Date: 24 June 2009
Dear Mr. T.,
I would like to answer your plea with a personal story.
In the picture below you can see my Late Father- Akiva, embracing two handsome 5-6 years old twins: Efroin and Nochim. The picture was taken while the twins visited their uncle in Warsaw, probably in 1938-9.
Akiwa Warszawczyk (Reshef) with the children of his brother Eliahu and Elka Pawoszczewska who all perished in the Holocaust with their little sister Miriam.
My Father fled from Warsaw soon after Hitler's Nazi armies marched into the city on September 1939. It took him seven years to reunite with my mother in Palestine (Israel), after a tireless and agonizing trail throughout Russia and whole Europe. His brother Eli- the father of the twins, was not so lucky. In 1941, while attending a prayer in a synagogue in Bialistok the Nazis burned the house down with all the people inside. The whereabouts of his wife Elka is unknown. We recently discovered the twins' fate, in an official documents from Theresienstadt camp. On 24 August 1943, after the liquidation of the Bialistok Ghetto, a transport of 1,200 children arrived in the camp and was held in a separate barracks for six weeks. They were kept hostages for a "Jews for money" exchange deal with Eichman, which apparently was never accomplished. (http://www.zchor.org/bialystok/hana.htm#documentation)
Efroim (Efraim) and Nochim (Nachman) were 10 years old, and their sister Miram was merely 6, when they were all sent on October 5 1943, to meet their destiny in Auschwitz. Hitler must have celebrated another tiny victory in "cleansing" the 3rd Reich and the world from these little 'pests'…
I regard it my sacred destiny, to keep on my family's heritage and to see that atrocities like these will never happen again. As a physician I pledged to be compassionate and provide medical care to everyone - be it colored, aged, poor, retarded or disfigured. Ethnic purification or any kind of discrimination of people on religious, racial or ethnic basis should be taken out of the vocabulary of anyone who considers himself a human being.
Avner Reshef MD
Head, Allergy, Immunology & Angioedema
Akiwa Warszawczyk (Reshef): The Seven Years Journey
October 13th, 2009