I shouted to him "Bubi, what's with you?" And he didn't say a thing because he couldn't talk anymore.
So I started shaking him a bit, and telling him that when night would fall we'd get out of there. Thank G-d it got dark again...Oh yes, wait: when, on that Shabbos, Sabbath we had begun to cover ourselves, that was the time that they were shooting everyone in our town.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Shabbos they had gathered together all the Jews, and they had herded them into the rear of the courthouse where there was a jail. And they took all the Jews there.
I knew about where that jail was because there was a guy there called Laba, whose son was a tutor, and my father, (since unfortunately there was no school) had said that for education he was a very rich man. For a while we studied at a Mrs. Weshler's, and another time at Moishe Schachter's, and one time at this Laba's, because his son was a tutor who gave me lessons. They lived right where the jail was because his father was the jail-master.
He had showed me where the kitchen was for the criminals, and there was a long corridor with iron doors to the left and to the right, and in each door was a small peep-hole, where one could look in at the prisoners. He always showed me this stuff, and from one side of this jail you could look right into our garden. We were the third house from the courthouse, and from those top-floor windows you could see right into our place. There were times that I looked up there and could see them looking out from behind the bars in the tiny windows.
This is where they took these poor people on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Shabbos, and when we were getting up from our hiding in those "graves, we heard such a tremendously loud echo that the whole woods trembled. That's when they shot all our people. First we heard a terrible yelling and screaming. We weren't far; about six or seven kilometers away. We thought they were shooting men, but not women and children like that.
One time when I was doing this, he came over to me and grabbed this stick and gave me such a smash...if it was today they'd kill him. I was even ashamed to tell on him at home. If I didn't know something at school, he'd take me by the "payes", the sidelocks, and say "Moishe, Itsik, Chaim, numela personale".. That is to say tell me people's names, but he'd make fun of the Jewish ones.
And the other Gentiles would also say "Mai Jidane Paduchios", "You lousy Jews should go to Palestine" and things like that. We didn't get along well with them, but we were strong, and we took a few boys, and we beat the hell out of them, and they were afraid of us.
So Sunday morning we're going, not walking, but crawling on our bellies. As we crawled, Bubi couldn't talk anymore, and we crawled and crawled on our bellies.
After a few hundred meters, we came to the first little hut, and as we came close, I saw Georgie who had worked in our store. We had owned a store that sold grains like corn, wheat, maise, all sorts of flour and he had worked for us. Wagons had come, and he had worked there. When I saw him I was overjoyed, and stood up on my knees and motioned for him to come over. So he comes running from his hut, which was surrounded by a fenced-in garden that kept in the animals.
He comes running and I says "Georgie, what's happening at our place?" So he says, "Come in, come into my house". We got up and I helped Bubi get up because he was so weak he couldn't get up anymore, and in we got to his house.
As we come in I could hardly talk, and there was his wife or his daughter. And as we sit down I motioned like this: to give us something to drink. So she brought us a clay pitcher with milk, and some sort of a saucer, and I pour some milk for myself, and I give some to Bubi. I drank the milk, and she had brought us a piece of bread, but we couldn't eat it. When I finished that milk I started to talk a little.
I said "Georgie, what' s happening in our town?". So he says, "You stay here and I'll go and come right back". So we're sitting there looking like corpses out of the earth, starved, torn clothes from these branches, and so on.
It didn't take long, maybe a half hour or so, and he comes back ... listen: with a whole patrol of civilians, not military, but with rifles.
"Oh!" says one, "You were in the woods. We knew you were hiding. You shot at our army"
"We shot at their army?! " I said "We didn't shoot at anybody!", and "What are you going to do with us?"
He says "We have orders to take all Jews that we catch to town", So I thought to myself, "Very good, they're leading us to town; it's not far, and then I'll be able to go home"
Meanwhile someone took my jacket, and I had a watch on my hand, which was also taken, and ...what else did I have? I think I had a little ring.. also taken. No... the ring was hidden and they didn't find it. They lead us out on the road, and as we got to the road I thought, "It can't be far to town, about two kilometers or so, and we'll be in our stetl."
I see a Romanian patrol approaching, and I start to shake. We hadn't seen them for over a year, those Romanians, because the Russians had been there, not the Romanians. And as they came over these Romanians asked "Who are these guys?"
The others replied "Jidane, "Jews. We caught them in the woods and they shot at our soldiers."
I said "That's not true...its not true". So one came over and gave me a slap and for the first time ever I saw fire in my eyes.
They asked me in Romanian ,"Have you done military service?"
"Where did you do military service?"
"In the cavalry."
He says "Attention!" So I stood at attention.
"Directia Ciudin!" That means we should go in the direction of Ciudin.
I felt very encouraged because we started to march to Ciudin.
Not long after we started out they started to push us with the butts of their rifles, and they started to hit us right here. They threw us into a ditch, you know, and we start walking across a field.
And they lead us and lead us, and I hear them whispering about something "Over there, just a little further..." He was saying that at the top of the next hill was where they would shoot us, you understand.
I heard them conferring in this way, and I started to cry, and to beg, "We're not far from our home...and G-d will help you. This is a war, and when you return to your homes it will be good for you" and so on.
One of them came closer, and I had another little watch and a ring hidden, and I gave them away.
So one came over and opened a rucksack, you know the kind that soldiers use to carry bread, and so on. So he opens this rucksack and takes out a bottle of about 3/4 of a litre of liquor, real 100% proof liquor. He says "You should know that you are being led to be shot, and you won't live long. But since you gave us these things, drink this...if you want drink it all, and between the two of you, you won't feel a thing".
So I said "Yes, certainly I can go!"
"And he won't speak?" So they beat Bubi because he couldn't speak. Poor Bubi couldn't manage to speak. So one says "Are you sure you can go on?"
I said "Yes!!"
So he says "Run over to that tree!" And he shows me a tree about twenty-five metres away that he wanted me to run to. So if I could run it would be good, and if not...not. I don't know from anything and I start running.
And just as I start to run I hear "TRRRRRRRRRRRRR " A machine gun!
Out of terror I fell to the ground, and stopped running, and at this point crawled back on my belly. I crawled back right back to them, and poor Bubi was lying there. And I start crying and begging, and kissing their feet.
One of them was like an angel. He says "Lets take them back to Ciudin. To hell with them! Let's take them back to Ciudin."
And they ordered us to get up, and they led us back across the ditch onto the road, and they led us back to town.
Every house that we knew all those years if you looked through the front, you could see through to the back. The windows were gone! The doors were gone! The bricks were missing. And you couldn't see a dog , or a cat. No people! Nothing!
I asked myself "Where is this Stetl? Where are the people?"
They led us to the centre of town. At the centre of town was a large building and near that building was our house. And they led us to this building, and which had belonged to a man called Schachter, who had owned a store that was attached to his house.
In front of the place was an officer , and I knew him from before. He searched us, and found one last watch that I had hidden in a secret pocket. When he took it, I asked him "What's happening here?"
He says "You'll hear all about it. You'll be told."
We were led into this empty store, where everything had been robbed, and it was totally empty, and there's my teacher Guttman. The Hebrew teacher from my Stetl. He had been a very good teacher, and I had liked him very much. I had received good grades for my studies, and he liked me. I find him there with Lezer Guttman, his son, and Ruchale, his daughter.
I find them there, and they start to cry, so I ask them "Why are you crying? Where are the other people?"
They said "Don't ask about anybody".
"What do you mean!?"
They tell me not far from there had lived a farmer who had been very rich. When the Russians came in they had sent all the rich Gentiles to Siberia... Jews too; those who had been rich were given a passport of some kind and they were all taken away from their homes. Just over there was a home that had been taken away from this gentile, they had taken away the whole family, and it was empty.
Guttman and his family had gone up to the loft of his barn and hidden themselves there. From that hiding place they had been able to look down into the jail where they had seen Jews being led, and had known something was going on.
So she went down, and Moishe Schachter had been there with his family too, so Mrs. Schachter went down with Mrs. Guttman to find out what was going on, and said they'd soon be back to the loft.
After they left, these people waited and waited, all day Friday, soon it was evening, Shabbos, and they're not coming back. They too had been captured and taken away.
Guttman told how on Saturday at 4:00 p.m., in looking down at everything that was going on, they saw how everybody had been gathered together, how people were been led, and more and more people were being brought, and they had pushed all of these people into those cells that I have told you about in that jail, and at 4:00 in the afternoon, the bells of the churches started to toll very loudly.
Why did they toll the bells? So you couldn't hear the cries of anguish of these people.
And that's when they pushed machine guns through those little windows in the doors, and they started to shoot. The Guttmans could see what what was going on from there!
Now, imagine for yourself...not everyone...had the luck...to get a bullet in the heart or in the head. My father...and my brothers and sister had to watch their own children dying...
And the children had to watch how their parents died...
And after a few hours the Guttmans watched as they started to throw from this balcony, how they started throwing down the people, throwing and throwing.
A few hours before they had watched them digging...graves. They could see from up there in that loft this digging and wondering if they were digging fortifications. But that wasn't it. They were working on the mass graves. It wasn't far from the jail where they dug these...five ... mass graves, and that's where they threw in these people.
And later when they saw them replacing the earth...they could see ... the earth moving... they weren't all dead. That's how they were buried.
So... when we came down that Sunday, this is what they told us. I started to cry terribly... and so...
Adersberg, Yaniu, wife and children Adersberg, Gusta and 3 children Babat (Rabbi) & Wife Becker, Toveh Becker,Chaim Becker, Gusta and 3 children Becker, Berta, husband and children Becker, Mendel Becker, David Becker, Meyer Becker, Isel (Israel), wife and children Becker, Klara Becker, Leib, wife and children Besner, Baruch Besner, Feivel and children Besner, Hersh, wife and children Besner, Feige and children Besner, Max, wife and children Besner, Berta, husband and children Besner, Chaie Berler , Contrabil, and wife Bergman, Leibu Bergman, Klara Bergman, Shie Biler, Susheh, wife and children Birnbaum, Itzik (Yitzhak) Birnbaum, Salli, born a Schecter, and child Blum, Josel, wife Rikel, and daughters Blum, Oto Brecher, Max Brecher, Berta Buchholz, wife and children Chalfen, Hersh, wife and 2 children Cohn, Chaim Cohn, Chuve Cohn, Yulius and sister Freida Axelrad Divald, Lipa Divald, Machle Divald, Avraham Divald, Yosel, wife Fani (nee Schecter) and 2 children Drach Feige Drach Yankel Drach Chaiah Druckman, Gabriel Druckman, Anna, and daughter Druckman, Hersh Druckman, Yosef the tinsmith, wife Etel and children Druckman, Isiu Druckman, Peretz, wife and children Druckman, David Druckman, Dora Edelshtein, Herman, wife and children Feffer, Josel, wife and children Feingold, Mendel Feingold, Meyer Feingold, Hersh (my teacher), wife and children Fishman, ? Frohlich, Berel, wife and children Fruchter, Itzik-Leib Fruchter, Yankel Fruchter, Wolfe Fruchter, Sarah Fruchter, Berta Fruchter, Fanny Fruchter, Hilda Fruchter, Brushka Fruchter, Wolf Fuhrman, Zipe Fuhrman, Fani Fuhrman, Beniamin Fuhrman, Berish Fuhrman, Brane Fuks, Moishe, wife and children Goldshmid, Aron and wife Goldshmid, Josel Goldshmid, Koka Gottleib, Barish and wife Gottleib, Wolf, wife and children Gottleib, Yudel Gottleib, Gitel, born Udelman and 2 children Grabstein, Natan, wife and children Grabstein, Herman Grill, Yankel Grill, Shayndel Grill, Rita, Grill David Greenberg, Moishe Greeenberg, Sosie Greenberg, Meier Greenberg, Srul Greenberg, Chaie Green berg, Duge Greenbergh, Berta Greenberg, Sami Greenberg, Hedi Greenberg, Fishel, and wife Groper, Mechel Groper, Yeta Groper, Hersh Groper, Leib Gross, Herman, wife and children Gross, Anna Gross, Karl Gross, Max Grunberg, Fishel, wife and children Gutman, David Gutman, Zelda Gutman, Rochel Hammer, Mechel (Michael), wife and children Hammer, Puyu and family Hassner, Motel Hassner, Faye Hassner, Shmuel Hassner, Froike and children Hassner, Isiu Hassner, Srul (Israel) Hassner, Gedalia Hassner, Chana Hassner, Clara Hassner, Chaya Hassner, Dora Hassner, Shmuel Hassner Erna Hassner, Roizeh (Rose) Hassner, Shapsa Hassner, Sochia, wife and children Hassner, Berel Hassner, Shmaya Hassner, Leib Hassner, Bryna Hassner, Chaya Hassner, Peia Hassner, Faya (Fay) Hassner, Yudel Hassner, Sora Hassner, Bubi Hartman, Itzik Leib, wife and children Held, Moishe Held, Dora (nee Moses) Herzig, Baruch, wife and children Herzig, Wolf Herzig, Sheva, and children Herling, Malka Herling, Avraham Chaim Herling, Gusta Herling Bubi Hersheman, Yosef Leib, wife and children Hershman, Sheindel Hershman, Chaim, wife and children Hershman, Febus, wife and children Herscovitch the baker, wife and children Hibner, Yankel, wife and children Hibner, Shloime, the Miller from Igeshti Hibner ,Yona, the glazer, wife and children Hibner the mill owner, wife and children Hibner the mute, wife and children Hindig, Yosel, wife and children Hindig, Zipora, and children Hirshel, A. Shofet (judge), wife and children Hollinger, Paul Hollinger, Frida Hollinger, Leibish, wife and children Hollinger, Velvel Igel the baker, wife and children Katz, Chaim, wife and children Katz, Jacov Leib, wife and children Katz, Hersh Katz, Yosef Leib, wife and children Katz,, Motel Katz, Bryna Katz, Miriam Katz, Kalman, wife and children Katz, Peretz, wife & children Katz, Shmuel, wife, 2 sons, 3 daughters Katz, Shloime Katz, Chaiem Katz, Henny (dentist), and mother Katz, Yacov, wife and children Kellner, Roza Kinsbruner, Zishe Kinsbruner, Yeta Kinsbruner, Yacov Kinsbruner, Zili Knauer, Leiser, and wife Knauer, Yacov, and wife, and child Knauer, Loniu, wife and son (6 years old) Knauer, Malvina (18 years old) Kramer, Zive Kramer, Wily Kreigsman, wife and children Dr. Kreiss, lawyer Dr. Kreiss, Konrad, lawyer Krumholz, Family Kula, Yosel Kula, Rachel Laskarina, Fany Laskarina, Yoseif Laufer, Moshe, wife and children Laufer, Kolmen, and wife Fitza Laufer, Eisig Laufer, Kalman Laufer, Berta Laufer Kosia Laufer, Poka Laufer, Yetty, husband and children Laufer, Feivel, wife and children Laufer, Max, wife and children Laufer, Herman, wife and children Laufer, Yacov, wife and children Laufman, David and wife Laufman, Max (Barber) and wife Laufman, Rachmiel, and his sister Yuta Lecker, Chaim-Shloimeh, wife and children Lecker, Yankel, wife and children Leiser, Moshe Chaim Leiser, Shapsel Leiser, Chava and three daughters Leiser, Roizeh Leiser Chave and children Leiser, Brane Leiser, Berish Leiser the miller from Petrautzi, wife and children Leiser the Miller from Igesht Leiser, Avraham, wife and children Leiser, Hanyu, mother and three children Leiser, Yetty Leiser, Chaim Srul Leiser, Yosel Leiser, Sorah Leiser, Yacov Leib Leiser, Hersh the mute Leiser, Joel Linker, dentist, wife and children Lobel, Herman Lobel, Fruma, three children Lobel, Bubi Lobel, Zaideh, wife and children Lobel, Yanyu Lobel, Hersh Lobel, Ruthie Mandel, Max, wife and children Mandel, Anna Mandel, Manka Mandelbaum, Ephraim, and wife Markuson, Notary , wife and children Margulis, Herman Margulis, Roza Margulia, Soniu Margulis, Isiu and his sister Mayer, Emil, wife and children Mayer the tailor, wife and 3 children Mervogel, Meier, and mother Mervogel, Shloime Minzer Max, wife and children Mick, Moishe and wife Mick, Josef and three daughters Mick, Kolmen, wife and children Moscovitch, Avraham, the tailor, wife and children Moskowitch, Isiu Moses, Feivel Moses, Anna Moses, Berta, husband Shaya Raucher, Koinaleh, 5 years Moses, Moshe Moses, Oscar, wife Pepi born Hollinger Moses, Herman, wife Betty born Gross, Mosheleh, 6 years Moses, Dora, husband Moshe Held Moses, Gusta, 18 years Moses, Raizel Moses, Gershon Moses, Mendel Moses, Dora, husband Chaim Weiss Moses, Buzoi from Banila, wife and children Moses, Chaiem Moses, Reisel Moses, Chana Moses, Moishe Moses, Gershon Mundstein, Max Mundstein, Roza Neiman, Max, wife and children Neuman, Herman, and wife Pauker the photographer, wife and children Pauker, Herman, wife and children Pollak the tailor, wife and children Raucher, Aron Raucher, Bluma Raucher Shaya-Shiku Raucher, Klara Raucher, Koinale (5 years old) Rotenberg, Dr., wife and children Rosenblat, Yudel Rosenblat, Rivka Rosenblat, Mitzi Rosenblat, Klara Rosenblat, Shaya Rosenblat, Noteh (Natan) Rosenblat, Shiku (Yehoshua) Rosenblat, Chayeleh Rotenberg, Ely, wife Riva, and daughter Lotti Rotenberg Yoineh Rotenberg, Itzik Rotenberg, Marcus Rotenberg, Velvel Rotenberg, Loli Rotenberg, Shaya Rashkis, wife and children Dr. Rosenberg, wife and children Rostiker, Nachem Rudich, Uren Rudich, Mariasse and children Rudich, Petey Rudich, Dora Rudich, Letka Rudich, Yankel Rudich, Faige Rudich, Sigmund Rudich, Salo Rudich, David Rudich, Mindel Rudich, Esther Rudich, Yankel Rudich Maly Rudich, Baruch Rudich, Lotty Rudich, Dora Rudich, Isiu Saler, Shloime Saler, Yankel, wife and children Saler, Chaim, wife and children Saldinger, Suma,r wife and children Saldinger, Aron, wife and children Shayer, Yosel Shayer, Pepi Shayer, Milu Schechter, Dudel Schechter, Milo, wife and children Schechter, Gusta Schechter, Fany Schechter, Klara Schechter, Moishe Schechter, Ita Schechter, Hedi Schecter, Doli Schechter, Yankel Schechter, Mitzi, born Rosenblat Schechter, Peisach and wife Schechter, Ben-Zion Schechter, Beile Schechter, Berel and wife Schechter, Hershel Schechter, Fredi Dr. Schwartz, wife and children Seidman, Shaie, wife and children Seidman, Golde Seidman, Rochel Seibel, Shie (Yehoshua), wife and children Seibel, Max, wife and son Shieber, Mosheleh Sheiber, Hedy Sherzer, Isiu, and family Shmerler, Chaim, wife and children Shmerler, Yacov Shmerler, Bananeh, wife and children Shtier, Karl, wife and three children Shulman, Mordechai Leib, wife and children Stetner, Mokeh Stetner, Peretz Stetner, Benyamin Stetner, Yosef Stetner, Peretz Stetner, Bubi Singer, Chaim, wife and children Singer, Mendel, wife and children Singer, Berta, husband and children Singer, Yosel, wife and children Singer, Fany Stein, Oscar Stein, Rachmeiel Sonenstein, Shmuel Sonenstein, Fishel, wife and children Tresser, Pesya Tresser, Chaya Knoll-Udelsman, Feivel Knoll-Udelsman, Raizel Knoll-Udelsman, Hersh Knoll-Udelsman, Meyer Knoll-Udelsman, Chaskel Knoll-Udelsman, Chaim Knoll-Udelsman, Gitel-Gottleib, and child Usher, Leiser, his wife and children Wagner, Alter, wife and children Wagner, Leiser, wife and children Wagner, Simche, wife and chidlren Weshler, Zani Weshler, Rose Weshler, Kubi, wife and chidlren Weshler, Bela Weshler, Gabriel (Shoemaker) Weshler, Mark Zitser, wife and children Weshler the butcher, wife and children Weshler (my teacher) Weiner, Josel Weiner, Miriam Weiner, Sigmund M.D. Weiner, Dina Weisman the tinsman, wife and children Weisman, Berta Weisman, Freideh (Fritzi) Weisman, Leib Wengerd, Max, wife and children Zlotshover, Yosel, wife and children
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