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[Page 318]

D e s t r u c t i o n

  

[Pages 324-235]

The Twenty Who Were Hanged[1]

By Mrs. Degala

Translated by Allen Flusberg

It was during the month of August, 1942, in the Tschenstochau[2] Ghetto, that suddenly, quite unexpectedly, several dozen police burst in. A terrible panic ensued. After a few minutes they led 20 men out of the ghetto, bringing them into a nearby cellar that they then encircled with police. For three weeks they held them in the cellar under barbaric conditions, barely giving them anything to eat. Once when we did see them we could not even recognize them: they were emaciated, pale, and completely indifferent, knowing as they did what awaited them.

Several days later a car arrived in the camp bringing a group of Gestapo members with prefabricated gallows for the twenty arrested men. The entire camp of men, women and children were ordered to assemble in the main square, where the executions were to take place. Men were ordered to dig a long pit as the twenty for whom the gallows had been prepared looked on. As they led them to the gallows, there was dead silence, everyone choking back tears, for an order had been given for us not to scream or cry. Among us stood policemen, their guns drawn, ready to shoot anyone who dared open his mouth.

For eight hours, on a very hot day, the men were left hanging, until the smell of death began to be noticeable. Only then was the order given to cut them down. One at a time the bodies were carried to the large pit, and all were buried together in the common grave.

Only then, once the Nazi beast had satisfied its thirst with the blood of the twenty who had been hung, was it quiet in the camp for some time.

 


Translator's Footnotes

  1. From My Town: In Memory of the Communities Dobrzyn-Gollob, edited by M. Harpaz, (published by the Dobrzyn-Golub Society, Israel, 1969), p. 324. Return
  2. Tschenstochau is the German name given to the town of Częstochowa during World War II. The Jewish ghetto was established in April, 1941, and the Jews were forced to work as slave laborers in the armaments industry. See the following links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cz%C4%99stochowa_Ghetto, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cz%C4%99stochowa#World_War_Two. Return

 

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