Memoria [EN] No. 14 (11/2018) | Page 8

that the tattooing process took place in Birkenau between barracks 19 and 20 in section BIb, and one of the tattooing prisoners was called Eisenberg.

It is also known that on 16 June 1944, Ludovit Eisenberg was imprisoned in the penal company along with eight other prisoners. In Heather Morris’ novel, we find information that he frequented Block 31 at that time, which is not true; as a matter of fact, the infirmary and sickroom were located in the BIId section of this sector, whereas the prisoners of the penal company occupied Block (barrack) 11. The surviving book of the penal company indicates that one prisoner from the group was transferred to Mauthausen. There is no information on the fate of four prisoners, while the remaining four, including Eisenberg, were released back into the camp. It points out that only Eisenberg’s name had the annotation b. a. w. (bis auf weiteres – until further notice), which would indicate that he committed a severe offence. Among the prisoners we are certain that were released, Eisenberg had the shortest stay in the penal company - barely a month compared to five weeks for two prisoners and over two months for another.

Eisenberg’s return to his previous duties upon serving a sentence in SK is confirmed by preserved bonus lists (Prämienanauszahlung) from the period 26 July - 26 September 1944. They indicate that Ludovit Eisenberg, as an Aufnahmeschreiber (responsible for registration of newly-arrived transports) in the Political Department Commando, received 2RM approximately once a week, the average bonus for members of this commando. The Kapo of this commando was prisoner no. 3637 Bohdan Komarnicki, who earned a bad reputation in the memories of the prisoners as a collaborator and informant, although according to these lists from 1944, he distributed bonuses equally and fairly among his subordinate prisoners. Surprisingly though, there is no mention of him in Heather Morris' book.

From the accounts of the Rapportschreiber of the Roma camp, Tadeusz Joachimowski, we know that prisoners employed in this commando were placed together in Block 2 in the BIIe section (the so-called Zigeunerlager), which indicates that Ludovit Eisenberg must have lived and worked there with the other inmates for a relatively long time. In the book, however, no other member of the Aufnahme commando was mentioned, not even a word about Ludovit Eisenberg’s membership or the existence of this commando.

The signatures on the bonus lists of the Aufnahme commando prove that his supervisor was SS-Oberscharführer Josef Hustek-Erber. There is no mention in the documentation on Ludovit Eisenberg, however, of SS-Rottenführer Stefan Baretzki, who is presented in the book as the direct supervisor of the tattooists. It is only known that he served as a Blockführer in Auschwitz I and later in Birkenau; however, information is lacking in the documents pointing directly to his relationship with the Aufnahme commando. It is known, though, that he frequented the ramp during receipt of new transports and had contacts with the Kanada commando, and so could have had contacts with prisoners employed during the registration of new arrivals.

From the daily employment lists of the camp’s male prisoners (the only surviving list of 1944), we know that in July, the Aufnahme commando comprised of a dozen or so persons (the recurring names on the bonus lists indicate its relatively stable composition). Suddenly, its number increased to approximately 30 prisoners in August. Some of the lists from the second half of April to May 1944 mentioned the position of 'Tätovierer', proving that one or two prisoners were employed in the male camp as tattooists. In contrast to what Morris suggests in her novel, they were not the only prisoners responsible for tattooing numbers on all prisoners. We know from numerous accounts of survivors that female newcomers to Birkenau were tattooed by female prisoners employed in the Aufnahme commando. A different commando responsible for registration and tattooing was also located in the main camp. Numbers were tattooed in the sub-camps by prisoners either seconded from the main camp or trained on the spot to perform this activity, which indicates that a considerable number of persons were employed for tattooing.

Ludovit Eisenberg left KL Auschwitz in January 1945. The Kapo of his command, Bohdan Komarnicki arrived at KL Mauthausen via the same evacuation transport.

Punishments book with Ludowit Eisenberg's name (number 2328)