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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: 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: 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: 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.

Number of pages: 9
Reference number: 1656/3/8/1119
Catalogue ID: 106291
Subject: DeportationsDeath marchesResistance
Summary:

The authoress was the only child of a well-off manufacturer in Vienna. In 1935 under the influence of the political situation, he moved with his family to Krakow, where he owned another factory. They lived in a most comfortable flat and the daughter studied philology, German and English. She reports here on the situation in Poland of the Jews, after the German army had occupied Poland.

In 1940 they were in Cracow (p.1, 3), in 1941 the Czknstochow Ghetto. This report includes details on Gestapo-chief Degenhard, the deportation to Treblinka of the older people (p.2), forced labour and ill-treatment for the remaining thousand by German SS, Ukrainians and Latvians (p.2-3). The authoress escaped together with her husband to “Nutzjuden” working outside the Ghetto, from there to Warsaw. Details forged documents and a job with the German “Ost Energie A.G.“. After several months of living with the family of a Polish army-officer (belonging, then unknown to them, to the Resistance Movement), everybody living in and arriving at the house was arrested and put in irons (p.4). Then, the men were taken to prison (Montelupe) and later back to the Ghetto, where the intellectuals were shot. The authoress whose husband was a doctor, never saw him again (p.4-5).

The women had to spend two months at Helclow after which all prisoners were transported to Auschwitz. Non-Jews helping Jews: an SS-official, like the authoress a grammar-school mistress, and a lady-doctor, interned as a Resistance-member, helped her to get a job with the Commando “Bauleitung“, where she worked for two years for the Chief, Sturmbannführer Bischof who proved to be human and helpful (p.6); their ‘Model Block’shown to Swedish Control Commission, in 1944; another model block was the ‘Experimental Block’ with lady-doctor Brewda, now London, and Dr. Fleck, his wife and child - the only child at Auschwitz - who returned back to Paris (p.6).

On 17 January 1945 she was evacuated and sent on a two-week death march to the Jiell of Ravensbrück. In February, she was transferred to nearby Malchow labour camp. Liberated on 9 April 1945 (p.6), the march back to Poland.

Since 1946 the author has been working with the Polish embassy in London. She has remarried and had a child; when she was called back to Poland; she left her job and stayed in England.

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