Early school years in Radom -- Father's family in Staszow -- Gymnasium and university years -- September 1, 1939 -- Walowa street ghetto -- How the city of Radom died -- Selections for the death camps -- Kromolowsky factory -- Business at Kromolowsky -- Isaac -- The ghetto reduced -- Winter 1942-43 -- "Exchange" of intellectuals -- Letters -- Szkolna -- Auschwitz -- Vaihingen -- Schoemberg -- First day -- Order -- Lester -- Lying with the dead -- Hospital in Schoemberg -- Transports -- Spaichingen -- Liberation -- Hospital in Fussen -- Feldafing -- Return to Radom -- Helen -- Munich -- Pasadena -- Broken silence -- Return to the ruins -- Gates of tomorrow.
Joseph Freeman (b. 1915) endured the Holocaust from the German invasion of Poland to the liberation of Europe. He immigrated to the USA shortly after the end of the war.
In 1950, Freeman lived in Munich with his wife and two children, enjoying ``a beautiful home, a good business, and plenty of money.'' But he also lived with a past. As his wife said, ``there's no future here for either us or our children.... I would die if our daughters were to have German friends and marry Germans whose parents could be murderers of our loved ones.'' So in 1951, he and his family emigrated to the United States. Thirty-five years later, after a lecture at the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, Freeman was encouraged to set down his account of the Holocaust. Following a sketchy unsatisfying review of his early life in Poland before the war, he moves on to describe his experiences under the Nazis. They are by now familiar but no less affecting for it: his mother and sister were sent east to death camps from which they would never return; his father and crippled brother were killed immediately; he himself was marched to Auschwitz and later became a slave laborer inside Germany. Freeman's recollections of bravery and acts of kindness give us hope; after an SS labor camp guard attacked him with a knife, nearly severing his head, Freeman crawled to the hospital where a Polish medical student hid him in the room for the dead, then nursed him back to health. Most memorable was Freeman's resolve to survive as a human being at a time when ``a small pot of water, a piece of bread, these equalled a person's life.'' (Oct.)
"I have read Joseph Freeman's testimony and remain moved by its painful and powerful message." -Elle Welsel, Nobel Laureate and author of Night "With my last bit of strength, I tried to rise, but again passed out... opening my eyes I found an American soldier over me. His face was sweaty, his eyes filled with tears. I made a noise and he laughed... His words still ring in my ears, 'Hey, fellas, here's one more still alive.'" -from the chapter Liberation