Ivan Orlik

1940 sent to a Jewish labor camp, 1941 to Terezin together with his father,sent to Auschwitz in 1944, then to Gleiwitz concentration camp, in January 1945 death march, Kattowitz.

None of his family survived.

My mother died as early as 1935. I was my parents’ only child, and after my mother had died I lived alone with my father. He was a very good physician. But unfortunately he was not allowed to practice after the German occupation. As long as it was still possible for Jewish children, I attended a grammar school. We had to moved to Tabor where my father owned a large block of flats. But in the same year the Gestapo together with the police and the head of the local administration confiscated our house. Again, we had to leave and move to another town.

In 1940 I had to go to a Jewish labor camp where I worked as a gardener on the farm. From Tabor, there were two transportations with 1000 prisoners each to Terezin. I was in one of them, together with my father. Until 1944 we stayed together. ivan-orlik Then I was ordered for further transportation to Auschwitz, and separated from my father. He volunteered for the next transportation so that he could meet me again. When they arrived in Auschwitz, their whole group was sent directly into the gas chamber. Then they were looking for able-bodied people to work in the steel factory and rolling line in Gleiwitz. Among others, they were looking for welders. I signed up, although I had no idea about that kind of work. The only thought I had was to get out of Auschwitz.

In January 1945 we were sent on the death march. In four days we walked 80 kilometers, until we reached the concentration camp in Blehama. When we left, our group consisted of more than 1000 people, but only 40 arrived. Most people had been shot dead, others starved to death, or died of disease, torture or exhaustion.

The Russians took us to Kattowitz. At last we were able to wash; we received new clothes and medical care. The Red Cross asked us where we wanted to go: To the USA, to Israel or home. I decided to go home where perhaps my father was waiting for me. I walked for three weeks, proceeding with the front line to Tabor. But I did not meet anyone from my family.

Restaurateur, born 1926 in Prague, 1 son, he died in march 2000.

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