|Born||4 March 1922|
|Died||7 April 2019 (aged 97)|
|Education||Naval engineering in |
Joseph Bertony (4 March 1922 – 7 April 2019) was a French-born Australian engineer. Trained as a naval architect, he served in the
Bertony was born in
Shortly after he began his work in intelligence he was detected and captured by the Germans, who imprisoned him in the
The forced labourers received very little food, being lucky to receive a loaf of bread per day between five men. Bertony had a good metabolism and would often give his allocation to other prisoners, angering the SS guards. He was sometimes put to work on farms where he was designated a "carotenfuhrer", a prisoner with responsibility for guarding silos of carrots. The prisoners were prohibited from eating the crops they harvested, and during this time Bertony survived by eating boiled grass. As "carotenfuhrer" if Bertony allowed a prisoner to eat the carrots, which he did many times, both he and the prisoner would be stripped and flogged.
Towards the end of the war, in 1945 with US forces approaching, the prisoners from Mauthausen-Gusen were marched to the German-Czech border and loaded onto a cattle train. They were then taken to a remote spot to be executed by shooting. Bertony anticipated this and escaped the train in the company of another man. The two men endured ten days in the snow with no food and clad only in their thin camp uniforms. They survived to be rescued and became firm friends for the rest of their lives. Bertony was awarded the