Friday, 20 April 1945

Wanda Tworkiewicz - Camp Johannisthal

"For Hitler's birthday on April 20, Allied planes came and dropped leaflets over our work sites. A joke was circulating among us at that time: On Hitler's birthday they didn't drop bombs, only leaflets. I didn't see what was written on the leaflets. I only saw how they fell down... A colleague named Schulz had indicated at work in the days before that he also understands Polish. He came from Silesia. He had seen me in this forest, and the next day at work he said to me in Polish, in a Silesian dialect: 'Wanda, have you seen these leaflets? I have.' - 'What does it say?' - 'We should stop. But how can we stop if we're being bombed?"

Wanda Tworkiewicz is deported from the Polish city Łódź to Berlin in October 1943. After she is first taken to a transit camp in Brandenburg, she is finally sent to a barrack camp in Berlin-Johannisthal. Here she has to work in the factory of the aircraft manufacturer Henschel. During heavy air raids on the night of Christmas Day 1943, she leaves the burning barracks camp in panic, only covered with a blanket.  While the factory remains almost intact, the camp burns down almost completely. Tworkiewicz is then transferred to Schönefeld and must now walk to work every day in Johannisthal. She is liberated on 23.04.1945 in Schönefeld.

(Letter from former forced labourer Wanda Tworkiewicz to the Berlin History Workshop. Source: Documentation Centre NS Forced Labour, Berlin History Workshop Collection)