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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES


Name of deponent: Katarzyna Mincer
Birth date: March 7, 1914
Birth place: Katowice
Parents: Marcin and Fania (maiden name: Schuftan)
Residence: Katowice, ul. Dabrowskiego 1/5
Occupation: Official of Provincial Jewish Committee in Katowice


When the war began, I was living in Katowice. In June 1940, the Germans displaced me together with my parents, to Sosnowiec. There, I lived until June 1943.

From August 1940, I worked in the Town Management - "Abteilung Strassenverreinigung und Müllabfuhr" (Street Cleaning and Trash Removal Division). Because I spoke the German language, I worked in this division. In the office, I typed reports given me by "Aufsehern" (supervisors) in both Polish and German. My father also worked in this division - namely, he swept streets. The number of people employed in this work varied from 100 to 350 persons. Mainly men worked in this division, but there was a small number of women as well. At first, people for this work were taken compulsorily by summons issued by the Jewish Community Council.

By the end of 1941, people themselves sought work in this division because it saved them, for the moment, from deportation to Germany. Later, special influence was needed in order to be assigned there. The workers worked all week, without a Sunday break, from 7 till 4 o'clock. On Sunday, they worked until 1 o'clock. Earnings of the workers were 1 Reich Mark 50 Pfennigs, paid by the Town Management as an agency for the Jewish Community Council (Judenrat).
In the winter, the workers were busy cleaning streets of snow. The main Aufseher (overseer) was a Smolorz, a German who often beat working Jews with a rubber baton. Several times I witnessed as he beat them in the room where I was working. Smolorz ordered me to leave the room and he tortured them there. I have heard screams from the second room. The manager of this division of Town Management was, at the beginning, Elias, a German man from Katowice, who, before the war, worked in the town’s slaughter-house. He beat Jews terribly. After him, there was a management engineer named Schmidt, a very young person, who came from Wroclaw.

I remember once when Schmidt and Smolorz called a 60-plus year old Jew, a glazier, into the room where I was working. The Polish Aufseher (supervisor) who remained in the room with Schmidt told me later what had happened there. Schmidt had ordered the old Jew to pray and the man began to pray. Schmidt wasn’t satisfied and said that Jews prayed differently. Then he ordered the Polish supervisor to bring a bucket of water. This water, he poured behind the collar of the Jew. That was in the winter 1940/1941.

In the summer of 1941, Smolorz one day after work was finished, kept especially Jews working as street cleaners. There were, among them, a few newcomers who had been registered just in the last few days. He ordered me to go home earlier, but I waited opposite the barrack of a Polish fire station. The office and assembly point of the division was located on Wspolna Street, on the left side. After an hour, about 20 "Schupos" arrived and surrounded the yard. They ordered the Jews to set themselves in a file and took them to the Dulag on Gleiwitzer Strasse.
At this time there were removed more than 300 persons - only men of the ages from 20 to 45. This Aktion was done in agreement with the office of the Sonderbeauftragte. Several men escaped from the square through a hole in the fence. Several were captured by Smolorz. They were those from whom he had received bribes. They had brought him meat and other things.

After deportation of those people to Germany, Smolorz took on other Jews and as well as Poles. The overall number was lowered to about 100 persons. In June 1941, I was dismissed from work in this division. The firing was in relation to detected misuses by Schmidt. Among other things, there was an accusation that he had accepted bribes from rich Jews whom he noted in reports as working people, though, in reality, they had remained at home. I also knew about it and on examination in the Town Hall, I told that I knew of this. My father himself brought geese to Schmidt’s home several times. The geese were given Schmidt by Jews.
After dismissal from this work, I was employed in the Judenrat in the registration of the Jewish population of Zaglembie. There, I worked for five days, Then, I was ordered by the Judenrat to perform office work for the Sonderbeauftragte.
The "Dienststelle des Sonderbeauftragte" was located on Rathausstrasse #6. When I was employed in the "Dienststelle", the organization of the office was as follows: I was the 18th Jewess accepted for work there.

At the end of 1942, there already were 40 Jewess working in this office. Two Jewish women, Rywka Grünbaum and Tusia Gutowska worked in cleaning the villa where German employees of the "Dienststelle" lived. In the financial division of the "Dienststelle" worked several Jewish men whose work was concerned with packages destined for camps, various reports and forms, etc.

Jewish women employees sat in separate rooms and worked for various divisions of the "Dienststelle" as assistants. At the head of the "Dienststelle" was Gen. Schmelt who was, at the same time, President of Opole region. He was a man of 40-plus years, short and wore glasses. He rarely came to the office. He worked on the second floor and we employees worked on the third and fourth floors. We could not enter the building by its front entrance. By order of Lindner, we could enter only by the rear entrance.

This office had the following divisions:
1. Wirtschaftsabteilung - the Wirtschaftsleiter was Polizeiinspektor, later appointed as Polizeirat, Bernard Hentschel. He wore a green police uniform. He signed all correspondence in the stead of Schmelt. The Wirtschaftsabteilung was divided into four sections: W1, W2, W3 and W4.
2. Abteilung Kasse - Cashier Division, was subordinated to Hentschel
3. Personnel Abteilung - was subordinated also to Hentschel

Abteilung “J” wasn’t subordinate to Hentschel: Abteilung "J" had to do with deportations of Jews to camps in Germany and the Sudetenlands. Abteilung "J" was located on the fifth floor. There, Ateilung “J’s” department managers, Kuczynski and Rolle worked. Rolle worked only inside in the office while Kuczynski worked both inside and outside the office.

There was still another division ("Kommando") situated on the second floor. In this Kommando, Obersturmbannfuhrer Heinrich Lindner and Hauptsturmfuhrer Bruno Ludwig worked. Before I came to the work, there were employed also Knoll and Messner. During my time of employment in the Dienststelle, they didn’t work in the Sosnowiec Dienststelle. Knoll was assigned as working in this office, but he worked outside of Sosnowiec. Messner worked at this time as a teacher. Kuczynski and Messner came from Bukowina.

The Wirtschaftsabteilung performed the following work:
1. W1 - accounting for the costs of transporting Jews to camps
2. W2 - sending forms to camps and different equipment necessary in camps
3. W3 - supervised the stores of different goods.

I remember that, in 1942, people told that there were items confiscated from Jews from the West by workers of "Dienststelle". The Germans brought Jews from Holland, Belgium and France. In Cosel, workers of the "Dienststelle" such as Lindner and Ludwig performed selections. They separated young and healthy persons, capable of working, for assignment to labor camps and transported them to these camps. They divided these victims to labor camps after taking their jewelry and clothing from them. The stole the things they brought later to the Sosnowiec "Dienststelle". The women and children from those transports were directed to Oswiecim (Auschwitz).




 
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