The holocaust was a time in history thatchanged peoples lives. During the 1930‟s & 1940‟sa man named Adolf Hitler took control of manyEuropean countries. Hitler thought if he didn‟tthink someone was the way he wanted them tobe, then they had no reason to live. Hitler killedover 6,000,ooo Jews. Picture of Adolf Hitler
Over 3,000,000 Jews lived in Poland. Most Jews settled into cities & towns and were merchants, artisans and middlemen. In Germany, most Jews ( over half-million) lived middle class lives, most often in larger cities.
Before the holocaust came everyone was happy with their lives. Kids ran around playing with their friends. The children went to public school. Women stayed at home did chores and cooked dinner. Everyone went out on the weekends and had fun. Jews went to the synagogue on Shabbat (Sabbath). Most men had jobs and were usually the only one who sustained the family but lost them along the way
Kristallnacht or “the night of broken glass,” was the beginning of the holocaust. Many Jewish-owned stores, homes, synagogues, and community centers were destroyed and devastated. They also ruined Jewish schools, hospitals, cemeteries & policemen and fire brigades just stood there doing nothing to help.
“Soon as you put the star of David on, you were not you, you were someone else. We were put out to be displayed. Why? Because we were Jews, that it . We Had a different religion, to be ridiculed. You were stripped of any dignity.” (35) -Clara Grossman, holocaust survivor
Ghettos were where all the Jews came. The others wanted to be sure that all the Jews were together in the worst part of the city, the slums Days when soldiers came in and ordered people to gather were the worst days because that was usually when people were deported to concentration camps and labor camps. Most of the people that went to those camps worked 12 or more hours a day.
“I was liberated on the march. They came from behind as we were marching on the highway. I turned around and I saw those big tanks and I said: “ Those are not German tanks. They are American tanks.” They started throwing out boxes of cigarettes, and chocolate. The German guards ran into the woods.” (42) - Joseph Greenbaum, survivor
When the war ended in Europe, The world began to learn about the degree of the Holocaust. In Poland, more than 3,000,000 Jews were executed- that was about 95 percent of the prewar Jewish population of that country. In Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and many other East European countries, more than three –quarters of the prewar community was obliviated. Six million Jews perished, that‟s almost two-thirds of Europe‟s Jews.
It took a while for everyone to get back to normal. Just imagine living through the holocaust but your family is gone and you have no one. How would you feel? People tried hard they got out of Europe and came to America for a new life and to start all over.
When the survivors saw the Statue of Liberty they were overjoyed and thought is was a dream because they now knew that no one else can hurt them. Statue of Liberty. The sight of relief to Holocaust survivors.
Most people who came to America didn‟t know English but they knew German or Yiddish or another language that the Americans didn‟t know. Most of the immigrants took language or got an English dictionary or read the newspaper but they eventually learned and they act like regular people.
After Sonia Borowik spent 4 ½ years in two labor campsand three concentration camps she returned to herhometown of Vilna, Poland- currently Vilnius, Lithuania- inDecember 1945. She barley remembered her own name butshe recognized the balcony hanging from her family‟s bombedapartment at 57 Zavalnia. The family-maid who once offered to hide Sonia‟s littleblond brother, Abrusha refused to return anything she hadtaken from the family‟s apartment “I‟m married to a Russiansoldier,” she said,” and he hates the Jews. Sonia and Vera were the only ones who survivor out oftheir entire family. 25 percent of Vilna, Poland‟s 200,000 prewar population were Jewish. Sonia went to a private dayschool where unlike her other friends who attended publicschools, she escaped daily harassment. She was not allowedto sit in the front of her opera or use sidewalk, but, she says,“I never questioned it.” (90)
Sonia never really talked about the Holocaust until her son wrote apaper on it, and the teacher asked if he could get a survivor to talk tothe class. He asked his mother. Sonias been talking ever since. She tellsstudent‟s “Don‟t watch my face. Just listen. I am not talking aboutHitler. That is politics. I am telling you what happened to me.” (90) A torah reader and past president of her synagogue sisterhood.Sonia has a kids: Alan, Joyce, and Esther who died of breast cancer inher early 40‟s. Sonia has 5 grandchildren who bring her much happiness. In Germany in 1946
Tibor Klausner was about four years old when he first hearda Gypsy playing the violin in the cafe next to his father‟srestaurant in Arad, Romania. Tibor wanted to play also, but hisparents didn‟t have enough money to buy one. When Tibor was 6 years old, a professional musician testedhim and approved his talent, and he started lessons. From thenon, he practiced several hours a day. The Klausners‟ lived in a 2-room apartment in the samebuilding as their fathers restaurant. Hermann worked longhours, rarely spending time with the family except on Shabbat. From 1939-1941, Arad‟s 6,430 Jews lost their businesses andwere forced to live in the Ghettos.. Hermann Klausner wastaken to a labor camp but escaped. Tibor belonged to a Zionistunderground organization. During the last year of the war, theKlaussners hid together in farms on the countryside. Afterward, 14-year old Tibor escaped communist Romaniato study in Budapest at the Listz Academy of Music. He wasarrested when he returned to visit his parents illegally.
His father got Tibor out by bribing the guard, the same yearthe border closed in 1948, Tibor accepted a full scholarship toInternational Conservation of Music in Paris. He added an “s” to the Romanian version of his name,Tiberiu, and was know as Tiberius Klausner. Five years later, hecame to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music.Then he only spoke Romanian, Hungarian , German and French ,but no English. A part-time job helped him pay rent and eat. At age 23 he became a part of the Kansas City Philharmonicand became the youngest concertmaster of a major symphonyorchestra. In 1959 , Tiberius met Carla Levine, who was home fromcollege to visit her parents, Ed and Rose. Tiberius was at theirhouse to rehearse for a Beth Shalom Synagogue Program Inwhich Rose would accompany him on the piano. Carla and himmarried 4 years later, after she finished her PhD at Harvard.
He resigned from the Philharmonic in 1967 to accept a professorshipat the University of Missouri-Kansas city. Tiberius returned when thePhilharmonic was reborn as the Kansas City Symphony, until he retiredin 1999.The Klausners Have 3 daughters, Danielle and twins Mirra and Serena.They have one grandchild named Haidee. In Paris, 1952
“Once when I spoke, one of them askedme whether I was glad when I heard thatHitler committed suicide. I said: „No, I wasnot glad. He should have stood there andanswered to the world for what he did andnot let his people take the blame foreverything.‟ “And they applauded. They stood up andthey applauded. It was unbelievable.” (151) -Sonia Golad
“If I didn‟t believe in God, I wouldn‟t be her.God helped me to be here.” -Abe Gutovitz“I never stopped believing in God” -Joseph Greenbaum“I do my candle lighting. I talk to God everynight.” (161) - Sonia Golad
“My oldest daughter and I went back tomy hometown two years ago. I wanted her tosee her roots. We walked the streets andthen went to the school and took pictures.For me it was like it was closure. “I really don‟t want to ho back thereanymore. There is nothing there. There is notone Jew from 3,000 Jewish families. Notone.” (161) -Clara Grossman
Everyone will remember the holocaust and itwill still haunt those who survived it. Butjust remember those whose families gotmurdered and those whose friends got beatto death. All the people who survived thisare lucky and if they didn‟t survive a lot ofus probably wouldn‟t be here.
Dodd, Monroe, ed. From The Heart; Life before and after the Holocaust –A Mosaic of Memories. 1st ed. Kansas City: Kansas City Star Books, 2001. Print.