Samuel Rajzman – prisoner T2
Samuel Rajzman was born in 1904 in Węgrów, before the war, he had been an accountant and translator. During the war he, his wife and children were in the Warsaw ghetto. In the second half of September 1942, he was transported to the Treblinka II Extermination Camp. Seven people died only in the wagon in which he was transported during the several-hour trip. At the last moment – when Rajzman was already naked, waiting in the crowd of victims to go towards the gas chambers – he was noticed by engineer Marceli Galewski. An old friend interceded for him and asked the SS man to join Rajzman to work in commandos. When Rajzman realized what fate befell everyone going to the “bathhouse”, as well as what the Jews working in the commandos do, he resented his savior.
“Carrying extremely heavy bundles, we had to run between lined up the Germans and the Ukrainians who mercilessly beat anyone they could with heavy whips. […] By noon no one who knew me would have recognized me, my whole face was swollen creating bluish mass, my eyes were bloodshot. During the pause for lunch, I resented my friend for having saved my life, then he answered unexpectedly: “I did not save you to keep you alive, but to sell your life at a higher price. From now on, you are a member of a secret organization that aims to organize an revolt and you must live.”
There was a conspiracy in the camp, the main purpose of which was to begin a revolt and escape of as many prisoners as possible. The date of uprising was postponed several times. Ultimately, the revolt was scheduled to begin on August 2, 1943. On that day, a group of 200-300 prisoners managed to break the fence and escape to nearby areas, unfortunately still occupied by the Third Reich. Many of them did not survive until the liberation and the end of the war. Rajzman was lucky, because he came from Węgrów, therefore knew the area. Together with a group of other escapees he was hiding in the nearby forest. The Germans found them and everyone were murdered, except Rajzman who had left escapees to go gather food. After this, together with two more Jews, he hid at local farmer’s property, where he stayed until the end of the war. Rajzman’s wife and daughter did not survive the war, so he decided to emigrate to the west. Initially he lived in France, then – in 1950 – emigrated to Canada, where he remarried and started a new life.
Samuel Rajzman testified in the trials of Nazi criminals in Nuremberg. He was also a witness in the trial of members of the German crew of Treblinka II (1964-1965), and at Stangl trial (1969-1970). His testimony also contributed to the stripping of Fiodor Fedorenko’s American citizenship, who was a Ukrainian guardsman served at Treblinka II. Fedorenko was deported to the Soviet Union from the United States, where he was sentenced to death. The death penalty was carried out in 1986. Samuel Rajzman died in Montreal in 1979.
Source of the quote: account of Samuel Rajzman, Archives of Treblinka Museum, DNW-602.2029 sygn.3/41.