Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983

Transfer to Jaworzno

How were you selected for Jaworzno?

I worked in a machine shop in Budapest and um, I um, told them that I was a smith. They needed smiths at Jaworzno.

So, your name was called, or your number was called?


And then you were put on the train, a train or a truck?

No, on a truck and we were taken to Jaworzno, which was about twenty kilometers from Auschwitz, about thirteen miles.

And what was it like in Jaworzno?

There were 3,500 prisoners in this satellite camp. Most of them worked in coalmines, others worked on a construction project, building a power plant. That power plant had to supply electric power for I.G. Farben, a chemical company.

So, you were working for I.G. Farben?

I was working at first, in the coalmines. They didn't need a smith, so they put me in the coalmines.

Do you remember what, what that was like, what you felt like?

I was extremely lucky. I got a job as a railroad switchman.

In the mine?

In the mine. And um, didn't work hard. Then I uh, suffered an injury on my eye, and um, I was um, taken to an infirmary in the camp. I stayed there for a while, then I was uh, transferred to a, to a construction project, building the power plant. Well, the power plant was being built by Siemens. It was for I.G. Farben, to supply electric power for I.G. Farben but the construction was conducted by Siemens Electric, a German electric firm.

Were there civilian engineers working on this?

Yes, all the engineers were civilians. And the coalmines, I worked together with civilians um, Bohemian, Czech, and Polish civilian miners. They were quite nice, they helped me a great deal. Wouldn't be here if not them.

Why... How did they help?

With food.

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