RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (JTA) – Freddy was 5 years old aback he saw a paving bean blast his dad’s storefront in Berlin. Later, while his ancestors watched, Nazis exhausted his ancestor up. By 1933, Adolf Hitler had already fabricated activity enough for the Glatts, banishment them to clutter to Belgium.
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“I was too adolescent to bethink with details, but I do bethink my dad said ‘Rush inside!’ and so we ran. I acquainted terrified,” he said of the beforehand on the store.
Eighty-five years later, Freddy Siegfried Glatt now serves as admiral of the Brazilian Association of Holocaust Survivors in Rio de Janeiro. His activity adventure has aloof become a song that was composed and articulate by the Brazilian-born grandson of his backward aboriginal accessory Max, who at the age of 71 immigrated from Rio to Israel.
“Telling ancestors belief about Nazism is acutely important to defended that the Holocaust never repeats again, with anyone,” said Lazar Wall, the Yiddish pseudonym of Luis Waldmann, who absitively to put Glatt’s activity adventure to music on the day in April aback his aged accessory appear his memoirs, “They Stole My Childhood.”
Wall, a 39-year-old artist who annal as One Man Mambo, spent best Jewish holidays and ancestors get-togethers with Glatt, whom he calls “uncle.” He blue-blooded the song “101 Jerusalem” afterwards the Brussels artery abode of one of the Glatts’ aftermost ambuscade places.
“This is my aboriginal Jewish-themed song, which I showed to Glatt aback it was accessible as a surprise,” Wall told JTA. “To me, it represents the attrition and accord of the Jewish people, admitting the anti-Semitism that persists to this day.”
With the move to Belgium, Glatt was enrolled in a accessible academy and abutting the Zionist adolescence movement Maccabi Hatzair. The German-speaking boy abstruse Flemish, Hebrew, Yiddish and French. Anti-Semitism existed there, too, and the kids were generally affidavit at, argument on and beaten.
When the aboriginal air arrest addled Antwerp in 1940, Belgium no best acquainted adequate from the war. The beforehand of Nazi Germany alleged for a new break and his “opa” – grandpa in German – Salomon appointed four spots in the aback of a dump barter branch to the French border. Glatt’s two boyish brothers, Bubbi and Heinz, were to biking by bike and accommodated them.
Freddy Glatt, right, with his brother Heinz in Brussels in 1941. (Courtesy of Freddy Glatt/via JTA)
“The bags of refugees forth the way looked like the Hebrews exhausted Egypt,” Glatt recalled.
Shortly afterwards bridge into France, the ancestors boarded a alternation that was afterwards targeted by two German Stuka fighter planes. Shrapnel addled Glatt’s leg, which took months to heal. The ancestors acclimatized abreast Toulouse in Vichy France, but the two brothers never showed up. By that time, his parents had afar over his father’s bank habit, and his ancestor had confused to Brazil.
“They told me there were snakes walking in the artery in Brazil,” Glatt said with a loud laugh.
Incoming refugees and a anew accustomed associate aggregate letters that his brothers had apprenticed an alone car aback to Belgium, confused aback to their family’s home and reopened their grandfather’s store. Ecstatic at the news, Salomon longed to depart. The plan was to retrieve his activity accumulation still hidden in Antwerp and barrel the ancestors out of Nazi Europe.
They traversed Nazi-occupied France initially in a Belgian-built Minerva auto with the advice of a bodies smuggler, afresh on bottom and by train. The ancestors reunited in Antwerp. Salomon, whose accumulation were intact, started active his business again. But anon they’d be fabricated to abrasion the chicken Star of David on their clothing.
A year afterwards the Jews of Antwerp were ordered to move to Heusden, a apple abreast the bound with Germany and Holland. Their displacement to the annihilation camps was captivated up, though, as Germany was too active alteration millions of Jews from Eastern Europe to their deaths.
At 13, Glatt couldn’t accept his bar mitzvah.
“There was no rabbi, no tallit, no tefillin or Torah in Heusden,” Wall said. “He had his bar account at the age of 85 in the Copacabana abbey actuality in Rio.”
The Glatts were accustomed aback to Antwerp, except for the earlier boys: Bubbi and Heinz were beatific to assignment in a atramentous mine. In 1942, both were summoned to assignment on the Atlantic Wall, a barricade meant to accommodate an accepted Allied advance. Once on the train, they instead were taken to Auschwitz.
Meanwhile, the Gestapo, helped by bounded spies such as the Flemish Hitler Youth, actively bolter the Jews who remained in Belgium. Glatt’s grandparents Salomon and Chawa were begin and abandoned to Auschwitz. Decades afterwards Glatt abstruse that Salomon, Chawa, Bubbi and Heinz were murdered in Auschwitz in 1942.
“In a new accomplishment to adumbrate from the Nazis, Freddy and his mom confused again, now to a baby accommodation at 101 Jerusalem St. in Brussels’ Schaerbeek district,” Wall said. “The bath was tiny, acceptation Freddy had to use a accessible shower, anxiously ambuscade his circumcision.”
At the age of 14, Glatt started alive as an abettor to a newsstand owner. At night he formed in a artful array factory, and amid accouterment would draw Mickey Mouse-themed cards for auction at a jotter store. He would additionally abduct alternation advance and advertise them as scrap.
The money afforded him and his mom attenuate visits to the cine theater. The films were preceded by newsreels depicting Luftwaffe bombs aqueous bottomward on London and Operation Barbarossa crushing the Soviet Union. Glatt generally sneaked into the Palais des Sports amphitheatre to watch wrestling, battle and added antic events.
As the war went on, animality and absence worsened, and Glatt’s mom, Rozalia, asked the arch clergyman of Belgium to acquisition her son a safe place. With abutment from the Belgian and Jewish resistance, and from Elisabeth, the Queen Mother of Bavaria — whose efforts on account of hundreds of Jewish accouchement becoming her a appellation as Righteous Among the Nations — Glatt set out for a academy for Catholic boys.
From the amphitheater there he could see hundreds of American B-17 bombers headed for Germany. The afterimage of bedridden Nazis, repelled by American and British soldiers aloof in from Normandy, was addition acceptable omen.
Freddy Glatt, apparent in April 2018, has lived in Rio de Janeiro back the end of World War II. (Courtesy of Glatt)
When the Allies assuredly absolved Belgium in September 1944, Glatt reunited with his mom and both started aimlessly to attending for the missing relatives, still blind of their fate. In 1947, mother and son confused to Brazil. Glatt’s dad was no best absorbed to agenda games, and the brace remarried in Rio de Janeiro.
Glatt has lived in Rio anytime since. He affiliated his wife, Betty, in 1954, and they accept three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Wall’s song, articulate in English, tells the adventure in telegraphic images over an insistent, atrocious beat, catastrophe with both a aftertaste of Glatt’s abandon and a admonition of his brothers’ austere fate.
“Wall’s song about Glatt translates the accent of this blazon of art as agent to address absolute actual periods and mainly appearance what intolerance, racism and ageism are able of generating,” historian Silvia Rosa Nossek Lerner told JTA.
Born in Rio to Holocaust survivors who fled Germany in the backward 1930s, Lerner is the columnist of a book in Portuguese blue-blooded “Music as a Memory of a Drama: The Holocaust,” for which she translated Yiddish songs composed and articulate in the ghettos and absorption camps. She said Wall’s song is in the attitude of such songs.
“They composed to absorb their time to sublimate feelings, which they could not accept and could not alike answer,” Lerner said. “These songs advice us to accept a little of the adversity that the Jews spent in these years of German domination, assuming hunger, longing, achievement for bigger days, affair for the approaching of their accouchement and proves that alike in difficult times, one can aftermath art.
“Music has the ability to affiliate feelings, analysis emotions, bethink stories, coexistence, memories and losses, and construe expectations and hopes,” Lerner said.
Wall hopes his song lives up to her praise.
“If youths appear to accept what the Holocaust was through this song, our ambition will accept been achieved,” he said.
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