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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES


Name of deponent: Fela Katz
Birth date: May 10, 1923
Birth place: Sosnowiec
Parents: Lejzor and Blima (maiden name: Gendzelow)
Present Residence: Sosnowiec, ul. Malachowskiego 2


Cwi Dunski

Cwi Dunski was born 20 May 1922 in Sosnowiec to a poor family. His father worked hard to feed the family and to give an education to the children. Dunski's family were simple and honest people, always ready to help weaker people. They brought up the children with an inward devotion to their fellow men. Cwi Dunski finished public school and studied in the Trade School. At the age of 15, he joined the organization "Haszomer-Hacair", where he took an active part in the organization’s life as a devoted member. He was very popular and thanks to his energy became, in a short time manager of the movement.

In 1939 because of outbreak of the war he was forced to interrupt his studies and to devote all his time to the work of the organization. In 1940 this organizational work became illegal. Many of the members became fearful of persecutions and sanctions, not from the authorities, but from Merin’s Judenrat and the Jewish police. Cwi Dunski, with small group of his closest co-workers namely: Kalman Tencer, Lipek Minc, Zwi Zilserson, Samuel Rosenzwejg, Jona Gelbardt, Hela (Kasia) Szancer and the deponent of this affidavit, Fela Katz, discussed the issue of saving Jewish young persons from total extermination. They thought and discussed ways and means. One issue was: Was it better to go to the labor camps as volunteer or to agitate against this?

In 1941, the Judenrat requested all young Jewish people to volunteer to work to local workshops. Cwi Dunski with his group were against this venture by the Judenrat, considering that in the factories people worked for the German Army and that by increasing German war production they would be helping the Germans to win the war.

There then began an open fight with the Judenrat which had ordered the Jews to work for the German war production. The Judenrat, at all costs wanted to attract the young revolutionary people to this program, but the activists didn't agree. Dunski with his group met in conspiracy in different places each time to divert attention.

In May 1942 one member of group, Kalman Tencer died. All the young people took part in his funeral and laid a wreath of flowers on his grave. When participants of the funeral went away there remained only a small group of conspirators to talk about urgent affairs in connection with starting deportation actions. Suddenly there appeared the notorious informer Tadek Hilewicz - a Jew who collaborated with the Gestapo. Hilewicz took all 11 young people with him to the Judenrat and there checked and recorded their papers, all the while making written notations. In this manner, the Judenrat knew exactly who fought against it and exactly who were those from the conspiracy.

In June 1942, Mordechaj Anielewicz visited the conspiracy group and told them what was happening to the Jewish population in the General Gouvernement area. Anielewicz told the group that Jews are being sent to gas chambers and crematoria. It was necessary to take immediate steps to save as quickly as possible the Jewish youth and to find for them counterfeit Aryan papers. There also took place a meeting with Merin's secretary, Franya Czarna. She was asked to help in this matter. But she opposed this effort, considering it to be an uncertain program. She proposed cooperation with the Judenrat pointing out that, after deportation (to their deaths) of the sick, the elderly and those incapable of working, there will be saved those persons capable of working (and who therefore would not be murdered by the Germans).

Mordechaj Anielewicz left Sosnowiec depressed. He saw clearly that the only salvation lay in finding weapons, arming the youth and beginning fighting because there was nothing to lose. Cwi Dunski made contact with groups in Bedzin, Chrzanow and Warszawa Various plans were put forward for the fabrication of false documents to facilitate the sending of Jewish youth to Polish labor camps. Ina Gelbardt and Hela Szancer went to Warsaw and Chrzanow without wearing the Star of David in these matters. However, they encountered many difficulties and it was necessary to still wait.

In the meantime, on 12 August 1942, there took place a terrible spectacle. All the Jews of Sosnowiec were gathered on one sports (Union) field. There, terrible scenes took place. People changed into animals, selfishly fighting for each one’s life. The horror reached its culmination as mothers threw away their own children to save themselves.

During the continuous shooting, many victims were killed, especially children. Eight thousand 8,000 Jewish residents of the city were deported (to Birkenau) from Sosnowiec. After this event, Cwi Dunski began playing a double game with the Judenrat. Secretly he had printed a proclamation addressed to the Jewish society asking them not to report for Arbeitseinsatz and requesting them not to comply with the orders of the Judenrat, which was cooperating with Gestapo to the end of deporting Jews (to their deaths) like sheep.

Suddenly proclamations were found in Gorecki's workshop where shoes were made shoes for the Wehrmacht. Secret hands had put into each finished shoe a proclamation written in German to the soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front urging that they not fight against those who wanted to liberate humanity from German-Nazi oppression. It was a waste of life of Soviet soldiers as well as their own. The German soldiers should go en masse to slavery. In this manner, they would save themselves because Germany had already lost the war.

In the factory there was great consternation and panic. Merin ran about like crazy threatening to apply severe sanctions against Dunski and his group. However, it appeared in reality that the leaflets weren’t the work of Dunski’s group, but had been done by the organization "Gordonia". One of the members of "Gordonia" worked in the factory and had the possibility to do this deed. Naturally the Judenrat didn't know of this and believed that this action was the work of Dunski and his group.

On 17 October 1942, all the Jews of Sosnowiec received a second leaflet asking them to oppose the Judenrat the German authorities which had murdered thousands of Jews. The Jewish population was called upon to have each person find by his own effort a weapon and in the proper moment to use it. These proclamations were signed: "The Black Hand".

By using telephone directories, the conspirators found the addresses of factories in Germany which produced weapons and ammunition. To these factories were sent letters with threats demanding a halt to farther production of military materials which were to be used against the Soviets because the Germans had already lost the war.

Cwi Dunski and his group of co-workers no longer slept in their homes, but every night in a different place. Then a plot against Merin was prepared. Cwi Dunski with two comrades undertook to do this on Glowackiego street. They intended to kill Merin with brass knuckles and hydrochloric acid. They waited for him at a gate for more than two hours. Finally he appeared, but surrounded by 20 policemen. The assassination plot wasn’t carried out. At the last moment they aborted the effort because it would certainly fail.

Cwi Dunski was harassed and persecuted. He wanted to leave the area as quickly as possible.To accomplish this he needed Aryan papers which had to be sent to him from Chrzanow. Thereafter, he wanted to join the partisans in the forests. In December 1942, the Jewish police conducted an intensive search of Dunski's apartment. Since he wasn’t found at home, the police arrested his mother and 14 year-old sister sending them to the Bedzin Orphanage Du_Lager. From there, they were to be sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) should Dunski not surrender. Dunski's mother and sister sent letters from the Orphanage saying they were willing to go to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) so long as Cwi would continue his work and not surrender.

Persecutions by the Jewish police didn't cease, however. In January 1943, the police arrested about 60 persons, some members of Dunski's family and some members of families of his co-workers. The victims were imprisoned in prison cells where they were kept for several days while being interrogated for information concerning the hiding places of their co-workers of the Resistance. Those arrested refused to reveal the information concerning other conspiracy members.
At the beginning of February 1943, Dunski was hidden in the attic of Hela Szancer’s dwelling. The house was surrounded by the Jewish police. Hela Szancer was arrested, but Dunski escaped from the attic to the roof. A policeman saw him and after a long struggle in which his clothes were ripped from him, he was captured. He, too, was sent to the Bedzin Orphanage from where the collaborators of the Judenrat handed him over to the Gestapo in Sosnowiec. There, he was held together with Lipek Minc for several weeks.

In this prison, terrible events occurred daily. They pair were bloodily beaten, they were pricked by needles, their hair was pulled out, red-hot irons burned their backs. In spite of these tortures Dunski didn't break down. He was so strong that he helped and cheered his fellow prisoners. He ground teeth, held on and wrote to their comrades calling upon them to continue the battle to the death. He asked them, insofar as was possible, to furnish him a revolver, with which he would end his life.

His comrades wanted to free him from the prison, but it wasn’t possible since he was held in a specially-guarded cell. In April 1943, Dunski was transported to Katowice where he was sentenced to death by beheading for organizing the Resistance and uprising against Greater Germany. Lipek Minc was deported to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where he was murdered.

Thus died at age 21, the brave fighter Cwi Dunski. He was like "bone in the throat" of the Judenrat. He wouldn’t tolerate its criminal work in which thousands of Jews were thrown to the lion's jaws, without even an opportunity to scream in pain.

May Dunski be remembered.




 
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