My name is Solly Ganor and I'm writing from my home is Herzelia, Israel. I'm a Holocaust survivor from the Kaunas getto in Lithuania, and the notorious Dachau concentration camp near Munich Germany.
For many years after my liberation, I remained silent about my Holocaust experiences. What I had witnessed was much too difficult, too horrible to remember and speak about.
It has been more than half a century since the US army liberated me. Yet the four years I spent in the hell of Hitler's concentration camps loom much stronger in my memory than the fifty-five years that have passed since. I deeply regret that I was silent for so long because there is so much to tell in such a short time left to me. I am seventy-nine years old now, among the youngest survivors of the Holocaust. Those who were older than I are mostly gone. Those who were younger did not survive the Holocaust as they were considered by the Nazis too young for work and were sent to the gas chambers.
January 1, 2007
I have been discussing the Iranian threat with my Holocaust survivor friends and this article was inspired by our discussion. I think that not too many people realize how we really feel about it and I would be grateful if you would pass it on.
THE IRANIAN THREAT TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP
Sadam Hussein who threatened to burn down Israel was hanged without fulfilling his wish. Among his last words were “Long live Palestine.”
The main reason why he hated Israel was the fact that in 1981 we thwarted his plans to build an atomic bomb. A squadron of Israeli fighter-bombers took care of that threat.
Secretary of State Mr. James A Baker was furious with Israel and threatened us with sanctions. However, in 1991 during the first Iraqi war president Bush, the father, was very grateful for what we had done ten years earlier. It is doubtful that the coalition forces would have dared to attack Sadam Hussein if he possessed nuclear weapons.
Without Israel’s decisive actions in 1981, most likely Sadam Hussein would be alive and well today and would be the ruler not only of Kuwait but perhaps of Saudi Arabia and the other gulf oil states as well.
Israel prevented such a catastrophe.
However, with Sadam gone we are faced with another threat, Iran, whose leaders proclaim day and night that they will wipe Israel off the map. The world doesn’t appear particularly disturbed by the threat of a new Holocaust against the Jewish state.
The majority of Holocaust survivors and their descendents live in Israel and the new threat evokes in us old nightmares of Dachau and Auschwitz, Babi Yar and Ponar. Are we going to face this new threat once again alone with the whole world standing silently by as it did during the last Holocaust?
How serious are the threats coming from Iran?
Considering that the Islamic death cult is the prevailing philosophy among the Islamic terrorists, it is very serious. It becomes even more serious when you see on Iranian television thousands of young people signing up to become suicide bombers for Allah, not to mention the same thing happening in dozens of other Islamic countries. Would they use their nuclear weapons against Israel once developed? We think that it is more than likely.
However, there is a small difference between the last Holocaust and the looming one ahead. The chief of the Israeli air force is the son of Holocaust survivors.The only Israeli cosmonaut, IIlan Ramon, who unfortunately perished in the Columbia space shuttle crash, was one of the pilots who bombed and destroyed the Iraqi atomic bomb effort in 1981.
He too was a son of Holocaust survivors. There are many more high-ranking officers in the Israeli army and air force that are children of Holocaust survivors and are very sensitive to Holocaust issues.
I am sure that there are those in Israel who are working on the problem right now, and if necessary, will deal with the Iranians the way Iraqis were dealt with in 1981. Those who doubt do not understand what the Holocaust means to us survivors, our children, grand children, and all of Israel.
I suggest that not only the Iranians should take notice, but Western countries as well. If they think that Israel will sit quietly and allow it to be wiped off the map they should better think twice.
I remember a conversation I had with two young Germans in Frankfurt a few years ago.
I was invited at the time to Frankfurt by my publishers the ‘Fischer Verlag’ to discuss my book ‘ Das Andere Leben’ with a group of young people. The book was originally published in English under the name of “Light One Candle.”
After the lecture the two young Germans explained to me why they thought that Israel was the most dangerous country in the world. Naturally, I was outraged.
Their argument was as follows:
“We consider Israel the most dangerous country not because we think that Israel constitutes a danger to Europe. What we do believe is that if a major war breaks out again between Israel and the Arab States, and Israel’s existence is threatened, you may set the world on fire with your nuclear arsenal. “
I was getting a really annoyed with them and answered sharply:
“If you mean that this time, we won’t go peacefully to the gas chambers like good little Jews, you are absolutely right. We won’t, even if we have to use all means at our disposal. If Europe is effected by that, too bad. Your continent is soaked with Jewish blood anyway. Perhaps it could do with some cleansing.”
There was a short silence. The Germans looked embarrassed.
At the time I was furious with the Germans, but perhaps they weren’t so wrong. Perhaps we should make crystal clear to the world that as far as the survival of Israel is concerned they better take into the account our Holocaust background. Perhaps it is not such a bad idea to be considered a mad dog rather than a silent lamb.
Light One Candle Reviews
I'm pleased to find that Light One Candle, my book about my Holocaust experiences, has been so well received. Here are some comments and reviews from Amazon.com and BarnsandNoble.com.
The most gripping and heart wrenching book I've ever read. March 19, 1999 Reviewer: Rudy Burwell St Louis, MO
This book touched a part of my soul and humanity more than any other book I have read in recent memory. The incredible detail in which Mr. Ganor describes the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, and his subsequent confinement in concentration camps is absolutely chilling. I turned each page with horrid fascination with the thought that things couldn't get worse for Mr. Ganor and his family; it always did. Mr. Ganor recounts his story with eloquent but simple prose that draws the reader directly into his world of loss, torture, cruelty, and often times heroic deeds. Even if you consider yourself a fairly good student of history (which I did), this book will most likely destroy any notion that you really "understand" the overwhelming horrors and atrocities committed during this dreadful time in our history. This book is one for the ages, and is proof positive that we should never forget.
Bearing Witness . . .
Since the end of World War II, numerous books and articles have been written about Hitler's concentration camps. Most of the authors have been professional writers or historians. We, the surviving inmates, have written relatively little. Fifty-five years after our liberation, we are still living in the Shadow of the Beast, unable to free ourselves from the trauma of that darkest of all periods in Mankind's history. Now, finally, some of us are speaking out. Speaking out with an honesty born of actual experience.
Click photo to hear my introductory remarks.You will need the QuickTime plug-in and a little patience unless you have a fast connection.
In the last year my integrety has come under vicious attack by a Kalman Brattman. I leave it to others to respond.
Please see a thorough account of Mr. Brattman written by Lance Hill at this location:
Also see this article by journalist Johathan Tilove.
Here is another response to Mr. Battman:
Association of Survivors Landsberg/Kaufering/ Outer camps
of Dachau Affiliate of Dachau International.
April 18, 2004
Dr. Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Museum, has
already expressed our feelings concerning Mr. Brattman and his I.Survived.Org,
fictitious allegations against one of the members and directors of our
association, Solly Ganor. ( See Dr. Barbara Distel's letter below.) What
makes his twenty-five-page diatribe against Solly Ganor bizarre is the
fact that he openly declares the following:
What Mr. Brattman is actually telling us is that the twenty-five-page
hate mail against Solly Ganor is nothing but a figment of his imagination!
We leave it to your judgment as to how rational his reasoning is.
Here is our statement confirming the veracity of Solly Ganor
as a Holocaust survivor and his book Light One Candle as our genuine
Let it be known that Mr. Solly Ganor is known to all the
members of our association since childhood. Most of us went through the
Holocaust in Lithuania, Stutthof and the outer camps of Dachau together.
Therefore Brattman's outrageous lies and defamation about his person in
unacceptable. Let it also be known that any attack on Mr. Solly Ganor
we consider an attack on all the members of our Association.
It is almost sixty years since our liberation and in all
these years, we have never come across anything so malevolent and vicious
as this document written by K.Brantman and his I.Survived Organizaton
against a Holocaust survivor.
Since Brattman's main contention is that Solly Ganor has
never been to the concentration camp of Stutthof or Dachau, and that he
is in fact a Holocaust impostor, and that his book "Light One Candle"
is a bogus book , we present the following two documents which will once
and for all refute Brattmans lies against Solly Ganor and his book.
(1) Dr. Barbara Distel's letter . ( Dr. Barabara Distel
is the director of the Dachau Museum and Archives.) As you can see, she
leaves no doubt as to how she feels about Brattmans slanderous statements
against Solly Ganor.
(2) From the Dachau archives: The arrival of Solly Ganor
and his Dachau inmates number.
(1) Letter from the Dachau Museum
April 15th, 2004
This is to protest with vigor against Chapter V, "The Holocaust
Controversy Page" on your Internet site, "I survived the 20th
It is inconceivable that you dare to spread your slanderous story titled
"The Solly Ganor Case of Deceit: Solly Ganor the Lithuanian Holocaust
Survivor, Seeking Fame and Glory out of the Ashes of the Holocaust"
in the name of Holocaust survivors and supposedly in their interest. It
is proven irrefutably by documentary evidence that Solly Ganor (Zali Genkind)
was deported together with his father from Stutthof concentration camp
to Dachau concentration camp on August 18th, 1944. The content of his
book "Light One Candle," which has been published in Germany
by the prestigious Fischer Taschenbuchverlag in Frankfurt (Das andere
Leben, 1997) has been confirmed by other Lithuanian survivors as well
as by historian specialists.
Mr. Ganor has been in Germany on various occasions. He has met with students
and other groups, has had discussions with groups and individuals and
spoke of his traumatic experiences as victim of the Holocaust. Again and
again his audience was deeply impressed by his sincerity and his gift
for finding words to describe boundless suffering. "Präzise
Erinnerungsprosa" --precise prose of recollection -- read one newspaper
As the director of the Dachau concentration camp memorial site, I object
firmly to your outrageous attempt to damage the reputation of the Nazi
victim and Holocaust survivor Solly Ganor. There are laws in Germany which
make slander of Holocaust victims a punishable offence. I cannot take
legal proceedings against you. But I will send copy of this letter to
all institutions related to the history of the Nazi Holocaust in the USA.
(2) From the Dachau Archives
KZ-Gedenkstaette Dachau Museum-Archiv-Bibliothek
Excerpt from the archives of the concentration camp of Dachau the names
of the registered prisoners by alphabetic order
Explanation of the abbreviations:
Name: Genkind Solly ( Solly Ganor)
We have now presented irrefutable evidence against the malevolent website
of I.Survived .org by Brattman. We expect an apology to Mr. Ganor, and
the immmediate removal of the slander pages against him.
Board of Directors,
Thoughts and Reflections onYom Hashoha, Holocaust Day
April 9, 2002. I was in the garden about to feed our cat called Ginger when the sirens went off, officially announcing the day of the Holocaust. The shrill, piercing sound made Ginger jump. Then she came scuttling down to hide between my legs, while I stood at attention.
German Teens Ignorant of Holocaust
According to research conducted by the Emnid Research Institute and reported by the Reuters news agency (August 20, 2000), about two thirds of German teenagers do not understand the word Holocaust. More than half of those surveyed thought they should spend more time in school learning about this period in German history.
A Dane Who Remembers
I first met Knud Dyby in San Francisco in 1993 at the Herbst Theater where we both participated in a ceremony honoring another righteous person, the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. Like Knud, he too participated in saving Jews from the Nazi terror.
Of course, I knew all about the legendary exploits of Knud in helping to save Denmark's Jews. In Israel he will always be remembered as a hero. We've remained friends and meet from time to time to raise our glasses to the rescued and rescuers alike.