Max Blumenstein Story
The Holocaust experienced through the eyes of Max Blumenstein in his own words:
I, Blumenstein Max - born on October 15, 1925 in Breslau, Germany to Chaim Jacob Blumenstein and Tzivia Golda Rozenholz (maiden name), a family of Polish Jews. My parents moved to Poland in my early childhood, to mother's birthplace - Piaseczno, a town near Warsaw. The German occupation of Poland in Sept of 1939 forced the family to move to Warsaw before the end of 1940. German occupational authorities organized the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw where Jewish population was gathered behind the brick walls with barbed wire on the top, I was forced to wear a Star of David as a identifying mark of a Jew. Food was in short supply and rationed. In January, 1942 my father died in the Ghetto from starvation. We remained in the Warsaw Ghetto till the end of April, 1942 until life became completely unbearable. Germans were committing executions of the Ghetto inmates at will, food was non-existent. We escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto to a little town called Magniszew near Warka where my mother's sister lived. We left Warsaw by sneaking on a train and removing the Jewish Stars trying to pass as Poles.
Mother died in Magniszew in July of 1942 from hunger and sickness. Trying to return to Warsaw to attempt to rescue my aunt's family, I got caught by German Gendarmes on a train at a town - Szydlowiec and was consequently sent to a nearby Labor Camp in Skarzisko-Kamienna.
There I was committed to force labor at the "HASAG" ammunition factory. That took place in July of 1942. We were living in the barracks in the camp surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by "Verkschutz", folks-Deutsche from Ukraine. The commandant and the commanding officers were German soldiers. Inmates were ALL Jews.
By the end of Spring 1944 Germans started the Liquidation of the camp in view of the advancing Red Army. Inmates were transported in open cargo box trains to another Labor Camp in (Chestochowa) Czenstochowa.
After a few days a group of men (myself included) were taken by train in closed box carts to K/2 Buchenwald, trip took 2-3 days. The Germans stopped the train at different stations and gave us every 24 hours a little portion of bread and some water. There at Buchenwald I was taken to perform hard labor at the quarry, (Stein Hakenrai) chipping large rocks for construction purpose. After about 2 weeks at Buchenwald a group of us were transported to the ammunition factory in Schliben, Germany. That was August of 1944. I remained in Schliben till early April 1945, then got moved by (cargo) closed box carts train back and forth for 3 weeks.
Germans were trying to transport prisoners to Floseburg Camp, but the allied forces advanced so deep in Germany that the transport train was not able to reach its destination. Finally the train went to Theresienstatd in Czechoslovakia. There on May 8, 1945 I was liberated by the Russian army. At that point, I weighed about 75 lbs. barely surviving. During the last transport, which took three weeks, many of my fellow camp inmates have died.
After the end of the war I went to Poland trying to find relatives from my deceased parents (of bless memory) in the city of Warsaw and Lodz. I did not find anyone from my parent's relatives.
At that time I met my future wife in Lodz, Poland. And we headed towards the west, away from the anti-Semitic Polish Pogroms. Jews were not welcomed back in their homeland. Poles were very antagonistic toward the Jews.
We had no choice, but to seek refuge in the west. We reached Berlin-Germany after a long journey October 1, 1945.
We had our Jewish religious ceremony on April 9, 1946 Berlin, Germany and our civil marriage at Civil Registry of Charlottenburg, Berlin-Germany on May 21, 1947. January 15, 1948 we left for the USA with our son born to us on November 15, 1947 in Berlin-Germany.