Name of deponent: Grünbaum Eli (Emil)
Birth place: Cieszyn, 1912
Education: 5-class in grammar school
Present status: Deponent lives alone, having lost wife,
child, mother, sister with children, father-in-law
War-time residence: Jaworzno, forest, Sosnowiec (Srodula),
ZAL Gräditz (Kreis Reichenbach), Langenbiek
In Jaworzno there lived before the war some 3000 to 4000
Creation of The Jewish Community organizes Merin Moniek, Chairman Silberschatz. Single taxation (for important aims), monthly, weekly. People's Kitchen (without fat).
Heinrich Lindner, the assistant to Himmler’s Special Emissary, together with German and Jewish Police made night-time raids to take young Jewish persons for Arbeitseinsatz (slave labor), though I don’t remember the exact dates.
Two brothers named Malinowicz - carpenters - managed to escape this forced labor draft. Lindner threatened to kill 10 Jewish police unless the brothers were found. Accordingly, the Jewish police took the sisters of the Malinowicz brothers as hostages. The brothers, aged 22 and 25 thereupon surrendered and their sisters were set free.
Large clubs, partially of rubber and partially of bamboo were brought. The Malinowicz brothers were forced to lie down and were beaten with the clubs so severely that after the beating they lay unconscious for several hours.
At that time, 400 men of Jaworzno were taken to forced labor in Germany. As I was the only dentist in the city, I was set free.
On order from Moses Merin, the Jewish police were provided an Arbeitseinsatz order and list for young women to be workers. The police went with these lists to the homes of the girls. Their mothers didn’t want to give up their girls, but the Jewish police used force, throwing some of those selected out through windows of their homes. The police threatened the families with deportation to Auschwitz, in order to force the families to give them the girls on the list. The police offered the ruse that the girls would gone for only one week.
After a period of calm, the police came at night and took some 500 girls for slave labor in Germany.
In May 1942, there occurred the first deportation. SS men in trucks with sirens arrived about 10 o'clock in the morning and surrounded the town. They wore helmets and carried rifles with fixed bayonets. They went into apartments and within minutes ejected Jewish families, giving them no time to take any food or belongings. The Jewish citizens were all forced to the market square and there formed into rows.
Some children escaped on roofs. SS shot at them and climbed on the roofs with drawn revolvers. Polish people looked on these scenes of horror with sorrow. A group of hospital attendants witnessed the scene and was permitted to give water to the displaced persons.
At noon, Monic Merin and his secretary Franya Czarna segregated Jews for deportation. Münz and Wulkan (from the Sosnowiec Centrale Judenrat) and members of the Arbeitsamt helped him. SS men looked on.
The people were selected into three groups: for deportation to the gas chambers; to the slave labor camps; or to remain in Jaworzno. People were segregated according to their work cards, by their appearance, or according to their connection to Czarna and/or Merin. Members of the Jewish Community (Judenrat) of Jaworzno remained. In addition to work cards, the selection was also decided by one’s number of children. If there were more than two children, then the family was subject to deportation. All other children, together those from the orphanage, were deported.
People selected for transport were quartered in Jaworzno’s synagogue in horrible conditions. There were initially about 1,000 persons held there. Later a part of the prisoners was taken to a school building where they were held several days. Food was received from the kitchen of Jewish Community. After being held for several days, SS men arrived and began the Aktion. Everything was directed by the Chief of the Gestapo in Sosnowiec, Hans Dreier.
Horse-drawn wagons were brought from Chrzanów. Some of the elderly and sick persons were taken by wagon, the rest had to walk on foot the 15 kilometers to Chrzanów. German and Jewish police escorted the wagons. In Chrzanów there had taken place an Aktion simultaneously with Jaworzno. All victims from both towns were loaded on a train and taken to Birkenau.
While the people were held in the synagogue, SS men finally permitted food and personal items to be brought to the confined persons. The SS promised that the prisoners would be able to take the items with them. However, the items were left in the synagogue and Gestapo took possession of them.
The Germans required that the Jews defray the expense of their own deportation. The sum demanded was 500,000 Reichmarks and payment was demanded from Jews before deportation "für wichtige Ausgaben". The apartments of deported persons were sealed.
The period until "Judenrein" Aktion (1 August 1943)
II. Deportation from Jaworzno
We were lured to the market square by a ruse. The Germans told us a ghetto must be created and accordingly it was necessary to ascertain how many Jews there were in the community. However, when we assembled the Germans seized and deported 300 persons. Two months later, Chief of the Gestapo Dreier demanded a half million Reichmarks as ransom. He promised in return that he would not require a ghetto. When he had received half of the required sum he once again ordered all Jewish persons to appear at the market square at 8 o'clock in the morning. He assured us that deportation was out of question. However, because several days ago there occurred a similar pretext in Chrzanów, the President of the Judenrat declared that no one would appear as ordered. To this, Dreier replied, "We will take care of it by ourselves". On the following day, only members of the Judenrat appeared on the market square. No one else voluntarily reported.
The Gestapo thereupon entered all the Jewish homes driving all inhabitants from there. Hardly anybody managed to hide from the Germans. The entire Jewish community was sent to Auschwitz. None of these persons survived. I hid three days in a forest. I didn’t return to Jaworzno, because it had been made "Judenrein". Instead, I went to Sosnowiec.