Memories of the Resistance
in Auschwitz-Birkenau

Translation of
Zichronot fon Widerstand Auschwitz-Birkenau

Edited by: David Szmulewski
Book Committee: Samuel Pisar, Karen Scharl, Darty Natan,
Gutman Simon, Skalka Yurek and Liberty Maxim

Published in Paris, 1984



Project Coordinator

Ada Holtzman z”l


This is a translation from: Zichronot fon Widerstand Auschwitz-Birkenau;
Memories of the Resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Edited by: David Szmulewski. Published in Paris, 1984 (Y 352 pages)

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When I was in Paris in 1994, visiting my cousins whose father Max (Mordka) Zawiercucha died a year before, I first saw David Szmulewski book. In this book, the only place in the world, Max's name is mentioned, his sufferings is recorded, his life during three years of abuse and slavery is described, his dreams and daily fight to survive are told. It cannot be left in Yiddish, a language that second generation hardly speak anymore.

My cousin Mordka Zawierucha, the “young friend” of David Szmulewski is mentioned in the book. The book has an index of more than 335 (!) names, (not all the names are included, so this is but a partial index. AH.) but without the page numbers. I don't understand Yiddish, but I can read its Hebrew (my mother's tongue) writing. For a whole night back than, I was scanning the book and on the following morning I gave to my cousin 12 bookmarks which the photocopied for me. Coming back to Israel, my father, Meir Holtzman of blessed memory, translated those 12 pages.

The family Zawierucha originated from Wyszogrod and Gombin Poland and immigrated like thousands of other Polish Jews to France, during the first years of the 30s. The family was expelled to Drancy and from there transported to Auschwitz. They were gassed to death upon arrival at Auschwitz from Drancy, on July 1942. Max (Mordka Zawierucha) was the only survivor. He survived three years in the ghenna (hell) Auschwitz. Father Zajnwil, mother Perla neé Gostynska and two sisters Ryfka and Fajga perished. One family wiped off the earth. One out of millions. Perla Zawierucha nee' Gostinska was my grandfather Jakob's sister. The end of the Gostinski family is already known, tens of descendants from Gombin, Zychlin, Gostynin, Zakroczym, Lodz, Wyszogrod: extermination...

But being so comprehensive and a first sight testimony of the concentration and death camp Auschwitz, I got very interested and looked for the book in Yad Vashem where I found it in their extensive collection. I photocopied it all and decided such a document should be translated to Hebrew and English later (if any financing institute found), otherwise, the book is doomed for oblivion.

It highlights the heroism of the victims in that other planet “Auschwitz”. It proofs that whenever it was possible, even against all odds, the Jews fought and resisted the Nazi German oppressors, and the Jews didn't go as sheep to the slaughter. It also describes the horrible Nazi mechanism of extermination, abuse, oppression and humiliation, which killed the spirit of the victims, not only their bodies. The organization of resistance in its own was already a victory over evil.

It is also a breathtaking account of the day-to-day life near the crematoria, in the mist of the ashes...

My late father was willing to continue with the translation, but life is cruel and he died unexpectedly last September, before project could be materialized.

I recently found another Yiddish speaking High School director in pension, Mr. Haim Avi Mor who agreed to do this for a modest symbolic sum, yet to be paid to him. I commissioned him the work and paid an advance from my own pocket.

I start fund-raising through the Internet for this project, aiming to translate and publish the book in Hebrew at the first stage, as no resources to do also the English translation.

Haim Avi Mor (original name was “Piekarz”) is a retired Gymnasium director and felt close to the subject, having lost also all his family in the Holocaust. He is from the small town of Zelachow. He translated already the whole book!

I hope anyone will recognize the importance of this project and will help me so that the chapter of the resistance in Auschwitz, the chapter of survival, heroism and fight will not be forgotten. It is also the story of the anonymous Jewish inmates who found the courage and strength to resist their oppressors in the other planet Auschwitz; Their stories were never told as most of them did not see the light of liberation; or were silent about the tragic past, taking their testimony with them to their graves.

Dawid Szmulewski was their voice! His book should be translated and published!

Ada Holtzman
Tel Aviv 1.12.1999



Introduction by Samuel Pisar 9
In the Streets of Kolo 13
Three Years in Eretz Israel 19
In the Botwin Group 24
The Establishment of Auschwitz 29
  1. Why Auschwitz? 29
  2. The First Jewish Prisoners (“Kaczetniks”) in Auschwitz 31
  3. The List of Crimes 32
A Parade (“Appell”) in the Death Camp 37
The Beginning of the Resistance 51
The Tragedy and the Heroism of the Greek Jewry 65
The Factory for Shoes Paste “Erdal” 83
“Kol Nidrei”in the Camp 89
Christian Holiday 94
The Spanish Traditions of Botwin in the Camp 102
  1. The Organization 104
  2. The Organization' Activities 105
Balicki Ziegmont 107
  1. The Hiding Place 113
  2. The Strategic Plan of the Revolt 116
  3. The Free Balicki 117
A Funeral in Auschwitz 122
Good People in the Women Camp 127
  1. The Women Camp 127
  2. Orly Rejchrat 128
  3. The Meeting 129
  4. Receiving Water 130
  5. A Birthday Present 131
  6. Dr. Adeliada Hotwal 132
  7. Dr. Monci Szwalwowa 133
  8. Dr. Olga Nikiticzna 135
  9. The Women Heroines 137
  10. Block of the Leprosy Sick 137
The Second Commando of the Roof-Covering Workers 142
  1. History 142
  2. The Commando of the Roof Covering Workers and their Role in the Resistance. 144
  3. How to remove a bad Kapo? 149
  4. Our Contacts with the Doctors 152
  5. Philipek becomes a Merchant 155
  6. Szimon Gutland - the Expert 147
  7. Melinka and Baretzki 159
The Escapee's from the Camp 163
  1. Kostek and Tomek 163
  2. They Were Three... 170
  3. The Informer - Provocateur: Doroszewicz and his Victim 174
  4. 24 Days in a Bunker 176
  5. The First Swallows Leave the Camp 181
  6. Two Jews visit the Nuncio of the Pope 187
  7. Wolodia 188
The Revolt of the Sonderkommando 197
The Long March from Auschwitz to Berlin 232
  1. the last Days in the Camp 232
  2. In the Starving Transport 235
From Berlin to Dachau and Kaufering 241
  1. Berlin 241
  2. Dimitri Korbishev 242
  3. Sachsenhausen 243
  4. Russian Partisans in Chains 244
  5. “Privileged” Prisoners (Kateczniks) 244
  6. Continue in the Wandering Roads 245
  7. To Dachau 248
  8. Dachau - Allach 250
  9. Kaufering near Landsberg 250
The Trial of Dr. Wladislav Dering against the Writer Leon Yuris 253
Official Letters and Documents with Commentaries 268
  1. First Steps 270
  2. Frankfurt for the Second Time 275
  3. Dix Visits Auschwitz 277
  4. “The Pleasure Trip” of the Provocateurs 279
  5. The Nazi Archive 281
  6. The Interrogation 283
  7. The Viennese Meetings 284
  8. On the Eve of the Process 286
  9. The First Impression 287
  10. The Role of the Diplomats 288
  11. The Pre-History of the Local Vision 293
  12. Again in Auschwitz 294
  13. The Verdict 296
  14. The Jackals 297
  15. A Messenger from the General Motzar 299
  16. The Last Road of Professor Jan Sehan 300
From Slavery to Freedom 319
  1. Wood for Bread 319
  2. The March - First Day, One Day 325
  3. The Death March (Todesmarsche) - Second day 326
  4. ...And the Evening and the Morning were the Third Day 327
  5. On the Eve of Redemption (“Geula”) 329
“With the Wanderer's Staff in Hand”... 334
From Vienna to Paris 339
Partial List of Names 340
List of Photographs and Documents 347


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