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Contemporary Witnesses

new article! The Anguish of the Holocaust Survivors – Camp FoehrenwaldHenry Cohen, Director of Camp Foehrenwald in 1946 – Talk at Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) April 13, 1996


 

September 2018

Saul Rubinek, Wikimedia/McDuffee/Flickr

Saul Rubinek, American actor, director, producer and playwright, born in Föhrenwald in 1948, on the upcoming opening of the BADEHAUS:

„I am very moved that this project for remembrance and education has reached the point of being shared with the public.

Having the bathhouse restored as a reminder of our history is for me important not only to point to past horror and past hope, but also to point to present horror and the possibility of future hope.

Föhrenwald was one of the largest Displaced Persons camps in Europe at the time it was active, but sadly today there are refugee camps in the world with 50 times larger populations – where people from many different cultures and backgrounds each have stories as heartbreaking as my parents‘ when they escaped Poland after having lost most of their family in the Holocaust. […]

Please convey my deep appreciation for the monumental and generous efforts that so many volunteers have donated to make this accomplishment a reality.“


 

BfuerB, Max Mannheimer

We mourn the passing of our honorary member

Dr. h.c. MAX MANNHEIMER
February 6, 1920 in Neutitschein – September 23, 2016 in Munich

His words of admonition and his deeds of reconciliation guide our way.
We will never forget this great person, nor his emphatic support of our memorial.
We have lost a friend: Shalom, chaver.

Dr. Sybille Krafft and Wolfgang Saal
on behalf of the association „Bürger fürs BADEHAUS Waldram-Föhrenwald e.V.“


 

Survivors, rescuers, liberators, descendants, and others share their stories.

September 2016 – Contemporary witness Shoshana Bellen (see below) sent us a short video of a meeting held in Tel Aviv on June 27, 2016 of Foehrenwald children (and also people who were already young adults-survivors)

Shoshana Bellen writes: The video has no words, only a soundtrack by Israeli singer David Da’or titled „Shmor Al Ha’olam Yeled“ (Watch Over The World, Child). The song is this generation speaking to the children of the next generation and instructing them to guard our world because we no longer have the strength. Very fitting for a Rememberance Museum that tells the story of the second generation to all the generations to follow. The meeting was organized by Shai Lachman and the video was filmed and produced by Amir Zeltzer.

BfürB, Tel Aviv, June 2016, Video Amir Zeltzer

Questions? Contact Shoshana Bellen: tsbellen@yahoo.com.

June 7, 2016 – Contemporary witness Shoshana Bellen (née Blanka Hellman) and her husband Tony, from Nordiyah, Israel, visited Waldram

BfuerB, Contemporary witness Shoshana Bellen

For many years I have been thinking about taking a trip to Poland to visit my family’s roots. Every time I planned such a visit to Zaleszczyki and Tulste (they are both towns in the Ukraine today) something happened and I was not able to complete my plans. As my 70th birthday approached, I realized that maybe what I needed to do was visit MY roots, not my parents’ roots. I started searching the internet for information about Foehrenwald.
I contacted ITS and they actually suggested I contact the Historical Society Waldram and that of course led me to the Badehaus Foehrenwald/Waldram Project. I felt I was destined to visit the camp where I was born. I corresponded with Stephanie Coenen who was so kind and helpful. She arranged a visit for my husband and I just a few days before my 70th birthday. Stephanie met us at the train station and we were most fortunate to also meet with Maria Mannes and Sybille Krafft. What dedicated volunteers and activists.
Our visit to Foehrenwald/Waldram was an amazing birthday gift. I could barely listen to what was being said as we walked through the streets of what once was my first home. To see the streets and hear the description of where the communal buildings of Foehrenwald once were, was very emotional. But the real cherry on top of the „birthday cake“ was a visit to 2 Floridastrasse (now Gebsattelstrasse) to see the building where we actually lived. The residents living there now were most gracious and invited us into the apartment. I cannot describe how my heart was pounding.
Read more

BfuerB, Report Shoshana Bellen, June 2016

 


 

July 2015 – Contemporary witness Leslie Schwartz visited Waldram and the „BADEHAUS“ association

BfürB, Leslie Schwartz, Wikimedia/Kupferdach59   PRESS (in German)
8-4-2015 – merkur.de/Wolfratshausen –
Back in New York Street / Zurueck an der New York Street
Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz (85) visited the former bathhouse in Waldram / Der Holocaust-Überlebende Leslie Schwartz (85) hat das ehemalige Badehaus in Waldram besucht.
7-30-2015 – sueddeutsche.de/Wolfratshausen – Benjamin Engel
His life is a miracle / Sein Leben ist ein Wunder
Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz talks about the postwar period in Waldram / Der Holocaust-Überlebende Leslie Schwartz erzählt von der Nachkriegszeit in Waldram.

Photo: Kupferdach59/Wikimedia

Reading suggestion
Surviving the Hell of Auschwitz and Dachau: A Teenage Struggle Toward Freedom From Hatred
Leslie Schwartz/Mark David Bonagura
English, 120 pages, Lit Verlag, June 2013, Paperback, $ 26.95

Laszlo (Leslie) Schwartz is a Hungarian-American survivor of the Holocaust.
He was the eldest son of a Hungarian Jewish couple. When he was eight years old, his father died and the next year his mother remarried.
In the spring of 1944 the German army occupied Hungary and in April the family was driven out of their home town and brought into the ghetto of Kisvarda. In May, the whole family was transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. At arrival the family was separated and his mother, his sister Judith and his half-sister Eva were gassed. Leslie was put in the „children’s barracks“ and got into the Birkenau labor camp, from where he was later mutated to Dachau. There he was placed in subcamp of Mühldorf am Inn and was forced to work in the construction of armor bunkers.
With the allies approaching, the subcamp was close, the prisoners put on trains and transported to Poing. Leslie tried to escape, but was shot by a member of the Hitler Jugend. He was finaly liberated on April 30, 1945 by American troops and had surgery in a military hospital by a German military doctor.
In late summer 1945 he returned to Hungary, but he decided very soon to emigrate to his relatives in the United States.

See also
Revisiting The Story Of A Long-Silent Auschwitz Survivor – here & now, 1-27-2015

Bavarian public broadcasting airing Holocaust survivor’s story – jns.org, 4-17-2012


 

May 2015 – Visit of a contemporary witness: The place where being human was possible

BfuerB, Jack Adler   Jack Adler was 16 when he arrived at DP-Camp Foehrenwald. Now he returned to the site of his release and visited the „Project BADEHAUS“ in Waldram – by Wolfgang Schäl, Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 1, 2015 – in German

Further reading:
Y: A Holocaust Narrative
Jack Adler/W.F. Aspenwall
150 pages, Mbedzi Publishing, April 2012, Paperback, $11.47

Auschwitz/Birkenau, Kaufering, Dachau … In 1945, Yacob (Jack) Adler was sixteen years old-the average age of an American high school student-yet weighed only sixty-five pounds and could barely stand.

Stories of the Holocaust have been told numerous times, but Jack’s candid narrative and firsthand account take us deep into the psyche of Nazi foot soldiers, their brutality, and insatiable appetite for the vicious treatment of innocent citizens.Jack was only a boy when Nazi soldiers occupied his home of Pabianice, Poland. Plunged into a world of extremism, he witnessed the death and decay of humanity while enduring the tortures of concentration camps. Blending narrative with heartbreaking description, Jack watches hopelessly as his youngest sister is led to her death. „Peska turned one last time. We locked eyes … her blonde hair fell over her face as she twisted to see me. Her beautiful, full eyes should never have been consumed by that much fear. She turned back when the woman behind her pushed, and then they all moved on to the gas chambers.“ How can a man lose his entire family to Nazi slaughter but still have hope for the human race? As Jack crosses an ocean and begins his journey of self-resurrection from soulless slave to freed American citizen, you will learn of one man’s survival and his determination to liberate himself and others of bigotry and hatred. His is not only riposte to Holocaust deniers but more importantly an articulate story of the will to survive, overcome, forgive, and enlighten those still affixed to the yoke of prejudice. Y: A Holocaust Narrative is Jack’s personal and honest portrayal of compelling events from his childhood and beyond. Spirited recollections archived in the memory of a man now eighty-three years old who still grapples with the question, „Why“, come to the fore. Jack takes on the hatred, racism, bigotry, and misused religious beliefs-all precursors to the Holocaust-by addressing them directly and challenging his readers to analyze their own beliefs. – (Text: amazon.com)
 

 

BADEHAUS, Join us! Become a member!

September 2013 – Jessica Nysenbaum – Following tracks

For the first time since the DP camp Föhrenwald was closed in 1957, a descendant of a Jewish DP has visited Föhrenwald, now Waldram: Jessica Nysenbaum, 29, was born in New York and lives in Washington, D.C. now. She wanted to see the place where a part of her family had once been temporarily housed. Her grandparents Ida and Icchok Nysenbaum, Polish Jews, were brought to Germany in 1946, initially to a DP camp in Kassel (northern Hesse), then Munich, Feldafing, and Föhrenwald (all three in Bavaria).

Jessica’s father, Szmul Nysenbaum, was born in Munich on March 4, 1951, and came to live in Föhrenwald (at Kentucky Street 11) with his parents on May 31, 1951. Although it was only a short transition period for her family – they emigrated to the United States from Bremerhaven already on December 29, 1951, aboard MS „General Sturgis“ – it was important to Jessica to follow the tracks of this stage of her grandparents‘ and her father’s lives.

Eva Greif, Maria Mannes, Sabine and Anna Henschelchen, members of the Society „Citizens for the BADEHAUS Waldram-Foehrenwald“ (Bürger fürs BADEHAUS Waldram-Föhrenwad e.V.), guided the young woman through modern Waldram, showed her the building known locally as „BADEHAUS“ (the bathhouse, where the mikveh was installed in the times of the DP camp), introduced her to the house’s history and explained the association’s future projects. Jessica was very much interested in everything as she already had taken notice of Föhrenwald through the association’s website.

BfuerB, Nysenbaum, 2013

Jessica in front of the BADEHAUS on Independence Place, now Kolpingplatz
Sabine Henschelchen, Jessica Nysenbaum, Eva Greif and Maria Mannes
Jessica in front of Number 11 in the former Kentucky Street, now Törringstrasse

On short notice, Anna Henschelchen was also able to arrange a meeting with Rev. Martin Schnirch, Director of St. Matthew’s Seminary (upon close-down of the DP camp in 1957, the Catholic Church of Bavaria took over the premises there, erecting, among others, the seminary building). Rev. Schnirch received Jessica cordially and showed her around in the old and the newer seminary buildings.

The highlight of Jessica’s tour was seeing house no. 11 in former Kentucky Street (now Törringstrasse). At the Henschelchen’s on Kolpingplatz (previously Independence Place) she told of her family’s history and her research in archives in Bad Arolsen (northern Hesse, Germany) and Washington, D.C.

Jessica’s visit to Germany was arranged through Germany Close Up, a program supported by the German Government that gives American Jews an opportunity to get to know Germany („American Jews Meet Modern Germany“).

Jessica promised to send us pictures and documents and to keep in touch. Her trip led her on to Prague, Czech Republic, and then back home, from where she has sent us the promised material. And she wrote: „Thank you again for taking the time to show me around Waldram and your kind welcome! It was truly a wonderful experience for me.“

Reported by Eva Greif, Photos private, September 2013
BADEHAUS site in German!