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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 27, 1979     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 27, 1979
 

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Page 12, HERiTA6E, Florida Jewish News, July 27, 1979 Warsaw Ghetto Boy Found Alive by JOSEPH F1NKEI.TONE Condensed from London Jewish Chronicle There is no more poignant symbol of Jewish suffering and Nazi bestiality than the photograph of the little boy in the cloth cap holding his hands aloft in surrender before he and other Jews are marched away under the menacing rifle of an arrogant German soldier in the Warsaw Ghetto. Ithas been assumed mat the little boy, like others inthe photograph, died in one of the many Nazi extermination camps. But that little boy, then aged six, survived -- miraculously. He is living in London, now aged 43, a prosperous businessman with four children of his own, one of them a boy almost the same age as he was when this most familiar of all wartime photos was taken. The claim made by an israeli woman, and published in the Jewish Chronicle, that she recognized the little boy as someone named Arthur Domb which prompted the man -- who has asked me not to reveal his identity -- to contact me and tell an almost incredible storyof suffering, adventure and ultimate survival. "1 dreaded the moment when 1 would have to come forward and speak about the photograph," he told me. "For veny good reasons I do not want my name mentioned but I cannot allow a false name to be given to the little boy. The scene in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941 when the photograph was taken is still vivid in my mind. 66 [ was wearing a pair of shoes which were too big for me and which I borrowed from the boy on my right who worked in a baker's shop. I had no socks on. We and other Jews were suddenly rounded up because an important German officia| had arrived. "We were taken to the local police station. I stayed there a number of hours. My mother who had been searching for me arrived and we both claimed that we were not Jewish. We spoke very good Polish and somehow managed to persuade the police to let us go." He added: "1 was a first class thief and only through stealing was I able to survive. When I saw that food was disappearing completely I ran away. I managed to get out of the ghetto and hid in a church belfry. With me were a number of other boys. The senior priest helped us but he was betrayed by his deputy and one morning I saw him being shot by the Germans. "When I escaped into the woods with my mother I was helped by a kindly woodman and then was picked up by partisans fighting against the Germans. One day another group of partisans approached us and asked whether there were any Jews in our group. Our leader said 'Yes' and pretended that he was going to give us up but, as the men approached us, they were shot down." For years he lived in the woods with the partisans, he stated, somehow managing to survive the hunger and cold. He was then taken to Turkestan in the interior of Russia where he met other Polish refugees. His parents had moved to Warsaw from Kalish. His father,, a master tailor, managed to escape the Germans after being forced to dig graves and joined the Russian Army. But what seemed a miracle the father was reunited with the little boy and his mother dudng the war. It was the mother, who still suffers from the effects of the terrifying treatment she received from the Germans, who filled in some of the gaps in her son's recollections. She, too, lives in London, with her husband, in a large comfort- SHOWN ABOVE IS THE PHOTOGRAPH of the little boy In the cloth cap holding his hands while German soldiers round up victims for deportation in the Warsaw Ghetto. one of the Nazi eterrnlnation camps, the boy is aUve and now, at 43years of age, lives London. able home. She recalls the panic when her little boy disappeared from their house in the Warsaw Ghetto. "1 had gone out to search for some bread for my children. I had two little girls and the boy. I was brought up by a Polish woman and spoke perfect Polish. I did not look Jewish. I joined a queue and got some bread. "When I returned home I could not see my boy. For hours I wandered around like someone possessed. Eventually I decided that come what may I would go to the police. When I arrived at the police station I immediately saw my little boy who shouted out in Polish: "Are you blind? Mother, can't you see me? We are not Jewish, we are Polish.' This bluff worked and I got hold of him and we ran away. "Every day the Gestapo were taking hundreds of Jews to the death camps. For a few weeks we were helped by a high-ranking German officer who even brought an apple for the children. The hunger of my children was terrible to watch. My little boy got a deformed thumb -- which he still has to this day and can be seen in the picture. Do you know why? Because he was so hungry that he used to bite his thumb! "One day the Germans came and took us away to the woods. In front of me my two little girls, aged five and two, were shot. I and my little boy somehow survived and ran deeper into the woods. We then hid for a while in a hospital but had to run away again and joined groups of partisans, At one time we were abandoned by the partisans because we could not keep up with them. For weeks or months we wandered about in the cold. It was a miracle that we survived. "When we arrived in a Russian city my boy was taken to hospital suffering from typhoid. The Russian doctor told me: 'Your son has no chance to live.' I begged him to keep on treating him. My boy was ten months in hospital. He survived. He began to lose his sight and at one time was completely blind, but slowly he began to recover and to see again. "'On one occasion he said to me: 'How can you saythat there is a God in heaven if there is so much suffering?' I tried to explain to him that we must keep on believing in God. Today my boy is an Orthodox Jew and he regulady to synagogue." The mother became a nurse and was hell:: ::1 Russian officer to reunion. The father was given a medal for heroism. After the war the family left first for Germany. With the help of the mother's businessman living in London, the Britain. But this was not the end of the Now a teenager, he decided he must go to "1 forged my age and said I was 17," he Israel and joined the Betar (the Right-wi movement). But my mother made a hue wrote to Menachem Begin. The result was that back to England." For a time he worked for a printing firm of London and then became a student in a amazed his parents when he joined a British battalion. But his career in a crack precisely six months. When it was not a Bdtish subject, he was politely ordered to go, At the same time he became involved with which tried to combat Fascism methods. Says his mother: "He would take power in England." H Israel. "1 would do everything for her." He and his father have prospered in have a clothing factory and employ many are members of a West London has had constant hospital treatment. On the wall in her house hang L; first as a little boy in Warsaw. and in Russia, parachutist, as a father and businessman. He balding slightly, and wears a moustache considerable effort of the imagination was once the little boy terror-stricken in Warsaw v in putting up his hands has ever since of Germany. But to his mother he is her the photograph she pointed to him "My boy, my boy." Come South to Excellence to the award-wmning Piccadilly Restauran! and Pub -- to a cordial old English atmosphere. gracious service and a cosmopolitan Eur,.)peml Cuisine It's a dining experience well worth the trip! 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