May 19, 2007

What would the Neumans do with the building if it was justly returned?

Many people have asked me what I would do with the building if the citizens of Radziejow did what was right and returned the building. I can speak only for myself and not the other rightful heirs of the property.

Speaking for myself, I would like to take a portion of my share of the revenues and give it to the families that actually helped my father during the Holocaust.

My father spent close to two years hiding in haystacks, sleeping in barns, hiding in the woods, trying to stay alive. He was running for his life from Nazis and Poles seeking a reward for turning in a helpless Jew.

But not all citizens of Radziejow behaved in such a cruel and barbaric way. A number of peasants and poor shoemaker families that lived in the area actually gave my father food to survive. These people endangered their lives and the lives of their families to give my father a bite to eat.

Near the end of the war, my father lost all hope, he was about to surrender to the Nazis and meet his fate like the rest of his family. But one woman, a former public school classmate of my father, told him not to give up. She then put her life in danger by using her family to help place him with a Polish woman married to a German landowner. There, he lived out the rest of the war being fed and hidden by this honorable woman whose husband was German!

Yes, there were some people in Radziejow that have nothing to be ashamed of. They acted as best they could under the Nazi onslaught. These people have a special place in my heart. I cannot express my thanks for their efforts of behaving like humans should. I would like to compensate them and their families with part of the revenues that the building would generate.

I would also like to use the money to help rebuild the Jewish cemetery that was dismantled after the Holocaust. Further, I would like to fund a monument for the approximately 800 Radziejow Jews that were murdered. Those are some things I would do when the citizens of Radziejow do what is right and return the property to the heirs of Ben Neuman’s estate.

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