October 6, 1972, Friday Forum – firsthand account “The Last Jewish Child” by Albert Kowit.
Kowit’s account begins with this paragraph:
As long as I live I will recall the following horrible episode and relate it to my children and grandchildren. I will do everything possible to inform my fellow Jews and non-Jews about what happened to the six million martyrs who perished through all kinds of tragic and cruel deaths at the hands of the German murderers and their collaborators. Especially do I want to impress my children with the account of the liquidation of a million and a half Jewish children along with my own entire family. The Nazis and their collaborators stand eternally damned for the death of the small three-year-old Shlomele who wanted so much to live.
Kowit then describes the following incident in the Nazi concentration camp Eleya in Latvia:
Kowit was in the infirmary with double pneumonia when a medical assistant burst in shouting to get out if they wanted to save themselves. Kowit fled outside to find the entire camp surrounded by SS troops aiming their machine guns at the Jews. The camp commandant arrived with the Gestapo, and orders were given to tear children out of their mothers’ arms and take the children away in trucks to their deaths.
Three-year-old Shlomele understood what was happening. He freed himself from his mother and ran to the barracks, tearing open a pillow to creep in among the feathers.
When the murders finished the ‘action’ with the children, they removed all the elderly men and women in trucks and took them on their last journey – to death. Upon the completion of this selection, the Nazis with their usual exactness started counting all the victims, and realized that they were still short of the required quota of victims. They then turned upon us with unusual ferocity. We wrestled with them like cattle before slaughter. Whoever was caught was led away to be killed. As they approached us, we retreated against the wall of barbed wire where our backs and arms were torn and pierced until we were drenched with blood. This continued until the ‘quota’ was attained and they had the desired total for the Angel of Death.
Shlomele’s mother was overjoyed to find her son alive – the sole survivor of the child “action.” Yet this was a short-lived reprieve.
The following morning Leon Danziger, a Jew who was the head of the Jewish police, learned that Shlomele was still alive and that he had survived the child ‘action.’ He immediately proceeded to inform the camp commandant, who permitted the child to live three more days. On the morning of the third day when he left to obtain provisions form the central storehouse in Riga Kaiserwald, he took little Shlomele while Shlomele’s mother was working and led him away on his last journey.
Click here to read the formal proposal for the Holocaust memoir SAVIORS AND SAVIORS, in which the above firsthand account is included.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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