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Memoir of the youngest survivor on Schindler’s List

A memoir written by one of the youngest Holocaust survivors on Oskar Schindler’s List has been acquired by UK publishers Simon and Schuster Children’s Books.

The memoir of Leon Leyson, entitled The Boy on the Wooden Box, follows the profoundly moving true story of his survival through the Holocaust and has been compared to the diary of Anne Frank. Leyson was just 10-years-old when the Germans invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. He began working in Schindler’s factory when he was 13.

Ingrid Selberg, a publisher at Simon and Schuster, commented on the memoir: “We are honoured to be publishing this very important book which chronicles one of history’s most significant and devastating events through the eyes of a child who was actually there. This is a book every child of nine and up should read alongside Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.”

As a result of the heroic actions of Oskar Schindler, the lives of Leyson, his parents, and two of his four siblings were saved, although Leyson lost two brothers during the Holocaust. The rest of the family moved to Los Angeles three years after the war ended.

via Memoir of the youngest survivor on Schindler’s List to be published – Telegraph.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Philip in Polish research student gaffe

KRAKOW TOURS: Prince Philip is reported to have asked a highly qualified Polish research student in Cambridge if he had originally come to the UK “to pick raspberries”

Prince Philip

The 92 year-old prince, husband to Queen Elizabeth II, made the remark when visiting the prestigious Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where the structure of DNA was first discovered, Cambridge News reports.

Prince Philip may have become confused when meeting the Polish research student after hundreds of thousands of Poles migrated to the UK after joining the EU in 2004 – with many taking up temporary work such as fruit picking.

The gaffe-prone prince has developed a talent of putting his foot firmly in his mouth over the years, especially when making small talk with ethic minorities or on Royal trips abroad to exotic destinations.

“If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes,” the prince said to 21-year-old British student Simon Kerby during a visit to China in 1986.

In 1995, when confronted by a Scottish driving instructor, Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh enquired: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”

In 1967, when asked if he would like to visit the then Soviet Union, the prince said: “I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.”

“And what exotic part of the world do you come from?” Prince Philip asked Conservative Party politician Lord Taylor of Warwick, whose parents are Jamaican, who replied: “I’m from Birmingham.”

And in 2000, the prince pontificated on the British class system: “People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans,” he said.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Animated History of Poland

Animated History of Poland [FULL VERSION] from styczek on Vimeo.

May 19, 2013 Posted by | This Day In History | , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow’s Beer Revolution

KRAKOW TOURS: Krakow is now the best place in Europe to sample Polish craft beers, and brews from independent beer makers around the world, but just five years ago it was almost impossible to find anything on tap other a handful of bland, gassy lagers. It has been a lightning revolution that shows no sign of fizzling out.

In the years after the fall of Communism in Poland, multi-nationals such as Heineken and Carlsberg quickly gobbled up the few remaining national breweries. These companies used their marketing muscle and scale to convince Polish bar managers to stock the ‘must-have’ brands. Nearly all these beers were pasteurised lagers of similar strength and taste. For the discerning beer drinker in Krakow, the situation was dire.

About five years ago, a small number of entrepreneurial pub owners in Krakow decided to turn the accepted pub business model on its head. Instead of selling mainstream beers, they focused instead on providing beers from regional and independent breweries. Consumer response was overwhelmingly positive and, before long, these bars began to build loyal followings.

via Krakow’s Beer Revolution » Krakow Post.

May 15, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice | , , , | Leave a comment

Frank Lowy

KRAKOW TOURS: Four weeks ago he was in Poland, fighting back tears as he gave the keynote address at Auschwitz-Birkenau in homage to his father who perished at the gates of the notorious death camp in 1944. Two weeks ago he was in Hungary, where his father disappeared, watching the grand final of Australia’s premier soccer league on his laptop.

Birkenau Rail Car

Though seemingly unrelated, these two events are bittersweet bookends in the colossus life of Australia’s Frank Lowy.

Faith and soccer – two code words to unlock the heart of the 82-year-old co-founder of the Westfield shopping mall empire and chairman of Football Federation Australia.

His rags-to-riches fairytale has amassed a $5.3 billion fortune, according to Forbes magazine, after arriving in Australia in 1952 virtually penniless having surviving the Holocaust on the run before fighting in Israel’s War of Independence.

But his business instinct has not compromised his Jewish faith or his faith in soccer – both of which he learned from his father Hugo.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day Lowy told more than 10,000 people – including his wife, sons and one granddaughter – how his father had been beaten to death upon arrival in a cattle wagon because he refused to sacrifice his tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries).

“I never realized that he had strength – the spiritual strength – to take on the brutal guards here in Birkenau. No matter how hard they hit him, he protected the sanctity of his tallit and tefillin,” Lowy said, his voice cracking.

“They could break his body but they could not break his spirit. The tallit and tefillin were part of him, part of his personal relationship with God, and he was ready to die for them. And he did.”

At Auschwitz lies a cattle wagon used by the Nazis and restored by the Lowy family, dedicated to the memory of Hungarian Jews who perished there.

In 2009, at a private ceremony, Lowy placed a blue prayer bag inside the wagon as a symbol of his and his father’s faith. It brought to a close a 50-year search to discover his father’s fate that ended in 1991 when one of his sons had a chance encounter with an unrelated American man called Myer Lowy who had witnessed Hugo’s death.

“This has really, in a sense, defined his entire life,” Lowy’s rabbi, Levi Wolff, told Haaretz this week. “He’s been able to now appreciate the Yiddishkeit that his father lived for and died for.

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , | Leave a comment

Alleged Auschwitz Guard Arrested

A 93-year-old man who was deported from the U.S. for lying about his Nazi past was arrested by German authorities Monday on allegations he served as an Auschwitz death camp guard, Stuttgart prosecutors said.

Hans Lipschis was taken into custody after authorities concluded there was “compelling evidence” he was involved in crimes at Auschwitz while there from 1941 to 1945, prosecutor Claudia Krauth said.

Lipschis has acknowledged being assigned to an SS guard unit at Auschwitz but maintains he only served as a cook and was not involved in any war crimes.

Krauth said, however, that a judge upheld her office’s request for an arrest warrant after concluding there was enough evidence to hold him before charges on accessory to murder are brought. Bringing formal charges, a process similar to a U.S. grand jury indictment, would take another two months, she said.

In the meantime, Krauth said a doctor has confirmed Lipschis’ health remains good enough for him to be kept in detention.

Lipschis does not currently have an attorney, and a public defender has not yet been appointed, she said.

Lipschis was deported from the U.S. in 1983 for lying about his Nazi past when he immigrated to Chicago in the 1950s after the war.

With no evidence linking him to specific war crimes, however, it was impossible under previous German law to bring charges against him in Germany.

But the case is now being pursued on the same legal theory used to prosecute former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction in Germany for accessory to murder on the grounds that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

Under the new line of thinking, even without proof of participation in a specific crime, a person who served at a death camp can be charged with accessory to murder because the camp’s sole function was to kill people.

Even though the Demjanjuk conviction is not considered legally binding because he died before his appeals were exhausted, the special German prosecutors’ office that deals with Nazi crimes has said that about 50 other people in the same category are being investigated.

Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the arrest of Lipschis — who is No. 4 on his current list of “most wanted Nazi war criminals” — a good start.

“This is a very positive step, we welcome the arrest,” he said in a telephone interview from Israel. “I hope this will only be the first of many arrests, trials and convictions of death camp guards.”

In an interview last month with Die Welt newspaper at his home in southwestern Germany, Lipschis said he spent his entire time as a cook and had witnessed none of the atrocities. He did say, however, that he “heard about” what was going on.

About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940 and 1945.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , | Leave a comment

Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,000 for Auschwitz visits

KRAKOW TOURS: Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,000 for Auschwitz visits.

More than £500,000 is to be awarded to a scheme which gives schoolchildren the chance to visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Scottish government announced the funding for the Holocaust Educational Trust, which was set up in 1988.

‘Seeing Auschwitz with my own eyes made me appreciate how much people suffered”

Mhiara Mackenzie, Student

It will allow two youngsters from every school and college in Scotland to go to the site in Poland and hear the testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

More than 1,000 Scottish students have taken part in the project to date.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in modern day Poland was where more than a million people, most of them Jews, were killed by the Nazis during the course of World War II.

The Lessons from Auschwitz project aims to develop young people’s understanding of the possible consequences of prejudice and racism in society.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “It is right that we continue to fund these learning opportunities to ensure that as a society we never become complacent when regarding the dangers of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and hatred.”

‘Never forget’

The scheme will receive £510,000 of further funding over the next two years.

University student Mhiara Mackenzie took part in Lessons from Auschwitz in 2009.

She said: “Participating in the project was a life-changing experience, one that I will never forget.

“Seeing Auschwitz-Birkenau with my own eyes made me appreciate how much people suffered during the Holocaust.”

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish government will continue to fund our Lessons from Auschwitz Project.

via BBC News – Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,00 for Auschwitz visits.

May 5, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, News | , , , | Leave a comment


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