Fisk (Fiszlinski), Benjamin
Sosnowiec (Poland), Srodula (Poland) ghetto, Sackenhoym, Bismarckhuette, Blechhammer, Auschwitz
Fisk was born in 1922 in Sosnowiec, Poland, and his family was poor. He and his sister were the only children out of seven still living at home when the war began. His father owned a small dairy farm. Fisk had finished six grades of public school when he began working as an apprentice carpenter at the age of twelve. He remembers a great deal of anti-Semitism in the community. Of his immediate family, Fisk, one brother, and one sister survived the Holocaust. Of his extended family of about 200 people, he states “only a handful” survived.
When Germany invaded Poland, life became difficult. All public schools were closed, food was rationed, and there were often public executions. Fisk worked for the Germans in a furniture factory. Most of the Jewish population was rounded up in 1942 and taken to a nearby soccer field. Fisk, his sister, and their parents were among the group, but he and his sister had work cards and were forced to leave their parents, whom, they later learned, were sent to Auschwitz.
In 1943 the remaining Jews of Sosnowiec were taken to the ghetto in Srodula. While there, Fisk worked in a factory. He recalls poor conditions, overcrowding, and hiding to avoid selections. After six months, he was sent to a work camp in Sackenhoym where he worked for I.G. Farben. Living conditions were better here than in the ghetto. The prisoners had their own clothing, lived in barracks, and could trade items for food. At the same time, there was constant harassment and brutality. Fisk states that a punishment for smuggling food was to be pushed into a hole cut in the ice on a nearby pond and held under until drowned.
Fisk was sent to Blechhammer in February 1944, where he remained for six to seven months until he was selected for carpentry work and sent to Bismarckhuette. He stayed there five to six months until his leg became so infected and swollen that he could not work. He then was transported to Auschwitz (Monowitz). Fisk states that upon his arrival, as the strongest man on the transport (although weighing only 35 kilograms), he helped carry the others off the truck. He was hospitalized for two to three months but received no real medical care until the camp was liberated by the Russians on January 23, 1945.
Date: November 8, 1982
Interviewer: Donna Miller
Format: Audio recording