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IV

Again Fear of Death

The subsequent days stretched as heavy as lead and full of painful waiting for us in our barracks jail. If there was a calm day for us, soon we again had the earlier gehinim [hell] on another day.

Every day, the military in the barracks would change. After spending the night, the military divisions would leave and in their place came new ones.

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It would happen that the Austrian or Czechoslovak military would arrive. Then the attitude toward us on the part of the soldiers was more human, as opposed to the forces that came from Germany, who treated us brutally and tortured us at every opportunity.

Once, late at night, several military men came to us and shined flashlights in our faces, asking each of us: “What are you?”

The answers came:

“Manufacturer, doctor, lawyer.” Only one of the Jews with a long beard answered the posed question, “watchmaker.” In this way, they asked each one and then went into a nearby room where the Poles were. They returned to us in about 15 minutes and one of them stood in the middle of the room and said:

– I am the Commandant of the city. I warn you, you dreadful Jews, that if any crime occurs in the city against we Germans, we will stand you all against the wall.

They left with heavy steps and the door was locked.

None of us slept for the rest of the night. Fear engulfed us all. We devoted ourselves to making an accounting of the weapons that hung over us.

In the morning, when we began to climb down from the tables after a sleepless night, a sergeant-major came in to us and said:

– Tonight, two non-commissioned officers did not return from the city. When your wives come to you with breakfast, you should tell them that if our two men are not found by 12 noon, we will shoot you.
The news reached us like thunder. We were all scared to death and when the door opened later and

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the order was given: “Everyone out!” that we should go for breakfast, which had been brought earlier by our wives – several did not want to go to get their food in order to avoid having to tell their own family members such bitter news. Even now, however, each of us was driven out to the tennis court with shouts and force.

There was a great wail when our wives heard the news. Several enrobed themselves in strength and went to the commandant. However, they returned immediately even more desperate: he had repeated the same thing for them that he had told us several hours earlier. The time arrived when the wives had to leave us and the separation this time was worse than before. Children cried bitterly, wives fainted and military personnel who were watching this scene gave mocking looks, making cutting movements with their fingers across their throats and yelled: “Your road is coming soon!” That meant they would soon make an end of us.

Our closest ones had to leave us and we were led back to the barracks hall under stronger guard. The soldiers that we encountered along the way pelted us with curses and threatened us with their fists. Apparently, the military in the barracks knew everything. Our guards only just brought us back to the barracks hall in one piece.

We entered our jail hall broken and desperate; no one touched the packages of food that had been brought. If the two soldiers were not found – everything was over. However there was one man who reacted differently from everyone else. This was the manufacturer, Gershon Preger of blessed memory, well known in Czenstochow. On the tennis court, too, during the tragic scenes, when everyone said goodbye to their wife as if for the last time, he and his wife absolutely

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did not want to speak about what awaited us. Returning to the hall, he sat down at the table as usual and began to eat. After finishing and cleaning the table, as he would always do, he turned to us with these words:

– None of us has the strength to change our situation. Therefore, we must accept things as they come. I will live as long as I have been given, and I believe that this is not dependent on the assassins who will annihilate me, but from what kind of fate is ordained for me.
We were all envious of his determined character.

The Poles in the neighboring room lived through the same fear of death as we; they begged the soldier who guarded them for help in getting a priest before the execution. The soldier gave [the request] to the office. However, a refusal came from there.

The door opened at 11:30 and two soldiers entered. Everyone instinctively moved further from the door into the room, wanting to avoid being the first taken to be executed. The soldiers came deeper into the room to where we were all pressed together and called out to us:

– You are lucky, our comrades are here. Meanwhile, nothing will happen to you.
We all breathed easier, as if a heavy stone was taken off our heart. Our joy was still greater when we again came together with our wives at the tennis court. They had already received the good news from the soldier guard at the gate; some learned in the city that the two soldiers had been found. They were, as it was learned, with prostitutes the entire night. Meanwhile, we were

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saved. Tears of joy were shown even by our cold-blooded comrade. He was correct that we would live as long as was preordained.


V

Looting and Sadism

We knew that the German regime was taking over private houses in the city for themselves. Tenants were being thrown out and various offices were being established there. In addition the Germans were taking all of the Jewish residences, which the residents had left. The rich Jewish residences were looted; linen, furniture and everything left was taken. It was also known that one Jew who they had today thrown out of his apartment had been ordered to create a representative group of several people who would give the orders of the German regime to the Jewish population.

Ten days had already passed since the Germans had entered the city. A frightening ten days and nights.

The barracks were full of people. The divisions that arrived rested for 24 hours and went farther away, apparently to the front. The soldiers loved to stop near our windows and tease us. They pointed to their guns, ready to shoot at us. We saw various types here. One would simply start a conversation about the blood that Jews drip from their ears; another – about Jewish wealth at the expense of the Aryan peoples and still other Hitlerist themes. We hid the watchmaker with the long beard from their eyes. However, one of the soldiers noticed this Jew and demanded that he come to the window. The German began arguing with the Jew about the Talmud and there would have been no

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pleasure [among the Jews] if he had shot a bullet through the window because the Jew did not want to admit that he knew about the commandment, “It is good to kill gentiles.”

We had to suffer from a fiendish German for several days. He would come and pry open all of our windows every morning at four – he explained why he did it to the soldier guards, “In order that the dogs would not be able to sleep.” After prying open the windows, he took a long piece of wood and pushed everyone off the table on which they slept.

However, while we Jews had to suffer both as pawns and as Jews, our Polish co-arrestees suffered only as pawns. When the same soldiers went from our windows satisfied with teasing us, coming to the Poles' two windows, there wanting also to carry on in the same way, they had three words: “We are Aryans.” That was enough for them to be left to rest.

Once we carried on a conversation with the watchmen, asking why they permitted the soldiers to come to our windows to cause trouble for us. We received an answer: “Your trouble does not interest us if a German has pleasure from it.”

The German sadism was carried out against us in a sophisticated manner:

Ten people came to us; they examined everyone from head to food, chose 20 of us and left with them. The soldiers at the window immediately informed us that we would not see our comrades return. They would be shot, “Because Jews are shooting at the military in the city.”

We tried to convince ourselves that as always the soldiers were only teasing in order to torture us. However, when several hours passed and our comrades had not returned, the soldiers' words began to drill into our brains. A

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father, who was there with a son who had been taken with the group, suffered terribly. He did not take his eyes off the door; perhaps the people would still return. The brother of Doctor Wider, who was arrested with us, was taken and he, too, was in deep despair.

We all hung around this way for the entire day, tortured and quiet as mourners. At around 11 o'clock at night, we first heard a noise from afar and our hearts began to beat hard. We then immediately heard steps in our corridor and finally the door opened and our comrades entered. The father was beside himself with joy; the same for the doctor whose brother had returned and we all breathed easier.

Our comrades immediately began to tell us what had happened to them:

In the morning when they were taken away from us they were led into a stall where each one received a shovel with which to dig. Then they were led through the city to the Christian cemetery. There they were placed in a row and ordered to dig a large grave. This led them to suspect that they might be digging a grave for themselves. The soldiers stood over them and pressed them to work fast. The Polish overseer constantly measured if the grave was deep enough. When the work was finished, they were arranged in a row at the edge of the grave. Several were brought together and they began to beg the Germans that their lives should be spared. The soldiers ordered them to be quiet and to stand straight. They stood this way for a time that seemed like an eternity; meanwhile, again the soldiers stood themselves near them and tested their weapons, from time to time, shooting into the air. Then, our comrades were

[Unnumbered page]

The Ruined Czenstochower Shul (Synagogue)
Art work by Prof. Peretz Wilenberg

 

Fragment of the front wall

 

Murals in the synagogue

 

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told that they would be shot in this way if something bad happened to the Germans in the city.

VI

"Aryan"

A new day came again; a more beautiful, lighter sky greeted us. When we were led out of our prison room at 8 o'clock in the morning in order to have breakfast, which was brought to us by our wives, we learned the news of the city. A Jewish representative body was created among us with a chairman who was named Alibis Kapinski. This was called “Elder's Council” or Judenrat and its assignment was to relay all of the orders of the German regime to the Jewish population and to see to it that the orders were precisely carried out. In addition, the Judenrat received the assignment of taking money from the rich Jews and creating a kitchen and a hospital for the poor.

In the afternoon, we were again suddenly led out onto the tennis court. We were allowed to stand in uncertainty for a long time until several officers came over to us and ordered us to stand in rows. An old military man erected a photographic apparatus and took a photograph. Afterwards, he asked each one about his occupation. The old officer approached us humanly and this made us a little bolder and we clarified for him that we were here by chance and we asked him to release us. The officer, first of all, countered with a lecture about the war:

– Who is responsible for the war? – He said and
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immediately answered himself that the English were responsible. The Poles, he said, would never have dared to carry out a war against Germany. However, he said further, our military is already standing at the gates of Warsaw and the war will soon be over.

Switching then to our matter, he told us that he had come from the city of Radomsko. Hostages were also taken there, but there they were changed every three days because the same people did not need to constantly suffer for the entire city.

Later we learned that he was the commandant of the city military garrison and, also, that the city was under his command. We decided to write a request that a delegation of our wives would bring to him. We wrote the request in the name of all of the hostages – Jews and Christians. However, when we turned to the Christians for a signature, they said to us that they had already written a request on their side because, “In today's times, Aryans do not need to submit any requests with Jews.” We, therefore, signed the request alone, which was delivered to the commandant's adjutant the next morning.

When we gathered to go out onto the court as usual on another day, the soldiers ordered us to take all of our things with us because we would be freed.

We were astonished and quickly were ready to go out and we immediately stood in the military manner – three to a row.

We were again on the familiar tennis court. We did not want to take the food that our wives had brought because we would soon be back home. The time that the wives were permitted to remain with us passed and they had to leave us. They would wait for us by the gate of the barracks. After a long wait, the barracks commandant came and ordered us to assemble for going home. We all stood ready; he

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turned to us and said that he had received a decree to free the hostages - however, only the Aryans. The Jews were to remain in the barracks as hostages.

The “Aryans” left. Several of them, with whom we were acquainted, told us secretly, that a delegation with Bishop Brasz had made an effort for them. They promised to make an effort for us if it was possible.

We slowly went back, sad and dejected, to our prison room and again began sitting. Who knew for how long? We again began thinking of our situation; how could we understand this? In a city of 120,000 people, 95,000 “Aryans” and 25,000 Jews, we, only 35 Jews, were hostages? That is, to be responsible with our lives that no one in the entire population would do injury to a German? Could we keep the entire population loyal to we 35 Jews?

Meanwhile, day after day passed. They had started to bring groups of captive Polish military each day. We heard that the Germans had occupied large areas of our country. It became quiet in the city and we decided that our wives should again turn to the old garrison commandant with a plea for our release.

In about several days, we were ordered to gather our things and leave the barracks. The barracks commandant told us that we remained hostages of the city, but that we would be at our homes. After 27 days, we were finally freed from arrest in

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the barracks. However, we continued to carry the responsibility for the calm of the city.


VII

The First Edicts

An oppressive mood held sway in the city. Soldiers stood watch in front of the most beautiful buildings. The Germans had set up their offices there. The residents of these houses were simply driven out of their apartments.

The streets were full of the military; large flags with swastikas fluttered everywhere; airplanes flew, motorcycles and autos drove quickly through the streets; the window panes were pasted paper strips. There were few civilians and those that did appear, ran quickly through the street wanting to return more quickly to their houses.

In the morning after my liberation, when I intended to go out into the city, I was stopped at the gate by an unknown woman. She told me that the Germans were grabbing Jews for work and, in addition, they were beating them. Every German was able to have Jews at his disposal, as it pleased him. When Germans got out of the train, they stopped passers-by on the street and asked, “Jude [Jew]?” They made a point of seeking out the better dressed and then ordered them to carry their packages. The Jews had to bring order to the houses into which the Germans moved. Jewish women – and a point was made of choosing the rich and intelligent – had to clean the windows, doors and floors, clean the stairs, wash the toilets, cook and do all of the dirty work. While working, they were bothered by the soldiers and insulted with the dirtiest expressions.

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Poland was divided; Russia occupied the eastern realms and the Germans annexed a large part of the western realms to their country, so that the Polish land that had numbered 35 million people was reduced to a population of 20 million. This country then received the name “General Government” and a government was appointed with Governor Doctor Hans Frank as the head. The capital city was Krakow and Dr. Frank and his government settled there.

The General Governor Frank issued a decree that each Jew, male and female, from age 12 on take steps to wear a white band on the right arm on which a Jewish star had to be sewn. The band had to be 10 centimeters wide. Converts were also counted as Jews. Aryans, who had a Jew in their family up to three generations back, also had to wear the bands. All Jewish businesses, factories, artisan shops and all firms that operated even with only a portion of Jewish capital, had to hang out large boards with blue Jewish stars in the windows, entrance doors and, also, inside. Doctors, too, had to paint Jewish stars on their signs. The law went into effect on the 27th of December 1939.

The Judenrat had to make sure that the bands would be finished on time. And suddenly, on a beautiful morning, they appeared on all the streets. Jews felt dispirited, particularly in meeting with Aryans: for the Germans, this was handy – they no longer needed to bother asking the passersby: “Jude?” They seized a person with a white band for work and treated him like a slave.

Jews were punished for not wearing the white band. The first time, a Jew had to go to the police or be imprisoned. There he was reminded of his childhood: lowered his breeches and was given a whipping of 20 lashes, and

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after promising that he would never again forget the band, he was released. Several weeks later the penalty became harsher – six months imprisonment and still later, if one met a Jew without a band, he could be shot on the spot.

In the same month the General Government issued another order that no Jew could leave his residence, could not travel by train without special permission from the regime. Jews stopped wandering from our city.

Products and goods were more expensive each time, because Jewish businesses had to send Aryans to take care of business matters. Several took the money and the goods.

And the local regime issued anti-Jew edicts: while the non-Jewish population could move in the city from 5 in the morning until 11 at night, the Jews could only be in the street from 6 to 8 in the evening. Several minutes later, autos appeared in the Jewish streets with gendarmes who seized “tardy” Jews. They also barged into the courtyards where Jews lived, and if they did not encounter any Jews, they dragged them out of the residences and filled the cars, in order to show their elders that they were working industriously.

The Jews were taken to the political commissariat where each had to pay 100 zlotys as a fine and 20 zlotys for the trip in the auto. In addition, it was necessary to sit the entire night in a cellar. Whoever had no money had to remain until someone came to ransom him.

The German commandants of the city turned over the regime to a civilian city managing committee. Dr. Richard Wendler, the police general, was chosen as the city chief. [Translator's note: Yad Vashem describes Dr. Richard Wendler as an SS-Brigadefuehrer, brigade leader.]

The city chief gave the Judenrat control over all of the Jews in our city. The first requirement from the Jews was a contribution of 400,000 zlotys. The Juden-

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rat succeeded in carrying out the first order, sending challenges to the well-to-do Jews that they deliver a specific sum to the treasury of the council and when the assembled sum was not sufficient, money was again demanded, until the contribution was paid.

The Judenrat became a power that was able to have at its disposal the possessions of every Jew, such as the furniture, linen, dwellings and even the Jew himself, sending them to work wherever the German regime indicated. The Judenrat grew into a large administrative operation with various divisions. Lawyers, doctors, intelligentsia and half-intelligentsia and ordinary Jews made an effort to obtain a position in the Judenrat without a salary, because a Judenrat position was more secure than to be on the street when Jews were being seized for work. The German regime was established by Hitler's regime throughout the entire General Government, in all of the cities and shtetlekh, in order to make it easier for the Germans to obtain all of the Jewish possessions, starting with furniture and then gold and diamonds, businesses, factories, workshops, with the entire life and soul of the Jews.


VIII

Vandalism by the “Folks-Deutschen

As soon as the Germans appeared to occupy every area of Poland, a special category of people immediately grew out of the ground who were designated by the name folks-deutschen [Polish-born Germans]. It was thus with us in our city. The local population knew the freshly-baked “Folks-Deutschen” very well; they were always Poles. However, after the arrival of the Germans, these Poles began to wear special

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badges by which they were now transformed into “Germans.”

As it was later learned, they were German spies who occupied Polish state offices before the war. Some really were distantly descended from Germans and even had German names.

These Folks-Deutsch made sure that when the Poles left the city, nothing was disturbed. Then they helped the Germans settle down and revealed where everything was hidden.

The first public anti-Jewish appearance on the part of the Folks-Deutschen in our city was the destruction of the Jewish synagogues. They organized the Polish anti-Semites, who they knew well from before the war, for this purpose. And on a November day in 1939 with a horde of street-youths, they entered the city synagogue and there created a ruin: tearing out the doors, breaking the windows, chopping up the ahron kodesh [ark containing the Torah scrolls], tearing down the balconies of the women's gallery. Dozens of gentiles carried pieces of wood from the broken chairs and tables until the synagogue was empty, with peeled naked walls.

The beis-medrash [house of study] that had been built several years before and named for the deceased local rabbi, Reb Nukhem Asz, of blessed memory, had the same fate.

These actions of vandalism crushed the mood of the entire Jewish population. Not only the religious, but also the non-religious felt offended and insulted. It made a strong impression on a portion of the Poles, too. However, the greatest part of the Polish population joked and looked at the ruins with satisfaction.

On the 25th of December 1939, on the night of the Christian holiday, the large synagogue was set on fire;

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it had been considered one of the most beautiful buildings in our city. It had a beautiful, wide entrance, long stairs, and high spacious rooms. The beautiful synagogue burned the entire night and for days after, people came to quiet Wilson Street to look at the heroic action of the Germans.
While the Polish underworld plundered the destroyed synagogues and carried out everything possible, the Germans filmed these scenes. Later, these pictures were shown in movie theaters with inscriptions about how the Poles were taking revenge against the Jews.

The Germans also claimed their share of the spoils from the burned synagogue. They had complete control over those things of value that remained. The ironwork in the walls, the metal parts at the entrance, stairs and fencing – all of this was torn out of the walls and the impact on the Jewish population was as if pieces were being ripped from a living body.


IX

Taxes and Evictions

The German administration apparatus worked fast. The various offices were established quickly, among them the tax office. Everyone immediately received orders to pay all pre-war taxes. As no one wanted to come into conflict with the German regime, each Jew paid that which was demanded of him.

By chance, the German finance inspector was a considerate person and he took it upon himself that all of the taxes from years ago did not have to paid all at once, nor those which

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had been cancelled long ago by the Polish tax office. If someone turned to him with a plea, he provided relief in paying out the proposed tax debt. However, there were Polish clerks from before who remained in the tax office. They “clarified” for the inspector that the Jews were rich and that if it was required, they would pay. A Jewish woman was unable to pay the taxes and cried before the German inspector. The Polish clerks laughed and said to the German that Jews do not cry with tears but with water. They belittled the Jews in the eyes of the not yet corrupted German inspector. These sorts of clerks also had a hand in general in looking up old, long cancelled tax debts. So in addition to the Germans, we also had local enemies who made every step of our lives difficult.

The Germans felt as if they were at home in our city and began to bring people from Germany to settle here. German clerks with their wives and children came and it was necessary to arrange for apartments, furniture, linen, bedding and endless things. This would be taken care of very quickly in this way: very early, when the day was just beginning and people were still asleep, the German gendarmes surrounded a house, several houses or an entire street of houses. At the same time other gendarmes entered the residences and ordered the Jews to leave the house in the course of 10 minutes. Everyone was permitted to take only a small pack with the most necessary things and had to wait in the courtyard until the pack was searched. Half of the packs were taken in the courtyard and after receiving a few blows, the Jews were thrown out into the street.

The families who were driven out – men, women, children and the old, who only a half an hour earlier were found in a well-established home, went out to the street slowly, home-

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less and robbed of their most necessary things; they went crying to their closest ones or to acquaintances, who would perhaps suffer the same fate tomorrow.

Being driven from one's home caused a panic. Jews sought advice on how to prevent becoming completely destitute in the course of several minutes. People sought out Polish acquaintances and asked them to take the furniture, furs, clothing, linens and all of their best things so that they did not fall into the hands of the Germans. The Poles did the favor for their Jewish acquaintances and took the things until the bad times for their good Jewish friends would pass. Some Jews again sold their best things to the Poles very cheaply to prevent seeing their greatest enemy robbing it all.

In addition to residences for the clerks, the Germans also needed large and beautiful meeting rooms for their offices. One day the Judenrat received an order to send workers with horses and wagons to the Jewish gymnazie [high school]. Germans already lived there who ordered the Jews to take away everything that was in the building to the German warehouse where the things that were looted from the Jews were assembled. The gymnazie building was taken over for the organization of labor offices. The Jewish workers immediately drove the wagons loaded with school benches, tables, armoires, teacher's lecterns and other furniture through the streets. Again, another Jewish building became a ruin.

On another day, an order came from the person in command of the city; the Jewish gymnazie building was to be remodeled. Jewish engineers from the technical division of the Judenrat immediately began the work of restoring the building with Jewish workers and tradesmen. Day after day, the Jewish workers worked at the German Pitom and Raamses [Translator's note: ancient Egyptian cities cited in the Book of Exodus, chapter 1:11] and by night they were seen coming back exhausted with their tools in their hands, head bent down to the earth, the white bands of shame on their arms, embittered that they were succeeding

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with their own hands, with Jewish hands, at ruining the Jewish cultural position and making preparations for the greatest enemy of the Jews.

On a certain day the telephone rang at the Judenrat; it was a representative of the person in command of the city and he ordered Kapinski, the chairman of the Judenrat, to report to him immediately. The chairman went away very quickly to the city chief and immediately came back dejected. He immediately called a session for the Judenrat and reported that he had received an order from the city headquarters that all of the Jewish hospital buildings be made ready, all of the things removed and the building turned over to the gendarmerie. This had to be done quickly because the order was submitted with a short deadline.

Very early in the morning we could see Jewish tenants were being thrown out of a house. Jewish workers, under the order of the German gendarmes, were taking away the furniture from there to the German warehouses.

Now the Jewish hospital had to move into a house.

The Jewish hospital was located beyond the bridge, near the shore of the Varta. It consisted of 10 very beautiful buildings. White beds for the Jewish sick stood in clean rooms with white glossy walls. A kitchen, laundry, offices and dwelling for doctors and clerks were arranged in other buildings. A large garden with benches was located around the buildings.

The Jewish population of our city built and supported the hospital for dozens of years. Rich Jews gave large sums of money and all of the Jews paid a monthly tax for the hospital. Czentochower Jews were proud of their hospital. And the entire hospital had to be moved

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into several dirty rooms somewhere on a back street. Everything had to be done very quickly so that there was no time to look around at what happened here. Painters were already going with their ladders in order to whiten with lime several rooms there, from which the Jewish inhabitants had been thrown out the night before. It was necessary to organize a small hospital quickly. Thin Jewish horses with broken wagons brought the beds, the tables, chairs and other equipment from the Jewish hospital. Meanwhile, everything was thrown into the small courtyard until the rooms were limed.

The day was dreary. A thin spray of rain fell from the sky and settled like drops of sweat on the white hospital beds, on the thin horses, on the remaining hospital equipment that lay around on the dirty courtyard and on the doctors who came here to take a look at how the hospital would look in this new place.

The work was done quickly; everyone hurried in order to keep to the deadline which the person in command of the city had given for the move.

The fresh lime on the walls still was not dry and beds, tables and all of the other things were thrown into the rooms.

On a certain day the very ill were brought over and those who still could stand up alone were discharged from the hospital.

Thus did the Germans rob the Jewish population of its hospital building.


The German occupation regime also did not forget to provide for the military, even houses of prostitution. And salons had to be supplied for this purpose.

This fate also fell upon the only Jewish hotel in the city, Hotel Kupjecki at Alea no. 18.

In the middle of a clear day, the German gendarmes attacked this Jewish hotel, threw out the old owner and his family. They were badly beaten and the women were brought in for prostitution.

A watchman, who controlled the entry cards to the women, was placed in front of the gate.

This “prostitution house” was “active” day and night and the surrounding neighbors did not have any rest from the constant adventures and scandals that were constantly played out.

After a time, the space proved to be too small and the regime found another Jewish house for this purpose:

In addition to the Jewish gymnazie, there was another middle school for Jews in our city that was the property of Dr. Akser. He constructed the building with his own money and was also the director of the school. This school was located near the main post office on a quiet street.

The German regime chose this building for the military “prostitution house.” On a certain day, Dr. Akser and his wife were thrown out of their residence and from the entire building. They were forbidden to take even the least trifle with them; they even had to leave their personal underwear. The school furniture and all of the things in their residence had to be taken by Jews to the German warehouses and when all of the rooms were emptied, the Judenrat received an order to equip the house with luxury, so that the military men would have all of the comforts with which to enjoy themselves.

The Judenrat provided the needed workers and materials and large parlors, corridors and rooms were created in the house.

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The Judenrat confiscated the most beautiful furniture that could be found from the richest Jews for the military “prostitution house.” The floors were covered with Persian rugs. The walls were adorned with Kilim rugs and expensive pictures; the parlors and rooms were lit with the most beautiful lamps and chandeliers that it was possible to obtain. Luxurious sofas, beds, blankets, bedding and everything needed in such a “recreational premises” were provided.

Dozens of the best Jewish tradesmen were employed in this work for many weeks.

The representative of the city chief would often visit the house as it was being renovated. He would always take a “riding crop” with him with which he beat the Jewish workers, hurrying them in their work.

When the facility was arranged, the Judenrat received an order to provide the most expensive satin lingerie for the women. And when finally everything was ready, the representative of the city chief with his “riding crop” in his hand gave an order: “Yuden, macht dos eir wegkomt!” [Jews, work, before you disappear!]

From that day on, no Jew was permitted to appear at the house.

 

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