Jules “Joe” Diamond was born in 1929 in Serednic, Eastern Czechoslovakia, where his family had lived for 150-200 years. His first encounter with anti-semitism was in a Catholic Kindergarten when he was five years old. Subsequently, he attended a regular public school. The local people felt that Hitler could not be bad because “he hates the Jews.”
In 1944, Joe and his family were taken first by train to a nearby town and after three weeks by cattle train to Birkenau/Auschwitz. On arrival there, his family was split up; his mother and younger brother were immediately taken to the gas chamber, as he found out later.
There was a selection by Dr. Mengele, and since he [Joe] was sick, he was assigned to be gassed. A Russian inmate picked him, apparently at random, and helped him hide until the group had been exterminated. When the Russian army approached the camp, the inmates were taken away by foot and by train until they came to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
After two days, he was taken to Mauthausen and then to Guns Kirchen near Linz, where he finally was liberated by the American Army. He recuperated in a hospital and then was taken by a Russian soldier back to his hometown, where he found that his father also had survived.
The people there were sorry that he had survived and he went back West while his father stayed on. He was taken to England by HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and placed on an agricultural training farm, where he stayed for two years.
Joe and his father were the only Survivors out of 34 family members.
Joe Diamond's video interview with HRC Founder Toby Ticktin-Back can be found here at the USHMM.
A PDF version of Joe Diamond's complete bio can be download here