Aron Czechowicz was born in 1904 in Warsaw. He was a shoemaker and a merchant by profession, he had a shop at 20 Solna Street, he lived with his family at 63 Leszno Street, and in the summer of 1942 he worked for Toebbens. He was deported to Treblinka on September 9, 1942, where his two children died, his wife [she was 32] and mother, and a little later his brother-in-law. He escaped from the camp after a few weeks (at night), hidden in a pile of clothes. After the war, he lived in Łódź, then left for Venezuela.
[In Treblinka] we went to work. I worked in the sorting plant for two days. Then they selected me for the Toten Lager (aka: second camp). They chose a few people every day. About 200 people worked there. Nearly nobody escaped from there. Rajzman knows how I got out of there, because I stuck to him afterwards. When they took me to this second camp, they immediately told me to grab one of the ladders. There were a lot of them there. The corpses from the gasworks were carried to the pits on these ladders. The corpses were piled up in front of the chamber. Each chamber had a barn-like door with a ramp in front of it. There were three gas chambers. […] At the beginning, when I got into this hell, I didn’t know what happened to me. I was completely out of my mind. [Then, while working in the forest, Czechowicz escaped to the group from the first camp. He worked in the sorting plant.] While sorting we stood by a pile of clothes and put them away: underwear to underwear, wool to wool, silk to silk, in piles, into sheets. Then it was tied up in bundles, and others carried it. Once a month or fortnight we loaded it onto wagons. So fast, under such beating, with such noise that heaps of rags several stories high disappeared in a flash, and in half an hour everything was loaded. Some sneaked into the carriages and left under the clothes, and then had to jump out of the small window. I haven’t been able to arrange that. One thought only haunted me: escape. I started to collect some money for this purpose. I already had a lot of gold and jewelry. All of the sudden – a search! Next to me [Germans] were looking through a bag of one, he had apples and onions. They didn’t notice me. Rajzman warned me: “Czechowicz, you will die.” Then I got scared and threw the whole haversack into the toilet.
We all wanted to escape, we planned how to do it. Rajzman said he had time and he was scheming with the Ukrainians to get out with their help, he and Anigsztajn.
I chose one, he was called Szoken. He’s already run off with rags once. He returned to Węgrów, and there they organized another operation and he got in for the second time, and again he reached Treblinka. He already knew what to do. He immediately grabbed a broom and began cleaning the wagon. […] I collected money and hid in rags. It happened that the money was lost, if the rags were moved. […] Rags, when they lie for a long time, become compact, you can make hiding places in them. We made these dimples, Szoken and I. […] It was about the end of October. I said to Shoken, “Listen, today by all means.” We made holes in our rags – carefully so that no one would notice. Szoken covered me with overcoats. Then he was covered by one boy from Częstochowa. […] I almost suffocated. Sweat, fear, anxiety. During the night I took off my overcoat to catch my breath. I was afraid that perhaps Szoken didn’t make it. This was my biggest concern. I stayed until 12 o’clock (I had a watch with luminous hands). We decided to escape at 01:30. At 12 o’clock I noticed that it was light in the square, that the inspection officer was walking around and checking. I fell back into my rags. It was light, because by the fence there were pits where corpses were burned and the fire was burning in these pits. At 01:30 I crawl and quietly call “Szoken”, but no one speaks. I went back to my closet and started crying. After 15 minutes I leave and call again. This time he called back. We both crawled into the pits. First there were pits, then an embankment and a fence.
Szoken jumped first. I took his hand. The fence was made of barbed wire intertwined with hemlock branches. The whole fence trembled. I leaned against the pole, climbed on the pole and jumped. Szoken was already in the grass on the other side. We kissed and cried.
We ran across the tracks into the forest. We walked all night. We got to Kosowo. There were still Jews there. I got my ID card in Kosowo and came to Warsaw, to Pelcowizna. When I was in Kosowo, 600 people from there were rushed on foot to Treblinka.
Szoken also left for Warsaw. He took part in an attempted uprising in January 1943. Wounded, he was brought to Treblinka and this time he died under the gas.
Based on: Written testimonies collected in the Archive of Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw; testimony number and the relationship of the witness and the deceased (if known) are provided. Archive, testimony no 301/688