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Jewish Flyer Who Fled German Prison Camp Tells of Mistreatment of Jews

November 28, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Polish-Jewish airman who reached here recently after escaping from a German prison camp where he was sent after being shot down over the Reich today told of barbarous treatment of Jews he had witnessed in German-held territory.

The flier, Warrant Officer Jan Michaels, 23, was imprisoned near a forced labor camp in Silesia where 300 Jews between the ages of 18 and 25 were confined. The prisoners, who came from France, Holland and other European countries, were forced to work inhuman hours in the freezing cold, although they received little food and were clothed in rags. Persons who became ill feared to report to the camp infirmary because they knew that it meant death. Despite their mistreatment, the youths maintained their morale, Michaels said, and he could frequently hear the strains of Hatikvah coming from the camp.

While crossing Poland in his flight from the camp Michaels saw the Jews of Sosnowice lined up for deportation to death camps. Passing through Polish villages he occasionally encountered a Jew being hidden by a farmer, but otherwise he saw no Jews.

An indication that Allied bombing is having an effect on German morale was seen by Michaels in a remark he overheard in a train in Germany. One traveller, discussing the bombings, said: “The fire of the Breslau synagogue can be seen reflected in the fires set throughout Germany by Allied bombers.”

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