Archive for February, 2010

Wonderful Victory.

A note from liberator Frank Towers:

Hi Matt:  Attaching the latest revised list of our Holocaust Survivors.  It is almost unbelievable to learn that there are so many of them still surviving – most of course we do not know where.

By my calculation, there were about 425 children on that train. Statistically about half of them are deceased thru malnutrition, disease effects from their incarceration and normal attrition, bringing the total survivors to about 200+.  Would you believe that we now have “over 100 names” on this list now, and it continues to grow!!!

I have been in contact with Varda in Israel, and she has been working 24/7 looking for these people, and she has come up with a bunch of them, and most have been verified from my Farsleben Train List.

And a wonderful communication from Israel:

Hello, Matthew,
My name is Lily Cohen and I was a little girl who was on that train coming from Bergen-Belsen.  My name was Lili Kazimierski-Shein and I was an orphan, probably about 5 or 6 years old.  at that time.  I don’t know my birth day, or year.
I am so moved to find this research, as most of my early life appeared to be “erased” somehow by the Holocaust, and only now am I able to take small steps into what was my past to piece together fragments of memories.  I remember the train.  I remember the hill, I remember a German soldier running away, and I remember a woman who was trying to take care of me dying at my side.
I come to the US and would be very touched to come to a reunion.  My life has turned into a really wonderful victory over Hitler’s attempt to obliterate the Jewish race.  Tonight I made dinner for 10 people in my home in Tel Aviv – 6 of whom came from me!!!
I send gratitude to you,


How did I hear of you?  Varda  called me last evening, having found my name in a book by Hilda Hoopert called “Hand In Hand With Tommy.”  Since it only mentioned my first name and the kibbutz where I was raised, she called the kibbutz!  Amazing how things can come together when there are people dedicated to finding out “the rest of the story.” Thank you for your dedication.
Please feel free to quote me on your weblog.  It would be an honor, and might even lead me to more pieces of the mosaic of my early life.  It would be good to be contacted directly, so you can include my e-mail and even my phone number here in Israel if you like.
I would very much like to talk to the other girl whose story is so similar to mine.  You are so kind to consider the sensitive nature of our feelings.
I do so look forward to meeting you some day soon.


Hi Matt,

Thank you again. Since last Tuesday when I got Varda’s call I am on a different time zone. on one hand I carry on with my life, on the other I can not wait to get on the computer to see if there is anything from you or Frank. For so many years I didn’t talk about my childhood even with my children, deep deep down I had the feeling that something was probably very wrong with me, something you should be ashamed of, if all this happened to me. I have open my mouth only ten years ago to tell my granddaughters.  You see, among all the amazing stories that you hear, my story is unbelievable. I don’t think that – at least- in Bergen Belzen it was a child from a very young age of two years old until the age of five or six that was completely alone without anybody from his family, all the other children were with parents, Mum, aunt. I, must thank all the anonymous women who took care of me all that horrible years. I don’t remember their faces but I know they were exist and saved my life.
You are really doing a holy work and I do hope to meet you some day.

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Holiday Inn Opryland/Airport is the Place

March 4 – 7 is the Time

The Prez Sez:

As your  President and Editor, I hope that you have had a Very Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah, with your families, and I hope that you all will have a Wonderful, Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling Year in the year 2010 to come. At this stage in the game, we all must count our blessings and be thankful for what we have.

I am delighted to note that as of this writing, we have 52 persons registered for our next Reunion in March. This is very exciting to know that so many of our members are planning ahead and making plans to be together with us for this memorable event. Among our participants, we already have a commitment from 4 of our Holocaust Survivors, who plan to be with us to tell their stories and to become acquainted with their Liberators, and meeting others of their peers for the first time. I am sure that there will be others joining us as time goes on. If we can have 100 or more at this reunion, it will tell us that we surviving “Old Hickorymen” still have a lot of spirit within us, and determination to join with the crowd as often as the opportunity presents itself.

If you have not been to one of our Reunions, you just do not know what you are missing in the way of Friendship and Camaraderie, that we all knew way back 65 years ago. It has grown even better ! Don’t miss out on this one !!

Frank W. Towers, President


(Subject to Change)

Program 2010

Holiday Inn Select, Opryland/Airport

4 March – 7 March 2010

Wednesday                              3 March

Early Registration                                         1:00 P.M.  –  5:00 P.M.

Hospitality                                                      1:00 P.M.  –  5:00 P.M.

Dinner on Own                                              5:00 P.M.  –  7:00 P.M.

Manager’s Reception (Free)             5:30 P.M.  –  6:30 P.M.

Hospitality                                                      7:00 P.M.  –         ??

Thursday                               4 March

Registration                                                   9:00 A.M. –  12:00 Noon

Lunch on Own                                            12:00 Noon –   1:00 P.M.

Registration                                                   1:00 P.M.  –    5:00 P.M.

Reception in Atrium                                     6:00 P.M.  –   7:30 P.M.

Hospitality                                                      7:30 P.M.  –  10;00 P.M.

Friday                                     5 March

Breakfast       (Whenever you wish)            6:30 A.M.  –    8:30 A. M.

Memorial Service                                          9:30 A.M.       10:30 A.M.

Open Time for Visiting / Interviews            10:30 A.M.     12:00 Noon

Lunch at Hotel                                               12:00 P.M   –     1:30 P.M.

Holocaust Survivors Presentation                  2:00 P.M.  –                 5:00 P.M.

Hospitality                                                         5:00P.M.  –    6:00 P.M.

Dinner                                                               6:00 P.M.  –    7:30 P.M.

Hospitality                                                         7:30 P.M.  –   10:00 P.M.

Saturday                                6 March

Breakfast       (Whenever you wish)               6:30 A.M.  –    8:30 A.M

General Meeting                                                9:00 A.M.     12:00 Noon

Lunch at Hotel                                                  12:30 P.M.       1:30 P.M.

Hospitality                                                          1:30 P.M.         6:00 P.M

Holocaust Survivors Presentation Cont’d       1:30 P.M.        5:00 P.M..

Banquet                                                                7:00 P.M.        9:00 P.M.

Hospitality                                                             9:00 P.M.      11.00 P.M.

Sunday                                   7 March

Breakfast  (Whenever you wish)                        6:30 A.M. – 8:30 A.M.

Departures :    Airport shuttle as scheduled . Be sure to schedule your departure with the Hotel Concierge on Friday or Saturday!!

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{As part of the conclusion to my USHMM Teacher Fellowship project, I  am posting the unfolding nature of the discovery of the camps as Allied troops closed in from the East and the West, sixty-five years to the day that the discovery/event occurred.}

February 15, 1945

After the liberation of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, two U.S. army infantrymen examine a pile of shoes belonging to victims of the camp. Flossenbürg, Germany, May 1945.After the liberation of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, two U.S. army infantrymen examine a pile of shoes belonging to victims of the camp. Flossenbürg, Germany, May 1945. USHMM

After the liberation of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, two U.S. army infantrymen examine a pile of shoes belonging to victims of the camp. Flossenbürg, Germany, May 1945.USHMM.

The Red Army overruns and liberates a slave labor camp at Neusalz, Poland. On January 26th, one thousand Jewish women interned there are set on a month and a half forced march to the concentration camp at Flossenbürg, 200 miles away in south east Germany near the Czech border.  Most of these women do not make it to Flossenbürg; most are beaten to death or shot.

Source(s): Weber, Louis. The Holocaust Chronicle. Publications International Ltd., 2007. http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/staticPages/594.html

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum   http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005537

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{As part of the conclusion to my USHMM Teacher Fellowship project, I  am posting the unfolding nature of the discovery of the camps as Allied troops closed in from the East and the West, sixty-five years to the day that the discovery/event occurred.}

from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum-

 February 8, 1945

 As Soviet forces approach the camp, the SS orders the evacuation of Gross-Rosen. The SS forces more than 40,000 prisoners on death marches to camps in the interior of Germany. Members of the SS kill any prisoner too weak or ill to continue the march. Thousands die during the evacuations, many from the lack of food or water.

It is estimated that of the 120,000 prisoners who passed through the Gross-Rosen camp system, 40,000 died either in Gross-Rosen or during the evacuation of the camp.

August 2, 1940

SS authorities establish the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, initially as a subcamp for men, as part of the Sachsenhausen camp system. The camp is built near the city of Striega, just south of the town Gross-Rosen (Pol., Rogoznica) in Lower Silesia. The SS transfers about 100 prisoners, mostly Germans and Poles, to the site to begin the construction of the camp. An SS-owned company, German Earth and Stone Works, takes over the quarry at Gross-Rosen and forces concentration camp prisoners to mine granite.

May 1, 1941

The SS Economic-Administrative Main Office reorganizes the Gross-Rosen camp as an independent concentration camp, removing it from the Sachsenhausen camp system.

October 1, 1941

The SS transfers the first group of Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) to Gross-Rosen for execution. About 20 Soviet POWs from the prisoner-of-war camp in Neuhammer are shot in front of the crematoria at Gross-Rosen. During this month, the SS transfers about 3,000 Soviet POWs to Gross-Rosen for execution. In the Commissar Order, Hitler ordered the summary execution of Soviet political commissars and other officials. The German army turned tens of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war over to the SS for execution.

December 12, 1941

The SS Inspectorate of Concentration Camps sends evaluation forms to Gross-Rosen for the screening of prisoners. SS doctors in Gross-Rosen use the forms to recommend the killing of almost 300 ill or weak prisoners in Gross-Rosen. About half of the prisoners are later transferred to the Euthanasia killing center at Bernburg and gassed. The others either die in the camp or recover before the SS can arrange the transfer to Bernburg. The systematic killing of ill or weak prisoners is part of an operation codenamed 14f13, carried out by personnel from the Euthanasia Program in conjunction with the SS Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. During the Gross-Rosen camp’s existence, SS doctors also use injections to the heart to kill weak or ill prisoners in the camp hospital.

January 17, 1942

SS camp authorities order the quarantine of the Gross-Rosen camp due to a typhus epidemic, halting all work in the camp. They allow no prisoners to leave or enter the camp. The SS will lift the quarantine after about a month. More than 1,000 prisoners die during this outbreak of typhus in the camp.

October 21, 1944

German industrialist Oskar Schindler moves his Jewish work force from the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland to a factory in Bruennlitz (in the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia). The new camp attached to the factory in Bruennlitz becomes a subcamp of Gross-Rosen. Schindler saves over 1,000 Jews employed in his factory by claiming that they are essential to wartime production. They will remain under Schindler’s care until liberation in May 1945.

January 15, 1945

SS camp officials report that there are more than 75,000 prisoners in the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, including more than 25,000 women. As forced labor from concentration camp prisoners grew more important in the production of armaments for the German war economy, Gross-Rosen became the center of a vast network of more than 100 subcamps spread across Lower Silesia.

SOURCE: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


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