Some Jews Deported from France Are Still Alive in German Labor Camps in Silesia

Some of the Jews deported from France are still alive but forced to labor under frightful conditions in one of Germany’s worst labor camps at Blechammer in the Jakobswald forest of Silesia, according to a French workman who escaped from the camp.

The camp, in the depths of the forest, is maintained by the Gestapo, the witness said. It is divided into two sections, one for Frenchmen sent to Germany for forced labor, workmen of other nationalities, German deserters and some British prisoners. The other, he said, is for French Jews of all social classes “levelled off and rolled together by the most shocking treatment that men can inflict on their fellow-beings.”

The non-Jewish workers are employed in factories nearby and brought back to the camp each night. They start their day at 4 A.M., he reported, and work until nightfall. They sleep three to a mattress. They have Sundays free from work. Their soup ration is supplemented by a tiny portion of meat almost every day.

“The Jews,” according to this witness’s account, published in Paris-presse, “instead of being three to a mattress are six. Their food is nil — clear soup twice a day and that is all. Never a day off, a series without and of servile tasks, the most exhausting and the most severe that can be demanded of the human organism at the end of its strength. Unfortunate is the one who falls or stumbles. He is forced to rise by blows from a club or is shot down.”

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