Oral history
History witnesses

Marian Turski

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Interlocutor alias:
Mosze Turbowicz
Józef Markiewicz
Piotr Boruszkowski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
7th October 2019
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Holocaust Survivors


Anti-Semitism, concentration camps, Death camps, Holocaust survivors, Life under the occupation, Holocaust.

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Marian Turski was born in Druskininkai, where his mother Rachela Werebejczyk came from. Her family ran shops in Porzecze and Druskininkai, and she herself studied mathematics in Kharkiv, but did not complete her studies due to the outbreak of World War I. Marian Turski's father, Eliasz Turbowicz, came from a rabbinical family from Kleck (his father and grandfather were presidents of the yeshiva and rabbis in Kleck), he was a Zionist, he had no formal rabbinical education, but he was appreciated in Jewish circles. During World War I, he was a soldier in the tsarist army, he was seriously wounded in the lungs in the Battle of Kirlibaba in Romania.
Marian Turski's parents met and married in Łódź. Before the outbreak of World War II, his father worked in the coal trade and his mother as a clerk in Pinkas Gierszowski's company. Marian Turski studied at the Jewish Junior High School on Magistracka Street, he had a brother who was 6 years younger than him. The family lived on Sterlinga Street in Łódź.
After the outbreak of the war, from the second half of April 1940, the family lived in the Łódź ghetto with their aunt and cousin. His father was appointed manager of the coal yard at Łagiewnicka Street, and his mother worked in an office. Marian Turski was active in the underground organization Left Trade Union, he worked in the administration of the coal yard, for a short time cutting horse meat, and then in the timber department in Marysin; he also gave private lessons. At the end of his stay in the ghetto, he was barracked. He was taken out of the ghetto in the last transport (the family had two weeks earlier - his father and brother had died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz). He stayed in Auschwitz-Birkenau for a few weeks, then was sent to the slave market, from where, under the changed name Maks Balzam, he was sent to work cleaning up the oil refinery in the sub-camp in Czechowice-Dziedzice. Then he survived a death march to the railway station in Wodzisław, from where he was transported to the Buchenwald camp, and from there to Terezin, where he suffered from typhus and stayed until liberation. After liberation, he underwent convalescence in a Russian military hospital.

Ostatnim transportem wyjechałem z getta w Łodzi do KL Auschwitz-Birkenau. Relacja Mariana Turskiego (youtube.com)

Recording circumstances description

The interview was recorded at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Recording summary

1. Origin of the interviewee, 00:01:00
2. Information about the interviewee's parents, 00:02:58
3. Place of residence of the interviewee's family before the war, 00:09:50
4. The interviewee's school, Hebrew and Polish languages in the interviewee's family home, 00:11:42
5. The interviewee's activities in the communist movement in the ghetto, the honesty of the interviewee's father, 00:13:30
6. Origin of the interviewee's mother, 00:15:14
7. Religion in the interviewee's family and family home, 00:15:44
8. Visits with his father at the synagogue, 00:19:39
9. The interviewee's brother, 00:21:07
10. Interests and activities of the interviewee in his youth, school summer camps in Inowłodz, visits to his grandparents in Druskininkai and Porzecze, stay in Wiśniowa Góra, tutoring provided by the interviewee, 00:21:39
11. Outbreak of the war, family's decision to stay in Łódź, 00:27:20
12. Studying at school at the beginning of the war, being thrown out of the bread queue, life before the ghetto was created, 00:29:57
13. Establishing the ghetto and the interviewee's family moving to the ghetto, 00:33:16
14. The place of living of the interviewee's family in the ghetto, 00:37:56
15. Belongings taken by the interviewee's family to the ghetto, 00:39:30
16. Hopes for a quick end to the war and their loss, 00:40:09
17. Information about the events at the front reaching the ghetto, 00:41:21
18. Activities of the left-wing union, hunger strike, 00:44:56
19. The interviewee's father's work at the coal yard in the ghetto, 01:06:21
20. Working in the ghetto, 01:07:58
21. Barracks in the last weeks of the ghetto, deportation to Auschwitz, 00:12:35
22. Work on horsemeat processing, 01:13:55
23. Socialist views, attitude to Jews brought from Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and their situation in the ghetto, 01:16:16
24. The mother's work in the office in the ghetto, system of food allocation rights, method of preparing potato peels for consumption, 01:25:47
25. Hunger: stories of the mother of Dawid Sierakowiak and Rywka Lipszyc, description of the interviewee's experiences related to hunger, 01:28:15
26. Lack of close relationship between the interviewee and his brother, departure from the ideas professed by his father and moving away from him in the ghetto, 01:41:18
27. The circumstances of the decision to join the transport to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 01:44:51
28. The road to the camp, preparing the interviewee for deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 01:53:43
29. Selection after arrival at the camp and route to the baths, haircut by Dutch prisoners, spraying with Lysol, 01:57:00
30. “Slave market”, the change of the surname, sending to work in Czechowice-Dziedzice, 02:11:11
31. Stay in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, 02:20:15
32. Deportation of the interviewee's parents and brother to a camp, the interviewee's father's first love and his unfulfilled plan to go to Palestine, 02:21:31
33. The interviewee's first visit to Israel, 02:27:18
34. The last day in Auschwitz, march to the train in Wodzisław and the road to Buchenwald, 02:30:04
35. Hierarchy and arrangements in the Buchenwald camp, death of one of the interviewee's colleagues, rules applicable in the Buchenwald camp and the sense of restoring dignity, 02:41:23
36. Stay in Buchenwald, 02:58:19
37. The road to Reisenheim and the bombing of the train by the Allies, the road to Theresienstadt, 03:03:36
38. Stay in Terezin and the interviewee's illness, 03:06:34
39. Stay at a Russian military hospital and convalescence, 03:14:44

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