Israel I. Cohen

(born on 10 November 1926 in Lodz) Prisoner number: 97603

Our new camp leader, with baton in hand, soon showed us clearly the fate of the person who might stand somewhat crookedly during appel, or of someone who dared come even a few seconds late.

– Israel I. Cohen about the appel

List of sources
After his liberation the concentration camp survivor, Israel I. Cohen, a Pole by birth, emigrated to Canada. Source: Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten Quelle: Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten

Israel I Cohen was born on 10 November 1926 in Lodz. His family belonged to the Hasidic community of the Gerrer. The Wehrmacht’s invasion of Poland in 1939 Lodz also was subjected to the persecution and death of the civil population in at the hands of security police and security service task forces; many of the victims were Jews.

Together with other Jewish citizens, Cohen had to relocate to the ghetto to the north of the city (Litzmannstadt Ghetto) in February 1940. The approximately 160,000 persons imprisoned had insufficient food and fuel. Epidemics broke out time and again. During the following years some 43,000 people died in the ghetto, including the father and grandfather of the then young Cohen.

With the dissolution of the ghetto, Cohen was also deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in August 1944, where he was separated from his mother and sisters. He spent ten days at the camp, before being selected for transport to Landsberg/Kaufering concentration subcamp complex.

The orders alone were enough to drive us insane. “Run! Stand! Run again! Stand again! Lie down! On your feet!” Over and over again they were repeated, twenty or thirty times, with no point and no purpose, other than to dehumanize us further. And woe to the unfortunate one who could not fulfil the order to the second.

– Israel I. Cohen about the SS

List of sources

After three weeks at Kaufering VII camp, in September 1944 he was relocated to Kaufering IV sick camp. On 27 April 1945, he was liberated on site by the US American Army and arrived in Switzerland for treatment. There he met his wife, with whom he emigrated to Canada in 1951.