Excerpts from the diary of Dr. Zigmunt Klukowski
Translated from Polish to Yiddish by M. Melman
English translation of the Yiddish version by Moses Milstein
From the editors:
The excerpts of a diary, which we present here, were written between October 13, 1939, and March 22, 1943 during the Nazi occupation, by a Polish doctor in the town of Shebreshin, Province of Lublin, Zygmunt Klukowski.
Because it was written during the German fascist occupation, the diary, which gives a picture of the annihilation of the Shebreshiner Jews, stands as a significant source of information for future studies of the destruction of a Jewish-Polish shtetl.
It is an objective work. The author does not conceal the facts of betrayal and collaboration of the fascist-hooligan part of the Polish population. He also reveals facts about the life-saving aid given by Polish farmers to the stricken Jews. He gives an accurate description of the process leading to the Jewish holocaust. And he also presents facts about Jewish participation in the partisan movement, from sabotage of German assets to passive resistance, and so on.
…New decrees were issued.. I will set out several of the more important:
All Jewish men, from 15 to 60 years, of age must present themselves at city hall on X –14, at 8:00 in the morning, for compulsory work. They must bring brooms to sweep the streets, hammers and shovels. As of this day, Jewish residents are permitted in the streets only between 600 hours and 1800 hours. Their homes must always be accessible to the security forces. (Gendarmerie and local groups). The Jews have hidden themselves behind tightly closed doors -- hardly any are to be seen in the street.
Oct 14, 1939
… In spite of the fact it was the Sabbath, the Germans ordered the Jews to clean the streets for the entire day. They treat them brutally; cut off, or even tear out their beards, curse them, beat them, etc.
Oct 15, 1939
… A militia has been formed in S. composed of 60 men, appointed by the Platzkommando with the agreement of city hall. During the training sessions, the German Platzkommando, Meyer, instructed them that they should look the other way at any wrongs or acts of brutality against the Jews, that persecuting Jews is not merely tolerated but encouraged from higher up. The Germans themselves create unheard of woes for the Jews—they beat, kick, prod them, and choose the filthiest work to allocate to the better dressed. Before work begins, they order everyone to perform calisthenics, which for the oldest Jews is truly painful, and only then are they driven to work singing Hay Shcheltsi vraz or similar songs.
Oct. 16 1939
… Brutalisation of the Jews is becoming more frequent. They are beaten mercilessly. Today, two devastatingly beaten Jews were brought to me -- their buttocks as purple as plums. They begged me to issue them certificates. However, I had to refuse, because that could lead to worse consequences. I advised them to see the German army doctors in town who would often also see civilian patients.
Oct 17, 1939
… More and more Jews come requesting certificates. Mostly, we refuse them. My colleague, Spoz, and I, issue them only in cases of true suffering. Today, I visited an ailing Jew in town who was terribly beaten by the Germans yesterday at work. But in such cases, other than writing a prescription, we can be of no help.
Oct 18, 1939
…This morning, a truckload of Jews was driven beyond the city limits to work. Up to now, some of the richer ones have managed to get out of this kind of work, or from the forced exercises, etc. But the Jewish women—the wives and mothers of those taken away—assembled in front of the houses of the privileged Jews, and made such a commotion that the Germans detained these Jews and took them away under arrest.
Oct 19, 1939
…This afternoon, a German doctor brought about 20 Jews, bakers and butchers (only five were Poles), to examine their health status. The examination was terminated with a long lecture in German, afterwards translated into Polish, about the necessity to maintain hygienic personal and workplace conditions.
Oct. 20, 1939
…Today, they brought me a poster from city hall listing new orders from the German Platzkommando.
Several items are so characteristic and interesting that I will transcribe them literally:
…Jewish residents will be tolerated and will benefit from the protection of the army contingent on their behavior.
…Jewish tax-payers belonging to the S. municipality are obligated, before the 25th of October, to declare their entire estates…all manner of assets must be declared (cash, real estate, immoveable goods, mortgages, debts, merchandise, etc.) Failure to follow this order, giving false or inaccurate declarations, will result in confiscation of the entire estate with no appeal.
Oct 22, 1939
…The day was full of fear and unrest. Around 10:00 am, the Germans declared a state of emergency. They began dragging the Jewish men from their homes and to herd them to the city hall building at the market. The Jewish women were forbidden to step outside their houses. No one was allowed to approach the market at all, except for the militia. Everyone who had come in on foot, or had ridden into town from the countryside, was forced to return.
Around noon, the Jews were marched from behind city hall in rows of four to the magistrat, and made to stand in the yard. In the meantime, we had no idea of what was happening, or what was to follow, until a well informed militiaman came to us, the mayor's son, a student from the Lvov Polytechnic, Franchak, and told us the whole story.
Earlier this morning, the Germans had gone around to the Jewish houses dragging men out for work details. At one place, a Jew tried to hide by clambering up to an attic. The Germans pursued him, the ladder overturned, and in falling, lightly grazed one of the Germans who then ran to complain to the Platzkommando. Eleven Jews were arrested. They were arraigned, and the state of emergency was declared. The Jews went to Tczeszlewski, the priest, to beg him to intervene with the Germans. A delegation made up of several Poles immediately went to see the German authorities.
When all the Jewish men were assembled in the city hall courtyard, the real looting began. Jewish stores were thoroughly emptied out, merchandise taken out onto the street. Later, they were collected and laid out at the courthouse and city hall and then transported away in trucks. In the evening, the trial of the arrested Jews was held. All were released, including those held in city hall. The general opinion is that the whole affair was fabricated in order to provide an excuse to issue still harsher ordinances which would, in turn, allow the thefts to proceed quietly and smoothly.
Oct 23, 1939
…The city is unnaturally quiet, but the Jews live in constant fear. I was told today that yesterday everyone in the courtyard at city hall was beaten, without exception. Even the Rav was not spared. Today, the rebbetzin came to me in tears, asking if it was true that all the Jews were to be slaughtered tonight, and begging to be saved.
Oct 30, 1939
…Even the German officers today were going through the houses of the richer Jews, and confiscating money, jewelry, and clothing.
Nov 1, 1939
…Every day now, many Jews pass through S—on foot, in wagons, men, women, children—carrying sacs, packs, bedding, chased out by the Germans from the western parts of Poland and heading somewhere East.
It is not known, however, if they are heading for the other side of the river Bug to the Soviet Union, or whether they will remain in the Lublin region.
Nov. 7, 1939
…Tonight, two Jewish women from the countryside who were wounded by bandits were brought to me. Such attacks are occurring more frequently in the region.
Nov 14, 1939
…The Jews have been left in peace finally. Now they are after the Christians…
Nov 15 1939
…Last night at ten o'clock, having just fallen asleep, I was awakened by a commotion in the street. I jumped out of bed and, through the window, I saw that the area across the street from the hospital was on fire.
In an instant, I alerted the staff and ran out into the street. Jewish houses near the shul were in flames. I was struck by the fact that one didn't hear the wailing and crying common to such circumstances from the Jewish women. The Germans were engaged in energetically fighting the fire, obviously in order to insure that the fire should not spread to the adjoining non-Jewish houses. The civilian population was kept away. There was none of the usual mob as is always the case at a fire. No one was allowed to leave his house with the exception of those whose homes were engulfed in flames. Rifle and revolver shots were heard incessantly. The Jews were not allowed to save their belongings, or, at best were not helped in that endeavor. The Platzkommando and his deputy were at the fire the whole time, and endlessly repeated that the Jews were responsible for setting fires at four places in town simultaneously. In three places, they succeeded in extinguishing the fire, but opposite the hospital, the fire spread with dangerous speed… the Germans assured me that they would not allow the fire to spread to the hospital. German guards were posted at the entrance doors. The Jews were treated in a frightful manner -- they were yelled at, pushed around, beaten, and I was forbidden to admit any to the hospital. They brought me a Jew who was shot through the hand, and they watched to make sure that he left the hospital as soon as his hand was bandaged.
After about three hours, the fire began to die down. Then an order was given that all the Christians should be in their houses by two o'clock, and that the Jews were to go to the targhalle at the market. They then began to drag the Jews out of their homes and to drive them to the market. Every so often shots were heard. Wailing and crying began among the Jews. I saw old Jews being driven at bayonet point by the Germans. I saw a very old man barely able to stand being supported by two Jewish women, quietly, without a word, only the curses and oaths of the German soldiers could be heard…
In the morning, several Jews were held as hostages and led away under arrest. All the others were released. A contribution of 10,000 ZL was levied on the Jewish population.
The whole story of the simultaneous firing of four locations, the burning of the shul and about ten houses, including the house of the Rav, and the bet hamidrash, appears to be very suspicious. What reason could the Jews have to burn their own nest?!
I accepted a Jew who had been shot in the face, to the hospital. In ordinary circumstances, there would have been an unbelievable commotion to do with the shooting, half the city would have assembled at the hospital. But, instead, today, the hysterical, half-crazed wife of the wounded man came to me and asked me, quietly, if I would admit him to the hospital. She was afraid, that in today's conditions, I could refuse to accept the patient because of his Jewish origin! -- I also saw a Jewish woman with a bayonet wound in her buttocks.
I went to look at the scene of the fire. Everything is still smoldering. The city is oppressively silent. Everyone is convinced that this is just the beginning.
Nov 18, 1939
…We constantly hear about new house searches and arrests; we live in continuous tension and expect the same will happen to us. The Jews tell me that, among them, no one gets undressed at nigh. Even the children sleep in their clothes, so frightened is everyone since the fire, the looting, the house invasions, etc.
Dec 11, 1939
…The last days reveal a certain aggravation of the course of events concerning Jews. Fifty of them a day are required to report for work. For a while, they were permitted to provide substitutes, but now they must personally show up. Yesterday and today, they were led through the streets to work with bare heads, forbidden to wear caps or hats.
Dec. 19, 1939
…180 Jews arrived last night in S.. They were driven from Wloclawek. Mostly women and children, men very few and these elderly, because the younger ones have been detained in Zamosc. The local Jews immediately occupied themselves with them, and distributed them among themselves. Rumor has it that several hundred more are expected.
Dec 20, 1939
…In the afternoon the town crier went around banging his drum, and new orders were read namely:
As of Friday, the 22 of Dec., all Jews from 10 years of age upward must wear white armbands, bearing a six pointed star, on their right arms. A sign must be visible in front of every store indicating whether the store is an Aryan or a Jewish one. The armbands will be sold at city hall for 1 Zl. each.
Dec 22, 1939
…In spite of the clear order that Jews are, from this day on, to wear the special armbands on a "conspicuous spot", I did not meet one Jew in town with such an armband.
Dec. 25, 1939
…Order number 8 from the commander in S. of dec. 9: &$137;In order to differentiate the Polish from the Jewish population in the S. county, I have determined that:
…The Jews began to wear the armbands just yesterday. Some wear them on the right, some on the left.
Jan 11, 1940 …I was called today to attend an old Jew suffering from frozen feet. He was traveling on the train from Warsaw with merchandise he had purchased. He tearfully related to me how, while still at the station in Warsaw, he was thrown off the train by the Polish passengers who also stole some of his goods. The conductor put him in the baggage car where he traveled for 12 hours until Rajowiec, then another 12 hours in a passenger car, but also unheated. German methods are finding fertile ground among certain segments of the population.
Jan 26, 1940 …I admitted to hospital a Jewish couple driven from Lodz. They are suffering from Typhus. I reported this to the Platzkommando. Strict security measures were undertaken. A militia guard was posted at the house where the sick were staying, and all the residents, 53 of them, must undergo a 14 day quarantine.
Jan 30, 1940
The most important events of the last few days are the first few cases of Typhus among the Jews on the Zamosc street where there are also German barracks. The German authorities issued strict orders. Absolutely no one is permitted to enter the barracks. They no longer employ Jews there or the city's unemployed—they do everything by themselves. The soldiers are not allowed to leave the barracks to go into the streets. Even walking on the sidewalks near the barracks is forbidden…I am obliged to inform the Platzkommando immediately about every new case of Typhus. Today, I informed the commandant about the first Typhus patients among the Krasnobrod Jews. The lice infestations of these Jews is shocking.
Feb 5, 1940
…Today the gendarmerie raided Jewish houses, and confiscated textiles, soap, food, etc.
Feb 7, 1940
…This morning, I watched the lineups in front of the bakery opposite the hospital. The bread was sold to Poles until 8:00 o'clock, and only afterward, to the Jews, although there was no bread left. Went to City Hall. I was informed that currently S. has eight bakeries: three Polish ones and five Jewish. Jews were told that they could buy bread only in Jewish bakeries. They do not obey these orders, and push themselves in great numbers into the Polish bakeries in which they seldom used to buy baked goods. Because of that, the Polish bakers and militia received an order not to sell to the Jews.
Feb. 9, 1940
…They've changed the orders again about providing the Jewish population with bread. The Polish bakeries are allowed to sell baked goods to Jews, but only that which is left after all the Christians have done.
Feb. 10, 1940
…The cold is unrelenting. Very few people out on the street. The stores are closed, only here and there can one see a larger group of people in front of a house, mostly Jews: in these houses the Germans, gendarmes and militia are carrying out searches. They look for hidden goods and confiscate them. This has been going on for several days. They do not yet enter Polish stores and homes.
Feb. 26, 1940
…German police, speaking Polish quite well, constantly go through Jewish stores and homes to look for hidden goods, levy fines, and mercilessly beat the Jews.
Mar. 5, 1940
…Deadly weather. Snow is falling in giant flakes, and the blizzard blows and covers all the roads. The snowfall has stopped all auto traffic. The Germans send Jews to clean the streets. In Zamosc they force them to sing: &$147;Rydz has taught us nothing, our golden Hitler is teaching us to work -- They brought me several Typhus cases from Zamosc. All were Jewish, driven out of Kalisz.
Mar 6, 1940
…An announcement in town: all Jews from 12 to 60 must be accurately registered. Understandably, considerable unrest reigns among the Jews because this is certainly to do with rumored, so-called, work camps.
Mar 16, 1940
The days are warmer, the snow is beginning to melt, the roads are impassable. The Germans have mobilized the Jews who zealously clean the streets… New orders were passed out forbidding the Jews from promenading on the main street on the Sabbath.
Mar 20, 1940
…We have received a new circular from the Health department in Lublin. This circular states that Jews can only be treated by Jewish doctors. This order is obligatory for all doctors, dentists, lay doctors, and midwives.—the following justification was issued: whereas Typhus and other contagious diseases are mostly found among the Jews, other doctors and personnel who find themselves in close contact with sick Jews could transfer the disease to the Aryan population. –We don't know how this will work in S. where there is not one Jewish doctor.
Mar 27, 1940
…A constant stream of Typhus cases comes from Zamosc—All Jews, driven from Lodz and Wloclawek.
Mar 29, 1940
…Dr. Spoz traveled to Zamosc yesterday to clear up the question of our treating Jews. He discussed this with the director of the health branch of the starostve. This individual categorically declared that we are forbidden to offer any kind of medical help to the Jews, nor even to allow them into the clinics or hospitals. It is, however, difficult to comply with these orders as there is not one Jewish doctor in S.
I had a strange experience today. I was called to see a sick Jew. I went, looking about in all directions, to see if anyone one was spying on me, because you can expect anything from the Germans. I did not write the name of the patient on the prescription. We have reached the stage where the fundamental basis for being a doctor—helping the sick—has become an illegal activity, meriting punishment.
April 1, 1940
…Along with Dr. Tyszkowski and Dr. Bonicki, I went to the standartarzt in Zamosc. Again we raised the question of admitting Jews to hospital. The Germans are unwavering on the point that it is simply a necessity to separate the Jews from the rest of the population. Moreover, a sort of Jewish laza-et is supposed to be established where Jews from Zamosc and surrounding areas are to be admitted. Until then, we can continue to admit Jews to hospitals, as now.
June 10, 1940
…A new order has been announced concerning the curfews: Aryan men can be out until 10:00 pm. Jews, still, only until 7:00 pm.
June 11, 1940
…A truckload of Germans arrived from Zamosc, and a real police-raid on the Jews took place. They organized a hunt, like dogcatchers after dogs. Afterwards, they drove them away to Zamosc for a work detail and brought them back in the evening.
July 17, 1940
…This day was a very hard one for the Jews. For the last few months they have been relatively unmolested. They just had to provide several dozen men for work in Zamosc every day, for the farms in Badaszow, and for the local barracks. Aside from that, they were left alone. That from time to time, a Jew received a beating from a gendarme, or the police, is not counted. They have already regained a certain self-confidence. But suddenly, in the last few days, an announcement arrived that 500 Jews from S. will be taken to work camps. Terrible consternation and turmoil runs through them. The Jews have thrown themselves on the doctors for certificates, begun to claim admission to hospital for the slightest ailments, sent delegations to the starostes in Bilgoraj and Zamosc, to the labor department, etc. Finally, after such strenuous efforts, they succeeded in reducing the number to 130. This transport of Jews was to take place this very day. The Judenrat decided on 130 young boys, and gave everyone a mobilisation certificate. Only 98 showed up. The rest ran away or hid. The Gestapo arrived from Zamosc. Twenty soldiers mounted on horses were attached to them. The hunt for Jews began. The mothers, sisters, and fathers of those boys lined up at the market tried to get as close as possible to them in order to give them something, to talk to them, to say goodbye, but were driven away. More than one got a stick across the back. The soldiers were dispatched in all directions to search for the escaped boys. They rode over the sidewalks on beautiful, obviously Polish, horses. Some of the escaped boys were found, and instead of them, their parents were taken. The members of the Judenrat were also beaten. The Germans beat the vice-president with clubs, and then forced him to lie face down in the market for an hour. Finally, the market and the neighboring streets were cleared of most of the Jews and the arrested were taken away in columns of three in the direction of the train station. They were surrounded by the mounted soldiers. The train was greeted with wailing and cries from the Jewish women who were hiding in the doorways and in the nearby streets. The whole police-action was watched by a large part of the Polish population. Some of the onlookers showed no sympathy and even joked throughout.
After the first group left, various repressive measures were instituted because of the failure to deliver all the workers. Jewish stores were closed all day, very few Jews were out in the street.
July 18, 1940
…There is tremendous unrest among the Jews. They fear that many more of them will be taken to the work camps. Through the old fashioned town crier, and by postings on the walls, an order from the mayor was posted that all Jews between 16 and 50 must present themselves daily to the Judenrat. No Jew is permitted to leave the city limits without special permission from the Judenrat. Any Jews found outside the city without permission will be severely punished and sent to the work camps.
July 23, 1940
…Dr. Snotski, the powiat doctor from Bilgoraj, during his inspection visit in S. today, called all the doctors together to relay certain orders from the German authorities regarding the Jews. Not only are we not allowed to furnish certificates for Jews, we are not allowed, above all, to treat them. But since there are no Jewish doctors in S., they agreed that we can see Jewish patients, for one hour set aside only for them, so that they will not meet any Aryan patients in our waiting rooms. Later, they forbade us to admit them into the hospital with the exception of contagious diseases.
The conditions in the work camps are terribly difficult. There are such camps for Jews in Kartoticz and in Bialobrzeg outside Zamosc. The work consists of digging ditches in order to drain the swamps there. They must work standing in the water, they are fed very poorly because their families are rarely successful in getting food to them, they sleep in barracks which are incredibly dirty, and crowded, and several kilometers away from the work. They must make this trip every day, and for the slightest mistake, they are beaten with clubs. They are covered with lice. The clothing of some of them looks as if covered with poppy seeds. I had the opportunity to see this for myself, because in the Bialobrzeg camp a Typhus epidemic broke out, and all the sick are sent to me until the contagious diseases pavilion in Zamosc is finished. They are mostly boys, 17-20 years old, rarely do we find an older Jew.
August 5 1940
… Borotski the mayor has decided to convert the fire damaged shul to a movie theatre. He brought the engineer Klimak from Zamosc who, in two days, measured and produced pretty drawings. Learning of this, the frightened Jews sent a delegation of the three most prominent community members to see me, begging my advice as to what to do to prevent this.
Today, from early morning, turmoil reigns again among the Jews, but for another reason. Unexpectedly, a large number of gendarmes together with the local police, blockaded the Jewish stores, and began to confiscate goods.
Aug 8 1940
…More crying and wailing among the Jews. 300 men must go to the work camps. They must all present themselves on Monday the 12th of August.—The second reason for the unrest is that the Germans intend to expel all Jews from Zamosc Street and the market. Where they are to move to and where they will live—this no longer interests anyone anymore.
Aug 11 1940
…there is anguish and unrest among the Jews on the eve of the work camp conscription. The Jews themselves told me tearfully that many of those that have received summonses to present themselves have run away, consequently others are afraid that anyone who falls into German hands will be taken. It seems to me that they are afraid of excesses not only from the Germans, but because of other cases that have already occurred. Last night, 12 year old Israel Groisser was hit in the head with a rock and was killed. This evening, a Jewish woman was brought to hospital with her head split open.—Many Jews come to the hospital begging to be admitted, or at least to be hidden for just the night.
Today I traveled to Zwierzyniec with my wife. On the road we saw many Jews escaping from town. Their fear was greater than I have ever seen it.
Aug 12 1940
…All night the Jews quietly snuck out of town. For several hours tonight, and at dawn, I stood at my window, and through a lorgnette, observed everything going on. Almost all the Jewish men, not only those who had received notices, were running away! As a result, instead of 300, they barely got together 50 Jews. Police searches began in town and in nearby villages. Aside from the police and two militia, many citizens of S. joined in of their own free will with Borotski at their head. The searches produced little, as they only caught about ten Jews. The old ones were held under arrest, and the rest taken to the train station. Only Jewish women and children are to be seen in the streets. Their mood is desperate. They are overcome with despair and hopelessness.
At noon, the Germans announced that every Jew who is issued a work summons, and does not show up, would be immediately shot on sight. No one knows what will happen next. One thing is certain. The Germans would not make idle threats.
Aug 13 1940
…A strange market day today. A large crowd, yet not one Jew is to be seen. Only a few Jewish women.
At night , there was a bit of a search for Jews, but with little success. Everyone is in suspense waiting to see what will happen further to the Jews.
Aug 14 1940
…Halfway through the night, the hunt and capture of Jews began. We were awakened by the sound of break-ins into the Jewish houses opposite. On our street, the janitor of city hall, and two young civilians, took part freely in this work. The magistrat declared a bounty of 5 ZL which had to be paid by the captured Jew.—The searches carried on all night until 5:00 am. We heard constant shouting and banging on windows and doors. The screams and the racket intensified after two o'clock. I stood by the window almost the whole time and watched the goings on. Then soldiers arrived from Zamosc, and things really got going. They went around searching the houses where searches had already been conducted by the civil forces…. The result of the night's raid was two truckloads of Jews taken to Zamosc. The captured were, of course, beaten mercilessly.
—All the Jewish homes are filled with a painful silence, and in some, desperation. The conditions are aggravated by the fact that many Jewish women are penniless, and the Christian merchants will not sell them anything anyway. Furthermore, the wives of the S. Polacken drive the Jewish women away from the farmers who try to sell them food at the market.
I am well informed on this mostly through the family of the hospital butcher Laizer Zero. He ran away alone to the country, and left behind his wife, and mother, and four small children. We have to help them not only with money, but by buying bread, potatoes, etc. for them. How curiously the roles are reversed?
Aug 16 1940
…We have learned that the Germans are capturing more and more Jews from our area. The same is happening in all the shtetlach in our and in neighbouring counties. Trainloads full are being shipped to Belzec.
Aug 21 1940
…Over the last few days, no Jews have been captured. They have begun slowly to creep back to town, and we see more and more of them in the streets. Suddenly, today, a contingent of gendarmes and soldiers appeared, and the raids on Jewish homes began again in the hunt for Jews. A fair number were detained, but around three o'clock, they were all released with the injunction that all the men must present themselves to the work authorities in Zamosc where their precise selection will occur. The old, the sick, and those of certain trades (e.g., shtepper) who cannot yet be replaced by Christians, will be freed from work in the camps, and will receive special cards which will exempt them from future detainment.
Aug 22 1940
…This morning all the Jews living in residences fronting Zamosc Street must vacate. An exception was made for the dentist Bronstein.
Aug 26 1940
…A new announcement appeared today, and was quickly disseminated in order to increase attention to it. I cite it in its entirety as an example of the times, and of the nature of the ruling regime:
August 24, 1940. The city administration declares that it is forbidden for the Jewish population to walk on Zamosc Street.
Jews are also forbidden to enter city hall.
Failure to obey this order will be severely punished.
Jewish affairs will be conducted through the mayor at the Judenrat offices.
This order does not apply to the members of the Judenrat, workers on their way to work, and the porters who drive through Zamosc Street with their wares.
Aug 29 1940
…All the Jewish stores in town have been closed—the beer stores, cafe and pastry shops, soda water stalls, etc. These and similar businesses were quickly put on auction. They were attended mostly by the newcomers from northwest Poland who are called by everyone here Poznaniakes. Some local citizens concluded a silent partnership with the Jewish ex-business owners.
The above mentioned edict forbidding Jews from being on the Zamosc Street is generally ignored and they are everywhere still.
Sept 7 1940
…A Jewish doctor, Pomerantz, from Krakow arrived in S. He was ordered by the German authorities, through the Krakow physicians' society, to leave Krakow, where he had practiced as a gynecologist for many years, within 24 hours. He visited me today. He is, understandably, very unhappy to be forced to settle in S. He dreams of returning to Krakow.
Sept 9 1940
…While standing at my window after lunch, I was the unwitting witness to the following events. Across the street from the hospital and towards the market stand several Jewish houses ruined by fire. Near one of these stood an old Jewish man and several Jewish women. At the same time, three German soldiers were passing by. Suddenly, I saw how one of the soldiers grabbed the Jew and shoved him through the ruins of the doorway into the pit where the cellar used to be. There was a great outcry, and, quickly, a large number of Jews came running. The soldiers calmly walked on. No one knew why this had occurred. A few minutes later the bloodied old man was brought to me at the hospital. It appears that the old man, called Briks, had not noticed the approach of the soldiers and had not removed his hat as is required for Jews. And that is why they threw him head over heels into the deep cellar. After I bandaged several wounds on his head, they led him home. –In the last few days, stories of Jews being beaten on the streets are heard again.
Sept 25 1940
…Today, the Gestapo from Zamosc came to the city hall, and demanded that certain Jewish women be brought to them. When they had presented themselves, frightened and trembling, they were officially informed that their husbands, arrested several months ago for something to do with transporting merchandise, had been shot. The Jewish women, in their anguish, began to scream and cry, and the Gestapo looked at them, and laughed.
Sept 27 1940
…Military patrols roam the city in significantly greater numbers than before. At 7:00 o'clock, they patrol the city to make sure that no Jews are about in the streets.
Oct 1 1940
…The Jews had a happy day today. Almost all of those sent to Belzec returned today. For being freed from the camps, the Jews paid 20,000 Zl.
Oct 8 1940
…At today's market, German air force pilots with rifles suddenly appeared and began to grab Jews on the street for work on the air-field near the sugar factory. A stampede began among the Jews, but the Judenrat quickly intervened obligating itself to present the required number of workers. The fear of renewed detention will not now leave the Jews. They had some relative peace for a little while only.
Jan 4 1941
…For several days now, a raging blizzard has covered all the roads and train tracks. Thousands of people are working on the roads and train tracks. The Germans have herded together a multitude of Jews and country peasants.
…Aside from this, there isn't anything worth recounting. Complete stagnation.
Just yesterday, the people had a certain surprise observing the mayor, Boritski, personally beating Jews who were late for work on the roads.
Jan 22 1941
…In Zamosc, The Jewish architect, Braunstein, was arrested. He was charged with sabotage. He was employed at a Gestapo construction site.
Jan 28 1941
…The German administration is readying itself for a spring campaign. Today, yet another registration of all the Jews was carried out—certainly with a view to more labor camps.
Jan 31 1941
…As of yesterday, the duty of Jews to remove their hats to Germans was repealed. We don't know how to explain this. In every instance though, the Jews still doff their hats because when they failed to do so, they were still beaten.
Mar 2 1941
An order appeared in the city signed by the chief of Lublin district. It forbade the Jews from leaving their residences and required them to punctually comply with the curfew under pain of three months imprisonment or a fine of 1,000Zl.
May 6 1941
…There is panic in the city from early morning on. The Germans were grabbing men on the streets and in their houses, Jews and Christians, for work on the air field. It did not pass without beatings. I saw how this happened from my window. With particular relish, they searched for, and herded, the intelligentsia, and the better dressed people.
May 8 1941
In Jozefow, the Jews who had fled from Konin came down with Typhus. They brought me the first group yesterday, nine patients.
Work on the air field is hard especially for those not used to physical labor. I am being sent increasing numbers of people from there for treatment and observation. I have had to set aside one hall especially for Jews.
June 3 1941
…The first day of Shavuot, (June1), the SS carried out a pogrom on the Jews of Rudke and Zwierzyniec. They were beaten and robbed of anything possible. As it happened, some Poles were also beaten. The same happened in Gorajec. Three Jews died there.
July 8 1941
…Last night, in the Jewish quarter, a German pilot shot and killed a young 22 year old Jewish girl on the street. Understandably, the Jewish population is deeply shocked at this new barbaric German action. All the Jewish women in town took part in today's funeral for the murdered woman.
July 11 1941
…More Jewish Typhus cases from Jozefow. One of them is called Wolf Bondzow.
Oct 16 1941 …A delegation from the Judenrat came to see me today about something very odd. They begged me to intervene with the authorities in Bilgoraj to prevent any Jewish doctor from being assigned to S. because the Jews absolutely do not want one.
(Dr. Pomerantz, who was sent here from Krakow, left one day for parts unknown).
The idea is that if there is in S a Jewish doctor, then no Aryan doctor can give medical aid to sick Jews.
Oct 23, 1941
…Typhus is spreading through the district at an alarming rate, especially among Jews. More and more are coming to the hospital. The German authorities decided to hold a conference at my hospital with the participation of the doctors, mayor, police commandant, and the Judenrat under the chairmanship of the district doctor Snotski, in order to study preventive measures. The new Jewish doctor who had been sent here, Dr. Bolotni, also attended. According to the order of the staroste, the Judenrat must immediately see that baths should be taken daily. All Jews must shave their heads and their beards, as occurred in Bilgoraj. Those not obeying will be severely punished. There must be some control over bathing, disinfection, etc.
Nov 2 1941
…Several doctors have contracted Typhus in the region: in Zamosc. Dr. Rosenbush, Dr. Spiegelglass, in Tyszowce, Dr. Atlas, and another Jewish doctor in Nori.
Dec 21 1941
… I went to Zamosc a few days ago. The Zamosc hospital is full of the sick, many with Typhus. No Jews are admitted, however, to the infectious diseases department. They are taken to special barracks in the Jewish quarter.
Dec 31 1941
…The German gendarmerie has its hands full confiscating fur items from Jews. On Dec 26th, it was announced that all Jews must immediately, under penalty of death, hand over all fur collars, handkerchiefs, hats and earmuffs. Turmoil ensued. Some tried to hide the furs, others gave away everything they had. So, for example, Dr. Bolotni gave up all the furs belonging to him and his wife to the Judenrat for a sum of 12,00 Zl.—Any day now, we await the same orders for the Aryan community…
In Gorajec, a number of Jews were thrown out of their house to accommodate other exiles.
Jan 14 1942
…Great agitation among the Jews. Two Jews who were found with hidden furs, were arrested and quickly shot. Six Jews were taken as hostages today, because not enough furs were forthcoming. For the same excuse, the whole Judenrat in Bilgoraj and Tarnograd were arrested.
Jan 20 1942
…One can sense a significant aggravation in behavior to Jews. In the last weeks, several Jews were shot for being found outside city limits, for leading a calf, for hiding a fur pelt, for not wearing the arm band, for selling flour. We constantly hear about other executions in neighboring hamlets. Among some, especially the exiles, there is terrible need. Yesterday, I visited the sick Winower, a near relation to the well known literary figure Bruno Winower, who lives in deplorable conditions in a sort of cell, nailed together from boards, on a cot, on which, besides the patient, his wife, and little daughter also sleep. The Judenrat refuses to give them any help at all, because they did not register themselves, and secondly because they are converts whom the Polish community will not recognize.
Jan 21 1942
…We are exhausted with the Typhus. It is spreading violently everywhere, lately especially among the Jews of S. I have not seen such privation before. The Germans issue yet harsher orders. So, for example, the Jews of Gorajec are not permitted to step more than 10 meters from their houses, they are not permitted to use the footpaths, only the roadway.
Feb 18 1942
…Several days ago, the gendarmes detained a 20 year old Jewish girl on the street for not wearing her armband. They led her to the outskirts of the city in the direction of Zwierzyniec, and shot her.
Mar 25 1942
…The situation of the Jews is becoming more acute. News about exiling them to the east comes from various quarters.
To our knowledge, 250 Jews from Bilgoraj were exiled to Tarnograd.
There are more frequent cases of Jews being killed on trains, or for illegally leaving their permanent residence.
Either in packed train cars, or several at a time, civilians, mostly Jews, are taken somewhere, sometimes in one direction sometimes in another. Whereto—no one knows. Rumor has it, to the East, closer to the front, to some sort of work…
Provisioning difficulties become ever greater and more circumscribed…In certain places, e.g. Bilgoraj, Jews are only sold horse meat. And in spite of the proscriptions, the Jews carry on a lively trade. You can get anything from them. Without leaving their places, they have an excellently organized assortment of country produce. At all the small streets leading into town, stand Jews and buy everything that the peasants can carry. From my window, I can see this going on in front of my hospital from before daylight to night.
Mar 26 1942
…The Jews are experiencing tremendous fear and disquiet. News comes in from everywhere about unbelievable atrocities committed against the Jews. Full trainloads of Jews from Czechoslovakia, Germany, and lately even from Belgium, pass through. Here too, the Jews are being driven out of various towns and cities, and taken mostly to Belzec. I heard a story about what they did to the Jews in Lublin. It's hard to believe that it's not true. Today they expelled all the Jews from Izbice and took them also to Belzec, which must be a horrible camp. Very many Jews are dying there, because for the slightest thing they are shot on the spot.
Mar 29 1942
The Jews send out special Aryan emissaries for reconnaissance. From Izbice, certain particulars to the effect that about 2,000 Czech Jews, completely assimilated ones, were brought there, and because it was impossible to house them all, they sent more Izbicer Jews to Belzec. Today, an emissary was sent to Belzec to find out what goes on there. The Jews in town are completely disoriented. They don't know what do; whether to hide or to sit still and wait. They are even afraid to go out, because the Germans will kill any Jew they see on the street, with no qualms.
Apr 8 1942
The Jews are severely depressed. We now know with complete certainty that, every day, one train arrives at Belzec from the Lublin district and another from the Lvov area, with over 20 cars each. Here the Jews are unloaded, they are driven behind a barbed-wire fence, and they are killed with electric current, or gassed, and then their dead bodies are burned. Along the route people, particularly train workers, are witness to terrifying scenes, because the Jews well know where they are going, and why. They are given neither food nor water. At the train station in S., the train workers saw with their own eyes, and heard with their own ears, as a Jew handed over 150 Zl for a kilo of bread, and how a Jewish woman took her gold ring off her finger for a glass of water for her dying child. –Lubliner people told me of unimaginable things being done to Jews there, of children being thrown out of windows, of the sick being shot on the spot, of the healthy shot in the outskirts, of thousands being transported to Belzec, and so on.
Apr 11 1942
…The Jews received news today—and their intelligence is good—that today they transported the Jews of Chelm, and after unloading them at Belzec, the empty train, the so-called Jude-Zug, went off to Zamosc. –Before evening, news spread that Zamosc is already surrounded. Everyone is sure that the capture and transport of the Zamosc Jews will follow. Here in town, fear is high. Some are completely resigned, others run through the streets looking for safety, because they are all convinced that, any day now, the same will happen in S. A lot of Jews come to me asking me to admit them to the hospital.
Apr 12 1942
…From Zamosc, through various avenues, we receive news that terrible things are going on there.—This was predictable. It is said they rounded up 2,500 Jews. Several hundred were killed on the spot. Certain Jews mounted a revolt. We have no particulars, and in general nothing is known with certainty.—Among our Jews, the mood is completely hysterical. The old Jewish crones spent the night at the cemetery. They want to die here, in their shtetl, among the tombstones of their near ones rather than somewhere like Belzec, after first undergoing torments. Some take a chance and flee to the countryside. Very many hide out locally. Still others send their children with trusted Aryans to Warsaw.
Apr 13 1942
…The night passed quietly, but the panic among the Jews has increased. From early morning, they have been expecting the gendarmes and the Gestapo to appear. A significant number of Jews has disappeared. –They left for the outskirts of town to hide in some unknown place. Others feverishly carried something out, settled their pressing affairs. All manner of hooligans crawled out, spent the whole day waiting for the looting to begin.
The Jews gave over a great quantity of things for hiding to the residents of the city, and to the peasants. All day, people could be seen carrying around baggage, baskets, sewing machines, etc. For hiding young children and older ones for a few days, huge sums of money were paid out. However, the peasants of the nearby villages are afraid, because the penalty for hiding a Jew is death, and informers are everywhere. Children are therefore taken to the villages further away. About this, I'm certain.
In the afternoon, there were hardly any Jews to be seen. This led to a significant decrease in the price of village products, because there were no Jewish buyers. The whole population feels the tremendous strain. A lot of people would like this to finish quickly—one way or the other, because this hysterical condition of the Jews is contagious.
Apr 15 1942
There was not one train to Belzec yesterday, and no bad news arrived from the neighboring towns and cities. Today the same, although the majority are still in hiding, and we see very few Jews on the street. That's why, however, the telephone booth at the post office is besieged. It's difficult to get near it through the mob of Jews who are waiting to be connected to other cities.
Last night, the station reported to the gendarmerie that among the crowd waiting for a train are several Jews. The gendarmes grabbed the first horses they came across—by chance they were from the hospital—and headed straight to the station. They detained eight Jewish men and women who wanted to travel to Zwierzyniec where the executions are actually taking place.
Apr 19 1942
…Several days have passed utterly quietly. There are no trains going to Belzec. The Jews are gaining courage and hoping that maybe the storm has passed. But there is absolutely no certainty. They are trying to understand why the sudden cessation of their mass extinction.
Apr 23 1942
…Since yesterday there is an active Jewish police force. It consists of eight young Jews in hats with blue brims and armed with rubber batons. They even have some kind of rank signified by two or three stars on their hats.
Apr 24 1942
…Masses of Jews have gathered in front of city hall since the morning. A German inspector arrived from the labor authority in Zamosc in order to press gang 350 Jews for the work camp in Kolikow, not far from S., where they are to do some sort of improvement work. They could scarcely muster 63 Jews. Because of the unsatisfactory number, we will now have to await further police actions and other repressive measures. So I was told today by the new mayor who, as a German (actually he is Ukranian), is well informed.
Apr 29 1942
…Yesterday, in Bilgoraj, a decree was issued forbidding the Jews from walking on the main street. This morning they shot four Jews on the street for defying this edict.
The mass deportations to Belzec have stopped. On the other hand, we hear more and more often from all sides about shootings in the street, on the roads, etc.—Several days ago, they shot four members of the Zwierzyniec Judenrat.
May 5 1942
…Several days ago, three Gestapo and their chauffeur arrived in Torobin. They killed 107 Jews, in groups of four. –Now we hear unsubstantiated rumors that two Gestapo were killed in Izbice. Clearly, the Germans have received a scare. The gendarmerie is shut so tight that no one can get in, even in the daytime, without special reasons.
May 7 1942
…This morning the blue police, and the Jewish police, along with several Polish civilians, arrested five Jewish men, and eight Jewish women, among them the dentist Bronstein, and his 75 year old father. First they were taken to the police station, then they were taken to city hall jail. Nobody knows if they were taken as hostages in place of those they couldn't find, or as communists, or something of the sort. In any case, their fate is uncertain. I telephoned the district doctor, Spasky, to beg him to intervene in favor of the dentist Bronstein who had written a desperate grips to me.
May 8 1942
… We endured a terrible day today. I can't quiet my agitation. At 3:30 in the morning, two Jewish women, and five Jewish men, were led away out of the city in the direction of Zwierzyniec: Bronstein, father and son, and the old, rich merchant Bronspiegel, the young and rich merchant, Fersht, and the divorced shoemaker, Sher. Hard by his house, Fersht jumped out of the carriage and ran away. He was, however, killed right there. No one doubts that they were all shot in Zwierzyniec.
Hell broke out in town at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Several armed Gestapo units arrived from Zamosc. First, they demanded that 100 Jews present themselves for work within one hour. Then, with the help of the local militia, they initiated a bloody business with the Jews. One could hear continuous shooting. They were shooting at people like at ducks. They killed people even in their houses—men, women and children. The number of dead and wounded is impossible to know. We can only say with certainty at least one hundred.—When the first casualties occurred, Jews came running to me begging to be saved, for first aid, or admission to hospital, even though the district doctor in Bilgoraj told me in no uncertain terms that we can not admit Jews under any circumstances even those wounded in such a mass aktion.
Around 4:00 o'clock, I was visited by two Gestapo, a local gendarme, and a blue policeman, all with rifles, as if their blood was still inflamed, and in a brutal, sharp, way asked me if I hadn't helped wounded Jews, and if I was not hiding any Jews in the hospital. I assured them that I have no one. They threatened me that if they found someone they would take me too. They said the same to my attendant. They left through the main entrance, and in a little while, they returned through an opening in the back fence in the shadow of the hospital. They captured one Jew who was legally working here, and had been sent by the general work authority. They took him to the police station, but soon released him.
Around 5:00 o'clock, the Gestapo, sated with blood, left S. The Jews are sunk in despair. The women tear their hair out and lament, but differently than usual, quietly, with no cries. The men went to the cemetery carrying shovels to dig graves. They began to carry away the dead in horse carts. The Jewish doctor, Bolotny, came running to me for help, because he is completely helpless with the large number of casualties. This shook me up as never before. –I see forever before my eyes the wagons loaded with the bodies of the dead thrown upon each other. A Jewish woman who, with quiet despair, sneaks away with a dead child in her arms; the stretchers in front of the hospital with the bloodied wounded.
May 9 1942
…The only topic of conversation in town now is yesterday's pogrom. Several of the wounded who had been taken to the isolation house for Typhus patients have already died. There was a constant stream of people coming to me and the other doctors, Jews, as well as Dr. Bolotny, begging for help for the wounded. Before daylight, a number of Jews fled town. Others stood along the way to try to stop them so that a greater tragedy should not befall the remainder. Eight o'clock in the morning, 60 Jews presented themselves at city hall, and were taken away to Kolikow to the improvement work.
We all have the impression that this will not be the end yet.
I learned today that for yesterday's Gestapo visit, I have to thank one of the town's big shots who went to the blue police, and then to the Gestapo, to say that I am hiding Jews in the hospital. He even gave several names. A lot of hooligans are waiting for the moment when they can begin to loot the abandoned houses in the Jewish neighborhoods.
As an interesting detail, I was told that the Gestapo demanded three kilo of coffee, and 2,000 Zl from the Judenrat for the bullets used!
May 11 1942
…Today, before 6:00 am, they arrested and shot the Jew, Klieger, the owner of a small print shop.
May 13 1942
…Monday the 11th of May in the afternoon, three Gestapo carried out a terrible pogrom in Jozefow ordenatski killing over a hundred people. Even the German, Becker, the treuhendler, at the company Alwa, who happened to be in Jozefow, told me afterward in the office that this was something dreadful, indescribable, an indelible impression, although he was always slandering Jews, and saying that they should all be exterminated.
May 15 1942
Yesterday afternoon, two local gendarmes, and one blue, drove out to Gorajec to hunt Jews. The special messenger that the Jews sent out, brought the news that 14 Jews were killed.
…Before daylight the gendarmes shot three Jews. They were in the city jail, and when they were led out, they began to run. They would rather die her in their birthplace than be executed in Zwierzyniec. Among the murdered is the wife of Levnik Berger, a rich metal merchant, who left with the Soviet army for the East. One of them, Dailes, succeeded in running away.
May 18 1942
…The gendarmes shot two Jewish women today on the Rozlop road outside S., daughters of old Malazh Leger.
…This evening, Gelernter, was killed in front of city hall. They were leading him out under arrest in order to execute him at Zwierzyniec. He refused to get on the wagon, better to die right there. The body of the dead man lay in front of city hall until 8:00 in the morning.
May 24 1942
…News has arrived of a new wave of killings—in Krasnobrod, Zamosc and Tomaszew. Fear and unrest again runs through our Jews. It's not much better for us. We are constantly on the alert for arrests.
May 27 1942
…I went to Zamosc today, and spent several hours in the hospital…I really wondered why they have not yet instituted any decrees limiting the admission of Jews to hospital. They are admitted exactly as before in all departments, with the exception of Typhus for which there is a special isolation house. Even the Jews wounded in the last horrible pogrom were admitted with no complaints.
In Zamosc and in various shtetlach, masses of Jews are again being taken, mostly the elderly, over 60, and they are taken to unknown destinations.
May 28 1942
…The Jews of S. are constantly anxious about their fate. Everyone—old, young, man, woman, strive to find some employment locally. They hope it will keep them from being taken away. Many come to the hospital pleading for work. As a result, about 15 Jews now work in the garden. And all think they are really fortunate.
June 17 1942
…In the early morning Gelernter, the brother of the one shot a few weeks ago, was shot.
June 23 1942
…We thought that the calm would persist a little while, as it usually did after mass arrests. Meanwhile, I learned that last night, arrests began among the Poles, as well as a hunt for Jews. They were dragged out of their homes, and later taken to work at the air-field. In the process, two old Jews were killed—the sick Gelernter, the father of the two murdered brothers, and a shoemaker. The arrests, and the Gestapo patrols throughout the city, went on until 6:00 pm. They entered many homes, stores, etc. Later, they transported the arrested in the direction of Bilgoraj. I don't know exactly who yet. –53 Jews were among the arrested.—The mood in town is frightening.
June 23 1942
…In the afternoon, 20 old Jews were taken from jail at city hall to the field at the end of Pamfiger street. Cries, tears, and exceptional turmoil among the Jews: All 20 were shot in the field, the rest were freed.
June 24 1942
…I found out more about the Jews who were killed yesterday. A grave had been dug by some Poles in the field. When the praying old men were brought to the field, several at a time were forced to lie face down in the grave. After they were shot with a machine-gun volley, the next bunch were forced to lie on top of them. And that's how, in three layers, they were all killed.
July 17 1942
…A terrible pogrom carried out by the Germans in Jozefow a few days ago. It is said that 1,500 people were killed there, mostly women and children. The men were taken away.
July 17 1942
…Six Jews were killed here tonight.
Aug 8 1942
…11:00 am. The Jews are extremely tense and depressed. Last evening, they knew that their situation was precarious. Alarming news came from Bilgoraj and Zwierzyniec. From evening on, numerous patrols wandered about town, checking passersby. Around 1:00 am, we were awakened by a commotion opposite the hospital. They were hammering at a Jewish house. We heard, screams, cries, calls in German, Polish and Yiddish. They took so long in the first house that by the time they broke into the second, there was no one there. A Jewish woman and her four children had hidden in the attic, but they did not look there. –
From morning on, there are no Jews to be seen on the street. I went out to see what was going on. All Jews without exception were ordered to show up at 8:00 am in the market by the Judenrat. They were permitted to bring 15 kg of baggage, food for five days and 1,500 Zl. The mayor told me that 2,000 Jews were to be transported to the Ukraine. The train workers said that a train with 55 wagons was waiting at the station.
None of the Jews volunteered to go. They were grabbed and taken to the market hall. I asked a gendarme from the local station, who spoke Polish exceptionally well, what would happen if the Jews refused to go. He answered curtly, We will shoot them all.
It's almost 7:00 pm. For most of the day, gendarmes, Gestapo, soldiers from the Sonderdienst, blue police, city hall workers, members of the Judenrat, and the Jewish police, search the town for Jews, drag them out of various hiding places, and drive them to the market hall. The appearance of the Jews is awful, mostly in torn, old rags, women with small children in hand. It is completely still, no crying or wailing is heard. The Jewish houses are deserted, some wide open. The city hall workers carry out the abandoned and hidden goods. I saw wagons full of packs and bags containing various things. Most of the Jews had hidden, and could not be found. There are hooligans among the Polish population, mostly young boys, who zealously help in the search. –There is great tension in the whole town.
9:00 pm.—Beginning at 8:00 they began to lead the Jews out of the market hall. Some began to flee and a dense, scattered, shooting began. The Poles, who were gathered in numbers on the street, began to stampede, running madly, taking shelter in houses. A little while later, they drove the Jews in the direction of the train station. Some old women and disabled old people were driven to the end of the train by horse wagon. The latecomers were beaten with clubs, whips, etc. I saw everything with my own eyes, because I was standing at the hospital gate by the road. This was so shocking, so terrifyingly inhuman that it is even hard to describe.
From Bilgoraj and surrounding areas they deported about 1,000 Jews. They were driven to the train station at Zwierzyniec. No one believes that they are to be taken to the Ukraine, everyone is sure they will be murdered. After yesterday's nightmarish day, no one can feel easy. We have the impression that we have not yet come to the end.—Today, 13 Jews shot in S.
Aug 10 1942
…No Jews to be seen in town yesterday.
At night, three Jewish women who left their house were shot. Regarding the ones taken away the day before yesterday, we only know that the train went in the direction of Belzec. Everyone is certain that they are no longer alive.
Aug 11 1942
…There is no market today. The villagers are afraid to come to town. It is forbidden to sell anything to Jews. The city hall staff go through the abandoned houses and take out everything, furniture, bedding etc. and collect it in one place. Only the Jews engaged in some trade are allowed to remain in town. The rest will be relocated, meaning murdered.
A state of emergency has been declared. No special regulations or limits are involved, just the permission to shoot with impunity for the smallest trifle.
Aug 12 1942
…A Jewish woman with a child, as well as a man, were shot in the street this evening.
In the afternoon, the district doctor from Bilgoraj, Dr. Snotski, came with a warrant for requisitions. They sealed the equipment of Streicher and Bronstein's wife's dental cabinets. Part of Steicher's cabinet they took with them. They made an inventory of Dr. Bolotny's medical cabinet and declared that he can not sell anything. He has thus become merely a temporary user of his own assets. The mayor Kraus, and Dr. Snotski, assured me that the Jews will be completely liquidated soon.
Aug 20 1942
…Hardly a day goes by without several Jews being shot. People are so used to it that they don't get upset anymore. Gunshots in the night don't have the same effect on people as before.
Sept 17 1942
…Yesterday a lot of Poles were arrested…Also arrested were the two Streicher brothers, Jews: a dental technician and a barber.
Sept 19 1942
…Yesterday in Bilgoraj, both Streicher brothers were killed.
Sept 30 1942
…All the Jews from the Radecznica Gmina were brought to S. Most from Gorajec and from Radecznica proper, around 400 people, so the mayor informed me.
Oct 15 1942
…We were deeply shocked today by the shooting of Laizer Zero. He was our butcher who provided meat for the hospital for more than a decade, leased our orchard, took care of various legal matters for us, and was thought of as one of us. Lately, he was officially assigned to the hospital by the work authority and was always here, day and night. He was an exceptionally likeable Jew, we were all extremely fond of him. He proved to be very helpful to me in this war. Every day, he brought me the latest radio and local news. This morning, he was quietly standing in the market, and the gendarme, Siriez, requested that he accompany him to the station. Since he was occasionally asked to go there, he went not thinking anything of it. Half an hour later, three gendarmes led him out toward the city hall. There, they brought from jail another Jew arrested a few days ago, the barber Tuchschneider, put them both on a horse drawn wagon, and went towards the sugar-factory. In a few hours, we already knew they had been taken to the outskirts of Michalow, in the so called Remyza woods and shot.—Just last night, we had a long talk with Laizer about the general situation. He always maintained that he [the Germans] had lost the war but worried, Will we survive? We truly mourn Laizer.
Oct 18 1942
…As of several days ago, the Jews have been definitively liquidated. There remain just a dozen tradesmen,. The older ones were shot on the spot, those who could walk were taken to Izbice. Tonight the Jews of Turobin were liquidated. We are certain that the S Jews will suffer the same fate.
Oct 19 1942
…Oppressive silence in town. The Jews fear a liquidation. The Poles—arrests.
Oct 21 1942
…I had to go to Zamosc today. I got up early to get ready for the trip. Suddenly, I heard, and saw, through the window unusual movement in the street, in spite of the fact that the streets were empty. It turns out that as of 6:00 am the relocation of the S Jews had begun—in point of fact, their liquidation. Throughout the whole day, until evening, the most horrible things transpired. SS and blue soldiers ran around town looking for Jews. They were rounded up and driven to the market in front of the court house. They were dragged out of hiding places; gates, doors and shutters were broken in; grenades thrown into cellars. They were beaten, kicked, and in general tortured in inhuman ways. There was fire from revolvers, rifles and machine guns. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, around 900 Jews were led out of town—men, women and children. They were herded with clubs, rifle butts, etc. and shot all along the route. Only the members of the Judenrat, and the Jewish police rode in horse-drawn wagons. The Aktion continued even after they had been led away. They found more hidden Jews. It was announced throughout town that the penalty for hiding Jews, or their goods, was death. Special rewards were promised for disclosing the hiding places. Those Jews now captured were shot without delay. The Polish population was conscripted to bury the Jews. The number of dead is difficult to ascertain. It is said 400 to 500. I will try to verify the exact number at city hall. From the numbers given one can assume that there are still around 2,000 hidden.—The captured were taken to the train station, and from there, I don't know.
It was a dreadful day today. I can not describe all that has happened. It would take a special literary talent to describe the horrible barbarity of the Nazis. No one ever dreamed that such things were possible.—I am shaken, I can't settle down.
Oct 22 1942
…The hunt for Jews does not end. The foreign gendarmes and SS left yesterday, and our gendarmes, and blue police are ordered to kill captured Jews on the spot. They carry out these orders very zealously. From early morning on, they bring the bodies of the murdered Jews in wagons from all sides of the city, and especially from the Jewish so-called Zatili quarter. They are buried in mass graves in the Jewish cemetery. Jews were found in various hiding places throughout the day. They were either shot on the spot, or taken to the cemetery and shot there. The group was led by two gendarmes, Pryczing, and Syring, and one blue policeman.
Those driven out of town last night were held in the open air at the Alwa factory near the S. station. Around 9:00 pm, the Jews of Zwierzyniec were brought there. Today at noon, they were loaded into the railroad cars. At 4:00 pm, the train was still standing in the station. It's cold out, a fine autumn rain is falling.
The Jewish houses are sealed. Nevertheless, the hooligans break in. A lot of hooligans took part in the hunt and capture of Jews. They pointed out where Jews were hidden, took part in the hunt, even of little children, whom the police killed in front of everyone's eyes.—In general, horrible things took place, nightmarish, to make your hair stand on end. The Jews of S. no longer can be said to exist. Even the indispensable tradesmen are gone, the loss of whom is strongly felt. And in spite of that, there are still large numbers of hidden Jews. All will die when they emerge from their hiding places, where they can't stay forever.
Oct 23 1942
…The Gestapo carried out its deadly work with the help of the local gendarmes, and the blue police, and with the active participation of certain inhabitants of the city. The young policeman from Polow, Matysiak, distinguished himself. Some local amateurs also zealously helped out hunting, herding Jews to the city hall, beating, kicking, etc. Some conducted the hunts for these unfortunates, others collected bodies and dug graves. Form time to time, shots rang out.
Oct 24 1942
…This is all still going on. The Gestapo from Bilgoraj are still rampaging. With the help of locals, the gendarmes and police still drag out the hidden ones from various holes, shooting them on the spot, or taking them to the Jewish cemetery and killing them there. Some are taken to jail, and then taken in larger groups to the cemetery. I saw them leading one such group. Gendarmes, police, and Polish citizens recruited for gehilf-wach-dienst, unarmed, in black German uniforms, walked by their side. The rear guard kept beating the Jews with clubs across the backs, on their heads, wherever they could. The captives' appearance was horrible.
At noon, the Gestapo announced that all men over the age of 15 should assemble with shovels at 2:00 pm. Until then, it is forbidden to sell alcohol. To go into restaurants is forbidden anyway.
Jews were brought to the cemetery without let-up. Dead bodies were brought continuously in wagons. All kinds of things were brought to the market hall from Jewish homes.
Today was a nightmare, and this is the fourth in a row. No one will be able to determine how many Jews have been killed. And this is certainly not the end, because tomorrow at 8:00 am., the men must show up again with shovels, and the peasants with horses and wagons.
Oct 26 1942
…Yesterday, Sunday, around 50 bodies of the murdered or those dead from privation were brought in. They brought a group of about 100 men to the cemetery, and in a separate group, women and children. And they are still hunting Jews everywhere.
I saw how, in the nearby buildings belonging to the rope maker Dym family, whom I knew, they led away about 50 Jews. Hooligans were standing by and watching. Some freely participated, breaking down doors and walls, and then beating the Jews with clubs.
One of the most active participants, the city official Kercher, told me that two Jews in the isolation house suffering from Typhus were killed, and buried together with their bedding in a grave four meters deep. He brought me this news in an official capacity so that I could relay it to the district doctor.
The fate of Dr. Bolotny is unknown. The dentist Bronstein, and her two small daughters, were taken to Belzec on the first day. The female dentist, Stricher, was killed near her house. –Scoundrels loot whatever they can from the open Jewish houses, taking, without shame, Jewish household goods, or merchandise from the small stores.
6:00 PM…People from town come and tell us about the latest atrocities committed on the Jews. Our nurse saw with her own eyes how the gendarmes chased down a fleeing young Jewish woman, threw her on the ground, kicked her savagely, and then dragged her through the whole market by her hair to the station. My colleague, Dr. Matewszewski, was witness to the killing of five Jewish women, one after the other, by the Gestapo's Majewski from Bilgoraj. You can see puddles of blood on the sidewalks of S. –At the city jail, you can hear constant crying, moaning, groaning, and cursing. From time to time, in the city hall courtyard, Jews are shot. The clerks at city hall are nervous wrecks, women are crying and no one, of course, does any work. The only ones working are the secretary, Babiasz, who is replacing the sick mayor, and those who have an active role in the Aktions. Some clerks have fled the offices, because their nerves can not take it anymore. Others have become indifferent to everything.
All together, a horrible scene has been created that is difficult to describe. Something this dreadful and nightmarish has not been seen or heard of before. My recollections have a chaotic quality, awkward, because my equilibrium has been destroyed. I am, however, convinced that even such observations will someday be a sort of document of the times we are living through.
Oct 27 1942
…It has still not ended. The extermination of the Jews still continues. We have become so used to seeing dead bodies on the street that people pay relatively little attention to it, passing indifferently by. The dead body of the young boy, who was shot yesterday for robbery, lay on the sidewalk almost a whole day and night before it was taken away.
Oct 28 1942
…Two times I stepped out today, and both times I came across a group of Jews being led to their death. I saw one old lady, who could barely walk, killed with a rifle shot by a Gestapo. He took careful aim, shot once and failed to kill her, shot again, and then continued to drive on the rest of the group.
Oct 29 1942
…With the Jews, always the same. Wagonloads of Jewish goods continue to be unloaded at the market hall. There is no more room within, and beside the hall, a mountain of possessions grows.
Oct 30 1942
…Today too, Jews are being brought to the cemetery. A few Jews that were captured in the villages were brought to S.
Oct 31 1942
…They are still pulling exhausted Jews out of hiding places. Besides the Polish helpers, three Jewish boys hang about. They know where their Jewish brethren are hiding and are hoping, thereby, to have their lives spared. An empty hope, because in the end they will also be shot.
I heard from a Polish source that about 3,000 Jews have been liquidated. It is believed that about another 1,000 are still in hiding.
Nov 2 1942
…Went to Zwierzyniec yesterday. There the Jews were liquidated exactly as in S. They are still able to drag the odd Jew out in S., but not in the mass numbers they did before. The helpers are now combing the woods and catching Jews. They have already brought in a few.
Nov 4 1942
…The occasional Jew from the forests, the villages, or the city, is brought in to the city jail. Mayor Kraus, a well informed person, told me that, in the first Aktion, they rounded up exactly 934 Jews and around 2,300 were shot in their homes, on the street, and in the cemetery. Here, there is no one in a position to give an exact number. There were obviously cases where the peasants killed certain Jews in the countryside, afraid to hide them. This happened in the forest as well. There were also absolutely other cases where peasants hid Jews for many months, or even until the end of the occupation , without regard for the danger to themselves.
Today, a fairly large group of Jews was liquidated by the Gestapo, mostly men.
At the end, the four Jewish boys who had been helping the Germans find hidden Jews were shot.—There are three large, long, graves at the cemetery. The last one is not yet filled in. Uncovered bodies lie in it, awaiting further sacrifices. They were shot mostly having been ordered to lie face down in the graves. Witnesses said that not all the Jews died at once. Some got back up, screaming, begging for mercy, and were covered by the next layer.
It's now the third day of the liquidation in Bilgoraj and Tarnograd. There, the Jews in one house mounted resistance, threw themselves on the Gestapo officer, and beat him up.
The whole route from Bilgoraj to Zwierzyniec where they transported the Jews is littered with corpses.—In the same way, the extermination of the Jews of Jozefow was carried out.
Everywhere, horrible things that are hard to believe took place, and I would not believe it myself had I not seen it all with my own eyes in S.
Nov 10 1942
…From time to time, they still find the odd hidden Jew. In principle, all the Jews in the settlements of the Bilgoraj district, to which S now belongs, have been liquidated. The only ones remaining are those in the forests, valleys etc. They sometimes steal into the city at night looking for food, but the guards on the roads, and the night patrols, catch them.
Nov 14 1942
…The last few days have been quite quiet. Every day, a couple of Jews are found. Certain people thought that the whole attention of the Gestapo and gendarmes was focused on the Jews. Therefore, the surprise was greater when the Gestapo started showing up in Polish houses, and making sudden arrests.
Nov 17 1942
…They are still dragging Jews out from various hiding places. Their appearance is frightening.
For almost two years now, the household of the gendarme station was carried out by a certain Oberweiss, a woman of some thirty years of age, a convert, from a large Jewish family that had converted many years ago, and settled in the village of Gorajec. She tried to accommodate the gendarmes in any way possible, and they were happy with her, and behaved well toward her. It was thought that she could be completely secure and certain regarding her fate, especially as the biggest wave of the Aktions had already passed. Nevertheless, she was shot yesterday. They sent her into the city for something. A gendarme followed her, and from behind, put a bullet in her head. At least, they spared her the knowledge that she was going to die.
Nov 18 1942
…Again today, they shot captured Jews. They are mostly now found in the forests and villages, haylofts etc. Much less in town. I was told today that two Jewish women with small children gave themselves up at the jail. They could no longer hold out without food, or clothing, which was stolen from them in the forest. The children were barely alive.
Nov 20 1942
…I saw two Jews today being led through the street by local helpers.
They were emaciated and exhausted. They were walking unsteadily, like drunks and could hardly move. When they had to bring out some Jews from jail who could not make it on their own, the gendarmes stopped a passing wagon, threw the unfortunate victims on it, and took them to the cemetery. –More often now, we see Jews giving themselves up, and begging to be killed.
Nov 26 1942
…Among the bandits, there are now a lot of Jews.
Jan 5 1943
…A gendarme patient of mine told me that they found two Jews yesterday in some sort of hiding place.
Jan 6 1943
…Tonight, in the outskirts of S, they found five Jews in the loft over the stable at Kologiczik's. He was hiding and feeding them.
Mar 22 1943
…I saw the badly wounded farmer, Solewski, from Gruszka Zaporska. He had been hiding six Jews from Radecznica in his stable. When the police came, he tried to run away and was wounded. He died tonight. The police refused to give his body back to his family, and ordered that he be buried as a bandit. The Jews were shot in Radecznica by Polish police. The gendarmes came back and shot the farmer's wife and two children—a boy of three, and a girl of eight.
by Devorah Fleisher
Translated by Moses Milstein
In 1942, ten of us, women, worked in the hospital garden under the supervision of Dr. Klukowski, from 6:00 am until 5:00 pm. We were not allowed to buy bread from Christians, and Jews were not allowed to do any baking. We worked without wages, just in order to have a work place, although this did not guarantee that we could not, at any moment, be taken by the Germans.
Dr. Klukowski, the doctor-historian, worked us without supplying any bread, at a time when even the German murderers provided bread and soup for their workers. Dr. Klukowski took advantage of our misfortune and treated us as slaves. When the time finally came when there was some green in the garden, we could only steal a carrot or tomato and quickly eat it, because we were being watched from the hospital windows. Vegetables were plentiful; there were 800 tomato plants.
Do you know what it is to be hungry and not to be able to touch food while you're working with it?
Dr. Klukowski emulated Hitler's methods. Before annihilating them, he humiliated them, and that is worse than death.
We were not allowed to shop at the market. But sometimes, before work, we might catch a Christian woman behind some gate and quickly pay her whatever she asked, and even more quickly, run off. Once, on the way to work, we bought some cucumbers and brought them with us. When we were leaving work, the hospital watchman searched us and found the cucumbers. However, he immediately saw that they were not from the hospital garden. We began to weep, ashamed at what had befallen us,. The guard apologized and cried with us…He pointed to the windows, meaning it comes from the Prince.
Once I came to ask about the status of my husband who was in hospital. Dr. Klukowski threw me out of the hospital corridor.
So basely did he behave.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Szczebrzeszyn, Poland Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2016 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 4 Jun 2014 by LA