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|Catalog No.||2554||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||A letter from Jakow -Ya'akov Wiernik to Prof. Berl-Bernard Mark in postwar Warsaw||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||10852R"M||Similar Items|
|File name||Wiernik Jakob - Letter to Berl Mark||Similar Items|
|From Date||01/01/1942||Similar Items|
|To Date||31/12/1944||Similar Items|
|Author||Wiernik Jakow||Similar Items|
|Date of event||20/01/1960||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
A letter from Jakow - Ya'akov Wiernik to Prof. Berl - Bernard Mark in Warsaw (Warszawa), written on 20 Jan. 1960, in Polish. details about Wiernik's experience in the Treblinka camp, his escape, taking part in the Polish uprising in Warsaw, 1944 as a member of the Armia Ludowa, and explanation about the model of the Treblinka camp he built for display in the camps exhibition at the Ghetto Fighters' House. Also in the letter: details about the manuscript of his book, "Rok w Treblince" (A Year in Treblinka), published in Warsaw in 1944, and on a second manuscript sent to London and pubilshed in the USA in several languages.
Jakow - Jankiel Wiernik was born in 1887 in the Brisk district, now Brest, Belarus. In 1904 he was among the defenders in the Jewish Labor Bund movement. He subsequently worked in Warsaw (Warszawa) as a carpenter - molder.
On 23 Aug. 1942 he was deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp. He survived the Selektion and was put to work in his trade, as a carpenter. At first he worked on the upper camp where the gas chambers were situated, and then was transferred to the lower camp for construction work. Wiernik made contact with the underground that had formed in the lower camp, and served as its liaison person between that underground and the one in the upper camp. He took part in the Treblinka uprising of 2 Aug. 1943, succeeded in escaping, and returned to Warsaw.
In Warsaw he made contact with Jews by use of the code word “Amcha” (Hebrew: your people), and thus got to know the umbrella organization of Jewish undergrounds, the Coordinating Committee [of Jewish Social Organizations; KK, Komisja Koordynacyjna Zydowskich Instytucji Spolecznych) and even served as a liaison person for the KK. Wiernik then decided to draw a diagram of the Treblinka camp’s layout and to write down what he had seen during his year’s stay there.
His document, “Rok w Treblince” (Polish: A Year in Treblinka), was published in 1944 by the Jewish National Committee (Zydowski Komitet Narodowy) after a clandestine edition was published by members of the Polish underground who worked at the print shop of the Nazi - sponsored Polish - language newspaper, “Nowy Kurier Warszawski.
On 24 May 1944, this written testimony was sent together with a packet of underground documentation from Warsaw to Jewish activists in London (seat of the Polish government-in-exile) and from there to the U.S.A. and to Mandate Palestine. In Palestine his testimony was published in Hebrew in December 1944 by the Histadrut - General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel, part of its brief works series, “Pinkas Katan.” At the same time, it was translated into other languages, notably English and Yiddish.
In Warsaw, under an assumed identity as the Pole, Wiernik joined the leftist underground military organization, Armia Ludowa (People’s Army), and in late summer 1944 fought in its ranks during the Polish uprising. In 1945, after the liberation, he redid his drawing of the Treblinka camp’s layout, after the loss of the original drawing he had made in late 1943 - early 1944. (This 1945 version is preserved in the Archives of the Ghetto Fighters’ House). After the war he immigrated to Mandate Palestine, and in the early 1950s settled in Holon.
In 1955 he was approached by Zivia Lubetkin and Yitzhak Zuckerman to build a model of the Treblinka camp for the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum. The model‘s exhibit was inaugurated in 1959. Jakow Wiernik died in December 1972. Close