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Part IV

     Before World War I, Podwolocyska was a border town between Czarist Russia and Austria, under Austro-Hungarian rule. It was run by Ben-Zion Zimmerman, the first mayor of the town. (His sister, Sarah-Dvora Zimmerman was the grandmother of Dr. Yaacov Gilson. Six of her children - Bernard, Paul, Baruch, Isaac, Marcus, and Anna - moved to the U.S.).
     The mayor erected a large building (about 150 meters long, 20 meters wide, and 15 meters tall) on the main street of the town, Tarnopolska Street, for public use. The ground floor was to be made into shops and stores while the second story was meant to be apartments.
Later on the town hall was built (which later housed the elementary school for boys), a central two-story building in the town square.
     Additional buildings were built along the west-east axis. The Roman Catholic church was built to the southwest of the town and the Slavic church was built to the east of it.
     On this side of town, near the road to Tarnopol, the central synagogue was built. Behind it stood the municipal bath house and the Jewish mikveh. After World War I, a yeshiva for the followers of the Rebbe from Chortakov was built in the northern part of town. There was another yeshiva for the disciples of the Hosiatin Rebbe. The more modern Jews built a "Mizrahi" synagogue in the northeast part of town which was often used as a meeting place for Zionist youth and for Zionist meetings before elections to the Zionist Congress. Most of the town's Jews worshipped in the central synagogue. The town rabbi, Rabbi Leibush Babad, prayed there during the High Holidays.
     The Jews of the town lived harmoniously with their Polish neighbors. There were no quarrels or fights between them or public outbursts of anti-Semitism.
     However, the larger cities like Lvov, Krakow, Poznan and Warsaw were familiar with anti-semitic outbursts led by the "Andaks". The quotas for the acceptance of Jewish students to study medicine, pharmacy, and technical studies which the Polish administrations of the universities enforced, were a well known fact. Also well known were the loud quarrels between the Jewish students and the Andaks, quarrels which escalated into razor fights on the benches of the universities.
     After Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the anti-Semitism in Poland increased as well. There was incitement against Jewish merchants and professionals. Their stores were expropriated and they were smitten with harsh decrees- those of Piskozhova and of the Prime Minister, who found no other problems to solve except for painting fences all over the country and the problems of Jewish ritual slaughter.
     However, the anti-Semitism had not permeated our small town and the Jews and Poles lived together harmoniously, as mentioned before.
     The relationship with the Ukrainians in the town was non-existent. There certainly were no friendly relations between them (during the years 1941-1944, there were two Ukrainian mayors who served consecutively: Dr. Zhokovsky and Yeruslav Gargoshchuk. Of the two, the latter was less extremist toward the Jewish population.)
     The Jewish population was divided into three levels. About 15% were wealthy, about 40% were middle-class, and the remaining 45% became impoverished due to the Inflation and difficult conditions of the years before World War II.
     We, the survivors, will remember them from the distance of time and place: in houses with their murdered inhabitants. We will pass through our town which has turned into a cemetery. We will remember life as it was then, in a world which is no more. We will remember brothers whose dreams fell with them into the ditch.
     Tarnopolska Street was the main street. There stood the Weisnicht family house with the father (the mother deceased) and six children. At first, the father made his living from a small pub in his home, and after it closed, the sons maintained the home. The eldest son, Hesyu was a bookeeper, the second son, Nakchu, disabled, worked as a secretary for various people, the middle son, Shlomo, was a merchant, Zunyu worked at various jobs, and the youngest, David studied. The daughter ran the household. Of the entire family, only Shlomo survived. He moved to Israel as a pioneer before the war and lives in Israel.
     The family of Benjamin Katz lived next door to them. They traded in wood and wheat. Their son, Aaron and their daughter emigrated to the U.S. before the war broke out and the father and grandfather remained in the town until it was captured. One of the daughters married Reichman, a merchant who went along with the retreating Red Army into Russia, and who was later seen in Haifa. The rest of the family, the wife and children, were murdered. His brother Moshe Katz lived next door. He had a kosher butcher shop in his home. Of his family, the parents and four children, a son Shmuel, who hid with peasants, and two daughters survived.
One sister died in Varoslav and the younger sister left the town with the retreating Red Army. She and her family live in Israel today.
     Across the street from them lived the widow Friedman with her four daughters and one son (her husband died before the war). One son worked as a bookkeeper for the grain merchants before the war. The daughters worked for people in town. Everyone but Lorka, who lives in Israel, perished in the war.
     On the same street, in a two-story home, lived the Malkishar family which consisted of the father, a clerk with the railroad company, a son and two daughters. The children were high school graduates. None of them survived. Beyond the train tracks at the bottom of the hill on the outskirts of the town Novi Sviat lived the Rottenberg family, a lone Jewish family among Poles. There were two brothers in the family. One was married with three children and worked as a wood merchant in his wood warehouse near the train station. The Rottenburgs lived peacefully with their Polish neighbors, the Grokolsky family, who were tailors, the Ovorsky family, musicians, and the Moshkovsky family. The children studied at a school located one kilometer from their home. The school was for boys and girls and run by Mrs. Crock. There were no quarrels or hatred among the children. During the spring, the houses would be shaded by the fruit trees. In the summer the trees were covered with the red of cherries, and with apples, pears, and in the autumn, with plums. The neighbors would send fruit to the Jewish children, and if someone needed a hand, they would work together, the Jew Rottenberg and the neighbor Grokolsky or the musician Ovorsky.
     The Ovorsky family's orchestra, headed by the wonderful falutist Moshe Goldring would play at the Wigler Auditorium for dances held by the Jewish youth. At parties held together, held at the train station auditorioum or the Sokol Auditorium Jewish adults and youth and their families would meet Poles and their families.
     For a long time Dr. Rosensweig was the railroad doctor for the town. Her husband, Dr. Leon Rosensweig and Dr. Bruno Perchip, a reserve army Captain, and Dr. Gabriel Friedman served the Jewish and Polish populations of the town day and night. Even on Yom Kippur they were not deterred from rendering medical assistance to a peasant in a remote village and would wrap themselves in coats and travel any distance.
     Jews and Poles would meet on the town tennis court. Dr. Perchip and his wife would meet the town officers from the border town for a game of tennis.
     At the municipal courthouse, which was in a three story building on Tarnopolska Street, Jewish and Polish judges and clerks worked side by side. Among them were the Jews Fogel and Ashkenazi. The Jewish notary public Landsberg was the only notary in town qualified as a court supervisor. The "Palestra" was comprised almost exclusively of Jewish attorneys: Dr. Orbach, Dr. Cohen, Dr. Gabriel Finkelstein, and Dr. Sbatler (his son, Leshek Sbatler, who married Gold's daughter, survived. He is now a professor at the Shechin University). The Polish attorneys were Gromnitzki, and the Ukrainian Dr. Jakobski with his assistant Magistrate Shuller.
     The town was run by the Polish mayor Bordavcik and the vice-mayor, Dr. Leon Rosensweig. Members of the town council were democratically elected by the residents relative to their numbers. Among the Jewish clerks were Shlomo Wallach (who was drafted when World War II broke out. He was later killed in a POW camp.), the brother of Zeev Wallach.
     The commander of the the joint Russian-Polish patrol abroad, from the Polish side, was the Jewish Captain Shenkel who had been wounded in battle.
     The relationship between the Jewish and Polish youth can be described by the pretty young Jewess, Rachel Polchok, who was the sister of Esther Greenberg who lived on David Street (the entire family was in the Soviet Union), who had many admirers among the Polish boys. Among them were Vladislav Vitvizki, the "Komornik's" son, a future lawyer, and Josef Badak of Kaimovka, who come to town especially to go out with her. She wound up marrying Yank Landsberg, the notary's son, who completed his engineering studies in Gdansk. During the war, she fled with her second husband to the Soviet Union and survived. Apparently, she lives in Leningrad now.
     Contrarily, Munyu Katz admired Wanda Krutsch of Zadnishovka. Later on, he became Sidonia Friedman's boyfriend. (She was murdered in the Kamiunki C' camp in Podwolocyska). He was a soldier in the Red Army during the war. After the war, he moved to the West. He studied medicine in Germany (He did not have his high school diploma with him because he left it with Wanda Krutch for safekeeping). He was admitted to medical school on the basis of a friend's testimony that he had finished high school. Y.G. helped him in his studies. Later on he moved to the U.S. and worked there as a physician under the name of Dr. Foster. He also served in the medical corps of the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He died of a heart attack in the U.S.
     Tina Greenhaut married Dr. Crystal, a refugee from Lodz, during the war. He served as the Kamionki C' doctor in Podwolocyska and died there during the outbreak of typhoid fever in the camp, while helping the sick. Pella and her younger sister and their parents were murdered in the execution of the night of June 29, 1943. Their names appear on the list of those buried in the mass grave at Feitel Hill (The list was compiled after the Soviet authorities reentered the town and exhumed the bodies.).
     On Railroad Street, lived the widow Teitlebaum with her two sons, Wilhelm and Mishko, and a daughter, in a small two room apartment. They all worked: Wilhelm worked for a jeweler in Lvov, Mishko worked for a textile merchant in town, for Winkler, as a sales clerk in the store.
     The daughter worked as a typist. The entire family perished, Wilhelm at one of the executions in Lvov, and the others in Podwolocyska during the transit to Zbaraj.
     Adella Zigman, the daughter of Motti Zimmerman, lived with her three daughters in the Zimmerman home on Railroad Street. After her father died, she was moved to Skalat. Two of the daughters, Rosa and Sophia, who were members of the Zionist youth group "Hashomer Hatzair" moved to Israel before the war. The oldest daughter died before the war.
Bella Greenspan, nee Zimmerman, a widow, lived with her mother Sara in the Zimmerman home with her three children, two sons and a daughter. The sons were drafted into the Polish army before the war and never returned. The mother and daughter perished in Podwolocyska during the expulsion. Two other children, a son and the eldest daughter, perished in an execution in Zalchov.
     The German teacher, Henoch Koppel and his wife and two children perished during an execution during transport to Skalat.
     The widow Kibbetz and her son Shmuel, a tailor, lived in a one room apartment and were supported by charitable institutions. They perished while being transported to Zbaraj.
     The Findling family, parents and one son, made their living from their son's work as a bookeeper in the local flour mill owned by Reichman, Fohorils, and Greehnaut. The young Findling married Dora, the daughter of Kopke Greenhaut. His parents were taken to Skalat. He died when the Podwolocyska camp was liquidated. His wife survived and moved to Israel, where she died of an illness.
     The Siegal family, the mother a widow, made their living from baking bread before the war. The mother had two daughters, one married to an American who returned a few years earlier. He perished along with his wife and her sister and mother in the execution in Skalat.
     Most of the middle-class families were fairly well off. They did not own cars or carriages, but they owned a nice sized home and made a living. Most of the wealthy families dealt in trade.
     Sallo Wallach (a member of the Maccabi A' team, and the best athlete in town), owned a notions store. His wife, Pepe, was the daughter of Kopke Greenhaut. They lived in a large apartment on David Street. The store did very well. They lived in their home until the Soviets entered the town. After their home was expropriated with the help of the local Communists, they moved to Lvov. When the Germans arrived there, he was murdered in the sands of Lvov. His wife and small son survived and moved to Israel. Their son works as an engineer for the Israeli army.
     The two Neuman brothers owned a very large shoe store in town. The family of Moshe Neuman consisted of two parents and three children: two sons, Wilhelm and Shimon, and a daughter Rosa. They were well off until the war broke out, as was his brother's family. The two sons moved to Israel, one completing his studies at the Technion in Haifa, and the other at the High School for Trade in Poland. When the Soviets arrived in town, their property was expropriated. After the Germans arrived, they were executed. The two sons moved to Israel before the war.
     The Forhilis family, one of the owners of the flour mill, lived in Shimchishin's house, in an apartment with seven rooms, on the main street. He used to help the poor considerably and contributed to charitable organizations. When the Soviets arrived, his property was expropriated, along with that of others. He and his family perished under unknown circumstances, after the Germans arrived in town.
     Winkler, a successful merchant with a textile store on the main street, Tarnopolska Street, near the train tracks, was also a philanthropist. His property was also expropriated. He died while in transit to Skalat after the German occupation.
     The family of David Abush Kivetz consisted of two sons and two daughters. The daughters, bookkeepers, worked in trade companies in town. The eldest son, Max, was employed by an industrial company and the younger son, Isio, worked. They lived well. Of the family, which was deported at the time of the executions, only the youngest son, Isio survived. He moved to Israel after the war. He works there as an army civilian.
     The family of David-Eli Greenhaut, with his wife and two daughters, Pella and Lila, moved, after the mill was expropriated, to Zhadnishovka, where he worked in trade. After the murderous Germans came, he and his family were interred at the Kamionki C' camp In Podwolocyska. They were murdered during the execution of the night of June 29, 1943, and were buried in the mass grave on Feitel Hill.
     Zalman Kastenbaum was a grain merchant. He lived well in his home until the German occupation. His son, David, moved to Israel before the war, after completing his studies in pharmacology in Czechoslovakia. There he worked as a pharmacist until he died. Their daughter married the physician, Dr. Kasten, who fled to the Soviet Union when the war between Germany and Russia began. After the war, he moved to Israel with his wife and family. Here he worked as a physician until his death. His parents were killed in one of the executions.
     The family of Dr. Gabriel Friedman consisted of himself, his wife, and their daughter, Julia. Unitil the occupation , they lived in the house belonging to the attorney Dr. Grumnizki on Tarnopolska Street, opposite the pharmacy. During the occupation, the Doctor died of a heart attack. His wife and daughter, after the latter married the veterinarian Dr. Yaacov Jarchower, were taken to the Kamionki C' camp in Podwolocyska. The mother and daughter were killed in the execution of the night of June 29, 1943, and were buried in the ditch near Feitel Hill. The son-in-law, Dr. Jarchower was not killed on that night, but rather died later on after swallowing poison. He was twenty nine years old.
     The Farber family numbered six people, the parents, three sons and one daughter. They all lived together until the German occupation. The eldest son, Sunyu, was an accountant and athlete, moved to Lvov, where he married. His sister Frieda moved to the United States. The parents and two other brothers perished in one of the executions. The sons Sunyu, who lost his family in Lvov, returned and remarried. Afterward, he moved to Israel with his family. He died in 1985. His wife died one year later.
     Shmuel Jorisch was a grain merchant. He had three daughters and one son. Until the German occupation, he lived with two of his daughters, the third having moved to Lvov. The son went to study at the Technion in Haifa. He continues to live and work in that city as an engineer. The eldest daughter also survived and lives in Israel. The parents and two other daughters were killed in one of the executions.
     The photographer Brayer, family consisted of six people, three sons and one daughter. One of the sons was an outstanding violinist. The youngest son survived and later moved to Israel. He lives with his family in Kfar Saba. The rest of the family was murdered.
     The Brayer's neighbors, Moshe Greenberg and his family, his wife Esther, their son Mishko and their daughter Racheli, moved to the Soviet Union. Later on, Mishko left the Soviet Union and emigrated to Canada. He brought his father over there as well, and he lived to the ripe old age of 90. As for the rest of the family, the mother died in the Soviet Union and the daughter, Racheli and her mother's sister still live there.
     The family of Naftali Greenspan of the granaries numbered seven people. His eldest daughter Toncha was married to Yanchu Bomza. Of the entire family just two sons, Munyu and Joseph survived. They live in Israel.
     The father of the Wallach family died before the war. The mother was killed in one of the executions. The eldest son was drafted into the Polish army and at the beginning of the war fell prisoner to the Germans and was murdered in the POW camp. The younger brother, Zeev moved to Israel as a pioneer even before the outbreak of the war. He lives in Haifa.
     The Liebling family consisted of seven people. Five were killed in Zbaraj, among them the daughter Lena, an attorney. Two brothers were drafted into the Red Army and survived. One of them moved to Israel and died there in 1984. The other brother, Pimmik, lives in Germany with his family.
     Of the Hirshklau family which numbered six, three daughters survived. One survived by escaping to the Soviet Union and the other two, Rachel and Mella survived miraculously. The remainder of the family was murdered in Skalat.
     Of Rabbi Babad's family, which numbered eight people, all were killed in either Zbaraj or Beljiz. The Rabbi's house had been the center of religious life in the town. It was a place which enriched the local youth. Rabbi Babad was one of Poland's three chief rabbis. On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the prayers could not commence until the Rabbi's arrival. When he walked on the street, even the Poles would clear the way out of respect for him.
     Of the family of Yekel Halperin of Dr. David Street, which numbered six people before the war, only two survived, the son Isio and the daughter Clara. They both moved to Israel after the war. The son, Isio, worked as a bookeeper for a department store chain (Hamashbir) and lives in Tel Aviv. The daughter, Clara, lived in Haifa until her death.
     The Kass family- the father was a textile merchant, the grandfather Yona, was a teacher. Of the family, their two children, Sara and Shalom survived. After the war they moved to Israel. Shalom fell in Israel's War of Independence in 1948.

     The entire family of the carpenter Shmuel Jorisch, except for their son Honchu, who was conscripted into the Red Army, was killed. Jorisch's son-in-law, the accountant Rosenstrook, gave his fourteen year-old daughter to the Ukarainian Shigger family, hoping to save her life in this way. However, one day before the execution at the Kamiunki C' camp in Podwolocyska, they handed her over to their friend, the Opsturmfurer Ravel, and she was shot into a mass grave together with the others on June 29 1943.

     Shmuel Jorisch's brother, Berel Jorisch perished with his entire family in Skalat.
     Of the Rotter family, leather and coal merchants, all except Hirsh, who had escaped to the Soviet Union, perished. Hirsh moved to the U.S.
     Of the family of Wolf Feldman, which consisted of three sons and an daughter, who was married to a doctor in Zborov, only the son Leon survived. He lives in Haifa. The rest of the family were killed in the executions at Zbaraj and Zborov.
     All of the confections merchant, Yaacov Birnklau's family of four were shot dead when the C' camp at Podwolocyska was liquidated on June 29, 1943.
     The family of the dentist, Dr. Kleiner, a refugee from central Poland, was shot at the same time.
     Dr. Kramer, a doctor from Shlonsak, was also murdered, along with his family, on that night.
     Of the Levinsons, which numbered six before the war, two sons remained. The rest were murdered at the executions in Podwolocyska.
     Of the family of six of Feige and Yisrael Netter, three sons survived, Ichu, Yaacov and Tuvia. Yaacov moved to Israel in 1933, as a pioneer. He belonged to the Hagana, and fought during the siege on the old city of Jerusalem, in order to help the besieged defenders. During the war, he, along with the others, were taken prisoner by the Jordanian Legion. After his release, he returned to live in Jerusalem where he was active in the Labor party. He was able to help bring over his two brothers, who moved to Israel in the 1950's. Yaacov died in 1985. Magistrate Ichu was the general secretary of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Tuvia worked at the telephone company for many years. The three of them died in Israel.
     The chairman of the Judenraat, Magistrate Shiller and his wife and daughter were all murdered by his "friend" Opsturmfurer Ravel when the C' camp was liquidated.
     Of the Gruber family, the mother and one son were killed in the executions. Two daughters and one son moved to Israel before the war and survived with their families. The son died in Haifa.

     Of the Kohan family in Kacanovka, three children survived. They were saved by Pioter Budnik and he moved with them to Israel after the war. Now they work in agriculture in Kfar Warburg. One of the brothers served as a senior officer in the Israli Air Force. The younger sister is a nurse on a kibbutz.
     Capital did not save the capitalists, and the rich were killed along with the poor. Only blind luck saved some from the total destruction of the Jews of Poland.
     The richest family in town, the Hahn family, who dealt in grain and did business with all the farmers in the area, could not save itself. The parents and two children were killed. Where they perished, be it Zbaraj or maybe a hideout among Ukrainians who killed them, is unknown.

     The largest tobacco dealer, Foigelbaum, had houses and warehouses in town. After the Russians came to town, his home was expropriated for the Ministry of the Treasury, and he, himself, was exiled. His wife and three children were murdered on the night of the liquidation of the C' camp.
     The merchant, Metfas, a wholesale iron trader, and the son-in-law of the head of the Judenraat, Shuller, was murdered along with his wife and their son Millik.
     Of the wealthy Tirhaus family, a rabbi and grain exporter, his son, his wife and three children were murdered. Just the eldest son, David, a prisoner of the Yanovski camp in Lvov, fled and was miraculously saved. He now lives with his family in Bnei Brak.
     Of the Berlin family, makers of seltzer and leather merchants, only the son Moshe, survived. The rest of the family was murdered.
     Of the Hendel family, wholesale egg traders, one of the sons, Munyu, survived. He was later murdered while on a business trip from Poland to Berlin. One of the grandchildren, Mushya Hendel's brother, was drafted into the Red Army and remained in the Soviet Union. Mushya died in Israel. All of Mushya's other relatives, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters were all murdered, either in Skalat or Zbaraj.
     Of the Reis family, which traded in agricultural machines, one daughter, who lives in Paris, survived. No one knows how she survived. The rest of the family was murdered.
     Of the family of Mr. Tvilling, a wealthy family of pharmacists, no one survived. Until his pharmacy was expropriated by the Germans and given to Gorgoroschovna (who later moved to the U.S. or Canada), the pharmacist continued to dispense medicines, at great risk to himself, to the people of the Podwolocyska and Kamionki camps. He was murdered when the C' camp was liquidated.
     The families of Solomon and Samuel Wohl, wealthy merchants were murdered on June 29, 1943.
     Of the wealthy family of Isaac Luckman, he and his son Feibush were killed when the SS first entered the town. His wife, daughter and grandchildren were killed during the expulsion to Zbaraj. His son-in-law, a dentist, was drafted into the Red Army and never returned. The youngest son, Joseph, moved to Israel before the war and lives in Ramat Gan.
     Of the Chwekun family, two brothers and their families were transported to Zbaraj or Skalat. No one survived. Their home and property was given to the Ukrainian, Shigger, who has already been mentioned.
     The giant ditch near Feitel Hill, not far form the Zbroch River that once represented the Polish-Russian border, bears testimony to the final day of the remainder of the Jews of the town who were shot dead on the night of June 29, 1943.
     The band of murderers headed by the Opsturmfurer Ravel returned to Kamionki after committing the crime in order to celebrate there, along with their SS and Gestapo cronies. They also planned the final liquidation of the Kamionki A' amd B' camps and all those remaining in Skalat along with the remnants of all the camps who were brought in from the Tarnopol and Stanislvov districts from 1941-1943. The emissary of the SS General Katzmann, Hildebrandt, chose July 10, as the date for the final liquidation of all the camps. Everyone was to be killed, including the women working in the camp laundries who lived near the A' camp.
     On July 10, they brought us, in vehicles, to Kamiunki A' where the ditches were already waiting for us. They ordered everyone to strip and forced us to run, naked, according to some random order, to the edges of the ditches, where they were cut down by the machine guns of Hitler's helpers. Hildebrandt was in command of the operation.
     I sat at the end of the group, which was brought in for execution, not far from the camp food warehouse. From where I was sitting, I could see trucks coming up to the warehouse and taking out the remainder of the supplies which had not been distributed to the prisoners: jam, margarine, etc. Then I broke away from the group and jumped into the warehouse. I was still dressed, but without a yellow star. I joined those who were loading the trucks, intending to hide inside one of them. When I got into a truck with a box of margarine, I heard Hildebrandt call out "Ein Jude hat sich verstekt!", meaning "One Jew is hiding!" Then I jumped back into the warehouse, awaiting my fate like the others.
     In the meantime, as one truck pulled away, and another pulled in, the Ukrainian commandant, Korrol, came into the warehouse and ordered the storage clerk, the lawyer Koenigburg from Tarnopol to take the keys and follow him to Commandant Ravel.
     I decided to take one last chance at possible survival. I grabbed some large keys which were lying on some barrels, and, pretending to be a storage clerk, I followed Korrol and Koenigsburg to a car at the exit, from where they were supposed to bring the storage clerk to the SS commandant Ravel, to his home where the SS office was. Koenigsburg asked me what I was doing there. I told him that I am helping the storage clerk and that I have keys too. He understood that he'd best keep quiet. When we reached Ravel's house, which was a farmhouse on the top of a hill in Kamionki, Korrol entered first, then Koenigsburg, and I jumped to the side in the yard. Nearby was the outhouse and there was a large pile of stones surrounded by various sorts of wild bushes. I hid in the bushes. Suddenly I heard the voice of SS officers asking the Ukrainians who were standing around- it was some Ukrainian holiday- if they had seen a Jew running away. "Yes," they answered, and pointed in the opposite direction. They were afraid to admit that they had not seen anything. The SS officers and Ukrainian police went off in the direction they had pointed.
     It was already about three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and it was a summer day. The wind began to blow, and it began to rain. I sat in the lion's jaw, waiting for a miracle. Luckily, no one went out to use the outhouse, near where I lay, under the cover of wind and rain.
     I lay there until after it was dark. The Ukrainian police patrols circled the hill upon which the house stood, surrounded by diggings and lit up all around. I waited until midnight. I calculated the amount of time it took for a policeman to circle the hill. I bent the barbed wire, and the moment the policeman passed, I jumped down. One policeman called to another. I stood up against the dirt wall in order to remain in the shadow. Again, I took advantage of the moment and ran toward the brook, which was a few meters away. I swam across the brook and I headed straight eastward, in order to get away from the camp, while the grain made swooshing noises around me. I went into the grain field and walked eastward, gaining distance from the place of death. Dogs barked all around. Under the cover of their barks, I went past the village Molcanovka and continued onward to the village of Kacanovka. I had been a teacher there during the Soviet occupation. I had also sent my two brothers to the village earlier on in order to hide at the farm of a farmer I knew.
     By morning I found myself in the Kacanovka fields, where the harvest had already begun. When I lifted my head above the wheat, I could see German soldiers' hats about 200 meters away. They were guarding the working peasants from partisans. Of course, I couldn't come out, for fear of being spotted.
     While I was laying down among the wheat, two peasants from the village approached me. I had once worked with them in something involving the Polish population. I cannot recall their names. When they saw me, they asked how they could help me. I answered "Bring me some bread, water, soap and a razor." They told me to stay put. I took a risk, because I did not know if they were collaborating with the Germans. But they weren't. An hour later, they had brought what I had asked. They asked when to bring more food. I thanked them and I told them that I would wait for them there. But when darkness fell, I left my hiding spot in the wheat field, and after crossing the village, I went to the farm where my brothers were hiding. When the farmer's family saw me they crossed themselves because they thought that I had been killed in the camp.
     After they set up a proper hiding place for us in the stable, we went underground.
     We stayed hiding under the ground in this farmer's stable until March 1944. At my request, the farmer went to a Polish family in Podwolocyska, the Mitchel family, and brought food and grain for us. They also brought money we had hidden in the ground by our former house.
     Once an armed German soldier walked into the stable, and we barely had time to cover our hole with straw. Luckily, the stable was quite dingy, so the German didn't notice.
     On one of the days of the winter of 1943-44, the farmer returned from the forest, from where he would bring back wood in his cart, and he told us of two women he had found hiding there who were in very bad shape. I told him to bring them to us by covering them with wood in his cart. He did this, and they remained with us until the Red Army entered the village.

     When we got a machine gun from a Jew in the Red Army, I had a weapon.
     One day I was invited by Ukrainians who had collaborated with the Germans to meet them in the forest. I had already heard about two guys who had hidden out in the village of Ivanovka and had been lured into the forest by Ukrainians where they were shot. After the Red Army had come in, all the collaborators wanted to get rid of anyone who could testify against them. I told them that I would happily meet them there, but of course, we didn't go. We informed the Soviet authorities of their plan and they were arrested and sent off to Siberia.
     On one cold March day, we returned to our town of Podwolocyska, which was about 12 kilometers from Kacanovka. When the residents of the town saw us, they crossed themselves in amazement.
     We only stayed in the town for a few days. While we were there, the Ukrainian residents headed by the lawyer Navrotzky, all Nazi collaborators, offered to make me principal of the high school in Podwolocyska. Thank you very much. Not one of them gave me a hand during the difficult days of the occupation.
     A few days later, we three brothers volunteered to serve in the Red Army.
     After completing a course in anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery, I was sent to the front in Visla, to the seventeenth anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery regiment under the command of Major Yaglinsky. With this unit I went through a number of battles on the Lublin front, through Warsaw, over the frozen Visla River, over the Uder River to Berlin.
     One day before the great Allied march through the streets of Berlin, I stood on my command car. The brigade commander, General Prokofovitz passed by and saw me standing and crying. "What happened, Lt. Gilson?" he asked. I answered, "Here we have beaten the fascists, but I will never see my murdered relatives again, so how can I keep from crying? The crying comforts me some. This is how I feel, and this is how millions of others of various nationalities feel." "I know that you are being considered for the Warrior's Cross, which you deserve, because you were always one of the first in battle. I saw you pass through mine fields. You were one of the bravest fighters in the brigade. My subordinate, Major Bialo often praised you to me."
     My younger brother, Zigmund, an infantry soldier, was seriously wounded near the Pomran Dam. My youngest brother, Binyamin, aged 17, joined one of the Warsaw units.
     After the liberation of Poland, we could not immediately begin the search for the criminals who had to pay for their crimes. We could not yet execute the last will of Yakchi Berger, who when sick with typhoid fever in the C' camp in Podwolocyska said one night when I brought in drinks for the sick people, "If any of us survive, it is our duty to tell the world of these horrible crimes committed against us."
     Eventually I did execute the will of this woman who was later executed by the SS and fell into a mass grave.
     Upon moving to Israel in 1957, I started to search for the criminals, even before I took care of my family. I wrote to a few prosecutors in Germany and supplied them with the names of some of the criminals. With the help of the historian and archives director. Dr.Yosef Karamish, a board member of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, I found out that Ravel changed his name to Herring. I reported his whereabouts to the prosecutors office in Stuttgart where I had already testified previously. Based on this information, all of the Gestapo and SS officers of the Tarnopol district were arrested, including the Gestapo commandant Hermann Miller and the Opsturmfurer Ravel.
     I appeared in the court in Stuttgart in answer to a summons. In the courtroom, they presented me with a lineup of SS officers so that I would identify Ravel. I pointed him out immediately. But he insisted, "I do not know you." Then I reminded him of his visits to the camp, how he ordered the camp director, Schwartz, to report to him, how he used to come to the camp at night after the parties at Shigger's house, how he beat prisoners, etc. When he heard what I had to say, he turned pale and said nothing more. They brought me a Bible to swear on and I swore, with a crystal clear conscience, in the presence of God and man, that this man was Ravel, the commandant of the Kamionki camps, Podwolocyska and Skalat. Ravel was arrested immediately.
     During the Tarnopol trials in Stuttgart, a number of survivors testified, along with me, in the name of tens of thousands who perished. Among them were Ravel's driver, Ladovsky, who was brought over from South America, the veterinarian Rodek Jarchower, the physician Dr. Reichenbach, my youngest brother, Binyamin, and others who were brought from various places in the world to give testimony. My brother, Sigmund, testified before judges who came to Israel from Germany for he felt that he might break down upon giving testimony in Stuttgart.
     On the thirty eighth day of the Stuttgart trials, the ex-Gestapo commandant, Hermann Miller, while openly sobbing, made the following declaration to a very still courtroom: "I now know that my previous testimony was false, and I want to express my deepest regrets for what happened and what I, myself, have done", and then turning to Dr. Gison and his family said "to you and your family."
     On this day he admitted his horrible guilt, on this day he wished to apologize to his victims, and profess the immorality of his deeds.
     Dr. Gilson was well aware of the historical significance of this declaration made by the Gestapo commandant of the Tarnopol district, as a representative of the Gestapo and SS and the Germans in general.
     This was a statement made in a court in Stuttgart, in front of the world, the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and in the presence of judges and all those present in the courtroom, including members of the German and international press corps.
     In this courtroom in Stuttgart it had been determined that the SS and Gestapo were responsible for the annihilation of six million Jews. Gestapo Commandant Hermann Miller's statement made on February 2, 1966 was reported extensively in the German press, such as:
Stuttgarter Zeitung Nr.26
Suddeutsche Zeitung Nr. 29
Suddeutsche Zeitung Nr. 30
Bayrischer Rundfunk - Kirchen Rundfunk February 13, 1966
nbsp;            It was also reported in Israeli newspapers: Nowiny i Kurier (February 3, 1966):
"SS EXECUTIONER EXPRESSES REGRET"
     Former SS Officer Hermann Muller, one of 10 defendants on trial in Stuttgart for participating in the extermination of the Jews of Tarnopol, broke down in court yesterday and begged forgiveness for his crimes. Turning to the witness Dr. Gilson from Israel, whose parents perished in the gas chambers in Belzitz, Muller said "I feel the need to ask forgiveness of this gentleman for what I did to him and his parents. I admit my guilt and express my deepest regret for what I did."
     In the Israeli newspaper "Maariv" of February 2, 1966, the SS executioner's statement was reported on the first page.
     The dramatic confession was reported in the same style in many European newspapers, as in America and all over the world.
     This declaration made by Hermann Miller in the Stuttgart court contradicted the false claim made by the neo-Nazis that six million Jews were not murdered, as has already been mentioned. The generation which came after the war, only forty years later, does want to know of the this horrible destruction.
     We never accused the entire German people and we do not accuse the younger generation of murder. However, the people, from among whom were drawn the mass murderers of innocent people whose only crime was that they were Jews, must educate their children and point to this horrible historical tragedy, so that it may never recur in the near or distant future.
     At three important trials, in Haagen, Stuttgart and Bermann, all of the Gestapo and SS officers who murdered Jews and looted their possessions in the Tarnopol district were put on trial. In Haagen, the SS officer Tomnek was tried for participating in murders committed in Kamionki and Zbarov. In Stuttgart, the SS and Gestapo officers who were active in Tarnopol and Kamonki were tried, and in Bermann the SS Obersturmfurer Hidebrandt, who implicated the Opsturmfurer Ravel in his testimony, was put on trial. Ravel claimed there that he had been ordered by Hildebrandt to liquidate the camps. See the "Bremer Narchrichten" and "Weser Kurier" from August 4, 1966 for more.
     All of the defendants were sentenced to either life terms or long prison terms. It was only at the Nuremberg trials that the important Nazi leaders were tried and sentenced to death. The master murderer, Hitler, together with his crony Goebels and his mistress committed suicide, before the Red Army entered Berlin, in the bunker where he had hoped to find refuge. Many of the "insignificant" criminals, SS and Gestapo people, fled to various countries where they were supported by fascists. They hid them there and still provide them with safe haven. Even until this day, the hand of justice has not touched them. Except for Eichmann, who was tried in Israel and hung, no Gestapo or SS person has been sentenced to death.
     All of the German newspapers reported the statement made by the head of the Gestapo in Tarnopol. The shock among Hitler's supporters was so great that they couldn't digest it. The self-degradation, bowing before the Jews and the admission of committing crimes under the order of the Berlin central command, Hitler, Goebels, Himler, and other important leaders, was a slap in the face to the entire Gestapo as it was to the SS and Sund-dienst, and all the criminal gangs.
Now, when the entire world knows what happened to us, how much innocent blood has been absorbed into the ground, the blood of those shot en masse, how many were tortured in the Gestapo prisons, how many skeletons are scattered about the ground of all of German-occupied Europe, now they dare to whisper among themselves while sipping wine:
     "Morgen auf Gottes Befehl diese Deutschen die Kameraden, die ordnung in Deutschland aufbauen Juden, Ja gestern die Juden und willen en neueneohitleristische."
     They still adore the Hitler beast.
     They still desecrate Jewish cemeteries.
     On May 5, 1985, on the fortieth anniversary of the end of the World War II in Europe, and the fall of the National Socialist regime in Germany, the German, Richard von Weitziger gave a speech in the German Bundestag and blamed Hitler and the German people for the outbreak and consequences of the World War II. His historical speech, and his call to the young generation not to despise others but rather to strive for coexistence, the call to strengthen democracy and support peace, liberty, justice and lawfulness - all this produced a strong echo in the world press and among those Germans who believe in freedom and democracy.
     How could a people of philosophers, poets, and scientists in all fields of human knowledge, allow a deranged paranoid to reach the heights of power in Germany? How could it be that a band of criminals under the leadership of Hitler held a conference in Berlin of January 20, 1942 under the title of "The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem"? It is a fact that the head of the Secret Police the Obergrupenfurer Heidrich, who was commissioned by the head of the Reich, presented a detailed plan for the elimination of 11 million Jews in the following countries:

The Reich -131,800 Jews
East Arya -43,700 Jews
Eastern territories- 420,000 Jews
General Gobernman - 2,284,000 Jews
Bialystock - 400,000
Czechia and Moravia - 74,200 Jews
Estonia is free of Jews
Latvia - 3,500 Jews
Lithuania - 34,000 Jews
Belgium - 43,000 Jews
Denmark - 5,600 Jews
Occupied France - 165,00 Jews
Unoccupied France - 700,000 Jews
Greece - 69,600 Jews
Holland- 160,800 Jews
Norway - 1300 Jews
Bulgaria - 48,000 Jews
England - 330,000 Jews
Finland - 2,300 Jews
Ireland - 4,000 Jews
Italy and Sardinia - 58,000 Jews
Albania - 200 Jews
Croatia - 40,000 Jews
Portugal - 3000 Jews
Romania and Bessarabia - 34,200 Jews
Sweden - 8,000 Jews
Switzerland - 18,000 Jews
Serbia - 10,000 Jews
Slovakia - 88,000 Jews
Spain - 6000 Jews
European Turkey - 55,500 Jews
Hungary - 742,800 Jews
Soviet Union - 5,000,000 Jews
Ukraine - 2,994,684 Jews
Belarus (not including Bialostock) - 446,584
A total of 11,000,000 Jews

     The murder of the Jews was to be carried out in phases under the proper management and in the proper manner.
     The chimneys of the crematoriums smoked, the slaughter and the murder, unparalleled in human history, was done in front of the entire world and with cynical exactness.
     A report by the National Jewish Council in Poland to Yitzhak Schwartzbard, a member of the National Committee in London, dated November 15, 1943 states:

     Dear Sir:
     We are writing to you with the blood of tens of thousands of Jews that is being spilt again. We are now enduring the epilogue of our tragic history in Poland. The Hitlerian barbarians, despite their defeats, are murdering the few who remain of the Jewish population.
     They started in the Lublin area, where the front is gaining upon them quickly. The Germans have concentrated a number of camps in which about 40,000 Jews have been rotting away. They are mostly from Warsaw and the Lublin area. The largest of the camps are Treblinka (10,000) and Poniatov (15,000).
     On Wednesday, November 3, at 6:00 a.m., all of the men were ordered to come forth in order to dig supposed anti-aircraft ditches. Two hours later, they were surrounded with machine guns and all of them, without exception, were killed. At the same time, fifty vehicles arrived, with all of the women and children loaded in them. They were made to march to the same spot, strip, and were then executed in the same fashion. Afterward, 3,000 Italian Jews were brought into the camp to await a similar fate.
     On Friday there was a similar massacre in the Lublin camps. There, thousands of Jews were murdered. At the same time a bloody "selection" was made at the Poniatov camp. Most of the men and practically all of the women and children were sent off to be killed.
     During the first days of November, the Germans turned to eliminating the Jews in another area close to the front, in eastern Galicia. From one camp on Yanovska Street in Lvov, where there were 7,000 prisoners, 2,000 were "selected". They were cruelly murdered in a killing field in Piaski.
     We have no doubt that in the coming days and weeks the remainder of the Jewish population in the camps and ghettos will be put to death...
     Last month, we estimated the number of Jews in the entire country to be between 250,000-300,000. In a few weeks there will be barely 50,000 left.
     At the last minute, before the Jews of Poland become extinct, we are calling out to the world to save us. No one has done anything. Aside from words, nothing has been done to save a people sentenced to annihilation by murderers."
     In the protocol of the conference, which was held at the RSHA (Head Office of Reich Security) on January 10, 1942, and was dedicated to determining a plan for the destruction of European Jewry, it states "...In the process of implementing the final solution to the Jewish problem, the Jews must be exploited for work in the East under proper leadership and in a fitting manner. Great ranks of laborers must be formed, the two sexes must be separated and those able to work should be directed towards building roads. Of course many of them will die by natural elimination.
     While the Final Solution is being implemented Europe will be surveyed from West to East. The deported Jews will be housed in transit-ghettoes, from where they will be sent back eastward."
     The plan for the murder of the Jews of Europe was executed by the Germans in their criminal fashion. Today the neo-Nazis dare to say that it was all "a lie". If this is true, then where are the European Jews? Each labor camp like the Kamionki A'B'C'D' camps were concentration camps where Jews were killed through murderous labor, by whip or by machine gun. The trials of the SS and Gestapo officers which were held in Germany after the war are a parody compared with the horrendous crimes these people committed. Instead of sentencing these people to death, they were satisfied with giving life sentences to only the most outrageous criminals; instead of hanging them in the cities of their birth, so that all could see their guilt and be seen, so that future generations would not witness such a crime.
     In the aftermath of the tragedy of the destruction of one third of our people, the world recognized our right to an independent homeland, to Israel. Then Jews started to move there from all of the lands of their dispersion, especially the Jews of Europe, fresh from the camps and ghettos.
     A town of about 4,500 Jewish inhabitants who practically all perished, killed in gas chambers, murdered in caves and forests, streets and fields. Just the earth and wind, snow, rain and frost were silent witnesses to this tragedy, unparalleled in history. Only a few were spared from the destruction, in order to come forward and tell the world of it, to testify in court when World War II was over. Only a few Jewish witnesses were able to testify in court to what they experienced, and what they saw during the executions. Only the Christians, amongst whom the Jews of Europe had lived, could bear witness to what they saw with their own eyes from 1933, in Germany, and from 1939-1945, in German-occupied Europe.
     None of the thousands of German criminals were bothered by their consciences. The representatives of the "pure race" were never tortured by their consciences after raping Jewish women and then taking them out to the field to execute them. Only a few men and women survived the horrific experiments performed upon them by Dr. Mengele and others in the camps. The lexicon has not yet been compiled to describe the pain of an innocent man, whose only crime was to have been born Jewish.
     Twenty two witnesses survived from the Jewish community in Podwolocyska. The tragedy of this specific community is shared by all of the Jewish communities of Poland and all of Europe.
     The Jews were brought to the concentration camps from all over Europe, in order to be put to death, Their property was looted, from jewels to shoes, women's hair and children's clothing - all taken to be sent back home to Germany. Then they claimed that "they didn't know" where the property came from nor that millions were being killed. There are those who even deny that it happened.
     When our wounds were bleeding, when babies' brains were shattered on walls in front of their mothers, when their bodies were being burned in the crematoriums, the world knew and kept silent. If the world leaders had sent planes to bomb the death factories, the pace of the killing could have been slowed considerably.
     Let the house at 120 Tarnopolska Street, one of the abandoned houses with its paneless windows battered by the wind, void of the life which once filled it, continue to serve as a reminder to all of humanity, that delusions of grandeur can cause people to forget what this world is and what humanity is.
     This essay will relate to them what history could not fathom. The historian Shuleiski, my high school teacher over fifty years ago once said, "When the discussions around the table come to an end, the cannons begin to talk." Then they still spoke of tanks. Modern weapons speak much louder.

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