Guest Post by Anonymous-9
We lost a writer, a humorist, a thinker, and a perennial student of the human condition on June 25th, 2012. David J. Kane was a Holocaust survivor who, as soon as he was able, decided the glass of life was more than half full and he was going to drink every precious drop of it. Once WW2 was over, David was rarely seen without a smile and a quip on his lips. He had a tremor in both hands that lingered from severe starvation and hardship, but he had a strong mind that superseded any physical limitations. David once told me a story about his experience at the hands of a brutal serial murderer in Buchenwald concentration camp. The story illustrates his deep knowledge of human duality; how good and bad, dark and light, can reside in the same human being. As a crime writer, the story astounds me...
It was 1944. David was a boy of 15, starved to skin and bone. Otto was a brutalizer of women, a cold-blooded killer and a danger to society. He was tried, convicted, and incarcerated alongside Jews in Buchenwald. The Nazis saw fit to place a few Jewish children with him, so they could serve his needs. David was one of those children. What the Nazis didn't know was that Otto, although murderously dangerous with adult women, liked children. He had no impulse to kill or abuse them, and he liked to hear them sing. David was tasked to wake Otto in the mornings with his clear, sweet voice, singing songs in Polish. Otto would even sneak food occasionally, and feed the children a few extra noodles.
One day, David and another boy were sent to the kitchen to peel apples, locked in alone all day. There was no bathroom, and after many long hours, and not knowing what else to do, they relieved themselves in a corner. When discovered, David was ordered to a death camp to be gassed. He was to leave in just a few days.
When Otto found out he was going to lose David he devised a plan. He knew that if the Nazis thought he was torturing this child and making his life miserable, they would likely not bother to send him away. Otto got a pillow and handed it to David saying, "Put this pillow down the back of your pants. I'm going to beat on the pillow with a stick and you scream like hell while I'm doing it." Positioning David by an open window so the sound was sure to carry, Otto whipped the pillow mercilessly as David yelled and screamed—it sounded as though he were being thrashed to death. Throughout the camp, Nazis heard the beating and sure enough, they didn't bother shipping David off to die.
Everyone inside the camp was set free on April 11th, 1945 by American soldiers who broke in by driving a tank through the barbed wire fence. It is not known what happened to Otto.
David lived long and well to the age of 82, and his story lives on. HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING by David and Yetta Kane is available on Amazon.