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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES


Name of deponent: Maria Adlerfligel
Birth date: October 18, 1914 in Siewierz
Parents: Jakub and Gizella, maiden name: Beker
Pre-war residence: Bedzin, ul. Modrzejowska 37
Current residence: Katowice, ul. Lompy 18/4
Profession: Nurse, Chorzow Orphanage, ul. Katowicka 21


After liquidation of the Jewish population of Olkusz in June 1942, I returned to Bedzin. A week later, I began work in the hospital ("Krankenstube”) in Bedzin, located at Burgstrasse 41 (Podzamcze 41). Before the war there had been located there an obstetric house "Linas Hacholim". During the occupation, the building had been changed into an old person's home. In May 1942, during the first deportation Aktion from Bedzin, all the elderly there had been sent to Auschwitz.

The opening of the dispensary took place on June 25, 1942. For the opening, "Leiter" Merin Moniek, the manager of the Centrale’s Department of Health, Dr. Lieberman, local members of the Judenrat and several doctors attended. A party was held for the opening and, in honor of the guests, Dr. Weinzieher - manager of "Krankenstube", Dr. Lieberman and "Leiter" Merin gave speaches. Doctors Weinzieher and Lieberman told of the necessity of opening, in each Jewish center, such a dispensary because of the impossibility of transporting sick persons to the Jewish hospital in Sosnowiec and because of the difficult living conditions of the over-crowded Jewish population. Each told in their speeches that they hoped we would survive this difficult period.

I don't remember the content of Merin's speech. The Director of our dispensary was Dr. Salomen Weinzieher. The head of the dispensary’s gynecological-obstetric ward was Dr. Jakub Ferber and the local hospital doctor was the-then student in his fourth medical course, Samuel Zylberszac. Additionally, there were 10 nurses, one midwife and myself as senior nurse. The hospital was provided with 120 beds.
On average, there were about 80-100 patients. The hospital occupied the entire building. In the front of the building, on the ground floor, was located the gynecological-obstetric ward and administration of the hospital. On the second floor was the internal-medicine ward, two rooms for men and two rooms for women. On the third floor, in front, were located storerooms for clothing and food and an apartment for two staff members.

In the annex was located an isolation ward and a separate room for one of the doctor. Two nurses lived in a second room. Doctors referred people in cases requiring hospital treatment to our dispensary. The hospital was funded by the Community. Poor people stayed there at the cost of the Social Welfare section of the Judenrat. Those who were referred to the dispensary by the Social Welfare Department were released from payment in part or entirely, depending on their financial condition. Rich people paid directly to the cashier of the hospital. When referring patients to the hospital, doctors took into consideration not only the state of the disease, but also the living and family conditions (for example: single persons).

There was an analytical laboratory within the dispensary. The laboratory assistant was Jadzia Pfeffer and the manager of the drugstore and laboratory was Mgr. Krause. The hospital’s drug section received its items from the Jewish ambulatory drugstore.

The commissary for the hospital was headed by Jozef Rosenblum and the office head was Israel Gelbard. In the internal medicine ward were mostly swelling diseases of unknown origin. Doctors could find no reason for the ailment because it wasn’t related to conventional sicknesses such as changing of the heart or kidney functions. Those patients were treated with vitamin C and by intravenous injection of glucose.

Results using this treatment were positive, from which it was concluded that the disease was caused by poor metabolism. There were also many causes of tuberculosis, which management of the hospital noted as pneumonia or bronchitis so as to avoid reporting the case to the "powiat’s" (administrative district’s) doctor. In very pronounced cases of tuberculosis, it was necessary to report this to the "Kreisarzt" (District Doctor).

On August 12, 1942 during the conclusion at the Gathering Point, "Ausweis" papers of sick persons were required so as to be stamped. This time, neither patients nor staff were taken away. A few days earlier, Dr. Weinzieher had informed the sick patients that there would take place a stamping of "Ausweis" papers and he didn't know what to advise them. Whoever wanted to remain in the hospital could do so. Those who were afraid could leave the hospital. In fact, some sick persons discharged themselves from the hospital and appeared at the Gathering Point while others remained in the hospital. When the selection at the Gathering Point was finished, several children were found to be alone and they were taken back to the hospital. Also, several children were taken from the Gathering Point to the hospital to make it easier for some individuals to be released from the Point. In this manner, about 20 children were gathered at the hospital. Some of them were recognized by families and taken home. For the remainder, there was formed by the Judenrat an infants' nursery on Burgstrasse 39, managed by Mrs. Grosmann.
The hospital remained in the same building (Burgstrasse 41) until April 1943. In April 1943, it was moved to Kamionka and located on ul. Krakowska (Robert Koch Strasse). There it remained until the final liquidation on August 1, 1943.

In September 1942, the first cases of abdominal typhus in light and hard form occurred. There were also cases of death due to this disease. Because of typhus, a mother (Szpiro by name) and her two daughters died. Persons sick with stomach typhus weren’t, in all cases, taken to the hospital because there was a fear of placing such cases there. These cases were listed as people “ill with the flu”. Also persons sick with typhus and being in the hospital were often kept in the internal medicine ward with other diagnosed cases so as not to be reported to the "Kreisarzt". This was because there was a fear of deportation for the entire hospital. Other persons sick with typhus, who had to be placed in an isolation ward, were listed as patients suspected of being ill with typhus ("typhus verdacht").

Minor surgical operations were performed in our Bedzin hospital. For this purpose, there came the surgeon from the Jewish hospital in Sosnowiec, Dr. Fryszer, and later Dr. Stoch (a Pole). In case of the need for a more serious surgical operation, the sick person was directed to the Jewish hospital in Sosnowiec. In such a case, there was needed a confirming doctor's referral by a "Kreisarzt". On basis of this, the German police gave a pass for transportation of the ill person. In the hospital, there was hidden for two weeks, Dr. Eck from Lwow who had come from the Generale Gouvernement area and didn't have permission to reside among us. His child was in the hospital under the pretence of illness while Dr. Eck was hidden. During the displacement to the Srodula Ghetto, all sick persons were taken in wagons to the ghetto. There, wards were organized in the same manner as before.

During the general deportation on Sunday, August 1, 1943 (the first day of the Final Deportation) at 4 p.m., several trucks with Gestapo persons arrived. Sick persons were taken to the vehicles and the Gestapo took them away. Hospital staff members were taken by Gestapo people to the trains and loaded onto wagons. I was among them. The Gestapo told us that we could take 10 kg of baggage per person. In the freight wagon into which we had been loaded, I found sick persons people from our hospital.

At 2 p.m. on August 1, 1943, a Gestapo person arrived and told us that sick persons together with staff would be transported to the hospital in Srodula, but events happened differently. We were taken to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). In our transport was also Dr. Weinzieher with his wife and sister-in-law. On the way to the railway station, Gestapo persons beat the 76-year old Dr. Weinzieher. Our transport was the fourth and final transport on that day. There were in our transport about 2,000 people.

The first transport had left at 7 a.m., the second at 10 and the third at 12 noon. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there still went transports from Zaglebie Dabrowskie to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Some girls reported that, on Monday, there had gone transports from Bedzin. But in the camp no one was seen from that transport. It was said that someone from this transport had put up resistance and this was why the entire transport had gone in toto to the gas chambers.

During the deportation of June 12, 1943, the Germans shot about 80 persons taken from cellars, apartments and from among the crops in the fields. Germans came to the hospital and ordered us to carry, with stretchers, dead bodies to the mortuary in the hospital. All the corpses were taken on platforms to the Jewish cemetery under escort of Germans and there buried in two mass graves, one separately for men and one for women.




 
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