Name of deponent: Samuel Reifer
There was formed in Sosnowiec by the Gestapo a transient
camp (DuLager) for deportations. At this time, all the children
from the Jewish Orphanage in Sosnowiec as well as all patients
in the Jewish hospital were deported.
After this deportation we consoled ourselves by believing
that we would now be okay. But the "Kripo" - the
German Criminal Police consisting of Westfal, Lotz and Manke
in Chrzanow every month on 15th sent transports to Oswiecim
(Auschwitz). They went to apartments acting politely and
kind. They took people to the police station saying that
it was only for checking "Ausweis" (papers)….after
an hour they would return. These victims were never heard
On November 15, 1942, the "Kripo" sent to Oswiecim
(Auschwitz) 300 Jews. Commanding officer of the Jewish police
Weber now fell from favor. The Germans could have sent him
with this transport, but he went separately for deportation
in handcuffs. Still another Jewish policeman was deported
at this time. We lived in terrible fear. We always slept
in a bunker and were afraid to walk on the street because
from the street also they called sometimes someone who was
not okay for them and they took such person to the police.
Among those in this deportation were my uncles Hirsch Reifer,
Salomon Wolf and others. Gestapo did a search of chief of
police Weber’s residence and found there a store of furs
and valuables stolen from fellow Jews. If the quota to be
sent to death wasn’t filled, the Jewish police helped in
finding additional victims. They usually took helpless children.
It happened once that the Jewish police took a child hidden
by a Polish person. The child’s parents had been taken in
an earlier transport. The Polish woman implored the police,
with tears, not to take from her the child. They took the
The apartments of deported Jews were sealed and after some
time Germans who were resettled from Bukowina (the so-called
Buchenländische Deutschen) emptied the apartments and
took the better things for themselves. Items of lesser value
to them, they threw out. The wind spread feathers throughout
the whole town. In front of the synagogue lay whole heaps
of Jewish furniture. There were continual bonfires of Jewish
The Jewish policeman Staner, together with a German policeman,
went looking for a certain Jewish man named Gutter who was
on a list of hidden persons. Staner assured the German that
he would find Gutter even if he were buried under ground.
Of this, a Gestapo man said: "Wenn er Gluck hat, soll
er leben". (If he (Gutter) has luck (in not being found)
then he shall live).But Staner didn't give up and looked
for Gutter until he found him in a bunker.
In Trzebinia, there was a forced labor camp of French Jews
who had been brought by Major Lindner from the West with
their families. They worked at constructing a railway track.
They built railway side-tracks. Among them, were many Jewish
well-know persons. During a three-month period, 103 persons
died out of a total of 400. They were buried in the Jewish
cemetery in Chrzanow. Jews from Chrzanow helped them at
the risk of their own lives.
On February 20, 1943, there was again a roundup. The town
was surrounded. I was in a bunker with two colleagues. The
bunker was closed from the outside. Because the Aktion unexpectedly
surprised us, a colleague who had the key to our hideout
couldn’t release us. From our hideout we heard the shouts
of Jews taken from apartments. There were the sounds of
thrown-out furniture. For two days, we were locked in without
water or food. What could we do?
On the third day, we set fire to our bunker near an air
hole. Suddenly we heard a voice: "Hier sind noch Juden".
We put out the fire and again we waited, trusting to Fate.
In the morning, we heard voices. We started to scream. A
familiar voice, that of a girl responded. We learned that
Chrzanow was "Judenfrei" and thereupon left our
hideout. At night we went to more secure hideout where were
hidden 40 Jews; men, women with one a year and half old
In the attic was a double ceiling with a sliding opening.
Entrance was by a retractable ladder. There we lay hidden,
crouching so low that it wasn’t possible to sit. We were
practically without air or food; people fainted and suffocated.
The mother and child were made to leave the hideout because
the child was crying. After 4 days, we heard that the Gestapo
had announced by the 8th, that all remaining Jews should
leave their hideouts and they would be displaced to Sosnowiec
and not for liquidation.
The Gathering Point for those who emerged was the Jewish
central kitchen. When there were gathered 150 Jews, Kommissioner
Dreier from Katowice arrived and sent them to Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
Among those 150 persons, there was Rabbi from Chrzanow Mendel
Halberstein, his son-in-law Markus Zylber and Chaim Szloma
During the Aktion, my mother was deported, together with
the tailor's workshop. I went out at night from our hideout
to our home by way of fields to see what had happened there.
I arrived there in the morning. I found there my father,
brother and 6 neighbors from home in a bunker. We decided
to go to Sosnowiec.
In the evening, we went to the railway station in Kenty,
a suburb of Chrzanow. We gave a bribe to a Polish conductor,
who at first didn't want to take it saying that the priest
had said in church that for helping Jews there was a death
penalty. Still, we succeeded in reaching Sosnowiec.
There, I heard a story of the deportation of the Jews of
Chrzanow. All the Jews had been driven to the Rynek (market)
and there 2,000 were selected whom Obersturmbahnführer
Ludwig and SS-man Knoll chose for Arbeitseinsatz. The rest
was sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). At the last moment, there
were added 4 Ordnungs Dienst (Jewish policemen) men to this
transport. One Jew, who tried to escape, was shot. The dream
of Gestapo man Kronau had been fulfilled. He had always
said that Chrzanow shouldn’t be named Krenau, but should
be named Kronau , meaning he would dispose of the Jews.
The day was Adar Rishon; this date will forever remain in
The ghetto of Sosnowiec was created in Srodula (a village
between Bedzin and Sosnowiec). It was a very crowded place,
difficult in which to live. In one room lived 25 persons;
people were gathered in the streets and yards. Outside was
furniture, people cooked in the fields. Out of wardrobes
and beds covered by much bedclothes, shelters were made.
There were very high prices and indescribable hunger.
There, the Jewish police ruled. There were roundups for
the camps day and night. Every day, lists of people destined
for "Dulag" were displayed on the outside of the
Judenrat building. If someone didn't report as ordered,
his entire family was taken hostage. There were accidents
in which children who had reported appeared too late learned
that that the older persons from their family had been already
sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
People were taken from hideouts by the Jewish policemen.
I could bear no longer this Hell on Earth and volunteered
to go to Arbeitseinsatz to SS Bau-truppe Nord in Klobuck.
We worked there reconstructing old Polish farms into German
farms where Germans from Bukowina were to be resettled.
It was said that the person responsible for the general
deportation of Jews from Chrzanow was the Chief Mayor, Dr.
Grundler, a German from Drezno, who didn't want to have
any Jews in Chrzanow.
On August 22, 1943, Major Lindner arrived and took us to
ZAL (Forced Labor Camp) Blechhammer. There were 40 children
aged to 14.with us. For eight days, we were kept in the
open air. Then, there took place a selection in which “Judenhändler”
Hausschild sent, according to his whim, individuals either
to labor camps or to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). With a mere nod
of a finger, he directed persons to death. Older people,
he sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Young girls sent to Forced
Labor camps in the Sudeten area. I don't know what happened
to the children.
There was created a separate work group (Kommando). I was
sent with my father and 13 year-old brother to Gräditz
near Faulbruck "Lager". This was an old mill with
a small "Waschraum" and small kitchen. There were
3-story beds of boards, almost without blankets, dark at
day and at night.
There was a search. Our hair was cut. On back and on front
they cut off material and on this place placed Star of David.
There was much dirt. There were many lice, such as even
didn’t exist in any other camp. We never changed clothes.
We went to work in Langbilau by train, 1,600 persons jammed
into freight cars. We worked at construction of barracks
in rain and freezing weather.
We were awakened at 3 a.m. At 3.45 "antreten"
(be ready) and at 4.15 marched to the rail station. At 7.15
in the evening, we returned to the camp. Then there was
an assembly and roll call. Tired from the daily work in
inhuman conditions, only at 9 we could go to sleep. Three
prisoners escaped; two were caught and beaten murderously
and taken to a bunker. For one week they lived only on a
little soup without bread. Then Lindner arrived and took
them to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). One of them was Jakob Rabinowicz,
a young boy from Chrzanow.
The Judenältester Zeingut, a Jew from Cieszyn, cooperated
with the Germans.
After a few days, there arrived a transport of Jews from
France and Holland. They came from the coal mine Anhalt-Fürstengrube.
They didn’t look like human beings, but skeletons covered
by skin. They looked even worse than we. They couldn’t adapt
to these conditions and died like flies. Among them there
was a famous artist from Paris, Mr. Wolf.
Once Mendelbaum, a man from Chrzanow, fainted during assembly.
The Judenälter’s assistant suspected him of simulating
and beat him cruelly. Finally, he was taken to the clinic
On this day, two Dutchmen escaped from a railway station.
The Germans learned of this only at the place of work. Everyone
from district was terribly beaten. When Lagerfuhrer Kiska
heard of the escape of the prisoners, he went mad with rage.
He found Mandelbaum still in the camp and on him vented
his anger. He ordered a doctor to finish him off in the
next 10 minutes. A Jewish doctor from the West took Mandelbaum
to the "Waschraum" and after 10 minutes of alternate
cold and hot showers ("dusz"), the unfortunate
In the evening, after returning to camp, we were beaten
terribly. They beat us all the time in Lager for small offenses
and without any reason. Judenältester Zeingut made
a speech and told that for an attempt to escape by one person,
ten prisoners would be killed.
On the following day at 11 o'clock at night, the escapees
were found. A Jewish cook, Brauner and Schmiel Szerer the
assistant Judenältester beat them to death. In the
"Lager", we heard the screaming of the victims.
On the next day we were awakened at 2.30 a.m. and given
allotments of soup. This was a one-time holiday in Lager.
We sat down in the field at a table. At a certain moment,
searchlights were lit and we saw, hanging over our heads
on a tree, the two victims. Lagerfuhrer Kisko was happy
that he had caught the fugitives and gave us additional
I was moved to another "kommando" in Reichenbach.
We built there a railway siding for the Schass firm. "Obermeister"
Neutzler, a 70- year old individual required super-human
work. With a watch in his hand, he checked the speed of
our work. Because loading one truck took a certain amount
of time, he calculated how many trucks during 12 hours it
was possible to load. He didn't take into account the increased
fatigue of the workers. To save time, he didn't permit us
to screw down rails, a condition which could cause derailment.
Because of this I ran under the track and hurt myself, crushing
the bone of my left leg. With an injured leg, I had to go
to work and colleagues brought me on hands, because I couldn’t
walk by my own strength.
In Genedenfrei - a neighboring town close to our "Lager"
- a "Lager" was formed from part of us prisoners.
The Judenältester there was a man named Dawidowicz.
After some time this "Lager" was liquidated, because
disease had begun there. The remaining living prisoners
were driven back to us. When we returned to the "Lager"
from work that day, there was a "Lagersperre"
(camp lock-down) and we weren’t permitted to leave the barrack.
At night, the Judenältester took 12 strong prisoners
from our barrack. In the morning, those 12 prisoners returned
and told that at night they had to bury 8 prisoners from
Lager Genadenfrei including Dawidowicz, all of whom had
been shot by Judenhändler Hausschild.
The entire camp was then moved to Paulbrück. There,
we lived in an old factory. It was a so-called “Bestandlager”
i.e., a point from which were sent other "Lager"
installations such as beds, straw mattresses, clothes from
At Paulbrück, there was a lack of water. The Waschraum
was far away, there were only a small number of faucets
and we waited in line for water. There was s terrible hunger.
We had no underwear, the Guards beat us for no reason. The
work was beyond our strength. The murderous camp police
man (Lagerpolizei) Rosenzweig - a Jew - was a terrible sadist.
The Lagerführer (camp commander) was a man named Czaja.
Once, as we returned from work at 7.30 at night, we were
left on the assembly square until late at night. We waited
for a convoy which was to escort us to the railway station.
One hundred fifty of us were sent to Markstadt. We went
36 hours without food. On arriving, the camp made a good
impression on us. The Lagerältester - a Jew from Szczakowa
- cared about cleanliness. We were given underwear and a
faster way to get to the bathing facilities. Hot water was
provided for washing! However, the work was beyond the strength
of a normal person. We were sent to open fields where there
was a construction work for the firm "Kruppswerk".
We went 5 kilometers by train to Jungversee. From there,
8 kilometers by foot to an open area at Saustelle. There,
we dug ditches for gas-pipes to the Kruppswerke. At 7 in
the morning, we were at the work place. We stood in water,
cold and hungry. On the open field there wasn’t any shelter.
It wasn’t permitted to light a fire. The foreman of the
firm "F.G. Schlesien Ferngas" was a sadist who
beat for no reason. When someone stood for a while on dry
ground, the foreman kicked and threw the person into water,
broke sticks while beating on prisoners’ bodies. We were
hungry, barefoot, ragged, often falling into the snow. the
freezing cold got into our bones. Every day, there were
many dead bodies and beaten persons who weren’t capable
of working and were carried back to camp. We returned sometimes
as late as 9 because the train would be late. From our "Kommando"
of 500 persons, only a small number remained alive.
Everyone was ill. In Markstadt, there were two Jewish policemen,
so called "Lager-Ordner" named Moch and Bosak.
Whoever fell into their hands didn’t live.
On March 25, 1944, there took place a selection. It was
on the day of the Jewish calendar Rosz-Chodesz (beginning
of the month) Nissan. We were ordered to undress naked in
the freezing weather and to run several hundred steps to
our barrack where an SS medical board was located. They
selected 1,000 persons mainly by whim. Among them was my
father. Until now (1946), it isn’t known where the transport
went. I know that a part of them was sent to Blechhammer.
Among this group was my father. Now, after the war, I’ve
received information that he was sent with a transport of
sick persons…. probably to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Those who
weren’t selected were sent to the neighboring concentration
camp at Fünfteichen. There, everything was taken from
us and we were beaten near the entrance to the "Lager".
On that first day, we didn't know what kind of place Fünfteichen
was. Only later we understood when we experienced this Hell.
The Block-leader struck us with and killed several persons.
We were beaten during roll call (appell). Every day the
prison leaders devised murderous exercises. We were let
in and out of the barrack only by the command of the block
leader’s whistle. It was required to enter and exit at a
very fast speed, by running. In the crowded rush in and
out, people were trampled while the block-leaders beat is
We weren’t allowed to wash. Instead, we washed with snow.
As a result there were lice. There was a terrible hunger.
There was the hardest work possible to imagine with cement.
In this murderous kommando, persons of other nationalities
didn't want to work. During this work, there were 20 dead
persons daily. At first we returned by road to the "Lager".
We carried back the dead bodies. SS-men beat us with rifle
butts if someone remained behind, or if someone collapsed
from exhaustion and there wasn’t anyone who could help him
arise. In this manner, many prisoners were killed. Later,
they led us by circuitous ways so that civilians wouldn't
see evidence of their crimes. Several prisoners committed
suicide by flinging themselves from construction sites.
Because Jews were dying en masse and prisoners of other
nationalities didn't want to work in such a difficult work
site, there was a shortage of people to do the work. The
Bauleitung (construction administration) intervened so as
to afford better treatment for the Jews, requiring for them
more hygienic conditions because the factory buildings which
the Jews built became infected with lice.
From this time, there began a new ordeal. At night, the
block-people woke us up by throwing us from our beds and
ordering us to clean chairs from the recreation room. Of
course, it was forbidden for prisoners to sit down. The
block leaders beat us with clubs and there was blood everywhere.
As a result of this beating by block-people, there were
many sick persons in the "revier" (dispensary).
Then, a new order was issued: compulsory washing. We weren’t
allowed to enter the Waschraum. Every day, 2 pails of cold
water were brought to the barrack, three bars of soaps called
R.I.F. (Rein Jüdisches Fett) without powder for 200
persons and block person was watching ears and nose. Because
we knew that to this limits the inspection of cleanness
(there was not other possibility) we washed only ears and
tip of nose. We organized "Entlausung" in the
Every day, one prisoner appointed by the block-leader to
check the clothes of the prisoners and every day there was
a report in the official record which went to "Schreibstube"
of how many lice were found on each prisoner. The administration
required the sewing of our pockets in the striped canvas
uniforms ("pashiake") which we wore so that we
couldn’t put our hands in our pockets when it was cold.
The Block-leaders prepared a group of prisoners and threw
them into the water reservoir set aside for fire protection
against air raids "Luftschutz". The worst days
in the camp were Sundays. One group of people bent down,
cleaning the assembly square. The work was unnecessary and
only assigned so as to torment people. Another group had
to wear striped uniforms turned backwards and buttoned in
back and they had to bring back in their clothes stones
and earth. With this weight they had to walk around the
camp. On the corners stood Germans and shouted: "Mutzen
ab" (caps off) and "Mutzen auf" (caps on)
to have fun on our expense.
Our so-called "Kommando Speer" had the most difficult
work out in the field, yet we received 33 dkg (12 ounces)
of bread daily. Prisoners of other nationalities who worked
in the so-called "Kommando Krupp", much less exhausting
work in factory production received 55 dkg (20 ounces) of
bread and sausage daily. Once some Russians escaped.
Then we stood on the roll call area, beaten and tormented
by our executioners. Almost no one successfully escaped.
We had a deep fear for any fugitive caught by Germans. We
had shaved on our heads a so- called "Lauspromenade",
a narrow path 2 cm wide shaved down the e center of our
heads to make it impossible to escape. Often prisoners were
deprived of "fasunek" for alleged work evasion.
Lighter penalties included the beating of prisoners after
roll call. Every day in the dispensary (revier) were many
beaten persons. A prisoner who didn’t scream while he was
beaten was rewarded with cigarettes.
A prisoner working in following firms: "Betomonia"
Grün u. Bilfinger, Lens, Bartel and others couldn’t
last long. When a train with cement, the Sonderzug (special
train) arrived, we worked unloading sometimes 18 hours without
a break. At these times, the SS-men beat and set dogs on
us; people fell like flies. I saw a German woman who, seeing
our misery, wept. Returning from work on the "Kommando
Speer" followed vehicles loaded with sick people and
dead bodies. Every Wednesday there transports of 70-80 dead
bodies were sent to Gross-Rosen, the Main Camp for the many
concentration camps in Silesia. There, the corpses were
Once, there arrived a sanitary commission from Gross-Rosen.
They called together Dr. Zabrany, the Dispensary doctor,
the Dispensary Kapo, the camp Kapo and a few block-leaders
to account for the high mortality rate in our camp. From
this time, the prisoners were officially better treated.
However, they were beaten in secret and there was the same
number of injured as before. It was forbidden to cook, as
hd been done until now, soup made from grass in which there
was a great deal of sand, earth and glass.
I worked for the firm "Gebel". There, the construction
leader, Schäfer, blind in one eye demanded super-human
work. Foreman Michal Wrona, a Volkdeutsch from Krakow, was
a murderous madman. Once, during work, he beat a 15 year-old
boy named Ickowicz from Strzemieszyce with a pointed spade
so severely that the boy fell bleeding to the ground. On
the snow there was a large puddle of blood.
In July 1944, when there was an attempt on Hitler's life,
the SS-men beat us and ordered us to perform exercises.
They ordered one prisoner to stand on one leg and touch
by one hand the ground. In this position he had to remain
a long time.
We didn't have shirts. We wore the empty cement paper bags,
something which was strictly forbidden. Once, I was beaten
for this by the block-leader Rusinek, a Jew.
After the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, Polish people
were brought to Fünfteichen . About 403 Jews were separated
and sent to Gorlitz. We were taken to barrack nr 28, where
the barrack leader was a man named Kanengiser - a Jew from
Dziedzice - a ruffian. We were held from Saturday to Monday
and nobody could come near us.
On Monday, we were driven from the barrack by rifle-butts
to the railway station and loaded into 3 wagons. It was
very crowded. We traveled two days in terrible conditions
without food or water. The heat was hard to endure. I will
never forget this journey. Before our departure from Fünfteichen,
our striped uniforms were taken from us and, if someone
had leather shoes, these were also taken. We were given
dyed civilian clothes.
Upon arriving in Gorlitz we were driven from the train by
beatings administered by the Camp Elder. He was a German
criminal, blind in one eye. He drove us all day barefoot,
hungry and exhausted through the city. He ordered us to
take off our striped caps so that the civilian population
could recognize from our shaved heads that we were criminals.
At last we came to the "Lager". The Camp consisted
of several barracks in which Polish and Hungarian Jews were
already confined. We were given nothing to eat. At once,
a roll call was ordered. Foremen from the factory Waggonen-u-Machninenbau
A.G. (WOMAG) came to the camp and selected us for work in
the factory. We shouted that we were hungry. They replied
that they weren’t prepared for the arrival of a new transport.
Next, there took place a bath. We undressed naked on the
roll call square and threw our uniforms in a heap. The Germans
then set water streams from rubber hoses on us. Then we
were led, naked, to the barrack. At 2 a.m., we were awakened
to choose uniforms from the heap on the roll call square.
The Germans didn't permit to us to have underwear and the
Camp Prisoner Leader at once checked to see if anyone wore
an undershirt. We were given black coffee without bread
and forced into the factory where foremen divided us into
different sections. My foreman was named Muller. At noon
there was lunch. Soup was apportioned in the factory and
for many of us there was none.
On this fourth day, many of us had had nothing to eat. After
work, we marched, half living, to the "Lager".
The journey lasted one hour. In the camp the Camp Prisoner
Leader awaited us. We were searched to see if any one had
stolen something from the factory. In the "Lager"
we received soup and again, there wasn’t enough for every
one. They didn't give us any bread.
In the factory, the foremen, not knowing at the beginning
that we were Jews, treated us well. They gave us wooden
shoes and permitted us to bathe in groups in the factory.
When they learned that we were Jews, the relation to us
chilled. Only on the following day did we get 33 dkg. (12
ounces) of bread. After a short time, there exploded an
epidemic of dysentery.
There wasn’t a dispensary for sick people and a Jewish Hungarian
doctor beat ill persons. The Lagerältester stole bread
from persons sick with dysentery and then ordered these
hungry sick prisoners to go to work. For a bonus which we
received for good work in the factory, we were able to get
cigarettes in the camp. The Lagerältester confiscated
these from us. Our block leader once beat me so terribly
that I lay several days and couldn’t speak.
The Lagerältester undertook daily searches and took
from us even our little bread. He drove sick people from
the dispensary to work. People died like flies.
My foreman, Muller, made daily reports against prisoners
for poor work. For this, the Lagerältester administered
beatings on the appellplatz. In the "Lager" (camp),
the conditions were impossible to describe. There was great
crowding. When a transport of Jews arrived from Lodz, we
didn't get new barracks. Water flowed through holes in the
roof of the barracks. In the winter, the barracks weren’t
heated. Some prisoners didn't have blankets. There were
unbelievable amounts of lice. Most prisoners were without
underwear. Because all the factory was infected with lice,
there was a de-lousing system created in the factory, but
it wasn’t helpful because our camp was full of lice. When
we lay down on the bed of boards, thousands of lice were
immediately upon us.
Once during the night shift, some drilled hinges were found
near my machine. Muller demanded that I tell him who had
done this. I knew nothing of this so Muller, wanting to
force testimony from me, kicked and hit me in the face several
times with his fist.
On the following day after I came to work, Muller ordered
me to go into the cellar where he gave me into the hands
of the "Kapo" Spalter from Chrzanow saying that
I wouldn’t admit to the guilt. He said Spalter must force
me to this admission. I repeated that I knew nothing. They
then laid me over a chair with two Jewish Vorarbeiter (foremen)
holding me. One held my head and the second held my legs.
Spalter beat me with a rubber baton. I received 20 blows
to my naked backside.
Muller then took the rubber baton from him and gave him
a thick piece of wood. Spalter held the club with both hands
and beat me so strongly that he broke the club on me. I
was stained with blood and couldn’t move from the spot.
Half alive, I was taken to the factory where I stood hunched
near my machine and wept because of the pain.
At 1 o'clock, there was lunch to be had in the cellar, but
I couldn’t go down and so remained in the work area. When
an SS-man asked me why I don't go to lunch, I showed him
my wounds. He called Spalter and shouted at him that it
wasn’t permitted for him to beat a prisoner in such a manner.
At this moment, Muller and some foremen came by. Spalter
explained that he had only lightly hit me and that I was
lying. I denied this and said what Muller had told Spalter.
I let down my trousers and publicly showed the wounds from
the beating to the persons present in the work area.
Muller blushed and said: "Weg mit dem Schwein".
They brought me to cellar and I lay there on my stomach
on the concrete until the end of the work day. Muller then
came into the cellar and shouted that I was faking. He again
beat and kicked me and went with me to a wagon. I was taken
to the "Lager". Muller ordered me to be tied me
to the wagon and to walk to the "Lager". When
he went away, colleagues took me again upon the cart. Half
alive, they drove me to the dispensary ("revier").
During examination, Blockälteste Szylit came and took
me, barefoot, to the barrack of block I. There, all the
block people and Stubendiensts gathered. Lager Kapo Tanenbaum,
a Jew from Rzeszow, said that I was faking. He beat and
kicked me. The assembled people laughed and ridiculed me,
threatening to hang me
Suddenly the Lagerälteste arrived and in front of all
the people accused me first, of showing the wounds from
the beating to workers in the factory. In doing this, I
had damaged the reputation of Germans in front of foreign
workers. Secondly, I had committed sabotage by helping an
organized band who were robbing the German State.
The sentence for these two crimes was that I would be sent
to Gross-Rosen where I would find an easy death in the chimney
of the crematorium. On the following day at 11 in the morning,
there were prepared to go with me with two SS-men and 2
block-persons as witnesses of my execution. This Lagerältester
had already sent one Jew, a man named Freund, for allegedly
slow work, to KL Gross-Rosen where he was hanged. I was
completely resigned but, in spite of this, asked that the
Lagerältester himself should execute the sentence upon
me. The Lagerältester then revoked the death sentence
if I would publicly renounce all that I had said in the
factory yesterday. He gave me two huge kicks and ordered
me to go the following day to work.
Colleagues carried me to the factory. Coached by the Lagerältester,
I said to Muller that the beating received in the factory
had been as nothing compared to the beating given me in
the camp. Muller, for a long time, couldn’t forget my lowered
trousers in front of the strangers. After this inhuman beating,
I had to sleep for 6 weeks on my belly. Still, I couldn’t
At the end of January 1945, a transport of Jews from Oswiecim
(Auschwitz) arrived in our camp. They came on foot, barefoot,
ragged. They remained only one night with us.
In the Lager it was terribly filthy. Lice ate us. There
was never hot water. Not even once during our stay in Gorlitz
did we get a change of underwear. Prisoners rotted in their
lousy rags. The Judenältester sold for bonus an evening
soup. In this way, he could get cigarettes for himself.
In February there arrived in our camp a railcar of Oswiecim
On February 12, 1945, 100 Jews were sent from Lager Görlitz
to Zittau in Saxony. I was among these. We were sent to
an aircraft factory. We found there 500 Hungarian Jewish
women and 200 male Jews who had come from Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
From that time, I was sick with dysentery. Persons ill with
dysentery were placed in a so-called "Durchfallstation"
(diarrhea section) usually called the "transit camp
to other world". In this division there weren’t more
than 8 patients, of whom at least two or three died daily.
These were replaced with the same number of new patients.
It wasn’t possible to survive there more than 2 or 3 days.
Every Sunday, the sick persons were driven out, naked, into
the cold outside for de-lousing and a cold shower ("dusz").
The SS chief of the dispensary ("revier") was
a terrible sadist. Once, he beat Dr. Poznanski, from Sosnowiec,
because the doctor had permitted a prisoner to lie with
socks on in the cold, unheated room. The staff didn't count
on my surviving any more. I had continuous dysentery, my
hand was suppurated and swollen. Each day the German asked
of me, "Lebt er noch?" (Is he still living?) because
no one had ever survived as long as I had.
When I lay unconscious, almost dying, on May 5, 1945, people
told me that the Germans had already run away. Then I got
new courage and hope. I saw prisoners could already move
about freely because those persons who could walk could
go out and could eat well. The Germans had fled. Friends
came and told me what a great attainment we had reached.
We were free and could walk without guard.
But I only heard about it because I couldn’t walk. From
happiness a few prisoners went mad.
On May 9, 1945 the first patrol of the Red Army arrived.
When we saw them, we wept together with them. Among them,
was a Jewish captain named Wasser who took great care of
On May 10, 1945 we were moved to the Town Hospital in Zittau.
We lay in the hospital's garden. For the first time in sixty
nine months, we breathed the air of freedom. We said each
other, "We are free".
We lay on the grass and the beautiful May sun shone for
the first time on us as free people. Russian soldiers ran
through the town with machine guns and brought down the
We didn’t look like human beings. We were like nightmarish
human shreds. I weighed approximately 30 kg. (66 lbs.).
I had survived everything.
I’m still not healthy. I go to hospitals and sanatoria.
I live in the hope of better days as once did our ancestors.