Mrs. Korb was not mentally retarded or mentally sick. She was a beautiful
woman, aged 27-28, in her prime. She originated from Jaslo and married to
Korczyn. Her husband was Yossef Korb who originated from Jasznica but settled
in Korczyn. Mrs. Korb with her two-year-old baby in her arms was led to the
killing site. Why did the Judenrat surrender Mrs. Korb to the Gestapo. The
Judenrat claimed that the Gestapo specifically asked for her. How did the
Gestapo know about Mrs. Korb. We tried to unravel the mystery by pumping Mendel
Halpern, the Judenrat Jewish policeman.
According to Halpern, The Gestapo insisted that Mrs. Korb be handed over to
them. It seems that Mrs. Korb was in her youth a member of the communist party
that resulted in a trial. From the records of this trial in Jaslo, the Gestapo
supposedly established the present whereabouts of Mrs. Korb. Whether the claim
is correct or not we do not know. Obviously, the Judenrat can not be accused in
this instance of totally fabricating the story, for the Gestapo did come and
demanded Jews for execution.
The Gestapo returns to kill Jews
The event took place towards the end of July 1942, about two weeks before the
total destruction of the Jewish community of Korczyn. Suddenly, about 6 PM,
Jewish policeman from the Judenrat went from house to house and informed the
people to stay at home after 7 PM, for the Gestapo was in town. The policeman
also stated that any Jew found in the street after the curfew will be shot. The
people were terrified, they had heard terrible stories about events that took
place in nearby towns and did not know what to expect. The Jews were terror
stricken and did exactly what they were told to do. But the fear of the unknown
was on everybody's mind. Nobody slept that night, everybody tried to find a
corner and concentrate with his inner thoughts. The Jews were all paralyzed
with fear and resigned to the unknown.
The hours passed slowly, deadly silence at home and outside. The night seemed
never ending. Suddenly at 2 AM, we heard heart-breaking sounds, the shrill
voices affected us all. We were speechless and terrified by the terrifying
sounds that penetrated the home. How we managed to overcome the fear is beyond
my comprehension. But we overcame it. The cries and sobs continued. They became
louder with time, it lasted for hours. At 5 AM, I peeked through a crack in the
rear gate of our place. I heard Yiddish speakers and decided to open the gate.
I saw below in the street, Yankel Schprung and Getzil Schiff, I approached them
and asked them why is Eidel, the daughter of Moshe Willner, so hysterical. They
replied that her husband and her brother Feibush Willner were shot. The house
of Moshe Willner was the third house from us, the walls in the house were about
a half a meter thick. Yet, the sobbing sounds penetrated all the walls and gave
the impression that the crier was next door. To this day, I hear the sounds of
Eidel married about a year before the war. Her husband was from East Galicia
and when the war started, he and his brother-in-law decided to go to his native
place until things settled. They remained there since it became part of Russia.
With the German occupation of the area, they returned to Korczyn. They were
merely two weeks in Korczyn prior to their execution. Eidel's husband was a
scholar and a handsome man. The Germans brutally murdered both of them. The
Germans also killed Moshe Epstein who I will describe later. I was later told
that the Gestapo demanded all the Jews that returned from the Russian occupied
area as well as the rabbi of Korczyn.
On this terrible night, the Germans took Moshe Epstein, Moshe Willner's
son-in-law, Feibush Willner, Leibish Ritter, Yehoshua and Avraham Ringelheim.
The last three had work permits since they worked for the Germans. They
remained standing with their hands in the air and facing the wall the entire
night until 4 am when they were dismissed.
The Saint Moshe Epstein
Moshe Epstein was the son of the Rabbi of Nemirow and the son-in-law of Avraham
Raab in Korczyn. Moshe Epstein was an excellent Talmudic scholar. When the
rabbi of Korczyn was out of town for a period of time, Moshe Epstein took his
place and answered all religious inquiries without charging fees. He was an
intelligent, easy going person and an excellent conversationalist. He was
offered many rabbinical positions but he refused since he preferred his
independence. This situation changed during the German occupation. The family,
especially the children, were hungry. He therefore decided to appeal indirectly
to the Judenrat for help since he was officiating as Rabbi of Korczyn without
pay. The regular rabbi, as mentioned earlier, had left town. The Judenrat
decided to provide him with a few zlotys each week. I don't know the exact
amount nor do I know whether the amount was sufficient to provide bread for his
children. We know that the pharmacist also provided him with 10 zlotys each
Moshe Epstein had small infants. He was not an ordained rabbi and did not want
to become one. When the Gestapo asked for the rabbi, the Judenrat could have
said that the hamlet had no rabbi since the Korczyner rabbi had left town in
1939. Any Jew in the street would have backed up the statement. Nobody
considered Moshe Epstein the rabbi of Korczyn and most people did not know that
he received support from the Judenrat. It is possible that the members of the
Judenrat were so terrified that they lost all sense of leadership or that the
Jewish policeman, Mendel the bulldog, went and brought him to the Judenrat.
Nobody knows precisely what happened. Moshe Epstein was shot by the Germans but
not killed. He fell to the ground and remained there. The Germans assumed that
he was dead and left the area. Later that night, Moshe Epstein picked himself
up and headed for Yantsche Infeld's place, the son-in-law of Sara Gutwein, and
hid there. The next morning, the murders spotted that a body was missing.
Meanwhile, the Gestapo had returned to Krosno. A Polish policeman, a real Jew
hater, went to the Judenrat and told them that he received an order from the
Gestapo to the effect that the missing body is to be produced within four hours
at the police office or 40 Jews will be shot. The Judenrat again lost their
heads. For the Polish policeman could not do a thing without German permission.
The Judenrat could have waited and seen whether the Gestapo did issue such an
order. At most, they could have offered a bribe for Moshe Epstein in Krosno and
possibly saved him. It doesn't make sense that the Gestapo would rely on a
lowly Polish policeman to carry out its orders. The Judenrat decided to
surrender Moshe Epstein. They found him at 7 AM and surrendered him to the
polish policeman. Could it be that other people would have also lost their
reasoning abilities under such conditions. The Judenrat told Moshe Epstein that
the Germans would kill 40 Jews if he did not surrender himself. He said that he
was willing to be the sacrificial lamb for the Jewish community. He asked to be
buried with a knife that way he will be able to extract revenge on the Germans.
Moshe Epstein was buried at the Jewish cemetery in Korczyn. A knife was placed
in his coffin. No tombstone was erected for him. May these lines be his eternal
Frightful news – entire Jewish communities destroyed
News reached us that in the big cities like Krakow, Tarnow, Reishe or Rzeszow
and other big centers, terrible events were taking place. Thousands of Jews
were shipped away from their place of residence and nobody knew where they were
sent. The Germans registered Jews for work and during these registrations they
shoot large numbers of Jews. Entire communities seem to be wiped out.
In July of 1942, the Germans chased the Jews from all the villages in the area
and ordered them to Korczyn. Even the Jews from the village of Toraszowka which
belonged administratively to Krosno were told to move to Korczyn. Some villages
which belonged to Fristik, were also ordered to send their Jews to Korczyn. We
also had several Jewish families from Krosno as well as Jewish families from
Radom, Krakow and other cities that had previously arrived in Korczyn. The
Germans concentrated all the Jews in one spot. Korczyn now had 800 Jewish
refugees and about 800 local Jews. Thus the Jewish population consisted of
about 1600 people. All Jewish refugees could not be accommodated in private
homes, some were placed in abandoned stores and others in the study center. To
look at these poor refugees was enough of an inducement to all the Jews to envy
those that had died peacefully prior to the war.
Edict, Jews must pay all their Polish state debts to the Germans, Jews
forbidden to use electricity
In July of 1942, the Germans issued an edict to the effect that the Jews, not
the Poles, must pay to the Germans all the taxes that they owed the Polish
government. The same decree ordered the Jews to abstain from using electricity.
A terrible hopelessness seized the Jewish community. People began to suspect a
devilish German plan to extract all the money from them before they kill them.
Some people tried to dismiss these evil thoughts and looked at the bright
sight, maybe the Germans only want our money and not our souls. But then news
items kept filtering into town about the disappearance of entire Jewish
Entire Jewish transports from the big cities disappeared and nobody knew where
they went. Was this the final solution, nobody wanted to believe. How could
people believe that the Germans devised a plan to kill innocent women and
children? The Jews self deluded themselves that here in Korczyn nothing will
happen. Why is Korczyn an exception, nobody could answer that question.
Everybody said that bad things are taking place in other areas but here nothing
will happen. Our Germans are better than their Germans and besides the Germans
need the Jewish workers. Therefore, they will not permit the destruction of the
community. The Jews did not believe the Germans, but what was the alternative.
The hope to rescue us was hopeless. Perhaps there is a chance, perhaps G-d will
have mercy on us, and everybody wanted to believe.
Young Jews register for work and old ones shave their beards and
peyot to look younger
The Gestapo men in Krosno were leeches that sucked Jewish money. The Judenrat
of this city had to give frequently very expensive gifts that were difficult to
obtain at the time. Items such as fine material for suits and coats, leather
for boots and shoes and other items such as coffee that could not be obtained
on the local market because of the war. The Krosno Judenrat did manage to
obtain these items at great expense and presented it to the Gestapo. Needless
to add that they also provided large sums of money to the Germans. The
Korczyner Judenrat also provided the Gestapo with a variety of items. The
Gestapo assured the Krosno and Korczyner Judenrats that things would remain as
they were in the past.
The area had many German factories that provided goods for the German army.
Most of the workforce consisted of Jews. Therefore it was in the interest of
the Germans to keep the area calm. The older people will provide the
necessities for the younger ones who will continue to work in the German
factories. Thus there is no fear that the Germans will upset their own work
system. Youngsters aged twelve, registered for work. Some were sent to far away
camps from home and others worked in Krosno. The Jews from Korczyn that worked
in Krosno, about 70, assembled each day at 6 AM in the market place and
walked with a supervisor to the city to start to work at 8 AM. At 7 PM in the
evening they returned to their homes in Korczyn. About 40 Jewish girls worked
on a farm in Kombornia that belonged to the German army.
The Judenrat registered older Jews for local work. A sanitation department was
established, a burial crew was created, and the public kitchen needed cooks and
helpers. Thus jobs were created to provide employment for the Jews and to keep
them busy. Old Jews shaved their beards and peyot in order to look younger and
get jobs. How painful this must have been to people that never shaved. Who can
describe the feelings of people like Benyamin Rubin, Itsche Rosshendler, Moshe
Willner, Nachman Leibish Reich, Yankel Schprung and others who had to shave
their beards and sidecurls. Their eyes betrayed the feeling of hopelessness and
abandonment. Their crazed look gave the feeling that they have ceased to exist.
The Jewish communities of Krosno and Korczyn erased
Let us first
tell you how the Jewish community of Krosno was erased. Sunday the 9th of
August 1942, 27 days in the month of Av, Tashab, the Gestapo issued an order to
the effect that all Jews must assemble the next day, Monday, August 10th at
9 AM at the Targowice, market place, near the railroad station for
registration. The Jews of Korczyn that worked in Krosno were ordered to stay
home that day. They were forbidden to leave the city. Still some curiosity
seekers sneaked into Krosno and observed the scene from a distance. They
returned in the evening and reported that the Krosner Jews were still standing
in the assembly area and nobody knows what will happen to them.
The next day, Tuesday, the 11th of August, it was already obvious as to what
happened to the Jews of Krosno. Those Jews that reported to Targowice, there
were several hundred Jews that did not respond to the appeal, stood an entire
day in the scorching sun without a drop of water. The Germans did not permit
that water be brought to the Jews. The Jews were brutalized throughout the day
and finally loaded aboard cattle cars. Each car contained sixty people. The
cars were sealed and headed east. Nobody knew the exact destination, although
it was assumed that the transport would reach the death camp of Belzec. The
remaining Jews of Krosno paid a Pole to follow the train. He followed the train
to the station of Iwonicz, a spa center. Here the train remained standing the
entire day of Tuesday. People were screaming for water but no reply. Doctor
Baumring yelled from one of the cars, barbarians. The Germans pulled him from
the car and shot him. The Germans kept the able bodied Jews of Krosno in the
city which were needed by the German factories. Each German factory sent a
supervisor to the registration place to ensure that their workers were
protected. These supervisors took their workers and led them out from the
registration area to previously prepared barracks. Factories that had no
barracks sent their workers to the newly established ghetto in Krosno. The
ghetto was located in the so-called butter market area, the area where the
farmers used to sell their milk and eggs on market days. The entire ghetto
consisted of four buildings, three buildings of three stories and one ground
floor building. These four buildings contained 800 Jews, men, women and
children. Rooms of 5x5 meters contained 15-20 people. There were few families,
most of the population were single survivors of the selection. They placed
crates against the walls and between the crates they laid down planks. Thus
beds were created for the inmates of the ghetto. Some people had to sleep on
the floor for lack of sleeping space.
About 600 Jews, men women and children were hiding and did not report to the
registration on Monday the 10th of August 1942. Those that had money bribed the
Gestapo and received permits to go to work in the German factories. Others that
lacked money or were incapable of working continued to hide in the attics of
the ghetto or in other places. About three weeks later, the Gestapo came to the
head of the Krosno Judenrat and told him that those Jews that did not report to
the registration may now step forward and they will be issued work permits. All
Jews can step forth to the Ghetto Square and they will be legally registered.
They will not be harmed and issued personal warrantees as to their safety. The
Jewish leaders in the ghetto believed these promises. Notices were posted
urging the hidden Jews to step forth. Indeed about 200 Jews responded to these
ads and showed up at the appointed date and place.
The Gestapo men received them pleasantly and acted very nice. When the stream
of applicants stopped, the area was sealed. Trucks drove into the ghetto and
the Jews were forced to board them. They drove the Jews to an unknown
destination from where nobody returned. Only one person, Mendel Lindenberg,
jumped from one of the trucks and it took him two days to return to the ghetto
in Krosno. The ghetto in Krosno existed from the 10th of August 1942 to the 2nd
of December 1942. On this date, the remaining Jews from the Krosner ghetto were
transferred to the ghetto of Rzeszow or Reishe. Many Jews were killed during
the transfer, notably the Krosner rabbi, Rabbi Samuel Fuhrer. The Germans knew
that there were hidden Jews in the ghetto and searched everywhere. The Jews
that they found were shot on the spot.
The liquidation of Korczyn
Tuesday, the 11th of August 1942, 28 days in the month of Av, Tashab, Korczyn
received an order to the effect that all Jewish workers must proceed to their
usual positions on Wednesday. The Jews of Korczyn assumed that it was a safe
day, since every place that the Germans decided to liquidate the Jewish
population, they ordered the Jewish workers to stay at home. This was the case
of Krosno where the Jewish workers were ordered to stay at home on Monday, the
day that the selection took place. The Jews of Korczyn were now certain that
they were safe for the day. They had no illusions that they will avoid the fate
of Krosno. But the will to survive was so strong that even a day more of living
gave the people some illusory hope that had no realistic possibility except to
convince themselves that today it will not happen.
Wednesday at 7 AM, the Jewish workers lined up four abreast and marched
out of town to Krosno to work The entire town was there, the manner in which
parents said goodbye to their sons, wives to their husbands, brothers to
sisters, neighbors to neighbors are very painful to describe. The premonition
of something terrible was in the air and sunk deep into the crowd when the
column left town. At eleven o'clock we were told to stop working and were
escorted to a barrack near the slaughterhouse, just opposite the bridge on the
Wislok River that led to Korczyn. Soon we saw our disaster, trucks loaded with
girls, mothers and children passed us by. Today was our destruction. Today is
the end of Korczyn. In the evening, about five or six o'clock, we saw the Jews
of Korczyn driven by the Germans. The screams and beatings were beyond
description. We were then ordered to join the column. The leaders of the column
were told to slow the pace and the rear was forced to run full force in that
manner they fell on top of each other.
Pessah Kratzer, Haim Halpern's son in law, was covered with blood that oozed
from the beatings that he received from the Gestapo men. The later continued to
beat him since he did not wipe his face. Supposedly he wanted to create a bad
image for Germany. He has nothing to wipe his face with. For this observation,
Naphtali, the son of Shabtai Raab, received such a kick in the stomach that he
fell to the floor and lost conscience until a second kick revived him. Pessah
Kratzer continued to beg G-d to take his soul. Finally we arrived to the
Targowice market place in Krosno. There on the ground were already seated the
Jews from Jedlice and other places. We were ordered to join them. Soon a
messenger from the German district office appeared and demanded that he be
granted 70 workers from Korczyn that worked on road construction. They selected
70 men and escorted them to a table where a Gestapo man recorded their names.
Motel Rosshendler announced that he wanted to rejoin the group on the floor.
The Gestapo men kicked him in the direction of the seated Jews. The same thing
was done to Leizer Den who also chose to side with the condemned to death.
When a third person tried to rejoin the group, the Gestapo man shouted at him
and informed him that Germany needed workers and any further request to leave
the labor crew would be considered an act of sabotage and the party would be
shot on the spot. The labor crew of 68 workers, spared temporarily, was led
away by an Ukrainian SS man. He led them through the SS ranks that hit the Jews
with rifle butts or clubs while hurling insulting remarks to the Jews. The 68
Jewish workers were taken to the Krosner beth hamidrash or study center where
they found other selected Jews that were sent there from other places. We spent
the night in the study center and in the morning. a Jewish supervisor came and
led all the workers into the ghetto of Krosno. From the 68 workers of Korczyn,
only two survived the war, one is in New York and the other one is in
Parchments of the torah used as insteps in shoes and Talmud pages used as
The Korczyner Jews that survived the liquidation of the
community were in the Krosner ghetto. They were divided into two groups that
worked on the roads. One group worked along the Krosno-Rymanow highway and the
second group worked along the Krosno-Korczyn highway. The second group saw the
spiritual desecration. They saw entire sections of the torah scattered in the
trenches and Poles cut sections and inserted them in their shoes. They also saw
in stores large numbers of Talmud, shulhan aruch and other religious books
being used as wrapping paper. Pages were torn from these books and used to wrap
the purchased items.
The saints, Wolf Kirschner and his twelve year old son David Leib
On Wednesday, August 12th, 1942, 29 days in Av, tashab, when the Germans
attacked the township and drove all the Jews to the market, Wolf Kirchner and
his twelve year old son managed to escape through a rear entrance from their
home and headed to the Jewish cemetery. They remained hidden the entire day and
next day returned to their home to find that the entire Jewish community was
gone. Not one single Jew remained in Korczyn. He saw no hope or possibility of
survival and decided to commit suicide rather than to surrender to the German
Wolf went to the attendant of the Jewish cemetery and paid him to dig a grave
for him and his son next to his father's grave, Mechel Kirchner. He then
instructed him to call the Polish police. When the latter arrived he found Wolf
Kirschner and his son in the grave. The policeman shot both of them. May these
lines serve as an eternal memorial.
On their grave stands a tombstone that was erected in Polish in 1946 by his
sister in law. I think she lived in Canada. She sent money to the cemetery
attendant to erect a tombstone. In 1950, Zishe Eichorn visited Korczyn and
photographed the tombstone at the Jewish cemetery in Korczyn. I think that the
date on the tombstone is incorrect, it should read August 14th, 1942. The
inscription reads, here are buried the bodies Wolf Kirschner and his son David
Leib. The German killers murdered them on August 15th, 1942 in Korczyna.
The saints Avraham Bezenshtock, his wife and children and Yochewed
Avraham Bezenshtock, his wife and children Dawid and Miriam avoided the fate of
the local Jewish population on Wednesday, 29 days in Av, Tashab. They were
hidden with a local farmer. With them in hiding were also Mordechai, Pearl and
Schiff's daughter Yochewed. Their oldest son Simha was amongst the 68 workers
that remained alive and worked in the Krosno ghetto. From here he went to work
daily along the road. A neighbor discovered that Jews were being hidden and
blackmailed the farmer and the Jewish family for money. The appetite increased
with time and he constantly threatened to expose them to the Germans.
Simha Bezenshtock worked along the road and had an opportunity to meet people
and arrange a new hiding place for his family. He concluded a deal with a
farmer by the name of Weida from Padziamatche according to which, Avraham
Bezenshtock, his wife, daughter Miriam and Yochewed Schiff will hide with a
neighbor of Weida and Simha Bezenshtock, his brother Dawid and Yehezkel
Lewitman who also worked on the road will hide with Weida. The 22nd of
November, 1942, Simha Bezenshtock and Yehezkel Lewitman did not return to the
ghetto of Krosno but went to their hiding place.
Weida had a weakness, he liked to pinch stuff that belonged to other farmers.
Nobody knew whether he stole a rooster or a lamb but the farmer complained and
Weida was arrested in March of 1943, seven months after the liquidation of the
Jewish community of Korczyn. Weida's wife demanded that Simha and Dawid
Bezenshtock and Yehezkel Lewitman leave the house. The hidden Jews refused to
leave whereupon she went to the Polish police and reported the event. The
police soon arrived at the farm and found it ablaze. Simha Bezenshtock and
Yehezkel Lewitman decided to torch the farm and themselves rather that fall
into the hands of the polish police. They lit a match to the straw that
surrounded them in the attic and within moments the place was on fire. The
neighbor of Weida saw what happened and killed all the Jews that hid in his
place. To this day nobody knows where he buried the bodies of Avraham
Bezenshtock, his wife Ethel Bezenshtock, their daughter Miriam and Yochewed
Schiff. May these few lines serve as an eternal memorial to them.
The saint Israel Brener
Israel Brener lived in the village Domaradz situated about 16 kilometers from
Korczyn. The village belonged administratively to the administration of Brzozow
or Brezew in Yiddish. Simha Rubin the son of Mendel Rubin of Korczyn was the
son in law of Israel Brener and lived in Domaradz. Israel Brenner was different
from all the other Jewish farmers. He dressed like a hassid and was one in the
full sense of the word. He wore a long coat, a velvet black hat, a long beard
and long peyot. He studied torah, was very observant, gave charity and was very
modest in his behavior. He owned a torah scroll that he kept in his house and
the Jews from the area would come to his house on Saturday or holidays to pray.
Shmuel Aron Rosshendler told the information you are about to read to us in the
ghetto of Krosno after the destruction of the Jewish community of Korczyn.
Shmuel Aron Rossenhedler was a member of the Judenrat of Krosno and in this
capacity had contact with some of the Gestapo men. The Gestapo chief,
Schmatzler in Krosno came to Shmuel Aron Rosshendler and told him the following
event. Rosshendler, I am amazed, this is unbelievable. I went to liquidate the
Jews of Dormatch. The order was that all Jews of Domaradz were to leave the
village and head for Brzozow. I entered the house of the Jew Brener and told
him that he had 2 hours to leave the village and he can take everything with
him. When the Jew heard the announcement he went straight to the closet and
took his torah scroll and left for Brzozow. Nothing else mattered. He took
nothing from the house. The German repeated the words, such spiritual heroism.
He took nothing except for the torah scroll. He was astonished by this
spiritual heroism of the simple Jew. May these lines serve as an eternal
memorial for him.
The Krosner Rabbi, Moshele Twerski and his brother in law Naphtali
Horowitz, Rabbi of Rozwadow
In the Krosner ghetto was the Krosner rabbi Moshe Twerski and his brother in
law Naphtali Horowitz, rabbi of Rozwadow, as well as their wives. The Krosner
rabbi was dressed sporty, his pants were tucked in the boots and he wore a
kasket on his head. His face was clean shaven, no beard or peyot. The
Rozwadower rabbi was dressed in similar fashion except that he had a big blond
moustache which gave him the appearance of a country peasant. Each day they
marched to their jobs with the rest of the workers. They worked in the laundry
and cleaned German clothing. There are still today Jews that remember the
Krosner and Rozwadoewr rabbis in their impressive appearance prior to the war.
What a picture of contrast between than and now that they tried to pass
themselves as two farmers going to work in the laundry. This event is rather
small in comparison to the total Jewish picture of the time but it illustrates
the situation of the Jewish plight when a rabbi has to hide his identity for
fear of his life. We seem to forget the past rather easily. Yaacov Itzhak
Fessel, today in Stockholm, Sweden, informs us that the rabbi of Krosno died of
dysentery in the ghetto of Rzeszow.
The Gestapo grabs Jewish children in the ghetto
The event took place in the middle of the month of September of 1942. The
Gestapo surrounded the ghetto and grabbed Jewish children and threw them aboard
trucks that left for an unknown destination, a place of no return.
Pisgah Kratzer arrested in the ghetto
Pessah Kratzer, Haim Halpern's son in law worked with the German construction
firm Kirchof that worked along the road to Dukla. On a particular day in
September of 1942, Pessah did not report to work. He remained in the ghetto. To
his misfortune, a Gestapo man with the nickname of Von Daladier made his
appearance in the ghetto. He was a beast, a killer, a murderer. He saw Pessah
Kratzer and asked him what he was doing in the ghetto. Pessah answered that he
worked outside chopping stones and was on his lunch break. The killer went
outside and asked the foreman how many workers he has. The foreman told him
that he had 17 workers. The Gestapo man counted the workers and saw he had 17
without Pessah Kratzer. He returned to the ghetto and found Pessah Kratzer and
took him away and killed him. May this be his eternal tombstone.
Yanka, Yente Geller
Yanka Geller was an assistant in the pharmacy of Korczyn. She was a proud woman
of 27 and stemmed from a Jewish traditional family in Stry. I think that Nathan
Eck in Israel who works for Yad Vashem was her brother in law. When the Jews of
Korczyn were rounded up, she managed to hide in the attic of the pharmacy. A
week after the liquidation of Korczyn, Yanka reached the ghetto of Krosno. She
mentioned that she had a possibility of reaching the city of Krakow with the
help of a Christian woman, Mrs. Grabowiecz. The latter was to provide her with
Aryan papers so that she could live as non-Jew. The next day she left the
ghetto and to her misfortune was identified by the wife of a polish policeman
from Korczyn, Mrs. Habrat. She denounced her to the Germans who arrested her
and she disappeared.
Why We Did Not Resist
All kinds of paper heroes are now asking all kinds of question as to why the
Jews did not resist. They themselves sat in comfortable places and witnessed
the killing of millions of people without a parallel in human history. They did
nothing then but have now all sorts of questions such as why we did not resist.
These so-called Jewish heroes instead of demanding explanations from the German
killers are directing their questions to the victims. Why did they permit
themselves to be led to the slaughter instead of dying a heroic death. This
would have pleased many of the paper heroes. They of course did nothing when
the news of the destruction of European Jewry reached them. Unlike Mordechai in
the story of Purim, who went into the streets to alarm the Jews about the
impending disaster. These people did nothing to protect their brethren who were
being slaughtered by the millions. They slept and ate and enjoyed themselves.
Such heroes could also be found amongst European Jews. There is no doubt that
all Jews that fell under the German boot were to receive the same treatment
regardless of place. Even American Jews had they been seized by the Germans
would also been led to the slaughter just like the European Jews. With what
means would they have opposed the German soldiers, a kitchen knife or a club
against a loaded rifle. Maximum the soldier would receive a blow but in the
process how many people would be killed. Who dared to take a step that would
provide the Germans with an excuse to kill women, children and elderly people.
Such decision could lead to the total destruction of the community. The German
always used their psychological strategy, registration, selection etc. There
was always a bit of hope and always some survivors.
All the Jewish communities in the area were liquidated within the same week
thus eliminating any possibility of coordination. They did not even know the
extent of the liquidation. Who was supposed to organize and where were the
means of defense. The Jew in exile was never trained to die a hero's death; in
their long history they acquired the training to die as martyrs. Furthermore,
most of the Jewish youth was no longer in the communities but in German labor
camps. The communities consisted primarily of Hassidic, religious elements,
elderly people, women and children. The ability to shoot or stab with a knife
they never acquired and the ability to produce weapons was beyond their dreams.
In the oil fields of Wenglowka near Korczyn, was employed a manager, a Jew by
the name of Karol Weissberger. He knew that he was a Jew but refused any
contact with Jews and kept a distance from Jewish life. His only connection to
Judaism was the fact that he was born to Jewish parents. During the liquidation
of the Jewish community of Korczyn, the Germans did not bother with him. He was
on friendly terms with some Gestapo men and even invited them for drinks to his
home. They of course assured him that he should not be worried by the events in
Korczyn since he has their protection.
In the winter of 1943, the Gestapo men came to Wenglowka to visit Weissberger.
He invited them to eat and to drink. During the meal, one of the Gestapo men
took Weissberger by the arm and led him to the next room as if to reveal a
secret. There another Gestapo men shot him in the back. The wife and his two
children were arrested.
Urbankowa, the convert
After the house of Dr. Pszislowski, a few steps further there was log cutting
plant that belonged to a gentile by the name of Urbanek. The latter was a
postal worker in Silesia or Poznan. There he met a Jewish woman who had a
Jewish child from her previous marriage. Urbanek married her and they came to
Korczyn about 1925. She had converted to his religion. In 1943, the Gestapo
came and arrested Mrs. Urbanek and their son Zbiszek aged 15. They took them
and they disappeared.
The survivors of Korczyn after the liberation
With the end of the war, 15 men and one woman survived the German occupation
and 11 men and 6 woman survived in Russia the war. These are all the survivors
of the Jewish community of Korczyn. All our parents aged 50 and over were
killed by the Germans on August 12, 1942 or 29 days in the month of Av, Tashab.
The memorial day for our brothers and sisters is not known specifically but it
can definitely be placed in the first ten days of the month of Elul, Tashab,
1942. They were forced to board the train that left the Krosno railway station
on Friday, the 14th of August 1942, the first day of Elul, Tashab. The memorial
day of those that perished in the concentrations camps is unknown.
Yossele Reich – He perished in the death camp of Plaszow
Yossef was the only son of Nachman Leibish Reich and the grandson of Shaul
Reich and the great grandson of Mendel Shroit. He was my best and most devoted
friend. He was an imposing young men dressed in the hassidic garb. On Saturday,
a silk caftan and a velvet hat. He dedicated his youth to the study of the
torah and knowledge. In spite of the fact that he managed a linen factory, he
also managed to find time to continue his studies of the torah and general
knowledge. He was a pedant and besides mastery of the Polish language and
culture was also at home in the Hebrew literature. He wrote many articles in
Yiddish and Hebrew and published then in various literary publications.
Yossele was a logical thinker, a calm person, a human heart, a fine character
and had excellent mannerisms. Those that came in contact with him or conversed
with him were impressed with his straightwordness, his refinements, his good
nature, his wisdom and friendship. His loss is a pity.
In the concentration camp Duchacka Wola
Written by Yosselle Reich, delivered by Avraham Horowitz of New York. The poem
describes the suffering and martyrdom of the Jewish inmates. The poem was
loosely translated into English by William Leibner.
Under the control of the eastern railway
Exist thousands of slaves in the camp
Of Duchacka Wola
Whether they get a bone
Or a very hard stone
It doesn't matter in
The nazi regime
They were brought here
By German murderers and Gestapo men
They were given strange clothes
But never received a free moment
Bayonets drove them
Into closed railway cars
In the spirit of the time
They were exhausted and unable to breath
Oh mighty God
Trusted defender, dear Father
Extinguish the fire of Hell
Finish our troubles
From the cruel whip
Of the German murderer Mr. Keil (nazi supervisor)
Protect us, Oh Merciful
The persecuted children of Israel
Under the control of the eastern railway
Exist thousands of slaves in the camp
of Duchacka Wola
– empty –
About the author of poem, this is how I feel
The publishers Israel Platner, the author of the poem, this how I feel, lived
in Krosno and then emigrated. He is a known poet and wrote many interesting
articles and poems on daily topics. His creations were frequently printed in
the Jewish Journal of Toronto and other newspapers. He was highly praised by
the famous writer, Haim Liberman. The author speaks about the Lublin
Reservation and Boxes of Ashes in his poem. In comparison with the death camps
of Auschwitz, Maydanek, and other hell holes where European Jewry was
massacred, the Lublin Reservation and Boxes of Ashes are rather mild stuff and
don't convey the true picture of the tragedy that befell the Jews of Europe.
We have to remember that the author wrote the poem in 1940 when the situation
was grim for the Jews but not catastrophic. The German murderers did not yet
build the death camps of Auschwitz and Maydanek and others.
At the request of the author, we publish the poem as it appeared in the
newspapers in 1940.
Statement from the author of the poem, this is how I feel
I composed the poem with a great deal of pain and tears. Within a matter of a
few weeks, following the beginning of WWII, the poem was finished. It remained
locked in the draw of the editor of the Toronto Jewish Journal until February
1940. Then the poem was published. It was then reprinted in other papers such
as the Yiddishe Welt in Cleveland, Chicago Courier in Chicago and the Yiddishe
Welt in Philadelphia. As to the question why I knew what was going on there
while the other leaders did not know, this is my secret that picks at my brain
and presses my heart.
[Picture of Israel Platner in Toronto, Canada]
This is how I feel
If I had courage
I would do the following
Not withstanding the laughter of the cynics
That I would ignore
I would dress a black sack of coal
For the destruction of Polish Jewry
And walk in the streets and scream
That would attract the attention of the young and old
And even the infants would join
Everybody would ask what is going on
Then I would scream even louder
For I hear the dying pains
Those reach us here
From the valley of the death
Where the German murder and persecute
The children of Israel
Hear, Hear, the vulgar beastly laughter
That silences the innocent crying
Of the daughters of Jacob
Why doesn't mankind morn
Like a mourner in the thirty days of morning
Don't you see the Boxes of Ashes?
From the murdered saints
A big slaughterhouse you call
Let my heart be torn to pieces
If I can't awaken the conscience of the world
Ha, Ha, Ha, cultural advancement
Why the need for encyclopedias
Who needs literature?
Let it all explode
With the full impact
Better scream at the murderer
Drop the axe
Close the laboratories
Who needs to split the atoms?
Children whose bellies are swollen from hunger
Try to keep them alive
If you men, rich or poor
Are able to sit in peace and do nothing
Listen to the radio at home
And their suffering you don't want to hear
Then, a flood may come and soon
To wipe out mankind
Let the animals remain in the forest
Let them stay alive for they are innocent
But the people, they are evil!
Loosely translated into English by William Leibner
Holy tombstone in memory of the city of Korczyn
Amongst the hundreds of small towns of Poland, Korczyn stood out by the large
religious following and by the large number of religious students. The Jewish
kehilla as many others, is no longer. The German murderer killed the Jews of
Korczyn just as he did the other six million Jews. The wound is open and there
is no cure. Tears keep rolling in spite of the fact that 25 years have elapsed.
by Aron Atlas, grandson of Hirsh Halpern, lives in Jerusalem
The tears will not cease for the eyes see distances and they can see the
township of Korczyn in the lowest degradation. The Jews that lived there are no
longer. The eyes see the soil of Korczyn drenched in the blood of our parents,
brothers, sisters and children. The Germans spilled their blood that run like
Just like their blood will never dry so will our tears continue to flow. The
eternal eye will forever have a frozen tear as a reminder for the holy people
that were killed by the Germans. We are not talking of plain blood but the
blood of holy people who died as martyrs and extinguished the light of the
Jewish community of Korczyn. It is our obligation not to forget the destruction
and to keep it alive. To weep for our dear ones whose blood was spilled. But we
don't know how to weep said the sages: when the temple was destroyed, God wept
over the loss of his home, he asked, where are my children, where are my
priests, where are my prophets, where are my followers. God said to the prophet
Jeremiah, go and call Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses for they know how to
Jeremiah went to the cave of the patriarchs and said to the fathers of the
world. Arise. God is demanding your presence. They asked why? Jeremiah answered
that he did not know and let them go at that. Jeremiah also invoked Ben Amram
to appear before God. They all knew how to weep, how to express sorrow but we
don't know how to weep.
Our parents in Korczyn
The township of Korczyn had about 200 Jewish families. Korczyn was not a big or
famous city, but it had a name as a place where there were religious scholars
and learned men. We will mention Rabbi Shmuel Aron Rubin, the head of the
judicial council and the author of the known book of halacha, the house of
Aron, that deals with divorces. This rabbi was followed by Rabbi Shmuel Rubin,
a grandson of the famous Rabbi of Rupszitz. He was also related to the famous
hassidic rabbi of Shinive. The city contained many religious scholars and
teachers. The Jews of Korczyn were tied to their religious traditions, they had
mercy, they were good natured and they gave charity.
The Jews of Korczyn awakened the dawn by rushing to the synagogue with the
talit and phylacteries in spite of the bitter cold that prevailed during the
winter months. This one sat down next to a page of the talmud, the next one
studied mishnayot, another one recited the psalms until they all joined in
prayers. In the evening, the stores were closed and the Jews went to the beit
hamidrash to pray the evening prayers and following the prayers, Jews again sat
down to study religious texts.
Shabbath of our fathers in Korczyn
All days of the week we were looking forward to Saturday. On Friday we already
felt the atmosphere of the Shabbath, especially in the area of the market since
many women purchased their needs for Saturday. Friday was also the day when
they barrowed money to cover the purchases for Saturday. They were not worried
about the debts since it was for the Shabbath and they had full confidence that
the almighty will provide. Even the rabbi's house was full of activities since
the rabbi had to answer many questions regarding the kashrut of the chickens
that were being slaughtered for Saturday.
Friday afternoon, the Shabbath sanctity descended on the township. Stores
started closing and preparations were made for Saturday. With the lighting of
the candles on Friday, the Shabbath atmosphere reigned in town. The woman that
lit the candles felt the importance of their actions and prior to the actual
lighting would set aside some charity reciting certain prayers. She would then
light the candles and express her wish for health, income, respect from the
children and some tears would descend her cheeks.
The eyes should have seen how the Jews of Korczyn leave their homes and head to
the synagogue in their special attire. Not only the well to do dressed
especially for the Shabbath but also the poorer Jew had special clothing for
the Shabbath. Thus, rich and poor dressed alike for the Shabbath. The synagogue
was lit with many candles and white tablecloths covered the tables. The cantor
started the service by singing the first lines of the Friday night service.
Before the services were finished, people looked for guests for their Shabbat
meal. Happy and gay did the Jews return from the service to their home, tall
and erect they entered their residences. They looked forward to a day of rest
and spiritual recharge from the weekdays. The feeling is beyond description.
When he started to chant the Friday night songs at the table and the chants
during the meals, he felt like a prince. The whole week, he was constantly
rushed but on Friday night he sat and ate with regal dignity.
There was no Jewish home that did not have some singing during the meal. After
the meal, some went back to the synagogue to study while others went to the
house of the rabbi to listen to a torah sermon. Saturday, the service finished
about noon. Again the family had a big meal and plenty of singing. Then the
father examined the son as to what he studied during the week or sent the son
to the heder to be tested. After the evening service, the congregants would eat
in the synagogue and sing chants of praise to the merciful God. With the end of
the Shabbath, the sexton would light a candle and the light would remind the
congregants that the Shabbath has ended and another workweek is about to begin.
The story about the destruction of my family and our township
by Zishe Eichorn, Jerusalem
[The writer's picture is on the page]
My father, Chaim was like the other Jews in town. He raised his children to
love the Jewish people. I have to thank him for helping shape my character and
personal traits. In all my activities as a child and as an adult in my
wanderings, I always followed his example of honesty and integrity. I never
managed to obtain a high education, secular or religious, since the family
could not afford it.
I was one of ten children in the family. I survived while all the brothers and
sisters were killed, I have no explanation. I was not better or smarter than
any of my brothers or sisters.
The Germans killed six of my brothers and sisters with their families that
lived in Poland, 52 people in all, and my wife and our 3 children. All the Jews
that were under German rule shared the same fate. The survivors of course first
see their own tragedies and those of their nearest kin before drawing general
conclusions. I always see my parents, Chaim and Braindel, my wife with the
three children, my brothers and sisters with their families. They always remain
in front of my eyes and I can never forget them for a moment. I always ask why
did they deserve this fate but there is no answer. Sometimes I even ask myself
why I survived, for what purpose. I saw many times the angel of death and on
occasion even met him face to face but I survived. Whether I am better off
alive than my dead relatives, that is another question. Apparently, it was my
destiny to survive and memorialize them to the best of my ability in the old
Jewish tradition. I have no other explanation.
I already published many articles in various papers that dealt with my
experiences and those of my family as well as items pertaining to Korczyn.
But the sadness remains, no amount of writing will remove the destruction of my
family and the community. Before the last deluge, I lived in Germany where I
married and three children. When Hitler became ruler of Germany, we, the
foreign born Jews, were his first victims. He sent us all across the Polish
border. My family and my mother in law reached Bieletz in Poland where we
remained for a period of time. With the invasion of Poland in 1939, we headed
to Korczyn. 19 years we lived happily together, first in Germany and then in
The children were raised in the Jewish spirit. They blossomed and we enjoyed
watching their growth. The entire family was united. In addition to our
arrival, the family also received two brothers with their families and three
sisters with their families and a recently acquired sister in law, all in all
52 people. The first place they went upon arrival to Korczyn was to our
mother's place. She took charge of the situation and made room for all the
members of the family. Her small two-room apartment with a kitchen was the
extent of the place, yet she found room for everybody. During the division of
Poland between Russia and Poland and the ensuing chaos, my son Berish, aged 17,
and myself were caught on the Russian side of the divide. We were no longer
free agents and wound up deep in Russia, in Siberia. During our long trips
through this big country, my son died. I buried him, and during the first three
days of morning, I greyed beyond recognition. Now I was left alone, no relative
or kin. Only the illusion that somewhere in Poland someone from the family
managed to survive. This dream kept me going from day to day. Finally, after
all the terrible experiences, I returned to Poland with the hope of finding
someone from the family. My first objective was to reach Korczyn and when I
reached it, all my illusions were shattered. I had already a premonition on
entering Poland when I saw entire areas that once had large Jewish populations,
totally devoid of them. The Jews lived and worked here for generations and each
succeeding generation added another ring to the chain. Suddenly, the whole
process stopped, the entire Jewish population was mercilessly slaughtered
except for a few miraculous survivors, including myself.
The previous neighbors were astonished to see me, for they had already divided
the inheritance and suddenly a claimant appeared on the scene. The neighbors
wanted to forget the whole history and suddenly a reminder of the past
appeared. Very uncomfortable were the Polish neighbors that took our
possessions. But they did not show remorse or ask for forgiveness, this they
probably had obtained from the parish priest. Besides, all sins could be placed
on the Germans.
I wanted to visit two places in Korczyn, the first was the water well of
Korczyn that still existed and was near our place of residence and the cemetery
where the Jews were buried prior to the destruction of the community. I tasted
the water and it was so fresh, this taste reminded me of my youth when I
stopped frequently here to quench my thirst. The taste remained in my mouth
throughout all my wanderings. To date I do not know what happened next to me
but apparently I fell asleep or fainted from exhaustion. For my entire life,
from childhood to the present, passed in review. My mother tended to me and
gave me some of her tasty dishes to eat. I do not know how long I was
daydreaming but when I awakened. I was angry with myself for letting my guard
down. After all, my neighbors could have killed me.
My second visit was at the cemetery that belonged to the Jewish community. So
far nobody claimed it and it remained as it was surrounded by high cement wall
that was built by the late Chaim Wolf Koref. This was the only place where
former Korczyner Jewish residents could feel at home. Some of the neighbors
informed me that my mother passed away three days before the community was
liquidated and is buried at the cemetery. The old caretaker showed me my
mother's gravesite and I was able to pour out all my sorrows. I spoke to my
mother and told her that her son Zishe survived the war and survived Hitler and
will erect a tombstone for her. While talking to her, I must have passed out
for the next thing I felt water running down my face that the caretaker must
have spilled when he saw my condition.
I then went from grave to grave, I found my father's grave and prayed there, I
located my grandfathers - Yossef and Nuta Leibush and my grandmothers. I
informed them that one of the family survived the war. I decided to erect a
tombstone for my mother and left for Bielsko Biala where I stayed since I came
from Russia. Here I ordered the tombstone and had my mother's name inscribed on
it as well as other members of the family whose whereabouts nobody knows. I
shipped the stone to Krosno where I rented a cart, there were no haulers at the
time, and hired a Pole to help push the tombstone to Korczyn. The trip lasted
three hours and a downpour caught us halfway but we had no place to stay so we
continued in the rain.
[The cemetery of Korczyn, top picture]
The entrance and the wall surrounding the cemetery of Korczyn that Chaim Wolf
Koref built. Bottom picture
[The tombstone for the Eichorn family in Korczyn, picture II]
Three times I revisited Korczyn since I returned from Russia. I spent 5 nights
in my old town and the only place I felt comfortable was at the morgue of the
old Korczyner cemetery. It is strange, but I felt more at ease with the death
people than the living neighbors. The fear that is instilled in us children
about the cemetery disappeared. I was unable to sleep, so I commuted with all
the souls that rested in this place. With the crack of dawn, I prayed at my
father's grave and then visited the graves of my relatives, my mother and grand
parents. I also recited some prayers at their graves.
In Korczyn, I suddenly felt an urge to gather information about the liquidation
of the Jewish community in order to memorialize it. Two Poles from Korczyn- the
caretaker of the Jewish cemetery and the caretaker of the general cemetery
offered to guide me to the various burial grounds. Of course they were well
paid and took me first to the general cemetery and showed me ditches
surrounding the cemetery. These ditches contained the bodies of many people
that the Germans killed. Then they led me to the mass grave of Jews along the
road to Brezew. I would have liked to have brought all these bodies to Israel
but this was beyond my ability. What happened to the other survivors of
Korczyn, for the town had close to 1500 people prior to the destruction of the
community. There is no answer to the question. Thus we have no alternative but
to memorialize our victims amongst the 6 million saints in our own yizkor book.
Even if we are unable to list all the people in Korczyn for lack of knowledge,
at least they will be listed in spirit of Korczyn.
It was a nice sunny Sunday, I was standing helpless, a stranger, a heavy heart,
and watched the Poles rest on their holy day. Had it rained, it would have made
me feel a bit happier. I approached the water fountain, I washed my hands and
did not know what to wish for. Should Jewish life be resurrected here, no was
my answer. I merely commuted with the Jewish generations that lived here and
passed forever. They lived, suffered, and united passed on. May my tears join
the tears of other Jews and expedite the arrival of the Messiah.
Now to the skimpy description of the community, of Korczyn.
The 15th Memorial Day 12/8/1956, 29 days in the month of Av, Tashtaz, was
memorialized at Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Here the Korczyner and Krosner
survivors erected a permanent tombstone in the Cave of the Holocaust for the
Jews killed in both communities. We also added a plaque naming the two
communities along the wall that contained hundreds of localities. There were
many participants from both towns. Each year, we have less and less
participants. In 1959, no Krosner survivor was there and I was the only
survivor of Korczyn, indeed very sad.
Each year, the 10th day in the month of Tevet, the survivors meet in a hall in
Tel Aviv to memorialize the victims. We remember the saints and our hearts cry
when the cantor from Krosno recites the prayers for the death. In the hall, the
survivors of Korczyn and Krosno meet and exchange the latest news. The names of
our departed are also listed with the names of other communities. May their
memory be eternal.
Our well-known hassidic Jewish township was well known for the production of
fine linens. The Jews traded the merchandise throughout Poland and the world
and established its fine reputation. Very few survivors were left to tell or
record the story.
A distant place, seven kilometers from the nearest railway station. Yet it had
its share of poor people as well as those that came to beg from other places.
Nobody left the township without a donation. The rich gave more but the simple
people also gave in order to fulfill the deed of giving charity.
We remember the well to do families in town: Mendel Shroit, Shaul Reich,
Elieazar and Avraham Rab, Chaim Dym, Mendel Gleicher, Hersh Yaacov Rosshendler,
Shulem Akselrad, Moshe Rothenberg and many others. Later, their descendants
continued to give charity and help the needy. Following WWI, the financial
situations of some families changed but the tradition of charity continued. Who
can forget the charitable work of Bashe Welke Reich, Sarah Gutwein and other
women who helped the poor and needy. Our neighbor, the butcher Moshe Kirschner
and his wife Ita set an example. They were not rich people but helped the poor
in town with meat for the Shabbath and holidays. The artisans were happy when
they could invite a poor person to their Friday night table. The town
population lived a quiet life until the Germans destroyed the entire community.
This period is very painful to describe
29 days in the month of Av, Tashab, at 8 AM, the township was surrounded
by Germans, Ukrainians and Polish collaborators. They drove the Jews from their
flats and those that procrastinated were shot on the spot. The Jews with their
hasty assembled packages were driven to the market place. There they kept the
entire day. They were not permitted to approach the two fountains to drink
water. In the afternoon, the chief of the Gestapo arrived and selected the old,
sick and weak people. He tapped these people on the head with his cane, the
party was immediately grabbed by the henchmen and tossed into a waiting truck.
When the truck was full, it left in the direction of Brezew where there were
ditches prepared for their execution and burial. Thus, the Jewish population
decreased with each truckload.
The Germans did not reveal their intentions. They told everybody that they are
resettling the population. Few believed their statements. But who dared to
challenge the armed forces that carried out these operations. Amongst the
victims were my sister Hanah Pessel and her husband Shmuel, my sister Bluma and
her husband Ephraim, my aunt Percze nee Katz, Moshe Dawid Fessel, Moshe
Kirschner and his wife and many others.
With the removal of the old people, the rest of the Jewish population was lined
up 5 abreast and marched to the railway station of Kros where two days later
they were shipped to the Belzec death camp. Shlomo Firsichbaum and his wife
refused to follow the crowd, he wrapped himself and his wife in his talit and
uttered the word, Shema Israel. The Germans shot him on the spot Their only
daughter and her husband, my brother, and their 3 children witnessed the whole
scene. In the transport were also my wife Esther and our two children: Rivka
aged 18 and Hanah aged 16, my brother Jacob and his wife and their 3 children,
my sister Rikel and her husband and 2 children. Many other members of the
family were on the train but it is impossible to list them all. The Polish
population that lived in close proximity with the Jewish population and traded
with it for generations, appeared soon in town with sacs and carts to haul off
the goods left by the Jews.
Before I left Poland in March of 1950, I visited Korczyn for the last time. I
noticed a page of the Talmud that I took for burial to Israel. This page
represented the spiritual inheritance of the destroyed Jewish community. Of all
the books in Korczyn, this page had the luck to be taken to the Holy Land for
burial. Thus, I left my birthplace, a broken down lonely person, a survivor of
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