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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Oh Oh! Ed Day, County Executive of Rockland cracks down on illegal housing! The party is over!

Ed Day standing in front of house that has 19 violations 
The Rockland Health Department and other county agencies are launching a new crackdown on the spread of substandard and illegal housing to improve safety for residents and firefighters responding to emergencies.
The Rockland Codes Initiative includes hiring more housing inspectors, levying larger penalties against landlords and an online reporting system where residents can file anonymous complaints when they know of illegal dwellings.
Officials have also started an online Worst Landlord Watch List in an effort to bring anonymous LLCs to the light of public scrutiny. The list's top five worst offenders are posted now.
"We all know firefighting is dangerous enough," County Executive Ed Day said Thursday, standing on the sidewalk in front of a dilapidated three-story home at 76 Fairview Ave., the first property on the Worst Landlord Watch List. "It should not be made more dangerous when property owners motivated by greed illegally carve up apartments. We cannot allow a child or one of Rockland County's bravest to die in a converted attic or hidden stairwell."
Officials said the 2,522-square-foot tan stucco home has racked up 19 violations. On five visits, inspectors found faulty or inadequate sprinkler and alarm systems and emergency exits, as well as possible illegal dwellings in the basement and third floor.
The property is managed by Yaniv Razak through Metallic Sunburst LLC. Razak could not be reached for comment.
The crackdown reveals the extent to which illegal housing has transformed huge swaths of suburban Rockland.
While towns and villages are supposed to enforce fire and zoning codes, there are widespread concerns about landlords who illegally convert single-family homes, chopping them into small rooms and stuffing them with recent immigrants — many of them illegal.
"The driving force of this is money," Day said. "It's not unlike drug-dealing in the city."
Frustrated inspectors and fire officials warn that these illegal dwellings often lack emergency exits — a huge fire hazard that could mean a disaster in an emergency.
The new initiative stems in part from a perceived lack of enforcement and negligible penalties against absentee landlords in many town and village courts. Reports from the state have singled out Ramapo and Spring Valley, in particular, for serious problems.
Penalties under the county initiative can reach $2,000 per day per violation. As part of the crackdown, the county will also report landlords who are found to be taking rental payments in cash to the IRS for possible tax evasion.
"The cost of doing business has gone up," Rockland Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Rubbert said.
One landlord, Clarel Jean, already has been slapped with $38,000 in fines by the Rockland Board of Health for violations at 73 S. Madison Ave. in Spring Valley, she said. Another home at 57 S. Madison — managed by Jonathan Weiss, who oversees many properties in Spring Valley — was hit with a $2,200 fine.
The stepped-up enforcements will be conducted under the Rockland County sanitary code, which allows the county's inspectors to issue summonses forcing repairs and bringing the landlord before the Rockland Board of Health.
The Health Department can inspect properties without permission and also can review schools with dormitories and kitchens, many of which face town and village violations in Ramapo.
The Health Department will get two more housing inspectors, bringing the number to four, plus two new supervisors.
The additional inspectors, if approved by the Rockland Legislature, will get paid $46,000 annually with benefits. Day said the county also might hire retired police officers and firefighters to supplement the efforts, as long as they earn less than $30,000 a year to comply with their retirement plans.
Day said the enhanced inspection program will pay for itself through fines, penalties and registration fees.
John Kryger, chairman of the Rockland Illegal Housing Task Force, said the more aggressive response is what the fire services have been seeking and "reaffirms our goal of safety for the tenants and first responders of this county."
Gordon Wren Jr., coordinator of Rockland Fire and Emergency Services, also supported the move.
"I am encouraged by this giant step taken by the county," Kryger said. "It's just one piece in a puzzle that includes the District Attorney's Office, the state codes division and the FBI, to name a few."

Elements of the Rockland Codes Initiative
 Web-based complaint form for people to confidentially report suspected illegal housing or unsafe conditions. The form will appear on the county government website at http://rocklandgov.com/ and the Rockland Health Department website athttp://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/. Or call the Health Department with complaints at 845-364-2585.
 Rockland County Worst Landlords Watch List of property owners operating the most dangerous and dilapidated buildings with the most violations.
 Multiple Dwelling Registry Law: Landlords must pay a fee and provide their names, addresses and contact information, including for their building managers.

Satmar Rebbe of Monroe Blesses Boro-Park Salami

Satmar Rebbe Of Kiryas Yoel Putting Up a Mezuzah at The New Satmar Butcher in Boro Park (Photos By JDN) - 




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BALTIMORE COUNCILMAN SLAMS OBAMA AND MAYOR: ‘JUST CALL THEM N*GGERS’

Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes (D) criticized President Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) for referring to rioters in Baltimore as “thugs” saying, “just call them n*ggers” in an interview on Tuesday’s “OutFront” on CNN.
Carl Stokes
When asked if “thugs” was the right term to describe the riot, Stokes said, “no, of course it’s not the right word to call our children thugs. These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No, we don’t have to call them thugs.”
He was then pressed on whether that justifies the rioting, he stated that while the rioting was unjustified, “calling them thugs — just call them n*ggers. Just call them n*ggers. No, we don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that. That is exactly what we have set them to. Now, when you say ‘come on,’ come on what? You wouldn’t call your child a thug if they should do something that would not be what you would expect them to do.”
Earlier, he declared, “today has been a tremendously good day in Baltimore. We woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m., cleaning up the streets, cleaning up the neighborhoods. People have come out of their doors, no one is staying behind closed doors in Baltimore. The residents are coming out and saying ‘this is our town, this is our city.’ Our issue is justice being served. So, there were a few aberrant, and I know that that was a terrible scene that we saw last night and a little bit on Saturday, but the greater majority, so a few hundred people versus hundreds of thousands of residents of Baltimore city, have come out of their homes and said, ‘this is Baltimore. This is our Baltimore.’ And they’re showing just who we are and why we’re standing up for justice, not only for Freddie Gray, but for all of the Freddie Grays that have been killed or brutalized in Baltimore.”
Stokes did defend the woman who cameras caught disciplining her son during the riots, arguing, “she was trying to save his life. It is clear that it’s better that she hit him than the police hit him and brutalize him and take his life from him.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Black Baltimore woman now jobless and homeless after rioting blacks burned CVS where she worked as manager

Katrice Gardner speaks with New York Daily News reporter Edgar Sandoval (pictured) in the aftermath of the riots in Baltimore. Gardner lost her home and her job in the same night

In one night of mayhem Katrice Gardner lost her home, her job — and nearly her life.
And when dawn broke Tuesday, the 30-year-old Baltimore woman said she couldn’t understand why the Black mob that battled the police all night firebombed her house and reduced the CVS where she worked as a manager to ashes.
“I was yelling at them, pleading at them not to burn my house," Gardner, 30, said outside her boarded-up rowhouse. “They had set the houses around me on fire. The black hoodlums were throwing stuff into the house. They were throwing Molotov's and very flammable stuff. All I could do was beg them not to burn my house."
Gardner said she — like most African-Americans in Baltimore — is deeply upset about the death of Freddie Gray, allegedly at the hands of police.
But Gardner said she didn’t recognize the people who starting lobbing bricks at cops and looting businesses after Gray’s funeral on Monday.
“These guys aren't from here, they go from place to place causing trouble,” she said. “This doesn't accomplish anything. This is our neighborhood."
Gardner, who is married, said she now has no place to live and no place to work.
"I can't live in my house while it gets renovated and the place where I work got burned down,” she said. “I don't have a home and a place to work. This is a lot of calamity."

Horrific video shows White Baltimore store owner hauled from his premises, sucker punched and kicked by BLACKS as he lay in the street

A shocking video has emerged from the riots in Baltimore showing a mob of Black 'protesters' dragging a white shopkeeper into the street and assaulting him.

The video, shot by a witness, sees the white man being forcibly removed from his store, believed to be located in downtown Baltimore, as dozens of black protesters gather outside.
One of the black rioters knocks him flat out with a sucker-punch, and as the white man lies in the street, the black mob gathers around him. 



A male Black protester wearing a hoodie appears to be stomping on the white man's head as others kick him while he is out. 
Even though the video is only 20 seconds long, it captures the horrific violence that has swept the city since yesterday following the funeral of Freddie Gray who while he was alive was arrested 18 times. 

Shvartzas burn down Baltimore and the Mayor wants to give them "space"

This Schvartza is also angry!
Mayor "Space" Rawlens-Blake of Baltimore


Before condemning the thugs who are looting and burning the city, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake talked about giving ‘space’ to people intent on destruction, showing a startling lack of common sense.


Yes, she said it.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stood before the news cameras over the weekend and really did say, “We also gave those who wish to destroy space to do that as well.”'
She uttered these words while explaining how she had sought to maintain “the very delicate balance” between the right to protest and the safety of police officers as a week of demonstrations over the death of Freddie Gray began to turn violent on Saturday.
“We work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate,” she said. “And that’s what we saw.”
After that success over the weekend, she apparently took the same approach on Monday. And this time those who wished to destroy just kept destroying and destroying as the situation escalated to where Maryland Governor Larry Hogan activated the National Guard.
Rawlings-Blake was only 21 at the time of the Crown Heights Riots in 1991, when New York Mayor David Dinkins held the police back in order to let protesters “blow off a little steam.” But, the destructive result was something anyone who runs a city should have studied.
Baltimore now suddenly became Crown Heights on steroids.
And to make matters worse, each thrown brick and bottle, each trashed car, each store looted and burned was an insult to Freddie Gray’s twin sister. Her brother had become the second young man to suffer fatal spinal injuries after being arrested for a petty crime and loaded into a Baltimore police van. She nonetheless remained a voice for peace.
“My family wants to say, can you all please stop the violence?” Fredricka Gray said. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”
Monday began with the chilling word from the Baltimore police of a “credible threat” that the Black Guerilla Family, the Crips, and the Bloods had formed an alliance to kill white cops as if were suddenly back in the 1970s and the time of the Black Liberation Army.
As night fell, the transmissions over the police radio were of a city going mad.
“There’s 100 of them in the shoe store. People are even getting out of their cars to go into the shoe store.”
“A group of black males breaking into a grocery store from the rear.”
“No units are to go there alone…. Do we have any other units?.... I need at least three or four cars to go there.... Do we have any other units?”
“Is anybody else coming up there?”
“Male armed with a handgun.”
“We have an individual in custody. We need a wagon.”
“We don’t even have a wagon.”
“There’s about 30 of them! We need backup.”
“Nobody’s up here right now.”
 “I got multiple fires inside the park. I got one beside the conservatory.”
“I see other ones.”
“I can’t cover you.”
“We got looting at the CVS and the 7-Eleven. I’m trying to keep people out of both places. It’s really dark out here tonight.”
“We have gunshots, a woman screaming.”
“Do not drive into locations you can’t get out of. We will not jeopardize our lives for those stores.”
“Breaking into store in the shopping center…. Security says he is armed. He is alone.”
“I have the injured officer back at his command. I’m heading out.”
“A curfew in the city.”
“That’s crazy.”
 “I hope they make it so not nobody can come out. Then I don’t got to go to work tomorrow.”
The mayor reappeared before the news cameras and insisted that the media had twisted and taken out of context her remarkable words over the weekend. She said she had been talking about protesters, not thugs “who want to incite violence and destroy our city.” She seemed deaf to the echo of her own words, when she had spoken earlier of giving room to “those who wish to destroy.” That is a pretty good definition of a thug.
“What we see tonight that is going in in our city is very disturbing,” she now said with considerable understatement. 
She reported that the National Guard would be deployed as soon as it was available, no doubt to restrict the space of these destroyers. There would be a 10 p.m. curfew starting Tuesday.
“This is not a lawless city,” she assured everybody.
She pledged that the thugs would be tracked down thanks to “police videos,” a twist to an uproar that had been sparked by a civilian video taken of Freddie Gray being dragged to a police van.
“We will be holding people accountable,” she promised.
She gave not the slightest glimmer of feeling that she should be held accountable for anything. She may have made her initial ascent from City Council president to mayor because her predecessor had been locked up for embezzlement, but she had since been elected to a full term with 87 percent of the vote. She seemed to consider that an unshakable endorsement.
And she rightly felt that Baltimore had been making considerable progress since days so benighted that the city jail had essentially been run by the Black Guerilla Family. The gang’s jailed leader impregnated four corrections officers, two of whom were tattooed with his name, one on her neck.
“This is my jail,” the leader, Tavon White, was recorded saying from behind bars. “My word is law…. If I told any motherf---ing body they had to do this, hit a police, do this, kill a mother---er, do anything, it get done. Period.”
But White’s reign had ended with a series of indictments, and it seemed that the rule of law was beginning to return to Baltimore. Homicides were leveling off. The new police commissioner boasted that he had fired 50 members of the department for misconduct.
Then came the death of poor Freddie Gray. The mayor clearly shared the anger over the failure of the arresting officers to summon medical assistance for Gray when it should have been clear to them that he was in serious distress. She also shared the anger over the failure of the cops to strap him in with a seatbelt even though that had led to the other Baltimore man dying from similar injuries in a police van.
Yet she seemed not to understand what was seething in her own city, what was liable to flare beyond any immediate controlling if the true destroyers were given space.
Gray’s death showed what can happen when the police turn callous.
The riots showed what can happen if the police are believed not to be in control.
Rioters who rampaged after a cellphone video of an arrest will themselves be arrested with the help of police video.
And the good people of Baltimore will have to rebuild, as they had to do after the long-ago riots of 1968 that followed King’s murder.
King no doubt would have found the city’s present mayor to be smart and decent and right out of his mountaintop dream.
If only she had a little more common sense.
If only she were not deaf to her own words.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Women vow not to let Beit Shemesh turn into 'Taliban city'

Four women who won trial against municipality over modesty signs plan to use money they received to fund further activities against Charedi radicalization.

Nili Philipp and Dr. Eve Finkelstein (Photo: Rafi Kutz)
The four women who received NIS 15,000 (about $3,800) each from the Beit Shemesh Municipality after it failed to remove signs calling for the exclusion of women from the public domain are planning to use the money to fund further activities against radicalization in their city.

Nili Philipp, Miriam Zussman, Rachely Schloss and Dr. Eve Finkelstein made headlines recently when they won a trial against the municipality over modesty signs in the Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet neighborhood. After receiving the money from the municipality last month, the four decided to invest it in their ongoing struggle against the exclusion of women.

"We will donate the money for causes in favor of the public and women of Beit Shemesh," they stated. "Many things can be done with such a sum. It's a shame we don’t have a million shekels."

Their first goal, they say, is to fight the city's radical ultra-Orthodox newspapers, which ban pictures of women and even of little girls.

"There are female real estate agents who are not allowed to include their picture in their ads, as real estate agents do. It hurts their business. Agents include their picture in their ads for a reason – it has a psychological effect. It gives the client a sense of familiarity and security," says Dr. Finkelstein.

According to Finkelstein, the Charedi newspaper editors claim that they are being threatened, but refuse to clearly say who is threatening them. "They say they are being threatened? Well, we'll threaten them with the law," she states.

The four women's struggle began several weeks ago when they published an ad in Beit Shemesh's newspapers showing a girl asking her mother, "Why was that girl's face erased?" Under the picture they posted a red stop sign with the caption, "It's time to stop the insanity."

The women say they have been receiving many appeals from other women who say they are being excluded from the public domain. "We won't let Beit Shemesh turn into a Taliban city," they vow.


New York Times Again Blasted for ‘Skewed’ Headline in Coverage of Palestinian Stabbing Attacks


Media watchdogs and Jewish groups on Sunday admonished the New York Times for publishing a headline about Palestinian stabbing attacks in Israel which “blur Palestinian culpability” in the incidents.
The “skewed” headline, “Israeli Police Officers Kill Two Palestinian Men,” appeared in Sunday’s edition of the prominent newspaper and detailed in the opening paragraph that the two “Palestinian men were fatally shot by the Israeli police after attacking officers with knives.”
“Why report the effect without the cause? Why continue to depict Palestinians as ‘just victims’?” watchdog group CAMERA asked in a blog post. “What is so hard about… [a] straightforward headline accurately depicting the nature and chronology of events?”
CAMERA also pointed out that, in the past, New York Times bias against Israel had been subject to criticism by the paper’s own public editor Margaret Sullivan.
Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said the paper “should at least revise the misleading headline for the record.”
“We aren’t dealing with possible police misbehavior in Baltimore or Cleveland, but uniformed officers targeted by terrorists in the Holy Land,” Cooper said in an email to the Algemeiner. He asked whether the headline was the result of “sloppy editing, or the bias of a headline writer and editor (mis)leading the readers.”
In an email to the Algemeiner, one reader alleged that in Sunday’s issue of the Times, another article that appears in print confirms an anti-Israel bias on the part of the “paper of record.”
“Even more interesting is another title in the same edition of the New York Times on an unrelated article: ‘Man, 24, killed by Detective in struggle during arrest’,” said New York native Noam Ohana. “So, in the New York case we are given a bit of context (there was a struggle) but when a Palestinian tries to butcher police officers/soldiers with a knife it apparently does not require any contextualization in the title.”
The New York Times’ public editor could not immediately be reached for comment on the story.
The New York Times has often been criticized for anti-Israel bias in its reporting on the Jewish state and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CAMERA even maintains a billboard outside the paper’s headquarters criticizing the media giant’s coverage. Meanwhile, the New York Times asserts that it is criticized by both sides in the conflict.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bears take over Monsey!


Families who took to Viola Park in Monsey to enjoy a spring afternoon were greeted by a stunning site in the tall trees in the area:  four black bears.
As news of the bears spread on social media, crowds gathered at the park with well over one hundred men, women and children walking all the way up to the tree, taking pictures of the bears until Ramapo police arrived on scene to tape off the area with the help of volunteers from Chaveirim.
“The park is being closed ,” Dispatcher Cahill of the Ramapo told VIN News.  “Hopefully once the people leave the bears will be comfortable enough to come down and disperse.”
Ramapo Police have already contacted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and will seek further guidance if the bears refuse to come down from the trees.




Miracle of the Mengele babies

Truly astounding story of how three women cheated demon doctor of death by hiding their pregnancies... and raised their newborns in the very cradle of Nazi horror

'Are you pregnant, pretty woman?' Dr Josef Mengele asked the 28-year-old Slovak language teacher as she stood on parade – naked, shaven-headed and shivering – within hours of arriving at Auschwitz II-Birkenau. 
It was October 1944, and the Nazis were accelerating the Final Solution, their murderous plan to exterminate the Jews and other 'enemies of the Reich' as the tide of war turned against them.

The man who later became known as The Angel of Death was dressed impeccably in his grey-green uniform with silver skulls on the collar as he inspected each new prisoner and – more specifically – asked if they were expecting a child, which could become a subject for his sickening human experiments.
Auschwitz survivor Anka Nathanova concealed her pregnancy and raised her baby Eva (pictured together) in the death camp



When it was her turn, Priska Lowenbeinova didn't hesitate. Shaking her head quickly, she replied 'Nein' in German, even though she was two months pregnant. She had no idea if telling the truth might save her or condemn them both.
None of the wide-eyed women knew then that Mengele's whim could consign them to the gas chambers, the agony of experimentation or pitiless hard labor.


It was an act of huge bravery, or maybe desperation. Yet unknown to Priska, who had conceived while living with her husband Tibor in Bratislava, two other pregnant women had also come face to face with Mengele at Auschwitz at the time. And they, too, had lied about their condition.
Rachel Friedman had been transported there from the Jewish ghetto in the Polish industrial city of Lodz; Anka Nathanova, the third of the women, was a former law student from Prague who had become pregnant while living with her husband Bernd in a 'model' internment camp in the Czech garrison town of Terezin. 

All three were passed as fit for work by Mengele and despatched to make components for the Luftwaffe at a labor camp.
Dr Josef Mengele conducted grotesque experiments at Auschwitz and sent thousands to the gas chambers
Dr Josef Mengele conducted grotesque experiments at Auschwitz and sent thousands to the gas chambers

Amid the almost unimaginable chaos that confronted them when they each arrived at Auschwitz, it is no surprise that the three mothers never met – or knew that others were also pregnant. Rachel never even told her three sisters she was pregnant even though they spent the rest of the war with her. Suffering from sudden and dangerous weight loss in such a murderous regime, they shrank inside the baggy clothing they'd been thrown by prisoner-guards so kept their pregnancies hidden until full term.

Incredibly, they and their tiny 3lb infants survived the horrors of the death camps, the brutality of slave labor and a final terrifying journey before being liberated. None believed that any other newborn could have survived such an ordeal and astonishingly these three 'miracle children' only learned of each others' existence five years ago when they were reunited at an event for camp survivors.

I have pieced together their remarkable stories from their mothers' memories, letters and stories, reinforced by the testimony of independent witnesses and archives.
By April 1945 all three women had been incarcerated in an old porcelain factory in Freiberg, Saxony, for up to seven months. Wearing their Auschwitz clothes, without underwear, plus horrid wooden clogs, these once-cultured women endured freezing conditions in Europe's worst winter for 15 years. They worked seven days a week using heavy machinery on little more than subsistence rations. Several of their fellow inmates died of starvation or disease, others had been returned to Auschwitz and certain deaths.

These three mothers may have passed the 'Mengele test' and avoided that fate but they now found themselves in a different sort of hell. 

Then one morning, during a cold-water wash, Priska once again found herself fearing for her life.
A Czech prisoner spotted her tiny swollen belly and became hysterical. 'You'll get us all killed!' she screamed as the camp guards came running. Priska froze, her heart pounding. 'Is it true?' a female SS guard asked Priska, who weighed just five stone. Priska, expecting to be shot on the spot, was forced to admit she was.

With the Allies closing in, the guards were not sure what they should do. Days passed before a guard quietly asked her: 'What do you need?' By that stage Priska's feet, swollen and oozing pus from the cold and the rough clogs, had become her worst torment. To her amazement, a bowl of hot water was brought for her to soak them in. She knew the sudden change of heart among the guards was almost certainly self-serving, but she welcomed it.

The other two women's pregnancies were exposed in the coming weeks. Rachel was so weak she could barely walk. Anka, not knowing that Auschwitz had been liberated by the Russian army three months earlier, expected to be sent back there to meet her death. All three were saved by the fact that the Nazi regime was collapsing.

SS guards watched when Priska Lowenbeinova gave birth on a wooden plank laid across a table in the factory and placed bets on whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, pictured with daughter Hana
SS guards watched when Priska Lowenbeinova gave birth on a wooden plank laid across a table in the factory and placed bets on whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, pictured with daughter Hana

By this time the women hardly worked and were mostly confined to lice-infested barracks, from where they witnessed the bombing of Dresden and heard frequent shelling. Many no longer cared.

On the morning of April 12, Priska went into labour and was helped on to a wooden plank laid across a table in the factory, watched by SS guards betting on whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. 'They said that if it was a girl the war would be over, and if it was a boy then it would go on for even longer,' she recalled.
At 3.50pm, according to a guard's watch, Priska gave birth. 'It's a girl!' the Germans cried happily. 'The war will soon be over!' The tiny, malnourished child came into the world with her little blood-smeared hands screwed up into fists held around her ears. Priska was overjoyed, but also broken-hearted that her husband Tibor wasn't there.

The couple, who had chosen the names for their unborn child in a cramped railway cattle wagon on route to Auschwitz, had been separated the moment they arrived.
She was also petrified. Her baby had been relatively safe inside her belly. Now she was a vulnerable Jewish child in a world run by Nazis.

Her little girl was too weak to cry and could barely move her puny limbs, but she had her father's big blue eyes. 'She was the most beautiful child I had ever seen,' Priska said. 'We had been through so much and yet here we were, alive!'
Neither would have survived without the kindness of another inmate, a Czech paediatrician named Edita Mautnerova, so Priska decided to call her baby Hana Edith Lowenbein. Her fellow prisoners pooled their precious supply of their one occasional treat – marmalade – and mixed it with a little water to make syrup for the baby. They also found some soft white cotton stamped with the name of the camp – KZ Freiberg – and stitched Hana a smock and a bonnet complete with blue edging and tiny red flowers.

Then, 36 hours after she'd given birth, Priska was shaken awake just after midnight and told the camp was being evacuated to escape the advancing Soviet army. They were to be loaded on to a train a sent south or west, possibly to Buchenwald, unless the Allies got to it first.
The Red Army and American troops, had already forced the Nazis to evacuate scores of camps in Eastern Europe from December 1944.

Pictures from the book - Born Survivors by Wendy Holden..F and Mark 1949..***IMAGES SUPPLIED BY THE PUBLISHERS***
Rachel Friedman was advised to lie and say her son Mark (pictured together) was born on Hitler's birthday – April 20th - and it saved him


Thousands of inmates were murdered, but others were allotted a different fate as the Nazi high command clung to the belief that they would still need slave labour to rebuild the Reich. Those given a chance to survive, like the women of KZ Freiberg, were transported by train. The less fortunate were forced on long 'death marches' in the middle of a brutally harsh winter.

Priska with her baby and 35 other sick women were among the last to leave. Initially they were ordered to march in the freezing rain with the others. When it became clear they couldn't keep up, the guards told the rest of the prisoners to move on.

'The others were convinced they were going to execute us,' Priska said. 'They were saying goodbye and crying.' But the women were loaded into a military truck and driven to the station. Baby Hana was so lethargic she hardly moved. Trying to keep her warm, Priska pressed her daughter against her heart, kissed her head and prayed.
'I told myself it is all in the hands of God. He knew where I gave birth, so that's why he helped me.'

The only wagons available for the 990 Jewish women were 15 open-topped trucks and a handful of closed cattle cars. They were herded in, at least 60 to a truck, as grisly rumours of their destination spread: were they to be buried alive or transported to an extermination camp in Bavaria? As the Allies bombed tracks and liberated more camps, the journey continued interminably.She didn't know it until many years later, but she was on the same train as Anka and Rachel, who were both heavily pregnant and still hiding their condition. Rachel, now so fragile she'd been placed on the floor of an open coal wagon with the dying 'like herrings in a tin', was a few cars further along.

On April 19, five days after they had left Freiberg, in the middle of a night air raid, Rachel's waters broke. Sprawled on the faeces-covered floor and sandwiched between the dead, she gripped the arm of her sister Bala as the contractions took hold. A guard called for help and someone found Dr Edita.

The boy was small. 'Another Jew for the Fuhrer!' one of the guards shouted. Too weak to be happy, Rachel felt numb. She had secretly decided to name him Max (later to be known as Mark). 'I was thinking, 'So I have a child, or I don't have a child.' We didn't know what was going to happen.'
With no sharp objects to sever the umbilical cord, someone suggested Rachel bite through it. Eventually an SS guard handed Edita a dirty razor blade. 'They also found a cardboard box and put the baby in,' Rachel recalled.
Incredibly, Rachel had a little breast milk and was able to feed the baby. Rachel asked the date, determined to remember her son's birthday whether he lived or died. An SS guard replied: 'Say the boy was born on Hitler's birthday – April 20th. It might save him.'

Dr Mengele inspected each new prisoner and – more specifically – asked if they were expecting a child, which could become a subject for his sickening human experiments
Dr Mengele inspected each new prisoner and – more specifically – asked if they were expecting a child, which could become a subject for his sickening human experiments

Meanwhile Anka, a 'walking skeleton in rags', was squeezed into an open-topped coal truck praying fervently that they weren't on their way back to Auschwitz. With Allied planes bombing tracks behind and ahead of them, there was mounting confusion among the guards as to where the convoy has heading. Finally, after 16 terrible days, Train 90124 ended its long journey on evening of Sunday, April 29, 1945.

The wild-looking creatures still alive were dragged from the wagons by guards and pushed into ragged columns. They were in the beautiful Danube valley, but all Anka could see were big black letters spelling out MAUTHAUSEN.
'As soon as I saw that, my birth pains started,' Anka said. 'I was so frightened.
'Mauthausen was in the same category as Auschwitz: an extermination camp.'
Gripping the wagon door as her contractions took hold, she tried not to let on that she was about to give birth. All she could think was that she was about to deliver a child that would be thrown straight into a gas chamber, along with its mother.

Dragged off with others too weak to move, she was thrown on top of a heap of the dying on a farm cart.
'The sun was shining and it was awfully cold – such a beautiful spring evening. We were going up the hill and I noticed the Danube below and the [fields] beginning to turn green… I thought I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life – maybe the last nice thing I would see on this earth.'
By the time the cart had climbed the two miles to the hilltop camp, her contractions had worsened.
'There were lice crawling all over the place and dying women lying across my legs. I had only one fear – that the baby wouldn't survive.'
In those hellish conditions, Anka gave birth on the cart. The tiny infant didn't breathe or move. 'For maybe seven to ten minutes it did not cry or stir,' she recalled.
At the so-called 'infirmary', a prisoner who had been an obstetrician in Belgrade was summoned. 'He came running out and he cut off the baby, smacked its bottom and everything was fine. It started to cry. He told me, 'It's a boy.' Somebody wrapped it in paper and suddenly I was terribly happy.'

In fact the doctor was wrong, deceived by the swollen genitalia common in malnourished newborns, and Anka had delivered a little girl she later named Eva. She asked someone the time and date. In the sick bay she was grateful to be given her own bunk, even though there was a stench of excrement.
Her shrunken infant with a full head of dark hair was laid flat upon her chest. 'I was as happy as I could be – under those circumstances,' she said. 'I was the happiest person in the world.'
The three 'miracle children', Eva, Mark, and Hana (pictured l-r together) only learned of each others' existence five years ago when they were reunited at an event for camp survivors
The three 'miracle children', Eva, Mark, and Hana (pictured l-r together) only learned of each others' existence five years ago when they were reunited at an event for camp survivors

There was no such joy for Rachel and baby Mark. They were loaded on to a similar cart and taken up the hill to the camp, which was in chaos. The population had doubled, food had virtually run out, disease was out of control and the German guards were eager to leave no trace of their crimes. Choking smoke filled the air as documents were thrown into incinerators, along with the corpses of 43 prisoners executed the previous day.

Even with the odds stacked hopelessly against them, the camp authorities seemed determined to continue their campaign of genocide. Rachel and her group were herded 50 at a time down a flight of steps to the showers. With baby Mark hidden under her grimy dress, she remembered enough from Auschwitz to know what having a shower could mean. Pushed into a large tiled chamber with sinister-looking pipes, she believed that they were meant to die. 'They took us some place to gas us,' she said afterwards, 'but the prisoners had dismantled the equipment so they couldn't do it.' In fact, the camp had run out of the deadly Zyklon B cyanide crystals.

Meanwhile, Priska was forced to march up the hill, her group beaten by the guards. When Hana stirred and moaned, a female kapo (the name given to trusted inmates who supervised prisoners) spotted the tiny bundle at Priska's breast and shrieked, 'Ein Baby!'

Another rushed forward to grab Hana, crying 'Keine Kinder hier!' (No children here!). Priska fought them both off, spitting and clawing at their faces as a deadly tug-of-war began.
Hana's life hung in the balance until an unlikely person intervened. An older female kapo placed one hand on Priska's shoulder and said quietly: 'I haven't seen a baby in six years. I should like to spend some time with her.'
Priska realised that this was a chance to save her child. She hesitated, then handed her over. 'Follow me,' the woman said, in a Polish accent. In a surreal sequence of events, Priska was ordered to wait outside the guards' barracks while the stranger took Hana inside, undressed her and stood over her smiling and cooing. After almost an hour, the guard wrapped Hana in her grimy smock and bonnet and carried her back outside. 'Here,' she said brusquely before ordering that they be taken to a vermin-ridden barracks.
Priska and Hana curled in exhaustion on the floor of a filthy hut as Anka and her infant lay in the infirmary and Rachel collapsed with Mark in a nearby barracks.
The following day, as Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker, only Anka and her new baby, wrapped in newspaper, were shown any kind of care – although her infant stayed unwashed and surrounded by others dying of typhus or worse.

Dr Mengele conducted sickening experiments on more than 1,500 sets of twins including Miriam and Eva Kor
Dr Mengele conducted sickening experiments on more than 1,500 sets of twins including Miriam and Eva Kor
Anka said: 'By the time we arrived, the Germans were frightened out of their wits and started feeding us.'
She described their change of attitude as 'cloying and horrible', adding: 'I knew the day before they would have killed us.'

To her surprise, she was producing so much milk that she could have 'fed five babies'. 'I don't know where it came from. If I had faith I would say it was a miracle.'
Her baby, with arms the width of her little finger, guzzled greedily.

After weeks in which she had eaten not much more than a few mouthfuls of stale bread, Anka was given a bowl of macaroni swimming in fat. 'I was so hungry I ate it. I can't tell you how hungry I was… but it could have killed me on the spot. My intestines couldn't take it.' Almost immediately, she became incapacitated with diarrhoea and was extremely sick. 'How can you resist food when you are starving?'
In the early hours of May 3, SS commandant Frank Ziereis gave the order for his men to leave and handed over to a unit of police drafted in from Vienna, assisted by some older German soldiers. Two days later, a reconnaissance squad from the 'Thunderbolts', the 11th Armored Division, Third US Army, led by Polish-speaking Sergeant Albert J. Kosiek drove into the camp and found thousands of saucer-eyed prisoners, many on the verge of collapse. A huge number were naked, their skin covered in sores or eaten away by disease.
'It's a sight I'll never forget,' Sgt Kosiek said. 'They hardly resembled human beings. Some couldn't have weighed over 40lb… it made me wonder what kept them alive.'
Priska, who had been a language teacher, heard the voices of the soldiers and cried out for help in English. The medics rushed to the severely malnourished and dehydrated mother and baby. They took Hana away to operate on her abscesses and treated her with the new invention – penicillin. When a US Army nurse brought back the heavily bandaged bundle the following day, Priska thought she was dead. 'No, no! She's alive! She's healthy!' the nurse reassured her.
In the following weeks, as the three new mothers and their babies gradually regained strength and even began to gain a little weight, they were kept in quarantine in separate sections of the camp.
The three babies survived the horrors of the death camps, pictured is Auschwitz, the brutality of slave labour and a final terrifying journey before being liberated
The three babies survived the horrors of the death camps, pictured is Auschwitz, the brutality of slave labour and a final terrifying journey before being liberated

None of the women's husbands survived the camps and, with war over, the three mothers went home.
Priska remained in Bratislava for five years, and finally accepted that Tibor truly wasn't coming home. She never remarried and became a professor of languages. Priska died in Slovakia in 2006 aged 90. Hana emigrated to Israel after the 'Prague Spring' uprising was crushed in 1968. She now lives in California.
Rachel and her sisters found that in their village in Poland most of the Jews she'd grown up with had been erased from history, the survivors were unwelcome. She remarried, took Mark to American-occupied Munich for four years, then to Israel and, finally, to America. She died in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2003 at the age of 84.

Anka returned to Prague, where she learned that Bernd had been shot on a death march from Auschwitz. Three years later she married a Czech, Karel Bergman, who had been a wartime interpreter for Fighter Command in London. They settled in Cardiff after her husband was offered the chance to manage a factory in Wales, which he subsequently bought. Anka died in Cambridge in 2013 aged 96.

None of the mothers went on to have more children, none were aware of each others existence until their three 'babies' attended a commemoration event at Mauthausen in 2010.
Anka was the only mother who lived long enough to learn the truth and it was with high emotion that Eva introduced her to Hana and Mark. With her eyes glistening, Anka told them: 'You are my children too.'

Now all grandparents, the three 'miracle babies' have, they say, become siblings of the heart.

All three will travel from their homes in California, Wisconsin and Cambridge to meet again at Mauthausen next month to mark their 70th birthdays and to thank the descendants of their liberators. They are proud to be born survivors. 

Born Survivors by Wendy Holden is published on May 7 by Sphere, priced £18.99. Pre-order your copy at the special price of £15.19 from mailbookshop.co.uk; p&p is free for a limited time only.