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Resistance at the Treblinka Death Camp! The Meir Berliner Story!

Meir Beliner

Brave Act of Resistance at Treblinka

 

Jews assembled in Warsaw for transport to Treblinka

Meir Berliner was a citizen of Argentina who was visiting Warsaw with his wife and daughter when the Second World War broke out. Meir and his family were taken to Treblinka death camp.

 

Meir Berliner had arrived in Treblinka from Warsaw a few days before in one of the transports of the so called "Big Action" At that time it was the practice to take out several hundred people from each transport to work arranging the belongings of the murdered; the same day or a few days later, the group was liquidated and was replaced by other people selected from new shipments.

 

As the arrivals passed the large number of piles of clothing scattered everywhere, they became suspicious. They were never given time to think, discuss, or plan a response. The transports from the East, carrying Jews who suspected their fate, were met by brute force, designed to induce shock and thus make revolt impossible. When those transports arrived, SS and Ukrainian police lashed out at the Jews with whips to hasten their departure from the trains.

 

Those who fell behind were immediately shot. The rest were, within hours of their arrival, selected for extermination, the separation of men from women, the stripping of clothes and valuables, and the marching or running to their deaths was completed.

 

Berliners wife and daughter were selected for the gas chamber, whilst he was selected to live and work. Abraham Krzepicki who escaped from the Treblinka death camp after eighteen days after being deported on the 25 August 1942, befriended Meir Berliner in the camp.

 

He gave his account to Rachel Auerbach during December 1942 and January 1943 in the Warsaw ghetto:

 

“I made the acquaintance of a Jew from Warsaw named Berliner. Berliner was about forty-five years old and had lived in Argentina for years. He had served in the Argentinean army and was an Argentinean citizen.

 

It would take us too far afield to relate how he had happened to be stranded in Poland, unable to enjoy the protection of his foreign citizenship, and how he, his wife and his daughter had come to Treblinka.

 

By the time I met him his family were no longer alive. They had entered the showers a week earlier, as soon as they had gotten out of the boxcar. He a dark-complexioned, broad shouldered, healthy man, happened to be among the lucky ones, he was one of the workers who had had their death sentences postponed for a week or two – perhaps even three.

 

Berliner was a man of real integrity, a true friend, at every opportunity he would share a bite to eat, a cigarette or a drink of water: if there was any chance to help some body out, he would come running. As a result he had become well-known and well-liked.

 

But in our talks in the woods about finding a way to escape, Berliner would not go along with us.

 

“We’d be killed. We’d be killed,” he would say. “But there is one thing I want:  Revenge.”

 

Rachel Auerbach at the Eichmann Trial

He did like the idea of jumping the Ukrainians and disarming them, but since most of the workers were opposed to this plan and no consensus could be reached, nothing came of it.

 

As we marched back to camp each night, our hearts grew heavy on the way. Would we be able to sleep through the night? We arrived at the guard station. The gate closed behind us. Once again we were on the territory of the Treblinka murder factory.

And so September 11 arrived.

 

That day, as usual, we bought food in the woods from the peasants. The Ukrainians came dragging two big baskets and everything was divided up according to the orders placed by the workers. Some of the young men brought brandy. Berliner, too, bought a bottle of brandy that day.

 

When we got back to the camp at about 6 o’clock that evening, our whole world turned black. Even from some distance away, we could see something new going on in the roll call square.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/berliner.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

www.HolocaustResearchProject.org


Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009

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