The Looting of the Ardal Factory

This testimony was sent to the World Jewish Congress as part of a search to locate witnesses to war crimes committed in the Lida area, so that the perpetrators could be brought to trial in Germany.  The records of this search are now preserved at theJacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati OH in File C210, boxes 3, 4 & 5.  Translation by Irene Newhouse

Page 129-130of box C210, file 3 is headed "Translation" & appears to be an English translation of a set of questions asked of  Vladimir BARZACH, regarding events at the Ardal rubber factory in Lida.  BARZACH, formerly called TENENBAUM, was an engineer at Ardal before World War II.  The Germans forced him to work as driver, auto mechanic, general fitter and electrician.

To the question "Do you remember the names of any members of the German occupying forces?" " Herman Hanweg, Hans Windisch, Rudolf Werner & Rene Dietze". 

"Was there a German "trustee"  (Treuhaender) for Ardal?"  "Ardal's dismantling was in the hands of the military from the beginning of the occupation". 

"Do you recall the names of any of the Germans who took over Ardal?"  "No, because I had only very limited access to Ardal when accompanying my 'masters' Werner & Dietze.

"Do you remember the names of any Polish employees/workers &/or where they can be located?"  " The actual 'Macher' there was a man refugee Henry Fisher, who saved himself originally as a 'half-Jew' from the massacre was then however shot dead when trying to join the Polish underground.  I don't know of anybody else alive connected with this period".

"Can you give any details of the German occupation of Lida and what they did in or with Ardal, both before and after they dismantled it & shipped the machinery,  raw material, & inventory away?  

"Ardal was taken in military custody immediately.  As far as the remainder, the dismantling commenced within the first month & was completed a few months thereafter.

"As far as details of the German occupation of  Lida is concerned, I could write a book about it.   If naming of some details is required as an illustration of my recollection of events , I think the best way out is if your lawyer  will give some indication as to what kind of details are required.

"I distinctly remember myself watching trucks carrying  equipment & machinery from Ardal to the railway station.

"As I mentioned before, I had to accompany the Gebietskommissar & his inspectors to the factory as a truck driver to carry some remains of textiles & tools to the Gebietskommissar's stores.  On these occasions I observed the rapid progress of evacuation".

"Can you think of any information that will prove the factory contents were shipped to Eastern Germany?"

"Only by hearsay.  One of our previous foundry workers Wladislaw Gobrietewicz after return from a 'work period' in Braunschweig told me that  he has seen Ardal machinery there".

BARZACH and his wife were among those who were able to jump from the train taking the last Jews in Lida to be murdered in September 1943.  He gave the 13th, but the date is generally accepted to be the 17th.  He knew of 3 others who managed this, though the total is larger.  He thought the destination was Majdanek.  There is correspondence in file C210 asking the prosecutors in Germany if there are any records regarding the destination & arrival of this transport, but none appear to have been found.

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