Remember Me? Child survivors of the Holocaust
August 8, 2011 5:02 AM   Subscribe

Remember Me? Between 1933 and 1945, millions of children were displaced as a result of persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators. After World War II, relief agencies photographed some of the children who survived to help find their families. Now, more than 65 years later, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is working to discover what became of these young survivors. Will you help us find them? Lots of moving stories.

Browse the list by name.

Many didn't talk about these experiences, not even decades later with their own children. But now that they're in their twilight years, the Holocaust museum decided the time was right to harness social media to find them — and collect their stories.

The Search (1948) - a film on this theme: a YT clip | another clip
posted by nickyskye (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The repetitious caption "This child was one of millions whose lives were disrupted as a result of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution." is stark
posted by the noob at 5:29 AM on August 8, 2011

Thanks so much for posting this.

From the MSNBC link:
Nathan Kranowski sees his frightened face, but still finds it soothing.

"Even though I know many people had stories like mine, when I see the picture, I find it comforting to know that, indeed, I wasn't alone," he says.

Kranowski was orphaned by age 4. His parents, Polish immigrants living in Paris, died in Auschwitz's gas chambers.

He wasn't aware of his photo until a teacher at a Virginia middle school who'd invited him to speak about his childhood — something he does regularly — alerted him. She'd stumbled across it while Googling his name.

Kranowski says when he first saw the faded image, he almost fell over. He was struck by his sadness — his watery eyes, his tremulous mouth. But the photo showing him as a tiny, red-haired little boy also gave him a sense of peace.

"The more I can picture my past and fill in the gaps, the more satisfied I am," he says. "... I want to understand what happened to me, to make sense of it."

The photo, as it turns out, helped solve a personal mystery, too.

Until recently, Kranowski had known only that he'd been harbored by a Catholic couple on a farm, attended church and was called Pierre. But a French historian researching a group of Jewish children hidden in one village contacted him — through the museum — providing details of his life.

He revealed that Kranowski had lived in the village of Bais, Ille-et-Vilaine in Brittany and his protectors were the Fouchets.

Kranowski arrived in America at age 10. He became a professor, first teaching French, then accounting.

At 73 — and proud to still have some reddish hair — Kranowski is a charter member of the Holocaust museum. But surprisingly, he's never been there.

"I know all these things," he says. "I don't need to make myself suffer."

So he devotes part of his retirement telling school and church groups his story.

"I have a tremendous need to speak and tell people this really happened and it's not ancient history," he says. "The reason I do all this is because I don't want to forget."

AP included a photo in this article of Mr. Karnowski as a young boy, taken with his adoptive family, the Fouchets. It wasn't included by MSNBC when they picked up the wire.
posted by zarq at 6:33 AM on August 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I came across The Search on late-night TV in the 1980's. (TV Guide said it was a Lone Ranger movie.) Excellent movie. Interesting that the DVD/VHS covers are about the soldier or the boy (with one exception), but the poster art was about the mother and her search.
posted by bentley at 6:45 AM on August 8, 2011

I wish you could search by nationality. I have no idea what my dad's cousins' last name is/was, and after a while, all the little faces start looking so familiar.
posted by elizardbits at 7:03 AM on August 8, 2011

Agencies involved with the displaced after the war.

'United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the International Refugee Organization (IRO), both operating under the auspices of the United Nations. Jewish organizations also participated, including the American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC).'

elizardbits, I belive you can though I do not see a feature. if you e-mail them I'm sure they could help you out, I have recieved fantastic service and advise from these folks and the folks at the Michigan holocaust memorial/library. They will go out of thier way, fantastic people.

Great post Nickysye.
posted by clavdivs at 8:35 AM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

> AP included a photo in this article of Mr. Karnowski as a young boy, taken with his adoptive family, the Fouchets. It wasn't included by MSNBC when they picked up the wire.

Aww and the adoptive French farmer had a hook prosthesis for a right hand. Must have been hard to be a farmer with that prosthesis. Both of the Fouchets look like such classic French farmers in their clogs. Moving to see the faces of such brave and kind people too with the boy whose life they saved. This seems likely to have been the 16th Century church he went to in his refugee identity for those four years at Bais, Ille-et-Vilaine.

How incredibly confusing for a child, that fantastic disruption, secrecy, new identity, loss of all family, new, strange family, new house, languages shifting from Polish to French to American by age 10, Paris to farm country. Then to go off to live in America without remembering the last names of those who were his Other Parents for those years.
posted by nickyskye at 10:02 AM on August 8, 2011

nickyskye: "Aww and the adoptive French farmer had a hook prosthesis for a right hand. Must have been hard to be a farmer with that prosthesis. "

Maybe! But if he were determined and depending on what sort of farmer he was, it might not even have slowed him down. :)
posted by zarq at 10:12 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Great post. I'm just sitting on the couch, weeping for these children. It makes me feel both furious and helpless. And it makes me think about all the children currently displaced by our stupid wars.
posted by Malla at 10:38 AM on August 8, 2011

It's not exactly related to this project, but this ran in the Los Angeles Times on August 4th:

A Holocaust survivor raised a fist to death: Leon Weinstein survived the Warsaw Ghetto. But it is the story of the little girl that he wants to tell.
The child was Jewish, but to survive in wartime Warsaw, 18-month-old Natalie Leya Weinstein needed a Christian name. Her father wrote a new name on a piece of paper, Natalie Yazinska, and left her on a stranger’s doorstep, hoping she would be taken in. He then sneaked into the Warsaw ghetto where fellow Jews gave him shelter. When the war was over, Weinstein learned that every member of his family had been murdered, including his wife, Sima. Now he lived only for one thing – finding out what happened to his daughter.

posted by zarq at 6:34 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Round Barns and Covered Bridges   |   He calls it simply “the project”. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments