Zofia Posmysz. "They better pray for themselves. Today the Jews, tomorrow you"
"When a prison guard told us to get ready because we would be transferred to Auschwitz, I had no idea what this place was; I couldn’t have possibly imagined such thing. I remember that I even heaved a sigh of relief because I thought that the interrogations would be over. It couldn’t have got any worse, could it?", said Zofia Posmysz in a conversation with Magda Łucyan, a reporter from "Fakty" TVN.
The series of conversations with former prisoners of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau has been conducted to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the camp’s liberation that falls on the 27th of January.
Zofia Posmysz, born in 1923, was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1942. She was 18 years old at the time. Her prisoner number was: 7566.
"That beautiful time ended when I was 16, when the Germans invaded Kraków. When the first bombers appeared above the city and dropped the first bombs. My wonderful years were over," she said.
"I had no idea how far this would go. I couldn’t have foreseen what the future held for me in the next two years," added Ms Posmysz.
Zofia Posmysz revealed that she was prepared for even the worst things, after she got arrested and taken to a prison on Montelupich street in Kraków. She spent six weeks in there. Later on, she was transported to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau.
"When I saw that sign on the gate 'Arbeit Macht Frei', I thought to myself: 'I’m not afraid of work'. I thought they would release me, as I had no heavy case pending against me. They didn’t find any guns or radios on me. At the time, you would face the worst punishment for that," she recalled.
As she added, already after a few days, had she learned that this German motto, saying that "work sets you free" had nothing to do with the reality behind the barbed wire. She saw the SS officers sending people straight to the gas chamber, instead of work.
"There were some moments, for example, like when they transported the people from Block 25, straight to the gas chamber. This was horrible. Horrible screaming," said Ms Posmysz.
She described one of such transports in a conversation with "Fakty" TVN reporter. "I remember that vehicle, the one that was taking people to crematorium. They were French. Those women started to sing and I remember the words of the song: 'Allons enfants de la Patrie' ('Arise, children of the Fatherland'). It was La Marseillaise. The singing would fade away and away, only to disappear".
"At times, there would be the so-called general roll call. It was convened whenever someone would escape and wasn’t found. We didn’t know what was to come. One woman couldn’t stand it and started to sing a song. The refrain was: 'Jesus, hear the people when they call, hear us and deliver us miracles'. She was humming quietly and another woman who knew the song joined her. Then, another one and another, until all of the women who knew the song would sing it on and on," she recalled.
"It was then, when this terrible thing happened. There was this 'szut' (Schutzhaftlagerfuehrer), Tauber was his name. He was extremely brutal, a murderer by vocation. Apparently, he enjoyed it. Who knows if not erotic pleasure too. He could beat and kick a woman that was lying on the floor. All of a sudden, I heard a question: 'was singen sie?' 'What are they singing?' - she said. The question was directed to the block leader who was also at the roll call. I remember her answering in a trembling voice: 'sie singen, sie beten' ('they are singing, praying'). He burst into laughter and asked: 'für wen sie beten? Für die dort?' ('for whom are they praying? For those over there?') and pointed with his hand at the Jewish block, as that was from where all those women were being taken to the gas chamber. He laughed this wild laughter and said walking away: 'They better pray for themselves. Heute Juden, Morgen ihr. Today the Jews, tomorrow you,'" Zofia Posmysz said.
At the end of the conversation, the former prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau was asked about the message she would like to pass on to young people, for all those things not to ever happen again.
"All of this could have been avoided, if the people wouldn’t accept that ideology brought about by the Fuhrer. People fell under its spell, they were bemused. Very strongly, I should say," she said. "It actually made me think that it’s necessary to keep yourself from mindless and absolute submission to ideologies. That’s because even a noble idea can be transformed into a murder weapon," Zofia Posmysz cautioned.
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: tvn24