[Page XXV English] [Page 417 Yiddish]
30.12.1941: There are posters in the streets that from 1st. January, 1941, no Jew may leave Staszów without the permission of the District Council at Opatow. Every Jew found outside the limits of the town after that date will be shot.
This decree has gravely affected the Jewish population, which lives by trade with the surrounding villages. When this economic branch is cut off, many Jews wilt be left without the means for living.
6.1.1942: In accordance with an order issued by Governor General Frank, the Fur Action was begun from today. Every Jew at once had to hand over all his fur garments to the Germans, otherwise he was in danger of the death sentence. The collection point of the contributed furs was in the Jewish Community building, at the Judenrat offices. The order was carried out punctually, in spite of the bitter cold of winter all round. Several Jews in the neighbourhood who were found in possession of furs after the shove-mentioned date were shot. One of them was in Ostrowiec.
15.1.1942: From today no Jewish business may operate except under the supervision of a German, a Volksdeutsche or a Pole. That is the new decree that has been published.
All businesses and factories in the entire region have been placed under the supervision of the Trade Association of the Radom District, whose Chief Commissioner is Kurt Harry. The sources of livelihood of hundreds of Jewish families in town have again been cut off at a single stroke. The Gendarmerie and the Polish police have immediately undertaken to carry out the order. This action has been headed by the Volksdeutsche Jendreck from the neighbouring village Szelec.
February, 1942: This month the notorious Von Maloschki, that trained tyrant and sadist of the Hitler school, has begun to take charge in Staszów. Until now his place of residence was at Tarnow near Cracow. Von Maloschki arrived for the first time with his assistant, entered several Jewish shops and took whatever goods he felt like taking. Anybody who dared to ask anything was murderously beaten by him, and shot in many cases. Later, this person often appeared in Staszów and savagely terrorized the Jewish population, always taking valuable things. One Friday, during Market Day (before the War markets used to be held on Mondays and Thursdays, but the Germans changed this and fixed Friday only as Market Day) this Von Maloschki arrived and took the wares of three hatmakers: Leibel Fleischhacker, Welwel Zimmerman (Gille) and Yeshaya Podeschwa. Von Maloschki compelled the hatmakers to hand over the rest of the goods that they had at home. He sold the cheap wares to the peasants of the surrounding villages at dirt-cheap prices, and took the better goods to Tarnow. The pillaged Jews were thoroughly thrashed after having been robbed of their possessions
17.3.I942, Tuesday 10 a.m.: Von Maloschki suddenly arrived in Staszów. On the Cracow road he came across two Jews from Mielec who had run away from their town after the extermination action, which had taken place ten days earlier. The murderer took the two unfortunate men to the Goliew forest, gave them rifles and ordered them to shoot into the forest. He photographed the scene to show how Jews shoot at Germans in the woods. After that he beat them murderously, ordered them to dig graves and then shot them. This took place near the home of Bublik the forest guard.
Von Maloschki came back to town, became thoroughly drunk and began attacking passing Jews. First he caught hold of Leibush Blum, beat him thoroughly and wanted to shoot him. But Blum managed to run away. To make up for it the next man was a victim. This was a certain Lichtenstein, a refugee from Warsaw who fell into the hands of the drunken murderer and was shot by him. The news of the murderous hooligan quickly spread through the town and Jews vanished from the streets. These first victims warned everybody that an extermination action was approaching in Staszów. The action took place on the last day before Passover 1942, so that the entire Jewish Community passed the festival in a state of terror. That was actually the last Passover celebrated by Staszów Jewry.
April 1942: The extermination actions among Polish Jewry are growing worse. Job's tidings are arriving about actions of this kind, which have already been carried out in the larger towns of Poland. Poverty in Staszów is growing from day to day. Anybody bringing a little food in from the villages is shot. The Poles are denouncing the Jews to the Germans when they catch them on the road.
The first victim of such a denunciation was the 19-year-old daughter of Hershel Bezem of the Stodolna Street. The girl stole out of town and went to Dobre village near Staszów. Two Poles caught her, and she was handed over to the German gendarmerie. They shot her at once.
THE DECREE OF THE GHETTO
15th June 1942: Notice was served that a Ghetto had been proclaimed for Staszów's Jewish population by order of General Frank. A Jewish Quarter had been decided on and prepared by the Polish Mayor Suchan. The Ghetto was called the Dzielnica Zydowska and included the following streets: Zlota, Dluga, Krotka, Stodolna and the Synagogue Street, as well as the Gorna and Dolna Rytwianska Streets, the Bath Alley as far as the tanner's. All the main streets, and also the Market-place, were to become clear of Jews.
1st July 1942: The two sections of the Ghetto were closed off by a gate on the Krakowski Street next to the house of Rivele Treines and Ben-Zion Rosenberg. The Jews of the two Ghetto sections were permitted to meet for two hours a day, from 10 - 11 in the morning and 3--4 in the afternoon.
The Jewish Police took care that the order about closing the gates of the ghettoes should be strictly observed. Jews might go about in the ghetto until 6 p.m. only. After that any Jew who was still in the streets was arrested by Polish police, who took care that nobody should be late getting home. A very small proportion of the Jews remained in their homes. Most had to move to the restricted area of the Ghetto, where they lived crowded together under the worst sanitary conditions.
At the same time Mayor Suchan, helped by denunciators, terrorised and tormented many Jews, extorting money from them without a break.
The same was done by the gendarmerie, police and a Volksdeutsch from Szeliec named Jendrosz Dressier. They used to enter Jewish homes by day and night and pillage all the belongings they wanted to.
One evening in August 1942 Panter the gendarme came to the home of Hershel Wittenberg (Hershel the Glazier} and shot him without any reason, claiming it was because he caught him baking a couple of loaves in the oven.
Other Jews also perished in the same way at that time. Jews were afraid to appear in the streets of the Ghetto even by day. Many were brought before the District Court at Opatow for black market trading, slaughtering a cow or preparing a skin for sole-leather illegally. Some of those arrested were sent to Auschwitz. This was what led to the death of Mrs. Pessel Wittenberg wife of Zale Wittenberg, Tova Feldman-Sternuess, Bashe Kirshenwurtzel and Yudel Schmeisser, for preparing a piece of leather. The same fate befell Anulevitz the refugee from Radom, who undertook the responsibility against pay of engaging in illegal work at the Tannery. All were sent to Auschwitz. As I found out later, Anulewitz was saved from the furnace. Nothing more was heard of the other banished people until the liquidation of the Ghetto.
11.9.1942: This was Friday, Eve of the New Year 57o3. Jews did not go to Slichot (Midnight Penitential Prayers); first because they were afraid and then because they did not have any place to go, since the Synagogue and House of Study were to serve as workshops. So everyone recited Slichot at home.
About 10 a.m. a lorry full of SS men stopped in front of the House of Yehiel Milgroim on the Krakowski Street. They carried out a search of his business, although a Polish Commissioner named Slavik had been in charge for almost two years. All the goods were loaded on lorries arid taken away. The SS men arrested Yehiel Milgroim and his wife. Their children succeeded in escaping.
Yehiel Milgroim was tied half-naked to a taxi in front of the Magistracy, and every few moments shots were fired in front of his eyes. In the evening the S.S. men released him and placed him with his wife in a cell, where they kept them until the day of the general action in Staszów on the 28th Heshvan, 5703, when they were added to the transport. All efforts to obtain their release for a large sum of money proved to be fruitless.
On the New Year people prayed in small groups as far as possible. Some of them went to work on the festival at the suggestion of the workshop manager, a refugee from Lodz named Zitter, as a mark of their devotion. They hoped that in that way they might save themselves from transportation. People felt the approaching danger and hoped that it would not be their last festival, God forbid.
Work for the Ömler Road Construction Company went ahead at full speed. Jews made every effort to find work with the Company, for which they laboured very diligently, in order to find favour in the eyes of those who were in a position to decide their fate. Everybody wished to survive the War at any price.
27.9.1942: This day, at 2 pm. on the second day of Sukkot, S.S. men and gendarmerie arrived in the Ghetto and impressed Jews for forced labour. Those who were caught were immediately sent to Skarzszisk. The same thing was done again on the fourth middle day of Sukkot. Those who were taken were locked into the Jewish Bath. The arrested ones were released thanks to intervention by Mr. Ephraim Singer, the chairman of the Judenrat, which was certainly accompanied by a large sum of money.
1.10.1942: On that same Thursday Jendreck Dressler of Szeliec appeared at the home of Jacob Orish Kazuchovitch, and demanded leather goods from him. As soon as Jacob Orish answered that he had no goods because he had not been working for a long time Dressler took out his revolver and shot him.
2.10.I942: It was a fine Friday morning. The sun shone bright, but not for the Jews of Staszów. Early in the morning the Gendarme Panter shot the wife of Markel Weisswoll, whom he met as she came out of the home of Leibush Blauweiss. This took place in the Skolna Street where the Ghetto came to an end. A few minutes later the son of Yossel Weinbaum was arrested in the Blonja Street where he had gone to buy some potatoes from a peasant. The poor father ran to Yendreck Dressler of Szieliec, whom he had formerly known well. He flung himself at his feet and begged for mercy for his son. Dressler pointed to his revolver and said, I can help you with that. The little boy was shot the same morning.
4.10.1942: Today, Simhat Torah, we learnt that an Action had been carried out in Szedlow and the Jews sent to Chmelnik; and that the Jews of Chmelnik were also to be transferred next day.
Soon after Sukkot we learnt that in the surrounding Jewish towns and villages like Ostrowiec, Opatow, Jewaniska and Busko the extermination actions had already been carried out. Staszów Jews are living in great fear. The action in the city is being constantly deferred thanks to the unwearying intervention of Ephraim Singer, Chairman of the Jewish Council, who bribes the Germans as much as possible. He hopes that as long as the Germans are prepared to take bribes there is still some hope of saving us from death.
17.10.1942: At 2 pm. today Jews were brought here from Osziek and Polaniec. This was on the Sabbath day when the Actions had already been carried out there. They were brought to Staszów to he attached to the Staszów transport. At :first they were caged in the middle of the town market. Later they were released on condition that they remained in town and did not run away to the places where they had lived. Jews also arrived from Chmielnik, Szidlow, Rakow and Korezwiunki. The Rabbi of Szidlow was ~ among the refugees, but seeing what was happening he afterwards returned to Chmielnik together with a few of his family and acquaintances.
The situation became tense. Besides the 5,000 Staszów Jews there were now another 2,000 illegal Jews from the vicinity. The Ghetto was dreadfully crowded. People began selling all kinds of things to the neighbouring Poles for trifling prices, in order to have spot cash in case they had to pay for their lives. The Poles were not prepared to buy houses or other real estate, because they were sure that it would fall into their hands in any case. Many Jews gave valuables to the Christians in return for a promise to hide them during the approaching action. The Christians did not keep their word. They denounced the Jews to the Germans, or else they simply killed them themselves.
I and a few others managed to get ourselves into the shop after steps had been taken to set up a special department there with 20 workers. The lucky group consisted of Mendel Schnipher, Yankel Wagner, Yudel Weingarten, A. M. Rosenblum, Hayyiml Friedman, Isaac Wolman, Abraham Silberstein and others.
Work in the shop was going ahead at full swing. Material that could last us for at least a year was brought to manufacture military uniforms. The shop foremen were: Zitter, the Lodz refugee, his assistant A. Kaleski, the Master M. Zisza Zucker and M. Goldfarb. They did everything to ensure that production should be at a high level in order to convince the Germans that the workers were faithful and deserved to survive. At the time when it was necessary to legalize this enterprise with the higher German Authorities the two German managers of the shop disappeared, going off to Cracow. This upset us all, for it gave rise to the suspicion that all the promises to save at least the shop workers had been false.
Feeling that the danger was very near, people tried to run away into the countryside. But they were denounced by the Poles. That was the cause of the death of Rashtche Pfeffer the daughter of Yehiel Rosenblum, together with her child who ran away to Jenbzeiw. When they arrived there they were already being waited for by the Gendarmes; and both were shot at the railway station.
1.11.1942: Several women hired the carter Olek Majewsky and paid him well to take them to Chmielnik. When they reached the road to Szidlow some Gendarmes arrived and arrested them all. Afterwards they were all shot except Haya Jaskolka, who succeeded in escaping and returning to Staszów. The unfortunate women were: Feigele Singer, wife of the President Ephraim Singer; Prive Band, wife of Alter Band; the wife of Mendel Friedman (Berishem); Esther Malka Sternlicht, the wife of Elbanan Sternlicht; the twelve-year-old daughter of Shalom Pfeiferman. These martyrs were brought to a Jewish grave in the Szidlow cemetery.
On the same day the Ömler Road Construction Company received orders that all Jewish workers employed by them must remain quartered at the enterprise. This meant that nobody might leave his place of employment and go home after work, as had previously been the practice. It was another sign that the Action against the Staszów Jews was approaching. On the same day the remaining Jews, about 20 in number, were brought from the neighbouring village Kopszewnice, where the action had taken place two days earlier, i.e., on 30.10.1942.
2.11.1942: The sad news of the women who had been shot in Szidlow dumfounded us all. All Jewish life was completely paralyzed. Everybody and every thing became apathetic. There was a state of anarchy. The Polish police were pillaging almost openly, and even the watchman like Brzozowski and Sopa permitted themselves to extort money and goods from Jews, taking away the last tools from poor artisans. It must be said to our great shame that certain Jewish policemen used the confusion and demanded money from the Jews. When they were asked why, the better-class ones answered that they needed money while the others said sarcastically, for burying you.
Sochon the Mayor also found ways of robbing the Jewish population, and demanded taxes from them for a year in advance.
When Jews suddenly received permission to go to the market during the last week they found Christians there from Rakow, who were selling meat. One of them, a woman, was wearing an apron of parchment, made from a Sepher Torah sheet.
The Ghetto became more crowded than ever. Ten or twelve persons were crushed into a tiny room. The whole of Jewish life was suspended. The only active institutions were Toz, the Health Society, and Kropla Mleko. The Judenrat did nothing with the exception of its chairman Ephraim Singer, who was on the watch in spite of all dangers. The only officials of the Staszów Community still left were: The Rabbi, Israel Gersht, the two slaughterers Mottel Bloch and Isaac Pantierer, and the synagogue cantor Yoske Diesenhaus. Aaron Shochet and the three beadles Akiva Goldstein, Abraham Leib Dickstein, and Yehiel Morgenstern (Magid) had died a natural death together with the cantor Israel Meir Lieberman during the war years. And that was the fate which few were privileged to experience.
The last Staszów Rabbi Reb Alter Eliezer Horowitz (Der Riglitzer Rav) had left two weeks before the action for Neustadt with his youngest son-in-law Moshe Reiman, in the hope of saving himself. But their fate met them there when the Karne expedition visited the spot.
The rabbi's friends collected money in order to try and save him. Hayim Elbaum and Ben-Zion Leibovitch were the ones who collected money on his behalf. At the same time there were a few other Jews who also packed themselves off to Neustadt, like Alter Grossman the Hebrew teacher and his family, who went to his son Yankel Grossman; Yeheskel Eichen and his son Beinish and their families. They were all swept away by the same sad fate.
3.11.1942: Staszów also contributed to the Action which was carried out yesterday in Neustadt and other neighbouring towns. Those who were being banished were driven away on foot through Pacanow to Szczuczin on the way to Belzac.
The Staszów rabbi and his son-in-law were shot the same day on the road to Szczuczin, as soon they left Pacanow. I learnt this in the camp at Kielce from a Pacanow Jew who was in the Street cleaning Commando of Pacanow on that particular day.
The panic in the town became worse from moment to moment. Peasants were already arriving from the surrounding villages with their sacks and were shamelessly asking: Hasn't it began yet?
An order arrived from Mayor Suchon requiring the Judenrat to set up a cleaning commando for the day of approaching action, to be headed by a responsible person. People volunteered for this as well. Shalom Braun was chosen to he Burial Officer. He was the son of Wolvitch Braun (the Postman} and was to work with the old Sexton Noah Liszkiewitz (Noah the Carrier). Jews paid money in order to be accepted for the Cleaning Commando, with the tiny hope that they might be saved from death that way.
An order also arrived calling for young people to be sent to Skarzisko. The Judenrat decided who was to leave. Orders also arrived for workers to be sent to Mielec and elsewhere. Some people were feverishly building bunkers in the hope of saving themselves from the Nazis.
All electric light was cut off from the Jews during the last week before the action. Work in the shop was continuing at full speed. The two vanished Volksdeutsche who were responsible for the shop did not reappear. People began dashing from Ömler to the shop and the other way round, not knowing where it would be safer to remain
5.11.1942: The Judenrat decided to send two messengers to Cracow in order to find the two Volksdeutscbe Richter and Strecker. Since no Jew dared undertake so dangerous a journey, they asked the Mayor to send a Pole to this task. After greasing wherever necessary the Court Official Wojczechowski went as the representative of the Jews, with the driver Tshach who had a lorry together with the Volksdeutsche. The mission returned on Saturday at 12 noon with the sad tidings that the two Germans did not wish to return because it had already been decided that Staszów was to be made Judenrein. The shop-workers began to run away in order to find themselves places of safety.
6.11.1942: Yesterday a second Action took place in Chmielnik. All remaining legal and illegal Jews were collected from the vicinity and driven to Stopni, and the extermination action took place there today. In this action such Staszów martyrs were killed as Yehiel Neiman, Zysman Grosshaus and Abremele Nissenbaum. Among them were also Z. Sonschein and others, who miraculously managed to escape, however, before the Action.
Today, Friday at 3 pm. three S.S. men came into the shop for a checkup, and went away without saying a word, Zitter, the Jewish shop manager, ordered the handful of remaining workers to go on working all night long. Maybe that would be a charm to save them from death. We carried out his orders, although every one of us could feel that our last hours were already approaching.
7.11.1942: It is Saturday today, 27th of Heshvan 5703. Maybe it is the last Sabbath, God forbid, of the fine and extensive Jewish Community of Staszów. One does not wish to believe that the angel of death is already preparing to take our innocent souls. Is there really no justice in the world? Why do we deserve this?
Everybody run to see his near and dear ones, to console the dejected, to plan means of escape and also to say goodbye to one another. We want to be together during our last moments.
At 10 o'clock in the morning we learnt that the last Jews were being collected in Szidlow and Korezwienki in order to add them to the transport from Staszów. At 11 o'clock the news spread that tonight the Korne expedition would arrive in Staszów, and would present an order to Ephraim Singer the Chairman to prepare a meal for the 150 members of the expedition who were to carry out the action in the city. This news spread at once through the city and led to a terrible panic among us all. Jews ran to the Judenrat to ask for advice. People began looking for ways and means of saving themselves. Nobody wished to admit the thought that the unhappy end was approaching.
Ephraim Singer answered every question very clearly. He no longer saw any way out. It was no longer possible to do anything anywhere in order to defer the bitter end. These words from the last Jewish communal head discouraged everybody. The whole population found itself sad and mourning. Each one felt his last hour approaching, that death was on his threshold. And everybody wanted to go on living. The question why was still there. Why did we deserve it? Because we were Jews, was that why we had to he persecuted like wild beasts all over the world? Why did the world watch and say nothing, when brutal murderers were destroying a whole people?
But all these questions received no answer. The world is corrupt. There is no justice. We had to save ourselves, but where and how?
At about noon on the same Saturday a Jew arrived in Staszów from Ostroviec. His name was Abraham Itshe Kerbel. He was accompanied by a German S.S. man, and offered to take Jews on to work at..the Bodzichow labour camp near Ostroviec for the payment of a thousand zlotys each.
Jews paid the sum demanded in the hope of saving themselves, although the entire transaction was afterwards found to be a miserable swindle.
At 2 p.m. people already saw how the Nazis were driving the last Jews of Szidlow and Korezwanik to Staszów. An hour later this unhappy transport, consisting of 200 men, women and children, arrived in the town. The old Rabbi's wife of Szidlow was among them. All these Jews were kept under the strict watch of Ukrainian bandits at the Staszów market place. They did not even permit a drop of water to be brought to the unfortunate people.
Watching this spectacle, each one felt that he himself could expect the same fate next day. Dreadful weeping and wailing was heard from many houses as families began to say goodbye to one another
Night fell. The town sank into a painful darkness. No light was to be seen anywhere. Here and there Jews could be seen disappearing, one making his way to a Christian acquaintance in the neighbourhood and another to a long-prepared bunker.
From 5 p.m. the town was cut off, and was guarded by Germans, Ukrainians and Poles in order that nobody should run away. I succeeded in getting out of town, and went to a peasant acquaintance in Dobri village in order to bring my family there as we had agreed. But the peasant had taken fright and did not wish to admit me, claiming that the Germans were coming next day to take his quota of grain, and might easily find any hidden Jews. Helpless and dejected I went back to my family in Staszów. Another Jew named Aaron Silberboigen (Powroshnik) also went off to Dobri to a Christian who had agreed to hide him. A few peasants waited for him on the way, robbed him of ail he had and gave him a thorough thrashing. The fellow came back to Staszów half-dead.
Watch over the town by the German gendarmerie, the Ukrainian and Polish Police, became more strict at about 7 o'clock. Everybody could see clearly what was to be expected in the morning. The only way to try to escape was in a bunker near the home.
The Germans started rumours that the Jews were being sent to work, and the unhappy people did their best to believe it. After all, they still wanted to live. Others planned to return to the shop or to Amler's enterprises, in the hope of saving themselves that way. For maybe, they thought, in spite of everything the Germans would leave the working elements in the town, and so some member of the family might succeed in escaping.
I took my rucksack, said goodbye to my dear ones and went off to the shop. In the house of Samuel Mersel where I lived, a number of Jews gathered at the same time. They were Reuben Berech Herzog, Joel Hirschberg and A. Birnzweig, who had decided to conceal themselves together until after the action. They had been advised to do this by Mayor Suchon who had promised to rescue them afterwards. Suchon's promise proved to be worthless and they were all found.
About 200 workers had gathered at the shop. Some of them wanted to go home. It was already mortally dangerous to walk through the streets. Death lay in wait everywhere.
At 10 in the evening there arrived in town the Obersturmfuehrer Schild, who had led the extermination action in the Radom Government district. Schild rode to the Jewish police (the Ordnungsdienst as it called itself) and demanded that the Chairman Ephraim Singer should supply him at once with 10 kilos of butter, 10 kilos of pork, 10 kilos of rice and 5 kilos of tea. At the same time Schild entered the Police Office in the House of Hershel Wiener, banged on the table and gave notice: In Himmler's name, the resettlement action of the Staszów Jews will take place tomorrow, 8th November, 1942. He ordered the Jewish policemen to instruct all the Jews in town to be present by 8 o'clock in the morning at the Ring (Market place). Anybody who did not obey this order would be shot. The Jewish Police and their families would not be included in this action.
At 12 midnight the Magistrate's Official Wojczechowski arrived in the shop accompanied by two Polish policemen, and announced that the shop had been legalised for 800 workers. Those present immediately went off to town to fetch their relations. A work-card was received at a cost of 50 zlotys, and was demanded from everybody. At 2 a.m. Wojczechowski returned and ordered the Register to be closed in the name of Mayor Suchon. By that time 330 Jews had managed to have themselves entered as workers in the shop. The Foreman ordered that the machines should be started and we should begin to work. The machines were already going properly, but the hands refused to follow. Everyone was in a bad mood, feeling that a great catastrophe was approaching.
Meanwhile we learnt that the Mayor had declared himself ill, and would therefore not be present during the action in town next morning.
It was 4 a.m. The Korne Expedition, which consisted of 150 Ukrainian and Lithuanian bandits, arrived in Staszów. They began eating and drinking for all they were worth at the meal which the Jewish Council had had to prepare for them. They made themselves thoroughly drunk in order to be able to carry out their bestial tasks more easily.
Sunday, 28th Heshvan 5703, 8.11.1942: The dreadful slaughter of the Jewish population in Staszów began at 5.30 in the morning. As ordered by the trained murderer Schild, the Jewish police dashed out to order all the Jews to gather together in the Market-place by 8 a.m. Those who came late would be shot.
While we were in the shop we learnt that at 2 a.m. a number of the Polish intellectuals like Dr. Koslowski and Dr. Lemiescewski had been arrested and handed over to be guarded by the Jewish police.
At 6 o'clock in the morning the murderers called on the Chairman Ephraim Singer, took him to the home of Schmelke Eisenberg, gagged him and after torturing him shot him there. The dreadful murder of Chairman Singer was the signal to begin the extermination action of the Jews in the town.
By 8 o'clock in the morning about 5,000 Jews, young and old, children and grown-ups, had assembled at the market place in order to begin their march to death. At the same time three known sadists of the SS in Ostroviec came to the shop. They were Willi, Petter and Braun, and they wanted to amuse themselves a little with the Jewish workers. They started off with Mordechai Seigermacher and asked him: What are you doing here, old man? which he answered, I am old, but I am the only mechanic in the whole factory. They let him go and began moving around among the workers. When they came to the third row where I was standing they went to Isaac Fleischbacker, a tailor from the Synagogue street. Willi the murderer took out a revolver and said to Fleischbacker, You cripple, do you also want to survive the war? There was a shot and the poor fellow fell dead. The murderer began laughing, ordered those present to stand still and not move from the spot, then said: All these will still be able to work and went off to the market with his colleagues.
Since the shop had been authorised to take 800 workers and only 330 were there, 200 skilled workers and young men were chosen from the transport. They were not permitted to take their children with them, but they were added to the factory personnel.
At 10 in the morning Schild gave the order: March!
And so the transport of almost 5,000 Jews, including the finest and best of the community, our fathers and mothers, wives and children, brothers, sisters and relatives, started out on their last journey accompanied by the 150 murderers.
As soon as the first files entered the Krakowski Street the murderers began shooting into the mass with dumdum bullets. As was afterwards reported, the first victims were Naphtali Tennenbaum and David Rosenstock with his wife. When Meir Geldbane saw his wife Pessel fall he left his place and asked the murderers to shoot him too. His wish was immediately granted. Meir Yankel Gitterbaum fell near his shop. The murderers went on shooting into the mass of people, strewing the whole road with innocent victims. Jewish blood ran from the Krakowski street down to the river.
Yankel Ruda fell at the Folwark Bridge.
We were still standing in the shop, five in a row, listening to the ceaseless shooting. Our blood ran cold in our veins, as we felt that our nearest and dearest were no longer alive. Then we thought that maybe they were better off, those who had already finished with the gruesome nightmare of Nazism and the banditry of the Ukrainians, Letts and Poles. But on the other hand there was still a spark of hope in our hearts. Maybe we would still survive them, maybe a miracle would take place and the savage hordes would be defeated by the civilized world. There was still a chance for a person who remained alive.
After our dear ones had marched off, orders were given to clear away the dead. It was a dreadful scene. By one o'clock 189 Jewish bodies had been picked up from the streets, apart from those who had not come to the transport and were bestially murdered in their homes. For this purpose they took the Jewish police with them when they went looking for all the remaining Jews. Meir Rosen (Meir Moshe Yehiel's) put on his prayer shawl and tephillin and waited for the murderers in his home, ready to perish in order to hallow God's Name.
Yehiel Rosenblum (Mostiker) was lying very ill that day. When the murderers reached him he entreated them to shoot him at home. The beasts picked him up and flung him down into the street from the balcony. All those killed in Staszów itself on the day of slaughter were buried in a single mass grave at the Jewish Cemetery.
The march of the unhappy Staszów Jews took them through Szczuczin and Stopniec to Belsac, that second Treblinka. More than 1,000 Jews reached Stopniec. In Nizszen Village 9 kilometres from Staszów a mass grave was dug for 740 victims. During that one day the old and widely branching Jewish Community at Staszów was cut down. May the Lord avenge their blood.
THE DUMB PROTEST OF THE BLIND MAN
The shooting of the unfortunate Jews who had hidden themselves in their homes and were afterwards found by the murderers could be heard till late in the afternoon.
Blind Herschel Wolman left his hiding place by himself, stood in front of his home in the Rytwyn street and began to lament aloud for the destroyed and martyred Jewish Community. He sang songs of lamentation which suited the situation, and burst into a a bitter lament for the destruction of his people. He stood there for a few hours and the passing German murderers did not have the heart to kill him. Only later did they send a Lettish murderer who shot him. And so fell the blind man, who in this fashion expressed his deep protest at the barbarity of the entire world, which saw it all and heard it all and permitted the murderers to exterminate a spiritually rich yet helpless people. May the memory of the righteous be a blessing.
At 3 p.m. I succeeded in making my way to my home. At No. 8 Stodolna street I found Herschel Windowski shot in his bed.
That same afternoon an order arrived to billet all the shop-workers ten to a room, and only in the Synagogue and Zlota streets. 'The other surviving Jews who had concealed themselves exploited the opportunity, and joined the shop-workers when they moved into their new quarters. The Jewish police remained with their wives, but without their children. The police remained in town in order to clear away the murdered Jews.
A few families succeeded in getting into the shop all together, or else into Amler's working place thanks to bribery and protectionism. That was done, for instance, by Yeheskel Weichman and his family, Itche Seizer, Samuel Gluecklich of the Folwark and his wife and daughter. Those Jews who did not succeed in entering safe places like the shop and Amler's works were classed as illegals.
The night fell. Terrified Jews came running to the shop manager, and begged him to be merciful and take them into the shop. Some also came who had been hiding all day long with Poles but could not stay there any longer because their lives were not safe. They had simply been driven out by their Polish saviours who had taken all the Jews had, promising to hide them, but now threatened to murder them unless they cleared away at top speed.
None of us in the shop closed our eyes all night long. Ghosts were hovering in front of our eyes and gave us no rest. All of us were wondering whether we would live to see vengeance taken on the enemy or whether the same fate would befall us next day.
Monday, 9.11.1942: Morning came. We were still affected by yesterday's extermination, and were still physically and spiritually broken. But we survivors had to go to work as though nothing had ever happened. The number of illegals was growing. They were all in despair, a despair which increased from hour to hour. Nobody knew what to do. Should they try to get a reliable working place in the shop, for instance, or was it possibly better to run away into the forest? The angel of death lay in wait everywhere. All roads had been suddenly cut off, and the surrounding population had grown hostile as though by order. In this state of despair, Alter Band and his son Yisroelke left their legal working places and went off to look for some way of deliverance. Before long they were killed like so many others.
Thursday, 10.11.1942, 1st. Kislev 5703: The Poles Stempion and Janek, who held the shops of Samuel Goldfarb and Itche Mandelsuess, informed the German Gendarmes that behind their shops was a bunker where several Jews were hiding. A group of gendarmes arrived at once, and with the help of the Polish Police they opened the bunker and took 26 Jews out. All of them were led to the cemetery where they were shot. The Jews of Amler's Company, who were then working in the Krakowski street, saw these unhappy people going on their last journey. One of the workers, Mendel Lifshitz, recognised his wife Reisel, his son Zecharia and his daughter Feigele in the group. He could only accompany them with his eyes and with blood welling from his heart, as his dearest and nearest went to their eternal rest. These victims were punished because they were illegally in Staszów where they had lived all their lives, according to the Nazi sentence which had been carried out so strictly against them.
THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THE 26 MARTYRS:
THE FIRST SELECTION
Friday 13.11.1942: At precisely 7 a.m. the shop was cordoned off by gendarmes and police. When we arrived to work we were kept in the open and were arranged in rows of five, in order to separate us from the illegals.
Orders were received to march into the market near the Pharmacy beside the Town Hall. A few illegals gave themselves up because they were already sick and tired of life, and saw no sense in hiding themselves any more.
The Germans began sorting the transport. A few shop people were placed by themselves to be sent away, and younger illegals were left behind as shop workers.
In this selection, as in ail the other Actions, victims were left lying in the market place. Bella Buchholz the daughter of David Solnik had given herself up voluntarily at the market, together with others. When she saw what lay in store for her she begged the German Gendarmes to allow her to fetch her hidden children from the house in order to take them with her on her eternal way. He did not believe her, but dragged her into a neighbouring courtyard and shot her there.
Fifty Staszów Jews were taken away to Ostroviec in peasant carts. At that time the following people were selected and sent away from the shop: Samuel Gluecklich with his wife and daughter; Israel Hirsch Graf; Abba Rosenblum; Altele Milgroim of the Bimbaurn family, who did not wish to give up her children and went together with them. They also took several orphan children who had been hidden with Poles for several days and had run away from there. Those children had been entrusted to the Poles by their parents against ample payment. When the parents were killed, the good Poles drove the children away.
Saturday, 14.11.1942: Joel Schnipper's bunker was discovered today, having been denounced by Poles. This bunker was under the Baker's oven and ten people had hidden there from the previous Sunday. During the last few years the Bakery had belonged to my brother, Hayyim David Goldstein of blessed memory. In the bunker there were Joel Schnipper; my brother with his wife and three children; Moishe Yehiel Kozszenicky and his brother-in-law; and also Freida Esther Wollman the wife of Naphtali Wollman. These Jews were taken to the Magistrate's Court, where they were kept with 16 Jews from other bunkers until Monday morning.
Monday, 16.11.1942: At 6 a.m. the 26 Jews were taken to the graveyard and murdered there. We learnt of this from my brother's daughter, who succeeded in escaping when all the people were brought out from under the oven. At 10 a.m. the Captain of the Fire Brigade Panek came into the shop and ordered Zitter, the shop manager, to send ten workers to bury the 26 Jews who had just been shot. Zitter asked who was prepared to volunteer. Ten of us did so, including myself.
We took spades on our shoulders and accompanied by a Polish policeman we went to bury our dear ones. The ten grave diggers included: Aaron Moshe Rosenblum; Avram Beer Leszkiewicz; Trom; Rosenzweig, a son of Pinhas Rosenzweig; and others whose names I can no longer remember.
The scene which we found at the graveyard shook us to the core. Labour cards were lying near the dead, and they helped us to identify the victims.
A Christian of my acquaintance, who had been serving there on behalf of the Fire Brigade, afterwards told us that my brother's daughter Toibele had at the last moment struggled against a gendarme and had flung a stone at his head. For that she had been savagely beaten, and only then was she murdered. The others had been maltreated in the same fashion.
With my own hands I set in the mass grave the bodies of my brother Hayyim David, of his wife Hannah Leah, of his daughter Toihele and their two sons; and all the other martyrs as well. We covered over the grave, but the Polish police who had remained on duty there ordered us to tramp with our feet in order to level the area out. A silent Kaddish forced itself out of our choking hearts. As soon as I uttered the words Yisgadal Veyiska-dash a policeman came to me and said that the German gendarmes ordered that nothing was to be said at the cemetery. The policemen was an acquaintance of mine, and that was why he gave me the warning.
Among those who had been killed I found not only my own family but also Joel Schnipper; Freida Esther Wollman; Brainsche Frankel; Moishe Yehiel Koszeniecki; the father-in-law of Leibel Becker; Feiglish, a Latvian refugee, and others.
Of the ten shop workers who buried the martyrs I am the only one who has been privileged to remain alive, in order to tell the world how the murderers destroyed our beloved Jews and exterminated a widely branching Jewish community.
Tuesday 17.I1.1942: The Poles denounced the Bunker of Hayyim Nuta Ehrlichman. The people there were Zalman Scheiner; Noah Blaustein; Yossel Bluestein and his family; and others. The Jews discovered there were arrested and kept at the Magistrature until their fate would be decided.
At that time, after the general Action, there appeared many Jews who had saved themselves somehow. This fact disturbed the Germans who looked for ways and means of trapping the criminals who insisted on wanting to live in spite of orders. For Germans do not love law-breakers.
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