“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Story of Ann Levy ,Survivor. Part I

Ann Levy was a normal four year old child when the Nazis attacked and occupied Poland in September 1939. She and her family survived two years living in the Warsaw ghetto, before escaping with her family.
This is her story.

Ann was born on July 2 1935. She lived in a nice apartment with her Mother, Father and Sister. She remembers Sundays when her and her Father would stroll through the park and he would buy her ice cream and balloons. Her Father had his own lumber business and her Mother stayed home with the children. Her Mother even had help that came in.
She and her family took vacations in the countryside and to the beach. She remembers being a daredevil when she was young. When they were on vacation once she climbed in a dog house with a large German Shepard and was not afraid. This behavior probably helped her later in her life.

The war started for them on September 7, 1939. Her first memories of the war was seeing her family upset and crying and looking out the windows. Out of curiosity she did too. There was a large reform orthodox temple across the street. Everybody was upset because the Germans were taking out all the prayer shawls and prayer books and putting them in a heap in front of synagogue and finally torched it. This is how she remembers the beginning of the war.

Her mother dictated a memoir and in it she says that the Germans handed out cookies and candy to the non-Jewish population who stood and watched as the synagogue burned.
That was for their propaganda. To show people that everything was all right for them. It was a happy time for them. It was a hard time for the Jewish population.

Then she and her family was made to wear the yellow star of David on their clothes front and back. Even her little Sister in her stroller had to wear the Star of David. She never thought of herself as anything but a child, and now she was different. She was Jewish, and being Jewish was something that caused grief. Then she knew that was just part of the struggle that was to begin.

Her father fled to Russia thinking that the Nazis would not harm the women or children. He left the three of them together, her sister, her mother and herself. Her Mother received orders to vacate the premises. It was such a large building it would be taken over by the Germans. They had a couple hours before to clear out and to make sure the linen on the bed was changed. And the table was set for company. The family was only able to take two little suitcases to carry for her sister, Mother and herself. It was a terrible, terrible time for her. Having to leave everything that she owned and not knowing what happen.

Her father tried to get them back to Russia. But they never made it. Her sister was ill. Her Mother became frightened and decided to go to Warsaw. And when they went to Warsaw, the ghetto was there. They saw more and more Jews coming into the Warsaw ghetto. Her Mother went there because their Uncle lived in Warsaw and his wife was a Doctor. They imagined by having a sister in law who was a physician they’d be better off there. Of course it turned out to be the worst place that they could have gone to.

How to describe the Warsaw ghetto? In the beginning her Mother would work. In the beginning they stayed with her Mother’s family. Her Mother found a room where they would stay. The three of them. For food her Mother decided that she would work and she would collect from whoever had cooked something that night. She would go from one room to another and collect in a pot whatever people had. If they had a potato, carrot or cabbage that night, all in one pot it went. They tried to share it with people who didn't have anything.

There were almost 500,000 Jewish people and a quarter of them died of starvation.

She knew exactly how they felt because as they lived in Warsaw ghetto it was progressively getting worse and worse. The atrocities in streets were horrendous. You could look out the window and you would see dead bodies in the street, you would see a wagon picking up corpses and trying to clean up. The worst thing she remembers was people that just dropped in street. They were dead. But because they had socks or shoe, pants or some kind of clothing on somebody passing by they saw these articles a dead body he doesn't need, cover up the body with newspaper and take possession anything the poor soul had. Clothing. Anything. And to this day the worst thing she can see is somebody putting a newspaper over themselves because it just brings back the memory. This is what she saw. And people, children, were starving.

And she was on the verge of death and all of a sudden her father returned. He smuggled himself into the Warsaw ghetto coming from Russia when the war between Germany and Russia broke out. It was a Saturday morning, her mother wrote, in December 1941. Her Mother went to the door and passed out because of the shock. It was two years that they were separated. By this time her sister and she, like the rest of the population were emaciated from hunger. They were at the point just sitting around in bed not moving a lot because of weakness. And she remembers her father saying that when he saw them he was afraid to touch them. He was afraid to touch them because they looked so frail. He brought them back to life. He brought bread, butter, and he cut up bread cubicles. Gave them that a little at time, knowing full well if he gave too much, not used to that they would become ill. That's the reason when she says what happened to us they wouldn't be here if he hadn't. Her mother, sister and she would have perished as every one else did.

Part II the story continues tomorrow.


Relax Max said...

This is amazing. How could this have happened? Keep reminding us!

Marmelade said...

i didn't know this story. i wonder why the nazi were so keen against Jews? why jews and not other religion / race? this was so arbitrary.

Annabele blak said...

My name is annabele blak. I am a jewish survivor. i was born in 1943 in the warsaw ghetto,my mother hid me in the watering closet untill the naziz had left. she took me to rusia where i grew up and i am now living in america.

Anonymous said...

How do you know this? is it from a book? if so, whats the name of the book? if not, where did u find this information? are you a relative? im doing a research paper on ann levy and is curious on where you got your information.

Anonymous said...

Her story touches my heart and the best thing about reading this and telling my teacher is that we get to hear her speack to us


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