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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES


Page 2

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 from again.

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 child.
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 furniture.

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 child.

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 Rosenfeld.

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 my memory.

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 ("revier").

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 prisoner died.

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 soup.

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 deported persons.
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 with sticks.

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 barrack.

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 cremated.
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 recover.

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 (Auschwitz) documents.

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 us.

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 Germans.

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.




 
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