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Monday, April 16, 2012

One Portland, Oregon Holocaust Story

Nadene Goldfoot
Since Ahmadinejad is such a holocaust denier, I am compelled to tell my uncle's story to set him and others like him, straight. 

An early  survivor of the Holocaust came to Portland, so we know his family's story first hand.  He married one of my father's sisters.  His father was a veteran of the First World War in Germany.  Never did his father picture extermination happening to his family.  Ferdinand, his father, was a butcher and lived on Kirchenstrasse Street in Boppard.  Boppard is a small but beautiful  town on the banks of the Rhine River.  It is a popular stop on the river with the many boats that go by.

My Uncle Werner was born in Westerburg, Hildesheim, Niedersachsen, Germany in 1916.  The family moved to Boppard, Hamburg, Germany afterwards.  His father owned his own little butcher shop there where they made sausage, a favorite in Germany.  One day about in 1936 as he was walking a cow back home, he was arrested by the police for "beating the cow with a stick."  He did walk with a stick used to keep the cow on the path.  That's how everyone did it.  But, Werner was Jewish.  It happened  in 1933 that persecution of Jews had become active in the Nazi policy in Germany. 

The next thing he knew he was in jail.  The atrocities he faced were horrible for him.  He was beaten.  Then he was forced to eat raw pork.  Eating pork of any type for a Jew was a sin, so this was even worse for him.  Whatever pains he went through he was afraid to speak about afterwards.  Finally he was allowed to go home.  Werner's parents only had a son and a daughter.  They worked diligently to get the whole family out of the country but managed to get one passport only, and that went to Werner.  He was to get the rest out after reaching the USA.  It became an impossibility, as Werner got out in May 1939, which turned out to be the end of a period when people could leave.  It was also the exact time of the White Paper of 1939 issued by Great Britain in stopping any immigration to "Palestine" by Jews.  The door was shut tight after he left both to get out of Germany or to get into Palestine.  He suffered greatly for he couldn't get his 16 year old red-headed sister out.  214,000 Jews were trapped in Germany unable to leave, destined to be slaughtered.. 

Even at that, Werner could not get into the United States without someone vouching for him in that economically he would be covered.  The B'nai B'rith were major sponsors.  That was something my Great Uncle Max Turn volunteered to do.  .  He became his benefactor and got him a job with my father, who was just starting his own meat market business.   Other countries were impossible to get into as so many demanded baptismal papers.  They wouldn't accept Jews at all. 

His father, Ferdinand,  was forced to clean the streets with a mop, and so wore his soldier's uniform, a brave act.  I wonder if anyone was moved by seeing a veteran who had fought for his country treated in such a demeaning way. 

They were likely taken to a smaller concentration camp near Frankfurt. Dachau is outside of Munich, which is several hours away by car/train from Boppard. 

I checked Yad Vashem and found Rosa  from Boppard, Koblenz, Rhine, Germany b: 1891.
Both Ferdinand and Werner's  mother, Rosa, died in a camp in Poland. Rosa was young; age 50 years 8 months 7 days when she died in the camp..

Somehow, Werner's grandmother   Sibylla Jonas, born in 1871 and  prior to WWII  lived in Alken, Germany. Sibylla perished in Minsk, Belorussia (USSR). This information is based on a List of victims from Germany found in the Gedenkbuch -

The Nazi controlled German government established seven extermination camps (Vernichtungslager) in Poland.  These camps were as follows:
 1.  Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oswiecim, near Kraków)
  2. Belzec (near the current Ukrainian border north-west of L'viv)
  3. Kulmhof (Chelmno, between Warsaw and Poznan)
  4. Majdanek (near Lublin)
  5. Sobibór (south of Brest-Litovsk)
  5. Treblinka (north-east of Warsaw)
  7. Warschau (in Warsaw)

The Germans were ruthless perfectionists when it came to keeping records.  President Ahmadinejad only needs to look into some of them and he will see for himself that the Holocaust truly happened.  Ask the survivors and their families.  It's all a horrible truth of what man is capable of doing to his fellow man.  We can only work towards the time when such things will never happen again. 

What is frightening the world today is that Ahmadinejad is saying that he will finish what the Germans started.  That Arabs of the Ottoman Empire were on the Axis side in WWII is worrisome.  They have picked up Mein Kampf for their source of hatred along with the Nazi goals.  This is why the rantings of Ahmadinejad cannot be dismissed.  The world has not yet reached a state of Nirvana and perfection.  Even a step in the right direction, the UN, has become terribly flawed. 

Resource: Family history

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