Monday, March 09, 2009

"We must remember!"

Top - Madame Arunka Rajchnudel with her four eldest children
(L-R): Jacqueline, Claudine, Jean-Claude, Mme Rajchnudel, Marcelle

Bottom - Baby Eliane Rajchudel (1 year old)
This family were transported from France to Auschwitz in 1944 and died in the Holocaust
(Original photographs courtesy of the late M. J-P. Nogaret)
The above photographs show a mother and her five children who died in the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz. Madame Arunka Rajchnudel and her children - Jacqueline (10 years old), Claudine (6 years old), Jean-Claude (3 years old), Marcelle (13 years old) and Eliane (1 year old) were killed in the Holocaust because they were of the Jewish faith. There are those who deny there were Gas Chambers in the Nazi Concentration Camps, or at least the scale of what happened. Yet, individuals like Mme Rajchnudel were killed in the most horrific of circumstances as part of 'The Final Solution'. This is something we must always remember.
For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(1) The Rajchnudel family at Badaroux, Lozère, France

During WW2 in France two Parisian Jews, Messrs Lazare and Scharff managed to escape from Occupied France and settled in the small village of Badaroux in the department of Lozère which was in the 'Unoccupied' Vichy Zone. They were able to find refuge with M. Louis Marcon. Later, one of their friends, a tailor of Polish origin, M. Rajchnudel found his way to Badaroux, initially living at 'Jean-Antoine' the home of M Firmin Nogaret and Mme Justine Nogaret (née Rénouard).

At great effort - and at no little expense- Mme Rajchnudel and the four eldest children were able to make their way from the northern 'Occupied' Zone of France and cross the demarcation line into the 'Unoccupied' Zone of southern France in a provisions wagon. Eventually, Mme Rajchnudel and the children arrived at Badaroux, and the family were able to live together again for a time in an apartment owned by M. Antoine Rénouard (brother of Mme Nogaret). They were made most welcome and became true members of the community. It was here, at Badaroux, that the baby of the Rajchnudel family, Eliane, was born.

I first learnt of the story of the Rajchnudel family from the late M. Jean-Pierre Nogaret, son of Firmin and Justine for one of my university projects. M. Nogaret was himself 'on the run' from the authorities as a 'Refractaire' during WW2 and wrote a book on his wartime experiences. On 8 February 1944 the Gestapo arrived at Badaroux from the nearby town of Mende to collect all the Rajchnudel family. Despite representations made by the 'Preftecture' in Mende the family were deported to Drancy (near Paris) and subsequently to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Only M. Rajchnudel was able to survive the camp and the war.

In 1995 M J.-P. Nogaret sent details about the Rajchnudel family to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, including copies of the photographs shown at the beginning of this article. I have read and researched a lot about the Second World War, and written a lot about events and people in the war years. It is still shocking to write about, or even think about, what happened to those who perished in the Holocaust. It is a history written in blood - the blood of innocents - who lived in communities like the one at Badaroux. The exact details of what happened to the victims of the Holocaust, why and by whom, in most cases were well documented and many of these records still survive.

I would like to deidcate this article to the memory of the Rajchnudel family, and also to honour M Jean-Pierre Nogaret, his family and the residents of Badaroux. They gave a home and some happiness to a refugee family in a time great need.

"We should always remember them!"
(<< Il faut qu'on se souviens! >>)

[NB - Please note, there may be more than one spelling variant of the surname RAJCHNUDEL which I have used in this article]

(2) Some Words of Hope

The Nazi Concentration Camps of WW2 were places of suffering and horror. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the ultimate place of death and genocide of 'The Final Solution'. It is difficult to find anything positive to write about in an account about those who died at Auschwitz. However, early in 2009, I was visiting a church to research those who died in WW2 in a church when I was given a sheet quoting a prayer of hope in the midst of suffering, written by a victim of the Holocaust.

These words of hope were found written on a wall in a Nazi Concentration Camp:

"I believe in the Sun, even when it is not shining,
I believe in Love, even when I feel it not,
I believe in God, even when He is silent".

May the memory of those who died as a result of the Holocaust always be remembered!
Shalom (Peace)

Monday, 09 March, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Joseph - Whilst it is extremely laudible of your concern for the many jews who died in various concentration camps in WW2 - we must also remember the many Lutherans - disabled and Catholics who also died in these same camps - one Catholic priest always comes to my mind and it is that of St.Maximilliam Kolbe - a Polish rpiest who was amongst 3000 onther priest just from Poland who volunteered to take the place of another man who had a family - he was placed in a starvation cell but failed to die in the required ten days and waa therefore injected with acid.

It should also be noted that there is another "Holocaust" raging throughout the world which gets very little attention as it is sponsored by most Governments as well as the United Nations - can I mention Abortion ?


Tuesday, 10 March, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

In 2005 (to coinciding with the 60th anniversary of its liberation) the BBC showed a TV series (and accompanying book) about Auschwitz based on extensive research by Laurence Rees. According to Rees, Auschwitz and ‘Final Solution’ of the Nazis was the ‘… lowest act in all history’. Basically, while there have been atrocities, genocide, religious wars etc throughout history this all happened in a sophisticated Western society in the middle of the 20th Century.

To quote Laurence Rees from this book:

“By their crime the Nazis brought into the world an awareness of what educated, technologically advanced human beings can do, as long as they possess a cold heart. Once allowed into the world, knowledge of it must not be unlearnt”.

Rees, Laurence (2005), “Auschwitz, the Nazis & the ‘Final Solution’, BBC Books, London (ISBN 0563 52117 1), page 302

In 2005, when I went into a local bookshop and asked if they were selling copies of the books the shop assistant had never heard of Auschwitz, Concentration Camps etc. I think she worked there on Saturdays, and still at school or college through the week (probably about 17 / 18 years old). I found this lack of knowledge incredible, shocking even! On the other hand there are many young people around a similar age who are aware of what happened.

Tuesday, 10 March, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Joseph while I applaed your efforts to keep the Holocaust front and centre and that you are applled that a 17 year old hs never heard of it etc - I note that you have skirted the fact that an ongoing Holocaust is still raging in the 21st century - this one is even more serious as it is estimated that some 600 million lives have been lost since around 1960 - the age of aquerious et al

Wednesday, 11 March, 2009  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Whilst not wanting to seem contentious I am surprised that Tom Cann would bring this subject to this forum.To compare the subject of abortions to the Holocaust seems to me to be a bit ingenuous to say the least.

Thursday, 12 March, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Boable -
to say that my broaching the subject of Abortion on this blog is ingenious or dis-ingenious is a matter of complete indifference to me as we have all - I should imagine - have had a sufficiency of facts and otherwise for too many years about a subject which is taboo for I merely point out that even MORE lives are being lost daily for a longer period than the intial trauma - with very little comment - I merely point out that this Abortion Industry is just as-if not more evil than the first-these aborted chidren are innocent as they have not even been born -

So I shall bring it to everyone's attention - as that is what FREE speech is all about- and is always open for debate !

Or don't you agree ?

Thursday, 12 March, 2009  
Blogger Cathie said...

When I read this : 'I merely point out that this Abortion Industry is just as-if not more evil than the first-'

I understand the underlying message. It implies that foetuses are more worthy of attention than the lives of Jewish children, who were not innocent anymore. Especially as they were not Christian.

I do not want to discuss this any further. Free speech has its limits. This sort of speech is insulting.

I'll just add something before I stop contributing.
The clergy in France took enormous risks in WW2 to save Jewish children. In my area Monseigneur Rémond (the bishop) organized a whole network to hide them from the Gestapo. He never asked for their conversion, and many, like him went against Pope Pie XII - whose sympathies were more to the other side.

France took a long time recovering from its hypocrisy.
Now "deniers" are taken to court and sentenced (heavily)
The same applies to those who incite others to racial hatred.Bad faith still exists, among fundamentalists in particular. But no one is forced to adhere to their rulings anymore, nor even read about them if one does not want to. My choice.

Friday, 13 March, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

This primary purpose of this thread was initially posted to remember one family – a mother and five children exterminated in the Holocaust, and a husband and father somehow having to live with this knowledge for the rest of his life. Mme Rajchnudel and her five children were among about 6 Million people murdered in the Holocaust. There is no way this can be fudged or sidelined so far as I am concerned.

The records about what happened to them are pretty straightforward. Go to the Mairie at Badaroux and you will find the birth of a babe called Eliane Rajchnudel recorded in the Town Hall registers. You will still find people who remember them - or relatives and friends of those who did. Everyone is told to remember what happened to a loving family who lived among them.

As I understand it this is a WW2 website / forum to learn and debate all aspects of those years, good bad or indifferent. There are things that can be raised outside this core purpose, such as consequences of the wart, WW2 commemorative events and so on.

The British historian Richard Holmes recently published a book based on the Oral History evidence of those who had been interviewed for the landmark Thames TV Series ‘The World at War’(published 2007). In the introduction to the chapter about the Holocaust, Richard Holmes writes:

“There is a kernel of foul truth in Josef Stalin’s aphorism that one death is a tragedy, a million a statistic, and the jolting memoirs in the following pages seek to keep the matter personal”.

Later in the chapter are extracts from an interview with Yaacov Silberstein, a Jewish teenager in WW2 who was in the work parties at both Buchenwald and Auschwitz Concentration Camps. That was how he survived the war. This is an extract from Mr Silberstein’s testimony about what Rabbi Frankforter (one of the first to die) said to him in the Buchenwald camp:

“I have only one request for you – that you should never let people forget. Tell everyone what they did to you at this small camp, in Buchenwald. Wherever you go tell this, also to your children, so that they can pass it on”.

Mr Silberstein continued:

“This is why I insist on it even today – ‘To remember and not to forget’.”

Let me leave it there.

Friday, 13 March, 2009  
Blogger Peter G said...

Yesterday I sent a commment to the 'Memorial' thread, now overtaken and buried under later Posts. I repeat it here because once again we are told that Catholics died in the Nazi extermination camps:


Have you read Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family & Fatherland by Carmen Callill?

It tells the story of one of France's most despicable villains and conmen: Louis Darqiuer de Pellepoix.

Luis Darquier (the 'de Pellepoix' bit, pure invention, was tacked on later), rose to be Vichy France's Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, and was personally responsible for sending thousands to the gas chambers. He was obsessed with racial 'purity' and the latent anti-Semitism of the French Catholic church.

Let me quote from page 239, regarding traditional Catholics and the persecution of Jews:

"The most virulent among them was Cardinal Baudrillart, eighty-one years old in 1940. He supported the Nazis 'as a priest and a Frenchman ... should I refuse to approve this noble common enterprise, in which Germany is taking the lead?' His fellow cardinals, Cardinal Liènart of Lille, Cardinal Suhard of Paris and Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon, all greeted the arrival of Pétain with fervour, and regarded the fall of France as a punishment. As the Bishop of Nantes put it: 'France has driven Christ from the law courts and schools. ..."

This 'divine punishment' fantasy has been peddled incessantly since 300 AD. If the Nazis occupied France then it follows that the French must have deserved it. In the dark days before the Enlightenment and the return to reason, it used to be plagues and thunderstorms which were God's punishment.

The latest perversion to be pushed by the denigrators of the Holocaust is that Catholics, Lutherans, and sundry Christians also died in the extermination camps, so why are the Jews being compensated? What they fail to acknowledge, either through ignorance or deliberate maliciousness, is that it wasn't Nazi state policy to exterminate the Christians of Europe. There were no trains of cattle trucks trundling their way to the death camps full of Lutheran pastors, nuns, and Catholic children. Members of the Christian clergy that died in the camps did so due to the terrible conditions; they were not sent to the gas chambers en masse.

Another ploy, which is insulting to the millions of innocent Jews who died, is to say that the Holocaust isn't unique. They then trot out a list of other evil massacres, completely missing the point that the planned extermination of the Jews was the official policy of a national state, requiring meticulous planning and a dedicated bureaucracy - it was not a frenzied bloodbath over a few weeks.

As to saying that abortion is a hundred times worse than the Holocaust (600 million against 6 million), apart from the intended insult, we are entering into utter madness. We might as well say that the billions of trillions of wasted spermatozoa of celibate priests is a far more enormous crime. Spermozoons are just as much alive as any fertilsed ovum or early fetus.

Friday, 13 March, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The deportation of the Rajchnudel family:
An eyewitness testimony

Below is an English translation of the testimony of Mlle. Julienne Bonicel, teacher at the nursery class at Badaroux in 1944, about the day the Gestapo turned up to take the Rajchnudel family away from the village.

"On 8 February 1944, half an hour after the start of the afternoon school, a plain-clothes policeman turned up at the school and showed his card - German police.

'Is there a child here by the name of Jean-Claude Rajchnudel?'

I pointed him out.

'Come with me. My car is outside!'

Jean-Claude turned pale - he was frightened.

'Can I drive?'


I took the child in my arms. The car was there. Madame Rajchnudel was sitting in the front seat with her beautiful baby on her knee. The two older girls and Claudine were in the back. Claudine was standing up and greeted me through the window. She was laughing and waving her arms. Jacqueline and Marcelle were wearing tartan dresses, lovingly made by their father and mother, which had won everyone's admiration. They and their mother were dressed and bejewelled as they would have been for a day out in town - necklaces, bracelets, rings and watches. The little girls seemed to be enjoying the outing all the more as they were going by car today. Madame Rajchnudel looked anxious without appearing unduly alarmed. She was no doubt thinking she was the victim of some irksome formality, the like of which she was only too annoyingly familiar with.

I put Jean-Claude down beside her. I kissed her. I wanted to kiss the baby, but my compassionate gestures prompted a rough interruption:

'Are you Jewish too? Get in then. There's plenty of room!"

I remember feeling a shrinking sensation right through my body. I recall this instinctive movement with regret. It was like a signal of abandonment, adding further to the poor mother's distress.

Throughout the evening , and the days that followed, I kept a look-out, as did all the village, for the return of these unfortunates. Even long after the war was over we still hoped ...

With great emotion I am recounting these facts for the benefit of Monsieur Rajchnudel so that he has a written reminder of his loved ones last moments in Badaroux."

Julienne Bonicel
Written in Badaroux, 25 August 1964

Quoted in:
NOGARET, Jean-Pierre (1990), "Mémoires d'un Réfractaire", Les Presses de l'Imprimerie, Marvejols.
(pages 68 - 69)

A touching tribute

Since 2010 Badaroux has had a school named after Eliane RAJCHNUDEL, the baby born at Badaroux in 1943 and murdered at Auschwitz in 1944 along with her mother and older siblings. The only reason they were killed was because they were Jewish. Before they were killed, they were also robbed of all their possessions.

Below is a translation into English of why the school is named after Eliane Rajchnudel (as written on the school website):

"Our school is called after Eliane Rajchnudel because in 1943 a Jewish family in 1943 had found a home in Badaroux because it was too dangerous in Paris as the Germans were there. A few days later, a girl was born in Badaroux, she was called Eliane. But, in February 1944 the Gestapo came looking for them to take them to a concentration camp, probably Auschwitz. A month later Jacqueline(14), Marcelle (10), Claudine (6) and Jean Claude (3) and their mother Aranka died in a gas chamber. Only their father was spared.

On 5 February 2010 our school was named 'Eliane Rajchnudel'."

The following is a link to the Eliane Rajchnudel School website (in French) which has photographs of the school:

Eliane Rajchnudel School, Badaroux

Sunday, 10 June, 2012  

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