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[Pages 735-736]

Annihilation of the Jews of Lwów (cont'd)

Appendices

Documents and Certificates

I.

The Song of Janowska camp's Prisoners*
[copied here from the original in Polish]

1.
A my chłopcy jacy tacy
Z Janowskiego lagru pracy
Cały swiat nas nie chce znać
Ch… do d…, k… mać
2.
Rano kawa, wieczor kawa
To jest ceła dzienna strawa
Z tego tylko mozna szczać
C…………………………mać
3.
A na obiad jest se zupa
Litra wody, cztery krupy,
Z tego tylko mozna …ć
C…………………………mać
4.
Robić kazą, jesć nie deją,
I codziennie nas strzelają
A że nie masz już czem szczać
C…………………………mać
5.
Akcja w maju, akcja w lutym
Zona, dziecko juz za druiem,
Serce Z bolu chce się rwaća
6.
Nasz Kolanko chłop morowy
Ma karabin maszynowy
Na maszynce umie grać
7.
Kiedy Cię Gebauer dusi
Możesz skarzyć mamusi,
Ze się z tatem Chciała grać

Lwów był sarmacki i aryjski
Od Kleparowa -po Park Stryjski !
Chodzili po Akademickiej
Panowie Szmule, Joski, Icki-
Chodziły Laje jak Marleny
I chodzil Srul, -jak sam Budienny-
Chodzili z panną, laską- psami…
8.
Gdy wyciągną Cię z kolumny,
Nie zobaczysz namei trummy,
I na Piaski pojdziesz spać
9.
A w niedzielę odpoczynek
Na karetce jedzie Grzymek
I na bacznosć trzeba stać
10.
Bo pan Grzymek chłop morowy
Ma karabin maszynowy
Przednim trza na baczosż stać

Version B.
Albosmy to jacy-tacy
dito
Swiat nas kiedys będzie znać
dito
Chochla zupy, cztery krupy
Taka zupa jest do d…
dito
dito

Version C.
My se chłopcy jacy-tacy
dito
Ze nam szafa nie chce grać
dito

Notes

* When I was in Lwów during the Nazi occupation, and after, I heard and wrote down the different versions of this song, in Polish and in German. The song is not complete, because I was unable to note down the rhymes at the time I heard them. Part of the notes and the German version, are lost. The two last verses concentrate on the living conditions in the ghetto of Lwów under the management of [Józef] Grzymek. P[hilip] F[riedman] Return

[Pages 737-738]

Translations by Rita Falbel

III.

Lemberg's Jews Relocate: “Lemberger Zeitung (News)” 15.XI.1941

Since the Jews, who until now still roam free in Lemberg, and are taking part very actively in their ilIicit trade… further … because they intercept the farmers outside the city and take from them food at high prices, the city government was forced to set up a Jewish residential area. It was thus foreseen that a Ghetto was to be established, since one wants to confirm the supply of an appropriate and useful work force … The ruling is singularly magnanimous since it is carried out in ways which avoid, as far as possible, all harshness. The Jews must relocate during the time from 16.IX to 14.XII. The Judenrat, the one public agency that employs (supports) up to 500 men is responsible. The Polish and Ukrainian people who live in the Jewish neighborhood will relocate to the city, where they will receive respectable apartments (special offices for assigning apartments, Stadthauptman Peltewna 1). The administrative authority will even make every effort to arrange for appropriate transport. The exclusively Jewish district will be located in the part of the city north of the Lemberg-Tarnopol railroad, with the exception of the core (kernes), through which the Zolkiewskastrasse goes. Poles und Ukrainians have until 14.XII to leave this district. Jews are permitted to take necessary, personal belongings with them to this district. Business supplies, furniture or stock from stores are not permitted to be taken as part of the relocation-action to this Jewish residential district. Any such shops are to be closed and sealed. Entry to the Jewish district after 14. XII is forbidden for anyone except those resident Jews. Exceptions for enforced living in the Jewish district can only be permitted in isolated cases by the Mayor. … The implementation of the relocation action is to be enforced and directed by the SS- and Chief of Police in the District of Galicia.

[IV. W Sprawie Chrztu Zydow: This section is in Polish]

 

V.

Administration and Justice

After the initiation of decrees in the district Galicia, the number of cases that came before the special court in Lemberg related to hiding Jews, recently rose quickly and considerably. For this offense the law prescribed the death sentence only. On account of this, the special courts are always expected to decide for the death penalty. Among judges there is a tendency to take a position against this in more or less extreme form. Most criticism points towards the fact that these punishments could only be practical when carried out by the security police. Thus, the necessity of the death penalty is generally agreed upon, because Jews who seek hiding places should, in view of the prevailing circumstances, be viewed as criminals. In taking a position, a judge must not shy away from his responsibility thereby avoiding implementation of this harsh judgment.

As pertains to the “Jewish laws” the judge lacks the consciousness of the political mission. That goes for the law of identity marking of Jews, unauthorized leaving of the district, as well as hiding of Jews. From the judge's point of view, these laws, considering their content and character, are rules that fall purely within the purview of the police. Therefore, the implementation of such laws, or as the case may be, decrees, are to be left exclusively to the police. This also presents the judge with a moral burden, when at the time of judgment, he would disregard following the letter of the law.

[Pages 739-740]

Often enough the facts require a substantially milder judgment from an ethical standpoint. For the judge however, this avenue is blocked from the outset by the law. The judge is only a servant in a rigid preordained sequence of events. Thus, one forces the judge into a situation which is incompatible with his position. An example of this conflict follows: If, for instance, an illiterate Ukrainian farmer would take into his house for a few hours his former Jewish salesman and supplier, by whom he had until now been “looked after,” would perhaps even offer him coffee and bread, because he [the Jew], had asked for it, the facts of the case would be fulfilled. Whether the Ukrainian farmer even knew that by taking a Jew into his house he would forfeit his head, would be in question. It is namely thus, that the decree and its punishment have not been distributed widely enough from the larger cities. Besides, it is still a fact, that among individual Ukrainians and Poles on the one hand, and Jews on the other, bonds have already existed from former relationships in this district. Because of this it seems more advantageous to not carry justice to the absurd, if such offenses come before the judge through the duties of the police.

[Paragraphs in Polish]

 

VI.

Atrocity in Poland!

Written in the year 1943. It was during the months, March, April, May, June, July and August. The general retreat from Russia resulted in my coming to Lemberg with my unit. On. 14. March I arrived in Lemberg. The commander of the [Feldluftparkes] in Lemberg handed me the responsibility of guarding a store in District B4, the news service district. Jews, who had been kept in a ghetto as prisoners in 1942 after the occupation of Poland, were assigned to us to maintain and look after this store. And so it was my daily task to pick up these 25 assigned Jews from the ghetto every morning, and bring them back again in the evening. I had already been told a lot about the inhuman handling of Jews, partly I heard it from the Jews themselves, partly from my Polish friends at that time, but also from my own comrades. Well, I didn't want to believe it, but I was able to convince myself daily, with what bestiality our SS and also the Ukrainian Gestapo that were involved, dealt with these people, only because they held another belief or belonged to another race. It was always my goal, should I be captured by the British or Americans, to give a long detailed account about the inhuman handling of the Jews, to be published in the foreign press.

However, since I wasn't captured, I want this little book, that was basically written at a time when the Hitler dictatorship was still at the helm, to be a legacy to human, thinking mankind, and to those who come after, who will, in the end, have to judge how this series of events, perpetrated by such creatures who stand far below animals, can be justified. I take full responsibility for these notes of mine.

Every morning, when I arrived at the ghetto, I was presented a picture which literally made the blood in my veins freeze. Even at the gate, since I could only enter with a special permit, I heard, quite softly, the wonderful sounds of the 3rd. Beethoven symphony. My readers will wonder how this can be possible, but then it is not different for you as it was for me. I also wondered about it constantly.

[Pages 741-742]

I went in further and there I saw women and children with the men herded together by the SS-hordes and Ukrainian militia, being beaten, and whoever made the slightest movement of resistance was shot down. I heard the whimpering of innocent children and infants, heard the wailing and screaming of women and saw the dumb, but obviously painful witnessing of the men, saw how they were driven in the gutters, how they were tortured, accompanied all the while by the purest tones of the 3rd. Beethoven symphony. So I asked one of these beasts in human form, one of the mindless, drunken SS-men, and they were almost always so, why one would play the most beautiful German music to such behavior. He replied “If you don't like it you can join the rabble.” The City Commander [Statdtkommandant] of Lemberg, the SS-Brigadier General Katzmann personally chose the best Jewish musicians to provide the necessary accompanying music for this varied “morning's entertainment.” Beethoven and Mozart were thus played to accompany the atrocities of the SS-hordes, sthat the poor tortured people'slow process of dying could be eased.

Now I ask you, my readers, is that not the most disgraceful use of culture? The system that calls itself defenders of the national culture, this system brings it to an end, our purest classical composers degraded by such brutal murder. I was deeply shaken since I love art above everything, but I couldn't dwell on my thoughts for long, but perceived suddenly the meaning of the Jews' word “Aktion”. What must I now experience without being able to help. Even the so-called trustees, unfortunately Jews themselves, drove the people together and ordered them to stand neatly in rows, then as soon as the first lieutenant of the SS came, the bloody ceremony could begin. He disclosed the number of lots designated [for the day]. The number 4 was chosen, that means, every 4th male Jew or female Jew with child are chosen for the Aktion. He began to count and every 4th person was taken away. Some, who were already living corpses endured it with quiet stoicism, happy finally, to be relieved of this wasting away; but sometimes one could witness heartbreaking scenes which were played out especially within families. The man had to witness his wife and child being taken away, never to see them again; women had to watch while their men were taken away and if anyone resisted even slightly, how they immediately struck him over the head with the butt of their weapons. I was allowed to witness this tragedy as I had this special permit to enter the camp. Others didn't find out anything, since before every Aktion, the camp was heavily guarded by SS units and anyone who approached the 100 meter boundary outside the camp was shot without warning. I witnessed this tragedy, wanted to, but couldn't help; even though my blood surged inside me, I had to turn away shattered, since when a person sees such things, he loses all belief in the preservation of the most basic laws of humanity, and is then ashamed to be a citizen of a nation from which these SS-hordes spring.

They herded the people onto trucks; each truck held 25. There they had to squat down and at each corner of the vehicle stood an SS-guard with loaded weapon held at the ready. If anyone moved the guard would hit him over the head so that blood would run and [the prisoner] would collapse. Others were transported on the so-called lorries of streetcars, and every ten minutes a streetcar passed one after the other through Lemberg. I know from my own experience, the road went as far as a gravel pit where the Jews were lined up in front of machine guns and row after row were gunned down. Many weren't even shot but keeled over in terror and fell into the gravel pit. Following that, lime was immediately poured onto the dead and living to erase the traces of this treacherous extermination. I found out from many sources that in Lemberg a mass grave of about 500,000 innocent murdered Jews exists.

Every evening as I brought the Jews back to the Ghetto again, they told me that they didn't know if they would see me the next morning.

From these days onward my attitude toward the SS became completely clear and unchangeable. I am of the singular opinion that the whole SS, which perpetrated such atrocities, must be exterminated, especially everyone who committed offenses against the laws of humanity in such a shameful manner.

[Pages 743-744]

I also remember a comment by the notorious SS-General Katzmann, commander of Lemberg, related to me by Captain Guenther, the leader of the B-District of the FLP in Lemberg. The General said to him then: “Katyn, this is only a daily job for us!” So said the man who earned a half million Reichs Marks in cash, only because he called off a planned “Aktion.” Whether a planned aktion would take place or not only depended on his mood of the moment. He let his Gestapo men extort sums of up to 100,000 zlotys from the Jews as ransom whom he then accordingly exploited, and he also squandered the money in wild orgies. The conditions in the Ghetto were so unbearable that several of my own Jews even asked me to get them the strongest poisons, cyanide or morphine, at great cost. The poor tortured people only wanted to shorten the time to their certain death when an Aktion was announced. Thus the weeks and months went by, always with my Jews living with the constant terror of “when will it be my turn.” The Aktions occurred often during each week, sometimes 3 times. The wehrmacht intervened for the Jews when they could since they could count on them as honest, willing and good workers, until the day when it didn't suit the SS-commander any longer. Such intervention by the Wehrmacht didn't help any more. General Katzmann informed the officers of the wehrmacht (also again as heard by Captain Guenther and Major v. Klenck) that the wehrmacht had no say in the matter, the Jews were his property and he could deal with them as he wished.

On the 10th of July or June 1943 a large Aktion was announced and the aim of this Aktion would be the complete extermination of Jewry. On that day, I was, as usual. in the ghetto in the morning and was able to witness an incomprehensible sorrow. The ghetto was again strongly guarded by the SS, nobody was allowed to approach the camp nearer than 20 meters. In the ghetto itself, the Jews understandably hid themselves in their cellars, some even in the empty sewers. I could see with my own eyes how they took away small children from the women and threw them against the building walls, and how the smashed limbs were scattered on the ground.

I saw one of these young SS-rascals, scarcely 21 years old, showing off with this death work, how he had already “earned” almost a million Reichs Marks. I also saw how they threw sick, fragile Jews of both sexes, naked from the 4th floor of the ghetto's hospital onto a truck and took them away. The air surrounding me was filled with such indescribable lamentation and sorrow, that it was heartbreaking. I then circulated these witnessed events to my Polish friends (Michalina Melnyk, Lemberg, Zolkiewerstrasse 173) and heard also that similar tragedies occurred in the Warsaw ghetto. I often asked myself why the Polish land was selected for this and came to understand that criminal elements in the Polish government of that time collaborated in these atrocities. The outcome of this was that Jews from all Balkan countries were brought to Poland for execution; in my careful estimation, it must have been 3-4,000,000 Jews who were innocently murdered because of the insane idea of Hitler

Again I have to comment, that these writings are not a product of fantasy-induced thinking, but absolutely and completely incontestable, declared under oath from a foreign person, as supplement to reporting of fact. As main witness I submit herewith the name of one of my comrades, who will completely confirm these statements since he also experienced almost all of them with me. His address is: Helmuth Hauck, Chemnitz/Sa. Fichtestrasse

Afterword:

I didn't write this report after the occupation by the allied forces, but it can be incontestably established that the fundamentals of this report began in Yugoslavia (see other report*).

Note

* When I was in Munich (Bavaria) in 1946, I was approached by Alfred Greiner, a German who had served in the German army during World War II, and who brought me his typewritten records. From the unpublished records, I present here, the one I chose and from which I deleted insignificant issues. Greiner arrived together with Szmuel Reizman, a survivor of the Treblinka death camp, who was in Munich at the time as Secretary of the Central Committee of the surviving Jews.

Greiner Alfred

[Pages 745-746]

VII.

Secret Reichs Matters[*]

The SS-and Police chief      9:30 June 1943
In the Distict Galicia           2 Copy (Ausfertigungen)
Tgb. Nr. 42/43g.R.-Ch/Fr.  1 Copy

     Re: Solution of the Jewish Question in Galicia
     Concerning: Enclosed Report
     Encl.: 1 report (3 copies)
             1. Copy (bound)

To the
     Chief and leader of Police East
     SS-Lt. General and Chief of Police
     Kureger-o.V.i.A.
     Krakau.
     In the enclosed I remit the final report as one copy, regarding the solution to the Jewish question in District Galicia for your attention.

(--) Katzmann
Generalleutnant of the Police
SS-Major General

 

VIII.

Camp Reports

(Main bureau for Propaganda, weekly report of the Districts).

A. Lemberg, 29. August 1942.

The work force in the district is now stretched to the limit. Additional effects were the radical withdrawal of Jewish workers. The district of Galicia had only a year's time to prepare. Its Arian population is less skilled in craft and trade compared with other districts. Therefore, the war industry is more adversely affected here by the deportation of Jews than the other parts of the General Gouvernements.

The fundamental question, that the removal of the Jews for political purposes is of more importance than war industry, is apparently a decision made at the highest levels that decided in favor of this policy. The decrease of industrial production in the affected areas must be considered. As a precaution, I must point out that these effects in Galicia will have a great impact.

B. Lemberg 16.10.42.

The relocation of the Jews, which, in part, takes forms that are not worthy of a cultured people, promotes the comparison of the methods of the Gestapo with those of the GPU. The trains for transport are reported to be in such bad condition that it is impossible to prevent the escape of Jews. The result of this is that wild shooting and manhunts take place regularly along the way. Also to report is that the corpses of the Jews shot down lie around on the roads for days.

In spite of this, the German citizenry and other folk who live here are convinced of the necessity of liquidating all Jews, though it would be preferable to effect this in a less offensive and provocative way.

Note

* From the collected documents of the “War Crime Trials,” published by the USA Authorities in Germany, Nuremberg/Nürnberg, 1947. Return

IX.

Ukrainian Daily-News 8.7.1941

(Translated from Ukrainian)

The Appearance of the New Lwów

…another conspicuous phenomenon for all to see in the New Lwów is the absence of Jews in the streets. And only a few days ago they filled every corner of town… It seemed that during the two years of the Bolshevik occupation Lwów turned into a sort of Tel-Aviv, or at least… the criminals known as “the chosen People” hide in their lairs for fear of the people…

[Pages 747-748]

Janowska camp – the living quarters
  1. The torture and the death yard.
  2. Living huts of the captives.
  3. Wooden huts.
  4. Latrines
  5. Kitchen-hut, the serving-hatch for dishing out soup and “portions.”
  6. The “old” building (earlier, stable and warehouse).
  7. The showers hut.
  8. The shoemakers' hut.
  9. The tower of the Askaris (Russians in the service of the SS.)
  10. The hanging yard.
  11. The murder and inspection yard – at the entrance to the camp.
  12. The undressing area for the victims to be murdered.
  13. The “Sands” (piaski [in Polish]) where Lwów's victims were buried.
  14. The path that led to the “Sands.”
  15. The boundary of the Jewish cemetery on Pilichowska Street.
  16. The main entrance to the camp. (the “selection” and the “death-race” of the condemned, when leaving for work).
  17. The SS men's inspection hut.
  18. Track. paved in tomb-stones from the Jewish cemetery.
  19. First inspection area of those entering the camp.
  20. Vegetable garden next to the accommodation villa of the camp commander (SS officer [Gustav] Willhaus).


[Pages 749-750]

First Day in a Death-camp
From the Diary of a survivor of Janowska camp in Lwów

by Engineer O. Porat (Ochs)

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Karen Leon

16 July 1942

Today, together with a group of eighty Jews, I was brought to the forced-labour camp on Janowska Street in Lwów, which later was made into an extermination camp. At 9 a.m. we entered through the gate of the camp under heavy guard. The camp was surrounded by three-metre-high barbed wire, with an inspection-tower rising from every corner in which German and Ukrainian guards sat, armed with machine guns.

I am beyond the barbed wire… a feeling of horror engulfs me. It seems as if I am led to slaughter. On the way to the camp the thoughts of fleeing rushed through my mind, but the guarding was tight and we were warned that if one person escaped, ten will be murdered. The thought of escaping does not leave me even after entering the camp, but despair takes over. It seems that from here there is no escape…

SS men [Karl] Schubert and Grusshaber received our group from Scharführer [Adolf] Kolonko who brought us here.

Now we received an order: “Sit down and do not move. Whoever makes the lightest movement will be killed like a dog…!” I sit down on the grass, stare right in front of me, as it is forbidden to make any move. My eyes search for clues of the deeds that were rumoured about outside, but I don't see anything. The courtyard is clean. Order reigns everywhere. Multicoloured flowers surround us in flowerbeds. It seems to me that the flowers are whispering amongst themselves and mock us. The beauty of nature blooms as ever and takes no pity on us…

So perhaps all I have heard about this camp was exaggerated?… But no. Suddenly I understand that my friends who face me, stare in one direction with great difficulty, and their white faces turn even paler. Endangering my life, I turn my head and steal a glance. Is this a nightmare or reality?… Between the flowerbeds a gallows was displayed. Off the rope hangs the naked cadaver of a young man… I shut my eyes, but the image I have seen is stuck in my mind and will not shift. I am seized by a sense of choking. I want to scream, but I cannot. We all continue sitting, petrified. All of a sudden a wild laugh pierces the silence like a dagger. The German and Ukrainian guards up in the inspection towers are laughing. They pelt us with small stones while the muzzles of the machine guns are pointed at us. We are tense and alert to the extreme. It seems as if a nervous reaction will be triggered at any minute, which will lead to a catastrophe. However the will to live overcomes the torments. The stones also hit our heads, but none of us moves. The provocation did not work…

Silence reigns again. Every minute seems to us like an eternity. The sun is setting and I burn with thirst. The flies seem to sting me stubbornly and viciously, as they arrive buzzing from the hanging corpse: “soon you will also hang there…”

We are sitting for two hours. Eventually, at eleven, the camp kommandant, Unterstumführer [Gustav] Willhaus arrives. We saw him frequently in town, when the official ghetto did not yet exist. He spread the fear of death. Tanned, short, stocky and with a sunken forehead, he stands a few metres away from us and receives a report from the SS men. He talks with them and chuckles. He looks like a normal and elegant person with a heart and a soul. When approaching us, however, his face took on the expression of a beast. Cruel flashes sparked in his deeply sunken eyes, and a sadistic, sardonic grin hovered over his lips…

We are ordered to rise. Even though our legs were glued to the ground from the long sitting, we all rose to a man. We were ruled by fear. We faced a man in whose hands lay life and death. Willhaus turned to us:

“Scoundrels, you must remember that the Jews

[Pages 751-752]

are wanderers, people with no pride. You must work loyally and do whatever you are ordered to do. Whoever does not fully comprehend my words will find themselves up there…” and he pointed at the hanging corpse. Finally Willhaus asked each one of us our occupation, and gave instructions to the SS men in regard to the professional workers.

We are led to the reception office. Here we are thoroughly examined. Everything is taken away from us, even the trouser-belts, while we are whipped with crops, are cursed and berated. We are only left with the clothes we wear.

After the registration, we are made to form a line. In the middle of the square stands a Jew whose face is covered in the blood of a half-plucked beard. He holds in his hand a trimming machine and each of us kneels in front of him for a haircut. The Jew who had never been a barber, cuts our hair in a ridiculous fashion, and unwittingly pinches us thoroughly.

A few steps farther stood another old man. He held a pail filled with brown paint, and with the brush in his hand he made a mark on the back of each of us: a Nazi enslavement-mark, and a sign, that will facilitate the capture of whoever tries to escape…

The sun was setting when we were led to our living quarters – a basement, a cement floor with no padding, not even straw. We fell to the floor half-dead with tiredness, fear and hunger. No food passed our mouth throughout the entire day: we had not yet worked today, and had consequently not yet earned our bread…

We are not given long to rest. A long whistle called us to a “roll-call.” Following an order, we run to the square where the labour-brigades assembled after a day of toil. I saw among them many of my acquaintances, whom I could hardly recognise. They walked like skeletons dressed in rags. Many dressed their wounds in dirty rags. Many bore on their body, the signs of fresh beatings made during the day's labour. There were also those who could not stand on their feet and were propped up by their friends. Anyone who said that they were unwell, was murdered on the spot…

We were organised - the veterans and the novices - into six rows. Three rows on one side, and the other three rows facing them. Scharführer Kolonko gives the order: “Remove the hats.” One must remove the hats at once and in one move. Whoever does not remove his hat according to regulations, has his face whipped.

Then comes the order: “Attention !” Unterstumführer [Richard Robert] Rokita, deputy of the camp kommandant approaches us. Kolonko goes towards him and reports to him on the progress of work. Four Jews, he announces, escaped on the way to work. Rokita, a type of Prussian Feldwebel [sergeant] with a red face and small, cunning eyes, starts screaming like a wounded animal and foam forms on his lips. He gives an order to the SS men to surround us and be ready to open fire. He pulls out his gun, walks between the lines and with his wild look he stares into the eyes of the standing Jews. With a sadistic hint he calls to thirty five Jews in the rows, he organises them in a line in the middle of the square, and orders them to turn around. Then he starts to shoot at the head of each of them, stopping only for reloading his gun. One after the other, thirty five Jews fell, soaked in their own blood…

I stand petrified unable to comprehend what is happening before my eyes. A blow from a gun butt wakes me from my stagnation. We are dismissed back to the basement. A vat of black coffee is brought in and slices of slate bread are distributed among ourselves.

Although we did not eat anything all day, no one touched the bread nor drank the coffee. We lie on the floor, and like a little child, each cuddles up to his friend. From time to time a choked groan or thwarted cry pierces the veil of silence.

I lie with open eyes staring into the darkness. In front of my eyes passes the terrible image about which I can only now, think. I begin to envy them. That they no longer need to wait every minute for their death, that they went to their eternal sleep and no longer need to fear the terrible humiliation that awaits us, who remain alive…

What will be my end?… I shall go mad… Another day like this I will be unable to bear…

I fell asleep for a brief moment, it seemed to me, and dreamt that two spears stick out of Rokita's eyes and very deeply pierce my flesh. I woke up from a panicked scream, all covered in sweat. Dawn has already begun to rise…

This is how I spent my first day in the death-camp…


[Pages 753-754]

The Final Days of the Leaders of Lwów's Jewry

by Yehoshua Shiloni (Shleyen)

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Karen Leon

The published decree of the 14th July 1941, signed by the Wehrmacht, stating that every Jew over the age of 14 seen out-of-doors without the “Jewish Tag” on their clothing, irrespective of gender, imposed a total and strict segregation on the entire Jewish population of Lwów. Any contact between the Jews and the non-Jewish population was forbidden unless it was mediated and authorised by the German authorities. The Jewish leadership was thus forced to establish and maintain a complex organisation to take care of the supply, habitation, employment, medical care and hospitalisation, education, social welfare, etc., for a population of 130,000 people, to fulfil the ceaseless demands of the different German authorities. The German machinations of robbery, oppression, exploitation and extortion operated under a satanic order and system, starting with the Kontribution payments of millions, and later, extortion-enterprises at every opportunity, aimed to impoverish the Jews and reduce them to ruination. Even the food provision for the labour-camps in the vicinity were partly at the expense of Lwów's [Jewish] community. Everything had to be done in an incessant bloody cauldron, in an atmosphere poisoned by loathing, malicious joy [schadenfreude] lust for oppression, with full knowledge of the neighbours, especially the Ukrainians, who considered themselves an active party to the pogroms and that the property, dignity and blood of a Jew was forsaken. Notwithstanding, the Jews of Lwów, especially the older generation brought up on the Viennese version of German culture, believed that one could at last “satiate the viper,” and rescue whatever one could, by hard work, great sacrifice, efficient organisation, patience and forbearance. They were surrounded by a wall, with death lurking at every turn beyond the wall. Did they have any other option?

Under these circumstances a huge undertaking of workshops and industry was established, in which 70,000 Jews were engaged. The Germans who supervised these factories used all manner of strategies, including publications in the German press lauding them, in order to extend their existence for as long as possible. However the head of the Gestapo, General [Fritz; Friedrich] Katzmann, and his deputy [Erich] Engels, pressed for the liquidation of these institutions, and they accelerated the annihilation of the Jews of Lwów.

There is scant information about the undertakings, experiences and last days of the leaders, the public activists and the intellectuals who stood watch and were exterminated in Lwów, together with tens of thousands of their People.

May the details here gathered be recorded in their sacred memory:

1. Imber, Samuel Jakób. A pioneer of Jewish poetry in Poland. Before the start of the war he returned from America, where he had lived for many years, and settled at Lwów. He focused his very witty and talented writing on the protection of the life and honour of the Jewish community in Poland. His articles and essays which were published in Polish (Oko w Oko [“Eye to Eye”]; Asy czystej rasy [“The Purebred Aces”] and others), received great publicity and stormy reactions in the Polish press. He was also a regular contributor to Haynt [“Today” a Yiddish newspaper]. In 1937, he received a doctorate for his essay on Oscar Wilde. During the Soviet occupation (1939-1941), he translated into Yiddish, the poems by the Ukrainian-Soviet poet, Pavlo [Hryhorovych] Tychyna. In July 1941, when the Germans entered Lwów, Imber, who was known for his anti-Nazi activities, left Lwów together with his wife and moved to the home of his father-in-law, at Jezierna near Złoczów. From there he moved to Złoczów, his birth place, where he used the false name, Weiss. The Jews of Złoczów looked after their townsman and poet, and they employed him to look after patients in the Jewish hospital where his brother-in-law was the director. Imber wrote a great deal in those days, and read his works out loud to the patients. In November 1942, he was taken to Bełżec, together with 3,000 of Złoczów's Jews, where he was murdered.

2. Dr. Allerhand, Maurycy. A well known advocate and jurist, dean of the faculty of Law at Lwów University. Before the [2nd World] War, he was leader of Lwów's Jewish community for a while. He chaired the state committee for examining teachers in Jewish studies. He wrote a book on Jewish laws on marriage and inheritance, amongst other. The German occupation authorities offered him the position as leader of the “Jewish Council” (its official title in Lwów was “The Committee of the Jewish Community” Jüdische Gemeinde),

[Pages 755-756]

but due to exhaustion he refused the appointment. He was probably murdered in the early weeks of the German occupation.

3. Bodek, Jakób. Publicly active in many enterprises, he continuously extended help and assistance to the poor and the suffering. He was a legendary figure on Lwów's Jewish Street. He remained single his entire life and pursued an austere and frugal life. At one time he was a high official in the country's postal service. In 1922, he was elected to the Polish Sejm, by the Jews of Galicia. He was a council member of Galicia's (General) Zionist Party, active on the Council's welfare department. Sick, hungry and neglected at the end of his life, he was seen dragging his feet through Lwów's “Jewish Quarter”. He starved to death in the summer of 1942.

4. Dr. Barlas, Chanoch. Born at Zbaraż [Zbarazh], he was a teacher of Hebrew, history and Jewish studies at the Jewish Gymnasium in Łódź. He was active on the cultural committee of the [Jewish] Council in the Jewish Quarter of Lwów, and later in the Lwów ghetto. He and his only son died of Typhus in the ghetto, at the beginning of 1943.

5. Brat, Abraham. An editor of Chwila, in Lwów. He was active in Lwów's German workshops for war armaments. He was murdered during the liquidation of the ghetto (which in its last stage was termed Julag -Juden Lager) in June 1943.

6. Grin [Grün], Jerachmiel. Author, young novelist, born at Deliatyn in the Carpathian Mountains. He published books such as The Weavers of Kołomyja [Di Veber fun Kolomije] and others. His talent led critics to foresee his greatness. He laboured in the ghetto of Lwów as a porter, and supported himself, his wife and two daughters with his work. In January 1943, he and his wife, Halina née Neuman from Warsaw, were taken to the labour-camp on Janowska Street. In the summer [of 1943], they were murdered together with the last Jews of Lwów, during the liquidation of this terrible bloody-camp.

7. Ginsberg, Benzion. Among Lwów's editors of Tagblatt-Morgen. A talented journalist with a deeply rooted education and a brilliant style. A regular contributor to the Warsaw newspaper Haynt [Today] (under the pseudonym B. Cegrowski), and to the New-York [Yiddish newspaper] Forverts [Forward] (under the pseudonym B. Shochet/Schuchat). He fought hard for his life in the ghetto. His wife and three children were murdered in the ghetto in January 1943. At the same time he was taken to Janowska camp where he was murdered during the liquidation of the camp in summer 1943.

8. Dr. Gottfried, Schulem. An advocate, one of the young activists in HaTzionim HaRadikaliym group led by Dr. Abraham Insler. He worked at the medical department of the Council in the Jewish Quarter, and later in the ghetto. He was caught during one of the Aktionen and was murdered at the beginning of 1943, “in Sand Mountain” [Piaskowa Góra], the mass grave of the Jews os Lwów.

9. Gimpel, Adolf. A musician, choirmaster, director and owner of the renowned “Gimpel's [Jewish] Theatre” on Jagiełłońska Street in Lwów. This Jewish folk theatre raised and educated an entire generation of Jewish theatre actors, and was a favourite gathering place of Lwów's Jewish folk circles. They flocked there to hear and see song and play, a direct continuation of [Abraham] Goldfaden's tradition, and the Broder singers [Broderzinger, from Brody]. His son, Bronisław Gimpel, became famous as a talented pianist. Gimpel, the father, made his living as a music teacher in the Jewish Quarter. He was caught in the horrific blood Aktion of August 1942, and was moved to Bełżec (at the time around 50,000 Jews from Lwów were murdered, imprisoned in labour-camps or were brought to the Bełżec crematoriums).

10. Dr. Dromelschläger, Mozes. Teacher at the Jewish Gymnasium on Zygmuntowska Street. A historian, one of the true biblical experts. He was an active member on the cultural committee of the [Jewish] Council in the Jewish Quarter. After the bloody-Aktion of August 1942, he was lost without a trace.

11. Dreikurs, Leon (Leibale). A journalist, among the editors of Lwów's Tagblatt. He also contributed to Unser Express [Our Express] and to the Warsaw, Polish-Jewish newspaper Nasz Przegląd [“Our Review”]. During the Soviet occupation (1939-1941), he was a Yiddish language announcer on [Polish] Radio Lwów. Until the end of 1941, he was with us at Lwów. He moved to the Aryan side as a driver, and nothing is known of him since.

12. Hescheles, Henryk. The principal editor of the newspaper Chwila [“Moment”], organ of Lwów's Zionist Movement. A renowned journalist-writer with a comprehensive education and highly cultured. He had a brilliant Polish style.

After the Germans arrived in Lwów, Gestapo men, following a specific list which had been prepared by certain Ukrainian circles, removed him together with Emil Igel (another of the Chwila writers), and he was probably murdered by them.

13. Hauser, Naftali. One of writers for Der Morgen and for the Polish weekly, Opinja, edited by Dr. A[braham] Insler. He had poor health and suffered greatly under the harsh conditions of Lwów's ghetto. He was taken to the labour-camp in Lacki[-Wielie] near Złoczów, where he died at the beginning of 1943.

14. Hader, Jehuda. Among the leaders of Achwa, the youth association of the general Zionists of Galicia. He was active in the welfare department of the [Jewish] Council. He organised and managed the soup-kitchen for the poor in the ghetto. He was murdered, together with his only son and his wife, during the liquidation of Lwów's ghetto (Julag) in June 1943.

14A. Dr. Hammer, Juda. Advocate, and activist

[Pages 757-758]

in Lwów's workers' party Unifiction. He managed a restaurant in the ghetto, and to his own detriment he assisted the poor with total devotion. He perished from typhus in winter 1943.

15. Weinstein, Ascher. Hebrew teacher, school headmaster, one of Lwów's activists of Tarbut [Culture]. We was publicly hanged in the ghetto during one of the Gestapo punishment operations, following the killing of a German policeman in March 1943.

16. Weinlös, Izrael. Author and historian, scholar of the Jewish Enlightenment in Galicia. He published his work in the newspapers in Poland and also in Yivo publications. He was murdered while crossing the Zamarstynow-Żółkiewska railway bridge, the “Death Gate,” during the mass robbery and murder (that lasted over a month) when, in December 1941, the Jews of Lwów were moved to the “Jewish Quarter” (which initially was in-between Kazimierzowska-Kleparowska Streets).

17. Waschütz, Zeb. A Hebrew teacher, a quintessential scholar in Jewish religion, expert in Mediĉval poetry and literature. He was moved to Bełżec in August 1942.

 

Benzion Ginsberg

 

18. Weinstock, Leon. One of the editors of the newspaper Chwila, from its establishment by Dr. Gerszon Zipper. He was arrested by the Soviets (in 1940), together with a group on Lwów Zionist activists. He died in prison.

19. Willig Jakób. A multifarious activist, born in Złoczów. A committed Zionist, noble and generous. Together with Samuel Jakób Imber, he treated patients at Złoczów's Jewish hospital. He was murdered in the ghetto of Złoczów during its liquidation at the beginning of 1943.

20. Dr. Wachman, Józef. Among the leaders of Poale Zion-Jamin [Workers of Zion-Right] in Galicia. After the Germans had arrived in Lwów, he left for Wołyń, and there is no knowledge about his fate.

21. Witkower, Fischel. Born at Krystynopol [Kristianopol], one of the writers for Tagblatt Lwów, a feuilleton writer with an endearing folk style. One of the veteran Jewish authors and activists in Galicia. Perished of hunger at the end of 1942.

22. Dr. Chotiner Leon. A renowned expert advocate in Polish civil law. He was the sole Jewish national elected as dean (president) of the Bar Association of Lwów. He worked in the Law department of the [Jewish] Council. He was moved to Bełżec in August 1942.

23. Tilleman, Ozjasz. Teacher and author, historian, mathematician, philologist and philosopher. He spoke 13 languages and published articles, essays, scholarly articles and novels in five languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, German and Ukrainian. Long suffering from poor health, and modest, he spent days and nights in the study of the Torah for its own sake. In his last years, during the German reign of horror, he diligently studied the Talmud. He was a member of the Zionist Labour Party Hitachdut, and held Jewish religious views.

When the Russians took over Lwów in September 1939, all Jewish schools had to teach in the Ukrainian language. Tilleman was appointed as the director responsible for the teaching of the Ukrainian language at the Jewish secondary school [Gymnasium] on Zygmuntowska Street. Tilleman, who for years nurtured Jewish children at the institute with warmth and love of the Hebrew language and literature, was forced to teach them “Torah and courtesy” in the language and spirit of the Cossacks… He gave lessons for a slice of bread in the ghetto, but he did not complain nor ask for welfare and assistance. Only his face gave away his fading. When the bloodshed and annihilation that befell us in August 1942 abated for a short while, after the majority of the community of Lwów and its salient members had been massacred, we were informed that Ozjasz Tilleman was no longer with us. The slight and tortured body of this Jewish prodigy went up in flame, together with those of his brethren, to the sacrifice and fate in the crematoria of Bełżec.

24. Dr. Teichman, Wolf [Zeb; Ze'ev]. An advocate, member of the council of Hitachdut Poale Zion in east Galicia. Loyal to the Hebrew education movement. He showed exemplary courage and respect during the Nazi rule. He was murdered at Złoczów in January 1943.

25. Jaeger, Ignacy. Owner of a printing-house on Lwów's Sykstuska Street. A vigorous entrepreneur active in Lwów's traders' association and in the craftsmen's association Jad Charuzim. In 1928, as a delegate of Galicia's Jews, he was elected to the Polish Sejm for the Sanation faction (Piłsudski [Polish Socialist] Party). According to rumour, he was arrested in July 1941 when the Germans arrived in Lwów. There is no further knowledge about his fate, since.

26. Kohn, Juda. Director of Lwów's great [Jewish] community library. A Jewish scholar and a Maskil. He specialised in adjudicative literature and responsa, and published scholarly discussions, mainly in Hebrew. According to rumour he died of typhus at the beginning of 1942.

27. Dr. Landau, Leib. Advocate, one of the shining figures in Galicia's and Poland's Jewry. Between the two world wars, during the period of an independent Polish state, he was the leader of the Przemyśl community. He made his name through his appearance as defence attorney in the famous trial

[Pages 759-760]

of [Stanisław] Steiger (who was accused in an attempt on the life of Poland's president, [Stanisław] Wojciechowski), and also as defence attorney in the trials of communists (Jews in particular). He received a traditional Jewish education and was cultured. His figure and voice, his acute analysis and rhetorical brilliance struck and convinced the listeners. A champion of Poland's attorneys. One of the country's leading prosecutors who appeared in court opposite Dr. Landau, opened his response to his opponent's question with a phrase from Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz: “There were many players of the dulcimer, but none of them dared to perform in Jankiel's presence”…[a] And yet, during the Holocaust and the ordeal, none of Mickiewicz's educated countrymen remembered Jankiel, the miraculous musician, and no one hurried to extend to him a helping and relieving hand.

During the twenty months of Soviet occupation (1939-1940) he followed his profession as an advocate. At first, his Polish and Ukrainian colleagues sought his company and strove to shelter in his shade. However his attempts resulted in grave disappointments. In autumn 1941, during the early stage of German rule, he took on the management of the welfare for the needy of Lwów's community, numbering some 130,000 people at the time. Dr. Landau employed teachers, writers, artists and intellectuals to collect funds and goods, and to distribute them among the needy. At the beginning of January 1943, the Nazis began to liquidate Lwów's ghetto. They murdered several of the [Jewish] Council members (Dr. Obersohn, Dr. Kimmelman and others), and reduced the size of the ghetto that was renamed Julag (Judenlager). Dr. Landau and his wife managed to escape from the ghetto and flee to the Aryan side of town, but they were caught by the Gestapo and were taken to the ghetto jail. The following day, a company of Ukrainian policemen took Dr. Landau and his wife from the ghetto jail, led them through the town's main streets, towards “the mound of Sands” - the mass grave of thousands of Lwów's Jews.

28. Dr. Landesberg, Józef. Advocate, the third leader of the [Jewish] Council (his predecessors were Dr. Emil Parnas and Dr. Adolf Rothfeld). He was publicly hanged. For three days, his body was hanging off the facade of the house on Łokietka Street in the ghetto, in retaliation for the killing in town of a German policeman by one of the Jewish labourers.

29. Dr. Leser, Mozes. President of Tarbut in Galicia, an honest businessman, a religious Jew dedicated to Hebrew education. He was elected to the Polish Sejm as delegate of Lwów's Jews. He was chief secretary of Galicia's Zionist Organisation. In winter 1939, he was incarcerated together with a group of Zionist activists in Lwów, by the Soviet authorities. He died in prison.

30. Dr. Lewin, Jecheskel. Rabbi of the Enlightened [Maskilim] [Jewish] congregation of Lwów. Admired and respected by his congregation. Of a distinguished family and a biblical scholar. He published scholarly articles on Jewish history. During the Soviet occupation he was the only one who delivered a sermon to his congregation every Sabbath. The topic of the talks, despite the danger, concentrated on the return to Zion and Eretz Israel.

When the Germans entered Lwów, the town's “underworld” was given the signal to organise the first “spontaneous” pogrom, during which the mob ran wild in the houses of Jews for three whole days. The rabbi, Rabbi J[echeskel] Lewin was then obliged, despite the great danger, to go and see the Ukrainian Archbishop, [Metropolitan] Andrey Szeptycki [Sheptytsky], and ask him to issue a proclamation, or otherwise influence his Ukrainian people to stop the robberies and massacres. On his way back from Metropolitan Szeptycki's Palace, he was caught by the Ukrainian mob and was murdered under severe torture. The Jews taken to the jail on Kazimierzowska Street, in order to remove the murdered for burial, recognised the body of their rabbi who had gone on a mission in their behalf, and did not return.

31. Meisels-Nachmani, Salomon. A quintessential biblical scholar and teacher at various schools in Poland and Galicia. Secretary of Tarbut centre in Lwów. He suffered hunger and deprivation and was gravely tortured in the ghetto. Died of typhus in summer 1942.

32. Dr. Majblum, Zigmunt. President of the Złoczów community, one of the most prominent activists of the Jewish Cooperative Movement in Galicia. By order of the German authorities he undertook the management of the “Jewish Council's” affairs at Złoczów. Through acts of self-sacrifice, and an equal noble stance towards the German and the Ukrainian murderers, he was martyred. This was attested to by the few remaining survivors of this ancient Jewish community.

33. Madfes, Isachar. Publisher and bookseller in Lwów, he was a scion of the first Jewish family of printers in Galicia, an historian and author of the book History of Zionim. He was one of the young Zionist activists in Lwów. He was murdered in the street by a Ukrainian policeman in spring 1942.

34. Siwek, Benzion. The eldest of the Hebrew teachers and amongst the first who promulgated the Hebrew language in Galicia. A biblical scholar, modest and gentle, he was engaged on the cultural committee of Lwów's “Council.” He was moved to Bełżec in August 1942.

[Pages 761-762]

35. Dr. Parnas, Emil. Industrialist, chairman of the national committee of Galicia's Keren HaYesod. Dr. Adolf Rothfeld was the general secretary of the national committee,. The German authorities tasked both of them to organise a system of management for the Jewish community of Lwów. In his undertaking, Dr. Parnas had no misgivings about insisting on improving the situation. At first, the hangmen showed some patience towards the “impudent Jew,” Dr. Parnas, who tended to stand erect and exude self-esteem when speaking with them. The Germans seem to have exercised a sort of pretence regarding the matter. However once hangman Engels's “patience had run out,” he slapped Dr. Parnas' cheek. From that moment onward Dr. Parnas did not say a word and did not respond to any of the Gestapo's questions. And in this silent and proud fashion he strode toward death, which he willed and wished for since he realised that he had failed in his mission: he wanted to save, but did not save.

36. Frenkel, Dawid. Member of the secretariat of Lwów's Hitachdut Poale Zion Party. During the German rule he kept in contact with Dr. Abraham Silberschein, who acted on behalf of the “World Jewish Congress,” and Jewish organisations in Geneva. He was a clerk in the supply department of Lwów's [Jewish] “Council”. He remained in Lwów until July 1942, and according to rumour, he moved to Krakow. There is no information about his fate.

 

I[zrael] Weinlös

 

37. Dr. Freund, Lewi. Chief Rabbi of Lwów's congregation of the Enlightened, he was a Biblical scholar [Talmid Chacham] and a quintessential man of science. His essay in Polish “O Etyce Talmudu: Odpowiedź ‘żydoznawcom’,” [On the Ethics of the Talmud: A response to “Jewish scholars”], a research into Jewish wisdom and the history of Israel, was published in Chwila, Opinja and others. He fell gravely ill and died in 1940.

38. Dr. Pfeffer, [Hersch] Zewi. Born at Tarnopol, he was a rabbi and preacher at Krakow's congregation of the Enlightened. He received a traditional Jewish education and a general education. He was one of the writers for the [Jewish] newspaper Nowy Dziennik, in Kraków. He and his wife worked in the ghetto's kitchen. He contracted typhus and suffered gravely in his last days. He was murdered together with his wife and his son during the liquidation of the ghetto of Lwów in June 1943.

39. Fuchs, Rojza. A folk actress at “Gimpel's Theatre,” Lwów. Her son, Leon Fuchs, is a renowned Jewish actor in New York. She was moved to Bełżec together with her husband, the actor Roth, in August 1942.

40. Dr. Kanfer, Mozes. Born at Buczacz. A journalist, one of the editors of Nowy Dziennik, Kraków and a well known literary critic. He headed the group of authors, critics and artists who assisted Dr. Landau in his organisation and management of the welfare for the needy in Lwów's “Jewish Quarter.” He was moved to Bełżec in August 1942.

41. Dr. Kimmelman, Oawald. An advocate, honest and knowledgeable, member of the presidency of HaTzionim HaKlaliyim [General Zionists] Party in east Galicia. He, together with his only son, were murdered in public by the Germans during the murder of the remaining [Jewish] Council members, on 15th January 1943.

42. Kleinmann, Peretz (Fryc) [Fryderyk]. Painter-artist, popular among the Jewish Enlightened [Maskilim] in Lwów. He worked as a painter at the Jewish theatre in Warsaw and in Lwów. In the Jewish Quarter he was engaged in the medical service of the “Council.” He was caught on the Aryan side and was shot and murdered on the spot in 1942.

43. Königsberg, Dovid. Born at Busk. A poet, he wrote beautiful sonatas in Yiddish. He translated Pan Tadeusz into Yiddish. He was murdered by the Ukrainians before the arrival of the Germans in Lwów, at the beginning of July 1941. His body was identified amongst the victims and removed for burial from the jail on Lwów's Kazimierzowska Street.

44. Dr. Klaften, Cecylja. She established and managed a network of vocational schools for girls in east Galicia. The New-York Jewish press referred to her, during her visit before the war, as the “Mother of Galicia's Jews,” and the description was not a great exaggeration. Hundreds and thousands of Jewish girls acquired a profession and employment through her institutes. She was a noble, highly cultured woman, with virtues and great talents as a pedagogue, and she was trusted and admired by wide circles of the Galician public. During the Germans' rule of horrors in Lwów, she was seen daily in the welfare department for the needy at No. 1 Smocza Street. Among the sea of poverty and suffering, sick and exhausted, she did not abandon her post until almost the last moment. She was murdered in summer 1942. According to rumour, she was shot on the way to the “mound of Sands,” while resisting the murderers who led her to the mass grave.

45. Kupferstein, Abraham Eliezer. One of the leaders of HaMisrachi movement in east Galicia, and a quintessential biblical scholar. At the age of 16 he was granted a qualification to teach. Pure spirited and gregarious, he was a religious Jew who was not embroiled in fanaticism. He took part on the education committee of the “Council.” During the dark days, he knew how to encourage

[Pages 763-764]

hearts by shining an honourable light and a fervour of faith. He was caught during the Aktion of August 1942, and was taken to Bełżec.

46. Rappaport, Jakób. Headmaster of the seminary for Hebrew teachers at Lwów. An author and pedagogue, he published research into the history of the Jewish People. During the Soviet rule, the Hebrew institute under his management turned into a Ukrainian school, which greatly depressed him. He fell gravely ill, and died in the early days of the Nazi occupation.

47. Reitman, Rona. Author, pedagogue and activist, editor of the youth section in the Chwila newspaper. He was murdered during the first pogrom in July 1941.

48. Rettig, Meszulem. Journalist, one of the editors of the Morgen at Lwów, was born at Lublin near Gródek Jagielloński. He was a reporter for the Warsaw Unzer Express. He suffered with poor health and struggled greatly for his livelihood throughout his life. When the Germans entered Lwów he was caught together with hundreds of Lwów's Jews, and was cruelly tortured at the headquarters of the Gestapo on Łącki [Lantzki] Street. By some miracle he managed to escaped from there, and fled to Gródek Jagielloński, where he was murdered when the ghetto was liquidated at the beginning of 1943.

49. Dr. Ringel, Michał. One of the early leaders of Galicia's Jewry and the Zionist movement. Under Gerschon Zipper's leadership after the 1918 pogrom, a new era started in the public-national life of Galician Jewry, that previously under the Austrian rule and the Polish regional rulers, was subject to the influence and authority of the assimilated alliance and the Rebbes' courtyards [chatzerot Admorim]. A national education network was established, the newspaper Chwila and mutual-aid institutes were founded. Dr. Ringel, together with the Dr. Leon Reich, were among the leading figures in the Zionist movement, that managed to attract many among the Jewish masses in the period between the two [world] wars. He represented Galicia's Jewry among the Jewish delegation that presented its petition to the 1919 Peace-Conference in Paris and Brussels, after World War I. He was an envoy to the Zionist Congress and member of the executive-committee and the congressional tribunal. In 1922, he was elected to the Polish Sejm in his home town Stryj. When the Soviets arrived in Lwów in September 1939, and Lwów's Zionist activists were arrested, Dr. Ringel left town and moved to Wołyń. According to rumour, he was near Równe [Rovno], but there is no further information of his whereabouts.

50. Dr. Fajerman, Debora. Teacher, headmistress of Lwów's Jewish elementary school, she did much for the foundation of the Jewish elementary school in Galicia. She worked in the welfare department of the “Council” together with Dr. Klaften. She probably perished during the bloodbath of August 1942.

51. Reiser, Feiwel. Secretary of the Jewish community of Złoczów [Solotschiw], an active member in the Hitachdut Poale Tzion Party. He tried, with great devotion, to alleviate the hardship of those locked up in the ghetto of Złoczów. He was murdered during the Aktion at Złoczów, in summer 1942.

52. Rabinowicz, Mordechaj. Journalist, writer of the Morgen in Lwów. One of the leaders of Achwa, the youth association of the General Zionists in Galicia. He was murdered at Janowska camp in summer 1943.

52. Dr. Rothfeld, Abraham (Adolf). Journalist, among the leaders of the General Zionists of Galicia. Chairman of the “Council” after the murder of Dr. Parnas. As representative of the Jews of Lwów, he experienced great difficulties in his dealings with the Nazi authorities. Although his wisdom, energy and talent helped him at times to extract himself from the strait, he knew that his end was nigh. “I am weaving a rope around my neck” he occasionally said, when he returned pale, downhearted and nervous from the frequent “interviews” with the Nazi authorities. In his last days he worked feverishly to assemble books for his library. He died a natural death “with the grace of God.” He had a cardiac arrest and died in spring 1942.

 

Samuel Jakób Imber

 

53. Dr. Schreiber, Dawid. Council president of the General Zionists Party in Galicia. In 1922, he was elected to the Polish Sejm as the delegate of the Jews of the Sambor-Przemyśl district. Head of the Eretz-Israel office at Lwów, he was a quintessential public figure with much political experience and authority. He was murdered during the liquidation of the ghetto in June 1943.

54. Szudrich [Schudrich], Jakób. Poet, labourer. He worked as an expert worker at a hat and fur factory in Lwów. He published lyric poems and prose in Yiddish. His poems also appeared in Soviet publications, in 1940. In winter 1943, he left the ghetto together with a group of youths, armed with some light firearms. The Polish driver who was meant to drive them to the forests around Brody, and who received a good sum of money for this mission, took them directly to the courtyard of the Gestapo headquarters on Łącki Street. According to rumour, Szudrich and his friends resisted the Nazis, and were murdered on the spot.

55. Szymel Maurycy. Poet, who initially wrote in Polish, and later composed in Yiddish. A quintessential lyricist. His lyrics were redolent of

[Pages 765-766]

a singularly emotional tune. He was in Lwów until August 1942. He was caught and moved to the labour-camp Lacki[-Wielie] near Złoczów. Sick and exhausted, he did not survive the horrific conditions of that camp.

56. Dr. Schaff, Maks. A multifarious activist in the field of Jewish education. He was known at Lwów as “father of the orphans” as the Director of the Jewish orphanage on Janowska Street. He was Dr. Landau's deputy in the welfare department for the needy of the “Jewish Quarter” until August 1942. He fell ill and his powers diminished, still he did not spare himself. In between frequent heart-attacks, he arrived at the office on 14 Bernsteina Street in order to assist a little in the ocean of poverty and hardship. In August 1942, he was moved to Bełżec.

57. Schnapper, Berl. A talented tailor, poet and essayist. He published poems, stories and essays in Yiddish. He was part of the delegation of Lwów's Jewish authors that was invited to Moscow in 1940. In August 1942, he was probably moved to one of the labour-camps in the vicinity of Lwów, and there is no further knowledge of him.

58. Schorr, Zygmunt. Humorist-writer, composer of feuilletons which as an artist, he read out to his public in the towns and small-towns of Galicia. His wife Kseni, a significant and educated activist, and his talented son, Benjamin, were murdered in November 1942, and he was murdered in the ghetto in January 1943.

59. Stockman, Mojżesz. Headmaster of the Jewish elementary school on Zygmuntowska Street, Lwów. He did much for Lwów's Jewish education. During the Soviet rule, he worked as a Yiddish teacher at the school where Ukrainian was the teaching language. Early in the German rule he disappeared, and there is no information about his fate.

60. Spiegel, Joel. A veteran Jewish journalist in Lwów. Editor of the [daily newspaper] Tagblatt, and writer for New-York Jewish newspapers. He died of typhus, at the end of 1942.

61. Rabbi Hillel Sperber. The rabbi of the communities of Zbaraż and Złoczów. Among the significant rabbis and leaders of HaMizrachi movement in Galicia. He was severely tortured and was martyred at Zbaraż when the Germans arrived there in July 1941.

*

This is not a comprehensive list of the Jewish leaders of Lwów, its rabbis, activists, authors and scholars, and their sufferings and torture during the last days of their lives. A great many names are not mentioned here, and may their memory be bound among the victims who were martyred for God and the Jewish People.

[Pages 767-768]

 

    Note

  1. This quote was taken from Adam Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz, translated into English by George Rapall Noyes, (1917) p. 322. Return

 

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