Piasecki (Lech), Adela
Stanislowice (Poland), Various Labor Camps, Bergen-Belsen
Piasecki was born to a Polish-Catholic farm laborer family in 1923. Her mother died when she was an infant. At age seven her father sent her away from home to work at another farm, where she took care of the smaller children. Consequently she received very little formal education.
Following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, she was sent as a forced laborer to a series of German operated work farms in Germany. As a result of some disagreements with the farm owner and some of the other forced laborers, the police were called and Piasecki was sent to a prison in Berlin. From there, she was forced to work in a munitions factory, on road construction projects, and on other work sites. Eventually she was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
She recalls horrible conditions at Bergen-Belsen. She saw a whole trainload of Jews being taken to showers where, in the absence of soap, they had to wash themselves with stones. She spoke of groups being taken to gas chambers and crematoria. Food consisted of only thin soup and bread. One time she found a human tooth in her soup and she is convinced that human meat was used in the preparation of the soup. She also believes, but did not actually see, that cannibalism occurred at Bergen-Belsen. She relates that she saw masses of people, many not yet dead, buried in large holes in the camp and others burned in large piles.
She also describes the events prior to and during the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British and American soldiers. After liberation inmates were taken to hospitals close to the camp and after some months they were sent to DP camps.
Her father and brother died during the war. Following the advice of a friend, Piasecki went to England where she worked in a hospital before being marrying another Polish survivor. Upon receiving a U.S. visa through the efforts of her aunt, she came to the United States in 1952 with her husband and newborn daughter.
A number of photographs and documents are shown during the interview. Following the conclusion of the interview, brief comments about Piasecki are made by her two daughters.
Date: March 17, 1999
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Length: 2 hours, 3 minutes
Format: Video recording