The following text from Ben Macznik is a word by word transcript of an video interview made by his son Samson Munn in 1985. Ben Macznik was born in Poland, in Lodz, and emmigrated to USA after word war II. His brother Jacob Maczik was a famous painter (e.g. “A Wooden Synagogue”) before the war when he was living in France together with Ben.
I described to you that our window had iron bars like in a jail. So if someone was outside in the field working, we could see the person, we could speak to the person, but we were not permitted. The person could speak to us were afraid to say anything [?]
All of a sudden we saw a woman startet to come every day. And it was not field time but she came and she kept on with […] turning over the ground and picking up roots.
We saw this work done with a certain purpose but not for food. Till she worked up herself one day close completly to the gate. Then we saw she was looking and working, looking and working till the soldier was walking away from this side. […]
Then she started and our window was open, she said “who are you?”, so we told her, don’t you know, wer are jewish. “Why are you sitting here? Why are you in jail?” We said, this is not a jail this is a conzentration camp. “What is a concentration camp?”. She was living beside us and didn’t know it. “What’s a concentration camp?” “This is not a concentration camp. I found out”, a few day later she came back, “I found out its an Arbeitslager.” Then we saw she is so naiv but she is onest we opend up and we told her the story. That we are actually not workers, we do forced labor, don’t get paid for it, we are not being fat, we only get a soup a day. We told her just becuase we are jews and and the germans want to have a pure race and so on. An other day she came back with new information but she was talking to use. And one day she came and threw us an apple that has one bite taken out of it. You understand that? She had a sandwich and she threw it into the windows. We couldn’t forget it. She was about fifty-fiftyfive. And she came every day. In the meantime she got more informations and she found out the whole truth and the whole facts but she still came every day till we got free. The day before we got free, we heard the shooting very close, we saw the fire from the shooting. But we still didn’t know are we free or are we not free. All of a sudden we saw we have no guard, the gate was not locked, we had no guard, we had no one to take care of us. So the man in charge, the jewish man in charge took the same charge as he did before but we started to wisper. We were afraid to talk that we were free or we are maybe free because maybe the germans will come back one hour later and say “Hi” we were afraid of the shooting. We were not sure about our self.
But all of a sudden that woman comes and walks in width two giant german man. Through the gate, walks in and said: “You are free”. Can you imagine that? And she walked into our building: “All you man come with me. The germans are away they are not in town anymore. The Russians are here, the Americans are here.” Both troups at the same time! And we trusted her, we went with her and she took us in her appartment. She had a big nice appartment. She had food, she started to cook for us. The two man were close to us. She introduced them: “They were not Nazis” she said “they are people who always tried to work against the regime but they couln’t […?] they didn’t know everything” The man properly knew, she may not have knew it. She was a […?] little woman. Then she told us her story that her husband and her two sons were all applyers [??] and they were all killed but she is not alone there are two nephews. And she let us as much food as she had in the house, we stayed there for a few days and then she run out of food. So we offered to bring her food because we got back to our selfs in her appartment. So we went out and went into the empty stores and the empty appartments were the Germans forgotten and we took the food that was there left and we brought it to her house. She kept on cooking for us. Till, it was about two weeks we were with her, then we decided it makes no sence to stay longer, we feel a little bether, we have to hitch hike back home.