born July 1, 1938
Josef Salomonovic, 1941 (private collection)
Josef Salomonovic came from Ostrava in Moravia. In December 1941, he was deported along with his parents and brother Michael to the Łódz´ ghetto. The entire family except for Josef was forced to work for the German Munitions Works. After the Nazis cleared the ghettos, the Salomonovics arrived at the Stutthof concentration camp in June 1944 via Auschwitz. His father, who was sick, was killed at Stutthof.
Josef and Dora Salomonovic two years before deportation, 1939 (private collection)
Josef and Michael Salomonovic two years before deportation, 1939 (private collection)
The prisoners from Łódz´ were supposed to work for the German Munitions Works at the Flossenbürg Dresden subcamp (Bernsdorf Company). Dora Salomonovic and her children therefore avoided the selections. The three were transferred to Dresden in November 1944. However, the National Socialists believed that only those who were able to work had a right to existence. Salomonovic’s mother hid the six-year-old Josef in a garbage bin during inspections. When the SS discovered him, he was scheduled for deportation. But the chaos following the bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, spared Josef from transport.
In mid-April, the camp was dissolved. During the death march through Bohemia, Dora Salomonovic, Michael, and the seriously ill Josef escaped. While fleeing, Josef saw goats, chickens, and a cow for the first time in his life. Because of years of malnutrition, his teeth grew only after his liberation at the age of seven.
Letter from the Dresden subcamp (Bernsdorf Company), December 11, 1944 (private collection)
A Dutch forced laborer smuggled letters for Dora
Salomonovic. Dora’s sister, who had gone into hiding, was able to send the family food. The children signed the letters with their pet names Pepek (Josef) and Miša (Michael).