Sol Berger

'We did a lot of good work in the camps'

Sol Berger was twenty years old when Nazi army invaded south eastern Poland. On 9 August 1942 the liquidation of the Jewish community of his home town of Krosno began. Salomon's father was in the first group of 500 people sent to death. Later his mother and sister were gassed. Salomon and his brothers -- Moishe, Michael and Joshua – were taken into forced labor crews in the area. But his mother and remaining sister were still in Poland. Both were taken in cattle cars to the death camp Belzec and gassed. A month later, the Gestapo took away Michael and Moishe. Soon after, with help of false identity papers, Salomon managed to escape the ghetto. The day later all of its inhabitants were killed. Assuming a Christian identity Salomon joined a Polish work brigade, later he managed to get through to Polish partisans and joined them in fighting the Germans. In March 1944, he was forced into the Russian army. When the war ended Salomon decided to leave Poland. He joined the group illegally crossing the border to Czechoslovakia. Then, via Hungary and Romania he reached a displaced persons camp in Italy. Salomon spent three years, between 1945 and 1948, in a displaced persons camp- first in a transit camp in Bari and later in Barletta, where he worked as ORT teacher, teaching design. Each class he taught contained  fifteen to twenty students and he spent two days a week teaching in Bari and two days in Barletta. His was paid thirty US dollars a month and received free lodging in former Italian military barracks. 'We did a lot of good work in the camps'- he recalled later. He later managed to join his younger brother Michael who after surviving Auschwitz immigrated to the US. In the camp Salomon’s son Jack was born. After three years in a camp and two years in London, Samuel finally reached United States. He settled in Los Angeles. It was not until he was fifty-seven when he could finally enrol into college. He graduated in business and later became a successful real estate agent.

In 1994, when his brother was dying of cancer, he asked Salomon to start talking about his survival and the Holocaust. Since then he started sharing his story.[1]

[1] Source: World ORT Archive: Sol Berger interviewed by Katarzyna Person, June 2009