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Testimony of Halina Stępień

     Our journey came to an end at Dachau. People were horrified; they did not know what would happen to them. I was completely unaware of the danger. I did not know what a camp was.    
     We were taken to a hair and clothing inspection, but our clothes was not changed. We were placed in barracks, which was on the main road of the camp; it was the last barracks on the right side, right next to the fence. In the barracks, there were bunk beds, with mattresses stuffed with straw and blankets on them. Together with Mother we occupied a bottom bunk. To preserve the memory, I left an inscription on the wall, commemorating our stay in that place. We were not in the camp for long - a few days; even until today, Mother calls that period a quarantine. I was seriously ill - I had diarrhea, no one treated me. The Germans gave us mint. I remember long, never-ending lines for soup, mint, bread, boiled rutabaga.
     The women who were staying in the camp worked outside of the camp for German farmers in the field by the trenches. They would bring back rutabaga, carrots. Mother was not forced to work. The Germans said that she was old, and in addition to this she was wounded in the head. She was 50 years old, but she had turned entirely gray, was sickly and slight.
We were all waiting to be transferred to the camp grounds where people were murdered. Meanwhile, one day a recruitment - to the work camp in Tyrol - began. A few small families were signed up. Mother declared us as willing, even though she did not know what was awaiting us there. To this day, we do not know who organized this recruitment, whose recommendation it was or whose demand.


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  The project is implemented by the Museum of Warsaw in cooperation with the State Archives of City of Warsaw, and the Niedersachsische Gedenkstatten Foundation