Children of the Holocaust

October 19, 2007
By Isabella Novaes, Marietta, GA

It began with 11 million Jews living happily in Europe before WWII. Until the holocaust which took place during 1933-1945. One event ended the lives of 6 million Jews, 1 ½ of which were children. Out of 11 million Jews, only 5 million survived. Innocent lives were taken away without a reason. Millions of Jews suffered torture, and inhumanity, nevertheless children suffered the most.

To begin with, Jews were sent to concentration camps, where labor was enforced. Children were separated from their parents and, if unable to work, killed. They had all their basic needs, and ideas stolen. Most were murdered just for being young, because to the Nazis they were unworthy of their lives. Their concept of being safe was gone. These are the children who never had a real childhood.

Children suffered some of the worst deaths possible. When the Nazis found out children smaller than five were harder to kill in the gas chambers, they invented a new method. While adults would be sent to gas chambers, and then cremated, children were sent directly to the crematoria. “They were undressed and pushed into the fire. After a few minutes of extremely high heat, there would remain only ash where there had been a child” informed Petro Mirchuk, a former prisoner whose duty was to drag bodies from the gas chambers to the crematoria. Another former prisoner, Tadeuz Borowski, said he saw on the ground “squashed, trampled infants, naked little monsters with enormous heads, and bloated bellies.” Adolf Hitler explained another of his methods, he would “reduce their portions [of food], [and let] nature take care of the rest.” Adolf Hitler and the Nazis had many methods of killing innocent children.

Survivors had tragedies of their own. Though they had not been killed, they had to live a life full of memories of those who had died all around them. Several lived in fear long after the holocaust. Many children became orphans, losing their entire family. Orphanages had to be set up all over Europe to aid for those children without families. Jewish orphans now alive “do not know who their parents are or where they were born” or their “real first name [and] date of birth.” It’s a tragic thing to not know your identity and to have to grow up without your parents, and in fear that it may all start over.

If I were in the holocaust, I know I wouldn’t have survived. I am weak compared to those that made it alive. Those children suffered more than enough, and dealt with problems beyond compare. A few problems included separation from their parents, torture, forced labor, fear, and death itself. The list goes on without an end. Dead or alive, the children of the holocaust suffered and still suffer the consequences for a decision they never made. Until today, we mourn the death of those 1 ½ million innocent children.

Works Cited
Ayer Eleanor, and Stephen Chicoine, eds. Holocaust. Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch Press,
Lace, William W. The Death Camps. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1998.

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