Interview #29 • January 24, 1988
(Running times are approximate)
Reviewer: Diane Bareis
Born: May 5, 1925 in Luberske, Poland.
Household included his parents, one brother, one grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins. The house was similar to an apartment building, with each family unit having independent space..
5:30 When war broke out in 1939, Russians invaded first. The Germans followed and young Polish men went with the Russians into Ukraine. George was 14 years old.
George tells of the German’s practice of burying women alive, forcing the men to cover them with dirt, and then killing the men and burying them on top of the women.
8:00 When the Germans arrived, they stopped Jews from attending school, forced them to wear yellow arm bands with the Star of David. They gave non-Jewish Poles free reign to raid Jewish households and removing Jews from their homes.
George’s grandfather was the mayor of Luberske. He was attacked by the Gestapo. They cut his beard, humiliated him and killed him in the town square. George witnessed the event.
Two streets became the Jewish ghetto. George’s family stayed with a great uncle who had a home within the bounds of the ghetto.
Fall 1940. George was working (forced labor) on a farm. He was taken one night, shot, and put into a grave with other corpses. The bullet, however, missed him and after some time he dug himself out and ran away to a forest. He found his way to a farmer’s barn and stayed until he was caught stealing eggs. The farmer called the Gestapo who arrested him, beat him, and returned him to the ghetto.
22:00 George tells of a death march to the train station. Among the people were his parents. All were sent to Treblinka. He was place in a work battalion building and maintaining streets.
23:30 He was sent to Midonik by train. Seventy-five percent of the people died on the train, receiving no food or water for ten days. The survivors had to bury the dead once they arrived. He was at this camp for about one year.
He tells of the gruesome tasks that survivors had to accomplish.
There was not a crematorium in Midonik.
30:00 1942. He was sent to Auschwitz. He was selected to a work crew and worked on roads. He was at this camp for about one year.
33:00 He was sent to Buna. They stayed in tents when the first arrived and built their own barracks.
38:30 One day Eichman (?) and other high-ranking Nazi officials came to the camp.
He was transferred to Dora and worked in the coal mine. The mine was also used as a death trap where the Germans buried people (suffocating them?) only to be unburied by the surviving prisoners. Dora was the most brutal camp.
43:30 Winter 1945. George was moved to Bergen Belsen. They did not receive any food at this time.
48:00 American and British planes flew over Dora. The Allied forces allowed the railroads leading into the camps to remain intact.
George speaks of cannibalism within the camp.
50:00 The British liberated the camp.
54:00 He made his way to a displaced persons camp.
He came to Columbus, Ohio in 1946 and went into the roofing business. He married and had three children. For about ten years he had trouble sleeping, screaming at night while having dreams about camp brutality.
“I don’t know [why/how I survived]. Sometimes I don’t think I’m the same person. I don’t think it could have been possible [to survive].”