What happened to Jewish children in occupied Europe?

“After this war there will be neither victors nor vanquished, only the survivors and the destroyed.”

– Joseph Goebbels during a speech given at the sports stadium in Berlin, 18th Feb 1943

In Mémorial de Caen I came across an exhibit about Jacob Kirzner, a Caen stallholder, who was taken as a hostage following the sabotage of a railway line at Airan. He was then deported to the Compiegne internment camp on the night of 1 to 2 May 1942. He was among the 45,000 strong convoy that left for Auschwitz-Birkenau on 6 July.

His wife, Krejla Kirzner was left in Caen at the time with their 7 children. The two elder daughters, Eliane and Sarah, were later arrested and also deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 3 August 1942.

On 9 October 1942, the mother of the family along with her 5 younger children, including 4-year-old twins Lydie and Annie, were also arrested and later deported to Auschwitz on 3 November 1942.

4-year-old twins Lydie and Annie Kirzner
A Waffen SS officer’s jacket and cap, 1940-45

Out of the 4,918 children deported from Belgium to Auschwitz, only 53 would come back. Out of the 15,000 children taken via the Theresienstadt camp (Terezin), which the Nazis had turned into a “Model Ghetto”, only a hundred of so would survive.

Out of the 11,400 children deported from France, only 200 teenagers, would come home. Between 5,100,000 and 5,800,000 Jews died in Europe during the Holocaust and among these, some 1,250,000 children were assassinated. Incredibly, this means that 9 out of 10 children died.

By the time of the liberation, only 100 to 120,000 of these children were still alive in all of Europe – or between 6 and 11% – and they were residing mainly in Western Europe. In certain regions of Central and Eastern Europe, not a single Jewish child still lived.

Follow me on Twitter @AnnieCDarling and use the hashtag #anniesddayblog to share your thoughts, images and videos with me!


One thought on “What happened to Jewish children in occupied Europe?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s