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October 20, 1967 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-10-20

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26—Friday, October 20, 1967

Dropsie Memorial Lecture
to Honor Sol Satinsky


Boy's Survival in Auschwitz Relived
by the Man He Became; Detroiter
Welds Memories Into Copper Model

up on people who took-a few min-
"1 was only 12 when this tragedy utes rest. Those who received a
happened. Most children think of beating from him did not live
games and good times at that age, i long."
but I was all of a sudden confront-;
David said goodby to his father
ed with a struggle for survival."
at Plaszhau. He never saw him
At 36, David Bergman is a model , again.
of suburban respectability. He lives
In another camp, David and
with his pretty some 14 other youngsters were
wife, Sally, and turned in. Underage.
their 41/2 - year -1
"We were told that we were not
old son, Aaron, ; useful for work anymore and that
in a nice house in the morning we would be taken
on ParklaWn, in back to Auschwitz . . . I had never
Oak Park. An Air given up hope before nor lost faith,
Force veteran but this morning I realized that the
and a graduate end is coming . . . All of a sudden,
of Lawrence In- the camp commandant conies
stitute of Tech- toward us and points a finger at
nology, he has a me, saying, 'You, go join that
Bergman good job as a group of workers!' One of the men
senior service engineer.
in that group had passed out and
When David Bergman turned 13, they needed a fill-in. . . . Shortly
he was riding in a cattle train with thereafter a truck came and took
his father. They ware on their those children to an extermination
way from Auschwitz to Plaszhau, camp."
Other tests more of spirit than
a concentration camp in Poland.
"1 was so 1■ 17101 looking forward of physical strength—because that
to this day of Bar Mitzva. I had was fast ebbing away—followed for
had several years of preparation Bergman. There was the train ride
for this event. My parents even to Dachau, in which three of 150
had all the gifts set aside. Indeed. persons survived. There was the
today I have become a Man - and forced march into the Tyrol Moun-
am heading for an unknown desti- tains at the close of the war, when
nation. . . Only my father and I the Germans used their prisoners
were together: no mother, brother, as a buffer against the Americans.
("The Germans were hoping
sister or any other relative . . .
That is how I celebrated my Bar that we would get killed by
American fire power and they
Bergman has put his memories then could say that the Ameri-
cans did it.")
into writing—some 34 typewritten
Liberated at last by the Ameri-
pages "for my son"—but, even
more graphically, into copper. His cans, the boy was placed in a pri-
home and then a sanitorium in
stylized model of Auschwitz, which
will go on display during Book Garmisch. It was a source of amaze-
to his liberators that David
Fair at the Jewish Center, is one
man's testimony to an unbelievable had survived; "nothing but bones
were protruding out of my body."
With recovery, the heartbreaking
The product of some 50
search or family began. Back to
hours' work, Bergman's copper
Czechoslovakia, through Hungary
model shows the "selection proc-
and Romania, David traveled—once
ess"—the arbitrary choosing of
lying flat on top of a train because
prisoners for slave labor or for
there was no room inside. Fifteen
the "showers" and eventual
miles from his home town of Boc-
kow, David started to walk.
Bergman well remembers the
"Whenever I met someone from
cruel system.
my hometown I asked them if they
"A few feet from where •ve got saw or heard of my family, but not
off the train, there was a Nazi of- one was able to help me. . . . Even
f•er standing and giving three- though I was tired and exhausted,
tions for people to go to different the thought of being home again
lines. We had no idea what it was soon kept me going. As I was get-
all about. Fortunately, I stayed to- ring closer, some places started to
gether with my father, and when look familiar again. . . . Places
the Nazi officer asked me how old where I used to play were empty
I was. I was about to say I was now. All my friends of my age were
only 12. but something held me gone. . . . The emotion that came
back. and my father said that I over me when I walked into the
was 14. So I went with the group home is hard to describe. This is
that were designated for working
camps. Had I said that I was 12 r
years old, I would have gone with _Lois SITI 11 belg Bei Mt ha
the older women and children who
were shortly killed by gassing."
/0 _41a R it-ha rd II 1IICl'
Born in the town of Bockow.
Czechoslovakia. in the Carpathian
Mountains. Bergman knew happy
times as a child. It was the mem-
ories. t h e impossible hope of re-
union with his family, that kept
him alive when others, older and
stronger. perished.
The nightmare that Bergman
lived took less than a year (Hun-
gary took over Carpathia in 1939;
the Nazis arrived in '44). but in
that year, Bergman was transport•
ed from Hungary, to Germany, to
Poland. back to Germany—Ausch-
witz, Reichenbach, Dachau.
In Plaszhau:
"My father worked at his profes-
sion as a tailor and I worked as a
bricklayer. We were happy that at
least part of the family was to-
gether. The work was very hard.
We had to build a five-by-four wall
every day. If we did not complete
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Stein- I
the wall, we did not get any food. berg of Sussex Ave. announce the
The walls were built from stones engagement of their daughter Lois
mined from a huge. rocky 7110U11- Anne to Alan Richard Winer, son
tail?. The laying of stones would of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Winer of ,
not have been so bad, but we had Pinehurst Ave.
to carry each stone by hand front
The bride-elect and her fiance
the mine to the area where we both attend Wayne State Univerd
were building the wall .. . There sity, she majoring in special edu- -
was one Nazi overseer who used to cation and he in accounting.
A June 23 wedding is planned.
ride around on a horse and sneak I

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire

David Bergman, a survivor of
Auschwitz, has rendered his test-
imony to the horrors of the con-
centration camp with a stylized
diagram, sculpted in copper. The
model, which is being shown in
the Jewish Center during Book
Fair, is accompanied by two
other pieces of work by Berg-
man, one showing the state of
Israel surrounded by her nu-
merically superior Arab neigh-
bors (left), the other depicting
the Western Wall.

what I was hoping and struggling
for. I achieved part of my goal, but
the most important goal I have not
achieved yet. 1 went all around the
house; just touching things that my
family touched once meant a lot to
me. So many memories were
brought back. The games that we
used to play as children, the long
walks we used to take in the big
garden . . . .
Some of the memories were not
so pleasant. With the Hungarian
takeover of Carpathia in 1939, se-
vere restrictions were imposed on
the Jews. When David's family was
deported to Hungary, their house
was "assigned" and a receipt given
for their property. The formality
was no doubt a little private joke
among the authorities; their sense
of humor was not so pleasant in
the central deportation point,
where Jewish prisoners were tor-
tured by the Hungarians for "mis-
These were the memories that
came crowding back when David
stepped into the home of his child-
"Another family was living in
my house. The man of the house
asked me what I am doing here,
since he claimed this was his
house. I left, deciding that when
my parents come home, they would
settle this matter . . . "
But the realization had to be
accepted: he would not find his
At that time, a new movement
was springing up in the ashes of
Europe: Aliya. David joined 150
other homeless youngsters on a
kibutz. In a year, the teen-agers
learned to live again, sharing as
their families once had done.
Above all, they shared a com-
mon goal: Palestine.
David never got to Palestine as
an immigrant. Uncles living in
America found his name among the
lists of refugees and sent for him.
Later he would see Israel as a
The adaptability that served
him well in the concentration
camps saw him over many adjust-
ments in America, and following
graduation from high school, he
enlisted in the Air Force.
"After about the sixth week of
basic training, I started to get
a pain in the leg. I went on sick
call, and the doctors could not
find anything wrong.The pain got
worse and I finally told the doctor
that -I cannot walk anymore . . .
I never had such pain before, even
when I went through all the tor-
tures in concentration camps . . .
After they told me that I would
not have to take the gas training,
may pain went away."
With typical bureaucratic per-
versity, the Air Force sent Berg-
man to Bremerhaven, Germany.
"Seven years ago I left this place
thinking that I would never see it
again, and now I came to protect
this country from the Russians,
who at one time were supposed to

be my liberators. The Russians are
now the enemies. Life just did not
make sense."
Bergman has started a new life
that does make sense, but to that
senseless era he has dedicated a
model of Auschwitz:
"This is dedicated to the six
million Jewish people who lost
their lives by gassing, starvation
and brutality under the Nazi regime
in Germany. May their memories
be an eternal light for future
. generations and may those living
; be strong to prevent such a
catastrophe from happening again.

Jewish Journalists Plan
Convention in Jerusalem

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

JERUSALEM—A world conven-
tion of Jewish journalists will be
held in Jerusalem Feb. 12 to which
leading authors and novelists from
the United States and Europe will
also be invited, it was announced
Tuesday by the World Bureau of
Jewish Journalists here. The gath-
ering, to be opened by Prime
Minister Levi Eshkol, will provide
a forum for an exchange of views
on the functions and tasks of Jew-
ish journalists and writers against
the background of the six day war
and the upsurge of national spirit
it aroused among Jews the world

to The Jewish News)
tablishment of an annual Sol
Satinsky Memorial Le c t ure at
Dropsie College for Hebrew and
Cognate Learning was announced
Tuesday by Dr. Abraham I. Katch,
president of Dropsie.
The memorial lecture has been
established by the Satinsky family
and will be delivered each Novem-
In addition to the lecture, Dr.
Katch announced establishment of
the Sol Satinsky Award by the
college's board of governors. It
will be given each year at com-
mencement exercises to an out-
standing graduate.
The lecture series and awards
commemorate a personality active
on the national scene as well as
in his native Philadelphia.
His national activities included
leadership in the United Jewish
Apeal, Council of Jewish Federa-
tions and Welfare Funds, Joint
Distribution Committee, American
Jewish Committee, the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency and the Jew-
ish Theological Seminary.
In Philadelphia, he had served
as president of the Allied Jewish
Apeal, vice president of the Fed-
eration of Jewish Agencies, presi-
dent of the Jewish Publication
Society, and vice president of the
Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Ile died last November.

Larry Freedman

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