Charlupski (Weintraub), Franka

Charlupski (Weintraub), Franka

Lodz (Poland), Auschwitz, Bremen labor camp, Bergen Belsen

Charlupski, born in 1920, recalls her childhood years before the war in Lodz and in a summer resort, among Jews and non-Jews, and of her family life in a diverse Jewish community. With her sister she survived in the Lodz ghetto almost until its liquidation, when they were transported to Auschwitz. She remembers the train, the filth, and her attempts at modesty. She was in Auschwitz for three days, in line for the gas chamber, when she, her sister, and 297 others were chosen for work detail at a labor camp near Bremen, Germany. A similar “miracle” occurred in Bremen, when, driven from a shelter by German civilians during an air raid, she watched as the shelter was destroyed.

Charlupski talks of encounters with righteous Gentiles, including an ex-Wehrmacht labor supervisor and an old woman. She states unequivocally that German civilians knew about the Holocaust–slave labor gangs were marched into Bremen each day and harassed. She provides details on techniques she used to survive the Holocaust.

Her worst moments came after she was moved to Bergen-Belsen, in the dead of night, crammed into barracks so full no one could sit or lay down; witnessing decomposing bodies strewn everywhere; a week of burial detail.

She was liberated shortly thereafter and relates an incident in which she interrupted a conversation between a British officer and an SS officer to reveal the truth about the Holocaust. (She speaks fluent German.) She talks of seeing starving prisoners ransacking overflowing German storehouses and then dying from the food because of their prolonged malnutrition . . . dying with open cans of food in their hands.

She claims that her survival was attributable to luck and “being a good thief.”

Interview Information:
Date: November 19, 1981
Interviewer: Sidney Bolkosky
Format: Audio recording

Date: June 18, 1985
Interviewer: Sidney Bolkosky
Length: 59 minutes
Format: Video recording