Samuel Willenberg - T2 prisoner
SAMUEL WILLENBERG – born in 1923 in Częstochowa. His father, Perec Willenberg, was a teacher at a Jewish gymnasium and an art painter. His mother, an Orthodox Russian woman, converted to Judaism only after getting married. 16-year-old Samuel volunteered to join the army in September 1939. He fought at Chełm, where he was seriously injured in a battle with the Russians. With his parents and two sisters he settled near Warsaw, studying thanks to the underground education. In 1942, after the arrest of both sisters given away to Germans by Polish neighbours, he broke down and settled in the ghetto in Opatów, from where he was deported with all the Jews to Treblinka. Claiming to be a bricklayer, he was the only one of the whole transport to avoid being immediately led to the gas chamber and became a prisoner. He survived 10 months of hell. On 2 August 1943, he took part in an armed rebellion and managed to escape together with several hundred other prisoners. Thanks to the help of Poles he happily reached Warsaw, where he joined the underground. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising, and after the capitulation he escaped to the partisans. After the war, in 1950, together with his mother and wife he emigrated to Israel. For 40 years he worked as a surveyor. After retiring, he began studying fine arts at the People’s University and began sculpting. The first exhibition of his works, depicting scenes from the extermination camp, took place in 2003 in Zachęta. Since 1983, he has often come to Poland with groups of Israeli youth as a witness to the Holocaust. He regained Polish citizenship.
Samuel Willenberg’s shocking memories, written by him for the first time after the war, appeared in the book entitled Revolt in Treblinka in Hebrew in 1985, then in Polish, English, Spanish and French.
Historical photos of Samuel Willenberg:
S. Willenberg’s father, painter, artist
S. Willenberg with his mother in Warsaw on the “Aryan side”
S. Willenberg after escaping from Treblinka
The fake Kennkarte of S. Willenberg for the surname Ignacy Popow, made in 1944.
S. Willenberg as an officer of the Polish Army 1945-1946
S. Willenberg during the visit to Poland on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Photos from the meeting at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Samuel Willenberg and his wife with the Treblinka Museum Manager – Edward Kopówka:
Drawings by Samuel Willenberg depicting the Extermination Camp in Treblinka:
Samuel Willenberg sculptures made in bronze: