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Farewell the Chestnut Trees Blossoming Pink and White
The Memoirs of Latvian Holocaust Survivors Eva and Rudy Gutman

by Eva Gutman ©2015, Paperback, ISBN: , 112 pp
 

Eva Gutman was only sixteen years old when WWII began in 1939. Born in Latvia, one of the Baltic States, Eva grew up in a beautiful city, Liepāja, an ice-free port, a health resort, a source for amber. Eva especially remembers the chestnut trees, many of them over seventy-five feet tall. When she was a child, Eva would sit under these trees during a rainstorm and not feel one drop of rain. She recalls that it was especially heavenly to sit there when they blossomed. She would look through the pink and white blooms to the blue sky. Their lovely fragrance surrounded her. By 1939, Eva had met the love of her life, Rueben (Rudy) Gutman. She used to watch him in synagogue when he sang in the choir. A watchmaker like his father, Rudy was engaged to Eva.

 

All this loveliness was destroyed when first the Soviets and then the Germans occupied Liepāja. The Soviets sent Latvians to the Gulag; the Nazis sent them to the dunes north of Liepāja where they were murdered. Eva and her mother were moved to smaller and smaller homes and forced to work for the Nazis—sometimes cleaning toilets at a military base. In 1943, the Liepāja Ghetto was liquidated and Eva, her mother, and Rudy were transported to labor camps. These labor camps were illheated; hair would freeze to the ground where they slept. Sanitary conditions were atrocious; the stench, suffocating. The work, back-breaking. The family survived the labor camps. They even survived Bergen-Belsen where Eva witnessed cannibalism before it was liberated by the British in March 1945.

 

Eva’s and Rudy’s experiences during the Holocaust are important to be told.

 

Comparatively few Latvian Jews survived. The USHMM states that “the horrendous losses sustained during the Nazi Holocaust utterly devastated Latvian Jewry.” Their memoirs should be read.

Part I Eva Gutman

Chapter 1 My Home in Liepāja................................1

Chapter 2 The Writing on the Wall..........................4

Chapter 3 The Germans Attack................................6

Chapter 4 The December Massacre.........................12

Chapter 5 The Liepāja Ghetto................................17

Chapter 6 Deportation...........................................20

Chapter 7 Ereda Labor Camp.................................22

Chapter 8 Goldfields Labor Camp..........................25

Chapter 9 Stutthof and Ochsenzoll........................27

Chapter 10 Bergen-Belsen........................................29

Chapter 11 Immigrants............................................32

Chapter 12 Eva’s Epilogue........................................35

Part II Rudolf Gutman

Chapter 13 Rudy’s Childhood..................................38

Chapter 14 Foreign Occupation of Liepāja...............41

Chapter 15 Betrayal..................................................43

Chapter 16 The Liepāja Ghetto................................50

Chapter 17 Concentration Camps............................51

Chapter 18 Liberation and Then Freedom................58

Chapter 19 Reunion.................................................61

Chapter 20 Rudy’s Epilogue.....................................66

Works Cited ..............................................................68

Endnotes ..............................................................70

Maps ..............................................................84

Photographs ..............................................................92

Farewell the Chestnut Trees Blossoming Pink and White

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