Deportation of children in the Lodz Ghetto.
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Roses Bring a Ghostly Reminder

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Mother’s Day is coming! I found a special “deal” online: two dozen roses for $50.00. You cannot resist such a deal. I love roses, so I quickly purchased them. I was a little apprehensive – was this for real or a scam? But the offer came from the Jewish Press, a reputable newspaper to which my husband has subscribed for years.

In fact, the roses came. They are gorgeous. One dozen red and one dozen yellow. I was very excited. I cut the stems as directed. Then I started pruning some of the leaves to allow the roses to survive unencumbered, free of necessary clutter. 

That is when it hit me.

Suddenly, an article I had read a long time ago entered my mind. Why? Why now? I do not know. It referred to Chaim Rumkowski, the Elder of the Jewish Council of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. He ignored the teachings of Maimonides (also known as Rambam, 1138–1204), and ignored his faith to become a willing lapdog to the brutal Nazi regime. Maimonides who taught “If the idolators say: ‘Hand over one of you and we will kill him; or we will kill all of you.’ Then let all be killed but do not hand over even one soul of Israel.”

  • On September 1, 1942, German military trucks pulled up to the ghetto’s hospitals, and SS troops emerged to seize the patients. 
  • On September 2, the Germans ordered the Jewish ghetto authorities to prepare 20,000 people for deportation: the sick, the elderly and the children.
  • On September 4, at 4:00 p.m., Rumkowski stood before the Jews of the ghetto to announce:

“A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They are asking us to give up the best we possess—the children and the elderly. Brothers and sisters: Hand them over to me! Fathers and mothers: Give me your children. I must cut off limbs in order to save the body! I must take away children, and if I do not, others too will be taken, God forbid…”(Yad Vashem)

Somehow, the cutting off of the “limbs” from the roses triggered this horrible event in my head.

Even though I am a Holocaust survivor, I have no firsthand experience about the Lodz Ghetto. But, having been involved in many Holocaust-related endeavors, I have seen the photograph above and have heard about this occurrence many times.

Please leave your comments below. 

Read more by Felicia Graber.

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