Jozef Seweryn and friends on a visit in Auschwitz

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  • Photo taken in:
    Auschwitz
    Country name at time of photo:
    Poland
    Country name today:
    Poland

This is me with my friends - I don’r remember their names. The photo was taken in the city Oswiecim during our visit to the Auschwitz camp in the 1950s. 

Israel looked nice in 1956. The state of Israel was created; a good thing that was; the Jews deserved it. I found a job in the aircraft industry as I had worked for the Germans in that field. I had experience from the camp, so when I came they employed me immediately, as a professional. I worked in the aircraft factory in Tel Aviv. There's an airport there - Ben Gurion. I went with my wife and children. It was my wife who later decided that we had to go back. And that was it, no discussions. Our son was sick, respiratory tract problems - he couldn't live in that climate. We left in 1959; I never went back there afterwards. 

We first went to Italy, then to Vienna. I tried to convince my wife to stay there or move to Germany, but she would tell me - only Poland. So when she told me that it could only be Poland, I couldn't say anything. We went back to Warsaw. I should have come back to Cracow. But we had relatives and friends in Warsaw, we could stay with them for some time; and Cyrankiewicz was there. I knew Cyrankiewicz from Cracow, from before the war, we were in the PPS in Podgorze together, and later in the camp in Auschwitz. After three months he got us an apartment, he also helped me find work in a machine factory in the Praga district. I moved there in 1962 or 1963 from a Jewish metal plant which produced machines. It was a Jewish company, operated by the Jewish community. It was first located on 11 Listopada Street and later on 6 Twarda Street, but I didn't work there after its move to Twarda Street. 

I first went to a trial of war criminals as a witness in 1962. I also went in 1963, 1964 and later as well. I attended over a dozen trials. Four times in Berlin, and also in Hanover, Hamburg, Wuppertal and Frankfurt, several times. I was a good witness, because I had had personal contacts with many SS men. I had cut their hair, I had shaved them, so I remembered their faces well and I was able to recognize them. Among other trials, I attended the trial of Artur Breitwieser, the one who came from Lvov and who I served with in the army before the war, and whom I later met in Auschwitz - he was an SS man and I an inmate.

Interview details

Interviewee: Jozef Seweryn
Interviewer:
Zuzanna Solakiewicz
Month of interview:
May
Year of interview:
2004
Warsaw, Poland

KEY PERSON

Jozef Seweryn
Year of birth:
1917
City of birth:
Cracow
Country name at time of birth:
Austria-Hungary
Occupation
before WW II:
Worker at a dentistry supplies store
after WW II:
Worker at an office that assigned apartments, aircraft factory worker, machine factory worker
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Kraus
    Year of changing: 
    1942
    Reason for changing: 
    Hiding Jewish identity/nationality

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