"...his greatest tormentor in Birkenau was a Jewish kapo in Block 4 who beat him mercilessly whenever he caught him praying. That man hated Father Kovalskyi because he was Ukrainian and a priest. He did not care that Kovalskyi was there beause he had tried to help Jews."
I stayed in Barracks 7 at Birkenau for about another week. It was a mixed barracks, housing Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians, all of them trying to survive. After the first week we were marched over to Block 11 in old Auschwitz. There were 29 of these blocks in all. They had been used as housing for Polish border troops before the war. Each one had two accommodation levels and a small attic above. We were on the top floor, which was almost entirely populated by Ukrainians. I notice that there were quite a few more SS men here guarding us. There were also quite a few Jewish kapos, dressed in black outfits, better fed than the rest of us, who did a lot of killing. Many of them belonged to a special formation known as the "Canada Commando" which sorted out the belongings of incoming prisoners, taking everything that was of value to the Third Reich's war economy, leaving only the naked men, women and children, many of whom were then gassed. That task gave those kapos many opportunies to steal, which they did, not that it helped most of them in the long run.
I remember that there were this time a lot of Soviet POWs in the camp, including a large group of Ukrainian women. They were housed in Block 11, two floors below us. We could sometimes hear them singing Ukrainian songs at night. That went on for about three weeks, and then one night their singing abruptly stopped. We heard the next day that they had all been taken away and shot. Only the empty cellar floor and an echo of their songs were left in our minds."
19 January 1945. I had fallen quite ill by that time and was so weak that I couldn't really walk. My friends half -carried and half-dragged me with them. We left a night. The rumours were that the Red Army was alreay in Cracow. So, between ten and eleven o'colock that evening we were told to get ready to go and at about one we were paraded and counted up. I walked through the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work shall set you free) gate one last time. I was free in Auschwitz, but gave it no thought. I was almost a musulman (lost soul walking but with vacant look - one who has given up on life). Into Auschwitz, for Ukraine By Stefan Petelycky