Williams had the opportunity, yesterday, to hear the story of a survivor of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Doris Martin came to Williams from Flagstaff with husband and co-author Ralph to sign copies of her book Kiss Every Step: A Survivor’s Memoir from the Nazi Holocaust at the Wild West Junction. Doris and Ralph also founded the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University, whose purpose is to apply the lessons learned from the Holocaust to benefit Mankind.
Mayor John Moore stops by to speak with Doris, husband Ralph and others having lunch before the book signing.
Doris has been invited to speak at schools and other venues on her experience. Her whole family was among only about 125 Jewish survivors of her hometown of Bendzin. “We were blessed from God that our family was still together,” she said in her radio interview on KZBX in Williams.
During her radio interview, she told the tale of her older brother who attempted to escape the Nazi regime. He attempted to escape Poland to the neighboring Soviet Union. He was caught by the Germans and when he was asked his name he gave his real name of Szpringer. He was beaten and thrown into a river and the Germans shot over his head. He managed to make it to Russia, but once there he was declared a German spy and sent to Siberia.
She related the terror inflicted by the Germans on the Poland Jews. They would be dragged from their homes on several occasions for various reasons and eventually sent back home. One time they were told to go to a stadium to get a stamp. They were told not to bring any food for the children because they were only going to get an identification stamp and would be sent back home.
They were taken to a stadium where the reality was much different. The whole town was herded into a stadium to receive the stamp.
“The whole town took the children, everybody to the stadium. But when we went into the stadium, it was not like that. We were only surrounded with the Nazis, with the German Shepherds, with the rifles,” she said in the interview. “We couldn’t go out from the stadium. And in the stadium was sitting a Nazi at a small table. And he would choose who should live, and who should die.”
Tuffy, the Wild West Junction mascot.
The Nazis decided that children under the age of thirteen and those with handicaps would have to die. They divided up families into three groups and it is here, Doris said, that the miracles of God began to manifest. When it came to her family, the Nazis were done dividing the families for the day and her family was sent home.
The family lived on a second floor of an apartment building. When they returned home, her mother told them that they should kiss every step up to their apartment, which they did. That was where the title of the book came from.
Though they were eventually separated and Doris was sent to Auschwitz, her whole family survived and were reunited. Unfortunately their hometown of Bendzin no longer existed.
Her story of survival is told in her book Kiss Every Step which is available online at Amazon and is available at Barnes and Nobles in Flagstaff.