Argentinean Holocaust Survivor Breaks His Silence With Harrowing Boo

By larry luxner

Thursday September 6, 2007

Buenos Aires, Argentina | On his 68th birthday, Jorge Klainman decided
he could remain silent no more about his Holocaust horrors.

The Polish-born, retired businessman sat at his electric typewriter,
he said, "and suddenly the curtains of my memory began to part,
revealing events that happened 50 or 60 years ago. After that my life
changed completely. I felt liberated."

The result was "El Septimo Milagro," a harrowing Spanish-language
tale of life and death in a series of Nazi concentration camps that
has captivated readers from Buenos Aires to Barcelona.

Translated into English as "The Seventh Miracle," Klainman’s
first-person account differs from most other Holocaust memoirs in its
extraordinary attention to detail. It ranges from the 1939 roundup of
Jews from his Polish hometown of Kielce to Klainman’s frightful March
1944 encounter with psychopathic concentration camp commandant Amon
Goeth, the SS officer portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Steven Spielberg’s
movie "Schindler’s List."

Goeth marked Klainman, then 15, for execution by firing squad.

"The end had come," Klainman wrote. "They were going to shoot me and
burn me. I thought of my loved ones, and that soon I would be joining
them. I reached a state of mind where I just wanted, with all my being,
to get it over with."

But Klainman’s Ukrainian executioners somehow missed their target,
and later that night fellow Jewish prisoners risked their lives
to bring his bleeding body to the infirmary. A kindly doctor there
gradually nursed the teenager back to health.

Fate intervened five more times before he was liberated by American
soldiers in 1945. In 1947 — with the help of international Jewish
organizations — Klainman set sail from Italy to Rio de Janeiro,
caught a plane to Asuncion, Paraguay, and smuggled himself across the
heavily guarded border into Argentina, where he eventually married
and raised a family.

And now, with anti-Semitism rising in his adopted country, Klainman
said he feels compelled to share his story with Argentines who may
not have gotten the message.

"Ten years from now there won’t be any Holocaust survivors left to
transmit the truth to young people," he said in an interview at his
Buenos Aires apartment. "They’ll begin forgetting the Jewish Holocaust
just as they’ve forgotten the Armenian Holocaust. So it’s important
that everybody knows what happened. That way they’ll be able to
understand the terrible struggle of the Israeli people against the
fundamentalist Islamic savages who want to throw us into the sea."

Klainman, a jewelry retailer by profession, lived in Tel Aviv from
1971 to 1990 and again from 1999 to 2004. He is fluent in Polish,
Russian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian, and was
recently appointed official representative of the Holocaust Museum
in Buenos Aires.

Klainman said he was inspired to write "El Septimo Milagro" after
his son Miguel began asking him questions about his past.

"For 50 years I guarded my silence like a hermit, but then I got tired
of these delinquents denying the Holocaust," he said. "I realized
that by keeping silent, I was becoming an accomplice, collaborating
with them."

Klainman said he has "lots of work to do" in explaining the Holocaust
to fellow Argentines, many of whom grew up with anti-Semitic attitudes
encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church and the thousands of Nazi
war criminals who were welcomed by Argentina’s military dictatorship
after World War II.

"I’ve visited many colleges and universities throughout Argentina,
giving speeches for high school kids," Klainman said. "I even spoke
at a Catholic seminary, and afterward the kids cursed the Vatican
for ignoring the Jews.

"Usually when I finish speaking after an hour, for three or four
minutes they sit there in silence. Then they surround me, hundreds
of kids, hugging me, crying, asking for my autograph. Once I took a
taxi in

Corrientes and the driver recognized me. He took my hand and kissed
it, and told me, ‘God bless you, may you never die.’"

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS