Breaking the silence. A Polish Jew in the Nazi spiral of death - Jacob Alsztejn
Jacob Alsztejn was arrested in Paris on July 24, 1942 for fighting back during an identity check. Carrying forged ID, he was not identified as a Jew. At his trial, Jacob requested the harshest prison sentence rather than the Gestapo. Yet he was handed over to it once he had served his sentence, and interned in the Jewish camp of Drancy.
Deported to Auschwitz II-Birkenau on July 18, 1943, Jacob was sent to forced labor on arrival. Exhausted after a few weeks, he was slated for the gas chamber, from which he escaped in extremis, before being assigned to a Kommando responsible for clearing the ruins in the ghetto of his natal Warsaw. As the Soviets began to advance, Jacob and his fellow prisoners were forced on a 120-km "death march". Transferred from Lodz to Dachau, he was finally liberated by the Americans from the Allach sub-camp in April of 1945.