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Gleiwitz I

Testimony of Helena Chmielewska

The testimony is dated on dated on 12 July 1967 and given in Oświęcim. The number of the testimony is 1222. She was a civilian worker who was moved to work in Gleiwitz I from the work camp in Steigert.

I have seen multiple times the SS-men rushing the prisoners wearing the stripped uniforms. They were working in the railway industry. I would see them most often in the mornings. I remember there were a lot of Jewish prisoners – I can’t tell you the exact number.

The prisoners in the stripped uniforms worked in the smithy long before I came to work there myself. Most of them were representatives of the intelligentsia. They came from the Netherlands – they worked in the pharmacies, they were doctors and lawyers. None of them spoke Polish. I know the Jews worked in different places of Wagenwerk too, but I don’t know where exactly. The Jews who worked with me told me they were beaten on their way to the work. They were so thin and hungry. I didn’t pay attention to the fact if they had any tattooed numbers on their arms. 

The Nazis treated the Jews much worse than they did the Polish people. I remember them tormenting the Jews all the time, constantly. 

The Jews had to work hard – they had to carry the hot iron bars from the ovens to the hammers using tongs. The bars were huge – they were half of meter long and very thick. The weak prisoners couldn’t handle them in the tongs and the bars fell to the ground. The prisoners were beaten up really badly. In the meantime the bars would get cold, so the prisoners had to carry them back to the ovens.

I didn’t know that the prisoners in the stripped uniforms were the prisoners of Auschwitz when I worked in Gliwice.

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