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Roger's Ramblings


Hi everyone! Are we all ready to dive into part two of– Holocaust Survivors Living Among Us?

Then, let's get started! I want to first review so that new readers and all of the ramblings faithful

will be brought up to speed for this week's new adventures. Our article is about a married couple

named Otto and Zelda Hofstein, who lived in our community for many years on a modest 40-acre

farm and kept their past to themselves. The lady had her Nazi prison numbers across her forehead and the man on his forearm. We learned from last week how Hitler rose to power and tried to indoctrinate an entire nation into believing his ideology. Hatred for the Jews,

Lgbt, political opponents, Christians, gypsies, and anyone else who did not worship him (Hitler) as a god. Hitler started his first concentration camp in 1933, followed by many more. Millions were starved, gassed, tortured, or shot during his brutal reign. Last week, we learned that WW2 started when Hitler invaded Poland. Hitler went through the Poles in only 35 days. After Poland was defeated, mass extermination began. Thousands of innocents are captured, shot, and killed

each day. Hitler had strict orders for his soldiers to rid Poland of anyone who did not embrace Germans as the master race. OK, folks, we have reviewed enough. Let's find out where Otto Hofstein and Zelda Abram and their families have hidden and evaded the dragnet of the Nazis for two years. It's a hot summer evening, and our Zelda is hoeing the garden and spots a patrol of Nazi soldiers climbing the bluff where they live in hiding. They have also seen her, and they are in hot pursuit. Zelda screams, "The Nazis are coming," she quickly runs back to warn everyone. Hurry as she did, it was too late. They quickly catch up and discover the secret

entrance, and everyone is discovered. The German corporal shouts, "Stop and raise your arms or be shot!" Zelda's mom goes forward to grab her two-year-old toddler and instantly gets gun butted and knocked down. Now, for the rest of you, "surrender or else get a bullet!" At this time, the entire families of Otto and Zelda, each with three siblings, are captured and forced with brutal treatment and stuffed into a transport truck awaiting them at the bottom of the trail. They are

bounced for many miles on a rough road with no breaks. Meanwhile, German Corporal Fritz Sheheimier, who is in charge, says to his patrol (after two hours of rough travel), "We should be arriving in Warsaw in about five minutes. We'll process and number these low-life Jews and throw them into the Ghetto. (After the Nazis took over Poland, they quickly began quartering off city blocks in Warsaw and called it a Ghetto for Jews and other prisoners until they were loaded up on a train to be moved to a concentration or labor camp for eventual extermination). Upon arrival at the Ghetto, Otto, Zelda, and their entire families are horrified. Dogs, yelling

German soldiers, with whips, begin beating the new prisoners. The German Captain in charge of receiving – motions for our families to get in line to get tattooed. The process consists of one soldier with the needles and three burly soldiers to hold each prisoner in place. Our two families stand in line, with many others waiting their turns. When Zelda's turn is next, she spits on an SS guard. Instantly, she gets whipped and then thrown down to the ground. They give her a tattoo across her forehead for more pain and humiliation. Finally, our two families are forced to march to the Ghetto. It is a dark, nasty place with raw sewage running down the city streets. Other prisoners, both political and Jewish folks, are everywhere. Small children who are hungry and thirsty are crying. Dead bodies from starvation and disease are stacked up on the street corners. Rats can be seen scrambling over the deceased. The Nazis tell the new incoming prisoners they will get food and water in the morning. In the meanwhile, our two families, along with thousands of others, are in a horrible place. That night was unimaginable at its very best. Scared and hungry, everyone had been whipped several times and were bleeding and bruised. Our families wandered the streets until they found an empty room. There, they endured their first night of pure agony and desperation. My friends, once again, we are only getting started in the

lives of our Holocaust survivors. Next week gets very interesting as we learn more about their daily struggle to survive in a hostile environment. Tell your friends and neighbors who love German WW2 history to buy a paper and keep up with us. The story of Otto and Zelda will be several more weeks.


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