Ten-year-old Yanek entertains his family with an after dinner light show when the Germans invade his hometown of Kraków, Poland. Days later a wall is built forming the Jewish ghetto. After this, a series of rules change Yanek’s life. No school for Jews. – His father’s business is taken. – Food is rationed. – A curfew is set. – Jews are deported both to concentration camps and into the Jewish ghetto. Yanek’s family must share their apartment with three other families. Yanek must work in a tailor’s shop.
When Yanek turns 13, he and his father sneak out to an abandoned building to give Yanek a secret bar mitzvah ceremony. Soon afterwards, Yanek sees his parents being deported. Yanek decides to keep working at the tailor shop in hopes of not being deported. This, however, it the very reason he is taken. Tailors are needed at the concentration camp. Yanek lives through ten concentration camps and two death marches over the next three years.Continue Reading
Raoul Wallenberg was the First Secretary to the Swedish Embassy in Budapest in July 1944. He is credited with rescuing more Jewish people during the Holocaust than any other person or nation. Wallenberg rescued around 100,000 people. He did this by issuing “protective passports.” Wallenberg also rented over 30 buildings to house Jewish refugees. In front of these buildings, he flew the Swedish flag. He also put up fake signs reading “The Swedish Research Institute.”
Giovanni Palatucci was an Italian police official and lawyer. He used his authority as Chief of the Foreigners’ Office to forge travel papers for Jewish people. This permitted hundreds of Jews an escape to Fiume where they settled. Palatucci also destroyed documented records for 5,000 Jewish refugees. This prevented them from being sent to concentration camps.Continue Reading