ELLY: My true story of how my miracles helped me survive

ELLY GROSS     Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

A SYMBOL OF DESTRUCTION AS THE NAZIS TIGHTENED THEIR GRIP ON EUROPE.

IT WAS COLD. WE HAD CLOGS ON OUR FEET, OUR BODIES WERE COVERED ONLY WITH RAGS. WE STOOD FIVE IN A ROW UNTIL IT GOT DARK. IT RAINED AS IF THE SKY WAS CRYING FOR ALL OF US.

(Elly Gross was born in Hungary in 1929. At that early age, she began encountering anti-Semitism; at adolescence it became a nightmare as the Nazis tightened their grip on Europe. She was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. She was liberated in 1945. Please read this book from cover to cover.)

I am convinced that my survival in the Holocaust is because of a chain of miracles. I do not consider myself special. But without those miracles, I would not have survived.

I would have perished with all the other children of my age. I survived by these miracles.

I was blonde, with blue eyes and white skin. Hungarian law forbade Jews to travel. But every Sunday, I secretly travelled by train to Marghita to pick up food from an aunt and returned him to Simleu Silvaniei at night.

No one ever asked me, “Why are you traveling?”

In the ghetto of Cehei, which held more the more seven thousand inhabitants, four were ordered to peel potatoes. I was one of them. I had plenty of raw or boiled potatoes to eat.

ANGEL HELP

Whenever we left the ghetto, we were strip-searched. I would hold my pocket-knife. Tightly. I was never caught.
On arrival to Auschwitz-ll/Birkenau, Dr Mengele directed me to the right at the last second. Tragically, my mother and brother were not directed to the right.

In Auschwitz-ll/Birkenau Block 20, my group stood in knee-high rainwater. Assisted by luck, I was transferred to Block 18 to be with my cousins. I passed out the next day at roll call, but an angel held out her wings.

Dr Mengele did not notice me. I was taken inside.

I ate potato peels mixed with sand from a garbage pile. It filled my empty stomach, but I did not get sick. My tummy was enlarged. At the next selection, Dr Mengele pointed it out, but he let me go with the others whose lives has been spared.

In the factory, a German Meister (supervisor) risked his freedom and brought me salt to stop my gums from bleeding. When I coughed and was ill with high fever, another miracle happened.

I WAS BLONDE

Although I had a blanket on my back, a German officer didn’t beat me for not obeying orders. I was sick and yet not shipped away. Because I was blonde?

While on the train returning home, a Russian soldier tried to drag me away. To him, I looked German. Because I was blonde? I got away, and I hid under a bench, behind others’ legs.

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BACK TRACK …
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD WAS THE FIRST NEWSPAPER TO SELL THOUSANDS MORE COPIES FOR ITS CELEBRATORY 100TH EDITION IN 1931.
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No one on the train betrayed me. I escaped.

By a chain of miracles, my life had been spared. One of the last miracles should have come, but it did not – if only another member of my family would have survived.

I was alone.

Both my parents and my brother had perished. There was no one to love and protect me, no one to provide a home for me.

When the war ended in 1945, and I learned that my family had perished, I made a firm vow to myself to always write and talk about my tragic past; the Holocaust that I had witnessed and lived through.

Below: The only photograph of me, at the age of two, which survived the tortures.

ELLY: Her daughter, says her mother was a champion

AGNETA WEISZ

AS HER ONLY DAUGHTER, I WAS HER RAY OF SUNSHINE.

My mother is “not only a survivor but an achiever”. My mother had me soon after she returned from the oncentration camp.

She was fifteen when the Hungarians and the Germans took her away.

She came home after the terrible ordeal to find her parents and brother gone. She returned to her home to find it occupied by strangers, who proceed to chase her away.

She met my dad, who was eight years older; she got married. She skipped her teenage years; she never had time to develop into an adult.

She struggled together with her husband, also a survivor, to forget and to start a new life.

My father was a farmer before the war. But when the Communists took over, he had to give his land to the collective … He was always at work. Mom was lonely … I was her ray of sunshine.

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ON ITS WAY …
VICTORIA WAS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE RICHEST PLACES IN THE WORLD DURING THE 19TH CENTURY. MOST COUPLES HAD TO FALL ON CHARITY. JUNE/JULY.
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I don’t remember at what age I became aware of the horrible ordeal my parents had gone through during the Holocaust … they were horrible (times).

There was always the shadow of anti-Semitism around us. Later my family moved to the United States. Mother got a high school education … her children went to college and started successful careers.

Mother got a college degree the age of sixty-nine. She was the oldest in her classes.

FRANK MORRIS: Tiberin, Elly’s son, closes his mother book with a chapter dealing with “Elly Berkovits Gross, My Mother”. His ended the piece with the simple words, “My mother is a special woman”.

Below: This is my mom’s college graduation photo – she was the oldest in the classroom.

SOURCE: Elly: My True Story; Elly Gross; Scholastic Press, New York.


BUSHRANGERS: Early films tell of plight of the ‘wild men’

FRANK MORRIS

“NO HANGMAN NOOSE FOR ME,” THE NOTORIOUS BEN HALL CRIED OUT.

In 1910, there was a spate of bushranging films to add to the drama already on display. Both in television and movies the spectacle has never stopped.

In The Life and Adventurers of John Vane, which premiered in Melbourne, was the first of the bushranger’s type movie ever screened.

The newspaper critics highly praised the film and the fact that a record number of spectators, and the “inclement” weather, didn’t stop them attending.

One critic said that a man, despite the fact that he may have led an evil life, “may nevertheless … be possessed of sterling qualities.”

For John Vane, he did not lack exciting incidents, despite its conventional ending. Here is synopsis of the story:
Beginning a downward career, John Vane bails up a Chinaman. Vane captured by police.

Vane is then released by his sweetheart. Vane, after robbing banks, joins Ben (“You’ll never take me alive”) Hall for the raid on the Keightley homestead. Vane suffered from remorse and leaves the gang. Vane surrenders to Father McCarthy and is sentenced to 15 years. When he’s released, he mutters, “Thank God, free at last.” Who was it who said, “Often from evil cometh good.”

Among the early films to open in 1910 was one that would have the bushranger mutter “Thank God … free at last” and the curtain comes down.

Again, in the 1910 film, Ben Hall was determined to get revenge on the police for what happened to his family a few years ago. So he met up with bushranger Frank Gardiner.

Gardiner was known to all and sundry as “King of the Road”.

Hall took part in the Eugowra Mail robbery and several other heists before a section of the gang broke up. The remainder went with Hall.

“Hall was nearest thing to ‘real life’,” said Captain Justice to a colleague. Monty Wedd, who wrote and drew the fictional Captain Justice comic book in the l950s, covering the Hall period, is a bushranger authority.

“There was no speculation, just fact”, said Monty Wedd.

At one point, Hall said, “Ha! There’ll be no hangman’s noose for me.” He laughed. “Is that clear”.

Out they tumbled, starting with Moonlight, King of the Road, Starlight, Thunderbolt, Captain Midnight and Ben Hall. With Ben Hall, the producer says “thanks” to his production team for their “down to earth” work in playing and photographing the Ben Hall production.

....................................................................................................................................................................................... FRED SHOENBERG, AUTHOR, SAYS …
MY MOTHER, WHO TOLD ME AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME IN HER LIFE THAT SHE WAS TOO BUSY TO BE MIDDLE-AGED.
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In Ben Hall and His Gang, while there was scant attention that the film was Australia but, nevertheless, the publicity for the picture was “colourful and intriguing.”

The career of Hall covers his escape from prison, the sticking up of the Eugowra Mail and his “death by 30 bullets.”
Two days later, at the Glaciarium, a large audience witnessed the first production of an Australia Biograph film. The picture presented a seamy side to the life of Ben Hall – the Notorious Bushranger.

Unlike the usual bushranging films, which glorified the villainy of the criminal of the bush, this one recorded a “triumph of the law over lawlessness.”

Below: Captain Moonlight, Andrew George Scott, was a church minister preaching the word of God before he took up bushranging.

SOURCE: Combination of three articles from Grand Years, late 2010.


SHARK ATTACK! Part 2. The dangers lurking in Australian waters!

ALAN LUCAS

NBC, VERY SIMILAR IN SIZE AND TYPE TO THE ONE ILLUSTRATED, WAS SUNK BY A SHIP ENTERING THE BAY.

THE LAUNCH WAS 8-METRES LONG WITH A BEAM OF 2.5-METRES AND A DRAFT OF 0.8-METRES. THE CRAFT WAS CAUGHT IN A MODERATE HEADWIND UNDER A DARK OVERCAST SKY.

On March 11, 1977, a shark tragedy began to unfold on Friday night when a small recreational launch named NBC was entering Moreton Bay.

There were three men aboard going on a weekend fishing trip.

She was motoring into the bay against a moderate southwest headwind, under a dark overcast sky.

Considering the craft’s small size and the miserable head sea, it’s probable that the occupants were spending as much time sheltering behind the half-cabin as they were watching for traffic.

It was failure on their part to see or hear the 22,600-ton ship Shun Oh coming up behind them. Equally, Shun Oh’s officers on watch with a Brisbane Pilot aboard, failed to see NBC dead ahead.

The resultant collision broke up and sank the launch that went straight to the bottom, along with her life jackets and dinghy. The three men found themselves miraculously unhurt, clinging desperately to the only flotsam that escaped their sinking launch – which was a large icebox.

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THE BIG CATCH

FIGURES ARE FROM 1950 TO THE FIRST HALF OF 2017. TARGET SHARKS: 649 GREAT WHITE. 374 TIGER AND 3740 BULL SHARK/WHALERS. PRIOR TO THE SECOND HALF OF 2010, BULL SHARK WERE GROUPED TOGETHER WITH WHALERS. PART OF A CHART, PUBLISHED IN SUN-HERALD, MAY 27, 2018.
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The three men went unnoticed for the rest of the night – as well as all Saturday and Saturday night. It wasn’t until Sunday morning when sharks attacked and killed two of the hapless fishermen.

The other man frantically clambered into the ice-box and remained there until he was rescued later by a passing trawler.

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ON ITS WAY …
FILMBIZ: ‘MRS MOVIE’ IS BACK WITH MORE REVIEWS OF TOP INTERNATIONAL FILMS OF THEIR DAY – FROM THE START OF CINEMATOGRAPHY TO 1980. COMING.
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At the official inquiry into the accident, and in the absence of any of the ship’s officers being totally aware that they had run over a small boat; scratches and paint marks on Shun Oh’s port bow, near the waterline, proved that she was the culprit.

However, no blame was apportioned owing to the fact that the launch was not seen despite responsible lookouts and her tiny wooden hull did not register on the ship’s radar.

NEXT: The girl was waist-deep in the water when a ten-footer tore off both her arms and savaged her right thigh.

SOURCE: Shark Attack by Alan Lucas. AFLOAT January 2019.


THE QUEEN: Final! Meeting the Presidents of the United States

PRESIDENT TRUMP, REPORTS TOWN & COUNTRY MAGAZINE, WILL CATCH UP WITH THE 92-YEAR-OLD QUEEN ON A STATE VISIT TO THE UK IN JUNE. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX WILL JOIN THE QUEEN AS SHE HOSTS LUNCH FOR THE PRESIDENT AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE. THE SHOT ABOVE WAS FROM APRIL 23, 2019, WHEN THE QUEEN AND PRESIDENT TRUMP INSPECTED THE REGIMENT AT THE PALACE.

NOT ILLUSRATED: IT WAS A BUSY TIME FOR THE QUEEN WHEN SHE WAS INTRODUCED TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AT A GALA FUNCTION AT THE PALACE. WHILE HE WAS OVERSEAS, PRESIDENT OBAMA STOPPED AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE AND SAID HELLO TO THE QUEEN.
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ON ITS WAY …
HISTORY BOX IS COMING. SO IS AUSTRALIA WIDE. BOTH COLUMNS DEAL WITH ART, WINES, OPALS AND DIAMONDS, HENRY LAWSON, SHEEP DOGS, TWO-UP GAMES, ETC. COMING.
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Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 31 May 19

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