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Identification card issued to Tomasch Marko (real name Salomon Strauss) stating that he is a metal worker and is registered with the Ukrainian group of laborers.

Photograph | Not Digitized | Photograph Number: 33822

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    Identification card issued to Tomasch Marko (real name Salomon Strauss) stating that he is a metal worker and is registered with the Ukrainian group of laborers.
    1941 January 25
    Berlin, [Berlin] Germany
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ewa Strauss-Marko

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Ewa Strauss-Marko
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2004.525.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- Germany

    Administrative Notes

    Salomon (Salek) Strauss was the oldest of the seven children of Lajb Strauss and Szajndla Markus Strauss. He was born on November 2, 1912 in Warez, Poland in the Sokal region. Before the war, Salek lived in Lvov; he worked as a tailor but spent most of his time on his activities in the Communist party. His girlfriend, Klara Tabak, lived in the village of Ksawerowka. In September 1939 Salek was mobilized into the Polish army. On September 16, 1939, the Germans captured him along with other soldiers of his battalion, near Plock. Salek was wounded and hospitalized in a field hospital, where the conditions were very primitive. After hearing a rumor that the soldiers would be divided by ethnic group, Salek began to consider not admitting that he was Jewish, fearing mostly that he would be discovered as a Communist. He called himself Tomasz Timofiej Marko, after his mother's maiden name Markus and destroyed his Polish ID card. The group of POWs was moved to Stalag II Neubrandenburg. The conditions there were terrible. Timofiej introduced himself as a metal worker and the illegitimate son of a washwoman. From there Salomon was taken to Alt-Gutendorf, Neu-Gutendorf, and finally to Kafelsdorf. He was placed with a farmer and the living conditions improved dramatically. He was given ample food and shelter. In September 1940 the group was transferred to the Stalag VIII-B-Lamsdorf (Lambinowice). All Ukrainian POWs were assembled in this camp and a special commission searched the group to make sure that they were "pure blood" Ukrainians. Timofiej Marko, who sported a typical Ukrainian mustache and knew Ukrainian customs, passed as a Ukrainian. At a later stage the Germans decided to select a group of racially pure Ukrainians who could live with the "German race." Each Ukrainian had to pass a medical exam. Salomon, so terrified that his circumcision would be discovered, stitched his foreskin with needle and thread. Fortunately, the doctor barely even looked at his genitals, and all subsequent medical exams concentrated on teeth, lungs and muscles. Salomon was declared a racially pure Ukrainian who deserved to be released from the POW camp to live among the German people. On February 28, 1941, he was officially released from the Stalag VIII-B and sent to school in St. Polten-Viehofen to learn metal work. Soon, he became the representative of the group of students, as the only one who could communicate with the German authorities. Many other groups of Ukrainian laborers arrived in this school, and Salomon, who had been put in charge of making lists with their names, slowly became recognized as a leader and a representative of the Ukrainian and Byelorussian laborers. Soon he started to make contacts with the Austrian Communist groups, and when he heard rumors about the upcoming German attack on the USSR, he decided to warn the Soviet consulate in Vienna. Under the pretext of visiting the school in Wiener-Neustadt, Salomon went to Vienna and entered the Soviet consulate where he shared his news. He explained that he was a Jew living undercover and heard that the Germans were forming a Ukrainian military unit to join the German army in the attack on the USSR to form an independent Ukraine. A few months later Salomon and his group were transferred to work in a military airplane parts factory in Ober-Grafendorf, Austria. Again, Salomon soon became the representative of the foreign workers. With the help of a secretary in the office, he exchanged a few letters with his girlfriend Klara. After a few months Salomon befriended Mr. Klor, head of the "Sonderabtailung" in Wiener-Neustadt. Mr. Klor issued a permit to Marko which allowed him to travel throughout the German occupied territory. In the winter 1942 Salomon received time off from work and traveled to Lvov. He visited his girlfriend Klara first. He found out that his own family moved from their hometown of Warez to Gole Gory, near Zloczow. Before going to see his family, Marko went to the Lvov ghetto to visit his relatives. Later he traveled to Gole Gory. It was hard for Marko to witness the poverty and deprivations of his family. He provided them with food and merchandise to sell and promised to return within a few months with false papers. He returned to Wiener-Neustadt and his responsibilities grew. A few months later, during the visit of Hermann Goering, Salomon's status was reaffirmed. He organized another home leave for Ukrainian workers and included himself on the list. He obtained false papers for his whole family as well as for his girlfriend. In November 1943 Salomon arrived in Lvov, but was too late. The ghetto did not exist anymore and all the Jews had been murdered. He traveled quickly to Sokal, to find Klara. Upon reaching Gole Gory Salomon learned of the fate of his loved ones. All of them had been murdered brutally by local Ukrainian collaborators. On December 1943 Salomon returned to Lvov, where he destroyed the false documents, which had he prepared for his family and his fiancée. He returned to Wiener-Neustadt and continued his official work as the representative of foreign laborers in the area while unofficially helping many to survive with false identification papers. On May 9, 1945 the Red Army liberated the area, and Salomon told them he was Jewish. The Soviets immediately arrested him and accused him of treason. He was sentenced to death and was placed on death row. Due to a loophole left by a Soviet Jewish officer who interrogated Salomon, he was finally released. Salomon Strauss decided to change his last name to Strauss-Marko to commemorate his wartime ordeal. He enlisted in the Polish Army and enrolled as a law student at the Lodz University where he graduated in 1955. In March 1957 Salomon traveled to Lvov where he met Arkadji Schneiderman, who invited him home. Salomon accepted the invitation and immediately fell in love with Arkadji's daughter, Ewa, a violinist. They married on March 18, 1957. The next day Salomon had to return to Poland, but it took Ewa more then six months to obtain all the necessary permits to join him in Poland. Ewa Strauss-Marko was immediately hired by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Their son, Henryk Zvi, was born in 1958. In 1971 the Strauss-Marko family immigrated to Israel. Salomon found employment at the Tel-Aviv University library, and Ewa was accepted to play in the first violin section of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Salomon died on April 12, 1992. As of May 2004 Ewa Strauss-Marko resides in Tel Aviv, near her son Zvi, his wife and their three children.
    Record last modified:
    2015-04-28 00:00:00
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