(June 14, 2009 - Jerusalem) Tomorrow, Monday, June 15, 2009 at 11:00, Holocaust survivor Meyer Hack will donate personal items of victims of Auschwitz to Yad Vashem. Hack has arrived from Massachusetts, USA for the occasion.
Forced to work as a slave laborer in Auschwitz, in the “clothing chamber” (“Bekleidungskammer”) that received the tattered clothing after its initial sorting in the “Kanada” storerooms, Meyer had to mark the clothes with a red X, and redistribute them as prisoner clothing. On occasion, he found belongings that the deportees had hidden in the linings of the clothing, prior to their arrival in the camp. Hack managed to keep some items with him through liberation, and for more than 60 years, kept his story quiet. Now, he will present the items for eternal safekeeping to Yad Vashem’s artifacts collection.
Meyer Hack was born in 1914 in Ciechanow, Poland. He was deported in 1942 together with his mother, brother and two sisters, to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. His mother and sisters were murdered on arrival and his brother was murdered later on. Meyer was sent to forced labor hauling carts of personal effects and clothing between Birkenau and Auschwitz before their eventual transfer to Germany.
In 1944 Meyer was transferred to a work detail in the “Bekleidungskammer”, where he found personal items during his forced labor. Meyer safeguarded the items, hiding them in a hole that he dug behind his barrack. In January 1945, before he was forced on a “death march” from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Dachau, he collected the items in a sock. He managed to keep them during a second “death march” in May 1945 from Dachau towards Munich, from which he escaped to the forests, until liberation.
For sixty years he kept the story close to his heart. Now he is donating the items to Yad Vashem’s Artifacts Collection, as a memorial to their original owners who were murdered.