Frank Dobia Thu. Jun 18, 2009
The name above is my present name. My KLB number in Buchewald was 23730 which belonged to a Russian soldier previously. I unlike Mayer Schondorf was amongst a group selected from block 66 for the march out from Buchenwald. I was in the back of this column and for some reason close to the “appeal platz” dropped into the mud outside the French Block. When the column passed me I was dragged into one of the block in the “Big Camp” and the inmates saved me from the death march. I would not be here now if not for the inmates who saved my life.
Seventeenth century synagogue in Chmielnik
Synagoga z XVII w. w Chmielniku
Below is the English translation of the Polish email to Alina Skibińska about the article in the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, “Chłopi mordowali Żydów z chciwości” (“The Peasants Murdered Jews Because of Greed”).
Saturday, 22 January 2011 10:33 PM
I would like to thank you for the artcle in in the Rzeczpospolita, “The Peasants Murdered Jews Because of Greed“. Your replies to the directed questions was the reality and were truthfully expressed. I live in the hope that the research work by the historians will finally change the looney newspaper commentaries. I write directly to you because I am unable to take part in the comments about this article, knowing full well the moral character of the writers. How strange is Poland for me now, the country that I was born in, brought up in, reading such nonsense.
In 1942 I worked for a peasant in Kargów, in the parish of Tuczępy. After working there for some time the “soltys” [village elder] of Kargów gave me an order to leave immediately for Chmielnik because Jews were not allowed to be in the village. I walked through the night to Chmielnik and arrived there early in the morning. This was the day of the liquidation of the Jews in Chmielnik for Treblinka. The ghetto was already surrounded by the Germans and the Blue Polish Police when I tried with another Jew that I met up with on the way to Chmielnik to sneek into the ghetto. We moved back when the police started firing towards us. We did not know about Treblinka and what was going on there. At that time I was 14 years old and wanted so much to be with my family.
I went back to Kargów to the peasant where I worked. What happened to the other fellow I don’t know. I slept as usual in the barn and early in the morning the “soltys” was there and hollered for me to come out. I tried to run away but he caught me and gave me a decent hiding. He took me to his house, tied my hands and feet and threw me into a shed and locked the door on the outside. After he had his breakfast he carted me with on his harnessed horse and cart to the parish Tuczępy. There I was arrested and I was supposed to be handed over the next morning to the Gestapo the next day. My fate would’ve been then different.
I write about this and tell my children and grandchildren what has happened in the village Tuczępy. In the twilight of the night someone very quietly came with the key and opened the jail door and whispered “uciekaj synku” [“run son”]. I jumped out and I ran to Stopnica. My further experiences are now not important. I survived and that is important and only thanks to this man. Who was this and what was this man? I think that this was the man, the secretary of the parish Tuczępy, for whom I used to keep watch over his horse and cart when he came to Chmielnik on market days.
About 15 years ago when I was in Poland I was in Kargów and in the parish of Tuczępy. I was inside the jail that was still operating as a jail. Visiting the community office in Tuczępy I asked the mayor of the community to find out for me who was this man that opened the jail door and whispered “uciekaj synku.” After some time I returned again to Poland and saw the community mayor and asked him whether he has been able to find out for me who was the secretary of the Tuczępy parish. The mayor responded in the following manner. Mister, go home, because just the fact that you’ve come to find out who this man was, you’ve done enough. Asking around in the area about your case everyone says that this was him that helped you.
However, to you Madam I have a request. In the article “Chłopi mordowali Żydów z chciwości” you mention the Siudak brothers from Tuczępy and you must’ve done a very accurate research on this subject before you voiced your opinion about the Siudak brothers. Maybe you do know who was the secretary of Tuczępy parish at that time. This person is not with us any longer I believe, but there should be a family and may even still live in Tuczępy. I will be forever grateful in your assistance.
Chce Pani podziekowac za artykul w Rzeczpospolitej “Chlopi Mordowali Zydow z Chciwosci.” Pani odpowiedz na zadane pytania byly rzeczywiste i w prawdzie wyrazone. Zyje w nadzei ze usilowanie badan Holokaustu przez historykow, wreszcie moze zmieni sie te bzikowane komentarze. Pisze do Pani bezposrednio bo nie moge brac udzialu w watkach artykulu poznajac brak moralnego charekteru piszacych o historii holokaustu. Dziwny jest teraz ten Polski kraj dla mnie w ktorym sie urodzilem, wychowalem, czytajac takie bzdury.
W 1942r pracowalem u chlopa w Kargowie gmina Tuczepy. Po jakims czasie soltys Kargowa dal mi rozkaz natychmiastowego powrotu do Chmielnika. Nadeszlem do Chmielnika z samego rana a to byl dzien likwidacji Zydow Chmielnika wywiezionych do Treblinki. Getto bylo juz oblazone przez Niemcow i przez granatowa policje kiedy probowalem sie wkrasc do getta z jeszcze jednym Zydem ktorego sie napotkalem w drodze do Chmielnika. Wycofalismy sie jak zaczeto do nas strzelac. Nie wiedzielismy wtedy o Treblince i co sie tam dzieje. Mialem w tym czasie 14 lat i tak bardzo chcielismy byc razem z rodzina.
Ja wrocilem do Kargowa. Co sie stalo z drugim kumplem nie wiem. Spalem jak zawsze w stodole, a z samego rana soltys juz byl przy stodole i ryczal azebym wyszedl. Probowalem uciekac ale mnie zlapal i porzadnie mnie zbil. Zabral mnie do swego domu, spetal, i wrzocil mnie do komory i drzwi zaryglowal. Po swym sniadaniu zawiozl mnie na swej furmance, spetanego, z jeszcze jednym chlopem do Gminy Tuczepy. W Tuczepach zostalem aresztowany i mialem byc oddanym na Gestapo w nastepnym dniu moj dalszy los bylby juz inny.
Pisze o tym i opowiadam swym dzieciom i wnukom co sie stalo w wiosce Tuczepy. W zmierzchu tego samego dnia przyszedl ktos pocichu z kluczem i otworzyl drzwi wiezienne i szepnal “uciekaj synku”. Wyskoczylem i ucieklem do Stopnicy. Dalsze moje przezycia juz sa niewazne. Przezylem, i to jest wazne i tylko dzieki temu czlowiekowi. Kto to byl i kim ten czlowiek byl? Zdaje mi sie ze to byl sekretarz gminy Tuczepy, ktoremu pilnowalem furmanke w Chmielniku jak przyjezdzal na jarmark do Chmielnika raz w tygodniu.
Jakies 15 lat temu bedac w Polsce bylem w Kargowie i w gminie Tuczepy. Bylem wewnatrz wiezenia ktore jeszcze bylo uzywane jako wiezienie. Bedac w gminie prosilem Wojta azeby sie dowiedzial kim byl ten czlowiek co dla mnie otworzyl wiezienne drzwi i szepnal “uciekal synku”. Wrocilem po jakims czasie do Polski. Bylem u Wojta z pytaniem czy sie cos dowiedzial o sekretarzu gminy. Wojt odpowiedzial w ten sposob. Jedz Pan do domu, bo juz sam fakt ze Pan przyjechal w tej sprawie to juz Pan dosyc zrobil. Pytajac sie o panskiej sprawie to kazdy jeden mowi ze to On Panu pomogl.
Ale mam do Pani prosbe. W swoim artykule “Chlopi Mordowali Zydow z Chciwosci” Pani mowi o braci Siudakow z gminy Tuczepy i Pani napewno wszelkie badania zrobila przed swa wypowiedzia o braci Siudakow. Moze Pani wie kim byl sekretarzem Gminy w tym czasie. Juz ten czlowiek napewno nie zyje. Ale jest rodzina a moze nawet jeszcze w wiosce Tuczepy mieszkaja. Bardzo bym byl Pani wdzieczny za pomoc w tej sprawie.
On Friday I was at the Center for Jewish History doing a repository visit at the American Jewish Historical Society for one of my favorite classes this semester (Archives & Manuscripts with Mimi Bowling!).
After the visit, I was viewing the exhibit, “Heroes from Abroad: The Machal and/Aliyah Bet Legacy,” and struck up a conversation with a woman who was there. It turns out that this woman, Lea SIGIEL-WOLINETZ, is an incredible connection for two reasons. One, her maiden name (SIGIEL) is, in its original Polish form (SYGAL), my grandma Pearl HERZOG’s (nee SEGALL) same last name! It is even spelled the same way on her grandmother Sarah SEGALL’s Polish passport – SYGAL. Two, Lea’s father, David SIGIEL (ne Chaim Dovid SYGAL), was one of the children in Children’s Block 66 at Buchenwald. This is the same children’s block where Frank was held.
Lea told me about a movie that is being made about Kinderblock 66.
This is the trailer for Kinderblock 66.