(Running times are approximate)
Reviewer: Diane Bareis
Born: Sholai (phonetic spelling) , Lithuania, 9 September 1911.
1:00 After World War I, the Jews of Lithuania were banished to Ukraine, unable to return until 1921. Upon returning, Max entered public school and Yiddish school. He graduated from middle school in 1929 and became a bookkeeper.
In 1936 he was married. Their first child was born in 1937, and their second child was born in 1940.
On June 15, 1940, Russia took control of Lithuania.
On Sunday, June 22, 1941, war broke out. On Monday, Max’s family was unsuccessful in its attempt to escape to Russia and were forced to live in one of the two ghettos established by the Germans in August 1941.
8:15 Max describes the crowded conditions of ghetto life. Many Jews worked in the leather factory that was adjoined to the ghetto.
10:00 Part of his family perished while attempting to live in the nearby forest.
11:00 In order to consolidate two ghettos into one, six hundred and sixteen old people and children were removed from the ghetto and sent to a Polish concentration camp on November 5, 1943. His children, ages six and three, were in this group.
12:15 In July 1944, Max and others were sent to the German camp, Dora-Mittelbau (this is a guess; it was the closest reference I could find).
14:00 In September 1944, he was sent to Danzig (sp?), a branch of Dachau. He helped to construct an underground factory for the Germans but construction was never completed.
17:00 On Aprl 30, 1945 they were liberated by the Americans while on a train that was moving camp prisoners further into the German mountainside. After a tremendous journey of searching, he was reunited with his wife.
19:00 Max tells a story of military police arresting a Nazi war criminal after the war was over. Along with two travelling companions, they recognized the leader of the Mittledorf (? Dora-Mittelbau?) camp Walter Langlaist (sp?) and his mistress, Maria Mandel (sp?), who were renowned for torturing people in Polish camps. He was hanged and she was sentenced to death for war crimes.
24:00 Atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
25:00 Max went to Lodz, Poland. He learned that his wife was in Poland and started to search the camps.
29:00 Jews were being killed in Lodz, so the couple left for Germany. Max tells of the great struggle to find a way and place to settle again, including the challenge of language barriers.
32:00 On June, 1946, twin daughters were born to the Katlers, who had decided to stay in Germany. They were fed and clothed by the United Nations. An uncle in Cleveland began the process of sponsoring them to emigrate to the United States. Although the uncle died in the midst of the process, Mrs. Katler’s cousin in Columbus continued the process and in July 1949 the Katler’s arrived in Columbus.