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Number of pages: 5
Reference number: 1656/3/8/87
Catalogue ID: 105703
Subject: JudenratDeath marchesExtermination camps

Kenneth Roman was born in Gorlitza, Poland. He was not yet 13 years old when the Germans invaded the country. He and one of his uncles are the only survivors of a large, widely ramified family. As he was no more allowed to go to school, he became an apprentice to an electrician (a Volksdeutscher who treated him very well) and in January 1942 was summoned by the Judenrat to work for Hobag (Holzbau A.G.) at a sawmill in a forced labour camp (barter). 14 September 1942: 2,940 Jews sent to an extermination camp; 60 - among them Kenneth - who worked for Hobag were exempted.

Later he was taken, to the camps at Muszyna (also Hobag) and Mieleg where he worked for Heinkel (airplane factory) under very bad conditions. After 8 months he was evacuated to Wieliczka, where — deep underground in the salt mines -parts for aeroplanes were manufactured. From there he came to the Flossenburg in Bavaria; in a quarry, he had to dismantle Messerschmidt planes. Description of the camp - clean but otherwise terrible conditions: starvation, brutal treatment; all nationalities were represented, more Aryans than Jews. Evacuation of the camp in April 1945 because of approaching Americans. Death march of 15,000 people only 4,000 survived. They were taken by the Americans to Amberg in Bavaria, well fed and cared for. Kenneth Roman went with an Italian fellow prisoner to Italy, served there with the British-Polish army and went later to London. After an inner crisis when he wanted to renounce his Jewish faith and origin - because being a Jew means persecution and suffering - he is now a conscious and wholehearted Jew.

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/8/1077
Catalogue ID: 106273
Subject: AntisemitismChildrenJudenrat

After the German occupation of Lodz in September 1939, anti-Jewish measures started immediately. Author lived with her mother and brother and sister; they were driven from their home in January 1940 and taken to Krakow. Hoping to save their possessions, author walked back to Lodz, but found everything seized by the Germans. She found a miserable, small room and was joined by her family in March 1940. When the Lodz Ghetto was set up in May, Lasmann's could remain in this room, as it was within the ghetto boundaries. Food became very scarce, as only those registered for labour had ration cards. The morale was extremely bad. The SS undertook frequent Aktionen, and author's mother had a narrow escape. Her brother was captured, but author succeeded in getting him released. Being trained as a secretary, she found work in the food office, but in addition she had to do hard, manual labour.

She joined the Resistance movement, and her office work enabled her to translate and type radio messages for distribution. Due to famine and overcrowding epidemics broke out. The sister was taken to the hospital and author, disguised, as a nurse, tried to save her from extermination, but all the patients had already been taken away. At the request of the SS., Jewish militia men had to select people for extermination. The victims were thrown into ditches and killed with quick lime. Sonderkommandos of the militia had to round-up children and hand them to the SS. for killing. Author reports the case of Mrs Leon Naymann who had hidden her two children and had to decide whether to save her husband who was taken as a hostage or surrender one of the children. She sacrificed the child, but the whole family perished later. At the end of 1944 Lodz Ghetto was liquidated. Its survivors, author and her family among them, were taken to Auschwitz. During the selection of the young and fit on arrival, a Jewish prisoner, attracted by the author's personality, saved her mother from death.

The women were then driven into a bathhouse, stripped, shaved and given dreadful rags for clothing. They were housed in horse stables, five to a bunk. The man, who had taken a liking to the author, continued his importunities until he was caught trying to enter the women's camp C and killed. In 1944 the author's mother died from Starvation. Later on, 200 girls were taken to work in an ammunition plant in Oederan near Chemnitz. Although the conditions were better, work was hard. The author tried to sabotage their work but was warned by an overseer who disclosed his anti-Nazi feelings to her. At the end of April 1945, with battle noise approaching, the factory was evacuated. 500 women under SS guard had to march for 2 days and travel for 8 days in coal lorries without food and water, until they arrived at Theresienstadt, already taken over by the Swiss Red Cross.

After the liberation, the author returned to Lodz. Here she learned that her brother, having been liberated from Auschwitz, died from over-eating. Another brother who had escaped before the Germans entered Lodz and joined the Polish Army under General Anders was in Italy and helped her to emigrate to Australia. She arrived there in 1948 and later married Paul Konewka.

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