As I've said before, there are people who think there's been enough attention given to the Holocaust. How can they think this? It was a crime of such magnitude that you could never plumb the depths of it. If you tried merely to count the dead, your mouth would begin to crack and bleed.
In April 1942 on the Island of Guernsey, the first deportation began. Three women[,] Auguste Spitz, Marianne Grunfield, and Therese Steiner, were ordered to pack their bags and were forced onto a ship headed for the French mainland.
Ernest Plevin, a Police Clerk Sergeant in Guernsey during the Occupation, remembers:
["]... Guernsey Police were ordered to advise specified Jews to report to Police Headquarters. I was to instruct them to pack their bags and report to the designated German authority. I remember - well - Therese coming into the office, where I conveyed to her the instructions given to the Guernsey Police by the German Military Authorities. Therese became extremely distressed, bursting into tears, and exclaiming that I would never see her again."
The night before their deportation Therese Steiner and Auguste Spitz visited their friend Elisabet Duquemin, a fellow registered Jewish refugee from Vienna. Elisabet Duquemin remembered:
"They had a paper with them from the Germans that they had to report the next morning to be taken away to France and were in a terrible state of anxiety. They borrowed a suitcase from me and I never saw the poor girls again".
Reverend Douglas Ord confirmed their state of anxiety:
["]When I last spoke with her [Therese Steiner] she had Orders to go to France. She was in great distress and seemed to feel that her feet were now set upon her Via Dolorosa. I did what I could to comfort her but what can you say or do"?
On July 20th of the same year the three women were caught up with a large transport to Auschwitz and their subsequent fate is unknown. It is believed they were sent to the gas chambers[,] having been chosen with the initial selection upon arrival.
50. Shimon Srebrnik (his testimony):'There were three gas vans [at Chelmno]. The exhaust gas from the engine entered the van through a gridiron on the floor. Each van held 80 people... During the ride [from Chelmno to the forest] gas entered the van...'
51. The figure 2700-2800:
On the night of December 13, 1941, Latvian policemen arrested the Jews of Liepaja and took them to jail. Those with work permits, along with their families, were released.
The remaining Jews were taken to Skede, north of Liepaja, to the dunes overlooking the Baltic Sea, the site of a former military training [ground]. A long ditch had been dug just before the dunes. The Jews were forced to strip off their clothes except for their underwear. Near the ditch they then were made to take off their remaining clothes and assemble in groups of ten. They were executed by members of a Latvian SD guard platoon, units of the 21st Latvian police battalion, and members of the Schutzpolizei-Dienstabteilung (German security police) under the command of the local SS and Police Leader Fritz Dietrich. On the 15-17 of December, 2,700-2,800 Jews were massacred, most of them women and children.
Even though 67 years had passed since they last saw each other, Wladyslawa Dudziak and Rozia Beiman reunited as if they hadn't missed a moment.
Dudziak, 85, was flown to New York last week from Poland to meet with Beiman, whom she had saved from the Nazis more than a half-century before.
Dudziak lived in Lublin during World War II and asked her family to look after Beiman when Beiman's parents went missing - presumably sent to the nearby Majdanek concentration camp. Although extremely poor, the family hid Beiman in its home and pretended she was a niece until the city was liberated in 1944.
(For an index to the whole series, see here)