Escaping with the clothes on her back.
May 9, 2005 12:55 PM   Subscribe

A thin, white garment embroidered with flowers. This was the only possession of Lola Rein as she hid for seven months in a hole in the ground to escape the Nazis, and the only connection to the mother who had made it for her.
posted by scody (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i'm crying from that--thanks.
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2005

After reading and listening I wanted to write something that would express how I feel....
posted by Jikido at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2005

what a post. heartbreaking.

thanks, scody
posted by matteo at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2005

There are days where I am amazed by the depth of human depravity. And then, thankfuly, I am astounded by the strength and fortitude of humanity.

Thank you.
posted by grefo at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2005

Beautiful post and gorgeous website.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2005

This is an awesome story, but certainly not unique considering the shared oral histories of Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Even luckier for her is not only that she endured, but that she has an actual artifact, whereas most families only have convoluted stories to memorialize our butchered genealogies. Thats what makes this story more intense and heartbreaking than the others...the possession of the dress (and especially the petit size). Thanks for this, scody.
posted by naxosaxur at 1:56 PM on May 9, 2005

Made more shocking by the casual mentions of tragedies -- her mother killed by german police while walking to work, her father dying from a brutal beating at a german's hands -- people were killed then like people catch cold today. Thanks for posting; my heart goes out to this woman and the 7-year-old girl she once was.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2005

my god, i'm so calloused from personal experience, that those chaotic deaths didn't even register in my consciousness until ssF reiterated. that's just so shitty...
posted by naxosaxur at 2:25 PM on May 9, 2005

posted by Rumple at 3:27 PM on May 9, 2005

Increasingly sure that the Germans planned to kill all jews..

in no way do i want to diminish the murder of 6m jewish people, but wouldn't it be more historically accurate to use the word "nazis" instead of germans?

the german population in 1938 was over 80m. not all were nazis, not all supported hitler, not all participated in the mass murder of their fellow countrymen and neighbors. many of the 6m jews were themselves german.

it would seem that the tragegy of WW2 was german national socialism, not germans as a race of people.
posted by three blind mice at 4:00 PM on May 9, 2005

Beautiful beautiful post. Thank you for this.
posted by lumiere at 4:23 PM on May 9, 2005

many of the 6m jews were themselves german.

Reams of German legislation passed by a democratically elected government from 1933 onward pretty clearly would disagree with that. "German" is a nationality, not a race, and stripping the Jews of their Germanness was one of the first steps toward their annihilation.

Your main point is accurate -- there were many Germans who opposed the Nazis. But because most of them did not, it's fair to call the Holocaust a German crime. The Nazis were the enabling political and bureaucratic vessel.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:48 PM on May 9, 2005

Great post, thanks.

The gorgeous website and the matter-of-fact narration made a fantastic story even better. I'm thinking about the lady that hid them in the hole in the ground. I like to think I would have been hiding people if I was in the same situation. But I really do not know if I'd have it in me. I think living in a country under Nazi occupation it would be simple to justify just taking care of yourself.
posted by marxchivist at 6:59 PM on May 9, 2005

I'm pretty much speechless but want to acknowledge your great post.
posted by puddinghead at 7:12 PM on May 9, 2005

That was wonderful. The site was very nicely laid out and made it easy to explore some of this story.

The story itself made me shudder. I couldn't imagine seven months in the same clothes living in a hole in the ground, knowing there was a very high probability you would never see anyone you loved again.

The fact that people like this survive these trials and remain functional human beings certainly makes one stop and reconsider our own complaints about day to day life.

Thank you very much for sharing this.
posted by Samizdata at 10:24 PM on May 9, 2005

I'm -- not glad, really, because how can you associate "gladness" with anything to do with this heartbreaking story? -- but I'm gratified to hear that others found this story as moving and vital as I did. If you haven't explored further on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum site, I highly recommend it, including a larger online exhibit of children who went into hiding during Holocaust.
posted by scody at 10:44 PM on May 9, 2005

People really, really suck.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:56 PM on May 9, 2005

Wow, I'm sorry that that's the lesson you take from all this, mudpuppie. I believe that the real truth from this story, as grefo so eloquently says above, is that "there are days where I am amazed by the depth of human depravity. And then, thankfully, I am astounded by the strength and fortitude of humanity."
posted by scody at 11:29 PM on May 9, 2005

In a cynical mood, I guess. I wish it didn't take such depravity to elicit such humanity.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:27 PM on May 10, 2005

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