Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer
This thought-provoking film tells the story of a Holocaust survivor in her own words.
Henia was born into a middle-class Jewish family. The family of six lived well in an apartment in a nice part of the city of Radom, Poland. Henia had two brothers and one sister. She was the second eldest of the four. Her younger sister was very bright and very pretty and her older brother was physically handicapped, but also very intelligent.
On September 1, 1939, the war broke out in Poland. Henia remembers that the adults all around her were panicking, trying to get home because school break was just finishing. Within eight days the soldiers arrived in her town and within fourteen days the half of Poland was occupied. She recalls how they installed loud speakers all over the town to spread their hate propaganda.
Pictures were posted on the street for citizens to be able to “identify” Jews and all the Jews were required to wear a band with the Star of David drawn on it. The drawings of Jews looked grotesque like animals instead of people. Because Henia did not have the stereotypical Jewish facial features portrayed in the media, so Germans would stop her on the streets and ask why she was wearing the armband.
In 1941 the ghettos were established close to where the synagogue used to be. There were up to ten people living in a room. Many terrible things happened in this place until it was closed in 1944 and those that remained alive were sent off like cattle to the Majdanek concentration camp. Where they were treated with unimaginable cruelty.
Six weeks later they were sent to a second concentration camp, Plazow, where the story of abuse was repeated. This concentration camp is the one depicted in the film Schindler’s List. After that, she was sent to Auschwitz, where she saw her mother and some friends briefly. Three months later they walked to Bergen Belsen where a mountain of dead bodies greeted them.
Henia eventually lost her father, older brother, and sister during the German occupation. She went on to survive four concentration camps and the horrors of the Death March from Poland to Germany. She also bore witness to the creation of Israel in 1948 before making a new life for herself in South Africa. Watch this heart-breaking documentary now.