April 30, 2009

The Power of the Onion

During the Holocaust, it was widely believed that onions prevented all types of disease and actually cured others. I found this fact interesting when reviewing my Father’s tapes as well as Joyce Wagner’s book, “A Promise Kept.” Near the end of the Holocaust when my father was hidden by the “Polish Princess” (see previous posts) besides his regular fare she asked him if there was anything special he would like to eat. He requested onions. I asked my father why onions. He responded that because he was not getting any sunlight in the barn, onions were needed to keep him healthy. I scoffed at the idea, and filed this story in the back of my mind.
Recently, I reread Joyce Wagner’s book and found a similar reference. Joyce Wagner tells of her sister, Hilda, and the time when she became too ill to stand for work call. Such a situation meant death at Auschwitz. Hilda was faced with only two alternatives, immediate selection to the gas chambers or a stay in the “Hospital”. The hospital had no medicine. Hilda was taken to Auschwitz’s “Hospital.” Somehow, Hilda was able to send her sister a note. The note read that she wanted an onion. Joyce Wagner used all her cunning and resources to trade for an onion. Unfortunately, by the time Hilda received the onion, it was too late. She was too weak to even eat the onion. When Joyce Wagner finally was able to get to the “Hospital” to search for her sister all that remained by her sister’s bed was the onion on the shelf.

Leave a Reply