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Number of pages: 50
Reference number: 1656/3/4/197
Catalogue ID: 105322
Subject: RescueResistanceSynagogues
Summary:

A personal report by Heinz Landwirth, formerly from Vienna, who came with a children's transport to Holland in December 1938. He stayed first in a Children's Home, later with families. In 1941 he made Youth Aliyah to the Hachscharah-Farm Gouda. In 1942 the persecution of Jews became more and more threatening. This report includes details of an escape of a group of 25 young Zionists to Israel through Spain!. Amsterdam assumed an aspect of decay, inhibition and terror. Final razzia, including all Jews, on 20 June 1943. Mr Landwirth, meanwhile was 16-years-old, and went underground using false documents supplied by Hechaluz (Kurt Reilinger Gideon Drach) working as a farm hand with Jan Kuperus. In 1943 - via Belgium - he became known as the ‘Dutch’ boatsman John Gerrit Overbeck on one of the German Rhine barges.

Number of pages: 6
Reference number: 1656/3/4/377
Catalogue ID: 105330
Subject: RescueEscapees
Summary:

Mrs Milman, née Büchler, was born in 1928 in Puchow in Czechoslovakia. In 1942 both her brothers were deported. Livia herself went into hiding, escaping from place to place, and on several occasions living in the open forest. Once she was given refuge by the wife of a Policeman, though without the latter’s knowledge.

In Modva she attended a Protestant girl’s boarding school, which had taken on a group of converted Jewish girls. Many of these were taken away by the SD in 1944.

Mrs Milman, together with 60 other Jews was hidden by farmers in a forest near Piestany until the end of the war.

Number of pages: 8
Reference number: 1656/3/4/773
Catalogue ID: 105358
Subject: ChildrenEscapees
Summary:

This report is interesting because it shows the important role the Jewish resistance movement played during the German occupation of France and the many ways in which it was assisted by the French population. It is written by the above, who in 1933, as a child of 6, left Frankfurt am Main with her parents and her sister and emigrated to France.

As soon as Hitler invaded Northern France in 1940, the travels of the family started. They were among the thousands and thousands of refugees who crowded the roads to the south of France, stayed at different places which they had always to leave after a short while. Mr Guenzburg, the father, was several times interned, but either was released or succeeded to escape from the camp. In autumn 1943, when the Germans occupied the south of France, the Jewish resistance movement saw to it that all children found shelter. The Resistance was so well organized that it was able to follow up the fate of almost every child. Many of the children were taken, to convents and were thought by their surroundings to be Christians.

Mrs Unger and her sister were taken to a boarding School at Villeneuve sur Lot, where only the director, a Protestant knew their origin. In 1944 Mrs Unger and her father crossed the Spanish border in one of the small groups of 10 people, regularly organized by the resistance. With the help of the American Joint, they finally reached Israel. Mrs Guenzburg and her other daughter, who were staying in a home for aged people belonging to the “Heilsarmee” at Tonnein and would not have been able to endure the flight over the mountains, followed them a year later.

Number of pages: 12
Reference number: 1656/3/4/785
Catalogue ID: 105359
Subject: EscapeesRescue
Summary:

A report by the daughter of a Jewish diamond cutter in Amsterdam. She went underground in July, 1942, after she had been ordered to report for a transport to Westerbork. At first she stayed for short spells with various people, then a neighbour took her in for four months and a half, while her parents, who were later arrested and deported (on 31 January 1944), brought her food. But the position became too dangerous, and comrades of the socialist youth organisation, of which she had been a member, found her a place with a teacher's family in Winterwjk near the German frontier. There she remained until the end of the war. Her whole family with the exception of one brother of her father's, who had lived in France, perished.

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/4/895
Catalogue ID: 105374
Subject: EscapeesMass killingsRescue
Summary:

An account in the first person of the author and her family’s experiences during the last year of war in Hungary. In March 1944, on arrival of German troops to occupy Hungary, the persecution of Jews intensified. Her husband was called up for forced labour and the author and her child, aged four, were left alone. In October 1944, when the Fascists (Arrow-Cross Movement) took over the government, the author made use of false papers (p.4), procured in the preceding February (p.1), and for some weeks lived as “Aryan” refugee. Later she and her husband procured Swedish Schutzpaesse's (p. 8) and lived with other Jews in the so-called Swedish Schutzhaus (p.8) until the Russians conquered this part of the city in January 1945. A vivid account of experiences, particularly of the period when the author lived an “illegal” life.

Number of pages: 14
Reference number: 1656/3/4/1110
Catalogue ID: 105380
Subject: EscapeesDenunciationsHealth
Summary:

The authoress, née Lasocka, was the wife of the well-to-do manufacturer Paul Rosenfeld in Lodz (p.1-3, 12). He was arrested at the very beginning of the War, and she never saw him again. The Germans forced her to deliver to them all valuables she had deposited in a safe at her bank. Two days after the Germans had looted and ill-treated her mother, she died of her wounds (p.1).

A Jewish informer called Strassberg lured the authoress to Warsaw; making believe that he would help her husband, he got more and more money out of her (p.2-3).

The report describes life in the Ghetto (p.3-4). The helpful Christian maid (p.1, 3-5, 8, 11). Every morning, there were lying in the streets hundreds of bodies, either slain by the Germans or victims of the starvation. Escape (p.4).

Illegal life; everything was especially difficult and expensive because of the author's little daughter. An illegal group at the “Polish hotel” (Jewish agents among them) said to procure foreign documents for emigration. The price was enormous, about £1000 nonetheless she paid for her brother-in-law and his son but they were not heard of anymore (p.5).

Moving from one Polish family to the other, always paying highly for most unpleasant conditions, every moment in danger of being discovered. Arrested by police, escape after paying ransom twice (p.5-6).

The Polish riot, 1944 (p.8). The authoress with her child and her mother-in-law (who has been with her nearly all the time until her death in London) had to flee from the Germans. Non-Jews helping Jews: a railway-officer helped them to escape from the moving train near Ursus; another one put them up, his daughter and a girl in the street bore witness, in order to get a necessary document from a kindly clergyman (p.10). When finally every stranger had to leave, the authoress won the assistance of a high German officer (who did not recognise them to be Jews); he put a van and three Germans in uniform at her disposal to take them to a place near Lowicz, where her former maid was living. Because of this escort who insisted that the Mayor procured lodgings for them, too, they had to take to flight again, when the Russians approached. They went back to Lodz and their old flat.

In July 1946 they came to London after getting the necessary documents through an American relative who had learned from the radio, that they had survived. While they were waiting for the relative's arrival in London, the authoress became engaged to her present husband and decided to stay in England for good.

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: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/6/885
Catalogue ID: 105609
Subject: EscapeesGestapoRescue
Summary:

F. was only a schoolgirl when her family made an unsuccessful attempt at emigrating from Frankfurt to France and at settling in Paris. They returned to Berlin in 1935, whereupon the father was taken to Dachau and the mother to Moringen-Soling camp. The girl found a home with an aunt in Mecklenburg, and after 9 months she met her parents at the Czechoslovak frontier, sadly changed by the suffering in the camps. They reached Prague, and the Refugee Committee helped them until the father found employment in his profession as a chemist. N. became a pupil at the Rotter School, and after 2 years’ training obtained well-paid work as a commercial artist.

With the invasion of Czechoslovakia their life was shattered once again. While the synagogues in Prague were burning, the girl married Peter Lewin, a German lawyer. He had a brother in England, and they planned to go there via Poland and to cross the frontier illegally at Maehrisch Ostrau. Their parents preceded them and contacted a man who promised to take them across the frontier, but he turned out to be a Gestapo agent and delivered them into the hands of the Gestapo. The father was beaten until he revealed the whereabouts of the young couple, who were arrested at their hotel. N. spent 8 days in a tiny prison cell together with 27 other women under dreadful conditions. She was then taken to the state prison and reunited with her mother. Every day they were taken in a police van to a villa at the out-skirts of the town and interrogated. Unusually, a middle-aged SS-man, by the name of Schneider, fetched N., and this man was to become her saviour. One day he offered to walk with her to the villa and took her to a friend, where a good meal was waiting. He then told her to watch him in the mirror behind the typewriter in the office, and he would indicate by signs which questions to answer.

In the meantime, the women had discovered that their husbands were at the same prison and even managed to get in touch with them. When Schneider continued his clandestine friendliness, N. implored him to help them escape, but he would only promise to shift their index cards, so that they might be overlooked. However, one night he came to their cell and took them to a lorry, together with two other women, and N.’s father and the husbands of the women joined them. N.’s own husband was missing, something had gone wrong with his index card. Schneider took them to a cemetery outside the town which adjoined the frontier with Poland. He told them to walk straight ahead; on their left were swamps, on their right the Polish police and behind them, the Gestapo who would shoot them on sight. Later, N. heard that Schneider, having helped many more Jews, was shot.

N. and her parents reached Kattowitz and were sheltered by Polish Jews. The town was swarming with Gestapo spies, and there were raids every day. Meanwhile, N.’s husband had been tried at Troppau, discharged and joined his wife in K. On receipt of their English visas, the young couple went to England, via Danzig and Sweden. Their parents were supposed to follow, but they were caught. There was one last message from them from a camp in Kielce/Poland. After a difficult start in England, N.’s husband was interned on the Isle of Man. Later, he joined the Intelligence Service and perished in Luxembourg.

Number of pages: 9
Reference number: 1656/3/6/942
Catalogue ID: 105618
Subject: RescueExtermination campsMass killings
Summary:

In the winter of 1940 the author - a Polish Christian - fled with her husband from the Russians to Wilno. Mr Zadarnowska who had been a forester on an estate near Lida (East Poland) became a labourer, while the author worked as stage designer at a theatre. Here she met a Jewish prompter, Masza Perewoska. After the German occupation of Wilno the Zadarnowska’s decided to return to their home, and Mrs Zadarnowska went to say farewell to the Perewoskas. She found the whole family in a state of upheaval, as the Germans had ordered all Jews to move into the ghetto. Nobody at the time knew of the subsequent mass murders in Ponary forest, but on her return home, the author felt compelled to save Masza and her daughter Lilka.

In November 1941 she returned to Wilno. Ill though she was, she faced the inclement weather and considerable danger to establish contact with Masza. Finally, she found a workman willing to take a message into the Ghetto, and the women met at the house of a mutual friend. Meanwhile the author sold Masza’s valuables in order to finance the purchase of forged papers, a certificate of baptism and travel permits. At one of the “selections” Masza and her family had been included for the transport to Ponary, and in a desperate effort to save her friend, the author prevailed upon Professor Kola Taranowski to give her shelter, so that she and her child did not have to return to the Ghetto. The next day Masza escaped to Lida.

Encouraged by this success, the author applied for her own travel paper, and at the psychological moment asked for the inclusion of “a child” and followed Masza to Lida. After days of frantic search and with the help of a parson, she located Masza and, in spite of the great dangers involved, travelled with her and the child to her home. Her husband soon agreed to keep mother and child. Dangerous, nerve-racking months followed during which the author tried to ward off the constant danger of detection by making Masza look more “Aryan”, and by teaching the child the Polish language and Christian prayers. In the following summer, frequent Russian partisans ambushes added to their anguish and finally forced the Zadarnowska’s to move to Lida.

They took Masza and Lilka with them, but a few weeks later somebody asked for Masza on the telephone by her proper name. Undeterred by the danger and the proximity of Gestapo headquarters, the author helped Masza and the child to flee to a farm, the commandant of the Polish Resistance having provided forged papers. A period of constant moves followed, and in the end, the author had to take them back, as nobody else was brave enough to shelter them. Later, Masza decided to volunteer for work in Germany (Konstanz). The Zadarnowska’s were forced by the constant Russian air attacks to move to Warsaw, where the couple got separated during the insurrection. Mrs Zadarnowska was taken to Breslau as a slave labourer; Mr Zadarnowska was sent to Dachau where he perished. Mrs Zadarnowska managed to flee to Konstanz and join Masza. Both had to work hard, and when, at the end of the war, Switzerland opened her frontiers, they went there.

Mrs Zadarnowska now works as a designer at the Polish museum in Rapperswi, - the Jewish family she saved live in Israel.

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: 1656/3/8/367
Catalogue ID: 105785
Subject: Riga (ghetto)Stutthof (concentration camp)Terezin (ghetto)
Summary:

Mrs Valk and her husband were arrested on 10 December 1941 at Goch and deported to the Riga Ghetto. The men were soon taken to Salaspils where most of them perished. In the ghetto, Jews exchanged clothes against food provided by the Latvians; this transaction was punishable by death. Amongst the SS officers who carried out executions were Krause, Roschmann and Gimmlich. During the night, Latvian SS guards raped women and children in the ghetto. In February 1942, 1,500 elderly persons were deported from the ghetto; they ended in prepared mass graves in the forest.

Mrs Valk did various kinds of forced labour under horrible conditions. In August 1944 both Mr and Mrs Valk were brought by sea to Stutthof concentration camp, where inmates again suffered physical violence thirst and hunger. Afer 5 weeks Mrs Valk was detailed for work on the railway lines at Bromberg. “Reichsbahninspektor” Ballhorn and the female SS guard Gerda Hesper from Essen, are mentioned for their cruelty. In January 1945, the Russian army approached and the death march of concentration camp inmates began. Out of 1,300 women only 40 survived and arrived at Falkenburg, where Mrs Valk escaped. She made her way to Pommerania and pretended to be a German “OstflÜchtling”. She was, therefore, well fed and clothed. Finally she crossed the Elbe and reached the American army.

Mr Valk had been seperated from his wife at Stutthof; he went to Buchenwald and Theresienstadt. They met again in their native town of Gogh. Their child perished in Belsen or Auschwitz.

Number of pages: 40
Reference number: 1656/3/8/382
Catalogue ID: 105791
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportLublin-Majdanek (concentration and ex...
Summary:

This is a remarkable story told by an outstanding personality who seems to combine courage, intelligence and the gift of leadership to an unusual degree.

Mr Weichselbaum emigrated from Frankfurt am Main to Belgium towards the end of 1938; he was then 16 years of age. After considerable difficulties, he made his way via Dunkirk, Antwerp and Lille to Paris. He passed the final school examinations and, furnished with false identity papers, began to study medicine. Discovered, he fled to the south of France. At Limoges he founded a youth organisation which sent food parcels to Jewish concentration camp inmates; he also made contact with the Resistance. In August 1942, on the point of being arrested, he managed to escape together with all the fourteen young people under his care. At Lyon he worked for the Resistance, getting Jewish children across to Switzerland. (p.1-5). Again he was compelled to flee, became a 'Rabbi for young people' in the Jewish Resistance in the south of France, and joined the French Maquis (p.6).

When after the Italian capitulation the Germans began to occupy the whole of France, Weichselbaum, in the uniform of a French Army Captain, succeeded to obtain six lorries at the Italian Headquarters at Abbeville; these lorries were used as transport for escaping Jews (p.7).

Weichselbaum became a leader of the Maquis. In the disguise of a French Volunteer for the Waffen-SS, he managed to save 9 Jews from arrest, when the SS ordered the arrest of all Jews (p.10).

In September 1943 Weichselbaum was arrested by the Germans and after heavy torture confessed to being a Jew (p.11). He was deported to Birkenau concentration camp, where he was again maltreated. He then worked as a railway worker near Krakow, was then taken to Majdanek concentration camp, where the new arrivals were sadistically exposed to the winter frost, and when he returned to Birkenau he saw his mother, father and two sisters being dispatched for the gas chambers (p.12).

Between periods of extreme hunger there were short periods during which Weichselbaum, at the danger of his life, took part in the black market in foodstuff. He was able to provide his third sister with some food shortly before she, too, was gassed (p.17).

When about 15 coaches with children under 7 years arrived, SS-men killed the children in a horrible manner and afterwards shot the prisoners who had watched the scene (p.19). Another time Weichselbaum observed SS-men first raping, then shooting women and children (p.23).

Weichselbaum became a male nurse, and in the absence of the doctor had to operate on boils. When the paper dressing did not stay quite clean, the patients were beaten on their wounds (p.24)

In April 1944 Weichselbaum together with 20 other male nurses was taken to the concentration camp at Tannhausen near Waldenburg in Silesia. He contracted pneumonia, but had to continue work without being cured (p.27). In January 1945 the Death March, i.e. the flight from the approaching Russian armies commenced; after three weeks only 40 out of 400 prisoners survived. On 9 May the commandant and the SS left the camp and the Russians took over (p.30).

Weichselbaum remained in order to look after the burial of the dead and the necessary medical care for the many sick.

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