Francisco Wichter

July 25, 1926. Markuszew, Poland - Buenos Aires, Argentina


I was born in the bosom of a Jewish family of 6 brothers. Prior to the war, I learned the trade of shoemaker with my father. When Hitler invaded Poland, 3,300,000 Jews lived there, I was 14 years old. I studied and kept the dreams of any teenager, however, I could not fulfill any or continue with studies, the war ended with my daily life.


On Shabbat night my whole family left our house to flee to the countryside and go to a town called Palikiie where we lived for 4 years until 1943. The news of the dangers that lurked the Jews made each place more dangerous. Our family continued with the Jewish customs more and more in secret. We lived as we could, hiding from neighbors and bystanders. The difficult moments began to appear. In 1942 my paternal grandmother dies due to health problems since it was impossible to move her to a place to be checked. In 1943 in the framework of the Iamim Noraim, they unjustly arrest my father inventing a history of theft and then be shot. Months later we receive the order to concentrate with little luggage in a town called Belzitz, where we lived for a few weeks crammed into different houses. A few days later, we had to appear in the square when their uncles and their mother decided that they would choose 10 who would hide in the basement in order to survive. My sister, other cousins and me ​​were chosen for this task. The rest showed up in the square and never saw them again. We learned that my brothers were transferred to a forced labor camp and that the last end of my mother and younger brothers were in the gas chambers of Treblinka.


From then on, a nomadic path began, to wander through places without direction. No place belonged to me and none found tranquility. I decided to travel to Germany contraband by means of a train. In the middle of the trip, I jump off this one since its sixth sense indicated it to me. Hidden in the woods and barns of well-known merchants I heard the rumor of the Poniatov camp. I decided to enter on my own since there was food and a place to clean up. After a few weeks I observed the behavior of the guards, they were very kind to everything that was being lived, I realized that it was a trap and I ran away the same way he entered through a broken fence. I learned the day after my escape that the field was completely liquidated.


Again the forest was as a prisoner in a factory of Poniatov to later be released and go to work in the Budzin field. There my task was to detach all the objects from the bodies already lifeless. In my work, I met Leon Milgrom, from Warsaw. A great friend, in those times, was a way to stay alive. In Mieletz we went from a forced labor camp to a concentration camp, where our identity was completely lost. My convict number was 105,262KL and I carries on my right wrist the indelible seal of horror: KL (Konzentratios Lager). I had almost no strength, my sixth sense helped me, but the body was worn out after so much suffering. We were transported in a freight train as animals to Wieliczka for a few months and then take half of the prisoners to Plaszov, Krakow. Without knowing it, my salvation began to make sense.

The list

One day, they received the request to transfer a certain number of prisoners to a labor camp at the request of one Oskar Schindler. He had a glazed pot factory and he worked with the Nazis for the Jews to work for him. Before arriving at Brunnlitz they had to spend three days in the Gros-Rosen field. All the Jews who went to a field in this branch had to go through there. Of all the atrocious places I met, this field was the worst. It was immense, and it had a crematorium that worked day and night"

"SCHINDLERJUDEN", ​​the Jews of Schindler

In Schindler's factory, people lived better than anywhere else. We worked all day and then returned to the camp, guarded by Nazis but restricted from approaching the Jews. Little by little, I discovered the plan of Oskar and his wife Emilie. It was not such a business to keep us alive. Their goal was to keep them away from the Nazis. Emilie worried about food and health. Love was born among the prisoners. It was sometimes sung and eaten well. There were few deaths, but when there were, they had a decent burial. Schindler paid the Nazis for having us in his factory. Thanks to him I can tell my story. He was righteous among the nations, despite the controversy of his story, saving 1200 Jews.

End of the war

May 8, 1845. We woke up with the factory closed and with the order that everybody need to gather around the speakers. Schindler turned on the radio and we heard Churchill's voice speaking in English, followed by a translation in German. Everything was silence. We had understood. The Second World War was over. Nobody spoke. Then Oskar Schindler took a step forward. He thanked us for the effort we had all made to sustain his factory, he informed us that it was closing from now on and that each one of us was free.


I was 19 years old when the war ended and I had nothing but the parchment that they gave when they left the factory. Anyone had plans, followed the steps together with my friend Leon who was 12 years older than me. We went back to Poland to search for relatives without meeting anyone or anything. Europe was in ruins and we hadn't whereabouts. We began to turn around cities. The red cross and the Joint marked points of refugee camps. I did not want to step on a field anymore and stayed in empty rooms in the cities. This is how in Italy I met a group of young people from whom I did not separate. There were two cousins ​​and others more alone like me. I was no longer with Leon who left for Australia to never see him again.One day they all went out together to walk around the square. Being at the end of the line, without much thought, I invite Hinda, a young part of the group, to the cinema. She without finding a reason to reject the offer accepted. From then on they did not separate again. Hinda was also a survivor and could go through the war posing as a Catholic, working in family homes.


For a memory in my memory, I had the mailing address of an aunt, sister of my mother in Argentina. Hinda already had a visa for the United States but decided not to separate from me and in 1947 we arrived in Argentina, illegally passing through Paraguay. In Buenos Aires, nobody wanted to hear the horrors of the war. We began to rebuild our lives. We worked hard to have a family and a routine that kept us away from what had happened. We had two children, Julio and Enrique. Unfortunately, Julio passed away. The family was enlarged giving us grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The movie

In 1933 comes the news that returned them to the past. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg was going to film a film about Schindler's List. From there I reflected on the need to tell my story. Not only for me but for others. The film gave us air, brought back sad memories but a promising present and the struggle because the world knows what happened in the Shoah.