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The Holocaust Revisited -Men recording their experiences...

Men Record their Experiences of the Holocaust


Hugh Greene

Hugh Greene


Daily Telegraph correspondent in Berlin during 1938


“I was in Berlin at that time and saw some pretty revolting sights – the destruction of Jewish shops, Jews being arrested and led away, the police standing by while the gangs destroyed the shops and even groups of well-dressed women cheering.


Maybe those women had a hangover next morning, as they were intoxicated all right when this was taking place. I found it, you know, really utterly revolting. In fact to a German journalist who saw me on that day and asked me what I was doing there, I remember I just said very coldly, “I’m studying German culture.”


Sigmund Weltlinger


Member of the Berlin Jewish Council  

Sachsenhausen – Oranienburg 1938


“But when I came to Sachsenhausen – Oranienburg camp outside Berlin I was immediately taught different. We were all shoved together with clubs and blows and had to stand in even ranks to be counted. Because I had been a soldier I didn’t find that all very difficult but the others who didn’t fall in quickly were beaten immediately.


The most terrible thing was when somebody grabbed hold of a big, strong man and he said, ‘Don’t grab me.’ The guard said, ‘What I shouldn’t grab you?’ and he gave him a blow and this man was immediately over-powered by three SS people.


A block was brought and he was bound fast to it, and the camp commandant said he was sentenced to twenty-five lashes. Then a giant man came, an SS man with a huge ox-whip, and started to beat him. At first the man only groaned a bit but then he begged them to stop.


The commandant said, ‘What do you mean, stop? We’ll start all over again from the beginning.’ But after three more lashes the blood was spurting already and salt was rubbed in the wounds or pepper, I don’t know anymore.


The man was dragged away, unconscious or dead. We never saw him again.”  


Dawid Sierakowiak 

Lodz Ghetto

September 10 1939


“The first manifestation of the German presence: Jews are being seized to do digging. An elderly retired professor, a Christian who lives in no.11, warned me about going into town, a decent man. What should I do now?


Tomorrow is the first day of school; who knows what’s happening to our beloved school. My friends are all going to attend, just to see what’s going on. But I have to stay home. I must. My parents feel they don’t want to lose me yet. Oh, my beloved school. Curse the times I complained about getting up early or about tests. If only those times could return!”


Avraham Kochavi

Lodz ghetto and Auschwitz survivor


“We ran out of food in the house and one day my mother, may her soul rest in peace, asked me to go down to the bakery and stand there the whole night in order to get a loaf of bread the next day.


I got up in the middle of the night and went down to get in the queue. When I arrived there were already masses of people standing in line. At dawn a Pole, who was volksdeutsche – ethnic German arrived with a rifle slung over his right shoulder, a band with a swastika on his left arm.


He was supposed to keep order so that everyone should receive bread. Among us there were children, non-Jews, Poles, running around. They dragged that same volksdeutsche over and pointed at each person saying, “That’s a Jew, that’s a Jew – Das Jude, das Jude, Jude” – so that these people would be taken out of the line and not get bread.


Zygmunt Klukowski

My turn came. I turned and saw that the boy was a friend with whom I played. I said to him in Polish, “What are you doing?” His answer was, “I am not your friend, you are a Jew, I don’t know you.”


That same German with the swastika band was standing before me. I saw that he was a neighbour of ours and I spoke to him in Polish. His answer was in German: “I don’t know Polish, I don’t know you.”


He forcefully took me out of the line where I was waiting for bread and slapped me.”


Dr Zygmunt Klukowski

Forced Labour Conditions



23 July 1940


“The worst consists of digging ditches to drain the marshes. They have to work standing in water. They are really badly fed because their families can rarely afford to send them food.


They sleep in terrible barracks amidst filth – with a complete lack of space. The barracks are several kilometres from the places of work, and they have to walk this distance every day, and are continuously beaten.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/men.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team


Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto
H.E.A.R.T 2009

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