Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.
Testimony # 03/7048
Cassette # 033C/2740
Name: Dov Landau
Date of Birth: Aug. 10 1928 in Brzesko, Poland
Present address: 6 Lacish St. Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Interviewer: Shoshana Ben-Avraham
Date of testimony: June 6, 1993
Testimony's language of origin: Hebrew
Translation and commentary by: I. Zelinkovsky
The witness Dov Landau, was born to a Chassidic family and textile merchants. He resided in Brzesko until August 1942. He describes the orderly relationship between the Jewish and the Polish communities prior to the war and the escape of the Polish army from the Germans upon the outbreak of the war. At the beginning of 1940 the local Jews were drafted to perform degrading jobs while Jews were harassed in the streets. The witness's father was nominated as the representative of the Jewish community in dealing with the German authorities. In 1941 the synagogues in Brzesko were set ablaze and soon after all Jewish males from the age of 13 were drafted to work for the Germans. The witness worked in preparing straw for the German's horses. In June 1941 the local Jewish community was forced to supply furniture and dishes. At the same time about a thousand women and children (among them his mother and brother) were captured and transported to an unknown destination from where they never returned. In the summer of 1942 the Jews of Brzesko were ordered to relocate to a designated area in town. At this stage the witness, his father and other family members escaped to Bochnia. In Bochnia the witness was employed in a tailoring workshop. The manager of this workshop was a Jew named Yosel Frankle. The workshop was producing and repairing clothes for the Germans. The witness describes the living conditions in ghetto Bochnia. In September 1943 Mr. Landau was transferred to the Szebnie labor camp and he describes the conditions in that camp. In Szebnie the witness worked in shoe repair. In November 1943 Mr. Landau was transferred to Birkenau and was employed in road construction. In December 1943 he started working in a coal mine in Jawiszowice and he describes the harsh conditions of this work. A Polish worker helped him and brought him some food. Mr. Landau remained there until January 1945 when he was taken and participated in the death march of three days and nights without food until they reached the train station. From there he was transferred to Gros-Rosen and Buchenwald where he was liberated by the American forces on April the 11, 1945.
Remark: This witness is the person after whom the character of Dov Landau from the book Exodus was modelled.
|Partial testimony (pages
15 to 22)
Landau: ....... This is how life continued for a few months until the end of 1942. When we saw that the situation is getting worse and worse we decided to move out of this town, and to escape to the nearby town of Bochnia.
Interviewer: You and your father?
Interviewer: Did you prearrange for a place to stay?
Interviewer: How are you surviving, what is your source of income?
Interviewer: Where did you work?
Interviewer: Did your father work at the same place?
|Interviewer: What were the work conditions there. Were there
Germans that supervised the work as well?
Landau: No, all the supervision was handled by Jewish professionals, the report and the production. The repaired products and the brand new product were delivered to a German's gathering place located away from there.
Interviewer: But about the work conditions, did you receive a
salary or food, what did you get in return?
Interviewer: Who cooked in this restaurant?
Interviewer: Until when did you stay there.
Interviewer: And what happened then?
Interviewer: Before we get into this I wanted to ask you what
were the conditions in ghetto Bochnia. How did it look? If you looked through
the window what did you see there? Was it fenced, were you guarded, how did
|certain place in the woods and were not given a proper Jewish burial.
They were buried there in the woods and the location of their burial sight
is unknown. They were about two thousands to twenty five hundred people.
The last Jews who remained there.
Interviewer: How did you managed to escape this fate.
Interviewer: We are returning back to ghetto Bochnia.
Interviewer: Did you know right away that this was a selection?
Interviewer: Do you know the name of the officer in charge of
the operation in this place?
|not clear to me if he was directed to the right side or to the left.
He was ahead of me. The Germans saw a nice looking Jew, tall and distinguished,
he had a bag on his back or that he had a pillow case in which he put his
small belongings like: towel, pajamas and also talith and tfilin, and that
was on his shoulder. And they saw him walk like that with his head tall so
they charged a dog after him. The dog caught him by his pants and he fell
on the ground. The dog tore his trousers and the bag that he had. His belongings
were scattered all over. Grandfather probably was wounded as well in his
leg. I saw that he hardly stood up and they hit him forcing him to continue
walking, and he was limping and could not proceed walking. This is how he
reached the truck in which he was transported with all the old people and
children. After that it was father's turn and they told him to go to the
right. When I saw that he is going to the right so I trailed after him. I
was trying also to look like a man fit to work. Father had shown me what
kind of boots and pants to wear so I would look like a man fit to work. Due
to these clothes they agreed to send me to the right together with father.
During that time obviously they did horrible things. It is unbelievable how
they took a baby from the arms of her mother. The officers asked from one
of the soldiers to throw the baby in the air, when he threw this baby in
the air, and it was a small baby of one week to one month old, in front of
all the people standing in the gathering court they shot the baby to show
off what good sharp shooters they are.
Interviewer: Did you see it with your own eyes?
Interviewer: What did the baby's mother do?
Interviewer: Please describe to me this labor camp. How did it
Interviewer: Outside the camp?
Interviewer: How many people approximately were there?
|Interviewer: Men and women?
Landau: Men women and children. There were children of different ages from ten years of age and up. I was considered a big boy there, I was fifteen years old.
Interviewer: How many people managed to get into a single hut?
Interviewer: what was there inside the huts?
Interviewer: Did you have toilets or running water inside the
Interviewer: There was no running water?
Interviewer: How long were you there?
|Interviewer: Before the liquidation I wanted to ask something
about the subject of nutrition. How did they feed you, what did they feed
you, do you remember how it was there in Szebnia?
Landau: The food distribution took place in every hut. The food was delivered to the barracks from the kitchen. There out of cardboard boxes each one got his own portion: quarter loaf of bread with one triangle of cheese, a peace of margarine and a litre of tea. That was in the morning. At noon time they brought the food from the kitchen in large pots. Each one had his own mesting, sort of food dish, and we got one litre of soup. In the evening it repeated itself, one litre tea and quarter loaf of bread and a piece of cheese.
Interviewer: At that stage did people feel the sense of hunger
yet or not ?
Interviewer: When they liquidated Szebnia where did they take