Stanislav Steindler

At first he was in Castle Panenske Břežany near Prague, transferred to Terezin in September 1942, then to the family camp Auschwitz – Birkenau in December 1943, in July 1944 forced labor at IG Farben in Schwarzheide, in spring 1945 liberation of Sachsenhausen concentration camp by the Russians.

I was brought up in a liberal and non-religious environment. Only when the Germans occupied the country did I realize that I was Jewish. I guess you have to cope with that kind of thing.

At Castle Panenske Brezany, formerly owned by the so-called sugar baron Blochbauer and late home of the Heydrichs, some SS-smart-aleck had the idea to state an example and demonstrate what a bad worker looks like. For this purpose he chose my friend and me. On our bellies we had to crawl across the whole area. All the while we were kicked and beaten brutally by that SS-man. You can still see the scars of that torture. There was a deep wound in my head and my finger was deformed when he had stepped on it. stanislav-steindler I was already tattooed, therefore I was not sent to Terezin in the collective transport. Together with a Jewish family and accompanied by two detectives I went to Terezin in a train. There I was handed over to the ghetto guards. I spent two months in the infirmary, for treatment of my severe injuries and blood poisoning.

In Auschwitz we had to carry stones like crazy until we were ready to drop dead. We hurried to a pyramid of stones, which was 2 km away. Carrying a heavy stone we passed a guard to get back to the camp. If the foreman thought the stone was too small he put another one on top of it. Those who could not manage the load were beaten until they dropped down. Less crazy, and more agreeable was my work as a flea-catcher. After they undressed, I collected the fleas off the old people into a glass. The flees were supposedly for experiments Mengele, the camp’s doctor, carried out. For this I received an extra portion of bread.

We found out that almost all the prisoners from the September transport 1943 were sent into the gas. For fear that the same thing should happen to us, we formed groups of five people, and we decided that when it was our turn we would set the houses on fire and try to escape. We agreed that we would prefer to die fighting. But it was impossible to get any petrol. Because a prisoner escaped wearing an SS-uniform we were guarded even more closely. Hoping that the war would soon come to an end we abandoned the idea of starting a revolt. In Schwarzheide we had to dig up and remove bombs. I survived an odyssey through five camps. 18 months after my discharge I still had to receive medical treatment. My life had almost been destroyed. Now, at daytime I force myself not to think of the past. But when I am asleep I am helpless, that is when pictures of suffering and dead bodies appear in my dreams.

Born May 8, 1911 in Benešov, divorced, 2 sons.

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