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[Page 344]

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[Page 345]

The rolled parchments

(Referring to holy scrolls)

End and Finality

Tartzat-Tashab
1939-1942

[Page 346]

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Chapter 30

[Page 347]

September 1, 1939

A thick cloud hung over the city
Hidden were the morning stars
Friday morning
The people were still asleep.

Somewhere in the distance, a child was crying.

At the end of the street, one noticed a Jew heading to the synagogue to pray where another Jew was sitting next to the holy arc and reciting psalms audible to our ears:
“Listen to my prayers dear G-d, and protect me from my enemies…My bones are burned as a hearth and my heart is smitten like grass….
Who will provide me wings so that I may fly like a pigeon …”
In the northeast corner of the synagogue stands a young student who concentrates on the Talmud that is in front of him. His pale face sees but the page and his hands are stretched over the Talmud that he studies daily…
Alongside the western wall of the synagogue stands a young student hunched over the Talmud, his forehead creased, his mind trying to resolve a difficult page of commentaries.
At the “Kahal Shtibel synagogue” that is part of the main synagogue the worshippers are already wrapping themselves in their prayer shawls.
The early morning rises.
The coach returns from the railway station and you can hear the thundering hoofs of the horses on the cobblestones.
In one of the yards, we hear the door opening with a cringing noise. The stands are being assembled for the market day of Friday.
It is five o'clock in the morning…
Suddenly… the sound of flying engines in the skies… Noisy explosions in the distance.

[Page 348]

In Nieglowice near Jaslo, the first bombs are falling, according to the residents of Jaslo. The people awakened and jumped out of their beds. The residents hear loud noises in the streets, total chaos.

– Our planes…Maneuvers...!
The injured are begging for help… there are dead people.
– Enemy planes?
– German planes…!
– “Cursed are the Huns!”
– The spillers of human blood and blood will be spilled!
– Hopeless and mad…
– Senseless despair…
The German attack on Poland is beyond comprehension. From this Friday, the people of the city no longer comprehend what is happening except that the market does not open. There are no sellers and no customers…
Who remembers that it is the eve of Shabbath?
Who has the head to prepare for the Shabbath?
– The Germans have invaded…”
Who could have foreseen what this meant….
Orders followed orders, commands…dictates…
Listen! Stand here!
“No promenading! No meetings in the street!
Report to the office!
No lights at night, darkness… total darkness
The sun tended to set, a shadow chases a shadow, the soul trembles and the heart beats rapidly.
“Toward Shabbath let's…
The holy tears …let's receive the Shabbath….
The face of the Shabbath…
Darkness and misty

[Page 349]

The Germans bomb and conquer…
“Preserve and remember”….
The first of September 1939

* * * *

Saturday morning, September 2nd, 1939, following a day of total uncertainty, a night of panic that seized everybody in the city, the big exodus began. According to the authorities, the men were to leave the city first…

Transportation costs jumped beyond expectation. The rental of cars, horse drawn carts or trucks became a very expensive item if available. Some trains operated others did not, the big railway stations became packed with people fleeing the countryside. The fear of Germans was on everybody's face.

Panic and chaos everywhere…

Many people still resisted the idea of leaving their home for various reasons… They remained at home and did not join the stream of refugees… Where? Who knows…!

The early dawn of Sunday, September 3, 1939, the Germans are still attacking and advancing on all fronts, cities fall at a very rapid rate.

Hysterical people are screaming…defeat and panic…the helpless Polish government has no solution, it abandons the capital of Warsaw where isolated and surrounded army units continue to fight a hopeless battle, there are no supplies, orders and counters orders are issued, the front line is disrupted, surrender and withdrawal is the order of the day.

Another day and another day pass.

The municipal authorities have left the city.

The refugees block the crowded roads. They are heading to Eastern Galicia, namely Brez'on, Lemberg, Stanislawow, Stryj, Sambor, Przemysl and Kolomaya.

Along the roads, bands of Ukrainians who rob them and sometimes kill them attack them. Overhead the German bombers drop their bombs everywhere. Is it possible to believe that the Polish Army that was defeated by the German onslaught at the initial stage of the battle will now establish a strong defensive line in the Eastern part of the country?

[Page 350]

The German planes continue to play havoc with the refugees along the roads who are trying to find shelter in distant places…

Refugees returned from the road since, for various reasons they could not continue their journey.

(The Warsaw radio announced that the president of Poland, the ministers and the government have left the country. The roads of Poland are crowded with a stream of refugees, wounded, dying and dead people.)

The country is in turmoil, the escapees and refugees accuse everybody, rumors spread to the effect that the “fifth column agents” are everywhere spreading disinformation and misinformation among the population.

Some of the people accept these stories.

Thursday evening, the city is a ghost town; the Jews already know what awaits them… The fear of tomorrow is present everywhere…

Grief and despair… The Germans entered Zmigrod.

Ha, what words…

* * * *

The Germans entered Jaslo on Friday, September 8th , 1939. At their head was one of most beastly beings named Luzkar, who was a doctor of sorts. On beginning his administration, he immediately showed his true colors and ordered that the Jews pay a fine of 40,000 gold pieces within the hour.

This behavior would continue throughout Jewish existence in Jaslo. Jews feared to appear in the streets and that resulted in the decline of commerce. The city food supplies started to vanish. The need for daily essentials became worse with each day. The people crawled so as not to be seen, and remained at home as shadows... The slightest knock on the door sent the people into panic and despair. Many fell to the ground and did not get up…

[Page 351]

The first morning of “slichot” (days prior to Rosh Hashana)

Ideas swirl through the mind to go services or to stay home…

Outside it is misty and eerie, here and there one sees a shining star , dogs are barking, … The sidewalks resound from the heavy boots worn by the SS and I feel fear;

– The soul says go to services, the legs hesitate…

The gates of the synagogue are closed; I am not going to services.

* * * *

September 14th, 1939

Rosh Hashana– will they blow the shofar?

– Who will recite the holy prayer of “Netana Tokef”… for “He is fearful and threatening”…– … “And who will perish in water…”

The Germans tried to torch the synagogue but at the last moment, they extinguished the fire.

A few individuals ventured into the street to see… to hear…

… The eve of Yom Kippur, everybody is at home behind locked doors, shedding tears onto the open prayer books… the sun is setting…

– The sky is red…From the windows of the synagogue fire balls emerge and ignite everything within reach– the unholy Germans torched the synagogue!

Some Jews risk their lives and enter the burning synagogue to try to save the torah scrolls. Feigale, the daughter of Chaim Dawid Nussbaum, is running to get the fire brigade but the Germans stop her. Through the windows, we see the burning synagogue but are helpless and fearful to react…With desperate bitterness, we keep quiet… The windows exploded one by one and the roof collapsed. The women's upper section crashed and the holy arc with the torahs is burning.

“And he will burn the house of G-d”

The synagogue that was one of the most beautiful synagogues in Poland (see page 44) has turned to ashes and debris.

The next day, the Gestapo took about 200 Jews to the market square where they waited for hours. Finally, they released most of the Jews except for 80 who were imprisoned.

[Page 352]

They were tired and exhausted from fasting for it was Yom Kippur. The Germans insulted and mocked them– - what a day of atonement. Locked behind bars they recited the prayers that they knew by heart: “and all the evil will disappear as the smoke in the wind”

A few days later, they released the imprisoned Jews.

On the eve of Yom Kippur the synagogue, was torched and blown apart. Gone was the crown of the Jewish community. The rest of the building will disappear and only the foundations will remain. With this destruction, the Jewish populated streets lost their soul. The voice of the torah was no longer heard, the synagogues were empty.

(Mr. Hochauser, one of the survivors of the ghetto of Jaslo told this to me. He was from Krynica but used to pray occasionally at our home in the ghetto in Jaslo where secret services were held… the heart was no longer in the prayers although the soul still flowered…) Deadly penetrating winds were stirred, and our defensive actions were disappointing and we felt hopeless but we still thought that things would improve with time.

jas352.jpg  The marketplace where about 200 Jews stood for several hours
The marketplace where about 200 Jews stood for several hours

* * * *

The Russians stabbed us in the back, they invaded Poland and reached Lemberg, Przemysl, Sanok and reached the river San (during the second half of September 1939).

All plans developed by the Polish Army to establish a strong defensive line in Eastern Poland and possibly lead to an attack on the German forces collapsed.

[Page 353]

(The Polish defenders of Warsaw held out until about September 20th, 1939 when the city was practically totally destroyed)

Poland has surrendered…

* * * *

Tens of people smuggled themselves out of the city at night in the hope of reaching the new Russian border across the river San. There most of them were picked by the N.K.V.D. or Soviet secret police. Some managed to return to Jaslo

Soon eyewitnesses described horrible events that took place along the roads, namely Jews were killed: Mendel Bodner, Moshe Meir Freund, A. Shuman, near the hamlet of Istrik. Chaim and Elimelech Krisher, Moshe Hersh Kornreich, Sh. Zommer, Leibish Waks and his daughter near the city of Sambor. The angel of death continued his harvest (the most dastardly act was the killing of a Jewish boy who had in his pocket some sort of caricature).

Jews with beards and side curls had to shave them in order not to attract attention. They frequently wrapped their faces in large kerchiefs to avoid showing that they shaved…. (Told by survivors)

The elderly Mendel Meller who went out for fresh air was forced to wrap his face and, as usual, joked about it, saying that he has a toothache….!

* * * *

The regular Polish schools opened in August of 1940 but Jews did not attend them. The Jewish children had no school until Chaim Shield came along with the idea of opening a Jewish school in the ghetto.

The management of the school that was established was under strict German supervision. It managed to establish a good schools program (History, Bible, and Talmud). Children until the age of 15 years attended the school in spite of German objections. The latter insisted that the age should be limited to 12 years since older children could work.

[Page 354]

To save the older children from hard physical labor, the school registered them as 12 year olds. The children received report cards with the permission of the German supervisors at the regular school intervals. Purim and Hanukkah parties were organized to cheer up the participants. Some of the parents attended these parties and they sung national songs. The children's choir sung the songs with the bright Hanukkah lights behind them. Hope and Faith were implanted in the children and the wonderful stories of the great miracles impressed the students.

We must remember and praise Yosef Frumowicz who devoted himself completely to the school project (he was shot during the roundup at the assembly point in the yard of the church). We must also mention the other devoted people namely Sarah Diller (managed to escape from the Gestapo), Ehrenfreund, Brudder, Shield and Doctor Shorr.

* * * *

In one of the days of 1940, the Russian occupying army surrounded and arrested all Jews in Lemberg and other cities under its occupation who refused to surrender their Polish citizenship in lieu of Russian citizenship. Within a few hours, thousands of Jews were told to pack their things, were escorted to awaiting trains, and transported to unknown destinations. Some of the Jews were from Jaslo and they did not have the slightest chance to call or write to the families. The trains roared across Russia with thousands of frightened and scared former Polish citizens. They traveled for days and weeks in sealed railway cars until they reached unknown destinations.

At first, most Jews considered this a disaster for they were in the depths of Russia and it seemed to them that they would die in the forsaken places. (Indeed, many people died of starvation, disease and even loneliness). But due to the intervention of Polish personalities (like General Anders and Wanda Waszilewska), their lot improved. They were able to join the Polish Army and participated in the liberation of Europe from the Germans. All of these soldiers remained in Europe and many of them left for Israel, some of them went to the States and some remained in Poland and Russia.

* * * *

The ghetto of Jaslo was established after March 15th ,1941 and included the following streets: Widok, ( named for the view of the synagogue), Wisoka, Targowica, Korlewski and Schajnochy. All Jews had 48 hours to leave their residences and move into the ghetto.

The Germans brought about 6,000 Jews from Lodz and dumped them at the Jaslo railway station. Dangers lurked everywhere, the ghetto was extremely overcrowded. My father picked up 20 Jews from the railway depot and brought them home.

[Page 355]

He (my father) continued to awake each day at about two or three in the morning to visit bakeries and collect some bread for the poor people.

jas355.jpg  Korlowskigo Street
Korlowskigo Street
(A street of the ghetto)

Until June 22nd 1941, I received letters from home through Czechoslovakia where my sister lived and through occupied Eastern Galicia from my son in law who was killed in the shoa, then everything stopped.

The limping Gintz, an inhuman creature that only Satan could create soon replaced Luzkar as the head of the police.

[Page 356]

He also carried the title doctor. His cruel orders knew no satisfaction. The diabolical dictates changed from hour to hour. He started the policy of mass shootings and arrests. People would disappear and nobody knew what happened. The apartments were confiscated. The inhabitants of these flats and stores had to move to the ghetto.

The cruel order of banishing the Jewish inhabitants to the ghetto, the daily shootings and other cruelties weakened the Jewish population. Their numbers declined and so did their spirit. The faces of the ghetto inhabitants told us everything. Children left their homes and babies were taken from their mothers and killed.

Where are the skulls and the blood of the killed, do the deep field swamps of Warzica, Jarniowka and Sibenia contain them?

Where was the old man Lipcze Werner killed and where is his grave?

Where was the attorney A. Menashe led in the forest of Koblow, tortured, and killed?

Where are the people who were killed daily?

One morning the Gestapo arrested 50 people and took them to the cemetery. They tortured and shot them.

With the arrival of Gintz also arrived another sadistic officer named Raushwitz who headed the Gestapo in Jaslo. His appearance made the inmates tremble with fear for his cruelties. He killed people for his pleasure.

One day he had an idea to celebrate his wedding. He ordered the Judenrat to assemble all Jewish artisans and merchants at the house of A. Goldstein. On reaching the place, they were told to bring whatever merchandise they had in their possession. The artisans were told that that the orders must be executed to the total satisfaction of the devouring wolf. The bloodthirsty Raushwitz who was about to be married ordered all the Jewish women to bring him jewelry and insisted on a Jewish band headed by D. Bernstein that would be playing Jewish melodies for the Gestapo butchers.

jas357.jpg  Leibish and Maltczi Piar
Leibish and Maltczi Piar
(They died at the death camp of Theresenstadt)

(See page 234)

(Maltczi, nicknamed the mother of the city, also died at Theresenstadt)

jas358.jpg  The cemetery of Jaslo
The cemetery of Jaslo
(the Germans pulled out the tombstones
and used them to pave the streets)

[Page 357]

Several weeks passed and a new order to the Judenrat. One hundred Jews must present themselves for various work details. The Gestapo immediately detained them and trucked them under military escort to the labor camp of Pustkow near Tarnow. Thousands of Jews worked there and died there from starvation and hard work.

Gintz closed the ghetto completely and ordered a fence around the ghetto. Anyone caught outside the area was to be shot. Dr. Tzucker tended to a sick patient; he and wife were shot at the cemetery, he for so-called communist activities. (The son of Shmulowicz was caught and his wife begged for mercy. They were both shot on the spot, according to a letter from Professor Pirak from Jaslo)

During the forties, an article appeared in the newspaper “Haaretz” that is published in Tel Aviv and under the headline “One of the stages of Hell “ (London 17 ST”a, RADIO)

“Polish sources inform us that a ghetto for Jews was created in Jaslo, southern Poland that bears no resemblance to anything that we have seen so far. . .Thousands of Jews are locked in small cubicles near the entrance to the jail. The living conditions are the worst; these people have not been feed for days,. They live on scraps of food from the non-Jewish prisoners. In the first few weeks, many of the Jews died, a fifth of the Jews died of starvation, tortures and exhaustion.

In the ghetto, the people are getting weak and protecting their life that is in constant danger. One day the Jews had to surrender all their furs for the German soldiers on the eastern front. This order was not terribly successful for many Jews sold their furs before the order to the farmers in exchange for food and milk for their babies. Some preferred to destroy the furs. The campaign was

[Page 358]

not terribly successful. The implementation of the order resulted in the death of a few Jews. The local Gestapo officials took the good furs for their female companions who wore them in public.

The people barely recovered from the last campaign when rumors began to circulate that there were too many Jews in the ghetto of Jaslo. The order soon came from Gintz and 150 Jews were sent under S.S. guard to Frysztak and then to Warzice where ditches were prepared in advance by Jewish workers from Jaslo. All 150 were ordered to disrobe including Mendel Meller who was wrapped in his talith and shot.

The next day Jewish girls were sent to collect the clothing and to check them for hidden jewels.

I will mention here Dorothea Fliskin (the daughter of Yeshayahu Cylinder, the wife of Dr. Fliskin, the head of the Malben medical organization in Israel) for her courageous fight against the Germans. Her brave acts in the resistance in various areas of Poland need a full page where her anti-German exploits can be fully described.

The constant heavy bombardments of German cities and the rapid allied advances enraged the German killers. They increased the tempo of killing Jews. Gintz turned to one of the local rabbis who was related to the Rothschild family. He insisted that the rabbi call his relative and insist that he use his influence to stop the war or he would be shot. (There is another version to the effect that Gintz arrived in Zmigrod and asked a local rabbi to intervene with Rothschild…)

We must not forget that during this difficult period there were also certain weak characters in our community who were willing to exploit the situation for their personal gain and cooperated with the enemy. They tried to please the Germans

[Page 359]

and lick their boots in the hope of saving themselves. They robbed from their oppressed brothers; they blackmailed them and executed all orders given by their masters. They are well known and should be excluded from the community of mankind.

* * * *

On Tuesday, August 18th 1942 (five days in Elul, Tashab), the final action of rounding up the Jews took place. About 800 Jews including women and children were ordered to assemble at the Targowica. They had to limit their luggage to 10 kilos and leave the rest at the place of residence.

The tears and anxieties of the departed can't be described. They were looking to the skies for a possible miracle that might change the situation …

jas359.jpg  'Christian Kaleshtur' at the height of Florianska Street near Siowniow
“Christian Kaleshtur” at the height of Florianska Street near Siowniow

The Jews had to line up and march to their death four abreast. They were led through the city streets under SS armed guards to the “Christian Kaleshtur” at the height of Florianska Street near Siowniow. There they spent the night in tears, worried and hopeless. In the morning, they marched them to the railway station where a train awaited them. The cars were loaded with brutality befitting the SS and the train rolled to the death camp of Belzec where they were gassed and their bones burned in the crematories. There their saintly souls left them and their remnants joined the thousands of other saintly Jews killed between the years 1940-1942.

The German murderers left a few young Jews in Jaslo to clean up the ghetto where the Jews lived for approximately a year and a half. Some of the Jewish workers also built a swimming pool on the outskirts of the city. They too wound up at the death camp of Przemysl and their destiny was similar to the other saints.

Few Jews managed to survive the war. They escaped the ghetto at night, were in constant danger, and were on the run. They had to leave the city and find hiding places. With the last round up of Jews, they shot I. Goldstein. The ghetto was now empty, the Jewish voices disappeared forever.

In the month of January (Shvat, Tashah), 1945, the Russian Army moved rapidly against the German forces and approached the city of Jaslo. A battle ensued that lasted some time until the city was liberated. There was great destruction and liberation

The Jewish history of Jaslo that lasted for about 70 years could only be remembered through the Jewish tombstones that adorned the paved streets of the city.


[Page 361]

Addendum

P1

Thank You and Bless You

Mrs Riwka Otenheimer (Ulman), Tel Aviv for the colorful book bindings
Mr. Emil Yerachmiel, z”l, Vienna for the paper donation for the book
Tzwi Tzimet, Jerusalem for the copy printing edition
Sh.Z. Rachmil, Tel Aviv for the contribution toward the book
Chaim and Nachum Schlapf, London for the contribution toward the book
Pinhas Shtrum, Tel Aviv for contributing to the binding costs
 
And to all former residents of Jaslo who helped in publishing the book
 
A. Harmoni for constructive suggestions
M. Moher for advising in the layout of the book.

P2

jas361.jpg  Moshe Nathan Even Chaim
The author,
Moshe Nathan Even Chaim (Rapaport)

This family resided in Tarnowici for years.
They were traditional people and were traders.

 

P3

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P4

Page of corrections

Page written should be written
15 Northwest Northeast
24 Yaakow Mordechai Yaakow
27 21 days in Heshvan First day of Heshvan
28 One of the daughters One of the daughters named Reisil married Shimon Gelbstein from Jerusalem. They live in Tel Aviv
71 Shmuel Winfeld Leibish Winfeld
84 from Krakow from Tarnow
87 He was a merchant One of the founders and builders of the synagogue in the city and his seat was along the eastern wall
88 visited in 1935 Palestine Visited twice the Holy Land
97 Englard Engelhardt
97 four daughters six daughters
123 Jaslo in Jaslo
137 he wandered about he wandered
142 and so on and so forth
167 Iglena Street Sokola Street
186 and two daughters and one daughter
314 oldest oldest daughter
315 Leib Shuman Reuven Shuman
348 near the city, Niglowic near the hamlet of Modrowka and Niglowic

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