Schmulke (Sam) Goldberg – prisoner T2
Schmulke (Sam) Goldberg was born in 1920. He lived with his parents and siblings in Bagatele village (Poland). The source of the Goldbergs’ income was the farm they ran and trade. The family’s peaceful life was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. One of the consequences of the arrangements of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was the partition of the territory of the Second Polish Republic between the Third Reich and the USSR. The new border was located so close to Goldbergs place of living that they, fearing reprisals from the German side, decided to seek shelter in the territories conquered by the Soviets. They were granted Soviet citizenship and Sam was soon drafted into the Red Army.
On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa began. Like hundreds of thousands of other Red Army soldiers, Sam found himself in German captivity, from which he fortunately managed to escape. He returned to his parents, but eventually the family decided to split up. The young man decided to return to the area of the General Government and finally ended up in Stoczek, several dozen kilometers from his home town, Bagatele.
In early June 1942, Sam was on the list of the local Judenrat among 135 young men allegedly assigned to work. The transport went to the Extermination Camp Treblinka II, which was in the process of creation at that time.
“This is how Sam’s thirteen months in Treblinka began. Every second was terrifying, full of fear – will he be shot, hit on the head or hanged by his legs in the square? Will he live to wake up the next day? Or will he join the other bodies in the death pit? People were murdered at random and Sam learned to look under his feet and work as fast and as hard as he could.”
In the beginning, he worked on straw roofing of camp buildings. It is unknown why he attracted the attention of one of the greatest sadists in the camp, Kurt Franz, called by the prisoners “the Doll”.
“I like your eyes,” said the Doll contentedly. – You’re gonna be the laundry chief. […] It’s too dangerous here; you can be shot at any time. I want you to survive. “
Goldberg himself witnessed the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people. Fortunately he managed to survive. On August 2, 1943, a revolt broke out in the Treblinka II Extermination Camp, Sam was among the few people who escaped and lived to see the end of the war. During his escape, he accidentally met the hiding Jewish woman Estera Wisznia. The girl was helped by the Polish Styś Family, Sam joined her and together they waited until the Red Army entered the area.
Sam and Estera got married in December 1944, soon their daughter Faiga Bracha was born. Initially, they were trying to arrange their live in Poland, but eventually decided to go to the American zone of occupation in Germany to apply for a visa to enter the USA. May 28, 1949 was a memorable date for two young people. On that day, they came to their new homeland, where they began another, happy chapter of their lives.
The story of Sam Goldberg, an escapee from the Treblinka II extermination camp and Estera Wisznia, who hid during the Holocaust, was described many years later in the book entitled “My Soul is Filled with Joy” wrote by Treiger Karen I., their daughter-in-law. Estera died in 1997, and six years later Sam died.