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70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz and "The Last 500"
A tribute to the courage of Jewish mothers: 500 slave laborers designated as metal workers from the Lodz Ghetto, including families with babies, are believed by scholars to be the only GROUP to have survived the death camp with families intact.
"Walk Forward," is intriguing. Although she has not found new information on her sister, she found the grave of an Uncle Leo Chimowicz, her father's youngest brother, in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague. His three young sons and their mother were with Raskin's sister. The boys and their mother, Pessa Chimowicz, were sent back to Auschwitz for a second and final time on September 10, the group going into the gas chambers on September 11, 1944. Through a new contact in Berlin, Germany, Raskin found the son of a replacement for another taken away from "The Last 500," in Stutthof. Most important, Raskin found a lady in the USA who was on the journey and three years older than her 9-year-old, blond-haired sister. The lady's granddaughter published a beautifully illustrated book entitled "Through Eva's Eyes." Raskin visited her new found friend and felt it was her once in a lifetime chance to get a glimpse of her sister's world from another child who was at the same place at the same time and also a member of "The Last 500." Raskin learned how mothers and grandmothers did everything they could for their children under the most horrific circumstances one can imagine and has made it one of her goals in life to stop jokes about "the Jewish mother." Raskin's own grandmother, Sara Rosa Chimowicz, protested when her three young grandsons were taken, was severely beaten by the Nazis, and left to die of her injuries alone in concentration camp Stutthof.
Using letters sent to her from a newly found cousin in Israel, Raskin has detailed dates and exact facts as written by her Uncle Alfred Chimowicz, Head of Metals #1 in the Lodz Ghetto, who selected each member of "The Last 500.” Jewish family members are caught in a hellish spider's web. As pawns in the chess game between Hitler's assistants, the group designated as metal workers,
survive the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Stutthof, the last place where two young Chimowicz mothers and their four children were seen alive. The identification cards listing the fate of Uncle Leo Chimowicz's three sons, the youngest barely two years old, was found by Raskin's youngest sister, Maria Shine Stewart, on the cover of a book in a US public library published by the Museum of Stutthof, while the fate of her older (half) sister, Eugenia Chimowicz, and her sister's mother, Silvia Fabian Chimowicz, remain a true mystery. Those who survived concentration camp Stutthof, were sent to a converted cigarette factory in Dresden to make munitions. On the burning of Dresden, they continued on a horrific death march to concentration camp Theresienstadt from which they were released by the Russian Army.
On September 10, 1944, many women and children were taken from Stutthof and sent back to Auschwitz where "The Last 500" had come from the week before on September 3, 1944. Raskin's sister is not documented on this return trip as are her three young male cousins of the same age. The fate of her sister, Eugenia Chimowicz, is not documented to date in any verifiable format, but Raskin has filled out memory forms at Yad Vashem and posted her name on many lists. Whether her sister was killed in Stutthof, was sent back to Auschwitz with her 3 male cousins, or may have been hidden and is alive, remains a mystery. Raskin published "Walk Forward" as she believes someone knows what happened and an eye witnesses may yet "walk forward."
Raskin describes her endless search and promise she made to her father that if someone comes to her or her two younger sisters one day and says she is their oldest sister, they must believe her. Raskin's mother, her father's second wife, was ready to welcome the fourth and oldest sister as one of her own, and enabled the survivor family to "walk forward." Although not Jewish by birth, Raskin's mother went willinging into a Displaced Persons Camp with her two young daughters born in Germany after the Second World War, and is therefore pictured on the book's cover.
“Walk Forward” is $2.99 in ebook format and $8.99 in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/
Raskin would like to take this opportunity to thank those that continue to help persons being persecuted and try to reverse man's inhumanity to man. She would like to help put an end to jokes about the Jewish mother. It is Raskin's understanding that her sister was taken and then her sister's mother came forward to go with her child so that the 9-year-old not be afraid. One and a half million children were murdered, most willingly accompanied by their Jewish or nonJewish mothers, who went with their children so that the children not be afraid and protected them to the end.
A silent tribute, “We walk forward, but will never forget,” is presented in the book's video trailer at http://www.youtube.com/