David Newman memoir
- Credit Line
- USHMM Permanent Collection. Gift of Jack Newman, 2015.
Manuscript memoir, in Yiddish, 120 pages, describing David Newman's experiences in the Skarżysko-Kamienna forced labor camp in Poland during the German occupation, and his subsequent imprisonment at Buchenwald, written by Newman in 1988. An English translation by Miriam Beckerman, from 2006, is also included. The text begins with an account of the pre-war history of the Jewish community in his hometown of Chmielnik, Poland, the experiences of Newman's family during the initial stages of the German occupation of Poland, when his family lived in Łódź, their subsequent move to Staszow, and the increasing levels of persecution directed at Jewish residents there. A large portion of the memoir describes Newman's experiences at Skarżysko-Kamienna, including his arrival, living conditions at the camp, the poor working conditions in the factory at "Werk C," where he manufactured grenades, his infection with typhus and his narrow escape from a round-up of sick prisoners who were subsequently executed, and how a friendly Polish laborer in the factory was able to leave the camp on several occasions to travel to Staszow and exchange letters between Newman and his family there. The memoir also describes the arrival of new prisoners from the Warsaw Ghetto and Majdanek in mid-1943, the concerts that the prisoners staged and songs they composed about camp life, arrivals of other prisoners from Plaszow in late 1943, including a prisoner from Tarnow named Chanke, who he befriended, and who after the war became his wife. He also describes the history and fate of the Jewish community of Tarnow, and attempts to smuggle weapons out of Skarżysko to partisan fighters of the Armia Krajowa. The latter part of the memoir describes Newman's transfer, with the remaining prisoners of Skarżysko, to Buchenwald in mid-1944, his separation from Chanke, his experiences as a forced laborer at Buchenwald, the destruction of the factory he worked in there, the evacuation of the camp in April 1945, and how he was hidden by Czech partisans after escaping from a death march, and was subsequently liberated at the end of the war. Descriptions of his return to Poland, his reunion with and marriage to Chanke, and decision to leave Poland due to post-war anti-semitism, are also included.
Record last modified: 2017-07-11 12:50:13
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