Wrona Jozef

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Prisoners from Monowitz, a subcamp of the Auschwitz. The Story of Józef Wrona

On the basis of the relation of Józef Wrona:

“During the Nazi occupation I lived in Nowa Wieś. In the spring of 1942 I was referred by Arbeitsamt in Kęty to work in the factories of the IG-Farbenindustrie company in Dwory. I was employed as a thermal insulator and my job was to insulate pipes, through which the chemicals and water vapor flew. I also insulated cauldrons. For this purpose, I used glass wool and slag wool. There were also other workers in my group, among them Józef Błachut from Radziechowy no 1014 near Żywiec (probably still alive), Stefan and Edward Jańczy from Andrychów, Władysław Mendyk (or Mendyka) from Przecieszów.

Every day I commuted to work from Nowa Wieś, but in the winter, due to transport problems, I had to live near the factory in barracks, which constituted so called Lager II. This was the place for civilian workers, who were sent to forced labor for the needs of the Third Reich. The conditions in Lager II were barrack-like: we had to sleep in bunk beds. Due to the character of my work, I could move around the premises of the whole factory generally without any restraints. In the early spring of 1943 I came into contact with the group of prisoners from the subcamp in Monowice. They worked at scaffolding: i.e. the bridges which supported the pipes. These were the same pipes we had to insulate.

We tried to help these prisoners: we supplied them with food and medicines and we also sent forward their secret correspondence and informed them about the situation on the fronts. I took care of two Jews in particular: Max Drimmer (No. 69932) and Hermann Scheingesicht, who had been deported from Germany to KL Auschwitz. Their parents came from Poland, though. Before the war, Drimmer had had relatives living in Bielsko, among them a professor of the German language in Kęty. Her name was Bialer (after 1939 she probably escaped to the USSR and most likely died there during the German attack in 1941).

From these prisoners I accepted secret letters and notes and posted them off to the appropriate addressees in Austria, General Government, Germany. I am certain that the addressees of these letters were not of Jewish origin. In response, they sent packages to the prisoners in the camp. I also received letters by post addressed to Drimmer, Scheingesicht and other prisoners - this was because I sent the letters not only from these two, but also from other convicts.

Iremember receiving the letters from Berlin, Zakopane (from a woman worker in the pharmacy, which was called probably ‘Unter der Adler’; before the war, that woman had been probably the owner of this pharmacy) and Częstochowa. In mid-1944 I organized the escape for Drimmer and Scheingesicht. On 20 June, during the lunch break, I hid them in the warehouse on the premises of the factory, in a previously prepared hiding place in glass wool. I had access to the keys to that warehouse.

The next day in the evening I got through to the warehouse, pulled them out from that glass wool and changed their clothes into the civilian ones. Before that, I had to make the Austrian warehouseman drunk to lessen his alertness. As I knew this region very well, I led the two prisoners out of the factory premises and, after a long march, we reached Nowa Wieś. Here I hid them at my home.

Until 15 Novemeber 1944 they stayed in the shed (in a special hiding place in hay) behind the house. However, after this time they had to leave the shed, because the Gestapo police had already started looking for me. Nevertheless, I helped them get to my friends living near Rybnik, where they found shelter. They stayed there until the liberation time. Nowadays, they live in California, USA. Hermann Scheingesicht has changed his name into Herman Shine”.  

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Bibliography

  • Kęty – relacja Józefa Wrony
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009