Belzec

Szlamek Bajler and Family

Taken on Monday 12 January 1942 from the town of Izbica Kujawska to Chelmno death camp, where he worked burying bodies in mass graves in Rzuchow forest after the Jews had been gassed in the gas vans.

On Monday 19 January Szlamek escaped from the vehicle carrying him and the other grave- diggers to the forest from the “Palace”. He made his way to Grabow, where he spoke to the Rabbi about what was happening in Chelmno. He gave the false name Grojanowski.

From Grabow he walked to the Warsaw Ghetto to warn the Jewish community of the destruction of the Jewish race taking place. Ill and extremely exhausted Szlamek was given shelter by people working for the Emanuel Ringelblum Archives- Hersz Wasser and his wife Bluma, who wrote down Szlamek’s account.

Members of the Ringelblum archives sent Szlamek to Zamosc, to stay with his sister in law Fela. Szlamek was deported to Belzec death camp from Zamosc on 11 April 1942, together with his sister in law, but before his death he managed to inform the Ringelblum archive that the extermination camp in Belzec – “It’s the same as in Chelmno”.

Szlamek’s report about Chelmno was published in Poland, after the war, during the war it was used in the secret reports sent from Poland to London, informing the allies of the death camps in Poland.
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I am amazed that ont only was this man able to escape his sentence the first time and inform someone of the atrocities in that camp, but also somehow inform him again before dieing in Belzec. I don’t know how he managed to make it as far as he did or even if I could in that same situation.  Honestly even if there was a way to prevent something like this, do we have the ability to do something like that let alone the “political reasoning.”

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