Among the many inspirational stories of those who survived the horrors of the Holocaust is the story of Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Nick Blackman’s family. Nick’s grandfather, from his mother’s side, Benjamin Rosenfeld was born (1929) in the city of Sosnowiec, Poland 10-years before the outbreak of World War II. Together with his older brother by one year Salek, the two went through agony, but were able to survive and thanks to their amazing resourcefulness.
More on the website about Maccabi and the Holocaust
“Saba” Dov: A story of survival and Maccabi
Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Maccabi Foundation and Manuel Neuer
On the eve of Yom HaShoa – Holocaust Remembrance Day, Nick Blackman dedicated his life in Israel to perpetuate the details of his family in the Yad Vashem Archives whose purpose is to provide historical documentation of Holocaust survivors and to better understand the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust.
ניק בלקמן מספר את סיפור סבו, ניצול השואה
The Story of the Rosenfeld Brothers
As World War II broke out, brothers Benjamin and Salek fled as far as possible from the German border and left the town of Sosnowiec. Together they traveled by train but it moved too slowly, stopping and starting again and again. As they were about to be searched the train was bombed, forcing them to take refuge in a small town but a convoy of Germans searched anyone and everyone and if they were found to have weapons they would be shot. They decided there was no point running and went back to Sosnowiec, however, the Jews who remained there were accused of stealing Polish properties including jewelry and furs.
The boys packed up again and left for Przemysl, Poland by horse and buggy. Once they reached the San River on the Russian/German border, they crossed the freezing cold waters when the border guards weren’t watching and made their way to the Lodz Ghetto. They stayed in the Ghetto from 1940 until 1944 in very difficult conditions with extreme cold in the winter and insect infestation during the summer months.
In 1944 the boys were sent to Auchwitz and were separated during the selection process. Ben and Salek cried with all their might and out of nowheres a political prisoner, possibly a clerk asked them what the problem was and he told them not to move. He returned with a special card that allowed Benjamin to join the transport with Salek. However, there was one more selection before Benjamin would be able to join Salek and he told him to go around the barracks when the Nazi soldier took away the victims. Ben listened to his brother and rejoined Salek in the line where the prisoners would have their arms tattooed with an ID number. When Ben’s turn came, he felt no pain – he was elated that he was going to receive his passport to life.
From Aushwitz they moved onto the Birkenau and then Rybinsk camps. When Rybinsk closed down, they were moved yet again, this time to Austria and then to Mauthausen which was a “showroom camp”. The so called camp had normal toilets, washrooms and showers which the prisoners were not allowed to use – they were there just to show the International Red Cross that the inmates were kept clean. One day, the prisoners were forced to march out of Mautheausen as they walked for days to an unknown destination in a large forest to wells which had no walls, no floors, no sanitation and no water. Then suddenly on May 7, 1945 Ben and Salek crept out to find the German barracks empty. They were free as they cried and rejoiced in their salvation.