Germany invaded Poland in 1939, when Zev Kedem was 5 years old. The family abandoned a vacation and headed to Kedem’s grandparent’s home in Krakow. “It was dark and, as a five-year-old, I was fairly afraid.”
Within a year, Zev Kedem’s family was rounded up and brought to the Crakow Ghetto with 30,000 other Jews. Barbed wire surrounded their world.
In the spring of 1943, the final deportation of Jews from Crakow began. Zev, his older sister and their grandparents hid in a padlocked pigeon coup as Germans inspected the abandoned ghetto.
Zev could hear the sirens blaring out warnings of death to those Jews who did not give themselves up. He heard dogs barking and people being shot. He heard shots ringing from the hospital nearby. “I have no doubt that the Germans were executing children in their hospital beds that were too weak for deportation,” Zev says.
Later Kedem’s mother bribed a Nazi truck driver to smuggle her son into a camp so as to avoid having him scrutinized by Nazi guards, who would have unquestionably sent Zev immediately to the gas chambers.
So he hid among the older boys, working in a brush factory were he sat on a box at the worktable to appear taller than he was. Once he was spotted by a Nazi overseer, but talked his way into survival by virtue of a large supply of brushes in front of him.
Zev Kedem passed through several more concentration camps – then Oscar Schindler came into the picture with his “most wondrous of plans to create a fictitious factory in Czechoslovakia.”
At the age of 10 years, little Zev was put on the list – selected to go to Czechoslovakia to work at Oscar Schindler’s textile-turned-armament factory.
After his stint with Schindler, Zem is sent to Auschwitz in late 1944.
The war ended for Zev Kedem on May 3, 1945, when the U.S. Army liberated Mauthausen – two weeks before his 11th birthday. He was liberated by a Schwartzer (black) soldier.
Young Zem wandered Europe for months until some Limeys shipped him to Britain where Zem winds up in a orphanage. After the orphanage, he went to Oxford, then Israel, and finally gets married.
Spielberg finds Zev, and arranges for the aging Zem to meet his dying Mother in Poland.
Zev Kedem was one of the 1,100 Schindler Jews whose life was miraculously saved by German industrialist Oscar Schindler. Kedem, now over 60 years old, is a documentary filmmaker. He consulted on and appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning epic Schindler’s List.
God Bless Zem
To think a five year old could have been through so much. Zem went from the Polish ghettos to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, and Mauthausen, with Nazis hounded him. Sent from Sobibor to Oscar Schindler, and then back to Mauthausen, a camp for hardened criminals, much like today’s Pelican Bay.
The best part is Zem now lectures at Universities, and people are stupid enough to buy this bullshit.