Born Ber Fuks in Lodz, Poland 30 August 1921
"He lived for the love of Israel"
Ber was born in Lodz August 30, 1921 as the youngest child in an orthodox Jewish family with the Kohen status*. The father had a company in the shoe industry (manufacturing) and the mother was a housewife. The family consisted of 2 adults and 5 children: the father Mendel1 (Yiddish name, real name: Menachem), mother Feiga2 (Cipora), brother Szmul3 (Samuel), sister Mindla4 (real name unknown), sister Ester Malka5, brother Lemel6 (Leon) and Beno7 (Ber). The parents were born in different small communities outside Lodz while the rest of the family were born in Lodz. The family went to the nearest synagogue several times a day, as orthodox Jews do. Szmul, the oldest child in the family, was infected with Tuberculosis and was hospitalized in Lodz. There he died only 10 years old July 24, 1922. When Poland was invaded by German forces on September 1, 1939, Ber was just 18 years old. When the Lodz ghetto was built, the hole family had to be forced into the misery of confinement, starvation and fear of deportaion. Mindla was deployed to Chelmno in 1942 while Ester, Lemel and Ber were deported to Auschwitz among the last trains in August 1944. His father and mother died in the ghetto.
After the the war in 1956, Esther stated about the family's existence to the Israeli authorities and Yad Vashem**..
*) Kohen or Cohen (or Hebrew: כֹּהֵן kohén) is a name for persons with a special status in Judaism. Kohen is a male descendant in straight descending joints from Aaron, great brother to the Biblical Moses, and has a priestly service. (Source Wikipedia)
**) Yad Vashem is the authority, monument, archives and research center of Israel for "the memory of the victims and heroes of the Holocaust", formed by the Knesset of 1953. Yad Vashem is located at Har Hazikaron, the Remembrance Mount, in Jerusalem. (Source Wikipedia)
#) Jiddish name (real name, familly member, profession)
B: Born date [MM-DD-YYYY] (birth place, country)
D: Deceased date [MM-DD-YYYY] (cause of death, city/place, country)
1) Mendel (Menachem, father, shoe manufacturer)
B: 12-26-1886 (Tuszyn, Poland)
D: 07-11-1942 (Beaten to death, Lodz Ghetto, Poland)
3) Szmul (Samuel, brother, pupil)
B: 04-22-1912 (Lodz, Poland)
D: 07-24-1922 (Tuberculosis, Saniorium, Lodz, Poland)
5) Ester Malka (Malka = Queen, sister, unknown)
B: 03-24-1917 (Lodz, Poland)
D: 01-13-2008 (Old age, Bat Yam, Israel)
2) Feiga (Cipora, mother, housewife)
B: 06-21-1885 (Rzgow, Poland)
D: 05-27-1942 (Starvation, Lodz Ghetto, Poland)
4) Mindla (unknown, sister, nurse)
B: 06-05-1914 (Lodz, Poland)
D: 09-12-1942 (Exhaust poisoning, Chelmno, Poland)
6) Lemel (Leon, brother, shoe manufacturer)
B: 04-01-1919 (Lodz, Poland)
D: Middle of August 1944 (External violence, Auschwitz, Poland)
7) Beno (Ber, shoe manufacturer)
B: 08-30-1921 (Lodz, Poland)
D: 02-10-1987 (Cancer, Malmoe, Sweden)
Ber was a person who laughed and talked in his usual easy way when the Fuchs family had visitors or if you met him in the store. European Jews had Yiddish as their main language. He had a lot of contact with the Jews who came to Sweden after the war in 1945 and they spoke Yiddish when they met. He was also in a theatre group with the same people and sang in Yiddish for them at the festivities. The theatre and the singing continued with more or less since he came to Sweden. In addition to singing he loved popular music from the 70's. He could sit for hours in front of the stereo and record on reels or tapes. There was a box filled with his recordings that came to use at the Fuchs resident at festivities. However, given the extreme experiences he had during the war, it was hard to see that he had problems mentally.
The experiences of the war were often reminded when Ber would go to bed. The journals from the psychiatric ward at Malmoe Hospital show that his nightmares were a big problem for him and not least when he was going to bed. According to the journals, the dreams he told the psychologists about were inconsistent but with two common factors, death and war. The majority of Bers family were unaware of his visit to the psychology ward at night. Sometimes Ber could tell his family members what he had experienced before, during and after the war. Often he became very sad and stopped telling when it became difficult for him. It may be that he would tell to express his strong feelings and be able to process them. A lot of his stories have been posted on these pages, and a great deal has been confirmed through the databases now available. Images and other information on the Internet have also confirmed what he has told. Unfortunately, his nightmares were only in his imagination but were hard enough to keep him awake at night.
Bers son Leon witnessed an unpleasant incident 1985 in Bers shoemaker shop he owned in Malmoe, south Sweden. A Polish man came into the shop and wanted to get his shoes repaired. They talked for a little while in Polish and the man said suddenly for unknown reason "... that Jaruzelski must be a Jew. It's going to hell with the country ... "(Wojciech Jaruzelski was Prime Minister in Poland 1981-1985 and President 1989-1990). Ber got furious, raised his voice and told him to go to hell. He grabbed his shoemaker hammer walking around the counter and chased out the Polish man who ran out of the shoemaker shop in his bare socks. He ran after him a little bit with the words "I'll knock out the stupidity out of your head!" Or something like that. Bers reaction can, of course, emanate from the dreadful memories he had in Poland during the war. A memory that Ber has told was from the train journey from Lodz to Auschwitz in August 1944. There were a lot of Lodz residents at the train station that screamed to those imprisoned Jews in the livestock wagons, that it was nice that they finally got rid of the Jews and gestured obscene gestures. This and many others memories have obviously put deep mark in Ber. He believed that all Poles were anti-Semitic, as he also said to his son Leon on a number of occasions. Of course this was not true, but his experiences from the war were his views on Poles and that was his truth. He became furious now that a Polish man expressed himself anti-Semitically.
Ber Fuchs died in cancer February 10, 1987 (age 65) at Oncology ward, Malmoe Hospital. On one of the registers from Malmoe city archives there are the following causes of death in Latin: "Ca pulm sin c metast". The Fuchs family found out by the doctors that he was late coming in and that he had a large cell growth at the air tube in the size of a tennis ball. In addition to this large cell growth, there were a lot of metastases all over the body. After a week's tests at Malmoe hospital, there was only one long and painful wait for the inevitable. From the time he entered the health centre with severe coughing until he finally gave up, it took about four months. Others in the Fuchs family also suffered from seeing him suffer. What was extra hard and sad was that, just before he took his final breath, he reminded of what he went through in the WWII, a war victim again, all skin and bone.
This was supposed to be a memorial plaque, but has so far just stayed as a project. It was done while the project with the website was most intensive. The Hebrew word down to the right under the candle says "remember".