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[Page 534]

With a friend in need in Zaglembia…

Dr. Natan Eck (Eckron)* – Jerusalem

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld


Sections from the book by Dr. Natan Eck (Eckron) – “Wandering in the path of death” (Existence and compromise during the days of destruction). Published by “Yad Vashem”, Jerusalem 1960

…Where to go? Logically, it would be best to look for a haven in a place where the “deportation” had already taken place. Of the places of this kind, it seemed to my young friend, Eliezer Geller, and myself that the city of Bedzin was the most appropriate. In this city, like nearby Sosnowiec and the other places in Upper Eastern Silesia, the “deportation” had taken place on the 18th of August 1942. From what we heard, a relatively small number of Jews had been deported from there, from Zaglembia, and a large population had remained there. We had friends there and hope they could give us support.

Another reason should be noted, because of which we were drawn to Bedzin, an imaginary reason, a childish one: We deluded ourselves that we could try and escape from Bedzin to a neutral country, since it was part of the “Reich”… since throughout Germany there was unrestricted travel (not to the Jews, of course) and, hence, we would try to reach a place close to the border between Germany and Switzerland. If we reached this place, perhaps we'd then find a tactic to cross over to a neutral country. We'd try our luck…

On thing we didn't consider, that in Bedzin as well, where the “deportation” had already taken place, it was impossible to remain out of harm's way. At the time, in all our conjectures and fears we still hadn't considered the possibility of total extermination. Our assumption was, that the enemy had decided to kill large number – hundreds of thousands and perhaps, a million Jews – and that obviously, the death sentence would not miss out, any Jewish settlement. This idea was also so crazy, that it wasn't accepted except in the hearts of a few. Still even the greatest pessimist had not considered the possibility of a satanic plan of exterminating a whole people – truly all, till the last person – in September 1942.

…We wrote to our friends (members of “Gordonia” and “Hitachdut”) in Bedzin, that we intended moving there. Their reply was: No! They said that we shouldn't come, because the situation there was very bad – they were cramped, overcrowded, living in poverty and Jews were also being deported from there. There is only one Jew amongst them, that unfortunately the Germans haven't deported him and it's a shame – this is the head of the central Jewish council in the region: Moniek Meryn.

…We were sorry to receive a negative reply from our friends, but we decided, that we wouldn't act according to their reply. We understood that they were wary, that our arrival in Bedzin would be a burden and an effort. In retrospect, we had no doubt in our minds, that after we reached them, they would do their utmost to help us. The question that remained was how to get there…

*

… I arrived with my family in Bedzin. I went into the apartment of a friend, Dawid Liwer. He lived with his wife and son in one room, but he did not hesitate to let us in.

– “In a room that has space for three – there is room for six…” – he said.

After all that we had gone through, I felt tired and broken to the point of being completely lacking in energy. We came with empty hands; we did not have anything, apart from the clothing that covered our bodies. Apart from that, new troubles befell us. My daughter felt ill with measles and I was sick with a liver disease. I managed to put my wife and daughter in the Jewish hospital, and I went into the “Kibbutz Borochov” apartment in order to rest for a period and recover.

The Zionist youth in Zaglembia, in all its inclinations, was very active in the field of resistance. In Bedzin and Sosnowiec there were also similar preparations. The youths would whisper, speak in hints and winks, but nothing could be hidden in a small town. The “kehila” knew what was happening and they didn't object. Some of them perhaps thought that it was still possible to save some Jews, and they endeavored, at least, to postpone the end.

At that time, Frumke Plotnicka and her sister, Hansze, were living in Bedzin. The main goal was to obtain weapons, and to get hold of two or three pistols, there was those that sent special messengers to Warsaw. I remember one young girl from “Hashomer Hazair”, who left for Warsaw to bring a treasure of this kind, and on the way back, she was caught. Her name was Pejsachson, the daughter of a respectable and distinguished Bundist businessman in Bedzin.

*
…A rainy day in January 1943. The air was saturated with a cold fog that penetrated every limb. Traveling in a “tram” from Bedzin, in a special carriage for Jews, I arrived in “the capital city”, Sosnowiec, that during Hitler's regime had become renown. It had become the capital city for the Jews, residents of the area that had been known than as “Eastern Upper Silesia”.

On the same day, I went up to the residence of the “Leiter” [leader, person in control] (Moniek Meryn), who was a Jew that the Germans had appointed to manage this same region. The journey had not been easy, although it had only taken about a half an hour. During the whole time, I had been in the congestion and filth of the Jewish carriage, however the main thing was, that for the whole time I had been in there I was grasped by fear. I knew that, from time to time, the German soldiers checked the travelers and demanded that they show their documents.

[Page 535]

As for my wretched self, I did not have an identity card since I had lived in Bedzin for several months without documents, without permission and even illegally. If they had discovered, heaven forbid, that I, nor my wife and not even my daughter, had identity papers, the penalty of the three of us would be to be sent Auschwitz. For this reason, I went up to the “Leiter” capital to request from his people, that they obtain “legalization” for us.

When I entered the “central” building, I met Molcedski, the president of the Bedzin “kehila”, on the stairs and he had also come to appear before the “Leiter”. On seeing me he called out: “It's a good thing that you came, go up there, they requested to see you”.

For one small moment, I believed that I had been remembered and they had organized a “legalization”, however, as he continued it turned out that they needed me for a completely different matter. They wished to requisition some work, some sort of essay. I didn't completely understand what it was about.

I went up to Mrs. Czarna, who was sort of a “king's aide” and stood in for him [Merin]. She was a bright woman, talented, energetic, but detested by the Jewish public. She asked me, if what she'd heard about me was true, that I knew how to write in German. I replied that it was true, since I had studied in a German University. I immediately tried leading the discussion to the matter of my identity card.

– “Ah, no! There is a more important matter. You are asked to prepare lectures for a certain German, who holds the fate of us all is in his hands.

My heart stopped inside me. I understood that the meaning of “lectures” was something that the Gestapo had imposed on various Jews. This was the devil's way, of casting a net out at the feet of future victims. By the expression on my face, Mrs. Czarna understood that I was unnerved by this proposal.

– “I don't understand”, she quickly added, “The German needs to deliver a lecture to his fellows in a course, or at their seminar, that will take place in the coming days. The lecture is on the history of Poland. Since he is lazy and also illiterate, we are suggesting that you prepare the lecture.”

– “What is meant by the history of Poland? What is the exact subject?” – I asked.

– “Simply, an hour lecture on the whole history of Poland, from its origins till the present day” – She explained.

I stood confused and not knowing what to reply. She continued:

– “I heard that you are a history teacher by profession, isn't that true?”

– “Yes, but…”

– “Again the “but”. They are strange people. They continually request favors for themselves, but when asked to help us, they immediately find excuses from nowhere” – she cried angrily.

I toiled for three days, including half of the nights. I must admit that in spite of everything, I enjoyed the work… for some time I had not tasted literary or intellectual work, at all. I had invested my mind and most of myself into one thousand years of history.

I scrutinized the work, stressed and also removed what I wanted to remove. I formulated and refined it according to my taste, and the work as a whole, pleased me.

Some time later, I met Mrs. Czarna and she told me that the German had used the lecture and he was very satisfied. I was also satisfied, since I received a decent payment and I could buy meat and eggs for my home for a couple of days…


* Dr. Natan Eck (Eckron), is from the leaders of the “Hitachdut” in Poland, one of the founders of the underground party. He was active in “Yidishe Satzila Elinhilf” (Y. S. A.), participated in “Tekuma” (an institute for cultivating Hebrew culture in the Warsaw Ghetto). He was one of the editors of “Slovo Melodich” (The word of youth), the underground “Gordonia” newspaper. During the period of the large “Aktziot” he moved to Zaglembia. As a South American citizen he was sent to the Vital camp. He was deported to Auschwitz, and on the way escaped to Paris, and lives in Israel today. He is amongst those active in “Yad Vashem” in Jerusalem. Return


Under the soldiers' boots

By Hadasa Priwes (Israel)

Translated from Yiddish by M. Hampel

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld

(Sections from the Yiddish book by Mrs. Hadasa Priwes, who was born in Zaglembia, “In Roich fon Brzezinky[1])

…Already on the first day of the invasion into Sosnowiec, the Germans murdered tens of Jews. Thousands of Jews were arrested and locked up the factory belonging to the industrialist, Shen (?) They were held for two weeks and tortured. After their beards were shaved, they were released. Many Jews returned to their homes. The Germans shot them and threw their bodies into mass graves. They incinerated the synagogue. Pages from “Shemot” [Book of Exodus] from burnt books flew about the streets. The houses near the synagogue stood blackened from soot with their windows, shattered and broken. The area around the synagogue was a pile of bricks and ashes, a mound of debris, from which a choking smoke emanated.

…The invaders ordered the establishment of a “Judenrat”, under the control of the murderers, each time laying down new decrees. The first decree was: The Jews had to hand in their radio receivers to the “kehila”. The second decree: Jewish houses had to be closed up by four o'clock in the afternoon and from the time onwards, Jews were forbidden from appearing in the streets.

Yet another decree: Jews were forbidden to travel by train or tram and they were forbidden to sell or buy any item. Once again: For three days, the Jews were obliged to supply a large quantity of gold and silver as a “kontributzia”[2]. In deed, candelabras, silver goblets and other valuables were brought from all the houses to the “kehila”.

Immediately after this, typewriters, electric heaters, electric kettles, cameras and so on, were confiscated.

…The “kehila” from all this “property” became the “Jewish kingdom” with all its clerks and many offices. Every Friday an official German newspaper appear, which we “awaited”, and not because of the “news”, rather because of the new decrees…

On “Hosha'na Rabbah” (the seventh day of Succoth), 5700 [October 1939], during prayer in 1 Glowackiego Street, the news arrived, that six transports, covered with tarpaulin, had stopped next to the “kehila”.

[Page 536]

The congregation quickly dispersed. The streets emptied out completely. Everyone hid out in their own homes and waited fearfully in the light of the events taking place outside. After a short interval, the results were known: The six trucks dispersed, taking with them three hundred youths who had been captured. Soul wrenching cries and weeping cut through space. The fathers and mothers of the captured youths ran about the streets in helplessness. They gathered near the “kehila” but it was locked and nobody came.

…Each day the situation grew worse and worse. “News”, once again: Every Jew was required to wear a wide white band with a blue “magen david” on his left sleeve. As it happens, this decree was received with apathy, since our national emblem was worn with pride.

…After a series of various and continual decrees, persecutions and degradations, a new chapter came: “Aktziot”. “Acquisitions” of the sick and crippled began. At night, soldiers would go past houses and take out the sick and invalids who were sent to an unknown destination, from which they would never return…

The tears in our eyes had yet dried after the first “Aktzia”, and we were once again shocked, as a result of the action, the murder of four Jews, amongst them, father and son, for no reason. The Germans forced all the Jews and Poles to be present at the murder, in Modrzejowska Street, opposite the “Rozboy” market, that bordered at the end of Kollataja Street. This place had always been haunted by trouble, since more than once, a Jew that passed through here in the “normal” and “good” times before the war, and been badly beaten up. The bodies were left hanging for three days and nights, under the soldiers' guard. If this wasn't enough: two additional victims were added…

Zag536.jpg - Jewish policemen in the Sosnowiec Ghetto
Jewish policemen in the Sosnowiec Ghetto

… One Shabbat eve [Friday evening] we heard the heavy footsteps of the German soldiers, and we immediately heard a shout: Open up! My knees trembling, I went to open the door, and before I'd managed to open it, two stocky German soldiers burst into my apartment.

– “Give me the keys to your business!” – they ordered.

It seems that I didn't understand what was being asked of me, since it had been all so sudden and unexpected.

– “Wo sind die Schlüssel?” (Where are the keys?)

– “I don't know!” – I replied.

– “Look, it is now 6:30 and at 7:00 we need to receive the keys and if not: “wirst du was erleben!”… (Your fate is liable to be terrible!)

At exactly 7:00 o'clock, to their satisfaction, they left with the keys in their hands…

Life became pointless. We were forced to sell jewellery and household items, in order to buy bread. My husband, Zelig, went to the “kehila” every day to request work. He spent hours and hours there to no avail.

Despite the prohibition and mortal danger under which the Jews were situated, they endangered themselves and traded with the gentiles who brought butter, cheese, eggs and other food items.

Each day the hunger and the shortages concerned us more and more. There wasn't the money to buy the essential commodities that were allocated according to food stamps.

Previously wealthy people sent their children with large pots to the ordinary cheap kitchen to receive some soup and slices of bread for their family members. These were the “meals” rationed out by “Tania Kochnia” (cheap kitchen) in the “Talmud Torah” building on Jasna Street.

[Page 537]

If the meals were distributed from 10:00 o'clock, there would be long lines waiting from dawn.

At the beginning, 5,000 meals were handed out every day. Later, twice as many were distributed, as another kitchen was added. Apart from these two kitchens there was the “Intelligentsia kitchen” for the “kehila” clerks in the “Rialto” cinema hall, in Warsawska Street, that handed out 1,200 lunches each day.

…The Germans divided the city into sectors. The Jewish streets were separated from the Polish streets.

They began catching men and sending them to labor camps. The “kehila” demanded volunteers to the “Arbeitseinsatz”, saying that if the youths were sent to the camps, the parents would stay in their homes. However, who was willing to deliver their loved ones to the murderers? It was already known then that the meaning of “Arbeitseinsatz” was: forced labor, hard labor and starvation torture. Since “volunteers” were not found, the Jewish “militia” took on the contemptible task with great zest and fulfillment… each and every night, the kidnapping took place, and later in the day time, as well.

…The soldiers “had a good time” and “visited” Jewish homes. It was enough that they shouted “Hände hoch!” (Hands up!), and all the people of the house would stand fossilized without blinking watching how they robbed, rummaged and overturned cupboards, and from the drawers they took all that they could lay their hands on. As they left, they didn't hesitate to “honor” us by a farewell beating…

…Thus we lived grasped in panic and ceaseless tension. Every noise outside caused us to jump. Every knock on the door froze our blood. If a night passed without a “visit” – we breathed a little easier and we'd come out with a large winning…

These nightmares and horrors, that did not leave us for weeks, months and years, collapsed and depressed us, bodily and spiritually. Jewish life became anarchy.


1.“In the smoke of Brzezinka” - “Brzezinka”, a concentration camp in southern Poland not far away from Auschwitz. Return

2. “kontributzia” – contribution [fine] in the occupied area for the maintenance of the occupation forces. Return


[Page 537]

The youth of Sosnowiec in the resistance movement

Attorney N. A. Szternfinkel (Tel Aviv)

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld


During in 1940 “Hashomer Hatzair”, “Hanoar Hazioni” and “Gordonia” were established by the youths of the city as underground groups, seeking to arouse a resistance movement, and later on also participated in the struggle against Hitler's troops. These groups included amongst others: Zvi Dunski, Lipek Minc, Kalman Tencer, Szmul Rozencwajg, Ina Geldbard, Hela Szancer (Kasia), Pola Kacz, Zvi Zolterson, the Kozoch brothers – Bolek and Josef, Samek Majtlis, Lola Pomerancblum, Karol Tuchsznajder, Sala Bergman, Lolek Rozencwajg, Jana Zimmerman, Leon Blat, Fridka Oksenhendler, Aszer Glicensztajn, Lipek Tanenwurcel, Rutke Landau, Fela Posluszna, Cecylia Chamelnicka, Heniek Diamand, Herta Frydler, Lola Zimmerman.

Zvi Dunski led the “Hashomer Hatzair” group. During the period that the workshops were founded, they began a propaganda campaign against the decisions made by the “Judenrat”. They believed that the workshops were producing weapons for the German army and hence they were aiding the enemy. The central committee of the “Judenrat” in Upper Eastern Silesia called upon the youths to stop their underground activity and called for cooperation, nonetheless, the call remain unanswered.

In June 1942, Mordechai Anielewicz approached the group, clandestinely. He passed on information about the state of the “Generalgouvernement”, about the deportations, the gas chambers and the incinerators. He called upon them to be prepared to fight, and opposed standing by whilst masses of Jews were put to death, in the vain hope that a handful of people could save the day. Weapons needed to be found and young Jews with “Aryan” papers should be sent to the Polish labor camps, in which the conditions were better and there were greater chances of survival.

Mordechai Anielewicz had discussions with representatives of the central “Judenrat” committees, in order to find out for himself the reaction to this activity. There were those that believed that after the “deportation” of the sick, elderly and those unable to work, they would be able to save the remainder.

After Anielewicz left the city, Dunski's group contacted Bedzin, Chrzanów and Warsaw, in order to obtain false documents. For this purpose, Ina Geldbard and Hela Szancer traveled to Chrzanów and Warsaw as Aryans, however, they encountered great difficulties along the way.

At exactly the same time, Eliezer Geler, a “Gordonia” representative, arrived clandestinely in Sosnowiec. The purpose of his visit, as well, was to instigate the resistance movement.

After the tragedy of the 12th of August 1942 the resistance movement began growing. Leaflets were secretly printed and directed to the Jewish public calling on them to refuse to respond to the labor recruitment and refuse the orders of the “Judenrat”.

In Gorecki's “shop” several leaflets were found in boots that were destined for the German army. An unknown hand placed a German language leaflet in each finished boot, calling for the soldiers at the Eastern front to abandon the war, be taken captive in their masses, since it was waste of life, and that the Germans had already been defeated, anyway. A state of shock pervaded the workshop. Meryn threatened to punish Dunski and his group. In fact, these leaflets were the handiwork of a group from the “Noar Hazioni” [Zionist youth], in which the most active were the brothers, Bolek and Josef Kozoch. One of the members of the “Noar Hazioni” worked in the workshop and had the opportunity to carry out this deed.

[Page 538]

Leaflets were distributed amongst the Jews of Sosnowiec in November 1942, which called to engage the Hitlerite authorities and was against the “Judenrat”. They were called to obtain weapons, to be used at the most appropriate time. These leaflets were signed by the “Black Hand”. The members of the resistance movement found addresses of German weapons factories in the phone book, and sent them threatening letters. These letters called for a stop to the weapons industry and war equipment, since the Germans had already been defeated in the war.

As part of the struggle against the “Judenrat”, it was decided to assassinate Meryn. Dunski and two comrades took on themselves to carry out this decision. They stood in wait for a long time, however, Meryn arrived completely surrounded by soldiers, and the plan was not carried out.

Dunski and his comrades were intensely sought after, and the whole of Sosnowiec was dangerous for them. Dunski attempted to obtain “Aryan” papers, in order to go out into the forest, to the partisans.

Zag538.jpg [7 KB] - Zvi Dunski
Zvi Dunski

In December 1942, the police searched his apartment, but didn't find him. His mother and 14 year old sister were taken and sent to the orphans home in Bedzin and were threatened with deportation. Dunski did not turn up, though his mother and sister were later released. In January 1943, the police arrested tens of people, from the families of Dunski's followers, and were locked in a cellar and information on the whereabouts of members of the resistance movement and its leaders, was demanded from them, however, they didn't say a word.

At the beginning of February 1943, Hela Szancer's home, in which Dunski was hiding out, was surrounded by the police. Hela was arrested and Dunski escaped, however, they chased after him and caught him. Dunski was handed over to the Germans and was imprisoned with Lipak Minc in the jail on Ostrogorska Street. They were tortured terribly there, but did not succumb. In letters that they sent from the jail to their friends in the resistance, they summoned them to carry on the struggle against the Germans, for life or death. After several weeks they were transferred to Katowice. Dunski was executed there whilst Lipak Minc was killed in Auschwitz.

In January 1943, Franka Sultanik organized an underground group, who were former members and supporters of the communist party.

Franka had contact with Bedzin, and also contacts with the revolutionary Polish underground movement. The plans of this group were cancelled when its members were deported to the German camps.

In the Srodula ghetto (between Bedzin and Sosnowiec) the underground activity continued. A group of the “Hanoar Hazioni” managed to get hold of a number of pistols, which were hidden in Samek Majtles's apartment. They changed their jackets to make them similar to those of the “Hitlerjugend” [Hitler Youth], so that they could wear them beyond the walls of the ghetto. This group also had its own bunker, a refuge for its members in the event that there was an “Aktzia”, however, the groups activities were silenced after the death Josef Kozoch.

The operation to save Jewish youth continued. Boys were sent with “Aryan” papers to work in Germany, Austria and Slovakia. Bolek Kozoch worked diligently on the preparation of such “Aryan” papers, and for this reason, the Germans later executed him. His friends obtained unique fingerprints, letterheads of various German companies, a Gestapo stamp and identity cards, and various other papers. Hydrogen Peroxide liquid, which was used for coloring hair, was used to erase the Jewish family names and Polish names were written in their place. They would also prepare suitable work permits and during the rush hours it was possible to cross over the border, using these papers. Many people fell into the hands of the Gestapo, but a few made it and survived.

On the same day that 60,000 Sosnowiec Jews were assembled in Sosnowiec, Bedzin and Dabrowa, they were divided into four categories: Working families, that were permitted to remain; Youth that were sent to labor camps; Families that had working in part, whose fate was in the balance; Sick and elderly that were condemned to extermination. Between the 12th and 18th of August, 8,000 Jews were executed.

(A section from the Polish book “The extermination of the Zaglembian Jews” by A. N. Szternfinkel)



[Page 539]

How heroes fell

Chawa Lenczner (Israel)

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld


When I was in the Aryan section of Bedzin, I learnt about the bunker-laundry and of the tragic death of the comrades that were located there: Frumke Plotnicka, Baruch Geftak and his girlfriend Frumke Dolnoroza, Cypora Bocian, Chedva Bernard, Tuvia Deworski and his girl friend Pnina Jakubowicz.

All the indications show that Baruch served as a scout. He observed two SS men with their faces to the wall. He shot at them and killed them on the spot. Mayhem broke out. A reinforcement troop, equipped with machine guns and hand grenades, was immediately brought in. The whole area surrounding the bunker was blown up, and from the explosions the bunker entrance was revealed and the Germans threw in hand grenades and fired their machine guns.

The operation continued for an hour. The murderers then flooded water into the bunker. Finally, the Jewish police were ordered to take out the bodies that had been wounded by bullets and water. Seven bodies were thrown out, one on top of each other, their faces towards the open sky.

One of the policemen told us that the Germans had been dumbfounded by the way their eyes looked, and were most amazed by Frumke Dolnoroza who looked like a flowering rose.

One of the comrades, who was still alive, tried sitting up and opened his mouth to say something, however, a murderer silenced him forever: shooting him in the head.

Frumke Plotnicka, with a will of steel, wanted to say her last words to the murderers, however, in vain. An order was given to “present” each of them a number of bullets.

One of the policemen told us that when the comrades were taken out of the bunker, they were holding their weapons, their fists tight and clenched and did not release their weapons.

The bodies lay there, oozing blood, hot, out in the open. The following day a black car came from Auschwitz and took the seven bodies that had already begun to rot.

Stand up Israel! How heroes fell!

(Shmuel II, chapter 1, 19)


[Page 540]

The extermination camp in Auschwitz

(Testimony of M. L. from Bedzin)

Edited by Mordechai Hampel

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld

From the “An explanation of the Holocaust” (documents about the suffering of the Jews under the Nazi rule), edited by Dr. Israel Klojsner, published by the Rescue Committee of the Jewish Agency.

The name M. L. from Bedzin, whose testimony is given on the extermination camp, is noted in the book with his initials and the editor does not know his full name.

M. L. was brought to Auschwitz on the 1st of August 1943 and was marked with the number 132564 that was tattooed on his arm. 3,000 Jews were brought to the camp with L., of which 85% were sent to the gas chambers, and not listed. L. was destined to work as a store-man in the clothing department.

Auschwitz camp no. 2 was divided up into various departments:

Camp A   Quarantine
Camp B The Czech. Those exiled from Theresienstadt were gathered here
Camp C The storerooms
Camp D Central camp
Camp E Gypsy camp
Camp F Sick camp
Camp G Disinfection sheds

Apart from these there were gas chambers in the camp that were always described to the victims as bathhouses, and two incinerators.

It should be noted, that at the beginning of every trip, that brought the people to the gas chambers, there was always a Red Cross authority, holding tanks that had a tag with the word “Kresolit” on them. The tanks contained a lethal gas, stored as granules that looked like starch. When the chamber was filled with people, the gas was introduced via a small aperture. Death came after two or three minutes, according to the gas quantity that had been introduced into the chamber.

The bodies were stripped of all valuables before being incinerated, including gold teeth and fillings. Their hair was shorn, later to be used in industry.

The physically strong men were sent to the quarantine. Normally, they were held there for three weeks. At the end of this period, each of the men were allocated a place in the various sheds of the central camp, according to the prisoner's profession, and they would be organized into work teams. The Jews were sorted separately. Other work groups were sent to other concentration camps and those that remained were destined to work outside the camp. They would leave every morning for work accompanied by cheerful music…

The prisoners working in various jobs were not out of the danger of being gassed. From time to time an inspection took place amongst them and those found no longer capable of working, were sent to the gas chambers. When groups were brought from outside to be exterminated, there weren't enough of them to fill the gas chambers, so the Germans would make up the number from camp workers.

The general number of prisoners varied. In 1942 there was estimated to be about 30,000 Jews. In January of the same year, their numbers reached 13,000 with 6,000-7,000 people being killed by gas.

The Czech camp held 8,000 men and women, of various ages, who were brought to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt. They were in the camp for six months and later all gassed within a 24-hour period.

There were no children in the camp, not even in the women's departments. The children were gassed together with the adults, or murdered in different ways immediately on their arrival. During the final period of the camp, it seemed that children were also permitted to be with the women. A contradiction to this situation was in the miner's school for Jewish youth, established by the Germans.

There were production plants in the area around the camp; S. G. Farben would produce synthetic rubber in them. Jews from Western Europe were engaged in the years 1941-1942 in building these plants under inhumane conditions, till they dropped dead like flies. 6,000-7,000 Jews worked in this plant and many were involved in selling coal in the area.

The women were imprisoned in a special camp. The regulations there were certainly similar to that of the men's camp. The women didn't wear special clothes.

The prisoners, themselves, kept the sheds in order, and the Gestapo the camp, in general. The Jews could serve as block clerks, however the manager was not Jewish.

The Camp commander was the renowned, Schwarzhuber. After him there were Korfnik from Königshütte and Kelm from Lodz.

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