Page 76. " she was in a displaced person's camp for a long time "

Many different types of camp appeared during World War II, all with different purposes:

The most prevalent "concentration camps" were labor camps. These housed internees used for  forced manual labor. These camps were often brutal, and the work conditions were frequently fatal. Victims, provided with little or no food, were worked to death, and then others were brought in to take their place. Some were satellites of other camps, or consisted of roving work forces tapped for all kinds of labor projects.





Theresienstadt Propaganda Cell
Creative Commons AttributionTheresienstadt Propaganda Cell - Credit: Aurevilly

Transit and collection camps held people temporarily pending their removal to other camps. 







Then there were the infamous extermination camps.  Most Nazi camps had the capacity for mass killing, but these camps were specifically designed for wholesale genocide, with purpose-built gas chambers.  Auschwitz, the most notorious extermination camp, eventually became synonymous with Hell. 





Displaced Person's Camps were introduced after the war.  Many of the survivors of concentration camps had nowhere to go once liberated. These camps, in the short term, provided for their basic dietary and medical needs, but they were frequently overburdened.  Disease was rampant; internees suffered from scurvy, scarlet fever, typhus, and anemia, and the sheer volume of people exceeded the capacity of these camps to cope in the chaotic aftermath of the war. Many of those who survived ended up emigrating to other locations in an attempt to find better medical treatment and a new home.

Page 76. " hired as a researcher as Pfizer "
Pfizer logo

Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, was founded in 1849 by two German-American cousins, Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhardt. Based in New York, the company played a major role in the development and distribution of penicillin during the 1940s.

Page 84. " James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time "

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was an African-American writer and civil rights activist. He was a friend of William Styron, and wrote his famous novel Another Country at Styron's home. The Fire Next Time was a book of two essays published in 1963, discussing racial problems in American history.


Page 90. " When the German soldiers came into Cracow "

Cracow fell one week after the invasion of Poland, which began on September 1, 1939. The invasion provoked Britain to declare war on Germany and led to the onset of World War II. It was initiated by the Fourteenth German Army, and ultimately saw Cracow become the capital of the Nazi Government in Poland.

Google Map

U.S. Holocaust Museum

Achtung Panzer

Page 92. " My father and Kazik were taken to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen "

 Sachsenhausen was one of the original concentration camps established by the Nazis.  Built in 1938, it was located 35 km from Berlin.  It was originally designed as a holding camp for political prisoners and prisoners of war.

The practice of cruel and inhumane medical experimentation was developed within the camp.  A great deal of slave labor was provided through Sachsenhausen. The camp became a training ground for future concentration camp directors, and many of the more atrocious ideas of the extermination camps were developed here. 

U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sachsenhausen Virtual Tour

Page 92. " You know, Cracow is a very ancient city "
Cracow Central Marketplace
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCracow Central Marketplace - Credit: Pko

 Cracow (also spelled Krakow) has grown up around the site of a Stone Age settlement on Wawel Hill. The first written record of the city dates back to 965, when it was described as a busy trading centre.  It grew quickly, becoming one of the most important cities in Poland. 

Cracow also developed into a center for academic and artistic excellence, emphasising the importance of cultural and educational pursuits through the establishment of universities and other cultural centres. 

During World War II, the invading Nazi military established Cracow as one of the key centers of Nazi Government outside Germany. Cracow was divided, and the Cracow Ghetto was established for the city's Jewish residents. The ghetto was eventually liquidated, and the residents were sent to extermination camps.

Page 92. " this beautiful building that was made in medieval times - the Sukiennice "
Cloth Hall
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCloth Hall - Credit: Chepry (Andrzej Barabasz)

The Sukiennice was a center of international trade during the golden age of the Renaissance in Poland. Referred to in English as Cloth Hall or Drapers' Hall, this amazing building held the city market where international trade negotiations took place. Here highly valuable commodities such as silk, spices, and leather were traded, and negotiations for the export of salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mines were held. Today the structure is a big tourist draw. It houses the Sukiennice Museum, which holds one of the largest collections of 19th century Polish art in the world.

Google Map
Page 93. " There is a clock tower there on the Church of St. Mary's, very high, and instead of bells they have actual live men "
St. Mary's Basilica
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSt. Mary's Basilica - Credit: Lestat (Jan Mehlich)

 St. Mary's Basilica in Cracow's Main Market Square is a Gothic church, built in the 13th century.

The church has an hourly bugler, the Hejnal player. This tradition dates back to the 13th century and is based on the legend of the original Hejnal player, who was said to have spied an invading force of Mongols from the church tower. He raised the alarm by playing the Hejnal Hymn, a five-note melody repeated four times. While his heroic effort saved the city from invasion, the man lost his life, shot through the throat by a Mongol archer in mid-alarm. For this reason, to this day the Hejnal Hymn is interrupted mid-song, honoring the city's hero. 


Page 94. " almost all my memories have this connection with the university. "
University of Krakow Courtyard
GNU Free Documentation LicenseUniversity of Krakow Courtyard - Credit: Cancre

The University of Cracow is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It was originally founded under a Royal Charter issued by King Casimir III and the Papal Decree of Pope Urban V. The University, later to take on the name of Jagiellonian University, was first founded in 1364, and at the time it became the second oldest university in Poland.  Incorporating a broad range of educational schools, the university is renowned particularly for its school of astronomy and physics, thanks in large part to one of its most famous students, Nicolaus Copernicus. Other notable students include Pope John Paul II, Stanislaw Lem, and Carl Menger.

Page 94. " Schumann or Chopin she would play, or Beethoven or Scarlatti or Bach, she was a wonderful pianist "

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Listen on Spotify:

Schumann's Carnaval: Pierrot

Chopin's Nocturne No. 1 in B flat minor

Beethoven's Fur Elise

Scarlatti's Sonata in F Minor

Bach's Aria BWV 988

Page 95. " My father hated Pilsudski "

Jozef Pilsudski (1867-1935) was Chief of State of the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period. After a coup d'etat in 1926 he effectively became Poland's dictator, remaining as such until his death in 1935.

Page 97. " in Cracow there was a Ghetto but not so many Jews as other places "

The Cracow Ghetto was one of five major ghettos established by the Nazis, designed for the specific purpose of isolating the Jewish population of the city and surrounding areas. This isolation facilitated the identification, categorization, and coordination necessary for the "Final Solution."

Residents of the ghetto were used for slave labor projects. Eventually the ghetto, established in an area that originally housed 3,000 people, rose in population to 15,000. The ghetto was surrounded by walls and the gates were guarded by military personnel. 

Krakow Ghetto HEART Website

Krakow Ghetto Map

Podgorze Ghetto in Krakow Website


Page 100. " the new Nazi Governor General of Cracow District, this man named Frank, had made the faculty of the university to assemble in the cour de maison "

Following the invasion of Poland, the Nazis organized the systematic Nazification of the country through strategic disruption of the influential parties in the major Polish cities. The invasion proved to be only the beginning, and in late 1939 the government, cultural, ethnic, and educational centers were all dismantled. The overall plan was for the Polish homeland to be remade into another center of German nationalism. 

With the subjugation of the ruling government, the next target was the local intelligentsia. On November 6, 1939, Obersturmbannführer SS Bruno Müller ordered the the faculty of the University of Krakow to assemble for a special lecture to present the Nazis' vision for Poland. 

Upon arrival the faculty found themselves among the first casualties of the systematic deconstruction of the country. Codenamed the Sonderaktion Krakau, the professors were all taken into custody and deported to the concentration camps of Sachsenhausen and Dachau, where they were killed. 

Biography of Stanislaw Golab

Card of Arrest for Tadeusz Lehr-Splawinski

Sonderaktion Krakau.  The Academy Will Not Die (Article)

London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association (Article)

Adam Bielecki Biography

Dachau Concentration Camp Scrapbook

Jewish Virtual Library Dachau

Sachsenhausen HEART Website