By: Yuval Kaye
This Historical Narrative is set around 1943 when World War II took place. The Nazi army lead by Adolf Hitler began shaping his perfect race. Anyone who was the slightest bit different from what he wanted was murdered. Weather they were going to be gassed to death or shot on the spot they would have to work for him beforehand. 6 million Jews were terminated! Anything valuable they owned was taken away, from wedding rings to money they had nothing, not even their own families. Food was extremely rare and a slice of bread was worshiped between the prisoners. My grandfather though, managed to escape at the age of 14. Now days my grandfather is able to talk and share his experience in the holocaust. He is extremely lucky to have escaped!
The story of Alexander Oren “How can I bear any more of this murder?“ I whispered to myself. I knew I would be next if I didn’t make a move, and this was my chance.
What should I do? Where do I go? How should I do it? What if I get caught? What do I do if I make it out? All these questions jumped into my spinning head as I attempted to plot an escape from this death camp. Auschwitz was unbearable. It was filthy, and the smell of death haunted me. Watching innocent people pacing until their inevitable death.
In the cover of darkness, with a slight rush of courage and bravery I ripped off the six-pointed Star of David patch from the shoulder of my jacket. It was the identical patch all the Jews had to wear. In the middle of the unsightly and disgraceful patch was the word “Jude,” which means Jewish. It was the way the Nazis separated us, as if we were cattle.
Knowing I was now a rebel, if I were to be found I would be shot on sight. I estimated I had only a few minutes to escape, as the guards would return to patrol this area of the camp on their nightly rounds.
Certain that no one would leek information of my escape; I sprinted to the barbed wire fence and rubbed some mud on my face for camouflage. Scratches formed on my dirty skin as I made way under the barbed wire. I had to be stealthy in case a guard came by, and could not make a sound. Although, I didn’t look Jewish, I would still be shot.
Roughed up, scratched and bruised, I was the victim of the barbed wire but still I had survived. Although my escape was successful, I had nowhere to go. I was unaware of what awaited me on the outside. I had been a witness of German cruelty for far too long to imagine life on the outside. My heart was pumping and I knew I was still not safe! I couldn’t risk being eyed by the Nazis, so I climbed up a tree and fell asleep.
“Aaaaaaa.” A nightmare took a grasp of my brain while I sensed sweat running down my face. I assumed it was a sign, a sign warning me of the dangers ahead. I was not close to being
safe; in fact I was still in the open in a Nazi ruled country. What if someone saw me? At that moment, I didn’t care. All I really knew was that I was FREE.
How old were you when you moved to Budapest? 14 years old Why did you move to Budapest? Studied in Budapest so he can get a job, brother and sister worked there Where did you work? Worked in a bag distributer Who did you work with? A man that worked at the place many years What happened to him when the Germans invaded? He became high ranked In the Romanian government What happened when they put you in the Ghetto? The forced everyone to put a patch with a yellow and red Star of David that said “JUDE” When could you get food? One hour a day to buy groceries How did they keep everyone in one place? They closed the streets with barbed wire What did you do before you began your escape? Took off the patch with the Star of David, risking being killed What did you do after the escape? Needed to get forged documents Did you get a Job? Managed to get work in the Red Cross Where you ever afraid that you were going to get caught? Never scared!!! Did you always stay in hiding after the escape? No Did you go to the streets often? Yes, One day goes on the street sees Germans killing Jewish people Who did you see? Sees the man that worked with him in Budapest What happened next? The man leaves his group and starting to walk towards him. Where you scared? Yes, This was the only time I was ever scared What happened when he was near you? He asked if he wants help with money and that he can give him a place to stay.
Research Notes The Holocaust was the “systematic, bureaucratic, statesponsored persecution and murder” of about six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. "Holocaust" comes from a Greek word that means "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, beginning power in 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and the Jews were "inferior." Nazis believed other groups were “racially inferior": Roma (Gypsies) and people with disabilities. They also persecuted Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. WHAT WAS THE HOLOCAUST?
In 1933, the European Jewish population was over nine million, with most of them living in Nazi Germany and occupied countries during WWII. By 1945, the Germans killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the “Final Solution,” the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews were the main targets of Nazi racism, other victims included 200,000 Roma (Gypsies) and 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients. Many disabled Germans were murdered in a systematic “Euthanasia Program.” As Nazi control spread in Europe, Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of others. Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war “were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment”. The Germans also used non-Jewish Polish for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted. ADMINISTRATION OF THE "FINAL SOLUTION"
In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain
opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials incarcerated Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the socalled Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit. Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) and, later, militarized battalions of Order Police officials, moved behind German lines to carry out mass-murder operations against Jews, Roma, and Soviet state and Communist Party officials. German SS and police units, supported by units of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, murdered more than a million Jewish men, women, and children, and hundreds of thousands of others. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews from Germany, from occupied territories, and from the countries of many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities. THE END OF THE HOLOCAUST
In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called “death marches,” in an attempt to prevent the Allied liberation of large numbers of prisoners. As Allied forces moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camp prisoners, as well as prisoners en route by forced march from one camp to another. The marches continued until May 7, 1945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. For the western Allies, World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their “Victory Day” on May 9, 1945. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, many of the survivors found shelter in displaced persons (DP) camps administered by the Allied powers. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel, including 136,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe. Other Jewish DPs emigrated to the United States and other nations. The last DP camp closed in
1957. The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied eastern Europe entirely. URL: www.ushmm.org/wlc//en/article.php?Moduleld=10005143
Reflection Question: What have you learned about your family’s history? How has working on this project helped you understand your family better and given you a better sense of your identity? I have learned that my grandfather was in the holocaust and managed to escape. I learned what it was like and what life was like for him. Personally I don’t believe this project has helped me discover my identity more because I already knew most of the things I researched about. When I was younger I was very curious so I learned about my grandfather’s past further than I have during this project.
2. Why do you think doing a project like this is important? I think a project like this is important as it allows you to explore your past and discover you family’s history. It gives you a better perspective of what happened before you were born. 3. What part of this project did you enjoy the most? Why? The best part of this project was learning more and more about the holocaust and hearing it from a witness. I
enjoyed hearing what my grandfather had to say and studying my background. 4. What specific challenges did you face during this project and how did you over come them? The hardest part of this project was translating everything I learned from him in Hebrew and creating it into a narrative in English.