October revolt

"tell the world what was happening"
Freda Wineman



Image of digging trenches

"I remember the revolt which happened in October. We were again working doing trenches, and our Kommando was working somewhere, or… in Birkenau. That day the sky was so black that I thought that there was an eclipse, because you couldn't see anything; I thought that was… it can't be. We only knew that…. we knew the time because we watched the sun; you know we knew when the sun gets up in the East and then when it's twelve o'clock it's high up, and at four o'clock it's here, and so you could have an idea of the time. We had no idea of the days, but we had an idea of the time. That must have been still in early afternoon because we were still out working, and it was October. We suddenly saw, and then we heard that it was a revolt. We saw very near us, perhaps a few metres away, these… some still standing, others not standing any more, being pulled with cords on their legs, perhaps twenty people, thirty people, I don't know how many there were. They were being dragged back to the crematoriums. And that's when we heard that this was a part of the Sonderkommando, who had tried to escape; were caught nearly at the end, they nearly escaped, were dragged back, and were right away taken to the crematorium. That was a group of people that tried to escape to tell the world what was happening, and were caught, and also eliminated, killed."


Freda Wineman
Born 1923, Lorraine, France.
Evacuated to St Etienne, Vichy France 1940. Arrested 1944. Auschwitz/Birkenau, then Bergen/Belsen and Ragun camps. Liberated from Theresienstadt 1945. Arrived in England 1948. Married, two daughters.