Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER
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A Mother’s Shoah, Final Prayer

Final prayer

Then came three days I’ll never forget. It was raining incessantly throughout. At night we stood in knee deep water in the barrack while the rain soaked us mercilessly. People started to recite their final prayer before death. The horror we had to endure is just impossible to describe…

Kaddish_in_Birkenau

Kaddish in Birkenau. By D. Olere.

I survived the starvation along with the accompanying physical cruelties and other torture in a relatively strong state of mind. Had I been brought here as a young girl, not a wife constantly harassed or abused by people in the family, whose aim was to break my heart in the most jovial manner, I most certainly wouldn’t have been able to muster such strength. Here I knew the reason for my suffering – I was a Jew. But it had hurt me so much more at home, when I couldn’t fathom any reason for being tormented by your mother and her side of the family so savagely. Now that I was together with others from Tapolca, they confirmed everything, so this wasn’t just something I’d imagined. People are given to exaggeration, I know – but I remember how hard I’d had to fight my mother in law and her ilk for my sanity, while here in Birkenau, Poland, in the midst of the worst concentration camp where people were being mass-butchered, the flames were always visible from the throat of the crematorium and bloodhounds ran rampant, I was in so much better shape emotionally than when she’d been around …