Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Birnholtz - July 28, 1982

Camp Guards

Do you remember his name?

His name I don't remember, but I remember another little name, his name was Stiglitz. This man I remember I took him once my, my brother--he was a foreman, my brother--he took him in because my brother hide out a boy, which uh, he had the typhus and he knew if he tell had the typhus they would take him to the cemetery, it would kill him. So my brother was hiding him out in the barracks where they slept five hundred on one, on one bed with straw--no, no mattresses or nothing like. It was five hundred with one stove in the middle of the barrack where everybody would hang up the rags from the feet--it's called like the socks--we didn't have any socks--to dry out for the next day for work. So you can imagine that smell, and the bugs and the cold and everything. So my brother was hiding out this boy, was hiding out this boy and uh, and in the barracks, and the German, Stiglitz, found out that he hid him. So he took him to the back and he gave my brother twenty-five beatings on his back with a stick. And uh, this Stiglitz, if he saw a man walking, if he saw a man walking he would say--and he was walking with a big German shepherd dog. He said, "Mensch, dem Hund." The dog he would call person and that person would be a dog. He would say to him--if he didn't like the way you bowed to me, the way you said hello, he would say "Mensch, ??? Hund." That means, "Dog eat up that man."

Would the dog attack the man?

He would. He would tear out a piece of meat--just a terrible person, terrible.

Could the man, could the man fight back or...

No, the man couldn't do nothing. You couldn't--if you just raised your hand or anything. You had no chance, they had the gun. They would just shoot you in a second.

Uh, can you describe any of the uh, uh guards? This man, for example, who wouldn't hit Jews with his hand...


...was he a big man, was he small?

He was medium, medium built. He was limping. He must have been in the war or something. But that other guy that I told you was hitting every day, he tied down all the police, with the hands in the back--he tied them all up and pushed them up on top of the truck.

Tied which police?

He took--they all came in from the ghetto--when they liquidated the ghetto they took in all the Jewish police. They put them into concentration camps. The policemen thought that they're going to live, you know, that they liked them. In the mean time they took all those--all the police and they tied their hands in the back and they pushed them up on truck. They couldn't even go up on steps, they just pushed them. They took them straight out to the cemetery at night. They invaded the whole, you know, and then they killed them all out--they took them out straight to the cemetery.

How did you know what uh, was done?

Well, it was always--we know because there were always making actions at night. They pulled us out all at night or they would draw people at night when we didn't know what's doing with yourself, that's when they were doing.

Did anybody ever see this happen?

Well, I tell you, I see my, my brother alone was a policeman, the one who was a foreman. You see, he was very educated; he was an officer in the Polish army, he's a professional doctor. In Israel he had a printing shop.

Was it Chaim?

No, Menachem. He's alive. He was an officer in the Polish army, he was a doctor and that's how he was saved from the Germans. He was pretending he was going with the German sick after the war and that's how he got out from there, see.

But uh, uh did any--when the Jews were taken out to be killed, did anybody--did any Jews see the, like, the Jewish policemen killed and then come back...

Well, I'm sure some of them saw it, I'm sure some of them saw.

Did anybody come back to report to the people who were still in your camp? How did, how did you know...


...that they took them to the cemetery? Just what--whether they were shot or...

Even the German alone was raving about himself, what he was doing, you see. And like I said, my brother worked for him, you know, he was a foreman and he liked him, my brother, and uh, I guess he told him or whatever. And a lot of people saw it or maybe uh, there were some policemen that were left alive--they were hiding out or maybe something. Some of them saw it, or whatever. I didn't see it.

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