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Berlin - Six Born in Concentration Camp To Attend Dachau Reunion

Published on: April 26, 2010 11:01 PM
By:  WDR TV
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This photo was made by U.S. soldiers after the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp on 29 April 1945. Amidst the death, they met seven Jewish women with their babies. Marika Nováková, the baby on the front left arm, his mother Eva Fleischmanová. The second baby of the right is Leslie Rosenthal. [Foto: WDR / USHMM]This photo was made by U.S. soldiers after the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp on 29 April 1945. Amidst the death, they met seven Jewish women with their babies. Marika Nováková, the baby on the front left arm, his mother Eva Fleischmanová. The second baby of the right is Leslie Rosenthal. [Foto: WDR / USHMM]

Berlin - U.S. soldiers who liberated a Nazi concentration camp in April 1945 were amazed to discover, among the countless famished and dead, seven Jewish mothers and their babies, who had somehow avoided execution or starvation.

This week, six of those former babies are to gather for an emotional reunion at Dachau on the outskirts of Munich.

German television is to air a television documentary which explores the miracle of how these three infant boys and four infant girls slipped through the cracks of the Nazi killing machine.

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George, Jossi, Leslie, Marika, Agnes, Judit and Szuzi spent the first months of their lives in Kaufering I, a camp 50 kilometres west of Munich.

Marika Novakova, 65, never understood when she was growing up in the Slovakian small town of Dunajska Streda why her birth certificate said she had been born in Kaufering, a village in Bavaria. It did not make sense, but her mother refused to explain why.

A couple of documentary makers employed by German broadcaster WDR, Eva Gruberova and Martina Gawaz, asked the mother for an interview, but Eva Fleischmanova refused. Finally she re-considered. As the cameras filmed, she unveiled her past.

Fleischmanova describes the horrors of the war, how she was nearly gassed at Auschwitz and ended up in Kaufering. She tells of her daughter’s birth in captivity, and how she kept her personal Holocaust story secret because of anti-Semitism in Slovakia.

Leslie Rosenthal and Marika Nováková, now 65 years old, came in a sub-camp of Dachau in 1945 to the world. <Photo: WDR / USHMMLeslie Rosenthal and Marika Nováková, now 65 years old, came in a sub-camp of Dachau in 1945 to the world.

Miriam Rosenthal, 87, can barely bring herself to speak in some sections of the documentary. Holding her son Leslie, she can be seen with Fleischmanova in the extraordinary, 65-year-old, black-and-white photo of the young mothers between bunks in a dormitory.

The two woman documentary makers began their research using that photo.

Miriam Rosenthal’s description of the war years on camera is the first time she spoke German again after leaving Germany for Canada.

She and her husband, also a Holocaust survivor, built a new life for Leslie and themselves in Toronto.

The horrors of the past still loom over Miriam, who often breaks into tears as she speaks.

“As a girl, I imagined I had been born in a forest,” says Marika Novakova. “All my mother would tell me was that people were treated very cruelly there. I did not know what sort of place it was at all.”

The documentary makers take Marika on a journey to the way-stations of her mother’s ordeal: to the fence at Auschwitz, to the German city of Augsburg where the women were used as slave labour in a arms factory, and to Kaufering I.

Dachau concentration camp had several satellite camps like Kaufering where slave labour was kept close to factories.

Marika’s mother was twice inspected by Josef Mengele, the doctor of death at Auschwitz, as he selected those to be killed and those to be kept for labour. He pinched her breast to see if milk came out.

Eva Fleischmanova somehow managed to hold in her belly so that he did not notice she was pregnant.

Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was determined to exterminate all Jewish children. His policy was set out in the secret speech he gave at Poznan, Poland on October 6, 1943.

“I do not consider it justifiable to exterminate the men, meaning to kill them or get them to be killed, while allowing the revengers, in the form of children, to grow up and face our sons and grandsons,” said Himmler.

The Nazis deliberately killed children: the toll of minors in the Holocaust is estimated at as much as 1.5 million.

Miriam Rosenthal also remembers the moment when she narrowly escaped being put to death.

“An SS man came round with a loudspeaker and he was shouting, ‘All the women come outside. You have been given a double ration of bread.’”

Most of the women obeyed, but Rosenthal stayed indoors. A voice inside told her to stop. “All those women ended up in the crematorium,” she said.

Rosenthal was shipped from Auschwitz to Kaufering at the age of 22.

The young mothers survived in Kaufering thanks to the solidarity of other women prisoners, who cared for the newborns when the mothers were summoned to work. Fellow prisoners hid the babies and gave them water and food.

The seven mothers and their babies scattered after the Second World War. It was Rosenthal who re-opened a connection by sending a copy of the black-and-white photo to her former fellow inmate Fleischmanova.

The daughter Marika saw the picture and resolved to fly to Canada to meet Rosenthal to hear the story of her first weeks of life.

“I would never have dreamed I would see little Marika again,” Rosenthal said.

Six of the seven former concentration camp babies are to attend the reunion - their first - at Dachau this Thursday for the opening of a special exhibition on the fate of mothers in the Dachau camps. Germany’s ARD television is to air the documentary Wednesday.


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1

 Apr 26, 2010 at 11:06 PM Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

2

 Apr 26, 2010 at 11:17 PM war babies Says:

War babies is a whole meyiches cause most of them didnt survive hyd.

3

 Apr 26, 2010 at 11:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Unbelievable.

4

 Apr 27, 2010 at 02:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

i don't know about you but i would love to see this. I am amazed that these babies survived and i would love to hear the details of how it happened. Also with Achmedinijad ( i don't know how to spell his name) I think it's important for the whole world to know from the survivors the truth of the horrors they survived. they need to tell the world how the nazis set out to kill every jew including every child even new born babies.

5

 Apr 27, 2010 at 02:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

So that we know that evil exists.

Sometime we tend to forget what happened and buy into the American dream, forgetting how Jews in Germany also had a sense of freedom and pride before they were gassed.

6

 Apr 27, 2010 at 03:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Wow. What a tremendous neis and chessed on the part of the other women involved in risking their lives for these children. They should live to be 120.

7

 Apr 27, 2010 at 04:46 AM no name Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

i don't know about you but i would love to see this. I am amazed that these babies survived and i would love to hear the details of how it happened. Also with Achmedinijad ( i don't know how to spell his name) I think it's important for the whole world to know from the survivors the truth of the horrors they survived. they need to tell the world how the nazis set out to kill every jew including every child even new born babies.

my brother is in this picture all the way in the back. My mother passed on 3 years ago. She could never talk about the war days. I guess my brother is the one who didn't go for what ever reason

8

 Apr 27, 2010 at 06:14 AM wow Says:

wow, what an amazing story. what miserias nefesh these mothers had.
To number 6...AMEN

9

 Apr 27, 2010 at 07:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

Hashem performed a miracle-you dont think its worthy?
Also becasue its history-why report about anything then? live in a box

10

 Apr 27, 2010 at 07:25 AM Anonymous Says:

wow! it's a miracle they survived! HaShem wanted each of them to survive....according to their circumstances it seems almost impossible that they would.

11

 Apr 27, 2010 at 07:27 AM Anonymous Says:

wow! may they live to 120 healthy and happy and may we never know any tzaros in klal yisrael!

12

 Apr 27, 2010 at 08:34 AM Anonymous Says:

may be an unnecessary question but who are the fathers?

13

 Apr 27, 2010 at 09:27 AM surch Says:

To #12
Obviously, these women were in the ghetto and ended up in the concentration camp closer to liberation. DUH!

14

 Apr 27, 2010 at 09:51 AM Anonymous Says:

If people were born in Dachau it means that their mothers were healthy enough to be pregnant successfully and give birth to them. If there was so much death and destruction how did their mothers even survive? Something doesn't make sense......

15

 Apr 27, 2010 at 09:51 AM Robert Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

in my opinion it is sad you even ask such a question.

16

 Apr 27, 2010 at 09:58 AM clear thinker Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

may be an unnecessary question but who are the fathers?

You are right it is an unnecessary question. We see a miracle and you ask the mundane. Do you wish to attack the mothers? The children? To number 13 you are probably right. Still it makes one wonder who would ask such a question

17

 Apr 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

To educate, ignorant morons like yourself, who have no idea about what goes on or went on in the world outside of your four walls! How insensitive of you!

18

 Apr 27, 2010 at 12:17 PM husbands Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

may be an unnecessary question but who are the fathers?

The fathers were taken to the gas chambers. These are a few of the mothers
that either didn't realize they were pregnant or Hashem for sure Hashem had
had different plans

19

 Apr 27, 2010 at 01:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

Maybe to remind us that even in the midst of the horror of the death camps Hashem brought gave us the miracles that were these babies.
I, for one, would very much like to see this documentary. I hope a US tv station, possibly PBS, airs it with English subtitles.

20

 Apr 27, 2010 at 05:14 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

If people were born in Dachau it means that their mothers were healthy enough to be pregnant successfully and give birth to them. If there was so much death and destruction how did their mothers even survive? Something doesn't make sense......

you are quite astute and I as concentration camp survivor am equally surprised. Dachau was an all male camp. In auschwitz women were pregnant and the infants were killed. These are children born after the liberation and the story is incorrect

21

 Apr 27, 2010 at 05:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
war babies Says:

War babies is a whole meyiches cause most of them didnt survive hyd.

as the daughter of Leslie Rosenthal, I would have to disagree with you. To this day, I can't even imagine the horrors that my grandmother and father endured.

22

 Apr 27, 2010 at 06:26 PM great great grandfather Says:

Reply to #20  
anonymous Says:

you are quite astute and I as concentration camp survivor am equally surprised. Dachau was an all male camp. In auschwitz women were pregnant and the infants were killed. These are children born after the liberation and the story is incorrect

It is true because my brother is one of those born in the concentration camp and
there were survivors. In fact the mothers all stayed great friends over the years.
His birth date is proof of that survival. The reason it was such a big deal because
so few births made it. My brother is today a great great grand father.

23

 Apr 27, 2010 at 08:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
great great grandfather Says:

It is true because my brother is one of those born in the concentration camp and
there were survivors. In fact the mothers all stayed great friends over the years.
His birth date is proof of that survival. The reason it was such a big deal because
so few births made it. My brother is today a great great grand father.

a great great grandfather? how is that possible???

24

 Apr 27, 2010 at 08:12 PM Anonymous Says:

I ,was liberated @ Dachau in April 29 1945 . Certainly these people wern't in Dachau for an extended period . Perhaps ,they were brought in ,the last few days before the liberation .Also , The bunks and the whole environment doesn't look famliar to me. It looks more like The NY Hilton.

25

 Apr 27, 2010 at 09:54 PM error Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

a great great grandfather? how is that possible???

typing error great grandfather

26

 Apr 27, 2010 at 10:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

I ,was liberated @ Dachau in April 29 1945 . Certainly these people wern't in Dachau for an extended period . Perhaps ,they were brought in ,the last few days before the liberation .Also , The bunks and the whole environment doesn't look famliar to me. It looks more like The NY Hilton.

Of course this isn't a picture taken in Dachau, it's a picture taken AFTER the camp was liberated. What, you think the US Army made the women stay and sleep in Dachau afterwards?

27

 Apr 27, 2010 at 11:02 PM eva Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

I ,was liberated @ Dachau in April 29 1945 . Certainly these people wern't in Dachau for an extended period . Perhaps ,they were brought in ,the last few days before the liberation .Also , The bunks and the whole environment doesn't look famliar to me. It looks more like The NY Hilton.

The article said the picture was taken in a dormitory. There were no sheets on the bunks in the camps.

28

 Apr 27, 2010 at 11:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Re; to No. 27. Thank you . It makes sense .

29

 Apr 28, 2010 at 07:04 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

I ,was liberated @ Dachau in April 29 1945 . Certainly these people wern't in Dachau for an extended period . Perhaps ,they were brought in ,the last few days before the liberation .Also , The bunks and the whole environment doesn't look famliar to me. It looks more like The NY Hilton.

The woman are in civilian clothing and the babies all have matching blankets. It is clearly an after the end of the war picture. DP camp maybe.

30

 Apr 28, 2010 at 07:37 PM Bethel Says:

This is very important news in affirming the tremendous sacrifice and power of motherhood despite the insanity of an evil empire's dictatorship.

31

 Apr 28, 2010 at 10:24 PM Tom of Oregon Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

To all the idiots that don't know history. This is history and good history as they survived. Not with your help as you are to stupid to know the facts of life. That is history has and continuues to repeat its self all the time. But the retardation of the Amercian youth and Europe youth of the real facts of life that will impact us soon through retarded education from all age's. Is sad to see and witness with my grandkids and their education. I show them the truth and they want to learn more. You on this site need to learn more. I will say this to those that show up. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES.

32

 Apr 28, 2010 at 11:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to # 31. Finally, we hear a voice of reason in the (wilderness) .This is a very sensitive story . It is not entirely clear how these tragic women became pregnant .I was in Lager 1 in Kaufering during that period . I was too young to comprehend what was transpiring between the male and female section of the camp .Possibly ,there are more knowledgable witnesses tothis story .I have never read any account thereof .My lips will ,probably , remain sealed B'LN, forever .If ,you too are a Survivor thank you for your comment and may Hashem bless you and your family.

33

 Apr 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM Patrick from California Says:

Bless you people of Israel and survivors of the holocaust German atrocities.

There are people here in America, the majority of us Christians- myself included that will never forget, and will always support you.

Do not let our evil, disgraceful, phony, pitiful image of a President alarm you in any way. We are working to get him and the incompetent cowards around him out of office.

I was in Munich in 1980 with a USO show tour, and could not get any of my band mates to go with me to see Dachau. I will forever regret not going there anyway to see it myself.

God bless you.

Patrick

34

 Apr 29, 2010 at 12:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to # 33 . Dear Patrick , There are only two dates I shall never forget . One is April 29 1945 (tomorrow) when I was liberated , by The Amrican Army @ Dachau . The other date is when i arrived in this wonderful country . It is bacause of people like you who have compassion and tolerance that makes life worthwhile .Your comment is so very rereshing and and very heartwarming .May the Almighty God bless you in all your endeavors .

35

 Apr 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM Shawn Says:

In response to:
Apr 26, 2010 at 11:06 PM
Anonymous Says: what is the purpose of these kind of things?

The German concentration camps were horrible back in that era. The point of these reunions are to give these people, in particular, a common ground to remember and teach others about the horrible lifestyle which they use to live. If an individual, group, or society cannot learn from their past, then the horrors of any time in history are bound to be repeated.

36

 Apr 29, 2010 at 01:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

what is the purpose of these kind of things?

To remind the world. Everytime a group or groups of survivors meet, it keeps the memory of the Holocaust alive.

37

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