A very hot day in Stalag 7A, in Krems in Austria. After several
weeks of hunger in temporary camps in France, we have reached
the place where we will be "les prisonniers de guerre".
The anxiety was rampant, what will it be like, how will they
We were a company of Poles from France, will they shoot us right
away. No, it seems that in the camp there were Polish soldiers
from the Polish campaign in 1939. So maybe we will be here for
a while as well.
The next morning, after we have been counted and recounted and
given a piece of rye bread, we were sent to a large room with
long tables at which sat some polish prisoners from the campaign
of 1939. We were considered as French Prisoners, and we were
there to give them all the data on us. Our hosts have taken 2
million prisoners in the last days of the French campaign; it
didnt seem to us very logical that they must know our names,
But they were the guards, we were the prisoners, so there will
be no discussion.
The line moved slow. When I reached a free investigator, sat
down next to him(there were no hers) to answer all kinds
of questions. Name, age, family members, place of birth, languages
spoken and so on.
And now, he turned to me " what is your religion?"
I answered " I am a Jew". He seemed somewhat puzzled.
"do you want me to put it down like that?". Here was
the moment. The man was willing to help me to conceal my crime
of being Jewish. What shall I do. The only thought I had was
"what would happen to my people would happen to me, I cannot
deny them" I said "Yes, please put down Jewish".
More questions were asked and answered, and we were soon at the
end of the questionnaire. At this moment a young German non-com
was passing by and looked over the shoulder of my clerk. He noted
the languages:" I need this man in the office" (that
sounded like an easy job). He took my card and took me to the
front of the line where another German soldier was checking the
cards. He said " I am taking this man, I need him in the
The man looks at my card: - " Oh no, this cannot be, this
is a Jew."And with a great flourish he stamps right across
my identity card the word