Chemia Gottlieb’s Heart

On 7 March 1945, the Buchenwald SS drove 905 Jewish men into the camp disinfection building. They were the survivors of a clearance transport from subcamps of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, including Hirschberg, the present-day Jelenia Góra. One in four inmates had perished along the way.

Among the men was the 24-year-old Chemia Gottlieb. He had fashioned a heart amulet for himself in Hirschberg. To ensure that something would remain of him if he did not survive, he had incised his name on the front and his birthdate on the back. It was taken from him in the disinfection building and, along with the last remaining possessions of the other men from Hirschberg, landed in the rubbish. Young people carrying out archaeological excavations of the grounds in the 1990s found it.

The SS assigned Chemia Gottlieb and his twin brother Dawid to the Ohrdruf construction sites. Both survived. Henry Gotlieb – as Chemia was later called – died in New York at the age of 80 without ever learning that his amulet had been found.

(Michael Löffelsender)


Reference: Fred Wander, The Seventh Well, London 2009.