Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.
Testimony # 03/7107
Cassette # 033C/2805
Name: Bronya (Koshitzky) Shapiro
Date of Birth: 1910 in Sosnowiec,Poland
Present address: 1431 58 St. N.Y. 11219 U.S.A.
Interviewer: Ronit Vilder
Date of testimony: August, 17, 1993 In Jerusalem.
Testimony's language of origin: English.
The following is the testimony of a holocaust survivor - Bronya (Koshitzky) Shapiro. In 1929 she immigrated to Berlin, Germany. In 1938 her family was deported back to Poland. They settled in Lodz until the break of the Second World War. In December 1939 she moved to Krakow and resided there until April 1940. She moved to Debica and then for a large sum of money received permission to settle in Bzesko. After the German invasion of Russia she travel to Lvov to help friends using her German passport. She transferred a few Jewish families to different places using her German identity. In June 1942 she was caught as a spy but was released later on. A few days before the liquidation of Bzesko she managed to escape with her children and two nephews to Bochnia. In September 1942 during the big Aktion in Bochnia she was selected to work in a group of 280 people. She managed to buy work certificates for her nephews. She made an attempt to receive forged documents as foreign citizens for all her family and identified herself as such and as a result was taken to the Montelupich prison in Krakow and later to Bergen-Belsen in Germany to participate in a prisoner's exchange. ..... The part of the testimony following is the one that deals with ghetto Bochnia or aspects related to this subject.
|Partial testimony (pages
23 to 30)
Interviewer: So what are you doing at that time?
Interviewer: But why did you think that if they are liquidating
Tarnow and Bzesko, why wouldn't they liquidate Bochnia?
Interviewer: You knew it is temporary?
|Interviewer: You came to Bochnia.
B. Shapiro: On Erev Rosh Hashanah.1
Interviewer: September 42?
Interviewer: Just like that?
Interviewer: This was in Bochnia?
Interviewer: Where were you taken to?
|Interviewer: How old were they?
B. Shapiro: I told you they were born in December, 1929. This was the hardest time in the ghetto, that you had to pay a lot of money to our people to get permission for work. I started very hard. I wouldn't mention the names of those people because you know .....
Interviewer: You mean people from the Judenrat4
Interviewer: You had still money from the changing?
Interviewer: At that time you worked?
Interviewer: What did you do?
Interviewer: You earned a few zloty?
|Interviewer: You could keep religious at that time? You could
keep kosher and so on?
B. Shapiro: I tell you, I kept kosher the whole war. The whole concentration time, I didn't eat in the kettle, nothing. What happened? I knew that one of the Boyana rebbes is in Tarnow. You know Boyan? This is the Rijaner. This was the greatest. They were friends of ours. I asked what shall I do. Shall I try? I got these papers from my sister-in-law. The answer was the Lord is all around. I went in ..... This is a funny story. I had some gold coins and I went in to the Commissar from Bochnia and I got his assistant Konalski. They called him a Volksdeutsche5 . I came in as a Jew and I asked him what he would advise. I had five or six gold coins and I put it like this, sitting on the table like that. What would you advise me? I am here. My family is there. If I could get papers to get, not arrested but to go a camp for changing. They call it Oustauch. He said: I will tell you something. Here it is not good but if you could go to this camp, it might be easier for you. So I said I don't know where this and this papers should be and I don't know where they are. They started to look for that paper. To Tarnow, to make connection from there. I gave him all the names that I had. What shall I tell you? A few weeks later ...... This was already January, February, they started to look for the papers. Two weeks before was a transport for changing, for Israel, taken to the prison Montelupich, 84 people killed. I had two faces. My picture, my sister-in-law, the two girls.
Interviewer: There was a resemblance between you and your
Interviewer: What happens with me, happens with you.
Interviewer: The ghetto with the people who worked?
|went to the Ghetto B and shared my food with people. Not with all
people, but with people. One fellow who was also one that came from Israel
and became very ill in Bochnia, he was from Sanok. Feibush, I remember the
name. Once I came in and he was so sick and so hungry and he caught my hand
and kissed it. He said Koschitska, I dreamed that I saw you marching in Tel
Aviv with the kids. Once I went to a house that I met a fellow that had a
kid for nine months, survived from Krakow and these kids had been hiding
under the stove from a bakery and we met each other and we became very friendly.
He was a Belz Hassid. We became very friendly. In April, in the end of April,
43, I was in ghetto, on Kowalska 14. Somebody after midnight, 1:30 after
midnight is knocking at my door. I got scared. I asked who is this? He said:
the Bilger rov10 . I didn't know the name at that time. I knew
Belz. Koschitska, open the door. He said: Koschitska,
Interviewer: The rabbi wants you to come with the children.
Interviewer: It was a Prison but for you it was as a waiting
for the exchange?
Mrs. Bronya (Koshitzky) Shapiro's testimony covers developments in ghetto Bochnia during the period of September 11, 1942 to the end of April 1943. The witness was present during the selection of the second aktion that took place in November 1942. She was taken with a group of 280 people to the workshop of Madrisch to ensure their existance. According to her testimony 15,000 more people were spared from this selection. That number does not make any sence since so many people did not reside in the ghetto at any given time. It must be a typo and the number mentioned should have been 1,50013 people only.
That will bring the number of people taken to Belzec on the second aktion
to approximately 2000 people.