Name of deponent: Abraham Krakowski
Birth date: September 9, 1918
Birth place: Katowice
Parents: Szymon and Gina Goldberg.
Current address: Katowice, ul. Mlynska 17
At the outbreak of the war in 1939, I was living in Sosnowiec.
My parents left their business, fully equipped, and their
apartment to the mercy of Fate and moved to his sister in
Sosnowiec. On "Hoszana-Raba" holiday in 1940,
there was the first Arbeitseinsatz in Sosnowiec as well
as at the same time in different towns of "Ostoberschlesien".
This Arbeitseinsatz Aktion in "Ostoberschlesien"
was directed by the Dienststelle „des Sonderbeauftragten
des Reichsfuehrers SS und Chef der Deutschen Polizei für
Fremdvölkischen Arbeitseinsatz". This institution
was headed by SS General Schmelt. The most active individuals
who were particularly bad for the Jewish population were:
SS Obersturmbahnführer Heinrich Lindner, Official for
Jewish Affairs Friedrich Kuczynski, Sturmführer Bruno
Ludwig, an SS-man Messner, Ludwig Knoll and Oberinspektor
Hentschel. Kuczynski always wore civilian clothes, while
the others were in uniform either SS, SA or military uniforms.
The first president of the Jewish Community in Katowice
after the outbreak of the war in 1939 was Bertold Kochmann,
a long-standing member of the Jewish Community board in
Katowice. Kochmann took steps at the end of 1939 and beginning
of 1940 to the end that the Jewish communities in Upper
Silesia wouldn’t be subordinate to Mr. Merin. Kochmann was
a friend of my father and he came to us and told us that
he was involved with this affair with persons in Berlin.
He criticized Merin and accused him of taking too much control
In 1940, Kochmann emigrated through Berlin to Bolivia with
all his family. During the first Arbeitseinsatz there was
no roundup. The Jewish Community received an order from
the Dienststelle to deliver a certain number of young men
of the ages 18 to 30. The Judenrat sent summonses to persons
ordering them to report to a medical board for the purpose
of going to a labor camp in the Silesia-Opole district.
There was mentioned at this time, the Gross Strehlitz camp
and one other, but I don't remember its name. At this time
the Community sent out several hundred summonses. Not everyone
so summoned appeared. Only "average" people, i.e.
poor persons who received financial aid from the Ältestenrat
were summoned at first. The medical board was located in
the out-patients' clinic on ul Targowa 7. There, Jewish
doctors made a medical evaluation and their decision was
Persons qualified to be sent were still released to their
homes. After a few days, Jewish police took them in groups
of about 70 to the railway station. There, Germans took
control of them and they were deported to the labor camp.
Two months later, there took place a second Arbeitseinsatz
on a larger scale. By the order of the Dienststelle, the
Judenrat sent summonses to young men to the age of 30 who
were still unemployed in Sosnowiec. They were summoned to
report to the medical board. There, Jewish doctors examined
them. I also received a summons and reported to the medical
I knew the doctors and this is why I was released. They
reported that I appeared to have asthma which I never had.
In the board were doctors from Sosnowiec; the leader was
a doctor from Bedzin. People found to be healthy and capable
of working weren’t released. At this time, there were deported
to the labor camps about 500 persons. All of them were held
in the out-patients' clinic. Later, the Jewish police drove
them in groups to the railway station and handed them over
to the hands of the Germans, officers of the Dienststelle.
Active at this time were the SS-men Knoll and Lindner. During
examination by the board, Knoll and Lindner, with whips
in hand, entered and watched to see how the examinations
went. Their mere appearance brought fear and panic among
the Jews present. The random arresting of Jews made chaos
in town among the Jewish population who didn't expect to
see again their relatives. The Jewish population brought
clothes and food to those arrested.
At this time, people were sent to the following camps: Brande,
Bunzlau, Göppersdorf, Annaberg, Johannesdorf, Ottmund
and Sakrau. At the same time, transports of unfortunates
from Bedzin were sent to work. To save themselves before
deportation to labor camps, people tried to find job work
locally and tried to obtain work certificates called "Sonders"
Persons working for Jewish firms carried red certificates,
known as a “red Sonder", issued by the office of the
Sonderbeauftragte. Such persons paid 50 marks per month
to the Dienststelle for this. People employed in German
shops received green "Sonders". The Jewish and
German employer had to pay for these certificates. A Jewish
employer paid 50 marks (paid by employer, not by worker).
At the beginning of 1941, there began roundups prepared
by the Dienststelle. There were roundups of young Jewish
persons to work in Germany. Those first roundups were done
in this manner: Lindner would appear in an automobile, stop
it and begin to check papers of individuals found on the
street. He carried a revolver in one hand and a whip in
his other hand while he shouted: "Stehen bleiben, Ausweise!"
(“Stand where you are….your passport!”)
If someone didn't have a "Sonder" document with
him at that moment, Lindner arrested the individual at once.
He often rushed into one Jewish cafe which existed in 1941
and behaved in the same fashion. Knoll and Ludwig behaved
in a similar manner.