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Jewish girls go through special hell Nazis reserve for 'inferior' victims

By Edward W. Beattie Jr.

{i:Editor's note: The following dispatch on Nazi oppression of Europeans is by Edward V. Beattie Jr., United Press war correspondent who was released from a German prison camp last week. } PARIS -- This is a story of millions -- of millions of Poles, millions of French, Serbs or a dozen other nationalities, and particularly of millions of European Jews whom Adolf Hitler set out to exterminate.

It is a tale of four young Jewish girls, one of whom was 14 when the first Nazi bombers blasted destruction across Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. It is typical of what happened to those millions not wanted by the Nazi overlords.

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Until September of last year these girls worked in a munitions factory at Radom, Poland, a city whose 30,000 Jews were reduced to 2,000 by three waves of mass deportation.

Go through special hell

From then until they reached the Allie prisoner camp at Luckenwalde a week ago they went through the special hell the Nazis reserved for "inferiors" who were to be worked as long as it was worthwhile and eliminated whenever it seemed advisable.

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From Radom they were transported to Auschwitz, Lower Silecia, where, they say, somewhere around a million civilian and political prisoners were kept. Almost half were Jews.

All the hair was shaved off the girls' bodies and they were given suits of coarse pajamas and wooden clogs. Serial numbers were tattooed on their left forearms.

At Auschwitz they got half a liter of soup and a bit of bread daily. The Germans amused themselves with roll calls and whenever the roll was off count they forced all to kneel on the cobblestone with hands uplifted, sometimes for hours.

"When the count was wrong it usually was because the Germans couldn't keep track of the dying," the girls say, "or because they lost count of the number sent to the gas chambers and the charnel house whose smoke was visible day and night for all of us.

"Anyone who looked sick vanished."

"After six weeks at Auschwitz, 5,000 girls were lined up naked in the camp street and the German factory inspectors selected 75 they thought looked strong enough to work hard. They were given uniforms and sent to the powder works near Hannover where they lived on damp straw in tents.

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Because they were working they got twice as much soup as before.

The girls were given medicine to halt menstruation "so that we would lose no time from work."

After six weeks they were sent to another camp where 10 to 12 lived in a horse stall. Factory inspectors picked them again and they went to Torgau where there was a large arms plant.

25 lashes ordered

A stormtrooper who commanded the guard denied soup to a barracks of 120 girls when one accidentally broke a serving hatch window. Then he lined them all up and gave them 25 lashes apiece on their backsides with a cat-o'-nine tails.

Practices of female Stormtroop guards cannot be described here.

When the Americans neared, the girls were loaded on a northbound train, 60 to each cattle car. At Seddin, Southwest of Berlin, the train halted and was eight days on a siding, during which the girls got a few scraps of bread but no water and were permitted to leave the cars only five minutes a day.

On the eighth day Allied bombers attacked the rail yards and because their train had been placed between ammunition and gasoline trains, almost 500 were killed. About 200 escaped to the woods where the Nazis began tracking them down.

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Given German face powder

The four girls found refuge with 40 others inside an Italian slave workers camp where they stayed until the Russians came.

A Polish doctor who had been a prisoner since his escape into Hungary in 1939 gave the girls a little package of face powder of rather livid pink which German men use and which had been doled out to Allied prisoners, who had no use for it at all. I remarked that it might be a good morale uplift for a woman.

"At Auschwitz, it would have been a necessity," the oldest girl said. "We painted and powdered there as though we were going on a date. Those who looked sick went to the gas chamber."

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