Monday, August 20, 2007

A Call for Assistance from our "Good Neighbors" in Radziejow.

This site is dedicated to the Jews of Radziejow. The townsfolk of Radziejow has not seen it fit to set up a memorial or a museum to their slaughtered Jewish Community. Therefore, this website, for the time being, is a virtual museum to the destroyed Jewish community. We ask our "good neighbors" that do not associate with the past and current anti-semitic element of Radziejow to scan and send any pictures and documents pertaining to the Jews living in Radziejow prior to World War II and during World War II. Please send these documents to Likewise, please forward pictures and documents of the Jewish Cemetery along with pictures of any monuments and headstones that may be found discarded in fields, or used as raw materials for walls and sidewalks. Also, please send pictures of the interior and exterior of 7 Rynek Street. Any such assistance will at least serve as a partial atonement for the ongoing tragedy of the community.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Official Nazi List of the Jews Forced to Live in Radziejow's Ghetto!

A list of those Jews confined to Radziejow's Jewish Ghetto established by the Nazi in 1940 has the entries of my family members. Go to page 5, numbers 386 to 392 and you will find the names of my Father, Binem, my Grandfather, Shimon, my aunts, Gutcha and Malka, and uncles, Manas, Azriel and Shmuel. The Ghetto lasted for approximately one year. Then it was liquidated. Everyone was sent to Chelmo Extermination Camp. Within a week the people on the list were murdered in gas trucks. Only two of my family members on this list were not slaughtered by the Nazis, my Father and Grandfather. My Father, was sent to a labor camp prior to the final liquidation of the Ghetto that took place in April of 1941. He eventually escaped the labor camp and was on the run the entire war. My Grandfather, died of "natural causes". Those causes being that he was ill, a German doctor examined him, gave him an injection "to help", and he died the following day.
This historic document is a reminder to today's citizens of Radziejow that you cannot erase history. Apparently, some of your citizens tried. They took down our Mizuzahs that adorned every Jewish doorpost, removed the monuments in the cemetery to make the Jewish property look like an ordinary field, threw away all the Jewish books, melted down the silver of our precious Jewish Menorahs and Shabbat Candle Sticks, etc... . But alas, you have failed. There remains evidence of the Jewish community of Radziejow. The Neuman family is dedicated to preserving the memories of all of our landsman, our fellow Jews, that lived in this once vibrant Jewish community.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Father - Holocaust Survivor - My Hero!

How does one watch ones entire family slaughtered, ones property stolen, one being treated like a mouse in a dog pound, one experiencing the very community where one has lived, seemingly forever, now completely destroyed, one be labeled persona non grata in ones very own house, and one survive extermination only to find that ones own neighbors are planning ones own murder. That is what my Father, may he rest in peace, experienced in his short life on this planet. Despite all of this, he married and had children.
As a child I would watch my father sleep with his legs moving in churning motion. My mother would explain that he was running in his sleep from the Nazis and Poles. My father had the courage to have children, knowing that just a short time ago he witnessed his nephews and nieces murdered. Amazingly, knowing what he knew, he still chose to have children. His mind was always returning to the nightmare of his days in Poland, spending four years actually running and hiding to survive.
My Father is my hero, because if I was forced to experience his pains, I don't believe that I would have been able to move on with my life. Yes, if I was my father then I would never be born. The courage my Father displayed ranks him with the bravest men ever to live.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Visit With Those That Remember.

This past weekend I met with three survivors from Radziejow. Three honorable, successful Jews living in Canada. I shall not mention their names and the names of my hosts because I forgot to ask their permission to do so. We met at the house of the daughter of a now deceased former survivor of Radziejow. Both she and her husband graciously hosted myself and my wife as I interviewed the survivors.
All live with the memories of how their world was crushed by the Nazis. They remember the antisemitism they experienced in school, from their teachers and their classmates. They remember how the Poles of Radziejow stole the property of the Jews after the Jews were sent to be gassed. They spoke passionately of life in Radziejow. The shops, the people, the deli named the Flower, the town officials, the Rabbi, the history of the Shul, etc... . All three survived as result of G-d's personal intervention. After the War, they returned to Radziejow. They shockingly found that they were not welcomed. They were informed that they could reclaim their property because all Jewish property was now the property of those that stole it.
I do not comprehend the logic in stealing other peoples property. Even if one does not like an individual or group, a moral person knows that this does not give a person license to steal someone's property. I would hope that the Priest in charge of the Church, yes the church that can be viewed in the posted picture of Radziejow, that is only a block away from the Neumans' building, would have told his flock that the property belongs to someone else and we must hold it in trust until the rightful owners reclaim the property. One would think that the Church leaders would have made this a priority, since they were either willing or unwilling accomplices in the gathering of Jews in that very house of worship for the transport of their townfolk to Chelmo, the extermination camp.
The survivors told me about my Grandfather, Shimon Neuman. They spoke in awe as they explained that he was a highly respected citizen in Radziejow. He was a pious man, revered by both the Jews and the Gentiles. He was the head of the Jewish Burial Society of Radziejow. He was the most honest Jew in town and therefore the Jewish Community Court would always choose him to hold all disputed monies until the Court resolved the case. My Grandfather, may he rest in peace, lived a Torah life twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When the Jewish Congregation delegated a congregant to lead prayers during the most holy ceremony Nilah, the last chance prayers of Appeal for Jews to have G-d recind negative decrees for Jews in the coming year, on the most holy day, Yom Kippur, my Grandfather was honored with the responsibility.
Yes every citizen in Radziejow trusted my Grandfather as an honest merchant and a holy man. How can the citizens of Radziejow ever hope to be forgiven by G-d for their actions towards the Jews before, during and after the Holocaust, until they do what is right and return the Neuman's property?