Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Deal with Aliyah Stress

As our Aliyah date quickly approaches and the stress mounts, I wanted to share a tip with all of those in the process and those who have made the leap that has helped me tremendously.

It is a simple thing and something that everyone can do…

Write down the good things that have happened throughout the process and the reasons you are making Aliyah and keep the list in your pocket. Continue to add to it as new things and experiences happen. It could be something as simple as someone congratulating you; it could be the funny questions your mother asks about Israel (yes, they have dogs and supermarkets in Israel; no, they don’t ride camels to work although some might); the parties and/or expos you have attended; the people you’ve get because you decided to make Aliyah; anything and everything good that has happened along the way.

This list, along with your reasons for making Aliyah, are what will help you keep your sanity… it’s the equivalent of an Aliyah stress ball. Sometimes reading it will do the trick but not every time. There are occasions when it helps to elaborate on some of the things on your list essentially reliving those moments. We all forget the good things to come and dwell on the stressful things happening right now but those good moments are the ones that make the packing, budgeting, saying goodbye, and general stressing out bearable.

When the stress begins to rise take it out, read it slowly (write if you need to), and thank Hashem for the gift that is Israel!

Also, when trying to cope, remember that you are not alone on the Aliyah emotional rollercoaster. No one is exempt from the swinging of the metronome. We all rock back and forth; the trick is not letting yourself get sea sick.

What are some of your tips? What has helped you cope with the stress and fatigue of the Aliyah process? If you are not the one making Aliyah, how have you coped with seeing your family or friends move to Israel?


Monday, June 20, 2011

We Now Have Roots in Israel, Literally!

On Thursday night, I had the pleasure to attend an Olim Farewell Party at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC. It was a bit of a schlep, since I took the train from New York, but well worth it! Below are some of the highlights and, hopefully, this will give you an idea of what the experience was like.

My adventure started with a 2 pm Amtrak train from Penn Station to Union Station. 5 hours later (including a cab ride in rush hour traffic) I finally made it to the embassy.

iPhone picture taken upon arrival.
After checking in at the gate (only those on the list were allowed in) and getting my nametag at the front door, I headed in to the building just in time to grab a falafel (with humus of course) and schmooze a bit.

I think many will agree with this equation (especially Benji Lovitt): Falafel + Humus + Schmoozing = Good Time!

I was able to reconnect with a couple people from the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh whom I had met previously at the Mega Event in NYC and I was also able to speak with a few great people whom I was meeting for the first time.

Even as I was speaking with people, the surreal feeling of “I am at party at the Embassy of Israel” kept resurfacing and as that emotion was about to overtake me the program started. Of course, it took about ten minutes before the room quieted down and everyone took their seats (myself included).

Several people from the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh started the presentations with moving personal stories and followed with many compliments for those of us in attendance (including a video message from Natan Sharansky). I don’t know about anyone else but I am not completely comfortable with all the compliments and praise that we have received for simply doing what we believe is right and moving home where we can have a better life, a better present, and a better future.

Monika Lev Cohen, Shlicha for the Jewish Agency (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
Following these introductions, we all had the pleasure of a surprise appearance by Ambassador Michael Oren (surprising if you didn’t notice the sudden appearance of Mossad standing on either side of the stage). His honest, and sometimes humorous, story of making Aliyah was the kind of heartfelt address that we could only imagine coming from the mouth of an American politician. While the process may be different now than when he departed from New Jersey, he went through the same emotional and spiritual journey. He is one of us!

Ambassador Michael Oren (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
While hard to follow the Ambassador, the next group of people to speak are the reason why we still have a home to return to. Oleh and IDF veteran Michael Pfeffer was first with his story of growing up in the US and quitting Law school because he wanted something different, he wanted something more so he made Aliyah and joined the IDF.

Michael Pfeffer (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
IDF Major General Gadi Shamni followed. A career soldier, he spoke from the perspective of a Sabra and shared his thoughts about those who have decided to make Aliyah. The admiration he has for those of use returning home is something I had to hear to believe.

Major General Gadi Shamni (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
Upon the conclusion of Major General Shamni’s speech, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces asked all those joining the IDF to come to the stage. It was a small group but a very powerful moment to see all those who would be fighting for a land that they love, defending our home, defending me. Be'hatzlacha!   

What followed was something very different but very interesting. Shifra Tessler, who made Aliyah last year, addressed the audience and spoke of her experiences during her first year before filling the room with a beautiful song.  

Naturally, the perfect person to follow Shifra is her father, Rabbi Joel Tessler who spoke about the obstacles that continue to stand in the way for those making Aliyah (i.e. proof of Judaism). What happened next was an interesting twist that is usually reserved for fiction, Rabbi Tessler announced that he will be joining his daughter and making Aliyah next year. Mazel Tov!

Rabbi Joel Tessler (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
At this point I took a look at my watch and noticed that the program was running about 30 minutes long. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem but I had a ticket for the last Amtrak train out of Union Station which left in an hour and, as I said before, it really is not a quick trip across town. I debated ducking out and calling a cab but, looking at the program and knowing we were near the end, I decided to stay. I am really glad I did!

Baruch Fellner from Jewish National Fund was the last to speak. Region by region, all of the olim were invited to the stage for a group picture and to receive our certificate from the JNF of the tree that was planted in our name. It may seem small but think about it… we now have roots in Israel! However small they may be at the moment we have the power to make them grow.

Group Photo (Photo Courtesy of Shmulik Almany)
The ceremony was concluded with the singing of Hatikva. I am certain that this is the last time I will sing that song without crying (although I was very close this time). After a deep breath and taking a few last minutes to absorb the experience I made the rounds and said good bye to those whom I spoke with earlier in the evening.

What happened next was quite surprising but very Israeli, one of the people I had just met a couple hours prior offered to drive me to the train station. I don’t know if I would have been able to make the train without his generosity. Todah!

So, that was my little trip to the Embassy. Even though I didn’t get back to New Jersey until 1:30 in the morning (and I had to get back on the train at 7:30) I am glad I went and I feel very privileged to be an Oleh (almost - three weeks to go).  

UPDATE: I just received a great slide show from Monika Lev Cohen containing pictures from the event and put to some catchy (and very appropriate) music and an article mentioning the party in Haaretz (as well as another event during the day which I may discuss in the future). Thanks Monika!



Additional photos from the event by photographer Shmulik Almany can be seen viewed at http://almanyphoto.com/olim/.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aliyah Countdown


As our flight date quickly approaches (we are now taking off a half hour earlier than expected), I thought it was time to post a little countdown. Not the usual counting of days, something a little different.

·         10 weeks ago we attended the Aliyah Mega Event in NYC. This was the second year in a row that we attended and I recommend going if you have any interested in making Aliyah. In case you missed it, you can read about my experiences here.

·         9 months ago we told our families that we were going to make Aliyah. That was an interesting experience. Some reactions were positive others were a little volatile. It was a hectic day and a lot for our families to process.

·         I hope to be having lunch or a cup of coffee with my Rabbi in 8 weeks. He has been a tremendous help throughout this process and he will be arriving in Israel two weeks after we land to teach at a Yeshiva in Jerusalem for a short period of time over the summer. It has been too long since we sat and talked. 

·         7 weeks ago we got our Aliyah Visas! We didn’t expect to get them so soon. That is the best lunch break I think I have ever had. I still pull our passports out every once in a while and stare at them in disbelief.

·         6 weeks ago we got the signed lease back for our apartment in Nachlaot. We finally got our home in the homeland. It took a few emails back and forth, the kindness of a new friend, and some negotiation but we finally got it done.

·         Throughout this process, we had made our Aliyah plans anticipating not having jobs when we get there. However, that changed a few weeks ago. So, in 5 weeks I will have my first business meeting.

·         In 4 months we will be fulfilling our declaration as the New Year begins... This year in Jerusalem!

·         3 days from now I will be on my way down to Washington, DC. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were invited to the Embassy of Israel for an Olim Farewell Party (I still don’t know how we managed to get invited). I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

·         2 years ago we were falling in love with our Homeland while on our honeymoon. Oh, how things have changed.

·         Just under 1 month from now we will be Israelis. There is nothing else I can really say to describe the way that makes me feel so I am going to stop writing now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This Blog Post Brought to You by Anonymous


I have tried to be honest with you, my readers. If I have an opinion on something, I make it known. I do my best not to hold back and keep myself from self editing. I know that some people will agree and I am fully aware that some people will disagree but I still put my name on the post.

Lately, I have received a few anonymous comments opposing my point of view. That’s fine. I welcome opinions from all sides. However, if you are going to disagree, sign your name!

I stand by my convictions so please stand by yours.

If you made an anonymous comment on this blog, I ask you to resubmit your comment and standing behind your words by submitting your name. Until then those comments will remain unpublished (but they may become fodder for future posts). Speaking of blog fodder…

I am now going to take this opportunity to reply an anonymous comment I received yesterday in response to my last post about President Obama’s Middle East speech titled “Can I Fill Out My 2012 Absentee Ballot Now?” Here is the exact comment that was submitted: “Really....chill out 3 major religions view "Israel" as religiously important to them. Lets all get along.”

I will begin by addressing the last part of the comment as I try to get Rodney King’s voice out of my head. Israel would like to have the option of “getting along” but no one else has been willing to do so. Israel has tried, most recently in 1979, 1993, and 1994, but without long term success. The insults and accusations continued and the rockets and mortals resumed not long after peace had been declared. It would be nice if we could all get along but both sides have to uphold that principle in order for that to be possible.

Israel has maintained a position of peace and has only taking action when necessary. Yes, I am referring to recent events such as The Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, and the taking of the Mavi Marmara. In all these instances, Israel was provoked and forced to take action.

Now it is time for the second and most obvious portion of the comment. I can’t refute that Israel is religiously important to three major religions. Israel acknowledges the importance of the land to many people, not just Jews, which is why Israel guarantees freedom of religion. The Israel Ministry of Foriegn Affairs provides a succinct summary which outlines this essential freedom:   

"The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (1948) guarantees freedom of religion for all. Each religious community is free, by law and in practice, to exercise its faith, to observe its holidays and weekly day of rest, and to administer its internal affairs. Each has its own religious council and courts, recognized by law and with jurisdiction over all religious affairs and matters of personal status such as marriage and divorce. Each has its own unique places of worship, with traditional rituals and special architectural features developed over the centuries."


The current problems of religious coexistance are not ones that can be blamed on Israel. Intolerance lies in those who refuse to accept the importance of sites to other religions and fail to respect the integrity of people of other faiths. Think about these two questions for a moment. What would happen if I walked on to the Temple Mount wearing my kippah? Who is throwing stones at people praying at the Kotel?

Of course, there are many instances of individuals of one faith attacking those of another faith. This happens all over the world not just in Israel. But when large groups, movements, organizations rally against “non believers” it is something that must be stopped. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task as Israel grants its citizens freedom of religion.

Finally, “chilling out” is not an option. Egypt is a mess and has now opened up the Suez Canal so that arms shipments can more easily make their way to a nuclear Iran. They have also eased their blockade of Gaza allowing weapons and militants to filter in. This is why Israel should have never given up the Sinai in 1979.

Of course, there are also leaders in the region (Erdogan of Turkey, Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Assad of Syria) who, just like the terrorist groups (Hamas and Hezbollah in particular), believe that Israel is evil and should be wiped off the map. Oh, and please take note that Fatah and Hamas announced a new partnership earlier this month. But I’m sure all these leaders are peace loving people who want to co-exist with everyone, at least all those that they don’t want driven into the sea.

When an entire region is against you, you don’t have the option of chilling out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can I Fill Out My 2012 Absentee Ballot Now?

I never thought I would miss him but I do.

The fact that President Obama made a speech today is not surprising. The man likes to talk. In fact, he talks a little too much for my taste and, for some reason, can’t keep to a schedule. But I can deal with that.

However, what I can’t stand for, support, or endorse is his ridiculously misguided stance that Israel should return to the 1949 “Auschwitz Borders”. His statements today bring up the same question in my mind… how can he effectively talk about, let alone declare an insane policy, when he hasn’t been to Israel since before the 2008 elections nakba? It is one thing to visit the Kotel as a candidate seeking Jewish votes; it is something completely different when you are the President of the United States who can influence international policy.

Below is the section of Obama’s speech that should be read (and reread so you can fully understand the absurdity of his stance):

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat.  Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations.  Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has consistently harassed Israel and prevented the Jewish State from taking appropriate actions to protect its borders and its people. This, of course, is in addition to his frequent statements of condemnation (actually he sends his staff most of the time) and times of silence.

Generally speaking, I like to give people a second chance, to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that those in power (in a “democratic” state) will, more often than not, do the right thing. I have given President Obama numerous chances, I have given him the benefit of the doubt, I really wanted to believe that he would do the right thing and stand by Israel.

His speech today at the State Department was simply too much. I have run out of patience. I have run out of hope that he would finally do the right thing. Today’s speech was the final confirmation that the Obama administration will not support Israel and will continue to ignore the dangers that Israel faces every day from all parts of the region.  

When the United States takes positions like this it makes me wonder if anyone can still take pride in calling themselves a Jewish American? What once was easy to say I now find difficult as my confidence wavers when the “A” becomes audible.

This fact further reinforces my decision to make Aliyah. I stand with Israel and I look forward to being able to proudly call myself an Israeli.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Waiting, Weighing, and Working


As our flight date gets closer and closer I keep reminding myself that every little bit that you can do to ease the transition is worth pursuing; any excess baggage you can eliminate will make your flight easier and will increase your flexibility as you get used to your new life.

This simple statement has motivated me to get rid of a lot of household clutter (books, DVDs, clothes, etc.), digitize and shred excess paperwork, pair down collections, and, in general, reevaluate every little thing that takes up space in the house and weighs us down.

However, the biggest thing that has weighed me down is me. With that in mind, now that we are less than two months away, I have set a small goal for myself to work toward… to weigh less than 240 pounds by the time we leave.

This isn’t a huge difference from my current weight of 250 but when compared to the last time we were in Israel this is a massive change.

When we were walking around and exploring Jerusalem on our honeymoon in June 2009 I was doing so while weighing 350 pounds. I was still able to explore and do the things we wanted to do but I wasn’t setting any land speed records.

With so many things changing and so many unknown changes, I know that this will make a huge difference in my ability to adapt to a different lifestyle. I will be able walk everywhere comfortably (or as comfortably as I can in the summer heat) and not dread the walk back.

I am looking forward to exploring without the time constraints that a vacation puts on you and without the burden of 110+ useless pounds. There is enough stress during the Aliyah process without the additional stress on my body of so much excess weight.

Of course, this will also help with the food budget as well!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aliyah Update: I'm Freaking Out Man!


A lot has happened recently. The big news started on Wednesday with an email from our realtor who let me know that there was a one bedroom apartment available in Nachlaot. We quickly had one of our friends look at it for us and take some pictures. After discussing the details of the place, we decided to move forward. On Sunday we signed the lease and this morning we sent it over and wired the first two months rent.

However, that was not the only news of the week. Wednesday was busy but paled in comparison to Thursday. While going back and forth with the realtor, I received an email from Nefesh B'Nefesh notifying us that we have two reserved seats on the July 11th flight. This was a little surprising since we hadn't gotten our visas yet (we needed to secure an apartment before we would be approved) but I wasn’t going to question it.

Interestingly, that afternoon I received a call from the Jewish Agency letting me know that our visas were ready for us to pick up. This was a BIG surprise. So, I took a long “lunch” break on Friday and walked across town. Visas in hand, I returned to the office clutching the envelope like Gollum would grasp the ring…. my precious!

So, it has been a hectic week and we got a lot more accomplished than I ever thought we would. It is becoming a reality. We will be in Israel, we will be Israelis, in a little over two months.

Wow. I am freaking out a little bit.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Liberation

“It was, incredibly, a complete anti-climax. This moment, on which all my thought and secret wishes had been concentrated for three years, evoked neither gladness nor, for that matter, any other feelings inside me.” – Filip Müller

Behind the barbed wire web,
the dead looked more alive than
those who clutched to the fence
with their bruised and bleeding hands.

Rot, feces, ash, and dust
suffocated the stench
of diesel fumes billowing
from the Sherman tanks.

Polish, German, Yiddish,
and Hebrew pleading bled
into the ears of the terrified
and appalled liberators
who could do nothing more
than torture the Jews. 

The soldiers searched one another
for any food they could find –
fresh, frozen, or otherwise.
But before the morsels could be
passed to cracked lips
the allied doctors rushed
to barricade the camp saying,
“Too little food and they die!
Too much food and they die!”


About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Rachmones IV

“But what I could not imagine was how so many people could have been killed at one time.” – Filip Müller

Would Kaddish be said for those
who passed before his eyes?
Was it his duty to say Kaddish?

He would say Kaddish every evening;
pray for forgiveness every morning;
and ask to die on his way to work.
He lived on the hope that, someday,
his prayers would be answered…
all of them. But when he placed
the bodies in the furnace he knew
that if he did not do it someone else
would have to – for good or bad –
this was his job.

* * * *

The scars on his hands from
the furnace door still carried the smell
of flesh years after Auschwitz.

* * * *

At first he believed G-d had a plan;
then, a plan without G-d; now, G-d
will grant his people life but will not
save the life of each person – he knew
they must save each other and save themselves.

He passed time with hope – maybe
his wife has survived, maybe
his children are still alive – but
the hours felt different. Each
minute had something absent;
each second contained a void.
Somehow he knew his family
was shattered but hope was all
he had and they could not
take that away from him.


About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: The Prayers of a Mussulman

“Now, when I watched my fellow countrymen walk into the gas chamber, brave, proud and determined, I asked myself what sort of life it would be for me in the unlikely event of my getting out of the camp alive. What would await me if I returned to my native town?” – Filip Müller

In the haze of July smoke
the screams seemed silent
as voices strained to swim
through the humidity.

The words of stained dialect
remained clear in the ears
of Filip’s head as he lay
recovering from slumber.

His own words pierced the echoes,
“G-d, why have you allowed me
to wake? Why am I to work
another day? Why do you allow
your people to die and burn?

Why do I have to be the last
to look into their clouded eyes
as I carry their pink dyed bodies
to the ovens? Why all this?


About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: The Dead Elders

“The damp stench of dead bodies and a cloud of stifling, biting smoke surged out toward us.” – Filip Müller

Wilting under the Sunday snow,
Filip choked on the dry gray –
his parched lungs longed
to feel humidity in the heat.

Filip had been burning evidence
for a week when “the secret” was
exposed to his skin. The elders
were the only ones refreshed
by the gray and pink flesh – seniority
determined by their time at Auschwitz.

Anyone over a year old was
considered close to death – only
ten elders indulged in the secret.
By the time Filip reached
six months old he held a place of
honor as a well established elder.

Filip would grasp the handle and,
with a quick twist and pull,
expose the boiling body within.
Despite the gagging stench,
the humidity of blood, muscle, and fat
moistened their eyes, lips, and lungs.

This was the only way they knew how
a crematoria worker could give back,
give life, give comfort, to his fellow
workers and inmates and family.


About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Nazi Gold Rush

“One evening towards the end of October I went on night duty as one of a team of 100 prisoners. Together with another few experienced prisoners I was picked for this team by Kapo Kaminsky and instructed to organize valuables, if possible.” – Filip Müller

No one objected to contributing
to the Nazi gold rush.

The metal table remained unscrubbed –
thousands of stains the same crimson color.

Every body was mined – some held
nothing while others held fillings of gold.
These precious metals were
pried from behind limp lips.

Once all extractions were made,
the nuggets were sent
to be melted in a crucible
while the flesh was retrieved
to be burned in the furnace.

Filip lifted the countless bodies
from the table. The cold blood,
now more purple than red,
dripped from his stained fingers
and rolled slowly down the drain
in the center of the slab.

Disgraced in death and abused in life –
Filip slowly and meticulously
repeated Kaddish for these people –
these people who had no evidence
of torture during their lives or after death.

The only proof of their existence
was the effect they had on others
and the testimony of those
who witnessed their life… and death.

Their body and blood was
property to their murderers but
their faith and dedication was
a gift to G-d and every other Jew.
Yes, they did exist.


About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.