Women of Valor: Partisans and Resistance Fighters
Rose Meth - Footnotes
2. Belzec extermination camp, located 120 km southwest of Warsaw, built for the exclusive purpose of murdering the Jews of southeastern Poland. It was in operation between March 17, 1942 and June 1943, and claimed an estimated 600,000 Jewish lives in its six carbon monoxide chambers. (Feig, Konnilyn. Hitler's Death Camps, The Sanity of Madness, NY: Holmes and Meier, 1979, p.276-7).
3. SS Rapportfuhrer Tauber is mentioned by Sara Nomberg-Przytyk in her memoir, Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p.53). He "was famous in Auschwitz for his ability to kill a person in two motions", knocking the prisoner unconscious with a blow to the head, then strangling the prisoner with pressure of his foot on the prisoner's throat.
5. Estusia, Esther Wajcsblum, sister of Anne Heilman, referred to in other sources as Toszka. Testimony of Marta C., "New Testimonies: Women's Resistance in Auschwitz." The Voice of Auschwitz Survivors in Israel No. 34, April 1986, p.11.
8. This was probably Roza Robota, who worked in the Effektenlager at Birkenau (BIIg) sorting clothing, which adjoined the area of Crematorium IV. She transferred the gunpowder to the prisoner Wrobel, a member of the Resistance movement who worked in the Sonderkommando. (Amidst A Nightmare of Crime, Diary of Salmen Lewenthal, p.155). Israel Gutman describes another girl, Hadassah, who he says was the courier who would bring the gunpowder to him or to a prisoner named Yehuda. (Israel Gutman, Smoke and Ashes: The Story of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Israel: Sifriat Poalim, 1957, p.151).
9. Roza Robota was 23 years old, from Ciechanow, Poland, an active member of the Zionist Organization, HaShomer HaTzair. She was an early, active recruit to the Resistance organization in Auschwitz. (Gutman, p.155). Alla Gaertner was deported to Auschwitz from Sosnowiec, Poland and was a work foreman in Auschwitz. (Conversation with Rose Meth, 5/15/90).
10. "All our Kommando had always been of the opinion that we were in a much greater danger than all the other prisoners in the camp, much more even than the Jews in the camp. We believed that the Germans would want at all costs to obliterate all traces of their crimes committed till now. They would not be able to do this otherwise than by killing our entire Kommando, leaving not a single one alive ... ". (Diary of Salmen Lewental, Amidst A Nightmare of Crime, pp. 154-55).
11. In the revolt of the Sonderkommando on October 7, 1944, crematorium II was exploded. (Gutman, pp. 153-154 and conversation with Tsippi Tichauer, 5/16/90). Crematorium III was burned (testimony of Henry Fuchs, Center for Holocaust Studies, RG 1656 and original notes of Rose Meth, Center for Holocaust Studies, RG 1347, A 398). Professor Erwin Tichauer reports that a fire damaged the ceiling and roof of crematorium IV (conversation 5/16/90). Damage in crematoriums II and IV is confirmed by the report of Henryk Tauber: "The revolt ... also spread to Krematorium II ... Before fleeing, we set Krematorium IV on fire ... ". (Pressac, Jean Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. NY: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p.498). Gutman reports that the revolt of the Sonderkommando involved about 600 men, that one of the cruelest Kapos was thrown alive into the flames, four SS men were killed in hand to hand combat, and others were wounded.. In the chaos, some prisoners broke down the fence and tried to escape, but most were killed by a force of 2000 Nazi guards who were alerted. Professor Tichauer stressed the lack of coordination and cooperation among the several resistance groups. The explosives experts worked at crematorium II. When the noise of the explosion in crematorium II was heard by the others, the fires were started in crematoriums III and IV.
14. Gutman points out that initially, the possibility that Jewish women could be involved in transferring explosives was inconceivable to the Gestapo, and after the initial investigation they tried other avenues of inquiry. According to Gutman, the Kapo Eugene Koch, who had befriended Alla Gaertner, informed to the Gestapo and told them what he knew of the Resistance and the role of the women. After Koch's testimony the Jewish women were arrested again and interrogated further. The women, in spite of severe torture, did not reveal any information. (Gutman, p.155).