Below is an excerpt of the Ostrowiec youth mentioned in the book ‘HaDerech Lecherut' (The Way to Freedom) written by Joseph Zvi Halperin. [Page:27]
The Ostrovtzer youth who reached our group were sent to us by the local committee people who feared for the refugees’ lives. They arrived in two groups: The first group, five girls and a boy, arrived in the second half of May; the second group, four girls and three boys, around a month afterwards. Some of these youths belonged to Zionist youth groups before the war, mainly to Betar; others came without any Zionist motivation, at times even against their will. (From among the thirteen Ostrovtzers who came to us in Kielce, only six settled in the Land; one girl who remained in Kielce was murdered there on July 4, 1946; six girls left us along the way and settled in America.)
Moshe Klajnman was born in 1926. His father was a clerk. He had four brothers and two sisters. He grew up in a Zionist household and was a member of the Betar movement.
After the first expulsion, in October 1942, Moshe was left the sole survivor of his family. At first he worked in the brick factory; afterwards, he was transferred to the labor camp in the town of Blizyn (west of Skarzysko) where he worked in construction and laundering. When an epidemic of typhus broke out, Moshe was one of its victims, but he was saved through the care of a Jewish doctor from his town. In August of 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz where he passed Dr. Mengele’s infamous selektzia. At the morning roll call he heard that they needed electricians and so he joined the others of that profession even though he had never worked as one. Fortunately, he was sent to do drainage work in the fields. At another selektzia, in October 1944, he joined a group of builders who were sent to the Sztutowo camp (35 km east of Danzig-Gdansk, on the Baltic coast). Upon arrival at the camp, he was sent to Burggraben for a two-month electrician’s course. After the course he was stationed at a factory manufacturing steel electricity-cables for submarines. He worked at the shipyard together with workers from various other countries. He didn’t manage to work there very long: With the front approaching, he was sent in January 1945 to dig trenches to stop the tanks. Ultimately, he was sent, together with thousands of other Jews, to join the Death March. Some of the marchers were loaded on to ferries, many of which were sunk at sea by the Germans. On March 18, 1945, while in the town of Puck, north of Gdynia, he was liberated by the Red Army. At first, he traveled to Warsaw and then after a week continued to Ostrowiec. There he found forty survivors and an active local committee headed by Aharon Fridental. Moshe remained in the town for around a month in the hope of meeting someone from his family. When his hopes were dashed, he decided to emigrate to the Land of Israel. That’s how he arrived, together with six others from his town including committee member Ovadiah Borensztajn, at 7 Planty Boulevard where they were received with hugs by their fellow Ostrovtzers who had arrived about a month earlier.
Moshe was a wise fellow, brave, with an open mind, a lover of people who was prepared to act on their behalf. Thanks to his experience working as an electrician, he saw to it that wherever we went there was ample light to gladden the heart and salvage the evening hours for reading and studies.
Aharon Fridental served before the war as a local correspondent (volunteer) for the Israeli paper HaBoker. During the years 1946-48 he was active in the Berichah (“smuggling” of Jews into Palestine) and served on the Central Committee of the Ichud and chairman of the Religious Congress in Warsaw. He emigrated to Israel in 1951.
-For page listing all members of the group see this page.
Cover of book in Hebrew: "The Way to Freedom"