A contribution from Elie Pinski
The Hohenfels camp in Oberfalz (High Palatinate), in Bavaria is located in the mountains near regular soldiers and SS barracks… The country is wild and rich with game… Among all the prisoners’ faces, one man’s face has remained more particularly engraved in my memory: his name was Godl, a polish Jew, born in a miserable suburb of Warsaw, a trainee tailor. Misery chased him away and brought him to France. When the civil war started in Spain, he left and volunteered in the International Brigades, with the “Rojos” (the Reds). He distinguished himself in Teruel and Madrid, for he was a born warrior, and deserved his lieutenant laces. After the victory of Franco, he took shelter back in France. At the war declaration in 1939, he volunteered and was recruited in the 22nd RMVE which sent him to Barcarès, where he joined the caporal school. Despite the fact that he could hardly read and write, he revealed himself as one of the best students and left the school with the level of caporal instructor.
On the front, he showed cold blood and a remarkable courage and many were after him for help and comfort in difficult situations… Prisoner, one day, in deep winter, when the snow around the camp reached seven feet high, he tried to escape, wearing a white sheet hoping to become invisible on the white snow. He cut the barbed wires with a tool stolen on the work field but a guard saw him from the watch tower and shouted toward him. Godl escaped though, the Germans chased him with dogs and he was easily found. After a few weeks in jail he escaped again, and this time succeeded to reach the Swiss border where he was taken anew and, as a relapse, he was sent to a disciplinary camp in Norway. From there he finally escaped again by hiding himself on a cargo boat and reached Poland where he moved to Warsaw. Godl arrived in the Polish capital at the time of the ghetto liquidation. He got immediately in touch with the partisans and entered several time into the ghetto through the sewers to bring weapons. He finally took part to the insurrection and to the last heroic fight of the last Jews, and fell on that battlefield . Here is the man!
I can see Godl in my thoughts: middle sized, rather slim but strong, dark haired with a pale face and bony, a long and sharp nose, two green little and brisk eyes, very deep and close together…
Le Combattant Volontaire Juif 1939-1945 »
Edited by the l'U.E.V.A.C.J.
at the occasion of it’s 25th anniversary