Postbellum

Memory of Nation

 

Hanuš Gaertner (1926)

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 Hanuš Gaertner (1926)
No one asked for names in the camp

The family camp in Auschwitz

“They established a family camp, which was special in that it had all types there, children, old people, and so on, so they’d have an alibi if the International Red Cross happened to come there or something, to see if the Jews were still there, because some people escaped from Auschwitz and told of the camp in the West, and so on. We were extremely lucky that we hadn’t been put through selection. Selection worked that when a transport arrived, Mengele and some of his Wacht-people stood there, and they sent one part of the people, the larger one, straight into the gas, and some few, perhaps they had some quotas that they could let the younger and more able people live. But in our case they sent everyone into the family camp. Before that they sent us into the showers, then they tattooed us, so I got the number 170284. Although the fact that they tattooed us was, as we later discovered, fortunate because the ones they sent to be gassed weren’t tattooed at all, they sent them straight into the gas, finito. So we had numbers, which in no way reflect how many people were there.”

  • born 4 January 1926 in Hamburg as Hans Gaertner
  • his parents were Czech Jews; he had a younger brother Štěpán
  • from September 1938, in Prague, attended the English Grammar School
  • expelled, studied at Alijah Schule in Prague, a member of Maccabi Hatzair
  • 10 August 1942, deported to Terezín
  • 18 December 1943, transport to Auschwitz
  • spent 6 months in the family camp in Auschwitz
  • June 1944, chosen for labour in Schwarzheide
  • 18 April 1945, camp evacuated, death march to Varnsdorf
  • May 1945, liberated in Terezín
  • 1950, graduated from the Faculty of Law of Charles University
  • employed at the Czechoslovak Press Agency, later translated from German
  • from July 1968, lived in Switzerland, later in Germany
  • 1992, returned to Prague
  • chairman of the Association of Former Prisoners of Camp Schwarzheide
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