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{Hebrew text pp 173-174; Yiddish text pp 159-161.}

Twenty-two Months in Hiding with Gentiles

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo on page 160, in the Yiddish version: The Shamash Reb Yisrael and his wife, parents of the author of this article.}

Reltche Taub and her son remained in the ghetto. At first, they lived in a storehouse of eggs. The egg storehouse very quickly filled with people, mostly from the old city. Dozens of families lodged there. Their belongings, bedding and clothing were hidden away in the attic, and they hoped that they would be able to be salvaged in this manner. In the end, after the aktion, the Nazis uncovered the hiding place, chose the best of the bedding and linens for themselves, and sold the rest in a public sale. Announcements were posted that there would be a sale of linens, bedding, clothing and furniture that had belonged to Jews. Gentiles gathered from all of the neighboring villages and purchased the property of the Jews for a very cheap price.

This event took place a time when my husband and myself were already in hiding with a gentile in our home. He told us about this. He himself also purchased many items from that sale.

There were already people lying one on top of another in the egg storehouse of the Taub family, and it was difficult to move. Reltche was good to them all. I was also in her house at the time of the final aktion. About fifty people stayed there in the dark for two nights and one day. There were many children there. They were given sleeping potions so that they would sleep, would not have to eat, and would not cry. People fainted from the cramped conditions and from the bad odor in the air that came from the nearby toilet.

I was the first to leave there. I lost my voice from the dryness in my throat. I looked around me, and I saw nobody on the streets. I entered into one of the houses – it was empty and abandoned. There were no people there. Everything was open and ownerless. Everyone had been murdered or sent to the gas chambers.

A few days later, a few more people were discovered, but they were afraid to go out on the street and they lived in an attic. At that time, even the members of the Judenrat and their families had been sent away. Yosef Taub, the head of the Judenrat, had succeeded in jumping off the train. He made it to a village, where a gentile acquaintance hid him until the liberation. He is now in Paris. I met him after the liberation, and he told me that his wife advised him to jump and she and their two children would swallow poison. Thus it was.

But now I want to describe how we were saved.

In the days of the ghetto, my son worked in forced labor on the railway track. He talked with a person, a railway worker who was one of our tenants, and told him that my husband and I would register our house in his name if in return he would take us in for a short time until we would find somewhere to go to, for example to Hungary. The tenant did not answer. He said that he had to ask his wife. The next day he declined, for his wife did not agree.

About two weeks later the gentile met my son and told him that now he was able to take us in with him, for his daughter had taken suddenly ill and died. Therefore his wife had to travel to where their daughter had lived in order to care for the five young children, and he was now alone in the dwelling.

We slipped out of the ghetto and went to the gentile. However the wife returned home a few weeks later. What happened? She had an argument with her son-in-law and now she found us in her dwelling. The gentile woman pulled out the hair of her head, for her husband had taken us in, and in addition she brought with her two granddaughters, little girls aged seven and five. Indeed, the crowding was a great danger. Adding to the danger, one of the Gestapo men lived in the dwelling that we had vacated, which was on the other side of the wall. It was dangerous to utter even a word, for everything could be heard from there.

The gentile asked that we leave the room immediately, for she did not want Jews in her dwelling.

I begged her to let us stay until night. Thus did we sit, with out bags in our hands – for we would leave shortly. Then the young girl entered and asked why we were sitting that way. The gentile women told her that she was expelling us. The young girl clapped her hands together and said in Polish: “Grandmother, if they leave, they will shoot us, for they will certainly reveal that they were with us!” She immediately offered a suggestion: they would take the closet that was near the door and put it in a corner, and we would stay there until it was possible to leave. Thus did we sit, my husband and myself, on two low wooden stumps, for twenty-two months.

As long as we had money we lived on bread alone, for we thought that our son would soon come to take us out, and we would need our money. On occasion, our son would send us some items of food via the gentile railway worker. However after three months, someone reported that my son was talking with a gentile through the wire fence of the ghetto. They immediately brought him to the cemetery with his spade over his shoulder. He himself was required to dig a pit and enter it, and they shot him. Thus was his tragic end at the hands of the Hitlerist murderers.

As long as our son was alive and sending food for us, the gentile also benefited from this, and his relation to us was still quite good. However, from the time that our son was no longer alive, the gentiles began to afflict us by saying that they had to kill us! They did not want to keep us any more, but they could not let us go, for then they would be in danger. Indeed, they were in great danger, for every conversation was heard through the door. They asked us what type of death we preferred: poisoning, cutting of our heads, or burial alive. We did not answer. We hoped that the all-powerful L-rd would be able to assist us. Indeed, the gentile tried twice to poison us, but the Master of the Universe saved us.

On one occasion, they told us that the next day, people would be going around to search for Jews among the Christians. In the room there was a pit that he had dug, one meter wide and one meter long. We were forced to enter it, and he placed the closet on top of us. He covered the pit and left. We would soon have been asphyxiated there. We could not continue on. My husband tried to lift the covering with his feet, until the closet moved from its place. When the gentile heard the sound, he was afraid that we would scream out. He came and moved the closet. My husband got out, and I remained lying down, half dead. They pulled me out from the pit and poured water on me until I revived.

We again sat behind the closet, but soon other afflictions began. They beat us, and did not give us food to eat or even water to drink. We even had to attend to our bodily needs behind the closet. A small box of jam preserve had to sustain two adults for 24 hours… There was no place to urinate. We were in a nicely furnished room, and when the gentiles were not home, I would urinate in a vase; but this was not always possible. There was an open toilet in the garden, which was used also by the Gestapo man. The gentile worried that the Gestapo man would notice that it filled up too quickly. Therefore he did not give us anything to eat, so that we would not have to excrete. Indeed, the gentile was correct. Thus did we sit for 22 months, starving, being fed with morsels of bread four finger breadths in width and a bit of black coffee in the morning and evening.

On one occasion the gentile told me to take out the vessel myself. I was willing to do so, for it would be an honor to do it myself. In the morning, he called me to take the vessel outside. I took it and started to go. When I arrived in the lobby, he ordered me to put down the vessel. He pushed me onto the bundle of straw and began to strangle me. At first I thought that he was joking. However, it became evident that he indeed intend to strangle me. I pleaded with him to back off, until I no longer had a voice. I realized that my last moments were coming. I gathered all my strength and shouted out Shema Yisrael [1] in a voice that sounded like an ox being slaughtered. The gentile became afraid lest the Gestapo man who lived in the house hear, and then he backed off.

Now he began to try poison again. He twice tried to serve us poison, but he did not succeed. The second time, I tasted a bite of moldy, dry bread, and I swallowed it. Until this day I have a burn in my esophagus. He tortured us so that we would lose our strength. When my husband lay down on the floor at night and the gentile entered, for he always guarded us, he kicked my husband with his foot. We were forced to sit the entire night on low wooden stumps. During the day we would stand up to stretch our limbs.

It is difficult to describe how we survived for these 22 months. Once we heard the gentile telling his wife that tomorrow he would finish us off, therefore she must leave the house with the children. For four days previously he had not given us anything to eat, or even a glass of water to drink. They tried to weaken us so that it would be easier to kill us.

We did not know that the Russians were already behind Dembitz. We had no idea about how the war was progressing. Morning arrived, and we did not hear anybody in the dwelling. The Gestapo man had already removed his belongings from the house. There was a great silence around. We moved the closet slightly and I approached the door and peered through the keyhole. I saw that there was nobody there. I returned to my husband and said to him: “Chaim, listen to me, perhaps now a miracle from heaven will occur, and the Creator will have mercy on us. Let us flee outside.” My husband did not wait for another word and we both went outside quickly. Indeed, four weeks previously, my husband had dreamed that the holy rabbi Reb Shmuel of holy blessed memory said to him: “You should know that you will only have to stay here for four more weeks.”

The gentile saw as we fled outside and tried to run after us, but Hitler's army stood on the street. Nevertheless, we continued on our journey. I was on one side, and my husband on the other. Our feet were shrunken, and we fell a few times as we walked. The soldiers saw us, but the Master of the World confounded them. They thought that we were certainly vagabonds, for we were so black since we had not washed ourselves for 22 months.

We went on our way dirty, wearing torn clothing and covered with hair. They went after us and laughed each time we fell. We approached the river and continued to walk until the bank until we came to an area between two hills that hid us. There, we first drank some water, which we had not tasted for several days. Then we took off all of our clothes, even our shirts, and washed everything in the river. On them there were more vermin than threads, for we had not changed shirts in four months. The vermin gnawed at us and were everywhere, even in our shoes and socks – each insect was the size of a pea. Thus did we sit by the river and dig up potatoes from the field. It was the month of Elul [2] and it was pleasant outside. Now it was good for us. We drank river water to our satiation, and satisfied our hunger with live potatoes. We could no longer sit by the river after it got dark. As soon as we got out of the water a shegetz [3] noticed us. He put his hands to his mouth and whistled, and then about ten shkotzim came running and turned us in to the command headquarters, which was now the village, for the Russians had already entered the city. When we were brought to the police, the German guard did not do any check upon us, but he immediately summoned a guard with a gun and told us to take us to a specific place to shoot us. What choice did we have? We had to go. As we were going along the way, the screamed after us: “Halu! Halu!” The soldier with the gun told us to stand and said to us: “They are calling us to return! We must return.”

The commander told us that we must thank the old couple who stood there, for they requested that they not shoot us. They must have been two angels from heaven. After that, he ordered us to leave the village immediately, and pointed us where to go. However, it was already 8:00 p.m., and it was dangerous to walk alone in the fields. We lay down among the potatoes and slept there.

First thing in the morning, as we set out on our journey, some shkotzim met us and turned us again over to the police. We told the Hitlerists that we had already been there and were freed, but they did not want to listen. They brought us to another commander, and we told him how the commander freed us yesterday. He did not wish to believe us, and he sent us, accompanied by armed guards, to the head commander. As we arrived he came down to us, since we did not have the strength to go up the stairs. He said to us: “Aber haben sie die Leute gut verpflegt!” (Indeed, the people fed you well!) He told us to stand, and he brought us from inside two nice pieces of bread and gave them to us. I refused to take them: “Zum Tod brauch ich kein brot” (for death I do not need any bread). He caressed my hand and said: “Nein, sie werden nicht erschossen, nur gehen sie mit diesen weg in den wald, dort aben sind Bauern, dort werden se getotet.” (No, no you will not be shot. Just go along this way in the forest. There, there are homes of farmers, and there you will be killed.)

This was what happened. We slept in different forests for eight days and eight nights, for we were afraid lest someone find us. Then a Russian patrol from the Red Army, searching for Germans, found us.

We showed them the way. Then they brought us to a Jewish captain from the Russian army. We were free.

Translator's Footnotes :

  1. Shema Yisrael (literally Hear Oh Israel), is a verse from Deuteronomy, which serves as the most important Jewish confession of faith, recited every morning and evening. It is also to be recited, if possible, during a person's last moments of life. Return
  2. August or September. Return
  3. A derogatory term for a non-Jew. Plural is shkotzim. Return

{Hebrew text p 175; Yiddish text p 162.}

One Was Saved

Ben Steinhauer

Translated by Jerrold Landau

In 1942, I was assigned along with 29 other friends to work in the Fuerst-Richter building enterprise. The work was difficult. I carried bricks in a trestle for twelve hours a day, thirty bricks at a time. The skin of my shoulders became chafed from this work, and blood dripped from me. I was forced to be quiet and work. In the winter, after my shoulders healed a bit, I got an abscess on my right foot and it became difficult for me to go out for work.

Only G-d knows how much I suffered. I visited the infirmary every day, where they poured a small bit of water [1] on me, and it did not help at all. This went on for three months, and when my right foot was healed, I got an abscess on my left foot. I cannot even describe my suffering, and in addition, I was forced to go out daily to work. Once I asked the doctor, who was the Dembitz native Y. Tau (now in America), that he grant me permission to remain for a day or two in the camp. However, I was not suffering from fever, and according to the orders of the Gestapo he did not have permission to free me from work.

Thus did I suffer until the end of 1942. When things got better for me again, I thought that I was already free from all of the tribulations. But in the beginning of 1943, the abscess in my left foot returned, this time in a different place. In my life I could not believe that I would be able to manage through this without receiving the proper medicine. I again went to the infirmary daily, where they bandaged up my leg and sent me home. This went on until February 23, 1943. That day, when I came to the infirmary after work, Dr. Tau bandaged my foot. Just as I was ready to leave, I was ordered to remain. He entered the other room, and a few minutes later returned with a permit for me to remain in the camp the next day. It was difficult for me to believe that, after having being refused this many times, he himself was now bringing me the permit without my having requested it.

The next day, February 24, when all of the groups went out to work as on all other days, I had no suspicion at all that a black cloud was hanging over the heads of all of my best friends who were now going out to work.

Only in the evening, when the first group was supposed to return but was now late, did I become uneasy. I asked the other groups, but they did not know what was happening. Only after a few minutes did I find out that the entire group was imprisoned by the Gestapo and the railway police as it was already on the route back to the camp. A fright fell upon me. In the meantime, the entire camp became agitated. Immediately, Immerglick the head of the camp and Bitkover the head of the police went out to find out why the people were imprisoned. They were answered with various pretexts, and until this day, it is not known why they were imprisoned. That evening, they were all shot in a field next to the camp along with other Jews.

I do not know what took place during the time that the shooting started, but when I woke up the next morning, I found myself in the room of my older brother who was also in the camp.

The rest of the people remaining in the camp went out to work as usual, as if nothing happened. But they had to hide me, since I was in the list of those who were liquidated.

The liquidation of the camp began in March. The director of the camp Immerglick smuggled me to the Offenbach group where my two brothers worked, and that same month, we were sent to the ghetto of Rzeszow.

I will now list the names of some of my friends who perished, as well as I remember their names: Chaim Herbst, Moshe Fertziger, Yosef Roschwald, Shlomo Reiner, Yosef Eizen, Yosef Roth, and Asher Wagschall.

These are some of the people who were murdered in sanctification of G-d's name. May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Translator's Footnotes :

  1. The term used here is 'mayim acharonim', literally 'final waters', the small amount of water that is traditionally used to wash one's fingers after a meal. Return

{Hebrew text p 175.}

From Among the Righteous Gentiles

Translated by Jerrold Landau

The house was in Dembitz, near the Gestapo building. Thirteen people were hidden in that house. They spent most of the time in the attic and some of the time in the cellar under the garage. Indeed, during all the years of Nazi occupation, there were stories of human might, but only a few can equal the might of the young Polish doctor, Dr. Alexander Mikolikow and his wife Leokida. They endangered their lives and the lives of their young children to prove that decent people who value human life and humane values can still be found.

Dr. Mikolikow cannot speak for himself, for he was killed on the day of the liberation of Dembitz as he was assisting one of the wounded. But one of the thirteen who were saved, A. R. who today serves as a rabbi in Brooklyn, has published the story of the bravery of the doctor and his wife. For two years, he has tried to obtain an entry permit to the United States for Mrs. Mikolikow, who very much wants to see those that she saved, and not only for a short period. To his great dismay, he is frustrated by the refusal of the government of the United States. The young 33-year-old rabbi, married and the father of three children, cannot to this day speak without emotion about the tribulations that befell him. This is his story, as was told over to me.

The Nazis conquered Dembitz in 1939, and they immediately began to persecute the Jews and the Polish intelligentsia. One of their first activities was the establishment of a concentration camp, and later also a ghetto.

Dr. Mikolikow, who was a government physician, could not make peace with the restrictions and the persecutions that the Nazis conducted against the Jews. He felt that the injustice against a part of the population was an injustice against all.

The rabbi, who was a thirteen year old boy at the outbreak of the war and had been healed by the doctor prior to the war, requested that he provide him with some sort of work so that he could escape, for a short period at least, being sent to the camp. The doctor's position enabled him to employ the boy as a messenger boy for some period.

One Friday morning, Mrs. Mikolikow appeared in the ghetto and said that she knew that the Germans were preparing to liquidate the Jews within a few days. The news of the impending tragedy spread through the ghetto very quickly. Overcome with fear and trepidation, the Jews began to build shelters under their houses, or they decided to flee for their lives. Then the doctor told the messenger boy that he intended to save his entire family, even though this would be fraught with great danger.

On June 17, 1942, it became known, again from Mrs. Mikolikow, that the liquidation would take place in a few hours. Mrs. Mikolikow gave the messenger a key to her attic and told him: “Try to save whomever you can”. During the course of a few hours, the boy succeeded in smuggling everyone from his family and his uncle's family into the attic, with the exception of one sister who was not at home.

The house was not large. It was two stories high. The doctor, his family and maid lived on the first floor. A tenant, a single bachelor, lived on the second floor. These two bothered the doctor greatly, for he saw in them a potential fifth column, and he had to be careful of them just as much as he had to be careful with the Gestapo.

One day the rabbi found out that there were signs posted outside the city that anyone who was hiding a Jew would be shot. He immediately turned to the doctor and told him that those who were hidden could not expect that he endanger his life and the life of his family on their behalf. Dr Mikolikow answered: “I am always willing to risk my life in order to save innocent people.”

During the nights, when the tenant and maid were sleeping in their rooms, the doctor of his wife would bring those hidden something to eat. Since the attic had no sanitation facilities, there was a pot that served them for their bodily needs. The doctor would empty the pot every night, without ever complaining.

In the meantime, the Nazis began to concentrate a large number of Jews from the entire region, to the point where their number reached 12,000. 6,000 were sent to Belzec at the time of the first aktion. 3,000 old people and children were murdered locally. Thus, only 3,000 people remained. All of these were selected workers.

In order not to endanger the life of the doctor further, those in hiding left their shelter and moved into the ghetto under the cover of night. Despite his young age, the rabbi became responsible for two families. This was a natural state of affairs given the situation at the time, for children often matured beyond their years. “Once”, the rabbi relates, “I heard an eight year old girl comforting her mother before being sent to the camp, telling her that from there, the road leads to the Garden of Eden.”

Life in the ghetto was unbearable. We worked in backbreaking work in return for starvation rations of ¼ kilo of bread a day. Offering assistance to a Jewish family was fraught with mortal danger, but nevertheless, Mrs. Mikolikow would appear during the nights, bringing sacks of food with her.

One day, Dr. Mikolikow brought a note to the rabbi's family, informing him that the end of the Jews in the ghetto was quickly approaching, and that they should come to him as soon as possible. The thirteen people moved to the doctor's house one at a time in order not to arouse suspicion. They hid in a cellar behind the garage for nine months. By working for a few nights, they were able to dig a secret passageway from the cellar into the garage, through which the doctor would bring them food at night.

The conditions in the cellar were very difficult. It was completely dark inside. Not even a candle was lit for fear of the Nazis. The cellar would flood with water when it rained, sometimes up to the neck. However, there was one benefit to this: the dampness kept the lice away, for they could not tolerate this. Not so with the humans, they maintained themselves.

One day, the Gestapo suddenly appeared and requested that the doctor give them the keys to the garage. This was without any explanation. They simply requested that the garage be emptied within 24 hours. That night, all of those in hiding were transferred to the attic, where they remained until the liberation. It is a wonder in the eyes of the rabbi, as he thinks back now about that time, how they managed to survive in those conditions. Apparently, the deep desire to merit the redemption and witness the downfall of the enemy gave them the required strength. The cramped conditions in which they lived often caused controversy among them, but their learned and G-d fearing father always succeeded in calming them.

An additional source of support was drawn from the unusual dedication of this noble couple. In order to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice of the Mikolikow family, it is important to point out that if they were to have been exposed as hiding people, both of them would certainly have been taken out to be killed.

On June 6, 1944, the Poles, encouraged by the advance of the Russian army, attempted to rise up against the Nazis, and killed one of them. Thirsty for revenge, the Germans began to comb through house after house to search for those that rebelled. They arrived at the home of the doctor. At that time (in the words of the rabbi), something occurred that can be termed a modern day miracle. The Nazis erected a ladder from the entrance to the hiding place, and one of them started ascending the rungs. It is impossible to describe in words the state of those above. Overcome by fear, they began to whisper the confessional, believing that their end was near. It was already possible to see the murderous face of the Nazi captain when something fell down. He descended to see what happened, and he did not ascend again.

A few days prior to the liberation, those in hiding heard the sound of bombing and shooting. This was close to the homes, and as a result there was no possibility of bringing food to those in hiding. The thirteen remained for a few days without food at all.

The rabbi cannot remember the exact time when the news of liberation reached them. He remembers one thing: how they broke outside. It is impossible to describe the appearance of the faces of the survivors. They were filthy, bloated from hunger, and half-blind from their long sojourn in darkness. They did not bear the appearance of humans.

After the liberation of the city by the Russians, they were all taken to a hospital for an extended period of convalescence. Despite their serious condition, they regained to their strength, and they merited witnessing the victory that they had dreamed about during all their years of suffering. However the noble doctor, who suffered so greatly in order to see them to freedom, did not merit seeing the victory. He was killed on the day of the liberation of the city as he was administering first aid to an injured person. The rabbi relates: “I remember the anniversary of his death every year”. I believe in life after death, and I believe that Dr. Mikolikow occupies a place that is fitting to him.

After his death, the widow remained without any means of livelihood. The survivors transferred ownership of their house in Dembitz to her, and when they moved to the Displaced Person's Camp in Austria, they immediately began sending packages of food to her from the rations that they received for themselves.

When they arrived in the United States, they immediately began to send packages of food, clothing and medication, which helped her raise her two sons. One of them is today a doctor and the other is an engineer.

(Translated from an English Newspaper in the United States by Fruma Grossman-Salomon.)

{Hebrew text p 177-182.}

The Cradle of our Youth

Ruchama Bornstein

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Dembitz, our Dembitz, is no longer. Even the “good land”, upon which we so used to enjoy taking a walk around, is no longer. More than 45 years have passed from the time I left my home, the house and the factory opposite the synagogue. It was not easy to leave everything – father, mother, sisters, brothers, grandfather and grandmother, good friends and neighbors, and indeed the town itself in which I had grown up, became active in the movements, and perhaps also helped others to find their way to a better and nicer life.

We fought numerous battles with many righteous, pious Jews, and not a few with dark fanatics who viewed us, Zionists and members of Poale Zion, as the devil incarnate [1] .

And indeed, how wonderful were the Sabbaths and festivals in the town! The synagogues and Beis Midrashes were full with people. The prayers would tear down walls [2] . The broken hearts of Jewish mothers, dissolving in sighs and tears, would find comfort and consolation there. Who can forget the High Holy Day services conducted by the rabbi! The prayers of my grandfather, Reb Mendel Mahler of blessed memory, are unforgettable to me. His voice and melodies remain in my ears to this day.

Who in Dembitz never heard the 'chatzot' observances of pious Jews in the middle of the night [3] ? Who in the old city did not hear the call of the shamash at night: “Arise Jews to the worship of the Creator”? Who has not witnessed on a Friday afternoon, close to the Sabbath, the hurrying of people to the bath, so that they would be able to come to the synagogue or Beis Midrash refreshed, cleaned from their weekday concerns?

Subconsciously, the Dembitz of that time is cast before the eyes in a new light. The one-time battles are repressed deeper into the memory, and the warm home of yesteryear, the cradle of our youth, is what remains.

{Photo page 177: No caption. The gravestone of Reb Yitzchak the son of Shimon Shrage Gruenspan, of blessed memory. Died 17 Elul 5632 (corresponds to September 18, 1932).}

{Page 178}

{Photo page 178, top: Memorial-Stone for Nathan and Debora Grenspan, and their children murdered by Germans: Dr. Israel Sandhaus and his wife Reha with their children Ruth and Zeev Menachem; Shimon and his wife Rahel with their children Menahem and Josef; Yitzchak and his wife Hana with their daughters Ruth and Judith. Translator's note: The stone indicates that Nathan died in 1942 and Debora died in 1940.}

{Photo page 178, bottom: Memorial-stone for Zilla Ascheim nee Goldfarb, her son Hersch with his wife Ita, Leizer son of Samuel Feilbogen and his sister Helena, victims of German massacres in 1943.}

{Page 179}

{Photo page 179, top: Memorial stone in Lisa Gora for 500 Jews, murdered on the 10th of Av, 5702 (corresponds to September 18, 1942). Translator's note: the inscription is in Polish. It includes the note that it was funded by Bar-Natan Gruenspan, Tel Aviv.}

{Photo page 179, bottom: No caption. A group of people in front of a memorial stone.}

{Page 180}

{Photo page 180: At the Dembitz cemetery.}

{Page 181}

{Photo page 181: Memorial stone at the Pustkow Labor camp for 25,000 Jews martyred by the German murderers from June 11, 1942 until September 5, 1943 (4 Elul 5703). [4] ]}

{Page 182}

{Photo page 182: Memorial stone at Pustkow Camp.}

{Hebrew text p 183.}

The Terebinth of Weeping[5]

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 183: Memorial stone for Dembitz martyrs at Mount Zion, Jerusalem.

Translator's note: The memorial stone reads: In holy memory of our beloved ones of Dembitz (Galicia), 16 Av 5702. May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.}

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Translator's Footnotes :

  1. The term used here is 'sitra achara', which means 'the other side' in Aramaic. It is a Talmudic term used for Satan or for dark forces in the world. Return
  2. Most likely a reference to the 'walls' between humanity and the divine. This is a common metaphor in Jewish religious thought. Return
  3. A reference to Tikkun Chatzot, a set of prayers and laments recited in the middle of the night, marking the destruction of the temple and the low state of the Jewish people. This service is not obligatory, and is generally only recited by unusually pious individuals. It is not commonly practiced today. Return
  4. The English translation provided on the page is incorrect here, as it indicates that the martyrdom was until June 11th, 1942. From the Hebrew and Yiddish, it is evident that this date was the starting date. Return
  5. A biblical reference to a memorial monument (in the biblical case, a tree) to Rebecca's nursemaid who accompanied the patriarch Jacob on his travels. Return

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