Oral History

Irene Weber describes how obtaining a work card could offer protection from deportation

Separated from her family, Irene was deported from the Sosnowiec ghetto to the Gleiwitz camp in March 1943. After a death march and an attempted escape from a transport out of Gleiwitz, Irene was imprisoned in Prague, then Theresienstadt, where as a political prisoner she was sentenced to death by starvation. For the five months before liberation, she shared a cell with 59 ailing women. Irene was the sole member of her Jewish family to survive the war.


We were told that anyone that will work and has a card, that that individual is working regardless of age...uh...we will be safer, in that sense. So we tried to get our Sonderkarte [special card], so-called Sonderkarte, and have those to show when we, if...if we [were] stopped on the street by a German police, by the German police. What happened, I was the first one to be taken away from home. I was at the...in the morning at the place of work, where I was just cutting thread. It was so irrelevant to anything, what I did, but I did go in there for a few hours in order to have that card that covered me. But there was a raid on that place and they took us all out of that factory, and that was the last time I saw my family.

  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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