There was an order for all men and women to present themselves, and I, together with a group of Polish immigrants from Krakow went to work for his firm. As time passed we saw what was happening to the Jews and were terrified. Our primary attitude to him was fear and suspicion, like to all Germans. But when the persecutions intensified, and they hanged a Jew, he showed that he was a different person altogether and began helping the Jews.
Working in the technical department of the firm, I realized that it was receiving large orders. I feared that we would not be able to fulfill the orders, despite our long working hours. I turned to Graebe drew his attention to the large number of orders and even warned that he would not be able to meet the demand. After we had exchanged words he took me to his room and revealed his intention. The increase in orders would have to be matched with laborers. Since there were no Poles in the area, he would receive Jews who would be saved from being put in the ghetto or their deportation to Germany or concentration camps.
The firm was building warehouses for the Railway Company, workshops and station buildings.
He asked me to keep the information secret so that no one would know. He transferred me from the technical department top the construction department that was under the murdering Nazi Max Schmale, so that he would have control over the supply of workers.
Several hundred Jews worked in these projects….When there were no more Jews for our center, he opened branches of the firm in Rowno, Dubno and other places for the same purpose. The branches were losing money, because they had not been created for economic reasons. He often told me that he had to travel to the Company headquarters in Solingen in Germany to give explanations.
In 1942 they began liquidating the Rovno Ghetto….He went there and on arrival found out that the military governor had already given the order to concentrate the Jews. Because of the contribution of his company to the war effort he was permitted to take 75 Jews for work….When he got back he told me: "first we have to save them, and then we will see what we can do with them." We employed them as workers.
Shortly afterwards they began to establish the ghetto in Zdolbunov, and the people had to escape. He therefore opened a branch in Poltava, and sent them to work there….Had it been discovered that he was transferring Jews in his vehicle, they would have killed him….He would visit Poltava and buy food, medicine and clothes with his own money….
He felt the eternal shame that the Nazis had brought onto the German people. And always said that his rescue operations were an attempt to right – even slightly – the wrong that was being caused to the murdered people and to the German people. He saved not only Jews, but also Poles. He was not a religious man, His motivation was humanitarian. What a great man.