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World war two. Death camps and strugle for life.

Updated on May 8, 2020

We all know something about the WWII. Most people know in general that the war was and that we won. But many things about the war are not known. Each year less and less people can give an insider look at the events, which happened many years ago.

The letter below is a letter of a man who had his own war. It is not a letter of an old and seems helpless person, but a letter of a man who used to fight for a freedom and survival.

The text below does not belong to me. It belongs to a man whose house I bought some years ago. I found this letter in a rubbish.

May be it is not interesting to the majority of people or has no plot as such. In fact it is a documentary letter which I translated from Ukrainian and brushed up just a little bit. I may be wrong with the spelling of towns and cities in Germany because sometimes just could not read a handwriting of an author.



From Dudka Oleksandr

Born in Sumy, at June,16, 1921

Written request

I ask to issue a certificate or to give me a copy of a certificate which I received after repatriation and after a service in the Soviet Army. I was called for military service in a 118 artillery brigade of the Soviet Army while I was in Germany after repatriation from the American part of occupied Germany. I need this reference for social security board. I am a person with limited physical abilities and my trauma was received at labor. I am alone and have minimal retirements.

I was demobilized from the Soviet Army in the August, 10, 1946 after the order of the Supreme Council of the USSR. Please read below when I was taken to Germany and when I was taken from Germany back.

In spring 1942 german soldiers took me to Germany from Village Bilopillya, Sumy region to Wuppertal. From Wuppertal to Feldberg to a military plant. I did not want to make artillery shells and escaped but could not make further Landenberg. It was raining all day, I was wet and asked one local man to stay for a night. He agreed and took me to a police station. In the morning they transported me to Essen in a prison.

From Essen they sent me to a factory producing artillery shell boxes. After one month of work I made one more attempt to escape to Ukraine because my mother, two sisters, a junior brother and a nephew were in Ukraine. One day they took us to another factory which supplied planks to make boxes. When we came back I jumped out of the truck and escaped. In a daytime I was hiding in bushes. I managed to get into a cargo train. It goes and goes and still within city limits but when it stopped I happened to be on some factory. I was getting out of Essen more than 2 days. I saw fields covered with barbed wire. When they caught me again they took me to Munster.

That prison had such a rule – each newcomer got 20 strokes with a stick. Polish people were forced to hit us and we were forced to hit them. The execution was done by “Nikolaychik” an emigrant of the first wave who served in the Gestapo.

From Munster they sent me to Rinkerode to a farmer’s family. I do not remember his name. Two other Ukrainians worked here Danil and Lidia. We had a lot of work but they fed us well. In autumn the farmer got an order to collect all men and to send them to coal mines.

So they sent me to Gladbeck. In Gladbeck they beat anyone who tried to escape so much that people usually died in a couple of days. It was done by the guard of the mine. We had no strength to bear it. They did not give us time to sleep. If the train cars came – we unloaded, and nobody cared that after it you had to go down in a mine to dig coal. I thought that I have nothing to lose. I was hoping for a good because of a big forest growing near the mine. They escorted us from a camp to the mine late in the evening when it was already dark. I separated and hid behind a big coal pile.

When all the people entered the room with lockers I went to the forest. I saw that some men took bicycles and went to search me. So I knew they follow me and every time they passed me by I was frozen still. I heard German language and waited till they go further and then run again. Two of them were riding bikes and others were walking by foot. Soon they started to cry something each other and I understood that they are quitting searches.

I do not remember how much time was necessary to come back to Rinkerode to my farmer. He fed me and gave me some work to do, but in the evening a police came and took me to Munster in Gestapo. „Nikolaychyk” (this was his nickname) was ill . He did not feel well and forgot to order me 20 strokes. He just said that I had to work, not to escape.

From Munster they took me by a passenger train to Gelsenkirchen. The difference from other trains was that it had bars on the windows. The work was to unload white and black soda on a glass factory. We had respirators not to suffocate. The mine, escapes, prison and black soda broke my health so I asked to work with carpenter to make boxes. Those 20 hits which they did not give me in Munster were generously given in Gelsenkirchen. I can not even say how many times I was beaten. They also gave us less bread. We all waited for bombing. Searchlights, artillery hits and I run along the street. The German cry “kelller” (cellar) but I do not care and run as far as I could from a glass factory.

I was not heading to the East (I had no hope to reach it). Instead I took a direction to the South. I found tomatoes, potatoes and cabbages in gardens. I also managed to board a passenger train heading South. In this way I went far from Rure. I saw more fields and less factory chimneys

I wanted to have fewer problems so I went myself to arbeitzam. I said that I missed my train that carried people to Germany. So I appeared in Solingen. I do not know if they believed me or not but they did not send me to a Gestapo. Instead they sent me to a factory which made wooden barracks for concentration camps. It was not bad till we had some job. We were paid a little bit, they brought us dinner to the factory and we had a supper in a camp. The chief in our brigade of carpenters was a German man. We gave him some money and he bought food for us. It was all not bad till all barracks were finished. After that they transferred me to a press workshop. We made discs for cargo lorries. My job was to take hot iron ingot with pliers move it into a press. A heat was unbearable. As soon as you put one ingot in a press you had to run to bring another one. If there is a hell somewhere it was there- between the gas stove and a press. People could not make long there. Soon they got tuberculosis. In the same workshop they had big acid baths to treat axles of railway cars with acid. I heard in a camp that there was a supervisor who was offending one of our people so much that the last embraced that supervises and pushed him to the acid bath. Both died.

As long as I had strength I was not bad but then I understood that another week and I will not be able to escape. It was not difficult because our camp was not guarded well. Later I came to a village Dunn. It is just 10 kilometers from Wermelskirchen and a little bit more from Ramstad. Now my burger was an old man Otto Bokhakir. He had a coal deposit, 10 cows, a horse, pigs, a wheat field and a beet field. A man from Poland worked there. His name was Yusef Lyaskovski. Our work was to load and distribute coal and turf among buyers, to milk cows, to mow grass, to weed beets. The farmer fed us well and all was good. But I wanted to see my countryman which lived and worked in Felbert. I asked the farmer to let me go for a couple of days. He did not mind but when I came back I was taken to a police and they dropped me on for leaving. I was so angry about it and escaped from him. Later on I was so pity I did it.

Police caught me on a third day and transported to Hessen. Those soviet and polish people who were here remember that prison for the whole their life. For a month they fed us only once in three days. Later they transported me to Frankfurt- am-Mein and soon to Meints-Wajcenau to a penal camp at a cement plant. The work was hard and dusty. We loaded barges and railway wagons. We slept in a basement without windows, locked. I did not even think about escape but during a break I saw a loophole in a fence and asked for a permission to collect apples in a garden or to ask for some apples. Just go along the street and see a guard from our camp that was going home for a dinner. I did not escape from him and he brought me back to a chief of the camp. Al I remember that he was beating me and I tried to protect my eyes. I became a weak worker after such “teaching”, so the commission discarded me from this place and a chief sent me to an arbeitzam- a labor stock exchange.

My last farmer took me from there. His name was Ludwig Jung and he brought me to a village Jumsheim in a district Alkam. Ramstad, Mainzand Krojenach were close to that village.

I worked for him all spring, summer, and winter and in spring 1945 Americans came. I had an old bicycle and went along Rein, passed Cologne, Dusseldorf, Freiburg and came to Wuppertal where they collected people in a camp to repatriate home.

In summer 1945 Americans came to our camp and offered to go home. They put 30 people in a railway wagon. Food rations were already packed there. I went to the Soviet occupation zone. Then I was in a big camp with soviet officers who dealt with repatriates. Once a car came to the camp. They wanted to find specialists. They need also football players and people of other professions. I knew carpeting and they took me to town Ratenov near Potsdam. I worked there in the 188th artillery brigade as a carpenter. I also was called in this city for a military service and had an oath in the September, 27, 1945. I was demobilized of October 1946. Later I returned back to Glushchinets, Bilopillya district, Sumy region and was questioned by police. A village administration gave me a reference that I was forcibly removed to Germany. If you need you can find files of interrogation in ministry of Internal affairs in Sumy or in regional archives.

Another repatriant who was interrogated before me advised not to mention about those times otherwise they will interrogate me too long. So you will find in those files only the beginning of my trips in Germany and the end of them. I am sorry.

Please send me a copy of reference from village administration in Glushchanets (now village Pesky) that I was forcibly removed to Germany, when they moved me there and when I returned home. You should have it. I need that reference for social security board in Cherkassy city.

My address:

Ukraine, Cherkassy, 257009

Provulok XXXXXXXXXX 36

Dudka Oleksandr Lukych

Poland, german soldiers escort a group of polish jewish people.
Poland, german soldiers escort a group of polish jewish people. | Source
a train with jewish people came to camp in Aushwits
a train with jewish people came to camp in Aushwits | Source

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