Buissing Werke in Feshelde 23
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23 THE TOWN OF VECHELDE
The Vechelde town was near the central camp of Braunschweig town. It was a part of the Buissing company. In the outskirts of the town, near the main road, there was a large industrial building, according to my memory, with 5 floors. The building was well fenced on all sides. The residents of the town could not pass near the factory building, but only on the other side of the road. They knew very well that the factory employed forced laborers. Several local residents of the city worked in the factory, as required professionals. The town's expert residents, who were not drafted into the army, run the factory. They forced us working 12-hour shifts day or night.
After about a week in the transit camp in Braunschweig, I was sent to this factory, in the town of Vechelde. This factory produced parts for the famous German "Tiger" tanks. I was chosen by a person who was in charge on several lathes. He told me that I will have to work in the night shifts. From 7 evening till 7 next morning.
He told me that I have to work on one of the large lathe that was used to machine a block of cast iron. Indeed, it was hard and strenuous physical work. Several other citizens from the nearby town, worked too in the factory as masters. They were the foremen, the "masters" of the factory. One of the German foremen workers oversaw several lathes, including the one that I will have to work on. His name was Franz Eouler. I noticed, that the other meisters, disapprove of him. I found out after a few days the reason for their reservation. This Franz Eouler was the "Political" supervisor of the Nazi Party in the town of Fechelde. Most of them were afraid of him.
I have never worked in mechanics or on a lathe as an engraver. The first day I arrived at work, Meister Eouler directed me to a huge lathe. When we got to her, he showed me what and how I would have to do my job. He showed me a huge blocks of gears lying on the floor. He said that each casting block weighs about 42 kilos. This gear, is connected to the tank's engine, and is the one that drives the tank caterpillars with which the tank can move.
My job was to pick up the heavy cast iron block from the floor. Carefully have to insert it into the lathe, tighten it and lock it on the narrow lugs of about 10 mm. When the iron block is in a reinforced lathe, I have to turn on the lathe that will machine the iron block to the desired size. It was very difficult for me to lift the heavy iron block. Actually, I was still sick with about 5cm water at the bottom of my left lung.
The meager food we received, not only could not heal me. The poor food we received caused my weight to drop to around 40 kg. (This was my weight during a medical examination after release from the various concentration camps). I didn't believe I could hold a block of iron that weight. The master warned me, that I should make sure that the wheel does not fall on the engraving knife, because it is very valuable. To my great surprise, I did not break a single knife and after two days I took control of a lathe and produced a reasonable number of gears ready for assembly, to the satisfaction of the master.
Yes, the master was pleased with me. He started talking to me also told me his life story. It turned out that the German foreman, Hans Eouler, was among the first members of the Nazi Party. Other foremen, who worked on our floor, were afraid of him. He was the comptroller of the Nazi party. At that time I could talk to him fluently in German. After a few days I can say, he was a friend of me. He told me his life story, how he became a party man. He told me that he studied optics but in the 1930s he could not earn a living, to get a job in the profession as optician. The Nazi movement allowed him to study mechanics and get him a job and a living facility.
I did manage to communicate with him because I spoke fluent German. He appreciated me as after a day or two of his instruction, I could operate the lathe alone by myself and above all, I did not damage the lathe knives. He asked me questions and I told him and described what I went through in the concentration camps. One day he brought me a slice of bread as hard as a stone. On another occasion, he even brought me some cocoa substitute at night, which he took from the canteen. His German colleagues were surprised by the way he treated me. During my stay in this labor camp, we were treated relatively reasonably compared to what we received in other concentration camps. I had mixed feelings about this place, as it had a bit of "luxury" to it.
I happened to find a study about our work, of the Jews of Lodz in the factory in Vechelde, on the website of Yad Vashem.
Here is the link: https://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%204848.pdf
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