Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Cygelman, Jack (1 of 6) The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

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  • Subjects

    Camp experiences

  • Recording date

    1994-06-02, 1994-06-13

  • Is part of (Collection)

    The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Cygelman, Jack, 1928- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lee, Carol (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Jack Cygelman [JC] was born on 25th July 1928 in Bialobrzegi, Poland, eldest of five children. They lived in a small one-bedroom house. Father was killed by Poles before the outbreak of the war. Their house was burnt when the Germans came and he lost his twin brother in the fire. He had very little schooling, when their house burnt down they had to live in the synagogue. He describes misery after arrival of Germans, life in the synagogue, working on farms, at the age of ten, under cruel German supervision. For a short time the Jewish community provided a house for the family but soon it became the ghetto with much overcrowding. JC had to support the family with work and begging. He describes terrible conditions in the ghetto and his efforts to provide food for the family. In 1941/2 he was taken by the Germans to work in an ammunitions factory in Radom. He worked there for two years for the fire service, looked after the blackout. He had enough to eat. He describes life in the camp, stealing bread for the women, threats of being shot after being caught. Cruelty of Germans who shot boys on Jewish holidays. When the Russians came near to Cracow they had to march for several days, with very little food, to a cotton mill in Czestochowa and eventually were taken by train to Auschwitz in July 1943. Description of arrival and sorting in Auschwitz and the transport into Germany. Description of journey. He describes work in a quarry, carrying stones for road building (in Vaihingen, near Stuttgart). JC describes camp life, he was there until 1944, and then started the long terrible walk for about two weeks to Dachau.

  • Related links

    Voices of the Holocaust - link to learning materials based on the moving stories of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on the British Library Website

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