The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, May 07, 1980, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Holocaust survivor shares experiences
“Immediately after the Ger­ consisted of pathetic living
man takeover on our island, conditions and endless hard
Jewish men 14 years old and labor. In the morning the
women (now separated from
up had to present themselves the men and children) had to
to city hall. These men were stand at attention for one hour
forced to work in the fields and without moving and in com­
then later the Nazis told them plete silence. Most of the day
the other members of their was spent constantly marching
families were to join them. The or carrying bricks for two miles
Nazis warned us that for every without a purpose:.
“The shock was too great for
person missing, 10 of us would
many who died very soon after
be killed,” she recalled.
entering the camp,” she said.
Without notice, they were in­ “Many were just melting away,
formed that they were going to with no will to live. Some
be “relocated.”
committed suicide, but no one
“We brought what we could in my group.”
and then we were put on boats
In mid-October, Golden and
that sailed for Greece. This was a younger sister were tran­
in the heat of the summer sferred to a factory that built
without food, water or toilet machine guns. Conditions im­
facilities,” she said.
proved at this new location as
The journey to Greece took the women were given new
eight days. During the trip, Clothing and were fed
many of the elderly died from somewhat better.
“The factory was spotless
the poor conditions and had to
be thrown overboard.
and we were disinfected, then
Diana Golden, concentration camp survivor.
By Mike Koller
Of The Print
“Hol-o-caust”: a great or
complete devastation or
destruction, according to the
Random House Dictionary.
To most Americans, it’s only
a vague term referring to some
unpleasant incident that hap­
pened long ago on another
continent. Why think about it
The Holocaust ended a mere
35 years ago, and it was indeed
a complete “devastation,”' but
not of a city being engulfed by
flames or a town swept away
by a flash flood. Instead, it was
a systematic extermination of a
human race, the Jewish
When the war in. Europe
ended in 1945, Adolph Hitler
and his fanatic followers had
almost succeeded with their
deranged plans. About 67 per­
cent of the Jewish population
in Europe had either been star­
ved to death, executed without
reason, shot callously in cold
; blood or gassed in the grisly
chambers of the concentration
camps. An estimated six
million fell prey to Hitler’s
^tyrannical ideals before his
;reign of terror ended.
Diana Golden, now a Van­
couver, Wash., 58-year-old, is
; one of the fortunate individuals
-who survived the genocidal
practices of Hitler and his
regime and now takes the time
■to share her shocking ex­
Last Wednesday, Goldeh
came to the College to present
her tragic, yet fascinating, story
ito the “Holocaust and the
Problem of Jewish History
class taught by Dr. Donald Ep­
stein .
Born and raised on the then-
Italian-owned island of Rhodes
(located off the southwestern
coast of Turkey, over 200 miles
from the Italian mainland),
Golden’s familv members were
descendants of Spanish Jews
who were expelled from bpain
by Queen Isabella over 500
years ago. They were given
asylum by the Turkish gover­
nment (who owned Rhodes at
the time), and allowed to settle
on the 542-square-mile island.
On Rhodes, Jews were free
from the persecution that
hounded their race throughout
most of Europe. Italy even­
tually gained control of the
island and the Italian gover­
nment treated Jews as equal
citizens until 1940, when things
began to change.
“Up until 1940, everything
was fine in Italy. Benito
Mussolini was our leader and
our army had conquered
Ethiopia which we were all in
favor of. Then Mussolini sided
with Hitler,” Golden said. This
collaboration was to have a
disastrous effect on the Jewish
population of Italy.
Italy eventually entered the
war as an ally of Nazi Ger­
many, but by 1943, the Italian
Army had been virtually
decimated. Germany then in­
vaded its one-time ally and
took control of the country. By
July, 1944, Rhodes was also at
the mercy of Hitler and his
County Commisioner
Position No 3
Wednesday, May 7,1980
Golden was fortunate
enough to have relatives living
in America and in Feburary
1948, she arrived in the U.S.
She and her husband even­
tually started a music in­
strument shop in Vancouver,
But despite being an ocean
away from where the tragedies
psychological effects of being
through such an ordeal
weighed heavily on her mind.
“I was unable to talk about
what happened for 20 years,
but time really is the great
healer,” she emphasized.
The Holocaust is still with us,
as witnessed in Uganda with
the crazed rule of Idi Amin, in
Cambodia with the ruthless
Khmer Rouge exterminating
the population, and even now
in Afghanistan as many believe
the Soviet Union is using
chemical warfare. Golden
believes dictatorships are one
“We must beware of dictatorships.
Freedom is the greatest thing a per­
son can have.”
“Persecution started on the
mainland as SS men hit people
without reason,” Golden said.
Golden and her people, who
had survived so far, eventually
arrived at Athens, Greece,
where they were shoved and
pushed, 75 to 100 at a time, in­
to boxcars , for a three-week
journey to Auschwitz. Ausch­
witz: the worst of the concen­
tration camps, the home of the
gas chambers where an
estimated three million Jews
perished in all.
But people had no way of
conceiving that such a hell on
earth existed. They were just
trying to survive the terrifying
journey to an unknown
“On the three-week travel,
we were only given water that
had something like olive oil in
it. The taste was rancid. Many
of use were developing typhoid
fever and nearly everyone had
body lice,” she said. At age 22,
Golden met her first tragedy
when her father died on the
train to Auschwitz.
When the shocked and
fatigued survivors arrived at the ;
concentration camp, they were
met with new horrors as many
were separated by SS men
from their families, for what
would turn out to be a lifetime.
Golden and the other Jewish
women had all their body hair
shaved off and were forced to
stand naked in front of the SS
“We were glad to have all
our hair shaved off because of
the body lice, but we were
terribly embarassed standing
naked in front of those men.
But at least we were not raped.
We were beaten and starved, '
but never raped. What man in
his right mind would have wan­
ted to, we looked so awful,”
she said.
Concentration camp life
given a very sandy soap to
keep ourselves clean. Now, we
at least each had a bed,” she
By mid-April 1945, the
Russian Red Army was closing
in fast. Golden and some
others were transferred again
to a camp in Czechoslovakia,
designed purposely as a facade
camp by the Nazis to show the
Allied forces that no atrocities
were occurring with the
prisoners. They were soon
liberated by the Russians, but
now new problems occurred.
“We were very scared. The
Russians didn’t like us because
were were Italians. We weren’t ;
sure where we would be sent.
Eventually, we ended up in
Vienna. Austria, where in Sep­
tember, Italy sent a train to pick
up us survivors,” she said.
Back in Italy, Golden faced
the devastation left by the war.
Out of the 2,500 people who
left Rhodes along with Golden,
only 100 women and 30 men
had survived the horrors of the
of the greatest causes of the
world’s problems.
“We had a blind belief in a
dictator (Mussolini), and Ger­
many did the same with Hitler.
The results were disastrous.
We must beware of dictator­
ships. Freedom is the greatest
thing a person can have,” she
Despite what Golden went
thorugh at the hand of the SS,
she holds no resentment again­
st the German people.
“The SS was responsible for
what happened. They knew
what was going on, but the
German people cannot be
blamed,” she said.
Golden’s experiences have
made her appreciate freedom
as the greatest gift a person can
have.Because of this love, she
has the courage to make others
stop and realize just how im­
portant are the freedoms that
we Americans take for granted
so often.
Diana Golden says she was
very lucky to survive and find
freedom. Six million others
never had the chance.