Polish Research Institute at Lund University, Sweden

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1 Witness family & given names: Mrs. XXXXXXXXXX Places of internment Born on 21 st July, 1925 Time period Placed in: Prisoner data Notes from / to (triangle, number, letter) Birth place: Cracow, Poland Till 1943 CRACOW Ghetto Occupation: Student Citizenship: Polish Religion: Jewish Till July 1943 PŁASZÓW Concentration Parents names (F/M) Ajzyk / Pola camp Last residence in Cracow July 1943 / PIONKI Poland: Present residence: Leaving for Wałbrzych, Poland August days in August 1944 August 1944 / end of 1944 Till April 15, 1945 AUSCHWITZ Tattooed, N HINDENBURG BERGEN- BELSEN The testimony consists of five pages of handwritten text and covers the following main items: GHETTO; deportation. PŁASZÓW: Construction of barracks at the cemetery; shooting people dead; executions at roll calls. Work; food; lodging; penalties. Men treated worse than women; transport. PIONKI: Admisssion. Unsafe work; children in the factory; contacts with the outside. Executions; evacuation. AUSCHWITZ: Admission; lodging. Work day; roll calls; food; distribution of meals. HINDENBURG: Lodging; sanitary conditions. Different behavior of TAUBE known from his cruelty in Auschwitz. Work; evacuation. BERGEN-BELSEN: Admission; food; sanitary conditions; epidemics. Page 1 of 5

2 Institute member at the protocol: Luba MELCHIOR (Translation from Polish by Kris Murawski 1 ) RECORD OF WITNESS TESTIMONY No. 320 Name: Mrs. XXXXXXXXXX Born: 21 st July, 1925 In: Cracow, Poland Occupation: Student Religion: Jewish Parents 1 st names: Ajzyk, Pola Last residence in Poland: Cracow Current residence: Leaving for Wałbrzych, Poland Instructed about the importance of truthful testimony as well as on responsibility and consequences of false testimony, the witness testifies as to the following: I was in: CRACOW Ghetto from: to: 1943 PŁASZÓW from: to: July of 1943 PIONKI from: July of 1943 to: August of 1944 AUSCHWITZ, tattooed N from: two days in August 1944 to: HINDENBURG from: August 1944 to: end of 1944 BERGEN-BELSEN from: to: April 15, 1945 Asked if in connection with my incarceration, my work in concentration camp, I have any specific information about camp organization, the camp regimen, prisoners work conditions, treatment of prisoners, medical and pastoral care, sanitary/hygienic conditions, and also any specific events in all aspects of the camp life, I testify as follows: The testimony consists of five pages of handwritten text and covers the following main items: GHETTO; deportation. PŁASZÓW: Construction of barracks at the cemetery; shooting people dead; executions at roll calls. Work; food; lodging; penalties. Men treated worse than women; transport. 1 Translator s notes (if any) are in italics, enclosed in square brackets.

3 PIONKI: Admisssion. Unsafe work; children in the factory; contacts with the outside. Executions; evacuation. AUSCHWITZ: Admission; lodging. Work day; roll calls; food; distribution of meals. HINDENBURG: Lodging; sanitary conditions. Different behavior of TAUBE known from his cruelty in Auschwitz. Work; evacuation. BERGEN-BELSEN: Admission; food; sanitary conditions; epidemics. At the beginning of the war in September of 1939 the fear of bombardments caused me to flee the city. We traveled in the eastern direction. We realized quickly that it did not make sense and we returned to Cracow. We lived downtown and because of this Germans confiscated our apartment. Since the end of 1939 Jews were ordered to wear white armbands with the Star of David on the right sleeve of the outside garment. These signs differentiated us Jews from other people. I do not remember exactly when, but after some months the Ghetto was established. Work was compulsory. All Jews were required to report for work. Deportations began in Old people and children were deported first. In 1943 the Cracow Ghetto was liquidated and we were sent to PŁASZÓW. Only young people were sent to the camp, all the others were deported. The PŁASZÓW camp was built on the Jewish cemetery. The monuments were erased, walkways were created. Bulldozers used to level ground for the construction of barracks often displaced bodies from graves. Parts of human bodies flying in the air could be seen. The commandant of the camp was Goeth who killed people according to his whim. Just strolling he killed anyone whom he did not like. Executions happened at roll call with everybody present. Hangings happened for trivial reasons. A 7-year old boy was hanged for singing a Russian tune. For escape of one prisoner several people from the same group could be executed. We had two roll calls daily in PŁASZÓW lasting for hours. I worked in the city, in a garden of a military post. There were tough jobs, e.g., in a quarry. My work was not bad. We worked 12 hours a day. Food rations were meagre, but I worked in a garden and I stole as much as I could. There were hungry days however. Living conditions were not bad. There were 500 people per barrack. There were 3-level bunks; we had our own linens. But life was insecure. Return to the block was not certain. And the Ordnungsdienst was annoying: we did penal exercises; they beat us, ordered work at night to carry boards, to work in the quarry. Men and women worked in the same area; it was possible to see each other. Men were treated worse than women. They were beaten; quite often the punishments were applied at roll calls: whips on bare flesh. If the beaten prisoner screamed, they started the beating again from the beginning and the victim was supposed to count the whips. The SS-men determined the penalty and Ukrainians were the executioners.

4 Transports began. My husband was sent in one of them. I asked to be included. We were placed in enclosed railroad cars, 50 people per car. We were not provided with any drink or food; it was July. Men and women traveled together in the same cars. After two days we reached PIONKI. In the camp we were led to take bath; money and gold was taken away. We retained our clothing. Later we were taken to the camp. There were family barracks. Men and women were together. We worked in a gunpowder factory. Generally, the work was very hard. I was lucky; I was assigned easy work. Work was unsafe; explosions and accidents happened often. Children worked in that factory, too. Children were claimed to be older than real, because children of 12 and above were assigned to work which gave them a protected status. Food was OK and also we had contact with the outside world through Polish workers. In that way, we managed: we traded clothing for food. We were not watched at work and we were not beaten. The foremen were German. The factory director was a very good man. There were death sentences. Hangings were in view of everybody. This was a penalty for stealing alcohol. In general, the camp was not that bad. Because the front was getting nearer, camp was evacuated. It was August We traveled in enclosed railroad cattle cars, 50 people per car. Heat was enormous and no water. We traveled for two days. At the station in AUSCHWITZ we were separated from men. We were taken to the bath, hair was cut, dresses without underwear provided and we were sent to the block. It was a stable barrack, with brick floor in the center and 2-level bunks on both sides. The block was crowded. Five people slept in a bunk; there were two blankets for all those five people. Reveille was at 4 AM and everybody was rushed out; standing at the roll call was until 9 AM or 10 AM. We had no underwear and mornings were very cold. Cold coffee was given outdoors. There were two roll calls daily. Food: 250 g bread and ½ liter of soup. Hunger was overwhelming but whoever was strong, did manage. Carrying the cauldron with soup, one stole soup. Whoever was weak, died. We organized a lot, but not everyone was able to organize. Soup was distributed outdoors at noon. We did not have spoons and waited for a bowl. One person ate after another person from a dirty bowl. Many people were sick but they did not admit it in fear of a gas chamber. They tattooed us after two days and selected from among us those who were the strongest, prettiest and youngest. They sent us in a transport by trucks. Before the transport we went to bath. We were given underwear, striped garbs, shoes and provisions. After a few hours of travel under SS escort we arrived at HINDENBURG [now Zabrze, Poland]. The camp was brand new, fenced off with barbed wire. We were watched by few guards. There were three barracks in the camp, divided into two rooms. Living conditions were good, it was clean. Sanitary conditions were good, there was a female physician, and there was a hospital. In charge of the camp stood TAUBE, an infamous murderer from AUSCHWITZ but

5 he proved to be very good to us. He only required cleanliness and for a small wrinkle in bedding he ordered kneeling as punishment. Food was not bad. We worked in an iron casting foundry. The work was hard and dirty. There was bath after work. There were sick women in the camp, but they were treated, not finished off. It was strange considering that our boss was TAUBE. The work was dangerous; burns with glowinghot iron were very frequent. The factory was very big. Workers there were civilians from different nationalities. We were not allowed to relate with them; we were guarded by SS-men. Due to the approaching front our camp was evacuated. They drove us on foot. We were supplied with provisions. It was hard to carry food and we dropped it on the way. We walked at day time and spent nights in stables or barns. We walked for a week. After that they put us in open railroad cars; it was winter. Cars had no roofs. Eighty people were in one car. We did not have any food already, and we ate snow. Cars were very crowded. It was winter and women standing by the car walls froze to them. On the way we got off the train in NORDHAUSEN by the men s camp. We were taken to a barrack where we rested for two days. Then we again boarded open railroad cars, 80 people per car, and we made it to BERGEN- BELSEN. We were led to take bath; we retained our clothes. We were taken to a block. The barrack was dirty; there were no bunks; we lay on a stone floor. Food consisted of 100 g of bread per week and ½ liter of soup daily per person. There was no water. There was no way to wash yourself, and diseases spread unbelievably fast. There were dead bodies on the blocks every day, and they were carried out. Roll calls were long. We did not think about organizing food, I was too weak for that. I got typhus. Then I had pleurisy as a complication. Luckily I was liberated by the British. They placed me in a hospital and later, in July, they sent me to Sweden where I was taken care of and cured. I regained health in a short time. Now I am going to Poland. When I arrived in Sweden, I weighed 32 kg; now I weigh 76. Read, signed, accepted (Signed) XXXXXXXXXX Witness Comments of the interviewer: Details of this testimony are without reservations, they are seen in other interviews. The testimony deserves confidence. (Signed) Luba Melchior Institute member Certifying compliance Signature: Kr. Karier Institute member

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