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Number of pages: 14
Reference number: 1656/1/4/343
Catalogue ID: 104724
Subject: RescueSuicideCatholics
Summary:

An appreciation of Dr. Paul Eppstein (his work and his character) who has been acting as a liaison officer between the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland and the Gestapo, and at the same time was in charge of the training of Jewish youth for new professions. He was deported in January 1943 to Theresienstadt where he became “Judenaeltester”. He was shot at the “Kleine Festung” on 27 September 1943.

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: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/5/1186
Catalogue ID: 105579
Subject: Mixed marriageChildrenKindertransport
Summary:

The author, a Jewish dermatologist, has been living with his Christian wife in East Berlin for about 25 years. He had served in the First World War for a short time, after his brother had been killed in action. From April 1933, he was no longer qualified to work for the National Health Insurance (p.1) and had to move out of his flat. In the year 1938 he became “Judenbehandler“, i.e. he got permission to attend [illegible] Jews. His sister was deported and never heard of again, his mother fell ill of persecution mania and finally died of hunger in Theresienstadt (p.2); the beautiful furniture at her flat was stolen by an official who had been sent there on duty (p.6).

When the Gestapo turned up to arrest the author, he could hide in time. The men asked for his six year old son to take him instead of his father, but he was at school. Several times, the doctor had a narrow escape; at such an occasion, SS-men who were looking for deserters and Jews murdered fourteen Jews (p.3-4).

At a collection of arms, an officer pocketed the pistol Mrs. H. was delivering to the Police (p.5). Another time, she was summoned to the Police-Station and urged to divorce her husband; she refused in a wise and determined way (p.6).

Some Christian patients: Herr Frank, a decent man, though a member of the NSDAP (p.6-7); another patient became an antisemite after he had prospered through the situation; a well-off factory-owner who would pay most generously for the smallest advice (p.7).

Death of a lame old spinster who had served her Führer fanatically (p.7-8). The house in which the old maid voluntarily perished burnt down, and the doctor who had lived there, too, with his family, lost all their belongings. After the War, they started a new life and the doctor is still busy.

Number of pages: 33
Reference number: 1656/3/6/808
Catalogue ID: 105607
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportDanish
Summary:

Mrs Wijsmuller, a Dutch Christian woman, took a prominent part in organising the emigration of Jewish children from Germany. In December 1938 she even went to see Eichmann in Vienna and got his permission for the emigration of 10,000 Jewish children to England. As a first instalment he ordered a transport of 600 children to be sent across the Dutch frontier within a few days to see if Mrs Wijsmuller would really get them into England. After Mrs Wijsmuller had succeeded - 100 children were accepted by Holland - she organised transports of 150 children twice a week from various parts of Germany to Britain as well as the emigration of Youth Aliyah and other groups from Germany, Holland, Denmark and Riga. She accompanied the children up to Marseille on their way to Palestine.

Mrs Wijsmuller also tried to find asylum for grown-up Jewish refugees. In 1939 she arranged for the acceptance by Holland of 200 refugees from the 1200 passengers of the ship St. Louis, who had not been allowed to land in Cuba because their visas had been forged. Also in 1939 she helped with the departure of the Greek ship Dora, which sailed from Holland with illegal immigrants for Palestine. As late as 15 May 1940 Mrs Wijsmuller tried to get 80 refugees released who were kept in bad conditions in a disused market hall in Gravenzond. But the Dutch Aliens' Police refused her request and send the refugees back to Germany. Only one survived.

During her journeys Mrs Wijsmuller was repeatedly taken as a spy and arrested. She was asked by the Germans to work as their agent and refused. She had her passport stolen (which was later found on a German spy in a French camp). She was told by German frontier police about the impending invasion of Holland, but neither she, nor the Dutch Foreign Ministry believed it.

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: 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: 1656/3/8/367
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: 2
Reference number: 1656/3/8/381
Catalogue ID: 105790
Subject: Mixed marriageTerezin (ghetto)Children
Summary:

Some vague recollections of Theresienstadt by Gerda Siegel (born 1940), most probably the child of a half-Jewess married to a Jew, who was taken to Theresienstadt when she was three years old. She describes her life there, where she found a “K.Z. Omi” [Camp 'Granny'] who took care of her and hid the child for about a year in a cellar in order to protect her from one of the “transports” to Auschwitz.

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: 4
Reference number: 1656/3/8/1030j
Catalogue ID: 106240
Subject: Mass killingsRiga-Kaiserwald (concentration camp)Riga (ghetto)
Summary:

A voluntary statement by Max Gymnich in his own defence. He was born in Cologne and was a driver by trade. In June 1940 he was conscripted and became driver to the Gestapo. Four weeks before the attack in Russia, he was sent to the police school in Pretsch/Elbe, from there to Schawli in Latvia and finally to Riga. He became the driver of Obersturmführer Krause, the Commandant of the Riga Ghetto.

Gymnich denies any responsibility for, or participation in the innumerable crimes committed there. He states that he had never beaten or shot a Jew, on the contrary,he had been punished with imprisonment for his kindness to Jews. He also denies any knowledge of the conditions in Kaiserwald or the mass murders of “Dünamünde”. He admits that on orders by Krause he inspected flats in the Ghetto “for cleanliness”. He believes that he was denounced by “the only Jew he knew by name”, Marx of Cologne, because he had to wear SS uniform.

He cites the following persons as witnesses for his innocence: Hauptscharführer Georg Ogiermann, Oberscharführer Fritz Luedecke, Hauptsturmführer Ziegler, Sturmbannführer Azeis, Oberscharführer Heinz Cords, Hauptscharführer Harry Frielrichsohn.

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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