Hedwika Pechanová

She and her husband were arrested 31st August 1943, spent time in several prisons in Prague, then deported to the “Small Fortress “ in Terezin, from 21st January 1944 until the end of the war she was in Auschwitz.

52 members of her family were victims of the Holocaust.

Those who came to the “Small Fortress “ was more or less sentenced to death. I was one of the few to survive.

I shared cell number 28 with 60 other women. We slept on the floor. It was a pleasant change that my husband and I were able to exchange secret shorthand messages with the help of a contact person.

I spent my first night in Auschwitz in chains. It was the first time I was confronted with all the cruelty and misery. I saw people whose skeleton was just covered with skin. They were neither alive nor dead. It took a year, and I looked just like them. My first serious disease, typhoid fever, sent me to the infirmary. There was no heating, and the sheets were made from black paper. Many people froze to death. Dr. Mengele made his rounds, followed by the SS-physician Dr. König and others. When they came to my bed he read the diagnosis displayed at the bottom; he ordered me to take off my clothes, and listened for my heartbeat. It struck me like a lightning when he shouted at the other doctors for having diagnosed me wrongly. Now he would carry out the examinations himself in his laboratory. The doctors discussed ways to help me, so that I would not fall into his hands. They altered my documents, declared me dead and transferred me to a different block.

My second encounter with Mengele took place in September 1944; winter had started early. A blizzard blew over the camp and flung open the huge doors of our block. Mengele, who was just passing, came in and ordered that the bunks in the font be moved further to the back, so that the sick would not be exposed to the cold. His compassion did not last one day. Then he sent everyone suffering from tuberculosis into the gas chamber. I was left in the big room on my own. hewika-pechanova Somehow they had forgotten me. Weak from hunger and disease, I stayed there without food for several days. No windows let light in. I did not know if it was night or day. But it did not matter to me anyway. Two nurses found me almost unconscious; they got me on a stretcher and carried me to the “Aryan” tuberculosis quarters.

On 17th January the order was that anyone who was still able to walk should go to a camp in Germany. Quickly I made myself something to wear from blankets; I always had a sewing needle underneath my table. I escaped from the transport and returned to the camp. Dead and dying people lay on the ground. There was nothing to eat. The storage rooms had already been emptied. I was close to dead when a Russian soldier took me to the clinic for treatment. I would not have survived another day.

Clerk, born January 28, 1915 in Kladno, she died in august 1999.

Share this post on...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Share this post on...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone