Research

Sadik, Nathan M.

Survivor/Camps

Mlawa (Poland), Auschwitz

Sadik is the oldest of four children of an Orthodox Jewish family from Mlawa, Poland, a town of about 25,000 to 30,000 inhabitants including about 5,000 Jews. He and his family encountered considerable anti-Semitism while living there.

In 1940 the Jews of Mlawa were rounded up by the Germans and transported out of town so that a ghetto could be created in the town. Sadik avoided the round-up by hiding, first with a Christian neighbor and then with his uncle. Those that came back and Jews from surrounding villages, as well as Sadik, were confined in the ghetto and were used as forced laborers. The ghetto was liquidated in 1942, and Sadik, together with his family and others was shipped on the second transport to Auschwitz. They traveled in passenger cars, not cattle cars as was the common practice.

Upon arrival at Auschwitz he was separated from his family and, except for a single time when he saw one of his sisters, he never saw his parents or three sisters again. He assumes that they were gassed and cremated. Sadik was tattooed, given a camp uniform, and taught to be a bricklayer. He worked as a bricklayer at Auschwitz until the camp was liberated by the Russian army on January 27, 1945. During the interview he describes camp life, food, living conditions, etc.

Sadik believes he avoided the death marches from Auschwitz prior to liberation by suffering an appendicitis attack and being hospitalized just prior to the start of the marches. At the camp hospital in Auschwitz Sadik's appendix was removed by a French Jewish doctor. In the confusion of the German withdrawal, he was allowed to recuperate from the surgery in the hospital.

Following his liberation, he returned to Mlawa but was treated like a stranger. He fled Poland and entered a displaced persons camp in Austria, where he married a woman he met in Auschwitz following liberation. Their son was born in a hospital in Braunau, the village that is Adolf Hitler's birthplace. He left the displaced persons camp in 1948 for the United States.

Following his wife's death in 1982 he remarried a friend of his wife's from their days in Auschwitz. He still has bad dreams and some physical ailments resulting from his incarceration. Sadik describes how his life was spared by a German Kapo and states that Poles and ethnic Germans from other countries were considerably more brutal than regular German guards or Kapos. He states that the Germans killed for a reason, whereas the others killed for the fun of it.

Interview Information:
Date: May 23, 1995
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Format: video recording
Length: 46 minutes