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Forced labour


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Testimony of Jerzy Zenon Zenowicz

[...]  I left the Warsaw Uprising together with my parents on October 1 1944. We have been ordered to walk towards the Warsaw West railway station, from where we have been transported in a cargo train to Ursus, then again forced to walk till Pruszków. From Pruszków we have been taken by train to Breslau-Bürgwaide, and finally to Breslau-Nikolaito (Wrocław-Mikołajów), to the "Lichman Hofman Werke A.G." railway works. In Germany I worked in the transport sector, distributing coffe and soup in kettles to other Poles engaged in various operations in the works. Once, on October 16, 1944, I went to the main railway station in Wrocław to exchange my "Cracow money" (i.e. currency used in the General Gouvernement) to German marks.  [...]

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Testimony of Halina Paszkowska

[...]  In Pruszków, they crammed us into cattle wagons and locked them shut, and then for the next couple days they transported us to Germany, to the transit camp in Bittenheim, where we went through a month-long quarantine. Next, after splitting us into groups, they transported our group to Stuttgart. Upon arriving in Stuttgart, we were forced into a peculiar, slave market, where we were groped, patted, and our teeth were looked at. These kinds of inspections were carried out by the directors of companies, with the assistance of Gestapo officers.  [...]

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Testimony of Włodzimierz Antosiewicz

[...]  After three days, we were transported in a train of roofed railway cars, 100 persons for each, to Stargard Szczeciński. There, after a few days in a camp guarded by Ukrainians, me and my father were directed to work, me to "bauer" (a farmer), and my father to a power distribution plant.  [...]

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Testimony of Małgorzata Stępińska-Winckler

[...]  Finally, after three days in the way (through Dresden, Leipzig and other towns), we have been ordered to leave the train in the station of Chemnitz, where a temporary camp had been set up. first we were lodged in the so-called dirty quarters, in barracks with three levels of board beds. After about a week we have been ordered to completely undress to undergo a lice-check and shower baths (there was once cold, then hot only water flushing from them). Our clothes have been taken to disinfection chambers. All this was really humiliating. From the bath we moved to the "clean" part of the camp, which was a home to... myriads of lice.  [...]

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Testimony of Zbigniew Zbigniewski

[...]  I have been ordered to join a relatively small group of males, which were meant to replace - as it turned out later - workers in a force labor camp set up in Sokołowska Street. The camp has been actually set up in a compound of unfinished buildings behind the St. Adalbert Church. (...) Some 300 men were stationed in the camp. A day would usually start with a roll-call, when we were being divided into groups of between 10 and 30 persons, the groups being taken then over by German soldiers and ordered to perform various types of work - collecting debris from the streets, loading of goods, burring of dead bodies and other useful work.  [...]

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Testimony of Stanisław Korytowski

[...]  Our column has been led to a camp next to a nearby sugar-works. Like in Pruszków, here too reigns an unbelievable crowd and mess. Slices of bread are thrown into the crowd and in order to get some soup or coffee from a field kitchen you really needed strong arms - such was the organization of distribution of meals there. It is getting dark. Everyone to the barracks! - the camp commandment's order follows. Who stays outside, will be shot dead! Then they shoot in the air to frighten us.  [...]

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Testimony of Jadwiga Kołodziejska-Jedynak

[...]  We were transported to Wrocław - a beautiful city, everyone can agree on that, those from Germany who used to live there and Poles - and I experienced a shock there, I remember it exactly... The horribly dirty, exhausted people, unwashed, hungry, we were driven, though we didn't know whereto yet - only later did I find out, to a very historical place called Psie Pole. There was a temporary camp there, which is shown in my documents. And on... street.  [...]

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Testimony of Włodzimierz Szurmak

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Testimony of Halina Stępień

[...]  Everyone who was enlisted went to Innsbruck. We had already arrived there by October. In work document No. 61, the date of October 13, 1944 is visible. We were quartered on the station grounds, in spacious brick barracks with bunk beds like in Dachau. Our building was located between two houses with multiple floors, which were inhabited by families of Austrian railroad workers, nearby the canteen. We were surrounded on all sides by railway tracks and parked freight and passenger wagons and cisterns. There were not more than 30 of us - women, men, youth, children.  [...]

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Testimony of Grażyna Dorota Duchniak

[...]  And later, during the transport - I cannot say how long this was, for me it was a horribly long time - they unloaded us at some station. I remember that it was called Bikikheim ... We were brought to some hut, ordered to get undressed and the women with children of both sexes led to a bathhouse.  [...]

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Testimony of Jerzy Uldanowicz

[...]  At dawn on October 9, the train stopped with a little bit of a distance to the transit camp in Burgweide, near Wrocław (currently Sołtysowice and Polanowice, which belong to the district of Psie Pole in Wrocław). The official name of the camp was: "Durchgangslager des Gauarbeitsamts Niederschlesien Burgweide".  [...]

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Testimony of Barbara Rybeczko-Tarnowiecka

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Testimony of Witold Jerzy Niewiadomski

[...]  Three days later, freight cars were lined up. Selection. "Topacz", "Placek's" two sisters and I to Germany, "Placek" and mother, somewhere in the Kielce region. They loaded sixty or seventy of us in a rail car and we were off. They let us out only once at some station. They gave us a bit of soup, you could use the latrine. We traveled for three days. At night the train stopped at some station. Alarms sounded, rumbling could be heard in the distance, sudden flashes split up the night sky. Bombing.  [...]

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Testimony of Stanisław Milewski

[...]  Once again I was arrested by the Nazi patrol in Grodzisk and on the 29th of September 1944 I was deported from Pruszków to the camp in Schneidemühl (Piła). I crossed the town as the last of our group. German mothers with babies in arms came running in the street and cursed us. One of the mothers with two babies in her arms screamed at me: "so young and bandit already...." and spat me in the face. I was deeply shocked and pondered over the power of hatred - I think not possible anywhere else...  [...]

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Testimony of Danuta Napiórkowska-Jarzębowska

[...]  French POWs (only men) and civilians (also only men) from France, Poland and the former U.S.S.R.? Men, women and children of various ages? Were all held there. Before the war this was the "Ewald Schoeller and Co. Cellulose and Paper Factory". The name? And officially the production as well? Were unchanged, only the employees were different. In fact, the factory was working for the German war machine. I was thirteen and at first I worked very hard at the factory and in the kitchen. Then I was ordered to run a "kindergarten" for children under nine. I was given "a room" in a barrack, two tables, long benches and one slice of bread with "jam" and a mug of milk for each child? There were about 30 children.  [...]

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Testimony of Eulalia Matusiak-Rudak

[...]  In Blankenburg we were placed permanently. This was an international camp. There were French, Italians. We were driven to work, to Berlin, and I went as well, because from age 10 you had to work. In Berlin I was left to build barricades on some street. Do you have any idea what I went through? Me, a girl from the Warsaw Rising, build barricades in Berlin! This was something totally new to us, we had to carry everything that could be carried, there was a truss out of rails here and rubble was dumped into it.  [...]

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Testimony of Aleksandra Diermajer-Sękowska

[...]  I was taken to work in the Harz Mountains. The first group was transported to remove rubble in Hannover. It was very difficult and dangerous. This was known and said, and it came true, that the next group is leaving for a farm in the Harz mountains. We were told that there has to be 40 of us and that we have to chose among ourselves. We chose the entire troop from the campaign of Lieutenant "Zaręba" on Szpitalna Street, from which we went into captivity.  [...]

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Testimony of Krzysztof Radlicz

[...]  Several Germans arrived looking for people fit for factory work. My mother and I were chosen by an owner of a sugar factory in Volmirsted near Hamburg. We were loaded into a cattle wagon together with 40-50 other women and several boys including myself and Cezary Różycki, future professor of chemistry in the Technical University of Warsaw. After two days in Volmirsted we were found redundant and as a consequence sent to the Arbeitsamt (German Labor Office) in Gisfen. From there we were taken by Mr.Bostek, administrative worker of an aircraft factory in Stassfurt Leopoldshalle, a very nice man who spoke excellent Polish. From there we traveled by passenger train.  [...]

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Testimony of Henryk Piotrowski

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Testimony of Mirosława Grabowska (Gelber-Olszowa)

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Testimony of Cecylia Krajewska

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Testimony of Teresa Różycka

[...]  18 IX Friday. We didn't get off until 12:00 at night, Marysia was sick. It was at the station in Kreisenen. The led us to some movie house where we slept. In the morning we received the longed for milk and bread. They gathered us up to the Kreisenen town square and bauers [German farmers] chose women like slaves, those who knew how to milk cows, who looked strong, or with not too many children. One came up to us, he didn't think too long, but my sister was sick, she had a high fever (diphtheria!), so he gave up. When the slave market was finished, we were brought to the train again. That's how we came to Holzminden, where my mother and sister were assigned work in a plywood factory, and I was left with the children in the barracks. The first thing that my mother did was to send a few letters to family and friends.  [...]

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Testimony of Halina Olk-Wieczorek

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Testimony of Sylwester Rzaczykiewicz

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Testimony of Danuta (Pastuszyńska-Szpądrowska)

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Testimony of Blandyna Surmiak (Lewińska)

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Testimony of Janina Loth-Borkowska

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Copyright © Muzeum Warszawy :: 2007

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