Ester Wajcblum

Death 5 Jan 1945 (aged 20)
Burial Cremated, Other, Specifically: Taken to the crematorium at Auschwitz
Memorial ID 16811768 · View Source
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Ester, known as Estusia, was born in Warsaw, Poland. She was the second-born child of Jakub and Rebeka, who were deaf-mutes. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, Estusia and her family were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto. Luckily, her older sister Sabina and her husband Mieczyslaw Zielinski managed to escape Poland and find refuge in the Soviet Union during the war. In May of 1943, the remaining family members were deported to Majdanek, where Jakub and Rebeka were murdered on arrival. That September, Estusia and her younger sister Hanka were put on a transport to Auschwitz-Birkenau and selected for labor at the Union Munitions factory. Estusia and Hanka made the acquaintance of Ala Gertner, who was involved in the camp's resistence movement, and soon found themselves involved in a plot to stage an uprising orchestrated by the Sonderkommandos. Their job was to set aside a bit of gunpowder and smuggle it out of the factory every day. They were able to do this because the room of the factory they were working in was the only place in Auschwitz where prisoners had access to gunpowder. The other brave young women who risked their lives to smuggle out gunpowder were Róza Robota, Regina Safirsztajn, Marta Bindiger, Inge Frank, Genia Fischer, Ruzia Grunapfel, Hadassah Zlotnicka, and several others. They did this for over a year, all the while the Sonderkommandos at the end of the smuggling chain assembling the gunpowder into bombs and grenades which they then buried near the crematoria. On 7 October 1944, Crematorium IV was blown up, although the uprisings in the other crematoria were put down before they were able to get that far. In retribution for what had happened, every third Sonderkommando was shot. An investigation into how this could have happened went on for weeks, and the gunpowder was finally traced back to Ala's factory. All of the women working in the factory were interrogated and tortured, and eventually Estusia, Ala, Róza, and Regina were betrayed. Although they in turn were tortured and interrogated even harder over the next few months, they refused to give in and reveal any more information or names other than the names of Sonderkommandos who had been killed already. In late 1944, Estusia smuggled a note to her little sister Hanka from the prison block she was being held in, saying "Not for me the glad tidings of forthcoming salvation; everything is lost and I so want to live." Estusia got a promise from Marta that she would protect Hanka and keep her alive no matter what, and that she wouldn't let anyone betray Hanka's role in the uprising. Thanks to Marta, Hanka did survive. Estusia and the other three women were publicly hanged on 5 January 1945, two weeks before the camp was evacuated. Their last words, according to survivors, were said to be either "Be strong!" or "Revenge!" In 1991 a memorial at Yad Vashem was dedicated to the four of them, recognising their act of heroism.

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  • Created by: Carrie-Anne
  • Added: 27 Nov 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16811768
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  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ester Wajcblum (16 Jan 1924–5 Jan 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16811768, ; Maintained by Carrie-Anne (contributor 46778926) Cremated, Other, who reports a Taken to the crematorium at Auschwitz.