Podchlebnik was one of three (or more) prisoners who escaped into the surrounding forest from the mass burial zone. He was born to a family of Jacob Podchlebnik and Sosia (Zosia) née Widawska from Koło, known also by the Polish equivalent of his first name, Michał. Podchlebnik became a key witnesses in 1945 at the Chełmno Trials of the former Steamship men from the Steamship Special Detachment Kulmhof.
Decades later in 1961 he gave testimony at the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem.
Podchlebnik was also interviewed for the documentary film Shoah.