Holocaust Survivor Edith Cord – Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia:


[Music] I’m here because not because I
like to dwell on evil which this is but
because I really care about all of you I
care about America I care about
freedom I care about happiness fulfillment opportunity and that’s why I
talk about this because it’s not enough to
remember but if we don’t learn the
lessons of the past so without much adieu the
pictures you are looking at on the right
I was interviewed on 60 minutes by
Anderson Cooper because he wanted to see
my fake birth certificate which you will
see it’s on the PowerPoint and the
left is the cover of my book so I’ll get
there with these gadgets yet what I
what I want to emphasize is that the
Holocaust didn’t just happen it was the
result of bad ideas destructive ideas
harmful ideas in the same way as the
blessings we have in this country the
freedom we enjoy the incredibly
unparalleled standard of living we enjoy is
the result of good ideas so I’m
going to with your indulgence I’m going
to trace where do these ideas come from
both the good and the bad we have to go back to ancient
Greece and Rome more than two thousand
years as you know the idea of self-government
started in Greece thank you why do okay it’s the same way
and Rome developed a body of law but
still people still lived by that on the
that’s on the secular side on the spiritual
side you have to go back more than 2,000
years to Judaism which gave us a code of
ethics don’t lie don’t steal don’t go
around murdering people don’t be jealous of what your
neighbor has and above all do not do unto
others but you wouldn’t have others do
unto you so these are the two pillars
of Western civilization and these
are the two pillars that have given us
this wonderful country with the
freedom and prosperity that we enjoy I have
to laugh sometimes when I think of kids
today they think they’re poor if their
parents can’t buy them the latest
cellphone that’s their idea of or we don’t
have enough money they don’t realize
that they go from climate-controlled
homes the climate-controlled schools
in climate controlled cars do it to
door transportation with stores
bulging with food and merchandise of all
kinds they don’t have a clue of what it’s
like not to have these things so this
what we have is the result of this dual tradition which we call Western civilization moving right along the medieval period I don’t have
time to give you a history lesson but
let’s move on forward to the Renaissance
both the Greek er the greco-roman ideals
and the judeo-christian ideals led to
the Renaissance which is means
rebirth an opening of minds that give us
the great explorations when America was
discovered and it led to the questioning of
the Catholic Church which gave us
the Reformation and together these
trends in the 17th and 18th century
gave us the ideas of the Enlightenment
which are the foundation of our laws of
our constitution now what happened
in German lands and in Prussia they took the wrong walk in the
world they like modernity they liked
science and technology but they wanted
to remain the boss so they veered in the
direction of enlightened despotism you
know what I despotism what is that that’s
what is a tyrant a dictator so that was
that’s true for what was Germany was
Prussia at the time and also washer first
long walk in the world moving right along
to the Renaissance during the 18th in
the 19th century there was a further live organization it was an extension
of the right to vote in England and
France and recognition that ordinary people have something to say remember
your Shakespeare plays is all about aristocrats and kings and
princes and in the 19th century you talk about
ordinary people some of you may have seen
the opera Carmen the main character
is as a young girl who works in a
cigarette factory so no highfalutin people
and her lover is a wonderful of is a
soldier a corporal and the other one is a
as a bullfighter so you are far quite
from the heroes of the Shakespearean tragedies so that was the good
part again Germany took the wrong
fork in the world it went into the direction
of Germany being superior
nationalism a rabid nationalism Deutschland
uber alles was the was the German national
anthem it also went in the direction of glorifying ethnicity this
started in the German romantics were violently
racist anti-semitic and this was a
ideas that continued and so if you go
forward to the Nazi ideology you will see
that these ideas were not invented by
Hitler he inherited them he found them
they were alreadymade so you had the authoritarian tradition you had
a military tradition that goes
back to the 17th and 18th century in Prussia
the father Frederick Frederick the
1st and Frederick the second you had the Romantic period with its rabid nationalism and anti-semitism
and emphasis on ethnicity and you
had a theme of the unification of all german-speaking lands because in
1815 when Napoleon was defeated there was no Germany as we know
it there were 36 separate political
entities and some were large like kingdoms of
Prussia and Bavaria some were small like
the city-states of Hamburg and lubic
and blamin all duchies the size of Luxembourg
and so the one of the themes throughout
the 19th century was the unify all german-speaking lands into one
country and for those of you who don’t
be mokou Germany was not unified into a
single country until 1871 after the franco-prussian war so Germany
as an unified nation is about a
hundred years younger than the United States
it’s hard to believe that doesn’t mean
there was no German identity there was a
German literature and music but as in
is a unified country it didn’t happen until 1871
racism was a 19th century idea I don’t think
I need to belabor that we’ve talked a
lot about that in this country we were not
immune to it and finally another aya German
idea of the 19th century was to colonize
lands to the east which included
Poland the Baltic States and Russia so when
the Nazis invaded Poland then Russia
they were ethnic Germans who sided
with Nazi Germany so they did you know
England and France those two countries were
busy colonizing Africa and the
Americas and and Asia but Germany wanted to
conquer the lands to the east I was in
this 19th century obsession so the next
role model for Hitler was Mussolini after
World War 1 Mussolini started the fascist
party the word fascism comes from the
fascio which was the symbol of the
Nazis part of the fascist party it was made
up of little twigs and the idea was if
you one twig is weak but you will you
bind them together and they become very
strong so that’s the symbol that that’s
the fascio and which gave the name to the
fascist party notice the name of
Mussolini gave himself the name of il duce
which means the leader guess what the
word Fila means to what fula means
leader guess what the guy in North
Korea calls himself the Dear Leader same pattern one of the points
I’m going to make is that the far right
and the far left are exactly the same the ideology may differ but the
methods are exactly the same they both
want power over the people they want
to enslave people and they are
dictators and we’ll see that in more
detail the the Mussolini wanted to emulate
the Roman Empire and you all of you
I’m sure have seen some old movies where
you talk about Hail Caesar well you
remember the certain Nazi salute patterned on
and the same thing with Mussolini and we
talked about the national symbol of the
fascio your textbooks will often tell
you that Hitler bows to power because of
the defeat in World War one and
because of the Great Depression those were the triggers they
were not the root causes you have seen
the root causes the root causes were the
ideas that had been around for a long
time so the triggers were the defeat and
the Treaty we have side wasn’t so
terrible but they built it up as
something awful and so what Hitler did was to
sell to the German people the idea that
the Second World War wasn’t a war of aggression no god forbid we were
just defending ourselves we were
defending we were continuing in other words
it was a continuation of World War I
with the the military’s tradition that
existed in Germany the idea that Germany
could be defeated by Americans of all
people you know Hitler had contempt for
America did you know that because he said
America we have such a mishmash of people
from all over the world he called us
among low people so he had contempt for
Americans Americans can’t fight well we
show him didn’t we so there was an
attempt to look for scapegoats because they
could not take responsibility for
their defeat and the question and inflation
in it and the inflation just made things
worse so who are the scapegoats the
French the British the Americans and of
course the Jews with the long history of anti-semitism in Germany we were
very handy you have to find a
scapegoat here we are if you were really so
powerful how come we were murdered by the millions but as you will see the
truth doesn’t matter it’s all
propaganda so I grew up as you heard in Vienna I
was born in Vienna Here I am with my dad
on the left and my older brother and on the right is my sixth
birthday my father took me to the Potter on
a paper mache horse it’s not a real
horse but I was happy it was a treat for me
to go to the Potter we didn’t have much
money so a trip to the potter that was
always exciting so I look pretty happy
and Here I am with my mom in the middle
she was a big lady and she was very bossy
much too bossy for my good but you know
you don’t choose your parents right on the
Left I am standing in front of the
Danube canal and on the right I am with my
older brother he was five years older
than I he received a camera for his Bar
Mitzvah and so we always had pictures
after that he used to take photographs of
me I was a model you know every time I
had something nice to wear he would
say come on Edith I’ll take a picture
Hitler came to power in January 1933 within
weeks he burnt down the German equivalent
of Congress which is called a lie
stock and the poster was the life stock on inflamed set on fire by the
communist which wasn’t true he himself set
it on fire but it gave him an excuse to put
all the communists into concentration
camps the camps were open as soon as he
came to power and on the bottom it says
trampled communism and shattered social
democracy so he set out his goal he didn’t
hide his intentions but people didn’t
believe that he would really carry them
out on the right that’s just people
watching the nice lack burned down and of
course Congress the German Congress was
never rebuilt which means that he took
upon himself in addition to the
executive he took upon himself legislative
powers and eventually he set up a parallel
court system called the forks
conditional People’s Court which were I can
Google courts parallel to the existing
judicial system in Germany so that was
total control over the entire
population as soon as he came to power again
within weeks he started a boycott
against Jews on the Left boycott against Jews
and he specific stores in that little
town that ought to be boycotted and on the
right you have the German that the
brown shirts standing in front of
Jewish businesses and I challenge you
to fight I’d I dare you to go shop here
what the sign says is defend yourself
don’t buy from Jews why are we defending
himself against Jews however the store
you go in you buy what you need but that’s
not the attitude then they were the book burnings here we are as in an institution of higher learning
and they go into schools libraries
private homes take out the books now why would
they take out books they don’t want
you to know what’s in the books they
only want you to know what they tell you
whether it’s North Korea or Venezuela or
Cuba in Cuba they put librarians in
prison librarians because the
librarians might give you a book that doesn’t
agree with with the Castro brothers
teachings we are not talking Asian history
this is today the lessons are for today
and that’s why I am talking it’s not
because I love to rehash my own personal
painful journey or the pain of the
Holocaust it’s because there are lessons
to be learned today there was a
eugenics program anybody with the
physical or mental disability was murdered
this is a cover of a monthly magazine that
says and the new people and it is
issued by the monthly Journal of the NSDAP
and NSDAP were the initials of the
National Socialist German Workers Party
that’s what the word Nazi stands for
National Socialists issued Deutsche arbeiterpartei okay so I told you the far right
and the far left are the same he called himself socialists so
the Pope objected and the Nazi stopped
but guess what they resumed in secrecy
later on in sanatoriums and what they did
was to either starve patients or expose
them in cold weather they died of pneumonia or give
them lethal injections take your pick
the sad thing is that the Pope when Jews
were being murdered on mass I don’t
remember the voice of the Pope ever being
raised to say to the Nazis stop so 1930s I was a little girl and
I was aware of what was going on in
Nazi Germany because my parents used
to discuss politics they’ve had
good newspapers we lived in small
quarters my parents we were very poor my father was affected by the
depression he lost his business so we were extremely poor we lived in two
tiny rooms there was no TV of course
in those days and I would listen to the conversation it wasn’t much else
to do so I knew the note the names of
the German news newspapers are stoma
their first shall be OBE after and and
and then in 1934 our Chancellor was assassinated and he was forced
to bleed to death by – by Nazi soldiers
who wouldn’t allow a doctor to come
and staunch his wounds and I was six
years old I was shocked how would you
do that my first exposure to Nazi
cruelty so in 1937 my parents decided we
better get out of Vienna because there was
agitated in Vienna to prepare the country
for the invasion by the Nazis by Germany
when you want to create a
dictatorship you first create unrest in the
streets and then the idea was the Hitler
will bring order oh he brought order all
right some order so I don’t know if you can let
me see if I can do this here we go so here
is Austria and there’s Vienna in
the northeast corner so we went from
Vienna to Venice we stopped in Venice
which I fell in love with I’m still in
love with Venice and then and then we
moved to the city of Genoa in the over here
in the northern northern part of Italy
it’s a major Harbor well I was I was
very happy in Genoa my I love the country I love the
climate it was warm and I was cold in
the winter the winter terribly cold it’s a
it’s a continental climate so hot very
hot in the summer very cold in the
winter and and I didn’t have one clothes so
I was always suffering from the cold
in Italy blue skies you know Italians
were nice you’re bubbly people they love
their bambini and my father was making
a living what you’re looking at on
the left is the synagogue which at
the time was brand new it’s a great
temple on the top floor was a was a day school
and I took that my father took that
picture the top right there was a
picture of January they’re probably more
houses now on the hills then they were when
I was there as a kid so this would be
the happiest year of my childhood it
lasted exactly one year from 1937 to
1938 when Hitler marched into Vienna in
March 38 we thought oh god are we smart
we got out in time and if we hadn’t
left him at that point when we did I would
be dead because we didn’t have any money
and if you didn’t have any money you
were stuck in Vienna one of my aunt’s didn’t have any
money and she and her family were sent
to Tunisia and start and from there
to Auschwitz so that was the yeah
January so the Italians Mussolini met
with Hitler in the summer of 1938 to
form the axis and as you as you know the
axis was later joined by Japan and it was
these three countries that America
fought against in World War II so at
that point Mussolini passed the same anti-jewish and racist laws that
existed in Germany my father lost his
job my brother lost his job and we had
to give up our apartment and we moved
into a single room up here in this
house one room for the four of us and we
tried to get out of Europe well America
was the first country to close its doors
but then the rest of the world
closed its doors – there was a conference
in a young more than 30 countries participated and the world
closed its doors to us I think it’s a
reaction to that is causing Americans not to open
its doors at the southern border but
that’s another story I won’t get into
that one so here is a publication by the
fascists after nineteen the sum of 1938
it’s called the defense of the ways
and I don’t know if you can see on the
left is a Roman profile and next to him
is a sword and next to that is a true
a caricature of a Jew next to that is an African that
ladies and gentlemen is racism the
defense of the Aryan race this was a
cartoon of that period showing people get
out get out get out so it says go go go but nowhere
nobody let us in 1938 October France
and England get together with Hitler
because Hitler now wants not only to
keep Austria but he also wants the german-speaking part of
Czechoslovakia well I was reading up on
Chamberlain recently and he did not want war
and he thought Mr. Hitler could
be trusted and so he said ok you
can keep Austria which was annexed to
Germany got a new name it lost we as an independent country ceased to
exist it was called the eastern March the
Ostmark and he also got the
german-speaking part of Czechoslovakia which other
sue Dayton and it will kept saying this was
all in the name of the unification of german-speaking countries
remember the 19th century idea that was his
watch you know and in this Chamberlain and Daladier believed him so they
said okay okay you can have Vienna and you
can have those who date them and
then there will be no war and then the
famous line is Chamberlain goes back to
London and says peace in our time six months after this was signed
Hitler invaded the rest of
Czechoslovakia divided it into two countries
one and the director Mandl Ettore
control and the other one was Slovakia one month later Kristallnacht
the night of broken glass it was a massive
program organized by the German
government where Jews were beaten up stores were
smashed and looted all the synagogues
that were free-standing were burned to the
ground and still the world didn’t say
anything and so the world wouldn’t let us
in this was a turning point so whatever synagogue was
freestanding was burnt to the ground if a
synagogue was in the middle of a city
block they would have had to burn the whole
city block they didn’t want to do
that so they went inside and sacked the
interior this is the main synagogue of
Berlin and you’re looking at it after it
was sacked the synagogue that I used to
visit in Vienna in the site which taught
in Gaza was also in the middle of a city
block so not only did they sack it but
they desecrated it by making it into
a stable just you know this is this is
before the war at the top left and then
they reconstructed one on the bottom
left well the Italians said you gotta
go you gotta go you gotta go so we
managed to get into France and France gave
us a six month of residence permit
because we were still trying to get out of
Europe and find a country that would
take us in anything kind of a Trinidad you
name it Australia anything South Africa
you name it the Caribbean anything no top
white is a picture that I took of the
city of nice on a return visit and on
the left you the clothes you see on my
back now all from charity because we
didn’t have any money we had a small subsidy from a
Jewish charity and the joke was it’s to
know too much to die on but not
enough to live on so my parents took in
laundry from the wealthy refugees we
lived in right half an hour one hour away
from town half an hour perhaps the
last streetcar stop up the hill on
the Boulevard de l’observatoire so you can see the laundry in
the background on the left I am in
public school I’m in the back row with
the lights mock fake from white you can see the
lights mark well I had just learned Italian
and in Italy they made me repeat third
grade because I didn’t know Italian
when I got to France I was determined I am
NOT repeating third grade I was
going to I was almost 11 so I spent the
summer studying French pretty much on
my own I was determined so this was and I
want you to notice the size of the
class we complain so much the Chicago
teacher strike they complained so much
that classes are too large look at
the size of that class more than 40 kids
but boy did we learn it’s not the size
of the class no it’s left this is a
picture of my dad in peacetime Indiana and
on the right my brother at the age of
16 in the city of nice when the war broke
out my father was arrested as an enemy
alien and he was sent to a French concentration camp what you’re
looking at is a brick oven and on the
camp of lamella which is a quick factory
near Marseilles and that’s where the
French put prisoners these were
civilians most of the people who were sent
there were were Jewish refugees were to
fled Nazi Germany or Austria
Czechoslovakia and they slept on a thin layer of
straw with not enough sanitation because it
was a factory it wasn’t a hotel so
people got sick and the graffiti says this
is the vermin capital of the world I
visited they mean it’s the only camp
that is left because all the other
concentration camps were made of wooden
barracks and so they fell apart this one was
a brick building so you know it’s a
museum near Marseilles you can visit the
place I did I’m sorry no this one though this happened
when the war broke out 1939 as you know Hitler did not
keep his word September first as planned
he marches into Poland so September
3rd France and England are treaty
bound to declare war on Germany and and
at that point France arrests all the
refugees who had fled from the Nazis and
puts them in concentration camps now
this is a topographical map of Europe
which is interesting because here is
France and years England here is Poland and
Germany is in-between now on earth where
the French and the British going to
protect Poland totally unrealistic but
they were truly bound and so September 3rd
friends in England declare war on
Germany well as you may know Poland was
defeated in five short weeks Warsaw was
leveled and the poles were totally
unprepared for modern warfare they met German
tanks on horseback they were not as
developed technologically so during the
winter months nothing much happened
because you don’t care you don’t do military campaigns in the dead of winter
so the French had what they call that
whole de guerre or the phony war the
Germans called it as its creeks or the
sitting war and there were occasional
skirmishes on the on the border here this
is the franco-german border okay I
don’t know if you can see that which was
fortified and the French thought of France
is impregnable with Gotama Linea
machine you imagine all fortifications
and they can’t get in well the Germans
knew about the mean machine oh of course so
come spring May 1940 they bypass the
mini machine oh and they went through
with lower countries they went to
Holland and Belgium and straight to Paris
France fell in five short weeks –
everybody’s amazement it was social chaos I
was certainly nice at the time my
father was in a concentration camp and tofu
kills the streets the roads were
flooded with refugees the French government
fled Paris he went to the City of
Bones and they signed an armistice and
in the armistice there is a clause
where the French Third Republic the land
of Libya of Tarragona till eternity
agreed to hand over to Germany all those
who had fled Nazi Germany and this of
course sealed our fate France was
divided into two the the northern half
including Paris and the Atlantic coast and
the direction and military control
the southern half so-called free
friends with the capital in the years
resort town of Vichy so it’s often
referred to as Vichy France now what you’re
looking at is a map that of 1942 in 1940
Germany controlled northern France all of Germany
the Low Countries Denmark Norway and and
go and in Poland and the Baltics okay
they hadn’t occupied they hadn’t
invaded Russia yet the point occurred
the countries in orange down below
we’re allied of allies of Germany
Italy Hungary Croatia Slavia all this
was was in Greece had been conquered how
this was part of supporting the
German war effort in 1940 England stood
alone there is England England stood alone
if it hadn’t been for Churchill who
said in his speech we will never
surrender Europe European enslaved to the
Nazi dictatorship for decades America was isolationist America
didn’t want to be involved initially
America didn’t even want to supply and
support the British war effort they made
the vote month went to some
cockamamie detours sending ships to Canada
and then from Canada they went helped England because Americans
were not prepared they didn’t want it
for a year and a half until
Pearl Harbor England fought alone and if it hadn’t
been and I see some different people from
different parts of the world if it hadn’t
been for the help of what was then the
British Empire the colonies of India and Australia in Canada England
couldn’t have done it but even so they
needed American help well when the
Germans occupied France II did the same
thing in France eotteon in Germany they
took away businesses from Jews and gave it
to their cronies this is a small
business they were repairing fountain
pens in those days on steno is a
fountain pen in French you took it for a Jewish
owner and gave it to a Coney big
business small business property assets
whatever was taken away and given to
their cronies that’s how you buy
loyalty that’s what they do in communist
China that’s what they do in the
Soviet Union that’s what they’re doing Venezuela that’s what they do
anywhere where you have dictators I’m the foe of dictatorships in
case you have noticed I am very
passionate about freedom the freedom Americans
take for granted don’t it’s very fragile it was Reagan who said freedom
is only the loss you loss of freedom is
only one generation away you have to
protect it and preserve it and work to
preserve it so my mother and I my brother
was arrested when France fell my
brother was arrested and sent to labor camps
in France and my mother and I we
were kicked out of nice which was
forbidden to Jews so here I am on the left
I still looked like a schoolgirl I’m 13
years old no more school the schooling
you take for granted that is served
on your on a platter for you I didn’t
get it so on the right it’s a few months
later I’m working as a farmhand I’m
outgoing my clothes I have nothing to wear
I’m not getting enough to eat I’m never skinny by the way I
had my DNA done and are you gonna laugh for
this one I have I’m about 1 percent Neanderthal most of us are one who suddenly
and earth all and also I have a
tendency to weigh more than average like I
didn’t know that and for this I had to
pay a hundred dollars to find out that
I didn’t have a tendency to weigh
more than average SOI comes so I was
never looked skinny anyway I’m working as a farmhand and by nineteen forty two things got
very bad this is my brother on the Left
working in the quarry and it would labor
camp and on the right is his last
photograph he was 19 years old I have to
read to you the speech by Hitler just so
you know what you’re up against this
is a speech he gave a couple of days
before the invasion of Poland in
September 1939 he gave that talk to his cronies
to his generals and some cronies here’s
what he says on the eve of the invasion
of Poland our strength consists in
our speed and in our brutality
Genghis Khan that was his role model Genghis
Khan led millions of women and children
to slaughter with premeditation in
a happy heart it’s a matter of
indifference to me what a weak Western European civilization will say about me I
have issued to command that our war
aim does not consist in reaching certain
lines but in the physical destruction
of the enemy accordingly I have placed
my death head formations that’s the SS in readiness with orders for them
to send to death mercilessly and without compassion men women and
children of Polish derivation did you know
that you only know about the genocide of
Jews did you know that it applied to
other people anybody who wasn’t German the polls were to be used as
slave labor only and worked to death only
this shall be gained the living space the
labels on which we need who after all
speaks today of the genocide of the Armenians
he was white the Armenians were
murdered in 1916 between 1916 1923 by Turkey
they were a Christian minority in muslim-majority Turkey and they
were butchered so there many
Armenians who are in the West in France in
America all the names ending in ing know the Khachaturian who was the great
composer that was his role Genghis Khan
and the Armenian Genocide and in January
1942 a couple of German big brass got
together at the house outside of Berlin
called [Speaking in other language]
to say to implement the mass murder of
all the Jews of Europe this was in The
Wall Street Journal two days a couple
of days ago would you believe us
recognizes the Armenian Genocide October 1930
2019 Turkey has yet to recognize that genocide they had yet to
recognize that responsibility they don’t like
that that America should recognize it took
them over 100 years this is a group
of Jews who come from ghettos you notice
the men are gone the Train is behind
them and you know where they are headed
the difference between war genocide
is in more you have two armed groups
that fight each other in genocide you
have one armed group that attacks a
civilian population that is not armed
typically women and children nice that’s
what you’re up against arrival in Auschwitz these are
people from Western Europe they’re
still standing the men on one side the
women on the other the Germans standing there and
the German doctor Dr. Mengele who
decides who shall live and who shall die
if you were too old or too or too weak you were murdered
right away the others were sent to work and
they will work to death because the
ger-nazis had no intention of keeping him
alive and the working conditions were abominable I won’t spend time on
that my father and my brother were sent
to form two camps where they were in the
South of France to a camp outside of
Paris called home see if you go to
Paris you fly into Paris you go from the
airport to the city you were passed by the suburb of
bossy it’s the blue collar server very
people still live there and they will
put they were processed because the
Germans are very thorough so they were processed you know
name first date first place
nationality and then they were packed that took
about a week and then they were put into
sealed cattle cars for a journey of
three days and three nights to Auschwitz
without food without water without
sanitation arrived in Auschwitz it took the
Germans two hours to quote process a
thousand people who was sent directly to
their death and who was sent to work
two hours this is economic you can see
that but there are this is a picture
showing all the concentration camps in
France people don’t know there were
concentration camps in France they were not
death camps but there were
concentration camps with abominable living
conditions and because the Germans kept records
I copied up the pages on which my
father’s name appears and my brother’s
name they were carbon copies of the
records kept by the Germans they were
typed and they were put together by a
search class felt whose father was also
murdered in Auschwitz so the memory Agora
diputación dish with the false almost
eighty thousand names and that’s just
friends for those who say didn’t happen
don’t I wish it didn’t happen but
there’s some people say it didn’t happen No so things got hot and I was
helped to go into hiding by the Jewish
resistance so they helped me get a false
papers on the left is that fake birth
certificate that Anderson Cooper wanted to see I
changed my name from Edit I
became at least my yet which sounds more
French and I was the daughter of a non-practicing dormant Catholics
because at that time about 97% of the
French were Roman Catholic now it’s
less because you have about 10%
Muslims in France latest statistics as far
as I know and on the top right I’m in
a Catholic school for girls went
by the good nuns and I’m in the front
row on the far left you can’t see me
but that’s me seated the kids were nice
they were not spying on me but I was on my
guard at all times I had to get used
to a new name I was afraid that if they
won’t call that when they call my new
name I wouldn’t respond like you’re
supposed to respond when somebody calls your
name you have a reflex I was tense
all the time I was watching myself all
the time it doesn’t it sounds glamorous
but it’s not to be in hiding like that in
plain sight because you’re afraid to
give much to give yourself away you can’t
say anything you can’t share
anything you can’t write anything down so
it’s a it’s a it builds a lot of pressure
and at some point in the course of a
year I thought I was going to explode
because of the pressure just builds and
builds and builds well as I said the
kids were nice but in the summer they took
the picture home showed it to their
friends and relatives and somebody from
my village recognized me next thing
I knew Mother Superior calls me and you
were found out you gotta go this was
the first stop I was gone the next
day I have to tell you I added it up
once I moved 13 times in the space of a
year it was always something that
happened after this I ended up in the hospital
with Victoria which is a terrible
illness I’m glad you’re vaccinated it’s an awfully illness you know
your throat membrane swell and you
suffocate and the other is the only thing
they could do was to cut open yeah
make an opening here to let people
breathe directly through the trachea I
was very sick well I got better after a
month when I came down to scarlet
fever and at that point I was ready to give
up because the war for me had been
going on for five long years the
persecution had been going on for five long
years I couldn’t take it anymore and I
said we’re all going to die sooner or
later and I didn’t want to die alone I
wanted to go back with my mommy to the
village and and die with her well I
didn’t die Here I am there were some very very
devoted members of the Jewish resistance
all mostly young people who were
very helpful so that’s why I’m here
to tell the story this was another hiding place
and this is during a break and eventually
they were picking up everybody I mean
the goal was to kill us all which
they have done quite successfully I
visited Yugoslavia former Yugoslavia two
years ago and there were large Jewish communities completely wiped out
all that’s left is a museum that’s
in Europe so we went to I was picked up
one day taken to a hotel and I you learn
not to ask questions because the less
you know the better off you are so I
thought I’m just going to another hiding
place whatever the reason I the D
don’t question just go and here we
were a bunch of teenagers and this lady
said tomorrow we’re going to try and
smuggle you into Switzerland that’s the
key was to get out of France the Swiss
accepted kids up to the age of 18 up to
the age of 16 but the key was to get out
of France because France they
didn’t want us to go they wanted to kill us
remember it’s quite a story and it’s the
first story I wrote down because it
was so dramatic so I made it the young
woman on the top left was our guide
and when we got to the Swiss border she
stayed on the French side and I said to
her aren’t you coming with us she said no a week later she back took another 20 kids to the
border they were caught they were
arrested and the Nazis interrogated the boys
and the girls separately so the boys
were beaten up and then they interrogated
the girls you know what they did for the
girls they had them stripped naked to
shame them to leer at them this is
called sadism in my book young girls
but she was tortured and murdered so
this is my memorial to her she was 21 years
old in Switzerland I still didn’t go to
school I went to work I worked as a
nanny so the people who ran this home for
Jewish kids Jewish refugee kids I would
say a little girl and I was concerned
about I had no skills I had no skills
I’m no 16 years old I have no skills I was
I have an elementary school education I
have no skills so I said to my boss who
was the mother of this child I need to
learn how to type she couldn’t care less
about me unlike your professors who want
you to learn and who want you to know
something you know want you to do well and
you want you to and you want to help
you build a good life and the skills
you need to build a good life she
couldn’t care less about me so after
three months she finally said you want
another type here’s a tripod here’s a book go
type just like that and then I said
do I have to learn English took another
three months for six months I pleaded
with her I need to learn English so she
finally assigned a one of the counselors
the counselors were all refugees so
they were well educated and he gave
me a textbook and I met with him
three times a week for 20 minutes and I
spent two hours every night after putting
in a 10 or 12 hour day taking care of
this little baby I studied for two
hours every night 6 nights a week I
studied English in 3 months I finished
the textbook I knew my regular verbs I knew
my basic grammar I also know not to say I
should have went I also know when it’s
I I – yes with an apostrophe or
without it and this was would come in very
handy in the three months one contact our 12
study hours that’s how you learn I was determined when the war was over
this is what Germany looked like it’s
what happens to big bullies sometimes
we were we had nothing my mother had
survived and I had absolutely nothing I had no country I had no money
I had no education and I had no skills
and I had no help and I had a triple task
which was I had to go to work we had
to eat my mother had no skills either
she was born you know 1903 and the ways
to be a housewife she learned how to
play the piano a little French she
embroidered beautifully she knew how to cook
she had no skills so she worked in
sweatshops and she was always fired she was
always losing her job and and I had and
I wanted an education and I had to
come the other thing I had to do was
to come to terms with man’s inhumanity
to man how do you do that I was 17
years old how do you confront that
abomination the country that gave us good to in
Shilla and the ode to joy’ in
Beethoven’s you know well men become brothers
the same country with the high literacy
level there were sore people they were Christian the churches remain
open in World War two how do you convert
such abominations took a lot of work
let me tell you so I told everybody we
lived in this on the bottom left is the
slum we lived in there were two
minuscule apartments – two tiny rooms per apartment no running water I
have to go to the end of the block to get
my water to do my laundry by hand –
Winsett someone went out to the cold
water so I used to schlep my my pocket in
my pitcher several times a day for
cooking for washing and then there was a hole in the
ground in the backyard shared by the
other tenants you know you do your
thing and my neighbor’s used to miss it
was disgusting and I remember
vouching to myself I will not live like that
I will not live like that well I told
everybody I wanted an education I want an education more than anything
else so finally I was referred to a
social worker who said I have a little
bit of money and I can give you money
for a one-year scholarship on one
condition you you you passed the ibaka
Maria the French bacala we are at the end
of the year which meant catching up six
years in one crazy I never had algebra
I had a great school education I know
how to wait and I can count period well
it was take it or leave it so all the money she had so I
took it and I didn’t do anything but
study study study study study 12 hours a day
8 to 12 two to six and eight to midnight
or 2 1 or 2 a.m. and I got up every
morning at 6:00 did my exercises for my
posture so I stand up straight well I
passed the first packet oh yeah I
eventually I got my second packet oh yeah and
then I went to the University of Toulouse
where got a graduate degree before coming to the United
States after the second packet oh yeah we
were totally impoverished we had
nothing my mother had lost her job again
and so I took this job as a salesgirl on
the outdoor markets and you know in
America we talked a lot about race
issues and discrimination based on race but
in Europe there is a lot of
discrimination based on social class it is less
so today but it’s still there and
it was there when I was living in
France so nice girls aren’t supposed to do
that kind of work was an honest job
but no you’re not supposed to so it was
looked down upon we don’t know about
the class business in America thank God
for that an America every every job is a
good job its respective whether you
started McDonald’s and anything else doesn’t matter it’s an honest
job but this was looked on about so
since I had no money I ended up making
clothes for myself I made a dress which I
wore then when I met my husband in New
York and this is what I looked like when
I came to America a cartoon I made
during a new art therapy workshop with a
friend of mine on the left you have chains
that are broken terrible weather
storms darkness and then very very
slowly I climb out of the hole very
slowly until I make it sort of symbolizes my
journey so here I am a college professor
on the right that’s what I look like as
a college professor I’m 34 years
old and for those of you who don’t have
who have a short memory because Jews knew what it was
like to be persecuted and discriminated
against Jews were in the forefront of
the civil rights movement so here we are
with Martin Luther King arrived
around the white and the torah’ people
forgot that too and for those who late didn’t
happen these are the records kept by
the Germans there so you’re gonna
see these records have now been digitized
they’re available on the Internet but it
didn’t happen no no soon oh right so the
question I had to deal with and we all have
to deal with that is how did the Germans
do that they’re nice people you go to
Germany they’re nice people and I have
to wait to you what gavel said if you
tell an eye big enough and keep
repeating it people will eventually come to
believe it if you could say today that
Israel is an apartheid state and you keep repeating it some people believe
it the lie can be maintained only
if the state can shield the people from
the consequences of the lie it thus
becomes vitally important for the state
to use all of its power to repress
dissent China Iran well the truth is the
moral enemy of the lie I’m sorry the
mortal enemy of the line and that’s why extension of the truth is the
greatest enemy of the state in a
totalitarian society the books are burned the censorship China is controlling
the internet now they don’t want
people to know the truth these are not I am NOT talking
ancient history I am talking now and I’m
happy when we have some sports figures
and some americans who speak up to
support the people of Hong Kong I’m
happy about that as if we don’t who will so every
German had to have a job there was no
TV in those days radios were fairly
new why did they need it why’d you
because they had to hear that his speeches
Hitler speeches he had trained himself
to give mesmerizing speeches and to show
you the extent to which the Germans were
kept in ignorance this is a poster from
1943 this is after America entered
World War two and it says model 1943
without stopping forward to final
victory and the villains we’re in good
company the Russians the Americans the
British and of course aren’t we powerful
that’s what we died the six million you’re
so powerful if you listen to a
foreign radio station you were branded
as traitor and you were sent to a concentration camp indoctrination of the young the textbooks non-stop this is these
are quotes by Lenin and Hitler all ten-year-old boys into the
Hitler Youth notice leave a personality
cult in the background and and it says
youth serves the Fuhrer imagine somebody telling you you
serve the state and the girls are not
exempt you to belong to the fuhrer we
imagine somebody telling you you belong
to the state unthinkable in a free
society that’s what happens in a
dictatorship you don’t belong to yourself you
belong to the state in a free society
the people we sent to Washington are supposed to provide services for
us in a dictatorship we are supposed to
support State and of course if you think
only Jews were persecuted this is a
beautiful story bastard taught me his nephew was
murdered because they dared to speak up
father Maximilian Kolbe it was an act
was a Catholic twist who was murdered
in Auschwitz he opposed the Nazis
and yeah also famous Protestant
theologian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who what who was imprisoned he
wrote a lot of letters from prison that
have been published and just before
he could be liberated days before his
liberation the Nazis killed him so the
methods massive propaganda and lies
censorship in mind-control indoctrination
of the young manipulation through
favors threats violence and if that
doesn’t work nice it murder you will get
those these are the ten lessons for my
life I won’t go over all of them but I
just want to give you a couple it all
starts with the ideas that you put into
your heads what you think matters
because what you think determines what
you say and it determines what you do so
watch what ideas we put into our heads it is our ideas in our thoughts
that shape our lives in our society
as a whole lesson number two is about
hatred let go of it I don’t hate
anybody I don’t even hate the terrorists
who killed us on 9/11 I certainly
don’t hate the Nazis let it go as the
Christians say let go and let God I don’t want hatred in my life
you hate me I don’t have to hate you back
I can stop the hate to it with me
because otherwise it’s like playing
ping-pong you hate me I hate you back we
play ping-pong back and forth you
know let it go give it to the universe give
it to God let and and letting go of hatred is
a very liberating experience because
then you are free to get on with your own
life you don’t have to focus on oh I
hate that person what is she doing
now no just just get on I have a lot of compassion for the Palestinian
children they’re beautiful children and
they are taught that their goal in life
is to become a Shahid in a modern poor
kids why don’t you let him be and let
him develop and grow and enjoy life
life is beautiful oh sorry the other one
I want to talk about our shared values
it is important to have shared values respecting life respecting one
another don’t lie don’t steal don’t go
around murdering people don’t want to
others what you would have others do
unto you basic very basic values we can
disagree on what is the best way to solve
a specific problem but we have to
have this basic underlying shared understanding something else
that is important is that knowledge is
not enough because the Germans were
very knowledgeable they were
brilliant people I mean the people who built the
gas chambers were chemists they had
PhDs in chemistry the ones who build
Auschwitz they were engineers they were
very smart people so knowledge can be used
for good and it can be used for evil
nuclear energy can be used to heat our
homes or it can be used to sweating than
our neighbors like North Korea is
doing it like Iran is doing so you have
to have a moral compass in order to use
your knowledge for good and finally
I’d like to end with Pierre Curie a quote
from T oculi the great French physicist
if you fail to serve young larvae it is so however in reality we
must make him our life a dream and turn
that dream into reality but first comes
your vision of what you want the kind of
life you want the kind of society you
want and then you create it in your own
line and then you go about to bring it
you do what it takes to bring it about
thank you very much for your [Music] okay you can ask me anything you
want you already know how old I am so that settles my name is
autumn you work as a bodyguard of the
Israeli ambassador to the US I just came
back from California San Francisco
and in one of the event with a big protest
from the BDS the Health Science come
compared Israel to net a net with Germany
what do you think about this conversion
in what in one of the BDS protests that
I saw they held a sign with compared
Israel flag to the Nazi Germany flag
what do you think about this compersion I’ve been to Israel I’ve seen people of different backgrounds it’s like an actor
it’s a society very much like ours
people of every color of every shade and
of different religions they’re
Christians they’re Jews their arms they’re
Muslims they’re Christian arms they’re
Muslim Arabs they’re Muslims who sit in
the Israeli Parliament in the
equivalent of Congress and there’s a there’s
an Arab party that is activity they’ve
won a lot more votes on this last election
so people who say that repeat
propaganda and just show their ignorance of
what it’s really like it’s it doesn’t
it’s not the truth and unless you’ve
been there you believe it because if
there’s enough remember gobbles if you
repeat a lie often enough people well we
believe it it doesn’t mean that make it
so that it’s true thank you that’s the
sad story but Buganda hello my name is Chrissy and I
work here in facilities I just want to say
how thankful I am that you came here
today and your story is incredible and
the whole idea of your thoughts that
and how that affects you and oh my gosh
it’s making me a little choked up
it’s just so powerful but my question was how many
languages do you speak and in your head
what are you speaking just curious I’m fluent in three
French German and English and my
Italian is a little rusty but when I go to
Italy they ask me if I’m Italian okay
because I have a good pronunciation but
the other day I was I ran into a young
German student who is here on an
exchange program and we switched to
German and I was rattling off German I know
somewhere somewhere someplace in the back
of the head yeah yeah and I speak
French a lot because my son-in-law is French so I speak French frequently so
yeah now they say I have native fluency
and those in those two French and German
in English some people tell me
there’s a bit of an accent I don’t hear it
anymore so I can’t correct it but my
Italian pronunciation is good so when I
go to Italy I take out my Italian
books at home and I read out loud and I
review my Italian grandma because the
irregular verbs are always giving me a
headache yes but that’s yeah thank you just just you know you have to
want to communicate I think yeah hello
my name is Kim I just wondered you were separated from your father and
your brother at an early age and then
later on separated from your mother how did you find out what was
going on with them or was that after
everything ended that you did research and
found out what had happened to your
family how did I find out okay that’s a
good question because during the war
there was censorship while my father
and my brother were in French
concentration camps they were able to write to
us okay once they crossed the
demarcation line and that’s in my book they were
given a postcard basically to say the demarcation line was the line
that separated the Vichy Francis and
apart from the area occupied under
direct Roman military occupation okay
that was the demarcation line and so they
said goodbye we are going into the
territory controlled by Germany goodbye god bless you I hope to
see you again period that’s all we know
I didn’t even know but won’t see it at
that point when I got to Switzerland I
informed the Red Cross I gave them the
information I knew and they wrote back to me
it took him to him a while but
eventually they wrote back and they said that
they were sent home that this demarcation
line to the camp of policy and then from
there to Auschwitz oh I knew they had
been sent to Auschwitz in Switzerland
until the war was over I had no idea
that Auschwitz was a mass murder camp
I thought it was a slave labor
camp because that was the pretense
that people were going to Germany to
work and to to to be sent to Poland to
resettle remember the idea of we settling
Poland that was the lie and so I didn’t
really know until the Allies marched
into the camps and then we found out what happened it so you found out
piecemeal you know and then and then we
still had hopes that my brother might have survived because he was young
and bigger more vigor was my father after
three years in French concentration
camps and that’s in my book – it was a
mess it was a mess he was 52 at that point
and and he didn’t stand much of a chance
but we thought my brother did and
didn’t so the whole the realization that they
are dead dawns on you gradually so it’s
very painful thank you so much it’s
haunting you know I I think I’ve come to
terms with this and I’ve lived a full
life you know I married I have children I
have grandchildren but the pain never completely goes away it’s it’s
always there it’s and and you know when I
look around do you open up to the news
whether it’s the TV or the newspaper that
man’s inhumanity to man the mass
murder the shootings it’s it’s just
unconscionable I’m going to be a part of a of a dialogue on genocide and I give
some thought to that and before I
knew it I had about a dozen genocides I
mean the Soviet Union killed 20 million
people just like that come here is China 80 million
people murdered one because they don’t
want to follow the Communist line I
don’t know the numbers for Cuba for
Venezuela it’s insane it’s insane and in
in in Iran the baha’i are persecuted what
what if it’s a gentle love religion it
doesn’t have its it’s insane the man’s propensity to kill
instead of to build it’s hard to understand
I haven’t figured it out yet and I
and I and I know that there are some
people who say you know if God can
allow outwits then there is no God
that’s nonsense because it wasn’t God
to build outputs it was human beings
there’s men and we were given free will so
food for thought thank you yes thank you
I think you had told us that Deutschland
uber alles was the German national
anthem in the 1930s would you please translate that
for us so people can better understand
the frame of mind of those who were
going through that system and obeying
that system I was in the vent which
means Germany Germany above everything
above everything in the world and
Hitler also told Mussolini that because he
had this sense of shortage there’s not
enough of anything there’s not enough food
there’s not enough manpower and the
Germans are going to be the last ones on
earth because they will be get gather
all the resources for themselves so this
was a Malthusian kind of vision of
life and and when the Nazis occupied and
this is something you may not know when
a Nazis occupied all these countries
like Holland Belgium France they took
out foodstuffs which is why we were
starving they took out works of art you
know that that’s still a problem I which
is ongoing they took out mental
every young man aged 18 to 20 had to go to
work in Germany because the Germans were fighting a war on two fronts and
so somebody had to tell the fields
and somebody had to work in their
munitions factories so they had slave
labor working in their munitions
factories and then they had the young men for
two years they went to Germany to
work and also in the munitions factories
I mean next to Auschwitz was there was
the initial swear to it with cop
club had his factory up there I can’t buy
any coke machen dies because it
would remind me all the time of what they did
during the war using slave labor so
they thought that there would be the
last ones to be alive because they
take all this all the resources from
everybody else for themselves and the
truth is the Germans did not suffer during
the war until the the mass bombings
because they live very well they had all the resources from the occupied
territories so this was this was the
implementation of Germany above everything in
the world hi so my question for this is
during this part like current point in
time has anybody reached out to you or
reunited with you for something that you
went through like went through
something similar to you sorry so has anybody like reached out
to you and or tried to get together
with you because they got they sent
something or had something similar happened
to you or had like a similar type of thing
go on or went through what you went
through and tried to talk with you about
it and if so how did the conversation
go other people that are either Jewish or
the people that were yes after the
war after the war well you know we were
all in the same boat like the man I was
working for for instance in that picture I
showed you before the war he had a
degree in agricultural engineering and he
was also trying to rebuild his life this
was not his profession he had a wife and
a son and he was trying to make a
living so this was the cheapest way to
rebuild your life you see – yes because
you need it was a van and some
merchandise in a tent and you pitched a tent in a different town every day you
went to a different market town every day
and so he was also in the same boat
just a little older than I was but you have to understand that
Europe was devastated the French had
suffered four long years of Nazi occupation
everything was taken out as I mentioned
foodstuff manpower and and you know if the
girls were walking around with Germans
you know what they did to the women
who walked around with drums they
shaved their heads and watched him in
the street to shame them that’s what
they do so France was full of hatred
there was a lot of hatred there was a lot of settling of accounts there was
some lawlessness in the immediate
afterwards because if somebody worked with
the Nazis and made money they were
for five years they were considered
collaborators and sometimes they were shot I
mean there was no there was you know
that it’s the Americans realize who
came back were greeted as heroes and
rightly so they came back to a country that
was intact so they could get married
with their sweethearts and have to
buy the house in the Levittown’s of this
world and and and build their family
and get back to work Europe was devastated after
people of Europe we’re not where they were supposed to be you had armies
you had refugees you had you had people
who fled the cities to get something to
eat I mean it was chaos it took a while there were no
everything was France whig West I mean I
talk about in my book there was
agricultural machinery but because there was
low gasoline in the Germans took the gasoline so everything was done
by handle is if you like in the
Middle Ages you know so there was another
and there was no Jewish community where
the Jewish community was destroyed the most
of us were killed so the money the
help I had a lot of money that came came
from the United States from Jewish
charities it takes a lot to rebuild and we
didn’t have enough to eat until the
Marshall Plan in 1947 we had rationing it
wasn’t as severe that as during the
occupation but they were so passionate
until 1947-48 when the Marshall Plan went into
effect and I remember that I was a
student at the time and we put a bunch of
teenagers we went to the railroad station
there was a train with the American
flag and the French flag and the kinda let me tear the friendship
train and we were all excited and and
for what for good reason takes a while you know this was
a devastating war this was total
bull so there was no no no structure if
you will the infrastructure was also
destroyed [Music] yes hi thank you so much for
coming and share your story um when you talk about the
importance of forgiveness and not having
hatred what helped you move past the trauma
and the hatred let help me what what
helped you move past the trauma from living
that’s what helped me heal the trauma
it’s a long story I talked about a hit my book
it’s a it’s a spiritual I would say in in
briefly spirituality because logic
doesn’t work only spirituality if you can
understand and that’s my view if you can
understand that each one of us is this is a spiritual thing a divine thing we have the same
essence we have the same divine essence regardless of our religious
affiliation regardless of our skin color
regardless of our age of where we come from
we are all manifestations of life in
its many forms and if you can understand
that that this is what human beings
are every one of us then you can’t hate
them you can still like they’re like me
just another manifestation of the
same life force some people call it God
call it what you want and and that’s the
only way and then you can’t you can’t
hate anybody you see so it’s a it’s a
in other words you have to
transcend ordinary thinking because
ordinary thinking isn’t enough doesn’t
explain anything doesn’t help it’s only
at a certain level of spirituality
and I that’s where I eventually ended
up it took me a while because I did it
on my own I did a lot of reading and
uh you know but it didn’t just happen
like that and I had to mature a little bit
and learn and so on but that’s how I
ended up yeah thank you for the
question [Music]




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