Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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9 Tammuz 5759 - June 23, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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My Experiences in Auschwitz
by Erika (Yittel) Rothschild, o'h -- 1925- 1999

The material included here displays the dignity and power of emunas Yisroel as it confronted the extremes of horror and degradation. It contains material that is very moving.

Readers are cautioned about reading this article on Shabbos. On the one hand, it discusses events and experiences that are painful to read. On the other, its real message is one of one of emunah and hope. Competent halachic guidance should be sought before reading it on Shabbos. It is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the upcoming period of troubles that begins with Shiva Asar BeTammuz.

A Biographical Note

Mrs. Erika (Yittel) Rothschild passed away a month ago on 15 Sivan. She was born Erika Yittel Bock in the winter of 1925/5685 in the city of Pressburg in Bratislava, a city renowned for its Torah scholars.

Erika's mother Gittel-Gisela Bock (nee Herzog) o"h, had her seat removed from her place in shul so as not to sit down when talking to Hashem. She also fasted each Monday and Thursday. It was in this atmosphere that her daughter Erika was brought up, which undoubtedly gave her the roots in bitochon and emunah for the many hardships that she encountered in her life.

Young Erika, having barely reached bas mitzvah age, was unlikely to be accepted in the new Beis Yaakov School in Tapoltchan designed for older girls. Yet to everyone's surprise, she passed the difficult entry test and was admitted. Here she began her lifelong contact and warm friendship with Rebbetzin Tzila Orlean o'h (who later married HaRav Elchonon Sorotzkin).

During the Nazi suppression in the l940s, she was barred from attending high school and lived for one year, together with her younger sister, in hiding at acquaintances of her parents.

As war clouds loomed and the Nazis closed in on Pressburg, Gisela Bock felt that Czechoslovakia was not a safe place for her daughters. She presented a large sum of money to a non- Jewish neighbor, a long-standing family friend, to drive her two daughters across the border to occupied Hungary. To the great horror of Erika and her younger sister Mimi, the neighbor drove them straight into the hands of the dreaded Gestapo at the border.

That was just the beginning of their pain and suffering. They were taken from jail to jail in Hungary until they were finally transported to the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz. Here the two sisters were separated. Erika was assigned to sort the personal belongings of the gassed victims.

In Auschwitz, Erika showed her true noble spirit of bitachon and emunah Hashem. Erika was the one who led the seder in the dark of the night in the crowded barracks; she was the one who cried Ovinu Malkeinu on Yom Kippur, risking her life to keep up our precious tradition.

One day, Erika saw a shaven, almost-unrecognizable face in the barrack of those condemned to death. To her shock and horror it was her younger sister Mimi. Erika immediately contacted the "white angel of Auschwitz," her close friend and teacher Tzila Orlean, who managed to rescue her sister.

After going through several other concentration camps and surviving the infamous death march, Erika Bock was liberated through the Swedish Red Cross and brought to Sweden. She was then asked to come to Copenhagen to teach at the Machzikei Hadass. Here she got to know HaRav Voli Jakobson zt"l who asked her to give some shiurim in Lidingo to strengthen the war- torn girls.

She met David Rothschild in Denmark. He is a man who had a tradition of yashrus and kindness. They married in 1948. Together they built a home in Zurich which was famous worldwide for its chesed and tzedokoh, being visited by people from all over the world in need of help.

The Rothschild family was famous throughout Switzerland for the wisdom and honesty of their father, Hechover Joseph Rothschild. He was the rosh hakohol for many years.

Throughout her life, Erika Rothschild supported her husband, Hechover R' David Rothschild, in his continuous askonus on behalf of the klal. Whether as vice head of the SIG (Board of Swiss Jewish Representatives), the Jewish Day School, or as rosh hakohol or other numerous organizations benefiting from his constant klal work -- his wife Erika was always a real ezer knegdo.

A short while after the war the Jews behind the Iron Curtain and Eastern Europe suffered poverty under Communist rule. On erev Pesach, dressed in her Yom Tov best, Erika used to make her way to clothing factories to ask for clothes for the Russian Jews. Erika believed that if she made the effort on erev Pesach, it would make a special impression -- and it most definitely did. She sent food packages, clothes and all the basics to Jews in Russia with paid registered post to ensure the parcels would arrive. Erika was a "one woman" organization and due to her efforts, an organization was set up for the Russians that eventually developed into an international organization.

Shabbos was a time of joy, an opportunity to make others happy. The large Shabbos table of the Rothschild home was graced by rabbonim and roshei yeshivos, poor people, visitors who had no place to go, and the weekly regulars who came for years being treated as family members with much respect.

Erika's joy was seeing someone else happy and she went to extremes to achieve her aims. Together with her husband, they headed the Mendelheim, the old age home in Zurich. They reformed it completely making a full time program for the elderly to occupy their time. Not only did they visit and inquire about each and every patient, they often spent Shabbosos there. It is not surprising that people loved them dearly.

And the elderly were not the only people they visited. The ill and sick in hospitals and at home were given warmth and chizuk. She cared for others with a rare passion and love. The non-Jewish asylum had a few Jewish patients whom no one visited. Erika made a special effort to help these poor people with love, warmth and consideration.

Erika tried to give everyone what they needed privately. She did not believe in publicizing her activities. Everyone loved and respected her. Even the current President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreyfus, admired her and frequently contacted her. She involved herself in everyone's problems and lives, enjoying their happy moments and sharing their sorrows.

In her last years, Erika Rothschild became famous around Switzerland for her TV and radio broadcasts and many public lectures that she gave about her experiences and the nissim she experienced during the Holocaust. She was encouraged to speak by rabbonim, and especially HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik zt"l whom she consulted frequently. Through her lectures she was mekadesh sheim Shomayim.

She was an expert orator who moved every audience to tears. Just five weeks before her petirah she gave a huge lecture in front of hundreds of university students in Lucerne, being moser nefesh with her great pains to be mekadesh sheim Shomayim. Her motto in life "Yisroel betach BeHashem" -- "Israel, trust in G-d," emanated from her deep conviction and conveys a clear message to one and all: never to falter or despair but to strive to serve Hashem with trust and courage and devotion.

Mrs. Erika Yittel Rothschild will be sorely missed by everybody who came into contact with her.

The following is a translation by Mr. Walter Loewenthal of New York of an original radio interview with Mrs. Rothschild, originally broadcast in Switzerland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. The reader should bear in mind that the interview was given on Swiss National Radio and therefore directed at the general public. When speaking to a heimishe audience, her message of emunoh and bitochon caused a great his'orerus. Powerful and moving, yet never losing its human and specifically Jewish dignity in the face of even inhuman suffering, nothing could better convey her message in life than her own words.

SR (Swiss Radio): "Mrs. Rothschild, tomorrow [January 27, 1995] is the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian troops. What recollections come to the fore when you think of Auschwitz?"

ER: "I am sad, I am disturbed by the memories of the inhuman events which are reawakened in me. I see the crematorium before me, the chimney, the blood red flames which reach out to heaven in the middle of the night as if they were saying that the blood of the innocent is called up to the heavens. I see this in front of me. I am very disturbed and feel great anguish and sorrow. My old wound is again torn open. It is bleeding again, and I can only feel that I can forgive, but I cannot forget."

SR: "You did not speak of Auschwitz for 50 years, why?"

ER: "I couldn't. It hurts me too much, and I pushed it into the deep recesses of my mind. It would have evoked too many hurtful events and memories."

SR: "Was there a specific reason why, after 50 years, you decided to speak out?"

ER: "I believe the basic reason was my being confined for some time recently in the hospital after an accident. One day I had rolled up the sleeves of my hospital gown and a very nice nurse saw the tattoo "52587" on my arm. She said to me, `Mrs. Rothschild, what an excellent idea to have your telephone number on your arm. If you don't remember your number you must merely look at your arm and there is your number.'

"I can only tell you that I was so shocked, I could not answer her. I was totally speechless. The nurse left my bedside, and the thought of this statement troubled me for many hours. `Is it possible,' I asked myself, `is it possible that an educated young person, who attended nursing school in Switzerland, was unaware of the murder of six million Jews?'

"After several hours the head nurse came to inquire after my well-being. I said, `OK.' Then she asked, `Is there anything I can do for you?' I said, `No, thank you.' And then the nurse asked me, `Is there something troubling you, Mrs. Rothschild?' `No,' I replied, `I had a little shock,' and I recounted the original conversation with the young nurse.

"The head nurse said nothing. However, some time later she again came to me, and we spoke about it. She said it is important for the hospital to be aware of Judaism, the history and so on, as so many of their patients are Jewish, and she asked if I would be prepared to help them towards achieving this goal. And thus I delivered a lecture which was very well attended by the professors, the doctors, and the staff. Now I do this more often. Recently, I also delivered a talk at the Kantonsspital before a multi-cultural group. This diffuses misunderstanding and builds bridges from man to man, something which is very important."

SR: "Mrs. Rothschild, in the summer of 1944 you came to Auschwitz. Could you please tell us under which circumstances you came to Auschwitz?"

ER: "There came transports of Jews from all of Europe . . . the countries that Hitler had occupied. The Jews came in cattle cars under very bad hygienic conditions which weakened them greatly, and they ate only what they had taken with them from their point of departure. Many came with infants. There were also old and sick people. There were no services during the trips, no food, no toilets, and when we arrived in Auschwitz at the ramp there stood the camp doctor in storm trooper boots with a whip."

SR: "Did you see Mengele on the platform?"

ER: "I don't know whether it was Mengele or Koenig. I only saw backs. The camp doctor . . . it was either Mengele or Koenig. It was the camp doctor, and he stood there with a whip in hand together with an orchestra made up of prisoners. The music was from the old world. There were Jewish musicians and they always had to play music native to that country whence the prisoners came. For example, for the Hungarians a Chardash, for the Greeks other native melodies, and for those from Poland, Polish songs, so that the arrivals were completely put at ease. In fact some were very happy as they were greeted by an orchestra playing familiar music.

"And then suddenly everything went with lightning speed . . . quick, quick . . . the SS with dogs . . . the camp doctor pointed left or right. Right meant death, left meant life. Naturally nobody knew this. On the one side women with children, older people, sick people, or people who appeared different, and they were rushed . . . they went straight to the crematorium with their children. The children with dolls, the elderly, the sick, and the women. When they arrived there they were told to get undressed, their hair was cut off, and then, through a small window the Zyklon was thrown in. The sign said to the showers, but instead there was gas. It is a very tortuous death, to be suffocated.

"I speak about this very calmly, but it was something terrible . . . children died, but adults at times, when too many transports arrived, and there was not enough gas . . . the SS was very economical with the gas so that some individuals were only anesthetized. After this, when they had fallen down in the chamber, they were removed. There were six ovens, and then came the Sonderkommando. These were young men, Jewish prisoners, and they were called SK, Sonderkommando, because they were a special group. After the gassing they pushed the bodies into the ovens. Before the cremations the golden teeth were removed from the bodies. These teeth were sent to Germany in large crates, and the gold recovered. The hair was sent to Germany to the textile industry, and even the ashes of the people burned in the crematorium were saved in huge containers, and they were later converted into soap. The soap was called RJF (reine Jewish fette), camp soap. This was the soap with which we washed ourselves, made from the blood of our families. This is the way it was . . . the arrival in Auschwitz."

SR: "Did you know what stood before you?"

ER: "One generally did not know what to expect. It was also not generally known. For example, in Slovakia the railroad workers said it was not true that we were going to a work camp, but rather that we would be put to death. A few of the railroad men knew what stood before us, but the majority of people did not."

SR: "For example, did you get this information from a railroad worker?"

ER: "No."

SR: "In other words, you arrived in Auschwitz and thought it was a work camp."

ER: "Yes."

SR: "What happened to you personally when you arrived in Auschwitz, Mrs. Rothschild?"

ER: "I was assigned to a group, and from there I came to a Pscheschink."

SR: "What is that?"

ER: "Pscheschink means `a hill' in Polish, and this is where the crematorium was located. The people who worked there were not permitted to return to the main camp so that they could not relate to the general camp population what was happening there. I belonged to a group of women which sorted the possessions taken from the people who had been gassed before being burned in the crematorium. You must imagine that the people I am referring to were those Jews who were deported to Auschwitz, and they figured that their personal effects would be taken from them, but not the clothing which they were wearing or what they carried. These were in effect possessions that could later be used in an emergency. These "emergency possessions" were in the pockets of the dresses, or suits, or overcoats. Often they were souvenirs such as pictures, a prayer book, money, jewelry -- something that one might need at one time in an emergency.

"I was assigned to that work group where all personal effects were sorted. Jewelry to jewelry, money to money, and prayer books to prayer books. My job was to open all pocket books of the women who were gassed. I was on the night shift . . . the night shift for the pitiful who were gassed in the night. And suddenly I became apprehensive."

SR: "Why?"

ER: "I did not know why, suddenly I reached for a prayer book and started to pray, and that really happened very rarely in Auschwitz. I was terribly scared, and my teeth were chattering because of the fear. Later, the two Polish ladies who were my co-workers, also Jewish prisoners, called the foreman whose name was Eli, a Dutchman, and they told him that something is the matter with me. He asked me, and I told him `Eli, I can't go on anymore, and I don't want to go on anymore,' and I was doubled over because of the angst.

"And then he told me, `Look at that oven, there is my wife, there are my two children, and I must continue. So hop to it.'

"But I was still terribly afraid. Sometime later we were brought a number of personal items of a group that had just been gassed, and there I saw a black pocketbook, and I said, `This is my mother's pocketbook.' At that point one of the Polish women said to the other, `Panissa, this woman has become crazy.' And I told them, `I haven't gone crazy, this pocketbook was a gift from my father to my mother.' A black pocketbook with a mother-of-pearl handle.

"As I opened it, the first thing that came to my hand was my picture from my student days, and the post cards addressed to me which she had sent everywhere: to the Gestapo, to the prisons -- which were returned stamped "Undeliverable." One was in Hungarian, because I was also in a Hungarian prison. On these postcards she wrote, `My dear child, for life, never fear, always have faith in G-d.' These were the words which I read after she was gassed. These words stayed with me as a leitmotif for my entire life: never fear, always have faith in G-d. At that point something broke within me which can never be repaired in my life. It was the most terrible thing I could experience."

SR: "Previously you told me that while sorting the personal effects of these murdered people that you suddenly felt the tremendous fear, and then there suddenly appeared your mother's pocketbook. Wasn't fear your constant companion in Auschwitz?"

ER: "No. But I can only speak for myself. One only had fear until one arrived in Auschwitz. The Jews of Europe had the fear of being deported to Auschwitz, but when one was already there, there was no more fear. One was so preoccupied with death, which was always nearby, that one no longer had fear. I did have that great feeling of fear at that one moment. It was almost supernatural or however you wish to understand this, only in that moment that my mother was gassed did I have this overwhelming feeling of fear, even though we had already been separated for some years."

SR: "Was there a solidarity amongst the prisoners? Were you able to give yourselves mutual support?"

ER: "There was a certain solidarity. The prisoners were very decent among themselves. I must say we were decent amongst ourselves. I have a friend who lives in Basel (the late Rebbitzen E. Snyders, o'h), and she gave an old lady that little piece of bread that we got, and she herself went hungry. We helped each other. We were decent amongst each other. We were all in the same boat. We respected each other irrespective of nationality whether Greek, Hungarian, Polish, whether formerly a diplomat or a simple peasant woman. We were all Jews in one boat."

SR: "Were there also tensions, I am thinking now about tensions brought about by the close crowded living conditions, the needs, the desperation, and the hunger?"

ER: "I must say I really never encountered the tensions. I was very much impressed, and I am still impressed today about the dignity of the people, and how people were able to live under these conditions. I recall, I was still a very young prisoner, and there were isolation barracks in Birkenau. That was the name of the camp where one resided, even though one worked in Auschwitz. In Birkenau there were barracks.

"I recall there was once a total confinement to barracks. It was late at night, and under threat of death one was not permitted to leave the barracks. I was young, and still somewhat inquisitive, and daring. I thought `What is happening outside so that all the women are forbidden to leave the barracks?' It was night and I sneaked from one barrack to another until I came to the camp road. This was a street which had on both sides barbed wire, and low and behold there stood women in rows of ten.

"In shirts, decrepit, without shoes, naked, and they stood next to each other. And these were the women who were collected from one group barrack named Kratzeblock. This barracks was for women, or girls, who were already weak, sick, or unacceptable to the SS, this was the barracks to which they were sent. This barracks was a collection point until it was full, and then the women were sent to the crematorium to be gassed.

"The women stood there. It was ghostly, dark, only the glaring lights near the barbed wire. They all knew where they were going. It was a quiet and dignified setting. They didn't cry out, they didn't shed tears, and some lips were moving in prayer. After some time the trucks came and the women were herded into the trucks by dogs, and later they would be unloaded at the crematorium to be gassed. You asked whether there was panic. I can only tell you that dignity ruled."

SR: "Mrs. Rothschild, after what you lived through and witnessed in Auschwitz, how is that you did not give up hope? What kind of survival strategy did you develop for yourself?"

ER: "As I look back it was my faith that gave me the strength. An inner strength to overcome anything. I believed, and I hoped, and I knew that things would end well."

SR: "Did you truly believe this despite everything that you witnessed and experienced?"

ER: "Yes. You see, I am often asked, `How could you as a religious person persevere? You surely must have said to yourself that you were abandoned!'

"To this question I can tell you that it is not so. When one believes, there is no question, and if one questions, there is no belief. I had unconditional belief and faith, and have it still to this day. And I am tremendously grateful for this inner strength which emanates from this belief."

SR: "But besides this faith there was also a period when you were in Auschwitz when there was for you a kind of fantasy world. You told me before that you dreamt about a farmstead?"

ER: "Yes, perhaps it was childish, but when I closed my eyes I saw in front of me this farmstead with a goat and with chickens, and myself there in a peaceful oasis to where I would gladly have escaped because of all the bad things around me."

SR: "And this was your recurrent dream?"

ER: "No. I don't want to say that this was so, but the dream was always there. But always with me was my faith until the end."

SR: "I want to return one more time to this point. I am trying to imagine a young girl with joix de vivre, with future plans -- but in Auschwitz. During the weeks, and the months, did you ever feel that G-d and the world -- at least the world -- deserted you?"

ER: "Never. Because we thought that the world did not know what was going on. The world was not focused on our plight. Perhaps individuals knew, but we were sure that the Jews on the outside and the peoples on the outside, at least the civilized ones, did not know anything of what was going on in Auschwitz. I have proof of this.

"In Auschwitz there was a young girl, perhaps a little bit older than I. Her name was Mala. Mala was Belgian, and she was privileged to move from camp to camp as a messenger, without an SS escort. She was charming, she was attractive, she was intelligent, she was well-liked even by the SS, and she had the privilege of moving freely. She saw the finest food of the SS, and she saw how the prisoners had to serve them. She saw the hunger and the suffering in the camp. She saw the prisoners, how they suffered severe pain, because the SS undertook medical experiments with them. And Mala thought, `I must do something, that this becomes known to the world, so that we will be rescued from what is happening here in Auschwitz.'

"She resolved to tell this to the world by escaping. She procured for herself an SS uniform, and in this uniform she went from camp to camp until she was out. At the evening count they found that Mala was missing. The sirens wailed all night. This was to inform neighboring SS stations that a prisoner had escaped. I think it was two days later that Mala was found in a ditch. She had broken her foot and couldn't go on.

"We, all the women of the camp, had to appear at the huge parade ground, and they brought Mala before us in a cart, ghostly pale. At this point the female camp commandant said, `In our manual we are ordered that a prisoner who flees is to be put to death.'

"An SS man stood next to Mala and in front of all of us she raised her hand and hit him twice and said, `One time in my life I want to show it to you, and I beg you, I die for you, for you sisters I will die. Do not forget Auschwitz! Do not forget what happened here! Always think of it. I will be glad to die for you.'

"They took her away, to be gassed in the crematorium. That was Mala the messenger. That was the incident that gave me the desire and I felt it is my duty to speak out. I must. Mala died for all of us. That must not be forgotten, not by today's, nor by tomorrow's generations."

SR: "Mrs. Rothschild, Auschwitz was not the last stop during your incarceration. You did not witness the liberation of Auschwitz but rather you were transported to various locations. Could you please picture to us what happened to you?"

ER: "In was in various camps, I was in Porta, an underground munitions factory. I was in various other camps in Nider Schlesien until I came to Elbgau near Hamburg. That was particularly terrible.

"We were all already quite weakened. We had nothing to eat and at that point I noticed that I had lost all my strength. One time in Elbgau in the count-assembly the SS said to me, `Come forward from back there.' I had previously pinched my cheeks so that I would have some color. I came to the front and she said to me, `Take off your shoes.' I said to her, `But Kommandant, I am healthy! Completely healthy.' And then she said to her colleague `Don't let her tell you any fairy tales.'

"I will never forget that statement because it was my death sentence. They took away my shoes, and taking away one's shoes meant death. One cannot walk without shoes. One is lost. I was lying in a corner with high temperature without shoes, and suddenly there came another prisoner. I don't know who she was, and I never saw her again. I only saw that her head was shaved and she had my shoes, and she said to me, `I stole them for you.' She saved me.

"After this came another large transport. We were transported back and forth apparently without a plan. On one side were the Russians and the other side the Americans, and the Germans in no way wanted us freed. We were transported about aimlessly. This was almost the worst part of my imprisonment."

SR: "How long did this go on?"

ER: "I can't say anymore today but at that time it seemed endlessly long to me. We had no food, and nothing to drink. Once a day the freight cars were opened so we could relieve ourselves, and I remember that I ate grass, as did the others, because we were so hungry. And so it went: back and forth in the most terrible manner. We only spoke day and night about food and about bread. One heard a constant refrain in all languages, again and again, a call for bread. Many became crazed by the hunger. It was indescribable.

"And suddenly one day the SS again opened the freight cars, and there were many, many freight cars, and we thought that this was our usual pause for stretching. And lo and behold the doors stayed open, and the SS and their dogs just walked away! We didn't dare to move; we thought that they would come back. We were very unsure as to what had happened, and we were very much afraid of this turn of events.

"Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, came people from the Red Cross and they said to us, `You are liberated, you are liberated.' This was at the German-Danish border. And we could only cry out, `Food, food, food.'

"And they came to us and they had cans filled with heavy Danish cream. They brought this nourishing porridge, with sugar and cream. And we threw ourselves (at the food) and drank as much as we could of this thick Danish porridge.

"Later that day we were brought to a camp with barracks and that was a terrible night because many of the girls' hunger- starved systems -- their stomachs and intestinal tracts -- were unable to absorb this rich, nutritious food of which we all ate so much. It was a terrible night, and many of the girls died during that night. The odors were terrible in the barracks.

"Before daybreak, I went outdoors and there I saw a Red Cross worker who lowered a flag to half mast. And I asked him in English, `What are you doing?' And he replied, `Many people died just now, and when a person dies there is mourning.'

"And then I became aware that we are humans and that we had again become people."

SR: "Mrs. Rothschild, you came to Switzerland after the war, and you were married here in Zurich, and you came into a country whose refugee policies during the Second World War were contrary to the often quoted humanitarian traditions of this country. Didn't it bother you to settle here?"

ER: "Not really. I was so happy. I had a home, and I had a wonderful, understanding husband who supported me in all facets of life including, probably, some of my peculiarities which one surely can attribute to my imprisonment in concentration camp, and he still stands at my side to this day. Then G-d gave us two daughters. This was a peaceful country. I was overjoyed with my life. We were starting our life together, and I was just overjoyed with what I had. And I learned to appreciate and love Switzerland to this day."

SR: "After the Second World War all those who survived the Holocaust, and those who survived the war, hoped for a future without war, without intolerance, without racial hate. You also?"

ER: "Yes, absolutely. We thought that this would never be repeated. We, the survivors of Auschwitz, thought that when the world hears about the events and the misdeeds in the various concentration camps that this would never be forgotten, and that the lesson would have been learned and this would never be repeated."

SR: "Today, after fifty years, do you believe that we really learned something from Auschwitz?"

ER: "Regrettably, I must say that who would have thought that refugee shelters in Switzerland would be torched. Who would have thought that neo-fascism is again awakening, that intolerance, racial hate, and antisemitism would start again? Today the word to all of us is, `Watch the beginnings, look it is high time.' In France there is a Le Pen, in Austria there is Haider, in Germany and Switzerland the negating liars about Auschwitz and the Holocaust are growing like mushrooms from the ground.

"For this reason our call in this hour to all of us is: `Beware of the beginning because the honor and respect of man is endangered.' Show communal courage, feel as if you too are affected because only this will make you watchful.

"We can say that Switzerland is humanitarian but we have seen from the past that no matter how humanitarian a country is, it is not a guarantee that it will continue as before, and that an Auschwitz will not repeat itself. From humanitarianism to national socialism is only a small step to beastly events. Therefore `Be aware' is a saying to all of us. `We must not forget."

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