Events - August 29th, 2010
By Orna Nissan
On Sunday August 29th, members of “Generation After” met with a fellow group of children of Holocaust survivors to attend a summer barbecue in St. Petersburg.
Plenty of wonderful tasty dishes welcomed us along with a warm welcome by the owners of a beautiful St. Petersburg home, Charlene (Ora) Wygodski (a daughter of a Holocaust survivor) and Steven Bloom who were generous to open their home and hearts to us and host our families as well.
In such a gathering, as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor as well, I always wonder with whom I will connect. There were at least 40 people in attendance and in a short limited time it can be difficult to formulate friendships, to really get to know each and every one of the participants, as well as to hear their stories.
Loading my plate with food a thought comes to my mind about us, the children of the survivors, and our parents: they are images of hungry children in Ghetto Tarnov, Poland, and I contemplate, could one of the children possibly have been my father?
As I mingle amongst the guests, I sense something about the man that stands next to me. His name is Victor Pitchon and his parents were born in Salonika, Greece. Both of his parents were transferred to Auschwitz.
His mother, Garmin Baroch was 16 years old at the time she arrive in Auschwitz and during her time in this death camp she was sent to "Block 10". Block 10 was known for housing the German medical experimentation on prisoners of Auschwitz. German doctors, most of who also participated in selections applied for permission to come work in Block 10 at Auschwitz with human subjects.
Garmin was sent to this block in order to be sterilized by injection. Block 10 was located in the men’s camp, but most of the inmates were women. Prostitutes were also housed here, for the benefit of "elite" prisoners (mostly Germans)."
In addition, married women between the ages of twenty and forty, preferably those who had borne children, were subjects of this medical experimentation, and although the German doctors had experimented with different substances, they were very secretive about the exact nature of the ones they used, probably intent upon protecting any medical discovery from research competitors.
A Jewish doctor who was also a prisoner in the camp was forced to perform the "surgeries" without any anesthetic. He is given the order to remove Garmin's ovaries. Secretly he decides to remove only one while whispering in her ear he tells her: "If you will survive this horror and you bare children please name one of them after me". Miraculously Garmin survives the death camp. Some time later one of her friends from the camp introduces her brother to Garmin. He is also a Holocaust survivor and in 1946 they get married and together they have 4 boys.
One of them is named Solomon after the Jewish doctor who didn’t follow the German doctor’s orders.
I chose to highlight this story because it’s a story of victory.
A victory over this evil.
Victor promises me to send his mother’s story on a DVD.
Immediately I invite him and his wife to visit with our group in sarasota.
The rest of the evening went very well and we all had few moments to intrduce ourselves and share a little about our parents.
It was a successful event whereby the seeds were planted to create more connections.
We will definitely meet in the future and connect on a deeper level.
I would like to thank the President of Generations After Bonnie Stein in St. Petersburg for inviting our Sarasota chapter to be part of this wonderful occasion, as well as a big thank you to Charlene (Ora) Wygodski and Steven Bloom for hosting us.
Happy New year – Shanna Tova and to life.