Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981

Ghetto Adminstration

Do you remember uh, um, a Dr. uh, Biberstein?


How do you know about him?

Dr. Biberstein--now I don't remember if that was "the" Dr. Biberstein or Dr. Biberstein's brother. When I went to Polish school. Of course, all Polish schools were Catholic schools, run by the government. And we were--and Catholic as a, a religion was taught in, in the Polish school. But Jews--in our class I would say it was about ten percent Jewish--when they were taught religion, we would leave the class and a few other boys from comparable grades, would go to another class and we had Hebrew religion or Jewish religion being taught to us by Dr. Biberstein. Now I don't remember--I heard of Dr. B...I don't remember if that's "the" Biber...Dr. Biberstein or if it's his brother. But it's one or the other. And it was a very well-known Jewish--Polish educator in Krakow.

Marek Biberstein. Marek?

I don't recall his first name.

Do you know any more about him? Was. was he connected with the Kahal or with the Judenrat?

He was connected in some way, but I can't say I recall how he was connected with it. It was a very well-known and very liked gentleman.


Very prominent in the Jewish community.

What about a, a Dr. Rosensweig, Artur Rosensweig?

I don't recall him.

Um, or David Guter?

I also don't remember.

Um, I'm sure that most people don't remember, I'm just curious to note that--somebody named Spira?

Well, Spira became the head of the Judenrat, of the, of the, of the Jewish police in uh, in the ghetto. If that is the same Spira we're talking about. Yes. I did not know him before the war. Uh, he lived--he did not live in our neighborhood, but I--he became very well-known.

What did people think about him?

Well, he became a traitor. I mean, of course, there was a school of thought among some people that he was forced by the Germans to become head of the, the Jewish police. And I don't doubt it had a lot of bearing to it. But he did his jobs, his job, apparently the German liked him because he used to send out people practically to their death camp. He used to send people to their death. And I remember, I even remember his execution. He was executed in the Płaszów concentration camp, in which I was later.

Spira was?

Spira was. With his whole family. So his wife and kids--of course, he had a very good life under the Germans because he had access to almost anything he wanted. The Germans used to--well, if you can call it bribing--he used to get all the food and lived in a nice house. But he had to supply the Germans with all the workers they needed. All, all the people they needed for the executions or slave labor camps or whatever other uh, reasons. And he was the head of the infamous Jewish police in the ghetto.

Um just--as long as you remember the one, a man named Dr. Whitet?


Or um, a German named Wilhelm Kundet? These were German officers. Do you remember names of any Germ...German officers?

Yes, I do. Yes. Well, one in particular. The commander of our concentration camp in Płaszów which was outside of Krakow. His name was Goeth. I understand he was eventually executed by the Poles. Tried, convicted, found guilty and executed. That's what I was told by some of the survivors. Uh, I knew a lot of them and I knew their names then. But I cannot recollect their names.

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