EXCERPT FROM THE LONG NIGHT
“Dulag served as a transit camp both for those who were to be dispatched to labour camps and the sick who were returned from them. As in all camps, corruption was rife here. The Gestapo and the SS, who were in overall control, with the help of the judischer Hilfspolizisten (Jewish Auxiliary Police), obtained diamond rings, gold teeth and large sums of money. The camp leaders “bought” freedom for their favourites and therefore sent others back to the labour camps in their place.
Dulag transit camp departure [By Foto-Theuergarten Krakau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
So we could never be certain that the sick who reached Dulag would really be sent home. Without money and without connections one was completely at the mercy of the camp leaders. To forestall any risk, my mother sought the help of a certain Windmann, a senior member of the Judenrat of our town. I can still remember early in 1940 that Dr. Frick, who was then Lord Mayor of our town, threatened all those who failed to pay ransom with the death penalty. (After the war, Dr. Frick was living in Munich and worked as senior counsellor for the government.) The Judenrat strongly urged all influential members of the community to help with the collection of money. My father was also enlisted to help with these collections, but at home he told us that on many other matters his views differed from those of Windmann.
Windmann’s position as leader of the Judenrat had gone to his head. Even though he and my father were longstanding friends and for years had worked together leading a party, during 1940 their friendship cooled more and more. Now, however, my mother was forced to seek this man’s power and protection to secure safe passage home from Dulag for my father.”