One Thousand Children
"Stories untold are stories lost"
Who are the "The One Thousand Children"?
We are the "children," mainly Jewish, who came as refugees from Europe directly to America to flee Hitler's threat, but by various circumstances we were forced to leave our parents behind. Tragically nearly all of our parents were murdered by Hitler. We came during the years 1934 through 1945, and our ages then varied from 16 months up to 16 (chosen as an upper limit).
We are truly Child Survivors of the Holocaust. (We explain this important fact below.)
Our story is similar to the Kindertransport Child Survivors, those kids who were rescued from Europe and came to England. But we OTC'ers came directly to America. The story of the Kindertransport is well known; but our own OTC story, in which we came directly to America, is too little-known.
In 1938, fearing the growing terror that was to become known as the Holocaust, Manfred's German parents arranged for their only child to be sent to America. He was thirteen years old. In his travel diary about his voyage to freedom, which Manfred Goldwein immediately sent to his parents, he wrote, "I hope that you will be over here soon. But meanwhile, may God bless you and keep you in good health. May He free you very soon…...so that we may be together in a country that is too great to describe."
In 1946, still not knowing the fate of his parents, Manfred searched for them in his home-town of Korbach, Germany. A gentile neighbor had something for him. At risk to her own life, she had hidden Manfred's diary and his parent’s last letters to him. His mother wrote, "I know that you and all the dear ones over there have done all to save us, but fate decided otherwise. Don't forget us, my dear son, as we shall never forget you. Farewell, my dear child. I hug and kiss you. Your mother." His father, a Rabbi, wrote, “You must not be sad, for we are in God's Dear Hand and really in God's own land." "I want you to walk His ways. You are a link of the long chain that began in the past and reaches into eternity. Be a worthy man." I love you for ever and ever."
Manfred, later to become a distinguished American physician and teacher, had found the fate of his parents - victims of Nazi persecution that ended for them in Auschwitz
Are the OTC children Child Survivors of the Holocaust?
a 6 year old OTC kid's "green card" issued on arrival in the USA
Some people would say "no." The OTC children were not in concentration camps (all camp children were immediately exterminated). The OTCers were not even in Nazi occupied lands. They were in the safety of America. Some had fled Germany and other European countries as early as 1934, and many had fled before WWII (though a few fled as late as 1945). But, all the OTCers had fled to escape the true threat of Hitler's plans to exterminate all Jews -- first expressed in 1926 --"right now anti-Semitism, however, must lead to a systematic legal opposition.... its final objectives must unswervingly be the removal of Jews altogether." (quote from "Mein Kampf.") then made explicit by the Nuremberg Laws, later by Kristallnacht, and finally by the Wansee Conference with his explicit plans.
We OTC children would have been exterminated if we had not fled by ourselves. Tragically we did leave our parents behind (usually for them to be murdered). Yes, we do not bear numbers on our arms, but we went through many many powerful traumas because of Hitler's threat. We truly are Child Survivors of the Holocaust. (Our story is different overall from that of the Kindertransport - Child Survivors of the Holocaust in terms of history and experiences, although the experience of separating from family was similar.)
Listen to what one OTC says very emphatically: "I, an OTC, am a True Holocaust Survivor.".
Claude Kacser and Erwin Tepper have created these web-pages using the previous version as a basis. We are most extremely grateful to Dan Tepper for doing all the design and implementation work, and for responding graciously to the heavy demands put upon him by the group.
version of Oct. 2013