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Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.
Testimony # 03/1383
Archives # 931/76-K
         Name: Dr. Korenhauser Stefan
         Date of Birth: 1914 in Krakow, Poland
         Present address: 5 Jabotinsky St., Tel-Aviv, Israel
Interviewer: M. Lustgarten
Date of testimony: July, 10, 1959
Testimony's language of origin: Polish.

Translation and commentary by: I. Zelinkovsky
Testimony Summary:
The following is the testimony of a holocaust survivor - Dr. Korenhauser Stefan. In this testimony the witness tells about a Jewish hospital which existed in ghetto Bochnia, Poland during the second world war. The escape from the ghetto/ a Polish refugees camp in Hungary/ Escape from Hungary to Czechoslovakia/ A battle field hospital of the Slovakian rebels/ Generosity of an SS man/ and hiding in the mountains with the surviving rebels. The part of the testimony following is the one that deals with ghetto Bochnia or aspects related to this subject.
Partial testimony (pages 1 to 11)
A Jewish Hospital in Ghetto Bochnia
The Jewish hospital was erected at the end of 1941 by the Germans as an epidemic hospital for the treatment of typhoid patients. According to the Germans the Jews were the source of all diseases in the world. Reality showed that from the day the hospital established 44 out of 45 beds were occupied by Aryans.

The hospital's director was Dr. Anatol Gutfreund, who prior to the war ran his own private clinic in Krynica, and I was his deputy. Among the staff there was a medical student named Schonfeld from Czechoslovakia. After the deportation from Czechoslovakia he resided in Bochnia and got killed during the war. The staff included a head nurse Mrs. Deutscher from the eastern territories, three female nurses, three male nurses and a cook. None of them survived the war. We did not have any Jewish surgeons and in the hospital there was no surgeon and no surgery room. In emergencies a Polish surgeon from the Aryan section of Bochnia was brought in and he operated on an office desk in primitive conditions. In the hospital there were no appropriate tools to perform surgeries.

In time there were no more epidemic ailments and the hospital turned into a general hospital. During all its existence there was only one case of birth in the hospital. I want to emphasize that Jewish women were forbidden to get pregnant and bear children. This case was obviously handled without the knowledge of the German authorities. Every few months the hospital was inspected by German medical council. They used to search in the basement but never entered the wards out of fear of catching a contagious disease. Medications we used to get from the J.o.i.n.t. through the distribution center in Krakow. These medicines were sent by Jewish organizations from abroad and the center was


distributing them to different hospitals and Jewish clinics. Ghetto Bochnia was divided into two sections: ghetto "A" for working Jews and ghetto "B" for non working Jews. The hospital was located in ghetto "A" on SolnaGora St. In ghetto "B" there was only a clinic that operated two hours a day.

After the ghetto was sealed there were no more Polish patients in the hospital. During the first liquidation in August 1942 the Germans proclaimed that all Jews who failed to obtain a special validity stamp on their work certificate have to report at the military base in Bochnia. They specified that the hospital is exempt and as a result many Jews who wanted to avoid deportation were admitted to the hospital as patients. Among them was the mother of the hospital director Dr. Gutfreund. Obviously the Germans did not keep their promise. On the day of the Aktion they took all the patients from the hospital. These patients were not taken to the military base but to a nearby forest where they were all shot to death. All the hospital staff obtained the validity stamp on their work certificate allowing them to remain in the ghetto. In spite of that the people with the validated documents were told to report to the military base. There a selection was carried out and 50% of them were added to the transport. Upon completion of the first Aktion from 5000 Jews only 500 remained in the ghetto. Some Jews were hung after the Aktion when they were identified as escapees from other towns.

I would like to mention here a German man named Kurzbach. Every day he used to take Jews from the ghetto to work in his workshop and in the evenings he brought them back to the ghetto. During the Aktion he kept all his Jewish workers in the workshop and even the workers' families were brought there as well. I know that this German was participating in a German underground organization and a Jewish kappo informed the authorities about him. His fate is unknown and there were many rumors about it. The amount of Jewish collaborators with the German authorities was very limited in Bochnia. One day arrived at Bochnia a Jew who served as a German agent. On the pathway between ghetto "A" to ghetto "B" he was strangled to death. This action was preplanned and it was done in such a way that the Germans did not even realize that it was committed. There was a very active German agent in ghetto Bochnia called Reich Alfred who came originally from Krakow. He was a member of the Ordnungsdienscie organization (the Jewish police) and acted against the Jews. I was informed that the Jeudenrat bribed German police officers and while they were drunk they shot Reich Alfred to death in the Jewish cemetery.

The head of the Judenrat in Bochnia was Mr. Symcha Weis. He survived the war but passed away two years ago in Belgium. Among the members of the Judenrat were the brother of Gutfreund, the director of the Jewish hospital, Richter, Rosenowa and others. The head of the Ordnungsdienstu (the Jewish police) was Dr. Rosen who was a lawyer from Bochnia.

The second Aktion took place in November 1942. During this Aktion all the patients in the hospital were shot in their beds. Before this Aktion I escaped out of the ghetto and hid with my family in the Aryan section. When I returned after the Aktion to the hospital I saw only blood puddles on the beds. Upon


completion of this Aktion a labor camp was formed in Kowalska St., Solna Gora St. and part of Kraszewska St. At this time the division of ghetto Bochnia to ghetto "A" and ghetto B took place. There was more freedom in ghetto "B" and the guard was not as heavy. It was easier to get out from ghetto "B" into the Aryan section of the city.

Escape from the ghetto
Before the first Aktion we were convinced that the Jews who were taken from the ghetto were sent to a labor camp in the Ukraine. However two days after the first Aktion I received a postcard from Belzec concentration camp from a medic who worked in the Jewish hospital in Bochnia. This person, named Rosenthal, was taken to Belzec on the first Aktion. He informed me that my brother Jacob was burnt in the Belzec camp. Rosenthal wrote me in his postcard that in Belzec he met a German acquaintance from Bielsko who served as a Sonderdienstem in the camp. This German took Rosenthal out of the transport and assigned him to work in the camp. The postcard was sent with the help of this German. The rumor about this postcard spread all over Bochnia. We had no doubt regarding the real intentions of the Germans which meant a total liquidation of the Jewish population.

In the middle of 1943 we heard rumors about the possibility of crossing the border to Hungary. My mother in law, Helena Lichtig, used to own a fruit processing factory at Czerwienc St. in Bochnia before the war. While residing in the ghetto she still worked in this factory and she had a special permit card to exit the ghetto and move freely in the Aryan section of the town. My mother-in-law started to explore the possibility of a move to Hungary. She began to organize an escape from the ghetto. A cousin of mine, an engineer from Krakow named Stefan Kornhauser, had Aryan documents. He owned a truck and used to transport people from Bochnia to the Slovakian border. This truck was arranged like a bunker. Which means that wooden planks were laid on the truck's platform (truck bed) attached to the side walls (the wooden planks were raised from the floor) on which construction materials were loaded. People were transported lying down under the construction materials. My cousin was travelling beside the driver and was of course equipped with the appropriate permit documents allowing him to transport his cargo (construction materials). Stefan eventually managed to escape to Hungary by himself. He survived the war but passed away two years ago in the United States.

Prior to our escape we obtained citizenship papers from Paraguay which allowed us to move about in the Aryan section freely without the arm band (identification as a Jew). One evening my wife and I exited the ghetto and we arrived at my mother- in- law's factory. There waited my mother- in- law and the luggage which was prepared ahead of time. Five more people joined us later among them was a three year- old child. At one o'clock at night my cousin arrived with his truck and let all of us (8 people) into the bunker truck. At one thirty we were on the move in a laying position through the whole way. Suddenly we heard the call Halt (stop in German). It turned out the a group of German soldiers needed a ride. They entered the truck and sat on top of the construction materials and we were lying underneath them. We continued our way accompanied by the Germans for more than an hour. The young child was given a sleeping pill prior to our trip and he slept through the whole way. It was the Molkner family, father, mother and their son. At dusk, about 5 a.m. we arrived at the town of Osielec near Jordanow.


In Osielec we waited until dusk then a guide arrived and led us through the night to the Slovakian border. At about 2 to 3 a.m. he handed us over to the Slovakian guides. These guides led us up to the road passed Jablonka and left us there to face our own fate. Immediately after the disappearance of the guides we were surrounded by Slovakian police who took us to the police building. Later we found out that the whole Slovakian police force was paid off by Jewish organizations from Sweden. The officers searched us and held us for a short time. The head of the local police force issued the command to feed us and we were taken to prison in the town of Terstena. The local Jews helped us and brought us food in prison. 24 hours later we were transferred to prison in Liptovsky Svaty Mikolasz where the allegation papers against us were presented. I submitted my reasons for my escape from Poland but as instructed by the guides I left one dollar in my pocket and as a result was punished for possession of foreign currency. The verdict was 24 to 48 hours imprisonment. I was released later after I signed a commitment to leave the Slovakian territory. I remained in this town a few more days and then with the help of Jewish organization I was transferred to Preszew on the Hungarian border.

In a Polish refugees camp in Hungary
Every Polish citizen, regardless of his ethnic affiliation, was granted, with the help of a Polish organization in Hungary, a status of a refugee and was allowed to join one of the refugee camps on Hungarian soil. These camps had nothing to do with the labor camps and the refugees had complete freedom of movement within the camps and outside as well. Every refugee received a monthly payment for cost of living. I was a camp physician in the village of Szakmar on the Yugoslavian border. In this camp resided 60 Poles out of them 10 true Polish people and 50 Jews claiming to be Christians. Every week they attended church services and kept all the Christian holidays to the last detail. The Poles in camp knew about our Jewish descent.

As a physician I received three salaries. One from the Polish organization, one from the Hungarian authorities and one from the Red Cross. All together I made 500 penges a month and for this amount I could have lived wonderfully. I lived there without any worry and was not lacking a thing.

This camp did not resemble a refugee camp. We used to reside in different apartments with local families and the treatment from the local authorities and the Hungarian population was bearable. I lived in this village from Sep. 1st 1943 to Apr. 19th 1944. Every one knew me by my Aryan name Dr. Lacheta Ignacy. The Polish organization gave me this name in order to confuse the Hungarian authorities. From the day the Germans entered Hungary in 1944 we started to search for ways to get out of the country. Now we had to obtain Hungarian documents. One of our friends Jozef Tepper who came from the town of Stryj (Poland) provided us with the required documents. He resided with the city hall guard in Szakmar and he had access to the city hall building. One day during lunch, when all the staff left the building Tepper and I went there. Tepper entered through the window and stole 20 to 25 Hungarian identification documents and at the same time stamped them all with the official city seal. I was standing outside on guard at the time. These documents were given to Jews in the camp. On the next day I left the camp and set sail on the river Dunaj to the city of Budapest. There I searched for contacts that would help me to exit Hungary. There were two possibilities: one to go to Rumania and the other to go to Slovakia. We chose the way to Slovakia.


The escape from Hungary to Slovacya
We crossed the Slovakian border with the help of a guide who gave us train tickets to the town of Mikulasz. We were 13 people on the train. One of us by mistake submitted a Hungarian ticket to the conducter insted of a Slovakian one. The conductor realized immediately that something was wrong and handed us over to the police in the town of Wrotkach located near our next train stop. One of us managed to slip away from the police and arrived at Mikulasz. On the way to the police headquarters we gave the officers two watches (as a bribe). After a short interrogation when the local police commander found out that we were Polish Jews and not Hungarian Jews he ordered to send us back to the train station. The Slovaks treated Hungarian Jews worse than Polish Jews. Meanwhile our train had proceeded on its way and we were left at the station. We were taken to a hotel awaiting the next train. During that time our friend managed to reach Mikulasz and informed the local Jewish organization about us being held by the police. Telephone calls and negotiations with the police took place. A few police men arrived at our hotel and returned the watches. They were afraid of being accused of taking bribes. We left on the next train to Mikulasz accompanied by police officers that were there supposedly to prevent us from being arrested again. We of course did not have a clue of what was going on behind the scenes. Upon arrival to Mikulasz the Slovak police was waiting for us at the train station but we managed to elude them. My wife and I proceeded to the designated gathering place.

In the rebels' hospital
The Slovakian rebellion took place in September 1944. The center of the rebellion was in Banskiej Bystrycy. Initially the rebellion took place in the area of Tatr (mountain area) and slowly the rebellion spread out and reached the city of Bratislava. From the moment the rebellion had started the rebels pleaded for volunteers to join their ranks. A few days later I reported to the rebellion organization in Liptowsku Swate Mikulasz and I was sent to Banskiej Bystrycy. At the same time the Germans started to move their forces from Hungary to Slovakia in order to crush the rebellion. I served as a director of field hospital in Horni Tureck. I was the only physician there and had no surgery instruments at all. The hospital was located two km. from the battle field. I remember that on the first night a person with a severe head injury was brought to me. He was a Russian brigade commander. His condition was hopeless since part of his brain protruded out of the skull. Four Russian officers approached me and demanded that I do everything possible to save the wounded man's life. ........


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