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Number of pages: 4
Reference number: 1656/2/6/1133
Catalogue ID: 104926
Subject: CatholicsRescueAuschwitz main camp (concentration camp)
Summary:

An interview with a doctor’s widow who had lived in comfortable circumstances in Vienna, until the Nazis took over. After sending her only child, a ten-year-old daughter, to a well-off Dutchman and his Jewish wife in Holland, she tried in vain to get an opportunity of emigrating with her husband. At last, she agreed to take a domestic job in an English household, offered her by a Catholic organisation, because she was told about a chance, that her husband could follow her there. She had been a most efficient secretary, but at her new job she soon knew that she could not cope with the work in the farmer’s big household at Eversham, Worcestershire. Much worse, she discovered to be pregnant after a week’s time. In her despair, she wrote for help to the couple in Holland who were very happy with her child and had offered her their assistance in case of need; she was deeply disappointed and told her plight to her employers and from that moment on gratefully enjoyed their unlimited kindliness and generosity until well after the time of her delivery of a still-born child.

All the time during the War, she tried in vain to hear from her child or her husband. In 1945, she traced the Dutch couple and received the news, that the lady, before going into hiding herself, had taken her daughter to a Jewish children's home, from where she together with all other children had been sent to Auschwitz and gassed.

Later, she learned by chance, that her husband had served as a doctor at Theresienstadt. Once he had to accompany a transport to Auschwitz, and as an exception had returned, but he did not come back, the second time.

Number of pages: 7
Reference number: 1656/3/4/393
Catalogue ID: 105333
Subject: RescueBergen-Belsen (concentration camp)Auschwitz-Birkenau (concentration and...
Summary:

Mrs Rieger's child was taken from a Jewish home in Berlin and put to death; this was about 1939. Mrs Rieger was drafted for forced labour and worked at the firm of “Auto Kabel”, where she was treated very kindly by the Lady Foreman, a Mrs Brand, as well as by the head of the firm.

In 1943 she went to live in hiding, working illegally for the film author Axel Eggebrecht.

Finally she was arrested and taken first to Auschwitz, then to Bergen Belsen, and finally to Salzwedel. From the last named camp she was liberated by the Americans.

Number of pages: 16
Reference number: 1656/3/4/458
Catalogue ID: 105337
Subject: AntisemitismDenunciationsMixed marriage
Summary:

Personal report. When the author was about ten years old, the family would be blackmailed by an SA-man, so that they moved into another district to escape from him. In the Margareten-Lyzeum, Ifflandstrasse, attended by 14 Jewish girls, the atmosphere was so antisemitic, that she left the school after some months. She attended a Jewish school until October 1937, and as she hoped to emigrate, went in for dressmaking. Compulsory work: Moeller, Children's Coats, Schützenstrasse (p.2). With the Fabrikaktion, her parents were deported to Auschwitz; on the way, her mother threw a postcard out of the wagon, which was sent to Berlin in an envelope with the words added: “Eine Frau, die noch menschlich denkt”. There came no further sign of life from them; but her brother, an electrician, survived the camp (p.3).

In February 1943, the author went into hiding; she lived with Turkish Jews whose daughter was her friend. Through a Jewish informer, Rechtsanwalt Jacob, they were found out; during the house-search, the Jewish informer Behrend fell in love with the author which circumstance she utilised to escape from the Gestapo as well as from him. Through her customer Lola Alexander she found refuge in the family Daene's house at Conradshöhe, where Miss Alexander and other Jews already lived illegally, in August 1943 (p.3-5). She started to manage the Dänes’ lending library in Moabit and would meet her friend on their way home at the S-Bahn Station Gesundbrunnen, every night. There, on 8 August 1944, she suddenly felt her arm grasped by the informer Behrend. She threw herself under an incoming train and was rescued with her foot smashed (p.6). She lay in the Jewish Hospital dangerously ill, for many months; Dr. Lustig rescued her from being sent to Auschwitz through a very long treatment instead of an amputation (p.7-8). Fever and starvation; living in the cellar. When all patients were released, on 29 April, she was too weak to leave, weighing 31kg, and had to stay on until 30 June 1945, then protected and assisted efficiently by the Russians.

Number of pages: 6
Reference number: 1656/3/4/1195
Catalogue ID: 105384
Subject: IllegalityDeportationsEscapees
Summary:

The author was interviewed by Dr. Wolfgang Scheffler in Berlin.

He reports on antisemitismin a Berlin school in 1933. Forced labour for boys under sixteen: sixty hours a week for about 25 Pfennig an hour. In order to avoid impending deportation to Poland, at the end of 1942 (p.1,4), he went to live with a “Mischling” (p.1-3), now his brother-in-law, who was already hiding his father and sister as well.

Non-Jews helping Jews, among them Dr. George Grosscurth, Robert Koch-Krankenhaus, who was later executed for his work with a Resistance Group, liquidated, in the Autumn 1943 (p.2,4). Frightened, the three illegal guests left their hiding place which was bombed out, soon afterwards. Bombenscheine (p.2, 4). The author's sister went with her fiancé into hiding at Vienna, the other two found a little room in Karow near Bernau (p.2-3) under false pretenses and through a forged document. Arrested by the Wehrmacht, the author and his father were taken to the Jewish Sammellager Schulstrasse; ill-treatment through Gestapo (p.3-5). Deportation via Auschwitz to Sachsenhausen (p.3). In February 1945, the author was separated from his father and never saw him again. Transports to Neubrandenburg, Ravensbruck, a small camp near Ludwigslust (p.3-4). Rote Kapelle resistance group (p.4). Volksdeutsche SS (p.3-4).

Number of pages: 7
Reference number: 1656/3/6/952
Catalogue ID: 105619
Subject: ResistanceAuschwitz-Birkenau (concentration and...Children
Summary:

Mrs Pirani, née Doubleday was a musical prodigy, who as a small child gave concerts in her native Australia. At the age of 12 she went to Vienna, where she studied under Prof. Arnold Rosé. Later, she married the Jewish music teacher Max Pirani and settled with him in London.

When the Nazi occupied Vienna, Mrs Pirani made strenuous efforts to help her Jewish friends and to make their emigration possible; amongst them were Prof. Rosé and his family, the radio specialist Prof. Gottwald Schwarz, and the architect Fritz Rosenbaum. Prof. Rosé’s daughter, also a musician, went to Holland. When the Nazis invaded the country, she escaped to France and was for a time sheltered by the French Resistance. Later, she was caught by the Nazis and deported to Auschwitz, where she died.

Number of pages: 1
Reference number: 1656/3/8/89
Catalogue ID: 105704
Subject: PolishDeath marchesUkrainian
Summary:

Dr. Rosenblatt was a Jewish prisoner of war (Polish Army) in Germany where Jews were kept apart from the rest of the prisoners under inferior conditions. After his release, Dr. Rosenblatt followed his parents who had escaped to a small ghetto in Poland. In 1942 all small ghettoes in Poland were dissolved and the Jews transferred to one big one. Out of 30,000 Jews, 27,000 were exterminated in Auschwitz. Some 600 Jews who had been living in hiding were rounded up in the Synagogue and shot by Germans and Ukrainians (p.3-4).

In 1943 the women were sent to Ravensbrück, the men to Buchenwald (p.6). After some time a new selection took place this time to a camp in Saxonia. At the beginning of 1945 new deportations took place to Theresienstadt. The inmates there shared their rations with the new arrivals whose physical conditions were most pitiful. After the liberation by the Russians, Dr. Rosenblatt was most impressed by the relief work of Jews, Russians and UNRRA allotted to the youth in the first place.

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/8/441
Catalogue ID: 105806
Subject: CrematoriumsHealthEscapees
Summary:

The personal report of a young girl who was deported from Stettin to Poland. Stating many details she describes the unbelievable sufferings she has witnessed and gone through herself in twelve camps. Before crematoriums were built, people were suffocated in disinfecting stoves (p.2). “Aktion”: the shooting of 29,650 Jewish men and women at Majdanek from 6am to 9pm, on 30 November 1943 (p.4). 100,000 people were marched to Gross-Rosen through the cold of January 1945 for eight days; the way was shown through thousands of corpses lying on both sides on the road; no food; then they continued the journey by train for another week without food; finally, there were fifty dead in each wagon. And for the next fortnight they had to live under circumstances which made the women kill each other (p.5-6). Typhoid fever (p.5-6).

Together with six boys and three girls, the author succeeded to rescue fifty sick internees from being burnt by the Nazis at the approach of the Americans. Three cyclists pretending to belong to the American Red Cross, followed by others with machine guns (p.7-8); definitive escape. youth transport to Switzerland.

Number of pages: 11
Reference number: 1656/3/8/665
Catalogue ID: 105890
Subject: ResistanceAuschwitz-Birkenau (concentration and...Austrian
Summary:

A report by Mrs Sussman, an Austrian Jewess, who had been living in Paris with her husband, an artist, since 1937. After the outbreak of war both were interned. They were not supplied with gas masks by the French as they also considered Austrian Jews as their enemies. When the Germans approached Paris the Sussman's marched together with about 2 millions French people into the so called “Free Zone”.

In 1942 Mr and Mrs Sussman decided to return behind the demarcation line in order to work against the Germans (Resistance). Seven times their identity papers had to be changed but in the end they were handed over to the Germans by the “Special Brigade” collaborating with the latter. Mr and Mrs Sussman were taken to the military prison at Fresnes. For two months Mrs Sussman was there in solitary confinement in her sixth month of pregnancy, but excluded from the care of the Red Cross. Thereafter she came to the reception camp Drancy.

In 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Nightmare transport in cattle trucks with a notice board: “8 Horses or 40 Persons” but they were about 120 in each. Mrs Sussman describes her arrival at Auschwitz and the already well-known conditions there.

All pregnant women were ordered to register ”in order to obtain a daily supply of 1/4 pint of milk”. Mrs Sussman was warned by a Polish doctor not to do so and thereupon she warned also the other pregnant women. But when almost starved one of them did register. For 3 days she received the milk whereupon the other women - with the exception of Mrs Sussman - registered too. They were all called for and never seen again. When Mrs Sussman, as a punishment, had to carry a very heavy sewing machine without help she gave premature birth to her child, a little boy, in a corner of a hut, covered with filthy rugs infected with Dysentery Bacilli. She screamed only once but this brought Dr. Mengele to her block who took the child from her and threw it in the open fire. Then a Polish doctor took her - at her own risk - to the hospital hut.

In Auschwitz Mrs Sussman became a kind of philosopher. She did not expect her co-prisoners there to behave like human beings anymore and even did not blame the nurses who stole the sick rations of their patients. On the other hand she speaks with the greatest admiration of the exceptions, the few heroic people who risked their lives in order to save others. Her fellow prisoners were women from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Austria, and Soviet Russia. She observed that none of them spoke of a future, they were all deeply concerned with the past.

After 3 months in Auschwitz, Mrs Sussman was transferred to the concentration camp Kratzau near Reichenberg-Zittau, affiliated to the Gross-Rosen camp.

Addendum :

     1) On her and her husband's Illegal Work in France : They produced and distributed illegal literature.

     2) On her pregnancy at Auschwitz : It was not conspicuous as almost every woman, because of malnutrition, had a swollen stomach.

     3) On sabotage in an SS armament factory in Kratzau : She pretended to be a good technician and succeeded, together with a Hungarian girl, in damaging the precision, mashine to such an extent that it did not work any more.

     4) On her husband's survival : He was already selected for the gas chambers when a SS-officer called for someone able to design Christmas cards and when he said he could was given back to life.

Number of pages: 13
Reference number: 1656/3/8/823
Catalogue ID: 105961
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportDeportations
Summary:

Mrs Sternberg-Sitte is a Christian and emigrated to Amsterdam in 1933 with Mr Sternberg-Sitte, a Jewish lawyer from Berlin. The Nuremberg laws prohibited a legal marriage. At first the couple lived precariously, he as a taxi-driver, she as a dressmaker. Later, Mr Sternberg-Sitte had an agency for groceries. After the German invasion, Mr Sternberg-Sitte ostensibly left their flat and lived illegally as an “onderduiker”. In September 1942 they were denounced and arrested and taken to the Amsteveensche Weg prison. Mr Sternberg-Sitte was sent to Amersfort camp and later gassed in Auschwitz (p.2). Mrs Sternberg-Sitte remained in prison until 1943. Conditions there were tolerable, although the cells were badly overcrowded. She was then put on a transport of prisoners which stopped at the prisons of Scheveningen, Cleve, Utrecht, Düsseldorf, Hannover and Berlin, collecting prisoners of all types and nationalities, finally to end in Ravensbrück. There were approximately 50,000 prisoners in Ravensbrück, both political and criminal.

The account goes into the details of the appalling conditions there, describing the organisation in the various blocks (p.4), the insufficient food and clothing (p.5), the brutal treatment under the command of supervisor Binz ( p.5) and the atrocities and penalties for the least lapse (p.5-7). There were three brothels in the camp (p.7-8) whose inmates had preferential treatment, but if they became ill they were gassed. Pregnant women had to submit to abortions, and if a child was born, the prisoners killed it and considered this an act of humanity. Of two smaller camps nearby, one was turned into an extermination camp, and of the 4,000 women sent there only 30 survived (p.8).

The women were allocated to various “commandos“ and Mrs Sternberg-Sitte got into the group working for Siemens. This entailed various privileges e.g. an extra ration of bread - “Siemensbrot”- and housing in special blocks (p.7). In March 1945 Siemens no longer had work for the prisoners, and they returned to the general camp. In April 1945 the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg prisoners had to report to the “Volkssturm”, the SS having disappeared, and were told by some Swedes arriving at the camp that they were free. When lorries arrived to fetch them, they took other prisoners as well, and Mrs Sternberg-Sitte was one of them. They were first taken to the International Red Cross centre in Lübeck and from there on a hazardous journey (p.10) with frequent air attacks and breakdowns via Bremen, Kiel and Hamburg to Flensburg, and after a short stop at the Danish frontier town of Padborg they went to Malmö in Sweden. From here Mrs Sternberg-Sitte was later repatriated to Holland.

Number of pages: 12
Reference number: 1656/3/8/912
Catalogue ID: 106008
Subject: AntisemitismHealthKapo
Summary:

When the Tiso regime in Slovakia introduced anti-Jewish laws, Bleich and his brother had to leave high school and attend a Jewish school. Their father’s business was aryanized. On 7 April 1942 Bleich, then aged 17, and his younger brother were arrested by the Hlinka Guard and were sent to Poprad and from there to Auschwitz. The account reports particularly vividly and with many details the unspeakable horrors of that camp. At first Bleich was allocated to road work, later to the building of the crematorium and the Buna works. Atrocities, suicides of the prisoners and murders by the Kapo were daily occurrances. When prisoners, Bleich among them, reported sick, they were given fatal injections or sent to the extermination block 7. Miraculously, Bleich was spared, although twice the lorries to take the victims to the gas chambers, halted in front of the block. Due to starvation and excessive work Bleich became one of the Muselmänner.

His brother Eugen also eventually came to Block 7, and after some time Bleich was told that all the inmates had been gassed. Caused by utter lack of sanitation and vermin, typhoid and boils spread and killed hundreds. When the epidemics endangered also the SS. extensive delousing operations were carried out, but the interminable roll-calls and inspections gave renewed chances for brutalities. In 1943 Bleich was ordered to peel potatoes. As he ate the raw peels, he contracted dysentery and skin diseases and lost this coveted job. He was sent back to building work and collapsed.

In March 1943 he accidentally met a friend, Meyer Mittelmann, who worked in the “Canada” Commando, and due to the energetic efforts of this man and despite many obstacles, Bleich was given medical care, some food and eventually a job in Mittelmann's commando, where he worked until August 1943 and enjoyed the various advantages involved. During that time with the Aufräumunskommando Bleich recalls the arrival of 2 transports: all the 3,000 prisoners of one were suffocated, while the 1,200 prisoners of the second were gassed immediately. Finally B. could not stand the handling of corpses any longer, and in August 1943 he volunteered for work in Warsaw on the site of the old ghetto. During their work, prisoners found hundreds of corpses, but also quantities of goods and valuables.

When the Russians approached, the camp was evacuated, the ill and weak prisoners were shot, the others had to march in the summer heat without water, and the SS shot anyone trying to quench his thirst. In Silesia they were crammed into cattle trucks; many of the prisoners went almost mad with thirst. Dachau was in a state of liquidation, the prisoners stayed there only for 2 weeks and proceeded to Ampfing. They worked on an underground factory and lived in underground huts. When Germany collapsed, an order was given to shoot all inmates, but the commandant of Ampfing did not obey this order and send the prisoners on yet another transport which led them to the liberating American army. After short periods in Munich under American care, at his home town and in the DP Camp Feldafing, Bleich married and emigrated to Australia.

Number of pages: 11
Reference number: 1656/3/8/1059
Catalogue ID: 106263
Subject: RescueHealthChildren
Summary:

Mrs Laszlo was a schoolgirl of thirteen when the German Nazis occupied her native town. The report describes the two ghettoes in Debreczen and her deportation in May 1944 (p.3-4) to Auschwitz, however the train which carried the girl and her family instead took the deportees to Vienna. The children - between 7 and 13 years old - had to clear the bomb-sites in the suburbs. They were always hungry, but sometimes non-Jews helped them to an additional ration, another time they helped to find their way back to the Camp when they got lost in the streets. Others hid them after a bomb hit the school in which they were interned (p.5-6). The children always lived in abandoned school-buildings and occasionally had to sweep the snow off the street around others.

Epidemics; transport (p.7-8), during which a disastrous attack ruined a station at Vienna; the survivors were taken back to the Camp, which was abandoned by the guards the next morning. Vivid description of the days that followed and the way home, partly covered on foot.

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

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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