Artur Radvanský

August 1939 imprisoned in Ostrava and Rawitsch, in October 1939 sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, in March 1942 Ravensbrück concentration camp, in August 1942 to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, in October 1942 to Auschwitz concentration camp; did forced labor in Buna factories, in January 1945 sent to Mauthausen and Ebensee concentration camps.

His parents and both his twin brothers did not survive.

In November 1938 the Poles occupied Salesia, down to our village. There were many Jews coming from Germany, and other persecuted people who had to leave. I knew the area very well. It was the place where I had played childhood games with my friends, and where I had gone to find mushrooms. Some organization asked me to help a Jewish family, who had to disappear. Not far from our place there was a coal mine. I took the people to the entrance and the miners guided them through the mine. On the Polish side they came up to the surface again. But once it did not work out and we were arrested. artur-radvansky A family from Germany that I had helped was caught in Poland, taken back to the Czech border and handed over to the Gestapo. The police beat them until they told about me. Since I was under age, they arrested my father as well. The driver working for the Gestapo was a fellow soldier of my father’s. He helped us to get out of prison. We used the same coal mine to escape to Poland. We were in a potato field when the bullets of the enemies flew over our heads. The war had begun. Military police discovered us and ordered “Pants down“; thus they found out we were Jews.

With our hands bound they made us run eight kilometers from the city of Weimar to Buchenwald. On the way we were spat at, and stones and mud were thrown at us. If a drunk SS-man felt like it, he made us line up for roll call at any given hour. At mealtimes, they would throw away the food, and we went hungry. After the attempt to assassinate Hitler they accused us of sympathizing with the assassins and did not give us food for three days. Once, when SS-men had stolen a pig and eaten it, they blamed us. Again, we went three days without food. These were the conditions under which we had to carry stones of 30 to 40 kilos all day. Many did not survive. On 20th November my father died. In the night I woke up, scared. I cried, and I knew something had happened to my father. Hours later a nurse took me to my father, who was dying.

Walter Krämer, a locksmith by trade and later one of the overseers in the concentration camp had access to medical books, which he studied. He was able to operate on people. I was with him in the infirmary when my toes were frozen. In the camp it was forbidden to give anyone medical treatment, therefore he declared me dead, and illegally operated on me in a separate, dark room. I was fully conscious when he removed black, dead tissue.

In Sachsenhausen they started a shoe-brigade, or rather death-brigade. On the parade ground there was an oval with different kinds of materials, such as cement and gravel. We had to run rounds to test shoes for the SS. Every four hours we were allowed to step outside. The camp in Auschwitz was evacuated in January 1945. We were already in the train cars and about to leave for Mauthausen, when our SS-commander came and told me, “Don’t tell them you are Jewish; I’m afraid they want to exterminate the Jews. I destroyed the transportation documents of all the prisoners. Since then my name has been Artur Radvansky.

Chemist, born 1921 in Ostrava, married, 2 children.

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