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Kalman Goldberg

Tarnow, Poland

Kalman was one of seven children born to religious Jewish parents in the town of Tarnow. He attended public school in the morning and religious school in the afternoon. Kalman's father owned a factory that manufactured kosher soap, sabbath candles and candles for church altars. The Goldbergs lived above their factory, which was located in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

1933-39: The Germans occupied Tarnow on September 8, 1939. The next day, they burned the synagogues. One synagogue, built of stone from Palestine, was blown up with dynamite. Our factory remained open; at that point, the raw materials we needed were still available. We were ordered to make soap for the German army, and we supplied the orphanage and hospitals. Once a month we distributed soap to the public. They came right to the factory for their ration.

1940-45: In 1942 I was deported to the Plaszow labor camp where I worked as a mechanic. When the electrical system on a truck we'd repaired broke down, the mechanics were accused of sabotage and sentenced to death by firing squad. We were taken to the camp prison, where we prayed and waited to die. Our foreman, Mr. Warenhaupt, appealed to the camp authorities, arguing that our skills were needed for the camp to function. Our death sentence was repealed. Instead, we were each whipped 100 times on our backs and buttocks.

Kalman was deported to two other camps before the end of the war, and survived. The foreman who saved his life joined the partisans and was killed. Kalman emigrated to the United States in 1946.

 

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