also have EF online which is online
interactive leadership training for you for your organization go to EF
online.com to checked out check that out we have a seminar a convention a
leadership course May 7 and 8 in Orlando September 16th
and 17th in Phoenix December 3rd and 4th in Dallas go to extreme ownership comm
for details on that every event that we’ve ever done has sold out so if you
want to come register early and of course we have EF overwatch and EF
Legion EF overwatch executive leadership from military for civilians EF Legion
frontline leadership frontline troops with military experience to come to your
organization check out either one of those EF overwatch comm or EF Legion
comm and if you want to connect with ROS Schindler you can find her at her
website – who survived calm and on all the social media outlets Twitter
Instagram and Facebook all of those she’s at – who survived and echo and I
are also on the interwebs on all the various social media channels including
YouTube where we are now official echo is at Echo Charles I am at Chaco Willick
and the YouTube channel is called Jaco podcast and to mrs. Rose Schindler once
again thank you for for coming on and sharing your incredible story which is
just it’s even to sit here and hear you say over and over again that’s
unbelievable it’s unbelievable and it reminds us of what what it means to
suffer what it means to face unimaginable Horrors and still maintain
hope and while we will not dwell we certainly will not forget and to the
military service members out there that have fought and continued to fight to
protect the weak to liberate the enslaved to bring the light
of freedom into the world like those forces that liberated the concentration
camps thank you all for your service and the same goes to our police and law
enforcement to our firefighters and paramedics and EMTs and dispatchers and
correctional officers and Border Patrol and Secret Service you all also make
sacrifices to protect us and we thank you for that and everyone else out there you know clearly we have seen today
through roses story once again that human beings are capable of absolutely
horrific and hideous evil but we’ve also seen that human beings are capable of
overcoming those satanic forces in the world and of maintaining hope against
the darkness and in the end we can win we can win so fight on do the right
thing and no matter what do not give up hope and that’s all we’ve got for
tonight so until next time this is echo and Jocko

100 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This is the kind of history that must be taught in school. Young people do not know and appreciate history. If they don't learn, then it may be repeated. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Calling ppl Nazis nowadays just because u disagree with them politically, seriously downplays what the real Nazis done

  3. This story is so powerful and so worth hearing. A true story that shows the true virtue of hope which is hoping when everything is hopeless. Thank you so much Ma’am Rose❤️

  4. I love her spirit. Not sure if she would correct everyone who was pronouncing the names but she corrects Jocko. It’s a nice give and take and I’m thankful to listen and see such a meeting.

  5. This woman is an absolute treasure. Thank you Jocko for helping her get her story out there. Everyone needs to hear this.

  6. I fell asleep listening to Jocko on JRE and woke up to this episode playing. I'm thankful i did, this was life changing.

  7. I love hearing stories of immigrants who came to America and made more out of this country than the people living here. Their work ethic is absolutely incredible. Idk if that level of hard work exists today.

  8. Put this on at 2 in the morning cause I wanted something to fall asleep to. Ended up staying up till half 5 listening . What a horific story .

  9. The Dichotomy of toughness is really on display with the juxtaposition of Jocko and Rose on the podcast.

  10. "Without hope, we are lost". Indeed Mrs. Schindler. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you Jocko and Mrs Willink for bringing it to us.

  11. I know this isnt the topic of the video but if you see this jocko im curious if youve ever tried vr. Because i think itd be really cool if you played a milsim game like onward and just reviewed its realism what it does right wrong all that. Like the one you did about movies. Plust i have a feeling youd get a kick out of it as its a way to kind of feel what i imagine combat is similar to without being in danger.

  12. Wake up, dummies. 2m people are having their guts ripped out in China right now. They are having organs taken…..AND NO ONE CARES! Please tell me guys I'm not the only one who sees.

  13. If anyone ever needed motivation to put aside your problems, no matter what you're going through, and just keep moving forward…. if hearing this podcast doesn't motivate you, you don't have a pulse. Beautiful podcast Jocko. This is going to provide motivation and inspiration for me for a long time. What an incredible woman

  14. Excerpt around 48min sounds also like the Road of Bones, Kolyma Highway in Russia. Why do we still tolerate communists?

  15. I adored this woman. She unabashedly took on Jocko with his perhaps misunderstood statements or questions. He walked 1/2 mile in Echo Charles Shoes.
    Rose was like “ Yo, I took on the Nazis at the age of 14 and prevailed. Why would I be intimidated by a dude named Jocko who fancies himself after a Marine Mamal😏

    Jocko is an incredible interviewer. I’m proud and blessed to have discovered his podcast.

  16. God placed a man perfectly when they opened the train…" tell them you're 18 " and it saved you Rose. God placed your cousins in the right place and they gave you food you needed to save you. I'd say God loves you Rose. Amazing.

  17. Jocko, I have a question for a future podcast: what would you do if you were sent to a death/work camp? Would you build an army, raise morale and fight back and fight the system? Or would you keep your head down and just follow orders?

    Please I would love to hear this on a future podcast

  18. Everyone needs to hear this podcast. There's good on this world but also evil. Thank you for sharing Rose and Jocko.

  19. My opa along with many others hid many Jews in an underground cellar for years while all this was going on. God bless this woman just looking into her eyes, amazes me all that she’s seen

  20. Thank you for this, Jocko. Rose and her late husband are blessings to us all for sharing their stories.

    Please revisit Stalin's regime with the intensity that only you possess. We need these warnings from the echos of history to keep us on a stable path.

  21. We realise what we are truly capable off when we dont give up when we hear stories like this. This woman could've lost hope and died like the masses that tragically died there but she didnt. All pain must come to an end somehow for better or for worse. Dont give up.

  22. This was so powerful. The seizure of Jewish businesses gave me chills as it sounded a lot like what some radicals in the US support. Envy and blame can motivate some real horrors.

    One thing to note. You got this amazing woman onto your podcast, and spent almost the entire time reading her book out loud while she sat silent. It feels like this was a bit of a wasted opportunity to hear more from her. An excerpt every now and then would have been powerful as well, alongside with more conversation with her.

  23. Just ordered the book. I am anxiously awaiting to read her and so many others story. True story. True perseverance and bravery in the face of evil. Bless her for being brave enough to educate us. Lest we forget…

  24. I'm sorry to draw attention away from this important podcast and the topic at hand, but who the hell clicks the Dislike button on this??

  25. My daughter is 14.
    As I listened to this, I imagined her having to go through all of this pain.
    We must never forget these brave people who endured this tragedy.

  26. In a word, amazing. Strength, grace, grit, an iron will and hope all mixed into one human being. Deeply inspired.

  27. for all you liberals wanting gun control listen to what she is saying and went thru if they were armed do you think they all would've been slaughtered

  28. This one hit me hard. Even more than "The Rape of Nanking." Holding My small daughter looking in here eyes and hearing her laugh I just can't imagine this.We are so blessed. Must be thankful every moment.

  29. This woman doesn’t know what oppression is. I had a person use the incorrect gender pro noun I prefer on Facebook.. now that was devastating

  30. My grandparents were Polish Jews that fled when they were very young in 1935 with their parents. They made it to America and loved this country until they died. My grandfather fought in WWII in the Pacific theater.. His name was Casimir and I think of his life often and wonder how people can forget.

  31. History will be lost if we don't make an effort to remember it and strive to learn from it. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  32. Why is there 115 thumbs down. This is a great story and humbling! There must me 115 ant-semites that listened to this.

  33. Great. Now get Ursula Haverbeck, the 90 year old woman who was put in jail for political dissent in Germany, on the show.

  34. After listening to Rose's story, I will never find a justification to complain about anything happening in my American life….ever again!

  35. Jacko, your my hero. I enjoy listening to you, I have learned so much and use it to get my life together.
    This subject is important to me because I just converted to Judaism recently. God bless you Rose.

  36. When I hear these stories, they always make me sick to my stomach, but I always force myself to hear them. We can never forget.

  37. You can feel the strength in this woman's voice, surviving what she survived, you can't mentally break her.

  38. Rose, God bless you. Jocko thank you for this powerful talk. It’s hard to listen to any complaints from people today in America. There is nothing that compares to the horror what Rose and the others went through. We are truly blessed here in the USA. Much love.

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