Jarmila Weinbergrová

In April 1942 together with her sister and her parents deported to Terezin, May to June 1944 in the family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, until January 1945 forced labor in Christianstadt, death march, until liberation in Bergen-Belsen.

Her parents, her sister and 30 other members of her family did not survive.

In Terezin I worked as a nurse with children. Every day for twelve hours, not counting night shifts.

Several times transportations of old and sick people from German and Austrian mental hospitals arrived during the night. We laid them down in the bare and dirty attic. There were no beds, no electricity, only candlelight. Old men, suffering from their prostates cried: “We need catheters.” jarmila-weinbergerova Many died, also young people. During night shifts we were frightened when we carried the bodies into the mortuary. Before I had to leave for Auschwitz I had the chance to say farewell to my parents. Somehow in all the chaos they managed to find the way to my window in the barracks, where I was imprisoned before I left. My mother’s last words were: “You are strong, you will make it. We will soon see each other.” The first sentence became true, I survived. But never would I see my family again.

On the ramp in Auschwitz we were greeted with the aggressive shouting of the SS, with beatings and dogs barking. What a shock. In the camp I looked after the small children. Playing games wanted to make their lives more bearable. There was a selection. Five of us were put in a tiny concrete chamber. Whenever a guard passed she would randomly beat us. – Roll call took hours. – Humiliating examinations trying to determine whether we had hidden jewelry or some other things.

In Christianstadt we had to build protecting walls. In ice and snow we carried cement bags weighing 50 kilos. Sundays we were off: at last one day for ourselves, where we could forget all our sufferings. We sang songs, told stories and talked about the old days.

During the five week long death march we did not see a piece of bread. We were given soup or some frozen potatoes, sometimes nothing. We marched up to 30 kilometers every day through mud and dirt, wearing wet clothes that would not get dry. On the third day we rested. In the last camp I had befriended a girl and her mother. They more of less adopted me. We stayed together for all the march, supported each other, psychologically as well; if one of us was desperate, the others encouraged her. For those who were alone it was very difficult.

Bergen – Belsen was the first camp that was liberated by the British army. I was, like almost everyone else, emaciated, sick, physically and mentally exhausted; we were not able to live without help.

Born March 21, 1923 in Prague, one daughter.

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