Schweinsberg (Germany), Neuendorf, Buna, Gleiwitz, Dora
Julius was born in Schweinsberg, Germany in 1923. This was a small town of approximately six hundred and with only five or six Jewish families.
Julius had one brother, Siegfried, and one sister, Hilde, and his father was a cattleman who owned his own business. His mother, Flora (Schirling) was born in a small town about six kilometers away. When he finished school, he became a baker.
They were Orthodox Jews who went to a small shul, laid tefillin every morning and had minions on Saturday.
There were no problems until Kristallnacht, when his bakery was set on fire. His father was sent to Dachau in 1938, but was released four weeks later because he was a wounded soldier in World War I.
In September, 1939, Julius went to Neuendorf, a work camp in an attempt to try to get to Israel. He was there for one year. He worked in a coal mine and hauled trees until 1943 when he was sent to Berlin.
He went from Berlin to Buna which was affiliated with Auschwitz, working with rubber and synthetic gas.
He was in an arbeitslager ghetto once while logging. His family was sent to Treblinka where they died.
Julius was a cattleman from Berlin to Buna, reaching there in 1943.
In January, 1945, he was marched to Gleiwitz and then reached Dora. He worked a twelve hour shift, mostly underground where there was neither water, electricity, nor much food–only one potato and black water daily.
At the end of the war, the factory closed and he was shipped by train to Bergen-Belsen. He jumped the train and stayed in the woods where he stole a German uniform. When the Americans took him as a prisoner, he had to convince them that he was a runaway Jew and not a German soldier. They saw the numbers on his arm, but that didn’t do the trick. They quizzed him on Jewish tradition and, finally, believed him and sent him home with a driver, first giving him food and clothes.
On May 1, 1945, he went to his original home, but none of his family was there and there were strangers living on his family property. He threw them out, moved in and went into the meat business.
He married on June 18, 1946, in Germany to a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto and Bergen Belsen, Rosa Weintraub.
He has two sons, Joel and Frederick and came to the U.S. in 1949, when his uncle in Massachusetts sent him papers.
Interviewer: Harvey Rice
Length: 26 minutes
Format: Video recording