My Father was a CPA and the asst. conductor of the Lodz Symphony Orchestra. Almost every weekend we had groups of musicians performing chamber music.
It started for me, on April 20, 1939. I was almost ten. Third grade, public school. In addition to it being Hitler's birthday, my Family moved from the apartment I was born in to a new spacious place in a building my Father owned in a totally different section of Lodz, Poland.
The War started in September 1939 and shortly thereafter, four german men in civilian clothes came and gave my Parents and us 30 minutes to leave the apartment. We never came back.
We moved a few times from one place to another until February 1940, we were forced to settle in the Ghetto, which was separated from the rest of the City by barbed wire and patrolling solders. Everyone had to work to get food coupons, and conditions became very difficult. There were constant selections, deportations, and killings of people for no reason. People were frightened. I witnessed multiple hangings, brutal murder of infants, people dying from starvation and sickness and dropping dead on the streets.
The Ghetto was finally being liquidated in August 1944 and we were being sent to a new destination. The germans were telling everyone that the new place would have better working and living conditions. We were sent in cattle cars without food, drinks or any facilities whatsoever. It took about three days and nights under unbearable conditions to reach our destination in cars filled with sick, dying people without even space to sit down.
When the freight car doors opened and we saw chimneys spewing smoke smelling of flesh, panic set in.
We were in Auschwitz. Men were separated from women and then, in rows of five, went through a selection where my Father was pulled from us and we never saw him again. Mother told us as we were being separated to meet at home if anyone survived.
The horrors of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other concentration/extermination camps, the death marches and the dehumanization of people will always remain with me.
It took 40 years after coming to this wonderful country to be able to begin to talk about my experiences. Having children and grandchildren made me aware of how my Parents must have felt as their Family was being destroyed.
We must strive to make sure we do not allow the Holocaust, the greatest crime in the history of mankind, to recede into oblivion and that history does not repeat itself. I feel that the music that I heard in my home as a child, would help in creating a better more tolerant world.
We need everyone's help to realize that end.
Please contribute to our concerts.