“Schindler’s Ark”

Thomas Keneally in his book “Schindler’s Ark” writes about Oskar Schindler and how he saved hundreds of Jewish people during World War II. In this book we can also read about Julius Madritsch, who, just like Schindler, had workshops where he hired Jewish workers. Employed in those factories, lots of his workers survived Holocaust.
 In Keneally’s book Madritsch is one of the Schindler’s friends, and he also was his associate. Madritsch protected his workers, he gave them extra white bread and other essentials products. That book also shows us how hard it was for Madritsch and Schindler to keep their workers save. And how hard it was to always make the right decisions. Sometimes they had to use their own savings to create a new plant, to employ a new worker, or to bribe somebody in the top person. 
Thomas Keneally presents Madritsch as a person who always shows his humanity to everyone. He was very devoted to what he was doing. His aim was to save as many people as he could. For him and for Schindler every saved life was like a gold. From 1943 Madritsch’s workers started making uniforms for German soldiers. After the ghettos in Krakow and Tarnow were liquidated, Madritsch’s workers were removed to workshops in Plaszow. This fact was strange for some of the top Germans who were Madritsch’s friends. They thought that Madritsch could lose a lot of money that way. They were trying to convince him not to do that, and that he should close the workhsop and open a new one in a safe place and they suggested they could help him to transport all sewing machines but they still were not able to convince Madritsch. The author thinks that the decision that Madritsch made was because his daughter was in love with one of the Madritsch’s workers, a young Jew from the Tarnow’s ghetto. It was a difficult situation because this relation would have never been accepted outside of the plant, so the relationship had to be kept secret. Madritsch had many German friends who were soldiers, so affair could have been dangerous and risky for the whole Madritsch’s family.

 In 1964 Madritsch was honoured by Yad Vashem as “The Righteous Among the Nations”. Thomas Keneally describes Madritsch as a person who has done everything for his Jews.

"Reflections of The Soul"

         In his book entitled “Reflections of the Soul" Martin Spett tells a history of his life but also the history of the Jewish community in Poland before World War II and during the Holocaust. In the part of his book which describes thea life in the Tarnow's Ghetto, he is also writing about the factory in Tarnow owned by Julius Madritsch.

The plot of the book starts when Martin, as a little boy living in a Tarnow, attended a private religious primary school. Also, he mentioned his relations with his friends with whom he loved to explore the city. His family was very big, but they loved each other very much. His mother, Sara Leisten, was an American citizen, but his father, Arthur Spett, was a Polish citizen. He also had a sister called Rózia, now Roselyn.
 According to the author, the Jews who lived in Tarnow cultivated their own religion in synagogues, sat in the city council, had their own shops and workshops and could move freely in a city. This situation changed in 1937, when the Polish Government passed laws which had some features of anti-semitism. When that happened, all the Jews working for the administration were replaced by non-Jews. The situation changed dramatically in September 1939, when The World War II broke out. Martin relates that he, as an eleven-years boy, watched the German troops marching into Tarnow. Even though he was very young, he felt the increasing tension which got hold of the inhabitants of Tarnow
span style="font-family: inherit;"> The author describe the brutality of the German soldiers. In one of the examples he describes their new "sport". The sport consisted of pulling out old Jewish men and making  them clear  horse manure on knees with their bare hands. German soldiers also would cut Jewish beards with knives and scissors. Later they became more and more brutal. Martin Spett describes the situations, when Germans cut bellies of pregnant women, and  murdered little babies in front of their mothers. The hate against the Jews spreaded from day to day. The German administration harassed the Jews. According to the author, Polish people also took part in this, for example they painted murals with negative slogans about the Jews. 
 Also Martin Spett mentions how he worked with his mother in Julius Madritsch’s manufactory. Madritsch was Oskar Schindler's friend. Martin worked as a finisher - his job was to prepare clothes for the ironing. One day, when he was carrying heavy coats on his shoulders in the factory, he was stopped by a group of people. As he was stooped over, he couldn't see their faces. It turned out, that it was a group of inspectors from Berlin. Among them was Madritsch's wife, who took pity on the little Spett. Later Martin was called for a  conversation to his boss’s office. He thought that he would be fired but nothing like that happened.  Madritsch asked him if he was hungry and after that he told him that if he needed anything, he should come to see Madritsch. Martin did exactly that when one of the German officers told that his mother was too old to work for Madritsch. He found the courage to approach his boss and explained the situation to him. As a result Madritsch ordered the Gestapo officer to register Martin’s mother in the registration book. This ensured her safety and work.
Martin Spett remembers this period as a very difficult for him but also for his family and for the Jewish community.  A person like Julius Madritsch demonstrated that even in difficult times somebody could show a human face and disagree with generally prevailing terror, helping as many people as possible.

“The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust”

Martin Gilbert in his book “The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust” describes what. Madritsch had done, how much he had been risking in order to save as much Jews as possible, during the World War II. The story is fortified with dr Adolf Leenhardt’s, Yaakov Sternberg’s  memories and quotes from book of Julius Madritsch himself. 
   Madritsch had been not only rescuing lots of people’s lives giving them employment but also provided them with as many loafs of bread as they could sell part of it and buy other things. There was a kosher and half-kosher kitchen, which was for sure extremely important for those who were experiencing continually the stigma because of their religion. 
   There were also much more workers than needed, three for each machine for which only one was necessary. All this to protect one more human, one more man...They weren’t discriminated by Madritsch, even if most of them were elderly, he assured they are valuable and significant. This, of course, wasn’t easy, especially when there appeared sadistic commandment form Płaszów, Amon Goeth, who tried to stand on his way. Despite this and the others obstacles, Madritsch continued on
   After the liquidation of ghetto in Płaszow (which was directed by Amon Goeth), Madritsch transferred his workers to Bochnia and Tarnów, in which he was helped not only by his manager, Raimund Titsch, but by dr Adolf Leenhardt and Oswald Bosko as well. 
   Except for protection on the spot, Madritsch enabled Jews to escape via border with Slovakia and farther, to Hungary - through a factory in Piwniczna.
   Even when after one of periodic workers selection by SS, part of them was sent to another camp, he made sure whether there wasn’t anything bad which would happened to them.   
   Then factories in Kraków had been closed, Madritsch together with Titsch got in touch with the other works owner, Oscar Schindler, who agreed to employ a great amount of workers. 
   Like Schindler, although a few people know about it, Julius Madritsch is one of The Righteous Among the Nations. 

"Sentenced to Remember"

William Kornbluth - the author of the book "Sentenced to Remember" was an eyewitness to the events that took place during the Holocaust. His memories begin with a period, when he was a small boy deriving from a Jewish family.  He lived in Tarnow, a city in southern Poland and went to school there. Already at that time he felt the reluctance from the people to the Jews, when his peers ridiculed him or even hit him. Horror began only, when in 1939 German troops entered to Tarnów.
             Kornbluth very accurately describes his experiences and the fate of his and his family. He has included in his memoirs numerous references to Julius Madritsch.
             After transferring the Kornbluth family to the ghetto, his brother Natan - a skilled craftsman - was employed by Madritsch, a manufacturer of uniforms for the German armed forces. Soon the author was accepted to work too. To get a job at Madritsch, it was enough to show only the skill of sewing.  Kornbluth describes that this place has proved to be essential in their long-term survival. Whereas, in the short term, it allowed for continuation of dangerous but essential practice - returning to the ghetto with food.
              He also mentions that Madritsch's employment gave temporary protection his sister Bronka. She avoided the selection process at the time. Without identification, there was no chance during the detention.The employment certificate was sometimes all was decided about life or death. Therefore, to protect Simon, who was beaten in the ghetto , starved and sentenced to hard work, it was organized ID for him and employment at Madritsch.He was an expert on sewing machines, and that made him valuable to Madritsch and kept him alive.
             In September 1942, during the liquidation of the Ghetto in Tarnów and the export of Jews from Tarnów to the concentration camp in Plaszow, all those, who worked for Madritsch had a separate selection. Many women have been separated from the main group. The SS guards ordered to Madritsch to choose the workers who are to be sent to the ovens of Auschwitz and he felt, that he would not be able to do so without them. After the second selection, people working for Madritsch were loaded onto a train for cattle, several dozen on a railway wagon and taken to Płaszów. This issue was discussed at the Yad Vashem Institute during the considering Madritsch's candidacy for the title of "Righteous Among the Nations," but Madritsch's behavior was considered independent of his will in these circumstances.
           William Kornbluth, Natan and Simon continued to work for Madritsch, since the factory was also founded in Plaszow. At this point, their fears diminished. They knew they were supposed to work, not wait for death. Those, who worked for Madritsch, were treated more mildly than prisoners, who were sent daily to other posts in Płaszów or Kraków. Unlike them, his staff worked less brutally in the barracks. They were also beneficiaries of the unwritten law in Płaszów, that Madritsch's workers were not subject to shootings. Otherwise, they would be run the normal camp mode. They suspected, that Madritsch bribed Goeth or the camp commander was his quiet partner.The factory produced about twenty thousand uniforms a month and was extremely profitable. Madritsch paid the German authorities 7.50 marks a day for every man and 5.00 marks for a woman. The profits of all involved were enormous.
          Raymond Titsch - Madritsch's co-worker, humanitarian and decent man, oversaw the plant. He was in charge of delivering additional bread slices to the factory barracks in Kraków, to supplement the modest food rations in the camp. It was a crime, for which there was a severe punishment. The life in the camp was very heavy. Often lacked food ration and people starved. There was no access to additional dishes. Some prisoners smuggled food into the camp, putting their lives at risk. Kornbluth claims, that only the Madritsch factory was different, and the people were "happy" there.
             Using the latrines in the camp in Płaszów was a real torture for them. To get to them, you had to go through the lake of urine at a depth of a few centimeters. All the latrine spaces were covered with excrement from the many prisoners with diarrhea.  There was no paper and not enough space. The employees of Madritsch had much better conditions, because the latrines at their barrack was better kept than the camp latrines.
               William Kornbluth repeatedly mentions Madritsch in his book. He had a direct connection with him, as Julius saved him and his immediate family, and with them many other prisoners. This is an eyewitness testimony about Madritsch as a man saving Jews from extinction.

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