The Fried Children
Before the Nazi invasion these children, Shloimele, Moshe and Tova-Elka, led a happy life with their parents Yehoshua and Jortse Markovitz Fried. Here they are posing outside in Veliki Palad.
They were Jewish, and therefore – under Hitler‘s rule with murder, violence and terror – they were three of the six million men, women, and children murdered by the Nazis.
All three were deported and gassed in the death camp Auschwitz.
Auschwitz became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European Jews were killed. After an experimental gassing there in September 1941 of 850 malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder became a daily routine.
Extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with several millions eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning …
A little Jewish boy, Lolush Gerstner, rides his tricycle down a street in Krakow. the third largest city in Poland with 60,000 Jewish citizens.
The Gerstner family’s feelings of security collapsed, however, when the Nazis stormed into the country and took control of Krakow, on September 6, 1939.
Extremely harsh anti-Jewish measures were immediately put into action. The Nazis forced the Jews into the newly established ghetto and brutality accelerated with confiscation of Jewish property, personal humiliations, deprivations of every sort, forced labor, and deportation to the KZ camps. The Nazis finally liquidated the Krakow ghetto March, 1943.
Lolush Gerstner was later killed in Auschwitz.
At Auschwitz children were often killed upon arrival. Near the end of the war, in order to cut expenses and save gas, cost-accountant considerations led to an order to place living children directly into the ovens or throw them into open burning pits.
Jiri Mautner was born September 8, 1925, in Prague, the son of Zigmund Mautner and Hedvika Mautnerova.
After the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia and the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, the family was trapped in Prague.
During World War 2 Jiri Mautner perished in Theresienstadt or Auschwitz with his parents and siblings.
An SS officer with conscience, Kurt Gerstein, witnessed the mass gassing and the entire destruction process of the Jews. He was determined to expose what he knew to the world to stop the atrocities. He later recalled:
“The following morning, a little before seven there was an announcement: ‘The first train will arrive in ten minutes!’ A few minutes later a train arrived from Lemberg: 45 cars with more than 6,000 people, Two hundred Ukrainians assigned to this work flung open the doors and drove the Jews out of the cars with leather whips.
A loud speaker gave instructions: ‘Strip, even artificial limbs and glasses. Hand all money and valuables in at the ‘valuables window.’ Women and young girls are to have their hair cut in the ‘barber’s hut.” (An SS Unterfuehrer told me: ‘From that they make something special for submarine crews.’)
Then the march began. Barbed wire on both sides, in the rear two dozen Ukrainians with rifles. They drew near. Wirth and I found ourselves in front of the death chambers. Stark naked men, women, children, and cripples passed by …
Twenty-five minutes passed. You could see through the window that many were already dead, for an electric light illuminated the interior of the room. All were dead after thirty-two minutes!”