Gripping Testimonies

Holocaust survivors tell stories that speak of human courage

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The huge complex of Auschwitz was set on fire, including the building which housed the sick and dying. Russians were coming and evidence of atrocities were being destroyed.
Relatively few of us wonder when we see photos or news reels of survivors being liberated at camps, what happened to the people in the camps which were on fire. What happened to them?
Steven Spielberg, in his documentary, Broken Silence, Voices from the Past, and the soon-to-be-released International Tracing Society book, tell us about Death Marches, in which people from the camps being burned were hustled down the road and through villages, dropping dead along the way, the SS guards disappearing, too, into the unknown.
In Spielberg’s film, one story told by an amazing woman, relates, “We were marched to trains and when the train stopped in the middle of a rural area and rockets were being fired overhead fired by Russians and Germans. the train doors opened and as many of us who could ran into the fields. I ran to a farm house in the distance. No one was there. The rockets destroyed all the rooms in the house except the one in which I was standing.”
The horrors of the camps and the Death Marches are, in the words of survivors, “incomprehensible,” and “You had to have been there to understand what happened.”
Survivors cried as they talked, one man in particular who had been a Jewish camp guard, as he described taking the standing dead out of the gas chambers to the crematoriums.
Another man told his incredible story. “I escaped many times from the ghetto in Warsaw to seek sanctuary with a Polish friend on the Aryan side, but I soon learned that the Aryan side had more terror, so I always went back to the ghetto where it was more peaceful.”
That man also escaped from a train heading to Auschwitz through a hole in the wood floor as the train was moving. Where did he go when he escaped that time? Back once again to his Polish friend’s house in Warsaw.
Shots of young people listening to survivors tell their stories were captured by Spielberg and used between segments. These were a portion of the young people who come every every year to Auschwitz to honor the dead.
Broken Silence is not to be missed.

Children of the Nazis

This from the Sydney Morning Herald: Documentary in Australia features “The Last Nazis: the Children of the Nazis.
Tim Elliott, who writes an entertainment blog for the newspaper, says it charts Himmler’s Lebensborn project and interviews the children, now adults, and the nurses who began raising them. “We also get a portrait of Himmler, a chinless nutbar whose inadequacies manifested in a series of surreal contradictions. Raised a middle-class Catholic, he encouraged his men to impregnate any woman of suitable stock, abandoning the strictures of marriage when they only slowed up his breeding program. As for the children themselves, they were mere cogs, raised by the Third Reich in the absence of parents. The lucky few got pewter mugs engraved with Himmler’s signature.
“Gestapo chief Himmler loved children, as long as they weren’t Jewish, Gypsy, Slav, black, Asian, homosexual or handicapped. No, for the architect of the master ace, only pure-bred Aryans would suffice. And, so, starting in l935, Himmler constructed some 30 special homes across Germany – nurseries where an entire generation of perfect Teutons would be raised, the illegitimate spawn of his prized SS troops.”
According to my research there were homes also in many other countries, and almost as many in Norway as in Germany. The number most often used is 26 homes.
The program was first opened to his SS officers and to the Gestapo, but later as the war progressed, to the ordinary troops in Norway who were ordered to seek out the blue-eyed and blonde Nordic goddesses.
These children after the war were shunned, taunted and often physically abused and most all have led conflicted lives. Many are still seeking their “true” parents. Mothers in Lebensborn homes gave an oath under the SS dagger never to reveal the identity of the father.
Many Children of the Nazis are still searching for a “true” parent. Their stories, often heard now in courtrooms in countries around the world, are pitiful and heartbreaking, all because they were to be the Master Race.

High-Tech Baking

No Fuss
Little Cleanup
Exquisite Results

Amazing high-tech bake ware reached this area a few days ago. It was here in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, in a place about as remote as you can find in the U.S.
At a luncheon, hosted by Leesa and Martha, the menu showcased baked vegetables (guava beans, peppers, cabbage, sweet peas) harvested from Deseries garden; Chilies Rellenos, because as Leesa said, ‘The Ladies had given a lot of eggs’; Quick lasagna, Parmesan walnut shells for the green salads, and a cake of golden and glistening glory to be unbelievable, and, of course, brownies, because you really shouldn’t have a summer lunch without them.
Two of their recipes were baked in or upon Demarle silicone/glass “Flexipan” molds. Anna, the demonstrator, a new bride of one year who is learning to cook, said, “Don’t let it touch an oven’s interior, use it under a broiler for more than a couple of minutes, or cut it with a knife.
“A college student lives on fish and potato slices baked on a Silpat lining and baking sheet given to him by his mother. Cleanup is so easy that he dumps the silpat sheet in the sink and rises it off the next day to use again.”
My fully-stocked kitchen with introduction of a square “RoulPat” will let pie dough roll out without use of flour and there will be no more sticky mess to clean up, or, I can bake fish in a glass 9 X 12 dishes on top the Silpat lining without using cooking spray
With one of the new flexible molds (can be crunched up without cleaning and taken away in my purse after a potluck), it will be safe to take jello. It will fall out without braking or falling apart onto a serving dish. Other casserole dishes should turn out firmer, moister and lovelier, too.
These unique items were created by a French chef who wanted less mess and healthier bake ware. Along with the now-popular macaroon cookies, it may be the newest “hot” cooking craze this summer.
Perhaps the 128 recipes in Story Cookbook will not only be quicker and easier to make but turn out food even more tasty.
The silapat lining will defeat Hugenot Torte, the simple apple desert which usually tries to overrun the pan onto the oven, and Voila, no Mess.
In another blog, I really must share the recipes for Chilies Rellenos and Roasted Vegetables. Really yummy.

Update, Update, Updating

Went over the mountains the first of July to the Seattle area to have this photo taken for the blog.

You can’t see it in the picture, but the creek is in the shadow of Mt. Rainier where evacuation signs line the roads like Burma Shave posts once did.

The first of August, returned from a two-thousand mile trip to Indiatlantic, Florida, (it’s near Melbourne where there are many people who like to play tennis), and had video trailers made for three books now on Amazon.
If you’re curious, please check out the videos on UTube on this linK: JoAnnBwriter. They are little trailers for Rusty Springs, Story Cookbook and Lebensborn.
Once back home in the mountains by the Canadian border, the videos took thirty-seven minutes each to upload from a flash drive and another hour to place each of them on UTube and they were only two minutes long.
They were produced by son John Bender, who is a noted professional video grapher and will be one of the people soon taping the Republican National Convention for a TV network.
The new author photo and video trailers are part of book launches for Story Cookbook and Rusty Springs in early September.
The writing of “The Hired Hand,” the sequel to Rusty Springs, has, alas, been delayed.
Fact: Writers are happiest when connecting with their characters. Truman Effort has been left behind in Montana where is he is with a team fighting a huge forest fire, demonic cross-winds now encircling them.

Right Mug – Happier Person

Consider this: With the perfect container, a beverage becomes more tasty.
If the glass or mug isn’t matched to the drink being served, the taste might not be the same as it might have been in a different vessel.
What if a martini is handed to you in a jelly glass. Will it have the same ambiance? Would it lose its intention of setting the right mood?
What if the martini were served in a leather-bound tiny cordial glass?
A single-malt scotch begs to be held in a chunky tumbler, not a tall glass with patterned flowers.
Sangria loves a top-heavy glass with a big
rim, and so does a margarita.
Hot chocolate loves chunky mugs.
Summertime loves all sorts of glassware. Bring out the wedding crystal for wine. Beer likes a stein but many like to hold the bottle in their hand to study the many and varied labels, some so outlandish you wonder who thought it up and sold it to the provider.
Love summer. Containers are at the forefront with cold beverages. I may save this blog and use it in the fourth edition of Story Cookbook and connect it to a new recipe for sangria.

Book Blogger Rating Styles

Unique book ratings styles of bloggers Laid Out for Readers and Authors

Bloggers indicate on their sites that their reviews will fit into specific numbering categories, so as one reviewer points out, if you are an author, don’t ask for my review unless you realize it may be at your own risk.
Most reviews are typically one to five stars, five being the highest. Books, Biscuits & Tea, instead of stars gives cookies: l) Not my cup of tea; 2) Didn’t work for me; 3) Okay, a good read; 4) Sweet, really liked it; 5) Absolutely a fabulous treat.
Another, especially kind-appearing blogger, calls 5) Amazing; 5) Great; 3) Good; 2) Okay, 1) Dull. A fun site uses page and thumb-down design.
A more complex site starts at l0) One of the best books ever read; 9) Damn near perfection; 8) Excellent; 7) Very good; 6) Good, recommended with reservation; 5) Take it or leave it; 4) Bad, but not without some merit; 3) Horrible, barely readable; 2) Complete waste of time; 1) One of the worst ever read; 0, Did not finish.
Rachel Catterell says for a 5) She loved it; 4) Enjoyed; 3) Enjoyed with some reservations; 2) Some Good; 1) Wish I had not read it.
In my review of blogger reviewers, Unbound Underground for its preciseness and all-around efforts, receives my rating of 9.5 Stars. Not only does this reviewer give specifics for each Star but also lists titles of books which fit these categories.
5 Stars: Books I’ve tried really hard to find fault, but can’t. Books which blend and transcend genre expectations, have broad appeal and execute elements so well that objectively it’s somewhat hard to criticize.
4.5 Stars: Books which transcend genre expectations or possess well-executed elements of multiple genres.
4 Stars: Excellent examples of a specific type of book (mystery, romance, literary etc) but will probably not appeal to people who prefer other genres.
3.5 Stars: Unnecessarily narrow in audience appeal . . .
3 Stars, Elements which limit appeal. . .2.5 Stars, Narrow appeal but some elements to make up for technical difficulties. . . 2 Stars, Technically flawed and appeals to specific audience. . . 1.5 Stars, Has potential but too rough for publication; l Star, Should not have been published . . .
technical flaws, no audience appeal (a theoretical rock-bottom, like absolute zero).
I shudder and shiver at the thought of my most heartfelt work under the eye of Unbound Underground and wonder if the reviewer is an author, too, who was ever been reviewed for his book.

Schlindler’s List Is Held in Germany

Ronny Bonner traveled from Israel to Germany recently to see the piece of paper which saved his life: Schlinder’s List.

“I owe my life to Schlinder’s list,” said the 62-year-old man whose parents Jetti and Leopold were among the 1,200 Jews the German industrialist Oskar Schlinder saved from certain death in the camps.

“I wanted to touch it, to see it with my own hands,” said Ronny who was born in Israel after the war. He once met his parents savior in Tel Avia with a group of other children. Schlinder stroked his hair and said, “You are all my children.” He didn’t understand then, but he does now what Schlinder meant.

After the German occupation of Poland, Bronner’s parents were deported to the Krakow ghetto. When the ghetto was liquidated in l943, they were on the brink of death for the first time, but his mother saved the couple by holding up the work permit from Schlinder’s factor and the permit helped them make it through the SS selection.

The couple worked as forced labourers for Schlinder in the Plaszow concentration camp until the order to abandon the camp in September 1944.

This was the time when the list that saved many lives was drawn up. Schlinder had started an armor factory in Brunnlitz, the Czech Republic, located 350 kilometers west and Schlinder requested that some of his workers be transferred, Bronners’ parents among them.

Until the last SS guard left the site, they lived in danger and fear of death until May 1945 when the Red Army liberated the factory.

“It’s a miracle that my parents were strong enough to give us a normal life despite the horrors they went through. In my mind the survivors are true heroes,” the father of two says. “My mother knew how to differentate between German culture and the crimes of the Nazis.

“The Germans of today deal honestly with their past. I feel great appreciation for the work of the International Tracing Society. It is an important place for millions of people. The documents here prove that history is not just a legend for a movie but the truth.”