Air Force

April 26, 2013

Holocaust survivor visits 162nd FW

Staff Sgt. Heather Davis
162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

She spoke softly, her English fragmented by a crisp Polish accent as she told of her torn youth. Sorrow blanketed the audience, the impact of her words bringing shock, anger and a few tears. She spoke with purpose, her words calm but filled with horrific visions of cruel injustices. Her message – remember the atrocities of our past to prevent the injustices of our future.

Wanda Wolosky, one of a few remaining holocaust survivors, visited the wing April 11 to share with unit members the stories of her childhood as a Jewish girl in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

“One day I woke up, there were planes flying over the city and bombs falling down,” said Wolosky. “Through the window I could see people yelling, screaming and running. I didn’t know what was going on, but the war had started. The bombing lasted a whole month and most of the bombs targeted the Jewish section of the city,” she said.

The onset of the war changed Wolosky’s life forever. Her life once filled by family and childhood play was replaced by one filled with loss, death, fear, hunger and the desperate need to simply survive.

“Survival, you learn it very quickly and at a very young age because you see what’s happening,” said Wolosky. “In war situations you aren’t a child anymore, you grow up and you become an adult. One day I went to the wall, I could hear the shooting and with all of my heart I wanted to be over there, to help, to fight. I was eight,” she said.

The average daily calorie intake for people in the Warsaw ghetto was 184 calories, said Wolosky. Families survived on a single loaf of bread, or soup that was lucky to contain a potato peel.

“If you walked the streets there were children laying, begging,” said Wolosky. “Some didn’t even have the strength to pick up their arms to beg, they were skin and bones.” Death was everywhere, it got to the point where no one paid any attention to the bodies because it was a daily occurrence, she said.

Survival for Wolosky and her mother meant becoming smugglers to keep from starving. They escaped the ghetto through basements, holes in the wall and even the sewer to exchange whatever they could for food to bring home to their family, said Wolosky. If they had been caught, however, it would have cost them their life, she said.

“When you came back, you would have to hide the food,” said Wolosky. One day she returned to the ghetto, smuggling part of a pig under her coat when a German soldier put his hand on her shoulder. “I was sweating with every pore in my body because I was so afraid. Getting caught would have meant a bullet in the head,” she said.

She never knew if one wrong step would mean her death, but she continued fighting for survival, “Life was the only motivation,” said Wolosky. “I wanted to live. I wanted to survive. I wanted to see tomorrow.”
Wolosky’s fight continued until Poland was liberated by Russia at the end of the war. Since Russia was a communist country, Wolosky and her mother requested to travel to Israel. Two years later their request was granted and they departed for Israel.

“For the first time in my life I felt free,” said Wolosky.

For most of her life Wolosky didn’t want to speak about her experiences in Poland, trying to forget. Six years ago she began telling her story because of the many people who don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened, she said.

“You have to carry on our stories,” said Wolosky. “You’re the ones who can stop injustice. If you see it, speak up. You live in a free country where you can say whatever you want to. So many people died, it’s enough,” she said.

Although Wolosky lost so much at the hands of others, she keeps her conscience and heart free of hatred and blame, she said.

“I’m not blaming, but I’m not forgetting,” said Wolosky.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

Extraordinary effort regardless of outcome

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Imagine a 5-year-old boy chasing grasshoppers at a camp site. He wanders too far. Darkness falls, and he is lost. A storm is brewing in the sky above, and the camping party turns into...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski

D-M conducts Meet and Greet at local high school

TUCSON, Ariz. — A community event was held at Rincon High School Wednesday. The Meet and Greet event allowed members of the Tucson community to interact with their neighboring Airmen and learn about the mission of Davis...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan

Tuskegee Airman takes final flight at Academy

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) — (This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.) Franklin Macon’s f...
 

 
DoD
Courtesy photo by Tim Brumbeloe

‘I Will Wait’ Tells Stories of Generations of Military Spouses

WASHINGTON — America sends its sons and daughters to war, and a new play titled “I Will Wait” looks at the effect of these deployments across the generations. The brainchild of Amy Uptgraft, the play connects the experien...
 
 
U.S. Air Force graphic/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany  — Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 Airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-Septembe...
 
 
CAP_pict

Civil Air Patrol joins total force ‘Airmen’

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — When conducting missions for the Air Force as the official Air Force auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol is now included in the Air Force’s definition of the total force. CAP has provided 74 years of sup...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>