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[Page 76]

My brother Henech

David Zicher (Australia)

We were three brothers in our home. Each of us went through his life with his heart filled with the longing for Zion; though each of us went his own separate way, we all aspired to the same goal. So far back as I can remember, from our earliest years in Piltz, then in Wolbrom, and later in Sosnowiec, our home was saturated with the spirit of human dignity and Jewish pride. For such was the spirit of my father's whole life, and through he had paid for the "sin" of Jewish pride by being put in prison, yet even the long years of Czarist prisons could not obliterate my father's deeply ingrained human and Jewish dignity.

It was my father Shlomo Leibish, then, who provided us with the unyielding spirit, which we kept alive even in the death camp of Auschwitz.

Anyone, who has survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, knows by what means of refined torture-methods did the Germans turn human beings into inhuman beasts. Therefore I bear with pride the memory of my father, memory with which we did not part even in the death-camp of Auschwitz.

In the last months of 1943, during the main extermination campaign in Zaglembie, my whole family was transported to Auschwitz; my father and mother, my wife and son, and both my brothers. At that time I was already an old Katzetnik in the Katzet-camp. From the outset I made every effort to save my relatives from the gas-chambers. Alas, my attempts were of no avail. Except for my two brothers, all were gassed immediately after their arrival.

I arranged for my brother Henech to work in the kitchen, where I used to work too. I also connected him with our underground organization, in which he was destined to play a major role, especially during the organization of our uprising in Auschwitz. Under his command we obtained the dynamite, from which two Czech Jews prepared hand-grenades. Were it not for a provocation-act, which had disturbed our plans for blowing up of the Auschwitz crematories, my brother Henech might have been alive today. Though our uprising failed before it even began, we did succeed in blowing up one crematorium, and a group of Nazis with it. But my brother Henech, as one of the leaders of the uprising, was killed. He was caught by the Nazis and thrown into the crematorium-oven alive. My other brother found his death while fighting. As for myself, I succeeded in hiding between the dead, and thus saved my life.

Let these few words of mine be the tear over my brother's ashes scattered somewhere in the fields of Auschwitz.

Homage their holy memory!

[Page 78]

Joseph Goldberg

The uprising in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps began in the "Sonderkommando", a group responsible for the burning up of the victims' corpses. As it happened, the "Sonderkommando" employed a great number of Zaglembie Jews. One of those who were employed in the "Sonderkommando" and became later one of the leaders of the uprising was Joseph Goldberg from Sosnowiec. After the Nazis had succeeded in overcoming the resistance, they burned Joseph Goldberg alive.

Joseph Goldberg was well known in all the political circles of Sosnowiec. In spite of the fact, that he was not a worker and had never tasted the bitterness of poverty, he decided to go the way of the Socialist-Zionists. He became the leader of the right wing of Poalei-Zion in Sosnowiec, and his name came to be known not in Sosnowiec only, but in fact, far beyond the borders of Zaglembie. As I remember him, he was full of energy and lust for life. His ideology was his main aim in life, and not a means to achieve anything personal. Though I cannot remember Joseph Goldberg ever speaking at any of the masses-meetings of that period, yet he was the generally recognized leader in his movement, and that besides his being highly respected by all those who were active in spreading knowledge and social awareness among the masses of Jewish proletariat in Zaglembie.

When the time of Nazi persecutions came, Joseph Goldberg was not spared any of them. Yet the Nazi paws, which knew so well how to destroy the human dignity of any human being, were unable to defeat Joseph's spirit. All they could do to him was burn him alive; they could not destroy his morale. Even before the Nazis settled down in Zaglembie, Joseph had known whom they were and what to expect of them. In spite of his being a dreamer rather than a fighter Joseph stood well the test of fight against the Nazis, and particularly so in Auschwitz, a place whose name was synonymous to the word death. When in the beginning of 1946 I visited Auschwitz, I stood beside the walls of the crematoria, which had been blown up by Joseph. I thought then to myself: God in Heavens, what an unbelievable amount of courage and straightforward heroism did one have to possess, in order to be able to raise the flag of resistance against such murderous people as the Nazis, in face of the millions of dead.

Over twenty years have gone by since the day when I gathered some ash at the blown up wall of the crematorium in Auschwitz. I believed that that handful of dust might contain at least one speck or the hero Joseph Goldberg. I can still feel those tears, which chocked me while I stood on the very spot where our hero was thrown alive into the fire of the crematorium.

Homage his memory.

[Page 79]

Our heroes

Joseph Friedman

Herszl Dunski

Herszl Dunski. Who was this particular hero, whose figure stands so clearly out in the general fight against the Nazi foes in Zaglembie? His name happens to be very well known to me. In my work "In the Noise of Engines" I have told the story of how, on the very first morning after my arrival in Sosnowiec, I had spotted Herszl Dunski, then a small boy, struggling against his death.

Herszl Dunski was the oldest son of my friend and comrade, Chaim Dunski (now living in Israel). Herszl had never been a stranger to expressions like fight and struggle, for his father was an old and active member of both the leather-worker's union and the Bund in Sosnowiec.

Hershel's social activities started with his membership in "Skif" and "Zukunft" ("Future"): in these Bund-organizations he first found his spiritual nourishment. These two organizations did not, apparently, satisfy him, for soon he drew closer to the "Hashomer".

Herszl was a gifted child, and I used to find great pleasure in talking to him. But after his moving away to the "Hashomer" he became more withdrawn, and, although deeply touched by his drifting away from my own ideals, I did not want to hurt his feelings by painful questioning.

But Herszl was more than a gifted and experienced boy – he also was a very handsome, tall youngster.

When I was living already in Russia, I learned that my friend Dunski and his son had tried to cross the border and to join me in Siemiatycz. The only way to do so was by swimming across the river Bug.

This they tried twice, but failed. Herszl refused to go on trying. The whole idea of escaping to Russia was painful to him. He knew that his best friends, besides his whole family, were staying behind; therefore he convinced his father to go back to Sosnowiec.

Once back in Sosnowiec, he became passionately involved in the activities of his party. He was entrusted with the tremendously important task of the organization of the underground-activities. Just then his father was taken away to a labor-camp in Germany. To Herszl, attached to his father as he was, this was a shuttering blow.

Herszl found his consolation in the struggle against both the Nazis and the Judenrat. In order to increase the power of the anti-Nazi fighters, he decided to work for the uniting with the underground group of "Gordonia". After this union had been achieved, Herszl became the Leader of both these fighting groups.

After the merging of "Gordonia" with "Hashomer" their struggle gained in impetus. Herszl succeeded in obtaining a small amount of weapons. He also gained an access to the German shops, where the Jewish slaves were employed in producing clothing and shoes for the German soldiers. One of the tasks of Herszl's men working in these Shops was to hide anti-Nazi proclamations in the clothes destined for the German soldiers an the various fronts.

The Gestapo-men soon fell on the track of these proclamations and demanded of the Judenrat to disclose who the "bandits" were. This caused the struggle of Herszl's group against the Judenrat to become everus sharper.

At that point the head of Judenrat, Moniek Merin, decided to approach Mordechai Anielewicz, who came then to Sosnowiec from Warsaw. Merin demanded that Mordechai Anielewicz try to restrict the activities of Herszl's group. Having been refused by Anielewicz, Merin panicked and threatened to hand all the fighters over to the Gestapo.

Also at that time, there arrived in Sosnowiec one of the leaders of the underground movement of "Gordonia". Eliezer Geler. The aim of his visit was also to raise the morale of the fighters and to strengthen the ties between the organizations in Bendin and Sosnowiec.

Meantime Herszl's mother and sister had been arrested as hostages; by doing this the Germans were hoping to lay their hands an Herszl the leader.

The members of Herszl's group increased their hostile activities in answer to the act of imprisoning his family and them the Judenrat aet out on a search for Herszl himself.

From then on Herszl Dunski turned into a wanderer unable to risk staying longer than one night at a place. But the ring around him grew tighter and tighter with every day, and at last Moniek Merin did get hold of Herszl and handed him ever to the Gestapo.

Even from the Gestapo Herszl continued to urge his comrades not to give up the struggle. This was his call until the very last moment of his young life.

Thus perished one of our young heroes, the son of my friend Chaim-Herszl Dunski.

Homage to his memory.

The Sisters Shtshekatsh

The sisters Shtshekatsh – I knew them also very well. One was a little younger than the other, but together they were less than forty years old when they saw face to face the murderous power of the Nazi conquerors.

They were lovely girls, with a highly cultural background. With their joining the Skif, they became the ornament of the circles to which had been appointed.

They showed great interest in the classes and lectures dealing with the labor-movement and social history. They believed with all their hearts in the justice of the fight against the rich and satisfied, although they themselves never knew hunger.

As the German came, a wave of unrest was immediately felt among the Jews. Among the wandering families has also the Shtshekatsh family. They first moved to Krakow, hoping to feel safer there, but soon they were compelled to Czenstochowa. Wolf Shtshekatsh escaped to Russia, and both sisters volunteered for work in the underground movement of the "Bund".

The "Bund" in Czenstochowa was organized into an underground movement of a considerable power. There the two sisters Shtshekatsh devoted themselves passionately to the struggle. The most delicate missions were carried out by them with the utmost precision and punctuality.

According to the words of Ahron Taicher (today in Israel), Wolf Shtshekatsh found his death in the taigas of Siberia. But the sisters Shtshekatsh were newer to learn the facts of their father's tragic death out of hunger.

The Gestapo of Czenstochowa proclaimed a high prize for the capture of the two sisters. Though they both knew about the prize being set an their heads, the sisters refused to give up their activity.

One night, while on their way to carry out an assignment, they ran into a group of armed SS-men. T he two sisters opened fire on them, killed a number of the Nazis, and were killed themselves in action.

Homage their memory.

Working on a farm under underground conditions during the 2ndWorld War.

From left to right: Enzel Faerman (perished), Yeshayahu Erlich (fell in the War of Independence),
Shmuel Reichman (in the background, now in the USA), Michael Dreksler (Israel).

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