Helen Beck, then
Hela Brzeska, No. 18 on Schindler's List,
was torn from her family as teenager and was 15 when she was thrown into
KZ Plaszow a kitchen help. She later recalled the SS
Commandant Amon Goeth as being
"incredible bloodthirsty - he would walk the line
with his dogs and order them to rip people apart. And
after a few minutes of torture, Goeth would shoot them in
front of everyone ..."
At an evening line up in Plaszow the Nazi guard smacked
Helen so hard, the girl collapsed and the guard ordered
her death. But she was spared, saved by Oscar Schindler as
she suddenly was enlisted in his work forces.
Today, she still doesn't know how Schindler did it. But
the next morning in Schindler's factory, the tall man with
soft blue eyes and a Nazi lapel pin walked by her and said:
Just keep working, keep working.
Helen later recalled when she worked in the kitchen at one
of Schindler's parties. At the end of the party, in front
of some of the top Nazis, Schindler asked the Jewish
servants to come out and take a round of applause for
their hard work and good service. Scared, they came out
and to their surprise, the drunken Nazis applauded them.
In 1944, Helen was among 300
women routed to Auschwitz. She miraculously was rescued by
Schindler. When the women returned to Schindler's factory,
weak, hungry, frostbitten, less than human, Oscar met them
in the courtyard. Helen never forgot the sight of him
standing in the doorway. And she never forgot his raspy
voice when he - surrounded by SS guards - gave them an
unforgettable guarantee:'Now you are finally with me, you
are safe now. Don't be afraid of anything. You don't have
to worry anymore.'
Only after the war, as Helen searched for her
family, did she learn that she had lost six of her nine
siblings, along with her parents.
Helen Beck later said: "We gave up many times, but he
always lifted our spirits ... Schindler tried to help
people however he could. That is what we remember."
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