Edward Majewski

Born 1927
Lives in Warschau


The biography is divided in following parts:


Arrested during the Warsaw Uprising | Dachau


Arrival in Sandhofen | The first day in Sandhofen | Establishment of the camp | Camp Prominents | The SS | Food | Hygiene | Evening Roll Call and Punishment | Work at Daimler-Benz | A "good foreman"" | Night shift | Sunday working | Air Raid on 15 Dec. 1944 | Selection for the Buchenwald Concentration Camp


Transport to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp After World War II in Poland | About Mr. Majewski's First Visit to Sandhofen after 45 Years Jahren


Sources: Five letters from Edward Majewski and the Interview with him on 2nd of September 1989
Interviewer: Peter Koppenhöfer
Translater: Beata Pruchnicki.
Transcription: Peter Koppenhöfer.

A certain part of Mr. Majewski's answers were summarised by Koppenhöfer



Edward Majewski is arrested during the Warsaw Uprising

Letter no. 4:
"The circumstances surrounding my arrest were rather simple, I was arrested at home. Where did I live then? In the town of Zabki, ulica Wita Stwosza 5. Two SS men came there with their guns ready to shoot and they told me to follow them. My mother managed to give me a piece of bread and a warm jacket before I left home with them, that was all."


Letter no. 5:
"I was arrested in Zabki on 05 Sept. 1944. Two men wearing German uniforms came to our house; I do not remember whether they belonged to the Wehrmacht (German Army) or the police. They levelled their guns at me, ready to shoot and they told me to follow them. When we reached the street, they brought me to a small group of people and we were then driven out of the street. Accompanied by their yelling, we walked through Praga (a right bank suburb of Warsaw), towards the zoo and the railway tracks. There a rather great number of people from the various surrounding towns and villages and from the Praga district had to gather in some Square while the German soldiers aimed their guns at them. My parents had not been arrested because they were too old. The behavior of the German soldiers was tolerable and still had a sense of decency.

As far as I know not all the inhabitants of Zabki were deported, I think only those, which came from town districts that bordered on the district of Warsaw-Praga. The group of people, that had been driven to the zoo, and I were first taken to the transit camp Pruszkov and two day later after a selection to the Dachau concentration camp.

Zabki and Praga were seriously damaged but not comparable to the devastation of the city centre, the Old Town, the town area around the River Vistula, Mokotov, Czerniakov and Wola which were all completely razed to the ground by the German occupants.

We went to Pruszkov by train. The wagons stood near the zoo, where they had driven us; there was no Station in this part of town. We had to climb the wagons, as many people as possible were squeezed into them so that we could only stand. Then they fastened the doors form outside. We passed through parts of Warsaw, which was not yet devastated. We passed areas from which the German Army had already driven out the rebels. We travelled several hours by train."



Letter no. 3:
"I cannot remember when exactly, at which day, the selection took place. If there was a representative of Daimler-Benz present? I think, yes. There were two or three men in civilian clothes who selected skilled workers and gave out registration numbers. They did not say that they were representatives of Daimler-Benz. But I had the chance to see one of these representatives on the factory floor while I worked at Daimler-Benz in Mannheim.


Question: What happened during the selection at Dachau?

At Dachau there were the blocks 19 and 25, these were the Isolation wards for the transport of Polish prisoners. After about ten days came two men in civilian clothes, some men from the orderly room and as well an Interpreter, who told us they looked for prisoners who knew a thing or two about metalworking. It was like this: there were no SS men nor men from the Gestapo (Secret State Police) present, we were all to go past the men in civilian clothes and teil them whether we had a certain knowledge of metalworking. The men form the orderly room looked also for people who had worked in the construction business. Those were taken to a different commando.

Mr. Majewski had worked in Warsaw in the ship mechanical engineering trade, in the inland navigation, so Mr. Majewski had himself registered. He did not know at that time who these two men were. He only realized that they were representatives of Daimler-Benz when he saw one of them some time later on the Daimler-Benz factory floor when he made an inspection there.


Question: Do you remember what they looked like?

Mr. Majewski cannot remember exactly but one of them was rather little, the other tallish. One of the men ha d wavy hair and freckles, but he cannot remember any more details.

Question: You did not have to take your clothes off?


Question: Where was the building commando taken?

Mr. Majewski remembers that his friend had himself registered in the building commando and has never returned. The members of the building commando had to repair demolished buildings in some cities, but he does not remember where exactly. [Probably it was the building commando of the Frankfurt-Adlerwerke concentration camp.]


Question: What was the transport to Mannheim-Sandhofen like?

The prisoners first had to gather in the middle road of the Dachau concentration camp. Then they had to form columns and were taken to the ramp, always under the wary eyes of armed SS men. 80 people had to climb into the livestock wagons so it was rather "comfortable", because they could sit down at least. They travelled for a rather long time, two days. Mr. Majewski does not remember how many wagons went on this transport. At that time all the prisoners were still healthy, they did not yet suffer from the conditions.



Arrival in Sandhofen

Question: What was the arrival in Sandhofen like?

We arrived by daylight, I suppose it was in the early morning. We had to get off the wagons, had to form columns and march to the camp, again we were watched over by armed SS men. First we walked through the town, then through a sort of suburban part with empty Sites between the houses. The guards then urged us towards the camp.

I remember it well: on our way to the camp a prisoner fainted. I do not know whether he was ailing; he was an elderly men, it may have been a heart attack. Anyway, the other prisoners were told to carry him When they arrived at the camp in Sandhofen, they realized that the man was dead, probably heart failure. That was the first dead person in Sandhofen. Death was not caused by torture, but a natural death.


Question: But the first registered death of a person occurred as late as in October?

I think that the dead body was taken to Dachau. At that time we thought also about it. What would happen later on, because we reckoned with the death of more fellow prisoners? We asked ourselves whether they would be taken back to the crematory [into other concentration camps like Dachau, the Sandhofen branch had none.


The first day in Sandhofen

Letter no. 1:
"On the first day we got off the train in Mannheim we had to line up in four rows and were driven on foot to Sandhofen In the school yard lay already the material for our pallets, actually these were ready-made pallets and we carried the individual pallets upstairs and fixed them together. You ask me whether we had any wood-wool or paillasses. I remember that there was wood-wool, but in a very small quantity, both the wood-wool and the paillasses. They were used by the SS men and the Funktionshäftlinge (prisoners occupying a prominent Position). I slept all the time on the bare planks. On that day we received some dry provisions, I do no longer remember what it was. Of course, the first roll call was held on the day of our arrival. Some Poles who spoke German were chosen and given certain Jobs to do and we were divided up and sent to our respective classrooms."


Question: Do you remember the first day in the camp?

We reached at first the Square which was surrounded by a fence which looks roughly like this one here, in front of the window, double wire-netting and barbed wire on top and barbed wire woven between the actual wires. On the square lay wood shavings, which were later, filled into the paillasses. Some of them were already filled with wood-shavings and lay next to the shavings, some of them were still empty. There were also parts of wood from which later on the pallets were made" [Mr. Majewski means that some pallets were already fixed and stood in the classrooms upstairs, not every prisoner had to fix pallets.]

The school was not completely surrounded by a fence, only on one side. There were other buildings next to it, behind the school was a domestic office and over there the kitchen.


Establishment of the camp

Question: Here is the floor plan of the school

Here was a building which stood with its rear side next to the school. A neighbour used to dry his tobacco in it.


Question: There were barns in which the tobacco was dried and a tobacco weighbridge.

These were rather close, they were actually no barns but big racks with a roof on top where
the tobacco was dried.


Question: Where was the kitchen?

It was right in the corner, three large boilers stood there. You had to enter it from the side. The kitchen had a roof and on one side was a sort of partition. They had furnished the kitchen a few days before our arrival, before there had been nothing. Next to the kitchen was a storage building.


Question: Did you not get a paillasse?

Mr. Majewski never had a paillasse; in the Sandhofen concentration camp he slept all the time on bare planks.

The paillasses were only given to the SS men, the guards and to prisoners occupying a prominent position, the so-called "Funktionshäftlinge ". They were chosen on the first day öfter the SS men had asked the prisoners: "Who speaks German?" Several men put up their hands and thus they became 'Funktionshäftling'.

Question: Where there other prisoners in your room who did not have a paillasse?

I cannot say it exactly, but I think that no one in this room had a paillasse to sleep on.


Question: But you had blankets, hadn't you?

We had blankets, but for a short time we had to share both the blanket and the pallet. At Sandhofen we had two-storey pallets, at Buchenwald there were three-storey and four-storey pallets, at Dachau also three-storey pallets.


Question: Let's return to the camp: were you able to wash yourself?

There were showers and taps downstairs. Below each individual shower was a low rectangular basin made of brick in which water collected, it was rather large, as large as this table here. But we seldom had the chance to wash ourselves there because lack of time. We were happy that we could fill our stomachs with some "coffee" before we went to work. And downstairs stood a SS man who limped. I do not remember his name only that he would beat everyone who passed him. When you get beaten in the early morning, you are not keen on going downstairs to wash y our seif. [...] Under such a big shower as many as eight men could wash themselves. Theoretically you could have a shower.


Question: What do you remember of getting up?

It was like this: the block senior or the Kapo called early in the morning 'Aufstehen!' (Get up!), then we had to get up from our pallets, fold up neatly our blankets so that we were not punished. Then we went to the washing-rooms. But, as I have already said, downstairs was the limping SS man who would beat anyone who came near him. Once he hit you, you never thought of going to the washing-room again. Later on we did not feel like washing, we were so exhausted. But it was possible to wash yourself and many people took this opportunity.


Question: Was a light switched on?

Mr. Majewski cannot remember exactly,

"Probably yes, it was dark, inside and outside." He says that it was not always dark outside; the prisoners did not get up at 3.00 a.m. or 4.00 a.m. as some former prisoners maintain. As far as Mr. Majewksi remembers they got up at about 5.00 a.m. From time to time they had to get up earlier, depending on how much work was there to do at Daimler-Benz and whether they had to work under pressure. Sometimes they had to work longer and had to get up earlier. Usually the prisoners had to get up at 5.00a.m. then they dressed hastily, at around 6.00 a.m. they reached the Daimler-Benz plant. There was only a dim light on the roll call Square.


Question: Do you think the other former prisoners stated that they had to get up earlier than it actually was?



Question: Did you get an early morning coffee in the schoolyard?

Yes, before the roll call. Actually there was no roll call in the morning, we had to line up only and then march to Daimler-Benz. At the beginning we had to count up, we formed four rows and those who stood in the front row had to count up in Polish.


Question: Were you given your coffee in the kitchen?

Sometimes the field kitchen was taken out and a fellow stood there with a ladle and everyone got some coffee into his bowl as we passed the field kitchen. The bowls had to serve for everything.


Letter no. 4:
"The kitchen in Sandhofen was furnished five or six days after our arrival in Sandhofen but the large pots were brought into the school yard on the second day after we arrived there they stood in the left corner of the roll call Square. Then some sort of shed was built and placed over the pots; the sidewalls some days later fixed to the shed. I remember that there were four huge pots. I enclose a sketch so that you can see where in the school yard the field kitchen stood and what the pots looked like."


Camp Prominents

Letter no. 1:
"After so many years I do not remember every incident that happened in Mannheim-Sandhofen, but while I recollect, certain things come to my mind. For example, Sznajder, he was a political prisoner who spoke German. Düring the first roll call he was chosen as an Interpreter and Kapo and later on he became "block senior", for a certain time he wore an armband saying "Kapo". The eider prisoners made him pay for what he had done to them when they were at Buchenwald. I should not like to be in his shoes. A few days after we had arrived Karlus Walter, a German criminal, was transferred to Sandhofen. At the beginning he wore an armband saying "Kapo", later on, after having tormented us well enough, he was promoted "camp senior".


"Only Poles worked in the kitchen, a butcher from Warsaw, a waiter, a certain Roman Naszeniak was cook. The name of the butcher may have been Wysocki."

Question: Where the cooks considered as corrupt?

No, there was no chance of sneaking into the kitchen. It may
be . The SS controlled everything.


The SS

Letter no. 1:
"As far as the SS officers are concerned, there was one who tormented me most. I have already mentioned his man in my recent letter. He was a limping SS man wearing an air force uniform. I remember him well because he beat me with a cudgel and with his uniform belt buckle. He tormented us without reason. He used to stand in the morning or evening in the stairwell or at the door. Then he would take off his belt and beat everyone who was near him with his belt buckle. Apparently he enjoyed himself.
The other officers behaved differently, they were not friendly, but they were at least not sadistic.
The photos, which I possess, were not taken in Sandhofen, it was impossible to take photos there. The SS men themselves took the best pictorial documents. But I do not think that after the war anyone boasted with these pictures."
[Mr. Majewski confirmed later that he had seen how SS men took pictures at the camp in Sandhofen.]



Letter no. 2:
"Minor differences arise in a list about food rations for the prisoners of the Sandhofen concentration camp.
First of all is the soup: "Sorgo", "Sago", "Tapioka" are all names for the same kind of soup, probably the correct name for the soup is "sago"- these slimy grains are not known in Poland. The same applies to the soup made of a roux or bread, it's the same soup but my comrades gave it different names. We seldom got bread soup for lunch. Very common was a soup made of Swedes or of mangel-wurzel leaves. All prisoners agree that at breakfast they got" ersatz-coffee" (a dark liquid which no one can nowadays describe properly) with sugar. Not more than one teaspoon in ½ litre.

Lunch was 750 ml soup, often swedes, mangel-wurzel or sugar beet leaves, and sago or bread soup.
Dinner consisted of ½ litre "ersatz coffee" (without sugar), 250 g or 165 g bread, 10 g margarine or almost one teaspoon of jam, less often 10 g lard - this is what the prisoners had as their daily diet. They had never soup for dinner. No one of us weighed his bread nor the margarine, jam or lard. This was not possible, neither one of us could measure whether we really got a teaspoon or a tablespoon of jam or sugar, these are only rough estimates. As far as the margarine is concerned, it was a cube, which was divided into 25 portions. We estimated therefore that a portion weighed 10 g; a portion had roughly the size of my little finger."



Letter no. 1:
"In the morning we could wash ourselves in the cellar. As far as I know there was no bathroom with a bath tub."


"We could wash ourselves but not our clothes. Twice we were deloused, this happened somewhere in the town, not in the school where our clothes were treated with steam. While the clothes were cleaned with steam, we took a bath.


Evening Roll Call and Punishment


Question: Do you remember any punishment?

Once it happened to Mr. Majewski himself: his foreman at Daimler-Benz was a good man, a German civilian. When someone went to the toilet, the foreman had to do his work at the assembly line. Sometimes prisoners would go to the toilet just to smoke a cigarette. When they remained there too long, the foreman reported to the management how long he was absent and then he was later on punished. In Mr. Majewski's case it was probably a mistake and he cleared it up on the next day. Probably they had confused his registration number with a similar one. Anyway Mr. Majewski was ordered to Step forward during the evening roll call at the camp in order to be punished. He wants here to teil us what these punishments were like: either the unfortunate prisoner had to squat down, half sitting, half Standing and remain in this position until he finally toppled over, or he had to leap-frog, as long as he could which meant that he finally broke down exhausted or roll himself on the ground which had no concrete surface but was often muddy and wet. While doing this they were beaten. This procedure was watched over either by German kapos or the camp senior. Moreover those who were punished did not receive anything to eat for dinner.


Question: That happened during the roll call?

After the roll call. Everyone got their bread and coffee and went to the rooms and then the unfortunate prisoners were punished.


Question: Did this happen often in the evening or in fact each evening?

Always someone was punished. But what was worst about it was that the roll call lasted so
long, sometimes one to two hours. This depended on the weather, when it was fine, we did not mind but when it rained, or when we had sleet we were sometimes kept outside for up to two hours .


Question: What was the reason for it?

Sometimes the number of prisoners was incomplete or they just said all have to be punished, without reason.


Question: Then all of you stood there silently?

Yes. One had to be quiet. The fact that someone had clandestinely taken a piece of paper, an empty cement paper bag with him and had worn it as underwear to keep warm, was often the cause for such a collective punishment. What was worst when the camp senior Karlus, a criminal prisoner wearing glasses, had found this out. He was of the opinion that one should not wear this under one 's clothes because this was contrary to the hygiene regulations. Today this seems to me very ridiculous because we were all dirty. But this gave him a pretext to Single someone out and slap him in the face or just beat someone and then all had to stand at attention.


Work at Daimler-Benz

Question: You wrote in your letter that you did not have to work at Daimler-Benz on your first day at the Sandhofen concentration camp

One the first day everything was organized at the camp, on the second day we went to work. We had to walk for a good while until we reached the plant. Then the prisoners were divided up onto (?) the respective Workshops. I was sent to no. 3 where the engines were put together. I worked at the assembly line.

We worked ten to twelve hours a day. WO to 110 cars were put together on one day, sometimes 105 or 107 cars. The cars were almost complete when they came to the assembly unit. The altering Variation in working hours resulted from the many air raids, then there were breaks where all of us were taken to the air-raid shelter, then we had to work extra hours to make up for the time missed.


A "good foreman"

"My foreman was a German, of middle height, black-haired, a very likeable man. I grounded valves and because I was quite clever at it, he gave me at first 20 valves, then 25, then 30. Then they were checked in oil and everything was all right. The foreman liked me a lot, it is true, he could not speak Polish nor could I speak German but he saw that I was a young chap, who was exhausted, overworked and hungry. Out of pity he often shared with me what he had brought with him for breakfast. Of course he could not do this openly like: "Have some bread". All those who worked at the machines had some cloth to wipe oil or dirt from their hands. My foreman used to wrap a piece of bread, a roll or an apple in this cloth and showed it to me: "This is for you." He himself took the risk of being reported by the guards to the SS and being deported to a concentration camp. "


Night shift

Mr. Majewski teils us that the foreman did the same during the night shift. The foreman, that same foreman, showed him, after he had done his work, a small lean-to next to the machine, opened the door and ushered him in. Mr. Majewski was able to lie down for a few minutes, Stretch out his legs and make himself comfortable. His foreman risked his life for Mr. Majewski and if he could find his former foreman, he would be only too pleased to thank him for all he did.

"I do not remember his name. He did not give me much but his friendliness that showed he had a kind heart; that restored my belief in mankind again. He restored my powers and the will to survive all this and that was very important to me. "


Letter no. 1:
"The night shift was introduced a short time before the bombardment of Sandhofen. I worked in building no. 3 or 5,1 do no longer remember exactly, where the engines were put together. I worked at an assembly line. All prisoners who were chosen for this job, worked there during the night shift. It's possible that at daytime civilian workers or Germans, French, Yugoslavians etc. worked at these machines. We did not get an extra ration of food because we worked at night. Before we were marched to the plant, we received the fixed bread ration, which should last us as breakfast and dinner. I ate everything I got at once, why should I keep it? 'After we had returned from the night shift, we received coffee and a soup for lunch (at noon in Sandhofen).

You have asked whether we did not sleep in blacked out rooms during daytime? Yes, that's right, we were in such a deep sleep; we were so tired and exhausted from our daily work and from the march that neither daylight nor noise from outside could wake us. But there was a criminal prisoner, the camp senior, and a limping SS man who often waked us with their yells and noise at during the day."


Question: What was the night shift like?

There was actually no difference between day shift an night shift. Work was just the same; the assembly line kept running 24 hours. The only difference was that we received no meal from 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. That means after we had had our dinner, a 250 g of bread, a little jam or margarine and ersatz coffee, we went to work. We had only breaks during the air raids.


Question: Did air raids occur often?

There were air raids which were quite intensive, sometimes twice or three times within 24 hours. There were also bombardments, which means that the area was often carpet-bombed by up to 5,000 planes. And the German Messerschmitt planes fled from these because the Allied planes came in such great numbers.

Question: There were not any breaks during the night shift?


Question: Did you get lunch at the school?

Yes, we were woken up [...]

Question: How did you get to and from work?
We marched in the evening to Daimler-Benz for the night shift, but from time to time we were taken by train to the day shift and most of the time we had to walk [....]


Sunday Working

Letter no. 1:
"You have asked me whether we had to work on Sundays. Yes, we had to. I remember it well that on one Sunday we were taken to a bath instead of working and our clothes were washed at a high temperature in order to kill the vermin. I cannot tell you where this happened and whether it was done once or twice I do not remember, I'm afraid."


Air Raid on 15 Dec. 1944, the Camp Inmates Are Temporarily Moved to the Air Raid Shelter

Question: Did you work night shift at Daimler-Benz when a bomb hit the school during an air raid?



Question: Did you go to the air raid shelter in the morning of 16th Dec?

Yes, but this is not the air raid shelter on the premises of Daimler-Benz. " When Mr. Majewski came to Mannheim in March he had already asked where the air raid shelter was situated but he was told that there is only an air raid shelter on the premises of Daimler-Benz but the air raid shelter Mr. Majewski was kept in was an air raid shelter in the Sandhofer Straße.

As far as the air raid shelter is concerned, I am convinced that it is not the one which is now on the premises of Daimler-Benz. This is not the air raid shelter in which we were imprisoned from 14th Dec, that is the day the school was bombarded by the Allies, to 24th Dec. It was Christmas Eve when we were deported to Buchenwald. The air raid shelter we were kept in had the shape of a mushroom; it had a cylindrical shape and was not dose to Daimler-Benz. Yes, Mr. Jarocki, a fellow prisoner has stated that the inmates had passed water in the shelter. Those who were ill were forced to do it because there was no toilet and we were not provided with any Container for this purpose. They were as well afraid of getting up from their sitting position because they would not be able to get back to their place because the prisoners were crammed in such a small space.

Question: Here is a photo of the Immelmann air raid shelter on the premises of Boehringer.

It is this one rather than the other, but I am not quite sure. In the air raid shelter we could not lie down, we could only sit. When we entered it, we were told that the first row of prisoners had to sit down with their backs against the wall, and then a second row of prisoners had to sit down in front of them. Somewhere, in one corner was a barrel into which we could pass water: It reeked abominably. But what was worse, when you got up to pass water into this barrel, you could not return to where you had sat because the others would at once close ranks and you had to stand all night on one leg because there was not enough space.


Question: Where you kept on the upper storey?

The shelter had several storeys but I do not remember where I was kept. Neither do I know whether there were any other people on the other storeys. I remember only that the room I was in was crammed with people. I do not know what the Situation was like in the other rooms.

Question: Where the rooms rather little?

Yes, they were little

Question: Did you then have to work night shift?

That had changed, at night we slept at that time in the air raid shelter. But this Situation lasted only until 24th Dec. 1944.


Question: Where did you get food?

We got only food at Daimler-Benz. It was taken to the shelter on the premises of the Daimler-Benz plant.


Question: Was it the same food?

Yes, but it was cooked somewhere else.


Selection for the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Letter no. 1.
"As far as I can remember there was no selection made for Buchenwald, this was decided by officials. On 24th Dec. 1944 was a roll call after work in front of the school building and during the roll call 400 registration numbers were read out. Those whose registration number had been read out had to step forward. This group of prisoners went to the train while the remaining prisoners returned to the air raid shelter where they spent the night. I think we were sent to Buchenwald because there was not enough space in the air raid shelter. The nights we spent there sitting on the dirty floor were terrible. Or maybe they needed metal workers for Dora (Dora-Mittelbau, an Underground concentration camp on the outskirts of Nordhausen in east Germany. Dora-Mittelbau was a top-secret satellite camp of Buchenwald in which slave labourers were worked to death making the V2 "wonder weapon" rockets)."

Question: What was the selection at Christmas like?

After work there was a roll call. 400 registration numbers were read out and those whose number had been read out had to remain in the roll call Square while the others were allowed to go back into the air raid shelter. After some time we were taken to the Station and left Mannheim.


Question: Was the roll call held on the factory premises?

Mr. Majewski says that the roll call was held in front of the air raid shelter. He cannot remember where the Station was. He knows only the streets they passed through on their way to work. But he has explored the town quite recently.



Transport to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Question: What do you remember of the transport to Buchenwald?

The transport to Buchenwald was much more exhausting than the transport from Dachau to Sandhofen. It took about 48 hours until they reached Buchenwald early in the morning of 27th Dec. 1944. Depending on the area they passed through it was sometimes extremely cold. The prisoners had only very little space in the wagons and were much more crammed then on the transport from Dachau to Sandhofen, because there were more prisoners in the wagon. They received nothing to eat or drink except once. They received a loaf of bread, which had been baked in a longish mould. Four people had to share one loaf.
Two or three guards were with them in the wagon. They were freezing cold because they wore only thin clothes. Mr. Majewski remembers that they had a dead man in their wagon when they arrived at Buchenwald. There was also a barrel in the wagon, which reeked incredibly. When they arrived at Buchenwald, they had to form columns again. Very quickly the news passed around that in the other wagons were several dead bodies.

The wagons were locked from outside. While they travelled to Buchenwald, they were surprised by an air raid. In that moment the SS men opened the doors of the wagon from outside, the guards left the wagon. Then it was locked again so that the prisoners remained in the wagons. The guards and the SS men left the train, probably they sought some shelter while the bombs exploded somewhere near the train.

"It took us probably so long to reach Buchenwald because after the air raid the train stood in the cold for a long time. I suppose the railway track was hit. "


Letter no. 1:
"We reached Buchenwald after Christmas on 26th or 27th Dec. 1944. One detail I remember of this transport very distinctly is an air raid on the railway line. Bombs fell on both sides of the track. The SS men became frightened, left our wagon, locked the door behind them and fled into a field. After this air raid the train did not move for quite a long time, apparently the railway track was hit. I think this must have been the reason why it took two days to reach Buchenwald."


After World War II in Poland

Letter no. 1:
"You have asked me about my present life: I do no longer work, I have retired. I am married and have two children, a son and a daughter. They have finished their studies; they got an education, which I unfortunately did not get. My son is an electrician, my daughter an architect. My son is often ill which is a serious problem. He suffers from arthritis. My daughter has two children and is widowed; her husband died last year at the age of 39. This is another problem. At least I could have been spared this but life is not easy, I live like an average retired man. I think this is enough."


About Mr. Majewski's First Visit to Sandhofen after 45 Years

Letter no. 2:
"The trip to Sandhofen was very exhausting but I recovered within a week. I was very touched when I stood at the fence of the school in Sandhofen; the memories of horrible days came back. I had a lump in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. This is where I lost my youth and my health as well as my dreams. As a child I always wanted to become a navy officer. But the imprisonment and the illness that resulted from it have irrevocably damaged my health. On this day the children attended school so that we remained outside. We laid flowers, lighted candles and prayed. Then we left the school with a bleeding heart and a lump in the throat and went to the cemetery."