Students See a "Star" in Their Eyes

Argentine Students Interview Inge Auerbacher
Author of I am A Star

The following message, from students at C. Provincial de Ensandanza Media 3, Argentina was sent to the iearn.hgp teleconference. It was placed in "Discussion Topic 29: I Am a Star" in Spanish and in English. Then, Inge Auerbacher, author of the book and survivor of Terezín camp, a primary source, assisted students in Argentina by answering their questions about her book.

En Español

Querida Amigos,

Como esta?, esperemos que bien, nosotras estamos muy bien. Recibimos su mensaje y decidimos contestarle. Por si no nos recuerda somos: Guadalupe Ortiz, Janeth Saa, Vilma Castro, Leticia Temi, Silvina Cuevas.

Leimos su libro, el cual nos parecio muy atrapante, emotivo, lloramos, por el sufrimiento que padecio. Decidimos contarle nuestras inquietudes, y si nos quiere contestar algunas de nuestras inpuietudes, y algunos sintieron temor de preguntarle por miedo que la entristezca.

El 18 de Julio, aca nos encontrabamos en vacaciones de invierno,cuando sucedio el segundo atentado en la Argentina,esta vez fue contra la A.M.I.A. En el cual murieron muchas personas,judias y no judias.Se supone que fue un autobomba,si quiere nosotras le mandamos informacion sobre el respecto. Nuestras inquietudes son:

  1. Si tuviera la oportunidad de ir a los centros de concentracion iria?
  2. Nos gustaria saber si conocio a Schindler o a Ghoett?
  3. Que significado tiene la estrella de David y la cruz Sbastica?
  4. Tiene algun tipo de marcas en el cuerpo de los centros de concentracion?
  5. Si hay algo en especial que recyuerde y que la halla marcadso para toda la vida? Tiene algun recuerdo lindo ?
  6. Tiene algun familiar judio fallecido en algun centro de concentracion?
  7. Todavia hay discriminacion con los judios? Han sufrido algun atentado o maltrato?
  8. Por que se decidio a escribir ese libro?
  9. Que se sintio al estar alli?
  10. Sintieron alguna vez la necesidad de perdonar a los nazis?
  11. Como era la relacion con las personas que estaban contigo?
  12. Realmente fueron tan duro en el trato con los judios en los campos. Usted piensa que fueron tan duros?
  13. Que torturas fueron usadas en los campos y en las calles? Es verdad que los quemaban vivos?
  14. Recibio algun tipo de tortura?
  15. Si algun grupo decidio escapar y recibio algun tipo de represion contra ellos? Que represion fue la recibida?
  16. Si entendia la represion de los nazis? por que la represion?

En nuestro curso hay un grupo de chicos que estan de acuerdo con el pensamiento nazi, los demas no estamos de acuerdo con ellos en nada, en nuestro curso las paredes estan escritas con insultos a los judios y han dividido el curso por el solo hecho que el resto no piensa igual que ellos; Ellos le hicieron esta pregunta:

Por que hicieron creer a todo el mundo que fueron los ninnos maltratados siendo que fue mutuo el maltrato obviamente en la guerra? Po que nadie habla de la post-querra, siendo que a los nazis se los trato como anbimales despues de la guerra? Eso nadia lo dice por que?

Nos despedimos de usted esperando sus respuestas y que alguna no la halla hecho sentir mal. Muchos saludos de nosotras. Hasta pronto.

English Translation

Dear friends,

How are you? We hope well; we are good here. We received your message and decided to answer. If you don't remember, our names are: Guadalupe Ortiz, Janeth Saa, Vilma Castro, Leticia Temi and Silvina Cuevas.

We read the book you sent us I Am a Star ('Yo Soy Una Estrella') by Inge Auerbacher, which seemed to be very emotional. We cried for the suffering the people endured. We would like to ask the author some questions. If you want to answer, feel free on the computer. On July 18th, we were on vacation and many Jews and gentiles died in the AMIA bombing (in Buenos Aires). We think it was an auto bomb, and if you want, we will send you info this topic. Our questions are:

  1. If you could visit a concentration camp, would you go?
  2. Do you know about Schindler and Goeth?
  3. What significance do the Star of David and swastika have?
  4. Do you have any marks on your body from concentration camps?
  5. Is there a beautiful event in your life you would like to share?
  6. Are you familiar with any concentration camp?
  7. There is still discrimination against Jews; have you suffered maltreatment?
  8. Why did you decide to write this book?
  9. How did you feel about being in the Holocaust?
  10. Have you ever felt the necessity to pardon the Nazis?
  11. How did people in the concentration camp get along?
  12. Was the treatment really bad?
  13. What tortures were used in concentrations camps and ghettos? Is it true they burned living people?
  14. Were you ever tortured?
  15. If anyone tried to escape, what was the punishment?
  16. Do you understand the repression by the Nazis? Why did they do it?

In our grade level, there are a group of students who agree with the thoughts of the Nazis. The rest totally, by no means, agree. In our school, the walls are covered with insults to Jews, and this has divided our grade because of different points of view about the graffiti. We don't agree with the slurs. That group (who are sympathetic to the Nazi thinking) want to know: Why was the world made to believe that the children were mistreated? Why doesn't anyone talk about the post-war, how the Nazis were treated like animals after the war? We hope our questions don't offend or make you feel bad.

Inge Auerbacher Answers Students from Argentina

  1. I have visited Terezín (the concentration camp I was in) three times. I also visited Dachau, where my father and grandfather were incarcerated.
  2. I do know of Schindler and Goeth through the movie Schindler's List. I was not in the same camp where they were associated.
  3. The star of David is associated with the Jewish people. It has become their symbol of identity. The swastika is usually associated with the Nazis -- their symbol of identity.
  4. I do not have any external marks from the concentration camp, but I have internal scars from malnutrition caused by the camp experience (from bad health) gotten in the camp.
  5. One of the best days of my life was when I was liberated on May 8, 1945, at the Terezín concentration camp in Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army.
  6. With Terezín -- where I was.
  7. I have had some maltreatment by a co-worker in the hospital, where I work, who called me bad names and spat at me (in USA).
  8. I feel I have a tremendous responsibility, since I am a child survivor, to keep the memory of the 1 1/2 million Jewish children alive. Those 3 million eyes haunt me. I am getting older. If not now, when?
  9. It gave me a special burden and an reason to be tolerant of other people and groups -- no matter how different they are from me. I also have some guilt feelings why I was chosen to live -- and my friends not. This creates a special obligation, which I gladly accept. Every human life is very special to me.
  10. There can be no pardon for the Nazis -- NEVER.
  11. Some got along very well, some not. Hunger and the awful conditions made people irritable. There were some who were absolute angels in hell.
  12. The treatment was without any feeling for humanity.
  13. My mother was beaten; my father was hosed down with icy-cold water in the winter. All tortures you have read about have been documented by survivors.
  14. I was not tortured physically by beatings, but by hunger, lack of freedom and bad hygiene.
  15. The punishment was death and transport to Auschwitz to the gas chamber.
  16. The Nazis were ignorant of the truth and any emotion. They were blinded to follow a madman like Hitler.

Special thanks to student, Gerald Lundgren and parent, Mrs. Tiernan, Cold Spring Harbor High School, for help with Spanish-English translations and student Aubree Fields, Spokane Valley High School, for her transcription.

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