Click to enlarge. This is actually the result of clicking on the link in the ‘The Jew Statue’ article.
From Ruth Glasberg Gold
The writer, Ms. Edith (Ditta) Pomeranz was a volunteer at the Bershad orphanage during the war. The poem is in German — it is so difficult to translate a poem, but I do hope someone will attempt it for those who cannot read German…
Meinen Kindern aus dem Berschader Kinderheim
Ihr Kinder vom Orfelinat
Die ich so tief ins Herz geschlossen
Für die, seit ich gewesen in Berschad
So viele Tränen hab vergossen.
Euch schreib ich ein’ge Zeilen heut
In Liebe und mit Zärtlichkeit.
Wer weiß, wohin der Schicksal Euch zerstreut
Und ob zu Ende ist schon Euer Leid.
Ihr Kinder, meine teuren, lieben
Habet vergessen gar am Ende, die
Die Euch gelehrt, für Euch geschrieben
Lieder, Stücke und wohl manche Poesie.
Henny Granierer, Du mein Sorgenkind
Die Du so schön gesprochen hast und klug,
Behandelt endlich Dich das Schicksal lind
Gelitten hast Du wirklich schon genug.
Milu und Leibale, Ihr Künstlerpaar
So talentiert und noch so klein
Vielleicht werdet Ihr mal nach Tag und Jahr
Wirklich mal große Künstler sein.
Hawale Buchman Zigeunerin kleine
Geruht haben Deine Hände nie.
So fleißig wie Du, war wirklich mehr keine
Du scheutest niemals vor Arbeit und Müh.
Pyragowski Willi, der Klasse Stern
Besuchst vielleicht heute die Schule nicht mehr
Daß Du – wie würde ich’s hören so gern –
Deine Lehrer auch heute begeisterst so sehr.
Auch möchte ich wissen, ob Du noch vereint
Mit Joszy Faust, unsern Langen,
Ob er auch heute noch Dein Freund
Weil Ihr einander so eng habt gehangen.
Im Geiste hör ich Dich, Mizzi Weistal,
Du singst so traurig, immer wieder.
Sag, liebe, kleine Nachtigall,
Singst Du noch jene traurigen Lieder?
Rossy Schermann, goldblondes Mädl,
Auch Du hast mir oftmals Freude gebracht,
Du hattest wohl einen holzigen Schädl
Doch hast Du dann alles besser gemacht.
Sternberg Luzer, Du junges Genie
Schreibst noch imer Gedichte und Dramen
Noch kenne ich Deine Tragödie
Bei der man geweint hat “Die Mame”.
Ruth Glasberg, Srul Rennert, Poldi Kirmayer
Geschwister Körner und die, die ich nicht genannt
Ihr seid mir alle, alle gleich teuer
Und meinem Herzen immer verwandt.
Euch allen hab’ich das geschrieben
Vergesst nicht, wenn das Leben und die Zeit
Uns wieder auseinandergetrieben
Daß Ihr alle meine Kinder seid.
To My Children in the Bershad Children’s Home
A Poem by Edith Pomeranz, translated from German by Bianca Rosenthal
You children from the orphanage
Whom I enclosed so deeply in my heart
For whom since I have been in Bershad
I have shed so many tears.
Today I write to you a few lines
With love and with tenderness.
Who knows to where fate will displace you
And whether your suffering will have reached an end.
You children, my dear and beloved ones
Perhaps, alas, you have forgotten those
Who taught you, wrote for you
Songs, plays and most likely a lot of poetry.
Henny Granierer, you my child of sorrows
You, who spoke so beautifully and wisely,
Does fate finally treat you kindly
Since you already suffered enough.
Milu and Leibale, you two artists
So talented and still so young
Perhaps some time later
You will become great artists.
Hawale Buchman you little gypsy girl
Your hands never stood still.
As diligent as you was indeed no other girl
You never shied away from work and toil.
Pyragowski Willi, the star of the classroom
Perhaps you no longer attend school
That you—How much would I like to hear this–
Still enthrall your teachers.
I also would like to know, if you together
With Joszy Faust, our tall one,
Whether he still is your friend
Because you were such close friends before.
In my mind I hear you, Mizzi Weistal,
You are singing so sadly, again and again.
Tell me, you dear little nightingale,
Do you still sing those sad songs?
Rossy Schermann, golden blonde girlie,
You too brought joy to me many times
While having a stubborn mind
But then you did everything much better.
Sternberg Lazar, you young genius
Are you still writing poems and dramas
I still remember your tragedy
That made everybody weep “Die Mame”.
Ruth Glasberg, Srul Rennert, Poldi Kirmayer
Brothers and sisters Körner and all those that I did not mention
All of you, yes all, are equally dear to me
And always congenial to my heart.
I wrote all this for all of you
Do not ever forget, when life and time
Should separate us again
That you all are my children.
From Gabriele Weissemann
This is a photo of my grand-father reading the “Tagespost” – Der Vormarsch gegen Rußland” (Daily Post – Offensive against Russia).
From Sylvie Gsell…
I saw these documents from Ethel Stern, good friend of my mother’s cousin.
Ethel was deported at the age of 7 years in Mogilev Podolsky as much of my mother’s family.
She had prepared documents for me:
– The pass of her future husband to go to work at the plant Turnatoria Jagendorf
– A picture of a theater show organized deportees orphans
– A photograph of the deportees Mogilev Podolski
When MP was liberated, my family ( my grand father Riwen Reicher, my aunt Luca Reicher, my great uncle dr Fabian Stern, his wife Lana and his daughter Gaby , Ethel and her parents) were living in Cz one year before coming home in Radautz.
This is about the shipwreck of the RAFIACH. I am one of the survivors.
Hope you find it interesting.
Ruth Glasberg Gold
Written by Pat Johnson. His writing has moved me beyond words.
Rescuing the Rafiach
Friday 19th, June 2015 Written by Pat Johnson
in TV & Film
A screenshot from Gad Aisen’s documentary, which has its Canadian première at the Rothstein Theatre June 28.
After the Holocaust and the Second World War, the British government that controlled Mandate Palestine severely limited Jewish immigration, continuing the restrictive policies from before the war. But the Jewish underground in pre-state Israel was operating a steady movement of illegal transports bringing Jews – mostly Holocaust survivors – from Europe to the Yishuv.
In November 1946, the ship code named Rafiach set off from Yugoslavia with 785 passengers. Twelve days into the voyage, a storm forced the ship to seek refuge in a bay on the tiny Greek island of Syrna but it ran aground and, within an hour, sank. The vast majority of passengers survived, crawling from the water onto the island, which is little more than a craggy rock, or jumping from the ship before it was fully immersed. It is not known exactly how many passengers drowned.
Among those who survived and eventually made it to Palestine were Lili and Solomon Polonsky z”l. Their daughter, Tzipi Mann, lives in Vancouver. She knew that her parents and some of their friends had been on the ship, but she had never delved into details. By the time her curiosity was piqued, her parents had passed away. But her quest to uncover the story of the Rafiach and its passengers has led to a documentary film that will screen here in its Canadian première on June 28.
Code Name: Rafiach is directed by Israeli filmmaker and television personality Gad Aisen, but he credits Mann as being the driving force behind the project.
Aisen is the creator of a TV show on Israel’s Channel 10 called Making Waves, about nautical topics. He served seven years in the Israeli navy before obtaining an MFA in cinema from Tel Aviv University. He had never heard of the Rafiach before he was approached by a student of Mevo’ot Yam Nautical School, who thought it would make a good topic for Aisen’s TV show.
Code Name: Rafiach is a story about Holocaust survivors finding a place in the world and also about the Jewish underground risking their lives to smuggle Jews into Mandate Palestine. There are many narratives of this sort, Aisen acknowledged, but the Rafiach’s tragedy and the rescue make this one especially poignant.
Because it is not possible to produce a story of nearly 800 people, the filmmaker decided to focus on a few individuals. One is Shlomo Reichman. Known to the circle of people around the film as “Shlomo the baby,” Reichman, now a grandfather, was thrown to safety from the ship.
“This man’s story was particularly touching because he was a newborn,” Mann said in a telephone interview. “He was three weeks old and he was tossed onto the rocks, but he wasn’t sure who tossed him. Was it his father, or was it someone else? For Shlomo, this has been sort of the core of his existence – who tossed me onto the rocks?”
The fact that the passengers were Holocaust survivors magnifies the impact of the incident, Mann said.
“If you can imagine Holocaust survivors having to deal with this,” she said. “There were so many personal, emotional issues attached to everything.”
In interviews, Mann and Aisen learned that adults who first made it to shore from the listing ship lay on the rocks to create a softer landing for those coming after.
For Mann, the Rafiach became a sort of obsession.
“In 2010, just one morning I thought, I need to find out more about this,” she said. “My intention was originally to try to write a book and I thought the only way I can do this is by being in Israel.”
She made arrangements to head for Jerusalem and enlisted the help of her cousin, Sara Karpanos, who lives there. They put an ad in an Israeli newspaper and the response was so overwhelming the pair had to rent a hotel space for a reunion of 200 Rafiach survivors and, in some cases, their children and grandchildren.
Unbeknownst to the two women, Aisen was already on the story. After being turned on to the history of the ship, Aisen had connected with an instructor at Israel’s naval high school who had led his students on a dive and recovered a couple of artifacts from the hulk of the Rafiach.
From what had seemed like lost history, Mann saw the story of the Rafiach begin to reveal itself. “A complete mystery was unraveling in front of me,” she said.
For Aisen, the story of the Rafiach “captured my heart, and I feel particularly connected to this story from many aspects, as a sailor, an Israeli and Jewish.”
To tell the history of the Rafiach in a documentary, he decided to use animation, which allowed him to be more creative than merely showing interviews with survivors.
“It enabled me to present the film in the present tense and not as a memory from the past,” he said. “It took me about six years to create the film, five journeys abroad, months in the archives, 300 hours of footage and a year’s work of three animators. But one of the more challenging things was to get to the wreck of the Rafiach and to dive and film inside.”
In a way, Aisen said, making the film let him vicariously live the life of an underground commander of an immigrant ship.
The Vancouver Jewish Film Centre presents Code Name: Rafiach on June 28, 7 p.m., at the Rothstein Theatre. Tickets are $10 and available at vjff.org.
Pat Johnson is a Vancouver writer and principal inPRsuasiveMedia.com.