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Line Separation

By: Mitzi J. Levin
Survivor: Aaron, Martin

Strong or weak. Young or old. Right or left. Live or die.

The selection process began as soon as Martin Aaron and his family arrived at Auschwitz. Hungry and exhausted after a two-day train ride by cattle car, they were pushed and pulled from the train by Gypsies.

“We were confused, scared, and hungry. We were greeted by Kapos, trustee inmates who supervised the prisoners. They walked among us, pointing with wooden sticks, guiding people to a table where German officials made the ultimate decision.”

The selection process was the beginning of the mass extermination of the Jews. It was also where Dr. Joseph Mengele chose subjects for his infamous experiments. These included attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, various amputations, and other brutal surgeries. Of particular interest to Mengele were twins, dwarves, and infants.

“With the wave of a stick, your fate was sealed,” recalls Martin. “My brother and I went to the right and my family to the left. I never saw them again. It was the saddest day of my life. There was so much confusion as families were ripped apart. My little brother was pulled from Mother’s tight grasp. Of all the horrors I was to endure, that day was the worst.

“I still ask myself today, ‘How could mankind do this to mankind?’ “