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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES


Name of deponent: Mojzesz Szwarc
Birth date: October 22, 1905
Birth place: Czestochowa
Parents: Iser and Blima (maiden name: Jakubowicz).
War-time address: Bedzin, ul. Zawodzie 8.
Current address (1947): Bedzin, ul. Malachowskiego 16/6.
Occupation: President of Jewish Committee in Bedzin


On March 3, 1943 I was taken from Bedzin with a group of 112 men, ranging in age up to 45, bachelors and married, to the Dulag in Sosnowiec. After three days in the Dulag, our Bedzin group (112 persons) was sent away together with additional persons from Dulag. At this time, there were in the Dulag men and women from Sosnowiec, Dabrowa Gornicza, Czeladz, Chrzanow, Modrzejow and Strzemieszyce.

On March 6, 1943 at 6 p.m., Germans from the Dienststelle (Sonderbeauftragte, usw.) under management of Knoll and with the help of Jewish "Ordners,” took all of us in a group of 700 persons to the railway station. We were loaded on a train and transported to Blechhammer. In our transport were 400 women and 300 men. The women went in separate wagons from the men. We arrived at Blechhammer at 1 a.m. At 3 a.m. the same morning, the Germans forced us to the roll call square, beating us and shouting: "heraus, heraus!" There, they set us in files of five. The lame German civlian Hauschild, who served as an agent in delivering Jews to various German firms, selected 98 of the strongest and tallest persons among us and ordered us to step out from our file. He selected people by pointing with a stick. All this happened at great speed. If someone didn't step out quickly from his row, a dog was set upon him. I was in the group of 98 persons. From the square, they took us again to a train station and, in freight wagons, transported us to Klettendorf (eight kilometers from Wroclaw). There, soldiers of the Wehrmacht escorted us.

Prior to my deportation to the camp, I had worked a few days in the factory "Hartmuth Loytsch" in Bedzin. On March 1, I received a summons from the "Loytsch" workshop to appear on March 3, 1943 at the Bedzin Orphanage for a position. Such summonses were normally received by anyone newly accepted into a factory. I arrived on March 3 at the Orphanage. There, I found there was no position awaiting. Instead, immediately about thirty German police ("Szupos”) appeared and took us to the tram depot in Bedzin. We were loaded into specially-prepared wagons and sent from the depot square to the Sosnowiec Dulag. At this time, they took everyone who had applied (for a position at the factory.)
The Germans scrupulously searched the whole Orphanage building; they even searched in the toilets. During our stay in the Dulag, some firms complained of the loss of employees (taken by the police). As a result, over a dozen persons were released.

The first Arbeitseinsatz in Bedzin took place in 1940 during the "Haszana Raba" (last day of Succoth) holiday. The Judenrat, at the request of the Dienststelle, sent summonses to appear for work to Germany. The summonses went to the poorest people. At this time, there were sent to German work camps about 100 boys from the age of 16. In the Judenrat, they said that the selectees were going to work for only “several weeks” and then they would be replaced by others. However, the deportees didn't return from any labor camp.

The first deportation took place (I don't remember the date) in the following manner: only poor people received summonses from the Bedzin Judenrat to appear at the Orphanage. Each person was allowed to take a personal package weighing up to 10 kg. Those people who appeared were sent away and not heard from again. In this transport were entire families, including even children.

On August 12, 1942 there was a so-called Major Assembly in Bedzin. At the same time such gatherings also took place in Sosnowiec and Dabrowa Gornicza. Before this, the Germans had held major assemblies in Czeladz and Strzemieszyce. They had gathered all the population and the Gestapo had stamped the "Lichtbildausweis" (identity papers with photo) with a stamp reading: "Geheime Staatspolizei". They had then released everyone to return home. Thus, the Jews of other cities were confident that nothing bad would happen to them when they were summoned. Accordingly, they appeared at the designated Gathering Point on August 12, 1942 at 5 a.m. On every street where Jews lived, there was a "Luftschutzleiter" (an air raid warden) Jew and in every building an appointed person was in charge.

On August 11, 1942, Moniek Merin called all the in-charge persons of the buildings from their anti-aircraft duties to appear at the Orphanage. I was among them. Merin made a speech to us. We were about 300 such in-charge persons. We were afraid that the Germans would seize us, because an event had occurred in Bedzin in which the Germans had arrested all Jews while they were in the process of their so-called "Brandschutz" (fire protection) duties. However, Merin had simply said to us: "Listen! Tomorrow at 5 a.m. all Jews must appear at the Assembly Point in good clothes and shaved. Everyone must be there. Here, in this room where you are, are people who will, tomorrow, be sitting in wagons and be threatened. But I’m not afraid of this. I will be still doing my drab work to save a few Jews. We must play for time (ich wil majn szwarce arbejt wajter firen kedaj ich zol kenen ratewen a bysl idin. Mir szpilen oif di cajt). On the following day, the entire Jewish population appeared at the Designated Point.

There were, in Bedzin, two Assembly Points. One was located on the "Hakoach" club field on Kosciuszki street; the second was located on the field of the "Sarmacja" sport club. I went with my wife and child at 5 a.m. to the "Hakoach" field. There, were gathered about 11,000 Jews, male and female, young and old, sick people and even mothers with infants.

To the "Sarmacja" field there had to appear those persons working in "Wehrmachts- betriebe" - (factories producing for the German Army) such as Rossner's and Braun's workshops. At Rossner's, there were some 8,000 persons working. At this time, I and 10 Jewsih men from Bedzin worked in the "Saturn" mine in Czeladz. To get this work in the mine, we had to pay a huge sum money. We paid 6,000 Reich Marks for this privilege.

We stood on the "Hakoach" field, crowded and hot, until 10 in the morning of August 12, 1942. Children were crying. There was no water. The heat was torrid. Around the field was a high fence. Through a hole in the fence, I saw that the entire field was surrounded by "Schupos" with machine guns set in the ground. Every 20 meters stood other such policemen, armed with machine guns. Then I realized that it wasn’t OK for us. We remained like this until three in the afternoon.
At 3 o'clock, the selection began. On the field had been set, since morning, several long tables with chairs. On our field, the selection was done by Kuczynski. He qualified each person to the proper group. There were three groups: designated #1, #2 and #3. Kuczynski pointed each person to a group, saying: “You, Group 1”, (or #2 or #3). Gestapo people and Jewish "Ordners" took care that Kuczynski’s decision was obeyed and that each person would remain in his or her appointed group.

People approached Kuczynski in family groups. When I approached with my wife, child and 57-year old mother, Kuczynski asked where I worked. I showed him my "Sonder" card as proof I worked in the mine. Then Kuczynski said to me: "Du, Frau, und Kind gehst auf eins und die (to mother) auf (nummer) drei zum Tod". A person I know - a tailor named Fersztenfeld - who lived on Browarna street in Bedzin - told me that Kuczynski had told him in the Orphanage during Fersztenfeld's family deportation: "du gehst nach Hause, aber die Frau und Kind zum Tod".

In group #1 were put the fittest persons, working, and possessing a "Sonder" card. If the working person had children, he didn't go to # 1, but only to # 3 - meaning deportation to the gas chamber. Group # 2 meant uncertain, those who had to be selected once more. We stood until 11 that night. At 11 o'clock, the Germans began to stamp the "Lichtbildausweis" (photo identity) papers of those people who were #1 and released them to return home. The Germans released some 30% to 40% of those present. The rest remained on the field all the following day.

On the evening of the following day, they were taken by Gestapo people to the Bedzin Orphanage (the local DuLager). They were kept for several days in the Orphanage, without food or drink, healthy and sick people together. It wasn’t permitted to leave the place, even to go to the toilet. From the Orphanage, the people were taken to the railway station and transported by train, in the number of several thousand people, to Auschwitz. In addition to the group in the Orphanage, there was a group of Jews still held by Germans in the stores on Modrzejowska street and in the Judenrat on Modrzejowska street #42.
From those transports, no one returned to Bedzin.




 
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