web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Saving Jewish Children After The Holocaust


My father, Chaskel Tydor, was among the Jewish prisoners liberated in the Nazi camp of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. Born to a chassidic family in Bochnia, Poland in 1903, the year Orville Wright first successfully flew an aircraft at Kitty Hawk, he had grown up in Germany where his family had fled at the outbreak of the First World War, marrying and raising a family.

In September 1939 he was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Buchenwald, from there to Auschwitz, and finally back to Buchenwald where he worked as a slave laborer for the Germans until being liberated by the American army. After the liberation, he helped found Kibbutz Buchenwald, the first pioneering kibbutz established among the survivors in liberated Germany, and brought them to Palestine in September 1945.

Before that, however, my father assisted in organizing an operation that was to have a long lasting impact on hundreds of young survivors – their transfer from Buchenwald to France and Switzerland.

When Buchenwald was liberated, the American troops found approximately 1,000 Jewish children hidden in the camp. Chaskel, along with a small group of survivors, had been helping to care for them after liberation.

Turning to two American chaplains who had reached the camp with the liberating forces, Rabbis Robert Marcus and Herschel Schacter, he and a few other older survivors urged that the children be removed from the camp as soon as possible so that they could begin to recover in more normal surroundings.

Rabbis Marcus and Schacter contacted the Geneva office of the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants), a European Jewish relief organization, and arranged for groups of children to be moved to Switzerland and France. The group going to France accompanied by Rabbi Marcus left without great bureaucratic difficulty; among its members was the sixteen-year-old Elie Wiesel who had lost his father in Buchenwald shortly before the liberation.

When it came to the Swiss group the situation became somewhat more complicated. Sometime in May, representatives of the Swiss Red Cross arrived in Buchenwald and announced they would be taking 500 youngsters up to the age of sixteen for a temporary period in order to be schooled or educated for a profession.

Chaskel knew they did not have that many Jewish children to be sent from Buchenwald and therefore planned to include as many older teenagers as possible and even a few slight-looking men in their early twenties who needed urgent medical care. The Swiss, however, had planned for every eventuality.

Chaskel recalled wryly: “Just as the Swiss were not particularly hospitable to Jewish refugees during the war, now they decided to use all of their Swiss precision and love of order and regulations in order to make it difficult for the young survivors to find refuge there after the war.”

The Swiss representatives decided upon a selection process to ensure that no survivors over sixteen would be included in the group. All children were to undergo a medical exam by a French Red Cross doctor and a Swiss Red Cross nurse. After they would be approved as being under sixteen and in decent health (“And how exactly could anyone be in decent health in Buchenwald in May 1945?” my father heatedly asked), each child would receive a card signed by the doctor and assigned a number.

Only children with signed cards and numbers would be allowed to board the train to Switzerland. If there would not be enough Jewish children, the Swiss nurse stated, she would compensate for the missing numbers with Ukrainian children from a nearby camp.

My father recalled how he and Rabbi Schacter found a solution to the problem. “In a very courageous way a number of these registry cards ‘disappeared’ from the Red Cross office courtesy of the good offices of Rabbi Schacter’s driver and myself after the Rabbi had made sure to find the key to the office. I knew what the cards looked like and found some in the room. Rabbi Schacter had obtained a red pen because the doctor had signed the cards with a red pen, and I practiced his signature until I had it perfect.

“All night long we sat in the office and made out Red Cross cards which I signed with the doctor’s name until we filled the quota of 500. We put in names of young men far beyond sixteen and even those over twenty who looked youngish and we decided to take a chance. It was a good night’s work.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Saving Jewish Children After The Holocaust”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Amazon drone delivers to the door..
Drone Found on White House Lawn
Latest Indepth Stories
British Flag

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Golan map

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Social Media pic

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Middle-East-map

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:

“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”

Despite the 2005 Koby Mandell Act no Palestinian implicated in harming an American has been charged

More Articles from Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

In the summer of 1993, shortly before I was to participate in an international conference on the concept of the hero in Jewish history, I began researching how Israeli society had perpetuated the memory of the Yishuv (Jewish community in pre-state Israel) parachutists from World War II.

There are only a handful of mitzvot about which the Torah hints to their reward and even fewer about which we are told precisely what the reward will be. One of these is kibbud av va’em, honoring our parents, the fifth of the Ten Commandments given at Sinai.

Various types of fruit cross our doorstep during the course of the Jewish year. But for me, the symbol of Judaism is the apple. Not the Rosh Hashanah apple dipped in honey but the one I learned about from my father, which began a chain of events that became a lesson of faith during the darkness of the Nazi years.

“I was arrested by the Gestapo on the 9th of September 1939, and taken out of the house to a prison in Frankfurt a/M. There I met quite a number of people in the same situation who had been arrested in and around Frankfurt and they knew as little as I did about what was happening, except that we have been arrested by the Gestapo.”

My father, Chaskel Tydor, was among the Jewish prisoners liberated in the Nazi camp of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. Born to a chassidic family in Bochnia, Poland in 1903, the year Orville Wright first successfully flew an aircraft at Kitty Hawk, he had grown up in Germany where his family had fled at the outbreak of the First World War, marrying and raising a family.

Passover is a festival of freedom, chag hageulah, when we remember our deliverance from slavery in Egypt. For my father, Chaskel Tydor, Passover was also a reminder of the slavery he experienced during his lifetime – of his five and a half years in the Nazi camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/saving-jewish-children-after-the-holocaust/2009/04/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: