Shawn Harding
Founder of The Holocaust Blueprint

There Is Blood All around Us

Ten years [have] passed with this regime in power. During that time the nation of philosophers turned into a nation of murderers who killed defenseless women and children. Slaughter and plunder became the philosophy of their life. [1]

– Samuel Golfard

Samuel Golfard’s diary serves as an essential read for anyone trying to understand the environment of occupation under the Nazi German regime – specifically in Galicia. Golfard’s descriptive diary shares a wide variety of details of his day-to-day life and the lives of those around him. With an interesting perspective in the Holocaust, Golfard does not hold back when he speaks about the atrocities occurring all around him.

Golfard’s diary is an excellent source of how rumors spread and what rumors were present in the period. Golfard speaks about rumors of a gang of people led by a flour merchant named Golliger from Lwów. The important aspect to note about this statement is that the editor references Jacob Litman and asserts that the Nazis may have generated this rumor as there is no proof of such a gang.[2]

Golfard’s diary describes the cruel nature of the Nazi regime, and his descriptive nature brings the reader through the text and into the world he saw. He describes a terrible event involving a young boy: “My attention turned to a corpse of a young boy… He was lying with his face in the snow near a mass of coagulated blood…. He lay there, seemingly saved, till 2 o’clock. At that time a Gestapo man passed by. The lack of blood at the boy’s side seemed suspicious to him. He turned over the boy with a kick and began lashing his face with a rubber truncheon until the unfortunate youngster blinked his eyes, not having uttered even a yelp of pain. A bullet in the head put a final end to the martyr’s young life.” [3] The environment that Golfard had to witness is atrocious, but we see similar themes across Europe as Jews and others remain persecuted brutally by the regime.

Over one million children died in the Holocaust, but an important aspect of this survival is understanding how they survived and what they survived through. Golfard writes down notes about a deportation that happened and what he witnessed: “Children, pushed out through tiny freight car windows by mothers who themselves could not escape, wandered around helplessly. Beaten, tormented, the unfortunates returned.” [4] This world turned children from a once innocent childhood into adults with a child body. No longer would the innocence of a child be tolerated by the brutish regime who had no boundaries in their sadistic murder of the most innocent creatures on Earth: babies and children. They could do no wrong to anyone, but by the Nazi standard, they were born wrong and would suffer the fate of their parents. Golfard’s diary entries describing these experiences are core to understanding just how incredible it was for children to survive the war, but it also reminds us to what extent humanity would devolve to if given enough authority to do so. It serves as a reminder for yesterday, today, and tomorrow as to our stance on genocide and the phrase “never again.”

Golfard and the Jews around him are faced with a cruel reality, and this reality would have a serious psychological impact. Golfard feared death at every turn, and in his diary, he wrote, “I must hurry to write my last few words. There is blood all around us. Every day brings word of new victims.” [5] Golfard describes the environment and situation the Jews were placed in: “Actually, there is a great “run” to camps. People are paying as much as 10,000 złoty to be taken to these slaughterhouses because people are losing their minds.”[6] This behavior seems unfathomable, but for the world that they lived in tomorrow was no guarantee. Any control they could have they often sought, but this concept does not imply that every Jew behaved in this way. The situation was dire, and the end seemed to be at every turn and every minute. Golfard’s documentation of these choices is significant as it gives insight to just how terrible the environment truly was. Hopelessness would become a common feeling as Jews were decimated across Europe. Golfard’s diary captures this feeling and brings it to light for the reader to see through the eyes of a broken man in a broken world.

[1][2][3][4][5][6] Wendy Lower. The Diary of Samuel Golfard and The Holocaust in Galicia.

About the Author
Shawn Harding is the founder of The Holocaust Blueprint. Shawn works to create educational materials for free for users across the world to visualize the Holocaust and obtain information in relation to it.
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