Shortly before the start of the Second World War and during it, hundreds of industrial complexes were erected by the fascist regime to exterminate people. During the war, Jews from all over Europe and prisoners of war were sent there. Also, one of the other symbols of the Nazi humanistic ideology was the ghetto - special areas with inhuman living conditions, organized for the Jewish people.
The total number of deaths from starvation, medical experiments, executions in concentration camps and ghettos is still unknown. It can reach 6 million. People who went through this hell as children sit for a protrait and plunge into the memories, calling themselves random people who survived by chance.
The children - prisoners of the network of concentration camps for the extermination of Auschwitz, located in Poland, 60 km from the city of Krakow. More than a million people died in these camps. Photo of the unknown photographer, which is part of the exposition of the Museum of Memory of the Victims of the Nazi concentration camps "Holocaust" (St. Petersburg).
Nadezhda Petrovna Sashneva, 81 years old.
The war found Nadya in Vitebsk. Her father went to join the partisans. The first time after the arrival of the Germans, she hid in the forest with her family, but they were found - the Germans regularly combed the forest with dogs. The girl was sent to Auschwitz II - Birkenau in a cattle car with two brothers, mother and grandfather.
The mark on Nadezhda Petrovna's hand, left after a surgical operation to remove the tattoo with the number, which was applied to all prisoners immediately after arrival at the concentration camp. Former prisoners of concentration camps preferred to delete the number surgically and not talk about their past, since the Soviet authorities believed that prisoners of war did not exist, there were only traitors.
Immediately after arriving at the camp, Nadya was herded into a cold shower. Children and adults were separated. Nadia was placed in the children's part of the camp, where she worked - she cleaned the territory. All the time she was starving, the guards constantly mocked her, forced her to dance and sing, and if she didn’t have the strength, they beat her. There was no fear of getting into the gas chamber - everyone lived for today. She remembers how her older brother slept on her, covering her with his body so that she would not be taken away for medical experiments. When the Germans began to leave, all the children were herded into the basement and locked up, where they were found by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945. Nadezhda Petrovna recalls that by the day of her release, her body resembled a skeleton, she could not stand on her feet due to exhaustion.
Pavel Markovich Rubinchik, 88 years old.
When the war started, Pavel was in a children's camp in Minsk. On the night of June 24, 1941 Minsk was bombed. The flame reached a height of 60 meters, which created the illusion of a permanent sunset. Pavel's family packed their things and went towards Moscow, through forests and swamps, as the roads were constantly fired. The Germans found them in the forest and sent them to the Minsk ghetto. There, Pavel drove children's corpses from the hospital in a wheelbarrow and dumped them into a pit. Once there was a raid after which children were sent to the death camp Maly Trostenets, the largest in Belarus. But by chance, Pavel and his family did not die - the Germans again needed labor, and the Jews were taken back to Minsk. Pavel and his comrades worked for 12-13 hours. He recalls with horror the hunger and how his comrades were hanged for the slightest disobedience.
Post-war photograph of Pavel Markovich.
Together with comrades he managed to escape from the city and joined the partisans. They were not just accepted to the partisans - they gave difficult tasks for joining the detachment. At the risk of his life, Pavel took out parts for weapons from the workplace, and when he had accumulated the required amount, he fled. They left the city by train with their comrades, then walked about 150 kilometers to the partisan camp. After some time, a detachment of partisans joined the Soviet army. Eventually he became a soldier, received a military award.
Riva Rafailovna Maciyauskas, 78 years old.
She spent two years under occupation in Belarus, after which she was sent to Auschwitz with her cousin and grandmother. When they were taken to the camp, she did not know that this was a death camp and what she would see there. She says that they stood for hours on the parade ground, and if someone was missing, the Germans found them and staged demonstrative executions. They constantly took blood, which took all the strength. She cannot forget how a small child died of starvation in the barracks, and his mother's eyes. Riva spent 13 months in that place.
The tattoo on Riva Rafailovna's arm is the number that she got immediately after arriving at Auschwitz. Unlike many other prisoners, Riva Rafailovna decided not to delete the number. It is joked that this is the zip code of a loved one.
On January 27, 1945, the prisoners of Auschwitz were released. She remembers how her grandmother was given 65 years instead of 40 when issuing new documents - this is how she looked after the concentration camp.
Iraida Fedorovna Zhukova, 83 years old.
The war caught Iraida with her family in Krasnoe Selo (Leningrad region), her father went to the front, the girl stayed with her mother. There was a famine, they ate domestic animals. Once the invaders ordered to collect linen and come to the station - they were all sent to Kempolovo (Volovsky district) for haymaking. Then she and her mother were transported to Lithuania, where they worked on a farm. The Lithuanian owner really liked Iraida's mother, and he treated the girl well, but the Lithuanian's daughter was terribly jealous and slandered Iraida and her mother, after which they were sent to Mauthausen. There they worked hard - they cleaned the territory, weeded the grass. The guards beat them for any reason.
Post-war photograph of Iraida Feodorovna.
When the offensive of the Soviet troops began, the Germans moved everyone to another camp, the name of which Iraida Fedorovna does not remember. There they were not fed at all - these were the most terrible, hungry days. They managed to escape from the camp, having miraculously crossed over the barbed wire. After wandering around Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, she came home, but the house was no longer there - everything was burned.
Anatoly Trofimovich Malevanny, 88 years old.
During the war, the Germans came to the Ukrainian Krevets, where the boy Tolya lived, and began to rob houses and rape women. At first, they managed to hide, but in the end, the boy was found and sent in a cattle car to the Siemenswerk station in Germany, where Tolya worked at a small factory producing metal parts for military equipment. He tried to escape, but was caught and sentenced to death. When the boy and other fugitives were taken out to be shot, executioners shot in the air, but they didn’t kill him, because labor was needed for the Mauthausen-Gusen camp (an extermination camp where the “incorrigible enemies of the Third Reich” were kept).
A commemorative reproduction of the number of Anatoly Trofimovich, which was assigned to all prisoners immediately after arrival at the concentration camp (the red inverted triangle means "prisoner")
Tolya spent four months in the Mauthausen camp, working in a quarry. People disappeared every day, and the chimney over the crematorium did not stop smoking. The most terrible memory was the death of Volodya's friend from starvation. Tolya was unable to wake him up in the morning after the wake command. He was released on May 5, 1945 by the American soldiers. After a medical examination, the doctors said that if he had not been released, he would have died two days later from dropsy.
Lev Emmanuilovich Kurman, 83 years old.
The war came when the Leva family lived in the Vinnitsa region of Ukraine, in the village of Chernevtsy. They all hid in the attic, and through a gap in the wall they saw how the occupiers threw people off the cliff at night. Those who survived, including the Kurman family, moved to the Murafa River ghetto, which separates Jews from the outside world with barbed wire. In the ghetto, Lev saw both death and hunger. 15 people huddled in a small room of ten square meters. After the departure of the Nazis, the Romanians came, who did not kill people, leaving them to die of hunger themselves. In addition, the Romanian commandant needed labor to dismantle the cemeteries - children from the ghetto paved the road with tombstones.
Post-war photograph of Lev Emmanuilovich.
The release happened unexpectedly and quickly. Now Lev Emmaniulovich often wakes up at night - memories roll in, his heart beats very strongly, it becomes scary again. Lev Emmanuilovich believes that all those who survived that time are "random people who survived by chance."
The Solovyov sisters - Maria Pavlovna (83 years old) and Valentina Pavlovna (77 years old).
The sisters lived in the Vitebsk region of Belarus when the war began. The Germans came in 1943, but the girls managed to escape into the forest, where they wandered for about two weeks, eating moss. As a result, they were caught and sent in a freight car to the Salaspils death camp, not far from Riga. At the gate stood a gallows on which a corpse hung.
Upon arrival, the sisters were immediately shaved and doused with cold water. Those who are older, about 14 years old, were immediately sorted and taken to Poland for work, the rest of the children were constantly gave blood, since the Germans considered children's blood to be the least toxic. The most important thing after the next blood donation was to crawl to the barracks: those who could not get up were killed on the spot. The sisters constantly recall the creaking of the door to the barracks - this meant that one of the children was being taken away.
Things - belonging to children from the Auschwitz camp: prayer book and a doll. At the moment - exhibits of the Museum of Memory of the Victims of the Nazi concentration camps "Holocaust" (St. Petersburg).