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Fischel (Philip) Goldstein

Radom, Poland

Fischel was the youngest of five children. He came from a Jewish family of artisans; his father was a tailor, his uncles were furriers, and his sister was a dressmaker. Fischel started his education at a Jewish parochial school at age 3, where he studied Hebrew and Yiddish. He continued his education at Jewish private schools until age 10, when he entered Polish public schools.

1933-39: After graduating from the Polish public school system at age 14, Fischel started an apprenticeship in his father's tailor shop. Tailoring was not the future Fischel envisaged for himself; he preferred the world of books instead. Luckily, his Zionist youth organization had a well-stocked library. Fischel's life was interrupted when the Germans occupied Radom on September 8, 1939, one week after the invasion of Poland.

1940-45: In March 1941 the Germans set up a ghetto in Radom and on April 28, 1942, Fischel was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. There, he worked digging foundations and performing labor tasks at the construction sites of the crematoria and other structures. Every day prisoners were beaten to death at work and four prisoners were selected to carry the corpses back to the camp. At night, prisoners were dragged from their bunk at random and killed by the "stubendienst," prisoners who were assistants to the barrack elder.

From January 1945 until his liberation on April 30, 1945, Fischel went through five other concentration camps. Of the thousand men who entered Auschwitz with Fischel, 15 survived.

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