SynopsisSigmund S. was born in Toruń, Poland on May 11, 1923. He describes his family and heritage. He recalls his father’s employment in the Polish army, forced resignation, and political involvement. He describes his early education and participation in the Roman Catholic Church. He recalls antisemitic incidents. Sigmund describes attending school in Katowice, Poland. He recalls his family’s interaction with the Jewish community. He describes attending an elite military school and training as a cadet. He describes his arrest in place of his father, who was on a list of Polish intelligentsia. Sigmund was imprisoned at Tarnów and then deported to Auschwitz on the first transport of prisoners (his number was eighty-eight). He describes the early development of the camp. He describes volunteering to work as a cabinetmaker. He describes the crematoria and recalls the testing of the first gas chamber on Russian POWs. Sigmund speaks about working for the fire brigade and increased freedom of movement. He recalls the prisoner uprising and burning of Crematorium IV. He describes communication in the camp and witnessing increased train transports. Sigmund describes experiencing American bombardments. He discusses outside knowledge of Auschwitz during the war. He recalls his transfer to Sachsenhausen and liberation. He describes travelling after the war and immigration to Canada. He describes sharing his experiences. He recalls learning of antisemitic incidents in Poland after the war and describes his reaction. He describes returning to Auschwitz, founding the Auschwitz Awareness society, and his role in other memorialization initiatives. He discusses the response of the Polish government and Catholic Church to events of the Holocaust.
RightsThe University of British Columbia | Holocaust Documentation Project | Principal Investigator: Robert Krell, M.D. | Consent to Record and Retain Records (fn: Under the auspices of the Standing Committee on the Holocaust and Canadian Jewish Congress - Pacific Region) on file.
NoteTestimony was simultaneously recorded on video and audio cassette.