Beyond the History Books the story of Lili silberman

Children of the Holocaust.

They were the children of the Jews, the little children in a new world order of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis.

Their parents were rounded up and shipped off to die as the Nazi regime which came to power 80 years ago in Germany - set about the systematic “cleansing” of the country.

These were some of the stories of the children who survived the Holocaust and told their tales later in life.This is the story of Lili Silberman who was taken just because of her Jewishness.

Lili Silberman's Diary of the Holocaust

Lili Silberman and her brother

She was 4 years old and her brother was 5 years old when they were first separated from their parents and placed in a Protestant orphanage in Belgium. Lili was a depressed and confused child, but with the passing of time, she began to believe that all children lived away from their parents.

After several months the director of the orphanage had reason to suspect that the Germans might discover the few Jewish children hidden there and Lili was suddenly returned to her parents. Eager to surprise them, She was happy again.

They were not expecting Lili when her escort knocked on their door. Her parents were certain the Germans had come for them. The terror on Lili’s mother's face as she opened the door devastated her. She had expected her to be happy at her homecoming. Instead gloom and despair permeated their home.

The next day a strange man came to the house, removed her brother and I and accompanied them by train to a convent in Bruges. She was sure she had done something terrible. she was immediately separated from her brother.

The nuns were strict. but as terrified as she was of the nuns, Lili was equally afraid of the older children. When unsupervised, some of them would abuse the younger ones. As one of the youngest and smallest, she lived in constant terror. There was no place to hide and she did whatever she could not to bring attention to herself.

They had little food we had often had worms, the bread was always moldy. They lacked clothing, heating and medical attention. “I don't remember ever bathing” she said. She never saw a toothbrush or toilet paper. She was awakened at night by lice crawling inside her ear and she had a bloody infection on her scalp.

Even in the freezing winter the kids were sent outside. She was swollen and numb from the cold, and her hands, blistered from frostbite, were scarred for years. She knew that she was diseased from filth and neglect, but she thought that this existence was normal.

She “hungered” to be with my mother and father. She clung to her memories of them. She longed to be noticed. She remembers her body always aching. She thought that if she were good, the nuns would tell her parents and they would come for her. She would play by herself, always pretending that she was talking with her mother, always pleading with her to come for Lili.

She longed to see her brother, believing that he could protect her. He was then 6 years old. Hoping she might see him, she often looked through a keyhole when no one was looking.

When Mother Superior occasionally appeared, she would plead through her eyes for her to notice Lili, to see her loneliness, her despair. She was a beggar for a look or a touch. From the age of 4 she never saw the world outside and never knew that children live together with their parents, never knew that they play in the park while their mothers watch over them. Everything had been taken from her. She was to only have a distant memory of my parents faces. She came to feel that she was a nothing in this world and at the age of 5, she felt old.

As she became aware of how broken these two gentle people were, she began to grieve for them. She was encouraged to believe that she was too young to understand, and that the only thing that mattered was that they were all very lucky to be alive and together again. Her brother tried to dissociate himself from his past and in so doing, he distanced himself from Lili. Their common history was never discussed and they became a family of strangers.

After having once begged for a touch, she was to spend years hungering for a voice. When she tried to break the silence, she was always quickly reminded how lucky she was, far luckier than most.

When Lili began to realize that her parents had no awareness of the sorrow she carried and no desire to know of her hidden past. Then, through the years, she encountered unexpected kindnesses from strangers. And today she can finally say she has found her peace.

My thoughts

I think that Lili's


Created with images by paularps - "Fenced blocks at Auschwitz I (Oświęcim, Poland 2014)"

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