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XIII

Slavery

The German regime demanded from the Judenrat even more Jews workers. The Jews were sent to work at the railway station, loading and unloading iron, coal, hay and other materials for the military; workers were sent to various jobs in the barracks and carrying coal to the offices and to the private residences of the Germans and, in general, wherever the Jewish labor force could be used.

The Judenrat itself employed several hundred men for various renovation work of the German's official and private

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premises, in moving Jewish furniture to German warehouses, to the German casinos and restaurants, in the Gestapo office and in private residences of various German officials and military personnel.

The newly founded German firm, “Waserwirtschaft [Water Industry],” that had the assignment of regulating the shores near the Warta and Stradomka demanded more workers every day. There were already 1,200 Jews employed and they demanded more workers. In addition, the Judenrat received an order to provide several hundred construction workers that various military groups would receive to establish their trade schools and other accommodations; the city leadership also demanded working hands to clear away the wire fences that the Polish military had erected around the city.

We heard the same words constantly: “Work Jews, Jews work.”

The Judenrat was forced to create a special office for labor matters and the office was given the name “Labor Office.”

This office had to provide the German regime with a Jewish work force at every time and at every place.

At the same time, a decree was issued by the General Government for the entire country establishing forced labor for Jews from the age of 14 to 60.

The Judenrat labor office faced a very difficult assignment: 1,000 workers must work without wages for the Germans. However, where would all of the people come from to meet this obligation? The food products that the city managing committee divided among the Jewish population were too meager with which to get along and the prices of these product rose from day to day. The Judenrat therefore organized the matter of work in the following way:

Jews, who were still in a position to pay to avoid forced labor were taxed with a fixed sum,

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with which those who were sent to work for the Germans without pay were supported. Thus was created two kinds of people: payers and workers. The Judenrat paid out small sums to the workers, gave them bread, organized kitchens where they received lunch, bought paper suits and wooden shoes for them. The charge for not having to work was small at first and in time it was raised.

Despite all of the efforts by the Judenrat, the needs of the workers became even greater. The labor office, therefore, raised its charge to the non-working people, in order to have more money. However, the problem was not solved because there was constantly a rapid “transfer”: yesterday's “taxpayers” became today's workers; the earnings could be seen to disappear and there remained even fewer people who could ransom themselves from work. The rows of workers, therefore, grew constantly and the rows of payers grew smaller by the day. And as there were fewer payers, the charges had to be even higher.

However, the Germans constantly kept demanding still more people for work. The labor office was, therefore, forced to call to work, those who paid the work tax. In a short time all men up to age 45 had to be called to work.

Only the very rich and people older than 45 up to age 60 who had the ability to pay could ransom themselves from work.

However, the demands of the Germans for work hands grew so that in the end the labor office had to call even those who paid great sums to the work fund. Thousands of demands were sent out each day to

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those who had paid requiring them to appear at the designated office for work on another day.

Conditions became even more difficult; the slavery greater. Very often the German leaders of various workshops who did not receive the number of workers demanded by a set deadline, entered the Judenrat and beat the leader and the Jewish clerk and took the entire staff to work. Then the entire administration of the Judenrat stopped. Only when the president of the Judenrat provided other workers and, on several occasions intervened, were the clerks from the Judenrat released. It also often occurred that if the Judenrat did not provide the workers demanded at the set time, the German gendarmes and the Polish police went out into the city in autos and fenced off the streets, catching every Jewish passerby, taking men from their businesses and houses, leaving everything abandoned.

With shouting and a roar of wild animals, the Jews were driven to a square. Then they were sent in groups to the outskirts of the city to large wooden barracks that had been erected not long ago for who knows what purpose. The Jews were detained in these barracks; from there they were sent out to work and after work they had to return to the barracks. They were guarded by German gendarmes and Polish policemen who treated them as slaves.

When several days passed, and these people did not come home, their wives and relatives ran to the Judenrat asking it to intervene with the regime. It was learned that the Germans demanded a large payment for each one who would be freed. The Judenrat would by chance also have benefit to its treasury and count on a certain sum, in addition

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to what was demanded by the Germans. Those who had money ransomed themselves from the bandits and the poor or stubborn remained in the barracks for several weeks. The people became weakened by the heavy work because of bad nutrition, no opportunity to get enough sleep, with the worst hygienic conditions, and a typhus epidemic broke out. Then the Polish and German police were withdrawn from there and the Judenrat was given the responsibility to insure that the Jews did not leave the barracks.

Seeing how this matter was taking on such a terrible direction, the relatives and wives of those interned in the barracks made the greatest efforts, sold everything they had left and ransomed the captives from the Germans. However, there were those who remained for whom there was no ransom money to be paid as demanded. These were taken to a new camp that had been established in a former Jewish factory, from which the Germans had taken the machines. They remained there for a long time until a sanitary commission decreed that the camp be disbanded, it should be understood, not because of the Jews, but because of the danger that illness would spread.

To the persecution and torture that the Jewish population endured from the Germans and from the Poles was added the painful feeling of being persecuted also by Jews. This was the fiendish system of the Germans that one Jew would oppress another. Jewish clerks were employed in the administration of the labor office. They sent out thousands of slips every day to the working people, gave out tickets for lunch and bread. Overseers were also employed who took the workers to their workplaces in groups. They were call “brigadiers.”

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Although they themselves were workers or employees, they treated the unfortunate people who worked under their leadership very badly. There were some brigadiers who took their “office” very seriously and demanded strict obedience. If one of the workers or the entire group did not behave exactly as the brigadiers wished, they were reported to the “higher authorities.” If the brigadier reported this to the Jewish labor office, they would take care of the matter among themselves as among their own. However, if the brigadier reported this to the Germans; the workers were immediately murderously beaten on the spot or they were called to the Gestapo, and it very rarely occurred that such workers would be able to return on their own strength. In the majority of the cases, such workers would have to be brought home, because they could no longer walk.

Polish brigadiers also led the Jewish labor groups. They beat the Jews as they worked. However, it was worse if they reported a transgression to the Germans. Therefore, the Jewish workers were forced to live well with their Polish brigadiers. The workers had to pay the brigadiers weekly allowances, give them food products and gifts.

Every morning at 5 o'clock there was great movement in the Jewish neighborhood and on all the large squares. The workers streamed from every house to the assembly points. Here, the brigadiers called out the names of their workers from a list and marched with them to their designated work place.

Multitudes of Jews marched. Every group was led by a brigadier. Among the thousands of the ragged and enslaved in the long rows were those who not long ago had been small and large merchants, owners of factories, professors at gymnasium [high school], advocates, craftsmen and workers, old and young and the very

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young, even children of 13. Classes or strata no longer existed – the enemy had equalized everything: Jews! Jews! Only Jews!

At night the same multitudes came back, tired, dusty, famished. The older ones and the children could not maintain the military step that was forced on the labor groups – tired, they dragged after their group. The brigadiers hurried them along: “Faster! Join your group!”

Polish brigadiers from the firm, Waserwirtschaft, wanting to cheer themselves up at the expense of the Jews, would order the workers to sing on their difficult way. The content of the songs was: “The good Hitler is teaching the Jews to work.”

The Jews reported to the Jewish labor office every day after work with split heads and slashed bodies. However, there was no help for them there.


XIV

“Czeczanow” Labor Camp

There was a small shtetl in the Lublin area named Czeczanow; the Germans created a labor camp for the Jews there. The Jewish labor office received notification from the regime to provide a thousand young men from 18 to 25 years old for the Czeczanow labor camp. Clerks immediately went out with notices and demanded that the young men appear at the labor office during the course of the day in order to be sent from there to the work place.

Meanwhile, the Judenrat made use of the opportunity to increase its funds and permitted the rich to ransom themselves with the payment

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of money. It should be understood that the poor had to appear in their place.

Several days after the young people were sent away to the camps, a letter came to us from there in which we were told that the people who had had the misfortune to be sent to this labor camp were tortured at work, murderously beaten and did not have food. The parents of the young people went to the Judenrat with the letter and asked for help for their children. However, just as in all other cases, the Judenrat could not help here.

From time to time alarming letters arrived from Czeczanow with very frightening news that the people there were being tortured to death. However, the parents of the unfortunate along with the Judenrat were helpless and could do nothing. Thus, the summer passed and in the autumn of 1940, escapees from the camp arrived and we learned what had happened in Czeczanow:

When the young people were sent from Czenstochow they were taken under escort by police to Lublin. There they were loaded into cattle wagons and handed over to the authority of the S.A. [Sturmabteilung – storm troopers], who especially had come from Czeczanow in order to bring the labor slaves there. When they arrived on the spot in the middle of the night, in darkness, the storm troopers drove them out of the wagons with iron whips, worse than driving cattle, and they were harassed in this way for several kilometers under lashes and blows on the way to the labor camp.

When the storm troopers finally permitted the young people to catch their breath a little, they, the unfortunate, tired, fell onto the bare earth under the clear sky.

At daybreak in the morning, they were first able to see where they were. It was a wide field, in

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which barracks had been erected without roofs. The Jews who had been brought here earlier had prepared these.

There was no time to look around for long because their pain began immediately.

They received their daily food portion: 100 grams of bread and a half liter of watery soup, and were compelled to work in a nearby forest where the Germans were secretly building fortifications near the then German-Russian border in the Lublin area. This was in 1940 when Germany and Russia still had a “friendly” relationship.

The Jews dug pits under the supervision of the storm troopers. Those with twisted lead riding crops sent them flying over Jewish heads during their work. The German assassins slashed at the heads of the Jewish young people, deforming faces, knocking out eyes and teeth and very often, after such an “operation” people would lie dead at the workplace. The dead were immediately thrown into the pits and covered with earth. All of the Jews were named “Israel” to them.

Jews chopped trees in the forests and the Germans beat them. And there was no difference if someone worked well or not – all, without exception, were beaten severely. The assassins devised various methods of torture: suddenly the storm troopers might scream to a Jew: “Hose runter! Arsch hoch! Lieg zich hin!”, that is, “Lower your pants, lift the lowest part of your body and lie down.” Immediately, a twenty-something year old young man lay on a cut tree trunk with his naked bottom up. Two friends with whom the young man worked had to take two thin tree branches and with their entire strength beat their friend. If the assassin was not satisfied with the beating, he also ordered the two friends to lie near the first and when all three

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were laying, he took a piece of wood and with his entire strength began to skin and shred the flesh of their bodies until blood flowed. Often he struck long enough until the victim stopped screaming, and fainting, fell off the tree trunk onto the grass that was wet with blood. Whoever did not immediately stand up on his feet was thrown into a pit and immediately covered with dirt. It once occurred that a young man stood up in the middle of a beating and asked the storm trooper, “Why are you beating me?” This young man was punished terribly: he was forced to put his hands in his pants pockets and he was placed in a pit in this position and buried alive. Only his hair was left sticking out, so that the murderers could show what happens to those who ask questions. They said, “Jews must do everything they are ordered to do and not ask questions.”

The leader of the labor camp was a major named Dalf. In the opinion of the Jews who slaved away under his leadership, the major justly earned the title: “king of the sadists.” One of his most beloved “games” was to have a row of people stand and he aimed his revolver between the eyes of his victims. However, the Jews became so indifferent to death that when the sadist initiated the “game” it no longer made any impression on them. Dying by a bullet was a “luxurious death” – it was better to be shot than to become dejected with threats or to be buried alive.

Every day Major Dalf visited the labor sites and in every division left several dead young people. Major Dalf had a son not far from the camp who would often come to visit his father. The younger Dalf enjoyed sports and particularly liked to box. He would

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place several Jews in a room and “teach” them to box, hitting them between the eyes, knocking out teeth and breaking noses. And when the Jews lay on the ground, he hit them over their heads with a piece of wood and chased them from there. Then he led in others in their place. The “sport” repeated itself several times in this way. The younger Dalf liked to learn how to shoot just like his father; however, not between the eyes, but in the middle of the head. He did this in this way: he ordered a Jew to run and shot after him until he had hit the middle of the head. Every time, when he came into the camp, he had to occupy himself with this kind of “sport” until he shot a bullet right in the middle of a Jews' “clever” head, as he would say.

Major Dalf and his son had large trained dogs, which would be incited against the Jewish workers. The dogs would wildly attack the victims and tear pieces of flesh from their faces and bodies. After carrying out this bloody work, their owners would pet and caress them.


Fresh transports of Jews from the surrounding cities and shtetlekh arrived every day. Old Jews also began to arrive. Certainly, there were no longer any young people in those cities. It became more crowded in the camp; masses of people were tortured and fresh ones came in their place. There were no sick people here. Everyone was healthy and strong. Every morning, when Dalf inspected his Jews and asked, who is sick, no one reported himself sick because a sick person was shot.

Once on a summer night several storm troops barged into

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a barrack with metal whips in their hands. The Jews who remained were laying on the bare ground. Hearing the tumult, they stood up. The storm trooper murderers, who were very drunk, ordered hundreds of Jews to line up naked in the courtyard. Several Jews were immediately shot on the spot; those remaining were ordered to march to the shtetl, to Czeczanow. Arriving in the shtetl, the people were forced to go to the cemetery naked. Only three young people succeeded in escaping along the way. When the tortured arrived at the cemetery, their bodies were skinned by the whips and burned as in a flame of fire by the blows that constantly hailed over them while being forced on their way. The assassins ordered pits to be dug, but as there were no shovels, the unfortunate ones were driven into a swamp and there they were all shot.

Several young men in the barracks decided to escape to the Russian side. They worked diligently for several days in order not to arouse any suspicion and on a dark night they carefully left the barracks. They went into the woods and dashed for the Russian side. After several hours of losing their way, they were stopped by the Russian border guard who took them to a hearing before a military commission. They were questioned and the statements of the young men about the horrible conditions in the German labor camp were recorded. However, they were told that according to an agreement with the Germans, the Russians could not permit anyone illegal to cross the border and therefore the young men had to be sent back to the Germans. Crying or begging did not help and on a dark night, they were taken back to the border by Russian soldiers.

The desperate young men had to enter the camp covertly; there they stood with another labor group and thus erased their footprints.

The parents of the young men who labored in Czeczanow learned that their children were going around in ragged clothing. They made efforts through the Judenrat to receive permission to send packages of needed things. This time the regime showed “understanding” and gave permission. However, half of the things sent were immediately taken away on the spot; the storm troopers in the camp took their portion of the leftovers and the remnants reached the camp workers.

With the arrival of winter, the work of digging pits in the field stopped. For large sums of money, the storm troopers looked away when a Jew sneaked out of the camp. Several saved themselves in that way. However, the camp continued to exist and large number of Jews remained there.


XV

The Activity of the Judenrat

The Judenrat received an order from the chief of the city that the Jews should not appear too often in the streets, particularly on the main streets. There was a warning that if the “drifting about” of the Jews did not stop, the regime would bring forth “the appropriate consequences.” The Judenrat was therefore confronted with creating a Jewish “ordnungdinst” [Translator's note: keepers of order, i.e. police] that would assure that the Jews would not appear in the streets too often.

Several dozen young men were recruited for the police, who were placed at watch posts along every street. These Jewish order keepers wore arm bands on both arms: on the right, a white band with a Mogen Dovid [Jewish star] and on the left – a blue band with an inscription in German: Judische ordnungdisnt [Jewish police].

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Keeping order in the Judenrat and labor offices, in the kitchens and. in general, “disciplining” the Jewish population, also belonged to the functions of the police. The Jewish “order keepers” would immediately appear anywhere that several Jews stood together and order them to disperse.

It is understood that the authority of the Jewish police extended only to the Jews. However, they were powerless and helpless with not only those who were non-Jews, but also even with small children, if they were not Jewish.

Still more German families arrived in our city, and schools were created for their children. These school children from ages eight to 14, going to or in school would attack Jewish children and even adults and they would beat them with sticks or riding crops. When the German children were driven away by the Jews, they looked for the gendarmes, who defended the German children who had endured the injustice from the Jews and taught respect to both the Jewish children and adults, bringing their heavy hands against Jewish faces. The impudence of the little Germans therefore grew and Jews were forced to hide when they saw them in the street.

It once occurred that the leaders of the Judenrat and the leaders of the police were in the street when the Jewish

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children were beaten by the little German hooligans. The Jewish “representatives of the regime” at first tried to restrain the little Germans with moral arguments, such as “love thy neighbor,'” etc. However, the small hooligans were unimpressed by this kind of Jewish “preaching” and again did their work. Then the leader of the “Jewish police” brought his men with the armbands on both arms and tried to make order. However, the small Germans also attacked them, so that in the end a German gendarme in the street was asked to intervene. The gendarme gave an entire sermon to the leaders of the Judenrat and the police that they and the uneducated Jewish children and the entire verdammt gesellschaft [damned society] should not disturb the tranquility of the well educated German children. He finally told them: “You have only to order your Jews to have respect for the German children!”

Our leaders and the police were booed by the “well educated” German children and they left in disgrace.

**
*

The Judenrat received an order from the regime to register Jewish possessions on special forms that had to be filled out and given to the city chief. Every Jewish man and every Jewish woman had to provide a list of their exact possessions. The following columns were enumerated on the form: factories, businesses, workshops, securities, furniture, linen, blankets, rugs, pictures, journals and all other house wares, apparel, suits, coats, furs, shoes, hats and all other clothing (here the color of everything had to be given), gold, silver and other precious metals in every shape and form and all other things of value. Everything had to be written in the

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proper columns of the form and signed by the appropriate person. At the later inspections, the items found were compared with that which had been recorded on the forms. If things were found that were not recorded on the forms, they were taken and their owner was “paid” for this so that he would remember it for his entire life.

A registration of those who wanted to go to Russia was carried out at the same time. Those people who had relatives in the cities that had been occupied by the Russians at the start of the war reported for the registration. They now imagined that they would be able to join their families. The young people also appeared for the registration. All of the registration papers were submitted by the Judenrat to the regime.

**
*

Jews driven out of the surrounding shtetlekh by the Germans began arriving in our city. The first homeless came from the shtetl, Bojanow. They told of gendarmes entering the shtetl once in the middle of the night and everyone was driven out on the road outside the shtetl. They wandered in the dark until they arrived here. They first went to the Judenrat and settled in the courtyard, corridors, on stairs and wherever there was an empty spot – men, women, children and old people, all fatigued, tired, haggard, hungry, with dejected faces and ragged.

When night fell and the tired homeless still did not have a roof over their heads, they were quickly divided among the Jewish houses that were already too crowded because local Jews who had been thrown out by the Germans

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from their dwellings also had to be housed with other families.

The next morning the Judenrat immediately proceeded to create shelters for the homeless. All of the premises in which minyonim [groups of at least ten men who pray together], Talmud Torahs [elementary schools for poor boys], small synagogues located deep in the courtyards were taken over for this purpose. The new synagogue that had been damaged was repaired a little to arrange for the accommodation of the homeless there.

However, the shelters quickly became overfilled. Almost everyday new people who had been driven out of their homes arrived. Our city, which had 25,000 souls before the war, grew to 40,000.

Life in the shelters became even more difficult. Men and women and their children had to live together in one room. So did people from various classes. There was a lack of beds and many had to sleep on the ground. Almost everyone was isolated and disconnected; we collected as much furniture and linens as was possible and made every effort to help out those more unfortunate than we were.

The kitchen for the homeless was constantly active. However, there was not enough food. Large kettles of food began to be cooked in private houses and brought to the kitchen. But each day the conditions for the permanent residents became worse; everyone was occupied with himself and his own family. The private help became inadequate and things became worse for the people in the shelters. Contagious diseases, such as spotted and stomach typhus, began to appear in the shelters and the houses of the poor. Disinfection vehicles drove through the poor Jewish neighborhoods and cleaned the houses. The regime ordered the Judenrat to provide “delousing institutions” with a quarantine facility for those covered with typhus and also to create a hospital for epidemic disease.

 

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Jewish doctors threw themselves into the work of fighting the contagious diseases. The former captain in the Polish army, Dr. Walberg, was given the assignment of transforming the mikvah [ritual bath] into a quarantine facility with delousing capabilities. A short time later the facilities opened with a room for medics, feldshers [health practitioners], and were helpful. A hospital for epidemic disease was created in the premises of the I.L. Peretz Jewish children's home under the direction of Dr. Kagan.

All of the residents of the shelters were taken frequently to a quarantine facility. There they had their hair cut and shaved; their clothing was disinfected and they took baths.

The Judenrat made collections, from those who could still give, of linens, beds, bedding, and everything that the institutions and the hospital needed. Money was collected for medicines and instruments.

The hospital immediately became filled with the sick. The quarantine facility took in hundreds of people for observation. The doctors and medics worked so energetically with the help of the entire Jewish community that in time conditions came under control.

The German sanitary regime also made use of our institutions for the non-Jewish population. All beggars and the neglected in the Polish population were brought under police supervision to the Jewish sanitary facilities and were served by the Jewish personnel. Gypsies, who were strongly persecuted by the Germans, were also brought to us.

**
*

The privation grew constantly, so that the Judenrat did not have the means to help the thousands of people who did not have the possibility of earning money for their needs. It,

[Unnumbered page]
The map of the large and small Czentochower Ghetto

 

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therefore, decided to create a Judenrat aid committee that was to generate the funds for those Jews suffering from need. The aid committee also took under its protection all of the shelters, the two hospitals, the sanitary institutions and the entire poor Jewish population.

The committee created separate sections for medical and economic aid. A special staff secretly investigated who was in need of help. It was discovered that people who passed as rich had for long lived in want and need. Their possessions had been taken away long ago. Others lived by selling their last possessions for a few groshns. It also was shown that the largest segment of the population was in need of aid.

In order to fulfill their assignment, the aid committee needed to have large sums of money. The Judenrat could not provide this for the use of the aid committee. Therefore, it was decided to tax even more the well-to-do Jews who still ran their business and, in this way, great sums of money flowed in.

However, despite all of this, the Judenrat still faced more severe problems both concerning the regime and concerning the Jewish population. Thousands of Jewish families had to be supported, thousands of workers needed to be paid daily for work that they carried out for the Germans. Several hundred Judenrat clerks and their departments needed to be taken care of with food. In addition to this they were paid small stipends. The Judenrat also needed to pay for various raw materials that were used to renovate houses for the Germans; contributions very often had to be paid for someone to be ransomed from the Gestapo. Also, despite the fact that the aid committee aided the Judenrat's

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work, with all of the demands, greater sums of money were demanded to fulfill all of the obligations that the Germans placed upon the Judenrat.

At the meetings of the Judenrat, the conclusion was reached that if the condition of the Jews in our city was not as bad as in other cities, it was only thanks to the fact that everything that was requested by the Germans was provided. Consequently, everything must continue to be done in order to satisfy their demands. Therefore, a finance commission was created whose assignment was to raise more money.

The finance commission consisted of several city council members and several people who had earlier been involved with borrowing money with interest. These people were chosen as “specialists” who knew from whom and how to extract still more money.

The finance commission created a committee in every house and a managing member was appointed for every house committee who represented the house committee at the finance commission.

Every Jew who was not utterly poor was taxed with a sum of money for the main committee. Part of the money was immediately divided among the poor Jewish residents of the house and the rest went into the treasury of the Judenrat.

The finance commission continually thought up new taxes with various names: “premises tax” because one still lived in a corner of a room and not on the street; a “tax for order keepers” because they were “teaching” how to stand at ease; a “kitchen tax” because you did not need to use the communal kitchen; “worker tax” because you worked less than others; an “electricity tax,” “hospital tax,” “special tax” and more and more. Craftworkers who were still employed in their workshops had to pay “trade taxes.” The finance commission evaluated every separate

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tax for each tax payer. Every Jew who made use of the aid committee was pelted with tax notices. In addition, the German tax office demanded taxes, which every citizen had to pay.

The circle of taxes turned faster and stronger. Great sums of money flowed into the Judenrat treasury. However, thousands of complaints came in from those who could not bear the heavy tax load. Friction arose between the appraisal commission and the tax payers. The finance commission sent inspectors out into the city who had to investigate the exact situation of each payer. Many “tax payers” became receivers of support because it was shown that they had been hungry for a long time because they could not bring themselves to turn to the aid committee for support. A “higher appraisal commission” was created to consider the complaints of the payers. For some, the tax sum was lowered; for others they were increased still more.

However, there were also difficulties in paying, and once, when the Judenrat treasury was empty and there was nothing with which to cover the outlays, the Judenrat presented the regime with a list of those who had not paid their taxes.

One early morning, gendarmes in autos arrived unexpectedly in the Jewish neighborhoods and arrested those who had not paid their taxes during the required terms. If the husband was not in the house, they took the wife. Those arrested were taken outside of the city and, even though it was then winter, they were placed in a large stall. Only after three weeks, when a large part of the demanded taxes was paid and a guarantee was given for the remaining sum, were the arrestees released.

The Germans transformed the Judenrat into an instrument

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for extracting whatever they wanted from the Jewish population.

The Judenrat once received an order to bring the most expensive children's toys to the “city authorities.” It turned out that an excursion for German children to the eastern areas that were occupied by the Germans had been organized in Germany. The children were supposed to receive toys when they would pass our city. The Judenrat had looked in the shops and could not find the appropriate things. When the city chief learned of this, he telephoned the Judenrat, saying that if the toys did not appear during the course of several hours, the chairman of the Judenrat himself should report to him. The most able clerks were immediately sent out, who made a search of the Jewish businesses and private residences of the former rich men, and took everything that was available.

The toys were promptly delivered on deadline to the city chief and German women went to the train station and the children traveling through were given the presents. At the same time, Jewish children cried their eyes out for their toys.

**
*

The Germans regularly imposed themselves on Jewish labor like parasites and exploited the Jews in every way.

They began to visit the Jewish craftsmen.

The president of the Judenrat and the Jews who performed gyrations in the German offices, informed the Germans about who was the best tailor, shoemaker, lingerie maker, and so on. The Germans and their wives began to visit these craftsmen and order work from them. The Jewish craftsmen gladly received the German “clients,” in the hope of, through them, being able to better

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their bitter fate a little. The Germans ordered work from the best artisans and contemptuously threw them several small coins for the finished work so that it would appear that they had paid. The Jewish craftsmen endeavored that the work they did for the Germans would be the best. The German “clients” were delighted by the work of the Jews. The “chief of the city” was clothed by the best Jewish tailor in the city, who would use the opportunity to ask for a favor for himself or for a Jew who found himself with some hardship, while measuring for a beautiful suit or fur, and sometimes in this manner he was successful.

The German women also found the best Jewish tailor of women's clothing and had him sew their new clothing. They understood that it was more worthwhile for them to come accompanied by their husbands to the Jewish tailors, who would want to ask for a favor and therefore would do the work for free.

And thus it was with all of the other Jewish craftsmen who sewed and clothed the Germans from head to foot, both military men and civilians and their wives and children. They were freed of the terror that was administered to the Jewish population.

In time the Judenrat also began to make use of the acquaintance of the craftsmen with the Germans in order to cause the repeal of severe decrees against individual Jews or for the entire community. In several cases the craftsmen worked for their “clients” entirely without pay and the Judenrat provided the cloth.

Hope arose that pehaps through the craftsmen a few of the troubles that the Jewish population had to endure could be successfully alleviated.

 

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