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Name of deponent: Dawid Fischer
Born: Chrzanow 1910
Recorded by: Bauminger

The Murder of the Plaszow children

From the testimony of my friend who is now living in Germany (about 1945), I know some details about the Aktion concerning the children in Plaszow. It was seen during the building of a guard tower.

On a board placed over a dug grave were placed 4 to 5 children. Then, struck by rifle shots, they fell into the grave. If any were crying, a soldier beat them with a spade. It happened that children fell into the grave though they were neither killed nor wounded. They were then buried alive. The grave was filled with lime by seven Jewish gravediggers.

An eye-witness was also the Polish person, Stanislaw Pietruszka, who was watched the executions from an observation tower. He says that even several hours later, the ground moved.

The Ghetto of Sosnowiec (Srodula).

I was in the Sosnowiec ghetto. Jews from Sosnowiec were driven to Srodula (working men’s district). The poor people there lived in terrible conditions. Rich people and officials from "Judenrat" had comfortable apartments and they didn't work. They lived in very good conditions while poor people were dying of hunger. If a Gestapo man came into the ghetto, panic resulted.

All the people hid in bunkers. There was an appointed guard day and night, who watched if there the Gestapo soldiers came. If there were in the ghetto noise from an engine or light in a shed of the military school in Srodula, all the people went into hiding. During Aktions mothers with children hid in cellars. After an Aktion, sometimes there were 20 children found dead who had been strangled either because of lack of air or if the child were crying then people in the cellar strangled the child fearing that the crying of the child would bring the Germans. It was necessary only to put a pillow or comforter over the child to strangle it.

There were five similar Aktions until the final liquidation. Even before creating the ghetto in Sosnowiec all the Jews of Sosnowiec to the number of 18,000 were gathered in a sports-field. Here began the selection of "rechts", "links"! Ruffians directed the selection by whim. Often young and healthy people were directed to deportation. For this selcection even mothers with children had to appear. Terrible incidents of separating families occurred.

6,000 to 8,000 victims were deported. The people were left without food on the field for three days and 3 nights while there was heavy rain, As a result, many dead bodies were loaded on the transport to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). On the rail cars was written: "Judische Verbrecher" (Jewish Criminals). After each deportation to death, the president of the Centrale Judenrat, Merin, had to sign a list of victims stating that they were "Judische Verbrecher" (Jewish criminals). Among the victims were pregnant mothers, babies, old people.

After completing the ghetto in Srodula, there were transports every second and fourth weeks to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). I remember that among one of the transports numbering 3,000 was the Rabbi of Oswiecim. Jews went weeping into the wagons. Then the Rabbi shouted: "Juden dawnen Minche" (Jews we must now recite the evening prayer) There was silence for a moment. Then the people began to pray and quietly, with upraised heads, they went to death.

There was also among the Jews the desire for resistance. There were voices saying repeatedly it was worthy to sacrifice one’s life to kill several Germans. However, Merin paralyzed every effort. He had his own agents who informed him of everything. Indeed, once he had suspected resistance planners sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). He said that he wouldn’t not allow a tragedy such as occurred in Warsaw to happen.

In practice, he wanted to save only himself. He organized revels with the Gestapo. They promised that he would certainly survive the war. His secretary, Mrs. Czarna, a very intelligent woman, degraded herself for the price of an easy life and worked together with him. After liquidation of the ghetto, the Germans kidnapped her and Merin, taking them to an unknown destination. No trace of them is known. Merin said that to save 10 Jews (he thought about himself and his family) it was worth-while to sacrifice the rest. He was a low-life person, a lady's man, a gambler who was good-for-nothing.

The final liquidation of Srodula took place at the end of July 1943. The Germans surrounded the ghetto and shot from roofs at those attempting to escape. Together with officials from the Centrale Judenrat, they went into apartments and gathered victims to the Assembly Point. Those found in a hiding-place were shot on the spot.

I, together with my wife and six-year old child (the 16 months-old baby was strangled several weeks earlier in a bunker) were in a neighboring ghetto at my sister's room. Because people believed that the purpose of the Aktion was to capture men capable of working and that the women and children would be safe. I hid in an attic and my wife remained in the apartment. She was taken to the transport.

Nearby, in the attic, was a wounded boy who had leaned from a window and was hit by a shot. I carried him on my shoulders and escaped to a forest. I remained a long time in the forest.

Finally, I was able to get Aryan documents and, living as a Pole, I survived the war.