One Day in Auschwitz is the story of Kitty Hawks-Morrison. This is the second documentary featuring Kitty on this website. Kitty recalls one day living in Auschwitz. Kitty is determined to tell her story, no matter if people do not want to hear it. She shows the camp to two girls who were her age when she entered the camp. The girls ask her questions about the experience.
Kitty’s first impression of Auschwitz was the mud and then she saw the dogs. One of the girls wants to understand what happened and how she survived. A second girl wants to see the Holocaust from a different perspective. Kitty’s granddaughter also participated in the documentary and shares how the experience shaped her grandmother. Kitty was the first survivor to give her testimony about what happened to her during the Holocaust.
Kitty’s family wanted to get out of Poland before the Nazi invasion. Her brother fled to the Russian side. He was killed in the battle of Stalingrad. The family made their way to Lublin. They were then taken to the Lublin ghetto. Her mother started giving English lessons to the Polish people. A priest made friends with Kitty’s mother. He said that if it came to a point, he was willing to help them. The priest managed to get Kitty and her mother papers. The priest risked his life to get them their papers.
Kitty and her mother were given papers that showed them that they were Polish. The Polish citizens were the first to be round-up and sent to Germany to work in a factory. So they went to the center of Lublin and were rounded up like the other Poles. They were suddenly put on a train and ended up in Germany. As Jew in Poland, it would be a challenge for them to hide in Poland.
However, they were suspected of being Jews. They were immediately questioned. They were charged with immigration fraud and were threatened with execution. There was a huge explosion above them, and Kitty thought they were dead. However, the sentence was commuted and they were sent to Auschwitz. They traveled 48 hours standing before arriving in Auschwitz. The Nazis wanted a confession in how they got their forged papers.
They arrived in Auschwitz in the dark. Kitty did not know where they were. They had to run into the camp and she noticed the strange stench in the air. It was the smell of meat, but it was the smell of bodies burning. Kitty and her mother stayed in a wooden barrack for the first night. She was next to a German Gypsy who read her hand. The Gypsy woman died during the night. Kitty and her mother took the clothes off the woman. You did what you had to do to survive the camp.
Kitty was assigned to work on a second railway to the camp. It was called the ramp. She saw the arrivals of people to the camp. Kitty recalls that people died on the trains and that they had no idea what was going to happen. She noted that the people who lived in the ghettos had a hint of what was to come. Men and women were separated. The older were separated from the younger. Children with children and the elderly were immediately sent to death. Death for the others would come slowly. Kitty emphasizes that the families never saw each other again.
Kitty tells both the girls what went on in the camp. This is an excellent documentary about Kitty. It was nice to see her take the two girls through the camp and you can see it had an impact on the girls. This would be a good documentary to show in a class on the Holocaust.
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