[Pages 336-383]

Thus was Jewish Demblin destroyed

by Tzvi Eichenbrenner, Tel Aviv

From the material of Tel Aviv, Yad Vashem No. Aleph-191/2681

- 1 -

Winter of 1941. With my wife and child I fled the Warsaw Ghetto. After traveling the whole night in a darkened rail car together with gentiles on a cold early morning after a lot of danger, we finally arrived at Demblin. The city made a very sad and frightening impression on me. The burned down study house, which the Germans had set afire soon after their arrival, had given the street and the environment a frightening aspect. The emptied and deadly quiet of the city, the shut down businesses and workshops, the pitiful and poor expression of the people who had already suffered so much at the hands of the Germans, all this worked on me very intensely. From the Jews' eyes looked out a sense of terror and great insecurity. Every morning they would come out all worn out, hungry, after a whole day's work, they would return beat up and bloody. As a result of hunger and terrible living conditions many epidemics spread through the town, death was lurking in the Jewish houses.

Despite all of this, the hell of the Warsaw ghetto, where I lived with hundreds of thousands of other Jews in what was for all intense and purposes a living grave between towering walls of the ghetto, I felt a little bit lighter and easier like I could breath a little bit easier when I first came to Demblin, because here at last, you could see the world. You could see all of the land around, you could see as far as the eye would reach. The fields covered with snow, the forest of Ryki, the little villages around, the small peasants' huts with the pointed roofs whose whiteness shown in the distance.

Jews were still able to make heir way around here. There wasn't a formal ghetto yet. We were even able to travel from one city to another and to go into the countryside a little bit. There was also contact between the commander of the city and the police and the Judenrat, whose president, Leizor Teichman, an honorable and wise man, who knew how to make his way around, how to deal with the Germans, all of which he did with great responsibility, never dirtying his conscience. He had an in with the police, the commander of the town. He bribed them with the most precious goods, with shoes and clothes and in that way, as much as he could he would make our bitter fate a little bit easier. The constant dragging people off to forced labor stopped because the Judenrat began to send skilled workers out anyway according to the lists that were already prepared.

When an S. S. officer, or another German functionary would come into town, the Judenrat had already been notified and they did their best to prepare things. When there was something unfortunate that happened and a Jew fell into custody, the Judenrat did everything it could do to set them free.

I lived with my wife and child in a little half sunken house that was extremely old and that was where my parents lived. That house was situated across the street from the burned out study house. Right by the entrance by the right side of the kitchen, in the little narrow place between the oven and the wall, we were just barely able to get a bed set down with cover to block it off like a curtain and that was my room. In the same house, besides my father, Ahron Chaim-Yidels and my mother, Rochma, the baker's wife and also my sister Zlotah, who was a widow, with her two small children, lived.

In the house they also had with them a Torah that had been saved from the synagogue when the synagogue was burned down, with two Torah scrolls. Everyday, early in the morning and before dark, desperate and humiliated Jews would come in and wrap a scarf around their faces so that their shaven faces, that didn't have beards anymore, wouldn't be seen. And here with a heavy mood and with great terror, a minyan prayed together. This was a place where we also talked about all the news and all the events that were going on.

In our house, the old tailors of the burial society were sitting. They had pale, fallen faces, swollen eyes and out of those eyes you could see both despair and apathy. They would sit bent over the old white sheets and they seemed like ghosts themselves as if they'd just risen from the grave. They saved shrouds of their sisters and brothers, the martyrs.

The leader of the burial society was an old Jew from another locality who had come here during the War. Tall with a thick, wide face, kind of grubby payes, a short little gray beard and he was called "Chubby Chaim". We would always turn to him about all matters of substance. He seemed like he just never got tired and even in the most difficult moments he was able to respond and arrange things quickly and with great facility. And he gave everybody heart, he cheered people up. If you did find him every once in a while sitting there on the bench with his big watery eyes closed for just a moment, you knew it was only going to last very briefly and he'd be back on his feet almost immediately.

We didn't shut the door the whole day. Jews like shadows, broken and worn out, with their pale faces and eyes the light of which was almost extinguished, in those eyes you could see the sorrow of the whole world. With their last strength they would come and tell of the tragedy that had hit them. Here and there, when the tragedy got worse and was amplified, we were always the first to get the news. Especially in situations where somebody was in a very difficult bind, in custody or something like that, where there was a chance of saving them.

Jews would make their way, run from one city to another, desperately. In Demblin, the Germans would pull them off the train. Then, after tormenting them with the worse possible tortures, they would throw them to savage dogs, which would tear them apart while they were still alive and then finally the murderers would finish them off with a shot. The mutilated, battered, dead bodies, were sent into the town in a wagon.

The way for the Jews was really terrifying, those who were on the road were fleeing Warsaw and other cities. But even more terrifying and frightful was what they had to tell about the ghetto. Although in Demblin there still was not a formal ghetto, these dark tidings foreshadowed something very bad. The desperation multiplied. Each was terrified of the unavoidable horrors that awaited them.

Someone told me that they brought a dead Jew from the station, who had been traveling by train and who had died of fright. Until Sunday in the morning the Judenrat had been able to put him up in Moshe Abramtsh's house. It was late at night when I came to Moshe's house and the house had a very Sabbath like quiet about it. On the table, two small candles burned. They were dripping onto an old conserve's box. Moshe, with his wife and children, walked around in the house as if there were nothing special going on. The clay floor was scattered with sand.

On the ground near the window, with his face to the wall, the dead man lay, dressed in a brown suit and shoes, his face wasn't even covered.

- 2 -

Quickly the frightening news spread over the town that they'd murdered the president of the Judenrat, Leizor Teichman. Our situation got worse from day to day. Not one day passed where they didn't bring Jews that they'd shot, from the railroad.

And it didn't take long before the city once again shuddered and had a new and savage murder. This time, the Gendarmes ordered the Judenrat that all Jews who had come to Demblin from other ghettos and cities should within a very short time present themselves. Police ran around throughout the city with a list of the unfortunate ones. They were dragged out of their houses. Gendarmes took the terrified victims and loaded them into sealed vehicles, took them to the forest of Ryki and murdered them there.

As I entered the threshold of our house one time, I felt that there was again another terrible event. As always, my heart began to beat furiously. My mother's thin drawn face was even paler that usual. Some of the tailors had laid their gray heads onto the table, as if they were snoozing. Even Chubby Chaim, who always seemed to be impervious to everybody sat there at the bench with his face between both of his hands and his eyes stared blankly into the distance. When desperate and overwrought Jews came to ask that their dead should be buried, they didn't have anyone to talk to.

[See PHOTO-C50 at the end of Section C]

From Laibish Bagelman I found out that today they had again brought from the railroad a family of 9 people. As always, I couldn't control my inner drive to go see the dead. I went back to the burned out synagogue near the bath where they used to bring the victims from the train. Before my eyes a truly horrifying scene was revealed. On the ground, stretched out, were the victims, one next to the other. Only one, whose face and long thin fingers were blacker than the earth, had been murdered with the standard shot under the ear. With the others, under very fine but ripped clothes, one could see that their bodies were a mass of bloody wounds from dogs teeth, the heads and faces just a mass of blood. There wasn't any recognizable human feature in their faces. The children's arms and legs had been broken. You didn't even see a sign of a shot on the children. They looked like they'd been hacked to death with a very dull knife.

Each day Jews, earlier than usual, came to daven. Each one was sure that something important happened because the whole night the Gendarmes were whooping it up. We heard them making great cries of joy, they were really celebrating, screaming their heads off. The Jews who lived in the Warshavsky Street didn't close their eyes all night because of terror. The restlessness grew from minute to minute. Everybody's eyes were turned to each person who came in the room last, expecting them to tell us something, God forbid, really bad, and perhaps something really good. Everything is possible from God, even at the last minute.

The butcher David Yermus came in. He kissed the mezuzah, washed his hands in the basin. But, before he wrapped a kerchief around his face to hide his shaven beard he said, "They're talking something about peace in the street."

The Jews with their pale terrified faces and tallit and tfillin just stayed there absolutely astounded.

"Thank God!" I heard my mother in the background, who was sick and was lying in bed. She was talking to God and she said, "With you God everything is possible, a miracle. But a miracle, only a miracle, will save the children. Isn't it already high time?"

Two Jews looked at each other. One was the very pious Jew, the one who led prayers, David Wasserman, who during Sabbath would never say anything secular, he to the very last minute of his life, in the greatest of danger, kept his gold blond beard, which had already begun to be gray. The second was David Fuks, a Hasid, who's beard had just begun to grow back, a gray beard that had the appearance of a wheat field which was full of stubble.

"In the peace of the villains", a thought David said after a minute. With the same thoughtfulness he added, "With brutes like these, who have spilled so much blood, there's never going to be any peace. I hope that what I say is not true, I'm afraid that their joy is our sorrow."

The last words of the two Jews were like heavy stones fallen in my heart. I went out to Barryl Sherman. He from the very first moment the Germans arrived, worked for them at the police station. And he always knew all of the news. I thought that maybe I'd find out something from him about what was going on.

- 3 -

I was not the only one who was waiting for Barryl. I encountered other Jews there, thoughtful and worried. Even one of the members of the Judenrat was waiting there to find something out. The anticipation was so great that we just didn't say a word to each other. When we saw Barryl through the window my heart began to pound like a hammer. The seriousness on his face, which was not his usual expression, wasn't lost on us.

When he came into the house we realized from his glance, which was avoiding us, that things were not good. Nobody took their eyes off him. Nobody had the guts to ask him what we all wanted to know. The waiting seemed like an eternity. Finally Barryl, not looking anybody in the eyes, quiet and desperate, as if he had to gather up all his strength to do so, said, "Very bad news for you."

In the house everything became quiet, the only thing that we heard was the beating of our heart.

"Hitler, - proclaimed yesterday, - the total eradication of all Jews." The joy of the brutes, of the barbarians, was so great that I can't even describe it to you. They spent the whole night eating and drinking they were so delighted. And believe me they pored the absolute best liquors down their throats.

When Avramel Rosenberg mentioned that his means us, nobody was able to even stand on their feet anymore. We didn't say it out loud, but everybody understood that now the Germans were really going to get to it and set up more ghettos, meaning here.

The darkest night of all times had fallen. Despair and desperation ate away at the worn out and used up Jews of Demblin. Each one waited his own bitter fate with terror. The whole thing was the most terrible for the hearts of the elderly. It is unimaginable and impossible to describe the sorrow and pain that we suffered when we looked at little innocent children who understood nothing and had to die such a savage death so young.

The Juderat instructed that according to an order from the German command, that practically the whole city with the name Warshavsky street and both ends of Rynek, all the way down to Sokatzkyega - that none of that was part of the ghetto. After a very short time all the Jews who lived in those places had to get out and go into the ghetto which was delineated by half of Okulna with little half sunken shacks around the burned out synagogue and the old part of the town where before Jews had not lived.

It became very dark in the city. After work, the worn out Jews ran like you run in the middle of a fire. Bent over with packs on their backs, terror in their eyes, the last bit of strength, they pushed themselves. They carried heavy cabinets, beds, tables and other things. They were stuffed into little houses, to relatives or acquaintances or to people they didn't know at all.

Richer Jews would bend over, embarrassed, faces found themselves at shabby little Christian dwellings and suggested an exchange. That in order for them to be able to have these little Christian houses, they could exchange them for their own very comfortable dwellings on Warshavsky Street. The Poles, though, were in no hurry. They had time. There were so many Jews who suggested this to them. They told the Jews to leave their furniture back in their houses. They said to the Jews, "It's all the same, you're not going to live through this war anyway, what do you need your furniture for?"

As much as that galled and tore them apart, the Jews had absolutely no other option. Everything that the Christians wanted in this situation, they got.

- 4 -

Humiliated, torn apart from the outside world, stuffed together in a terrible squalor without any air to breath, Jews lived several families to one dwelling. As if somebody had just winked to him and there was an understanding, the Pole who used to drive around with a long wooden barrel with which he'd clean out the outhouses of the town, he just stopped coming into the ghetto. So the overflowing outhouses began to overflow and run out into the courtyards. The air stank, mountains of garbage lay outside. From day to day the scarcity intensified because the peasants, as in every war, were the ones who had everything that was really essential, and they stopped coming in their wagons into town to bring products from their fields. Jews didn't dare to venture out into the countryside because it was extremely dangerous. When they did that, often a Pole on his own initiative would chase after the Jew and go fetch a policeman and rat on him. The hunger became very, very great. In many houses there wasn't a slice of bread for weeks. Even the very, very thin soup that we did have became very seldom. Most of the Jews nourished themselves with raw Brikev. They were drawn and swollen from hunger and they'd die off like flies.

"Typhus Danger! Strictly forbidden for Germans to enter!" That's the way big placards which were nailed up to houses around the periphery of the ghetto read in order to warn the Germans away.

In truth the ghetto was full of other sicknesses like tuberculosis and dysentery, there were not fewer victims from these diseases than there were from typhus. The world will never know the magnitude of the sorrow and pain of the unfortunate and desperate Jewish mothers, who sat by the beds of their sick children utterly unable to help, except with a cold compress on the brow or with a little bit of cold water to wet heir burning lips.

It's difficult to convey the terrible barrenness that reigned throughout the day in the ghetto. Very, very seldom did you see a man in the street during the day. Very early in the morning the ghetto residents had to go out to work. Even 12 year old children didn't dare remain in the ghetto. Soon, at night, when the people returned, tired and broken, often bloody and beaten up, outside it was already dark, the whole day everyone felt behind him the shadow of death. But even more terrible was the night of the ghetto. After 7 o'clock nobody dared to appear in the street. Doors and shutters were closed. The people living there hung curtains up in order that, God forbid, the least bit of light shouldn't make its way out a window. In this kind of darkness Demblin had never before had to wrap itself. Little ghetto houses in this kind of darkness became even smaller and shrunken. You hardly noticed them. It seemed as if a giant devil hovered above the city with his black outstretched wings which blocked out the sky and with which he wanted everybody and everything to blot out. The terrifying funereal stillness reigned in the ghetto. Each step from a military boot resounded in a frightening way through the stillness of the night in the whole ghetto. And when you heard it, the heart nearly died from fear. And if the steps would suddenly stop under somebody's window, everybody would freeze inside. The way of the nights was just to stretch out endlessly.

Besides the Gendarmes police, the Sonder service ruled in the ghetto. These people were formidable brutes who wore on their hats the insignia of a skull. We really did call them "Death Heads". Woe is to him who fell into their hands.

Not only with hunger and other sorrows did the Germans torment us, they were always striving to find new physical and spiritual pain to inflict on us. They used to let loose savage dogs on their victims, or with big fat sticks beat people mercilessly on their head and their bodies so that the victim would finally beg to be put out of their misery with a shot. In order to darken our lives even further and to demonstrate what a terrible end awaited us, they used to drive the bodies that had been mutilated and shot around in the ghetto on a wagon. Every day the Jews who'd been through the ringer so many times received new blows and new decrees. The days ahead of us were to be harder and harder.

- 5 -

Besides the various work sites where Jews were employed, there was a construction site in Demblin which belonged to the military airfield. When I came to work there in the shoemaker and tailor shop which serviced the Germans, there was already a camp at the airfield surrounded by barbed wire. In the camp we shoemakers and tailors lived in a separate little room which was partitioned off from the wooden barracks by a thin wall. When we wanted to we were able to go into the town, even spend the night with our families. In the camp there were a couple of hundred Jews from Warsaw. The majority of them were young; flowers of the people. They were employed at different kinds of work out in the open. Some of their clothes were in shreds and you were able to see little parts of their flesh through them. While they worked they were beaten quite murderously, it really was painful to watch how they were treated.

As long as the camp was run by a simple young man, Yichael Luxemburg, the tired hungry slaves more or less would lay down and rest, have an opportunity after their difficult labors to lie down on their hard bunks and they didn't have to endure quite so many humiliations. But when the Germans brought from Opola the Viennese Jew, to the construction site, things got a lot worse in the camp. Among the Jews that they brought were Herman Venkart. Tall and broad, with a long, red, narrow nose, upon which sat thick glasses. He had a very sharp tongue. He could tear the world to pieces with that tongue. He wasn't particularly choosy about the methods that he used. For each German, even those he didn't demand it, he would stand straight at attention. Never did he turn back from his plans. That's how he quickly succeeded in taking over the command post of the camp from Luxemburg. He immediately began to institute a regime in the camp with all his little fine points. The Germans themselves couldn't have asked for anything more. He formed a Jewish command structure with Jewish police, although none of the police were forced into that role. The majority of them were just heartless youths without a spark of humanity, without shame and without a conscience. They would flatter Venkart like dogs, always try to please him, smile at everything he had to say. There a few exceptions, but very few.

And this Viennese Jew, who came from Gilitsia and who was very fond of when he spoke, praising and remembering the Lord - every Passover he had a seder and read the Haggadah. This person, besides other kinds of pain that he inflicted on people, would also beat them. According to the decree from our camp commander, Herman Venkart, the Jewish police showed that they could be every bit as evil as the other brutes. When the victim lay on a bench, his head covered with a blanket, and just moaned with his sufferings, the Jewish police had a good laugh and in the way of young men would whistle in mockery. There were times when the one who had been beaten from the shear trauma and pain would move their bowels and it would be days before they would be able to sit up.

- 6 -

From a sudden waking, I was in the first moment completely confused, as with open eyes I looked at the four white asbestos walls and the ceiling and I wasn't able to figure out where I was. Only when my thoughts returned, because of a cry that I heard outside, I suddenly jumped from my bunk, went outside in the courtyard of the camp and there saw a terrible site.

On a bench, across from the barracks, stretched out with his face down, only in his underwear, was a young inmate of the camp who they caught a few days before in Gniewoszow. Near him, surrounded by police, the commandant with a whip in hand stood and beat the boy. Suddenly the commandant heard my scream that he should stop beating him, and he turned to me. His face was white as the wall with rage, like a beast's, it looked like the expression of a beast who's claws had just been torn out of its prey. He turned to me and screamed, "He wanted to get out of here, the criminal, and we brought him back from the road."

It was still very early in the morning. The clock showed 4 o'clock. Everything surrounding was enveloped in a pre dawn gray summer quiet. The tired slaves were still in the barracks on their hard bunks lying and sleeping. One inmate wrapped in a gray blanket limped towards the wooden outhouse, which stood at the other end of the camp by the barbed wire. He barely was able to drag his bad foot. The early morning was cool and dismal. The cloudy sky seemed to suggest that rain was going to come soon. In the field the peasant's white horse had spent the whole night in a meadow near the camp where he could chew the grass. The whole day the colt would, in a carefree way, jump around in the field and the children used to always look at him with envy and curiosity. This colt was snuggling up to his mother's belly. Both of them stood with their heads bent down to the moist grass and didn't move. A thick rain shower began to come down. A world of shame at that moment wept.

In the morning, Sunday, when I went to the old part of town, I suddenly saw people running by who were looking in the direction of the bridge. I ran after them and saw in the distance the young man Gemaliel the son of Perla Hochman, Gemaliel had a half sack of potatoes on his back. Besides him a policeman was standing with a revolver in his hands. Afterwards the policeman disappeared for a moment into a peasant's hut alongside the road. He came back with a shovel with which he began to beat Gemaliel on the hands and over his whole body. His crying out and trying to defend himself didn't help at all. Finally the gendarme hit Gemaliel a few times over the head. When he fell down, blood spilling out of him, he took out his gun and shot him.

A little bit later we saw his head and his body, his head which was hacked at, hanging down, looked like frozen mass, and he was at that point taken through town on a wagon, the head hanging over. At that moment we remembered how this boy's father took him the first day, wrapped in a tallit to heder, to study.

- 7 -

After each terrible news, nobody in the ghetto would show themselves at all. There was a heavy burden that laid everybody down. It was a burden with a spark of terror that always glowed in each heart. Suddenly that spark with a great, terrible flame, would burn up and consume every last hope of being saved or surviving. Jews, full of desperation, would lament their living children. Chubby Chaim tried to cheer up the tailors of the burial society who spent the whole day bent sewing old white sheets into shrouds in order to prepare a body for a Jewish burial. He reminded them it was a mitzvah to do that, especially today when the murderous villains would every day leave dead bodies lying on the side of the road which the dogs and other wild beasts would then start to feast upon.

As soon as he sat down at a bench with his big watery eyes and began to look off at some spot in the air, the door slowly opened and a woman came in. She walked bent over, dressed in an old ragged thick cloak, which she held with her thin hands. Her half gray hair was in wild disorder. From the pallor of her face and her tired half shut eyes, one understood that the days of her life were numbered. As soon as she crossed the threshold, she fell on the half sunken floor and remained lying there, just passed out, fainted. We revived her, sat her down on a chair. She cried bitterly. Holding herself, she began to tell her sad story, to complain:

"Why don't you just let me die?" She complained bitterly in a heart rendering way. "Why do I have to force myself to live any longer? For my child, for who's death I alone am responsible? Why does so much suffering have to come to me? Who have I done anything bad to? It would have been better if I had been scattered under the ruins with my husband. Then I wouldn't have to see my only child consumed by fever. For two days he was sick. And now he is no more. When I went out to work early in the morning and asked Leah to keep an eye on him, my son just like the day before, sat in bed and there wasn't any real sign that he was going to get worse. He seemed OK. But, as soon as I arrived at work, I became very, very uneasy. A mother's heart began to beat with terror. I just wasn't able to get a hold of myself. I didn't even feel the blows of the overseers who always like to knock us around. I had one desire alone and that was to live until the evening. To my distress, the murderers decided to keep us longer than usual. I just can't understand that after the whole day of work, how I found the strength to run all the way home. The closer I came to the house, the greater my fear became. With my heart pounding, I opened the door. And when I came into the house I saw that my world had come apart and that my son had been extinguished. In the house there was a melancholy quiet. The child was the only reason that I had the strength to endure all the different kinds of pain and torment. He lay in bed, his head wrapped with a wet cloth. A great darkness fell on me. The little bit of bread that I left for him in the morning, lay by him, unmoved. His lips were black as coal. His bright eyes closed. The child was just one piece of fire. "Mommy's here", I begged him and wanted him to just look at me. But nothing more than just two tears rolled down from the corners of his eyes and then just stopped. God, what am I going to do, I said to myself. Where's Leah. And just then the door opened and Leah, out of breath, came in with Dr. Kava."

"‘Doctor, save my child’, I screamed at him."

The doctor didn't answer and went right to the bed. The whole time that the doctor tended to the child, my heart beat like a hammer. The doctor looked at his watch and said, "It's already 7 o'clock. One dares not go into the streets at this hour. There's nothing we can do until tomorrow morning. Don't let one minute go by without that wet compress on his head."

"He went out quickly, I felt that a bitter fate had snatched me once again. The fever didn't let up. The child began to burn again. I tore the hair from my head and cried quietly. Is there anybody I didn't pray to at that moment? To my father, who the Germans had shot down, in his tallit and tfillin. To my dead husband. The night stretched out for an eternity it seemed to me. It seemed like it would never end."

"Suddenly the child, an old man, let out a sigh, opened his eyes for a moment and then closed them again. The final extinguished glance of one dying, that's what it was. Everything in me began in a misty confusion, I began to cry out, what's happening? My father shot, Isaac [husband] under the ruins of the Warsaw ghetto. And here I am imprisoned in the ghetto. Just two days ago my son was healthy. Now I sit all alone by his bed. Everybody was sleeping and I looked and my child seemed like he'd just been consumed by fever. I was quiet and I did nothing. I stood up, the whole house revolved around me. I went to the window, looked out again through the cracks in the shutters, outside it was black night. I didn't see the sky at all. Black and dark, like it was in my heart. Terrifying, deathly quiet. The quiet of a world that was ending. God, what should I do? When will the dawn come? I went to the window again. When I came back to the bed I saw my child lying with his head thrown back and with his mouth open. I started to tear my hair and scream. Everybody, terrified, came out from their bed and asked me to calm down because it can create an even worse tragedy if I don't shut up. Sure enough, very soon, we heard a demanding scream, "Open up!" They'd already begun banging at the door with their rifles. Two gendarmes came in. They saw the dead child. One of them made a little joke about it. "What are you screaming about? You cursed woman. You're all going to die like dogs, you know." Yeah, yeah, that's exactly what should happen was a thought that came to my head. "Shoot me!" I begged them. "I want to die with my child. I can't take it anymore." I begged them for their mercy."

"What, you want to die?' another one of the murderers asked. "No, not now. When you want to live, that's when we're going to shoot you." He said with a smile on his lips."

"Such a terrible loss", the woman said quietly sobbing. "But, I am guilty for the death of my child. I shouldn't have left him alone", the woman said, leaving.

When the woman left, I turned to Laibish Bagelman, who the whole time sat at his bench with great attention and listened to the woman's story of her bitter heart. I asked him, "How many corpses would show up in this War during the course of one year?"

"Yeah", Laibish sighed. "I understand Hershel what you want to know. Once upon a time, during this whole year, there would be like 12 corpses. And that was a bad year. Today, it's not a day goes by when we don't have 15, and that's a good day. There's absolutely nothing to which anyone can compare this enormous tragedy of ours", he said with great sorrow. "Jews are falling like flies. They're coming to us dead as a result of all kinds of violent deaths. And for the German villains, it's never enough. A regime like the Germans, is one that has never been seen before."

A frightful cry was heard outside and with every second just got greater and more intense and Laibish stopped talking.

- 8 -

When I went out of the house I saw a scene, which could have broken the stoniest of hearts. Around a narrow wagon drawn by a skinny, half dead horse, this was the wagon upon which they'd always bring the murdered ones into the town, we saw almost hanging on with their little hands, 7 or 8 little barefoot children in torn rags, hoarse from crying. With their last strength they cried out and sobbed, "Dear mommy, why are you leaving us?" The mother, who during the war had been the only provider in the house, had just been murdered when she was coming back from the town with a few potatoes on her back. She lay on the wagon covered with a rag. All you could see were her thin, barefoot feet. Their father, Kevela, a small and worn out man with a sobbing face blacker than the earth, hung on to the last part of the wagon and just barely was able to walk behind it.

When the wagon came to the end of the ghetto, voices reached heaven. It absolutely was shattering to watch how they had to tear the little children away from their dead mother. Christians who were passing by stopped for a moment and asked who was being carried away. With a little bit of sorrow they shook their heads and kept going on their way.

Without shelter, resigned and hopeless, surrounded by millions of bloody executioners, who weren't able to satiate themselves with our downfall and did everything so that not even one Jew would escape their grasp. In the heart of enslaved Europe which the barbarians had transformed into a jungle and in which a terrifying and quick and thorough extermination of Jews had begun, in such a condition one had no hope of outliving the war, unless as the result of a miracle or some sudden and unexpected help and quick. But from where would such help come? Nobody knew. From England? We heard only the most sorrowful news. And that just made us dark and bitter. Here wasn't anything else but blood and tears. And Churchill himself had nothing more to say than that to his people. America needed to be ready at the very earliest in 1943 to prepare itself. Maybe from Russia? But already for the second time the gigantic convoys of military vehicles were traveling day and night on all the roads. The word was that they were going in the direction of the Russian border. Some Poles had for a while pretended not to even know their Jewish acquaintances, but now some of them began to greet us. A good friend of mine came to me in a very discreet way, and said, "Hold on, its not going to be long." We were even talking to each other at night when it was quiet. When we were laying down, if you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the dull thud of artillery in the distance. A spark of hope began to shine in us. Jews foraged in the newspapers and looked for a trace. It really did not take a long time and after awhile the military began to travel back in the other direction. Everything remained as it was before. Darker and more hopeless. Our situation became worse and every new day there were new victims.

The devilish plan of the villains was so savage in its scope that something had happened in us and we wanted more than to just stay alive. Everyone wanted revenge for his death and for his downfall. And so when the Jews heard that the Germans had increased the numbers of tailors and that they'd begun to black out the windows with curtains and began to paint over the military buildings in green, we grabbed at these things as signs like a drowning man grabs at a floating log in the ocean.

When the worn out, pale, ghetto Jews heard the news early one morning while praying, their tired, half shut eyes turned to the sky and began to sigh with a heart that was being torn, Mah tovu ohalech Yaacov. Each day would come really different news and every time the Jews would sigh and groan while they were praying.

- 9 -

Suddenly the Germans covered all of their military vehicles and buildings with gray and green nets to camouflage them. The electric street lamps were turned off. They gave the order that the windows and houses should be blacked out and in the courtyards bomb shelters should be dug. Now everybody was sure that something was really happening. Maybe we were going to be saved. Our hearts were just very anxious and yet we couldn't believe it. Maybe on the other hand the Germans were just preparing for normal war exercises, just to prepare against air raids. Maybe they really weren't preparing to defend themselves against the Russians. And maybe in fact we'd just worked ourselves up into a frenzy here and just fooled ourselves with our imaginings. But meanwhile the normal kinds of torments didn't seize. Soon though, the police at the airfield began to patrol in the city in big motorized vehicles, they began to run back and forth among the roads in a great stream and the grinding of their steel chains was deafening. The highways were torn up. Two weeks, day and night, these military convoys passed through. The window panes in the little houses trembled, they almost came apart from the clamor of heavy artillery. Nobody slept a wink during the night. Nobody could sleep. The tired, stressed out head just couldn't stop thinking, wondering if this could really be happening. It was really hard to believe that there still was some help for us left in the world. Wouldn't a snake before she was consumed and destroyed find a way to let her poison out? Isn't that why they herded us into the ghettos after all?

When the tanks stopped traveling and became quiet again the Jews terrified and pale began to move around as if they were crazy. The quietness lasted for two days. At night big bombers flew overhead, over the city, in the direction of the east. The whole sky in the area was fill of their roaring. We really saw very vividly the preparations for war. Any moment it was about to break out.

Jewish technicians, who worked for the German radio center, risked their lives in order to listen in on Moscow radio, they tried to find something from the radio about what they would say at this moment before the storm, about what was happening. But it was as if nothing had happened. Nothing but music and every once and a while they talked about with great praise a new milking machine. We became once again quite uneasy and depressed. It seemed that this was fate after all, there was no getting around it, this was the sad fate of our generation. If only we could know that sooner or later people would have to pay dearly for what they'd done.

After a whole night without sleep I got up with a heavy and bitter mood and got ready to go to work. A Jew came to pray, knocked on the shut door and I came to the entry way in order to open the door. I was able to recognize that this was Yisrael Yankl, the baker.

"You're still sleeping?" the Jew said to me quietly, "You're still sleeping when there's such good news?"

"What kind of good news?" I asked him quickly and shut the door.

"You don't know? They're fighting already." The Jew who had wrapped the tallit around his coat quietly, with a held back voice and with tears in his eyes, said.

"Who's fighting?" I asked him astonished.

"Who do you think should be fighting?" the Jew asked me quite bewildered. "The angel of justice and the angel of death are fighting. They're saying that after today, the Russians are going to be here." He told me with a very serious face.

Soon, still more Jews came over. Most everybody already knew the news. We didn't spend too much time praying and davening. Everyone wanted to get home as soon as possible. More serious than usual, they stood there, their tallism wrapped over their heads, deep in their own thoughts. "Oh, great creator of the world," one after another said with a great groan.

When I went outside into the beautiful summer early morning, the sky was clear and transparent without the slightest little cloud. The surroundings were wrapped in the pre dawn quiet. The rising sun very slowly climbed over the edge of the horizon and began to spread her first rays upon the earth. One didn't see a single German anywhere in town, Jews were standing around in the courtyard, waiting for the Russians to come. They wondered why everything was so quiet. The front was after all only 30 - 40 miles away when the siren began to suddenly sound. The Jews became afraid another way. We didn't run to the bunkers that we dug but we remained where we were, watched the heavens because we had a lot more fear of the Germans than we did from the Russian bombers.

"Maybe it's better today not to go to work. Maybe if we don't do that it's better just to stay at home", the Jews asked each other. Nobody knew what to answer. Afterwards we saw somebody began to walk by and we decided we would go as well. On the way we continually looked at the sky, we thought that maybe at work we'd learn something. But at work as well, we saw no Germans at all. The mood became very, very cheerful. We were even taking bets about when the Russians were going to arrive. Nobody even put their hands to the work at hand at all. Suddenly something shattered the mood. All the time we would try to find somebody to get the scoop from the Germans at the construction site and tried to spy a little bit or maybe try to figure out what was going on from the Polish work camp. But we were unsuccessful, we couldn't find anything out. It was getting to be very difficult to not know anything like this.

We sat around there for about 2 hours. Nothing happened. At that point various thoughts, each one worse than the one before, began to hammer away at us. Our nerves got on edge. Nobody was able to rest. It seemed like everybody's thoughts were turning in the worse direction and our little moment had run out.

It was in the early afternoon when we saw one of the Germans coming towards us. He was a man over 60. We sat up straight, as if we'd been working. Our hearts started to beat quite fast because the demeanor of this man's walk and his little way of whistling to himself suggested that what we were going to hear wasn't going to be good. As soon as he crossed the threshold of the workshop, he threw his head back and with great pride said, "Ah, my gentlemen. That which I'm going to tell you will give you enormous pleasure. The Russians have already been defeated."

With the bastard's eyes, he looked out from under his thick glasses and observed us.

"Yep, I bring you my news today and my uniform for you to make adjustments on it. You'll do that for me, won't you?" And he quickly left.

My heart was torn up. Everybody was pale, pale as the wall. Everybody remained sitting at their place. Quick as lightening the dark news the German had brought spread. Soon somebody from the office came [a Jew] and just roamed around the room as if he was crazy.

"You hear the news? The Germans took Bialystok." He almost wept. When somebody asked him if that was really true he almost screamed, "They're already planning to send a couple of hundred Jews from here to there."

Sad, bitter, dark, was everybody's mood. We were jealous of the dead at that point. And just at that moment, just as if to spite us, just as before you couldn't see a German anywhere you looked, at that moment they didn't stop coming in and out of the door. They brought their uniforms and their shoes to be repaired. They brought their orders, just as if they were getting ready for a parade. Just for good measure, they'd stand around and look everybody over a little bit longer than usual.

- 10 -

Certain of their quick victory, the Germans became even more savage. Jewish blood flowed even more freely than before. At work, the Germans extracted the last breath out of their slaves and added to that they would beat them mercilessly. Broken and desperate the Jews went back to the ghetto after work. Nobody was asking anymore about the latest news. For whole days the Germans had signs in all the streets and they would deafen the whole town with their latest bulletins and news. "We have dealt communism, the greatest enemy of human kind, a decisive blow. It won't be long before we completely destroy and exterminate it." A second time the greatest villain thanked all mighty God because he had been chosen to create the reign of a thousand years of peace for the world. "Eight-hundred tanks, 1,400 airplanes, a thousand artillery units, a whole army and we still haven't counted everything that we have, but these are the things that we've already taken in the first days." The cripple Goebbles, the German propaganda minister, like a beast gone wild, spoke spasmodically, screamed on the radio. Each day the newspapers told of new, greater German victories. Your heart bled to see maps that were displayed in public which showed the front lines with the conquered cities and towns where we knew thousands of Jews were living. Once again, despair reigned in the ghetto. Again life became a hell for us. Frightful nightmares and sleepless nights battered us. A huge undeniable reality hit us as soon as we opened our eyes.

The two of us used to meet in those days on the way to work. We walked the whole way together. I and Gamaliel Hochman, a cousin from the other Gamaliel about whom I spoke earlier. Gamaliel was a young man, over 20 years old, with a full, serious and refined face. From behind his glasses a pair of thoughtful and pleasant, wise eyes shown forth. Gamaliel's heart could overflow with bitterness, but you'd never know it by looking at him. His black boots were always very well polished and all of his clothes were always very clean and neat. Even the old worn out coat that he used to wear was always cleanly pressed, spotless, without the slightest stain of any kind. Even the white linen arm band with the blue Star of David, which every Jew had to wear on his left arm and we of course always tried to make it as unnoticeable as possible, as narrow as possible, even that on Gamaliel's arm was very clean and without a wrinkle. Gamaliel spoke little and understood a great deal. But though he was by nature quiet, on this occasion he apparently was so troubled and tormented by his thought that he spoke the whole way about the latest tragedies and the new hell that had befallen us; about the Russian cities which had fallen and with them the great numbers of Jews who would now be defenseless, people who just a few days before had been living peacefully and without fear. When vehicles with military people passed by on their way to the front Gamaliel looked after them and said "Go ahead, go ahead, you're going to come back here in the other direction crippled and mutilated, without hands and feet."

We were walking along that way, Gamaliel and I, when we came to the entrance to the airfield. There stood an armed soldier with a metal helmet on his head. We showed him our passes which gave us permission to enter into the work place. We just wanted to continue on but the German didn't feel like hurrying in returning our passes to us. He looked at Gamaliel and didn't take his eyes of him. I became very uneasy and my heart began to beat.

The German was breathing heavily and with a quiet sadism said to Gamaliel:

"You're a Jew, right?"

"Yeah", Gamaliel answered.

"Why don't you take your hat off then? Think you're better than I am?" The German in a very disdainful and sarcastic way asked him.

At that point for the first time I noticed that Gamaliel was wearing his hat. Maybe he's forgotten I thought to myself. He will certainly take it off right away and we'll just go on our way. But to my great astonishment I saw that Gamaliel didn't make the slightest move to take his hat off.

"What!" The German began to scream and became red with anger. "You piece of shit. You're not going to take your hat off for a German? You Jewish pig. You're not going to make fun of me. I'll show you."

He reached for his rifle.

"Listen", he said once again. "I'm going to count to three, and if you don't take your hat off you'll see what is going to happen."

I looked at Gamaliel. He was pale and absolutely still as he stared at the German. He didn't even blink his eyes. I saw that Gamaliel was ready for anything and that he was not going to bend his pride.

"One", the German began to count. "Two", he drew out the word and looked at Gamaliel. After waiting a minute he screamed out "Three!" And Gamaliel, who was standing there frozen, threw his hand up and took the hat off his head. The German gave us our passes back and said:

"Get out of here, you swine!"

The whole way after that we practically didn't say a word. When we came into the work place we told about our encounter with a heavy mood and sat down to work. At that moment a soldier opened the door (who was by trade a tailor) and came in. He often used to sew with us for the German officers. Half a day with us and he wouldn't say a word the whole time he was there. But this time when their joy over their victories was so painful to us, just for spite he came in a little bit earlier than usual. From his booming good morning which was hardly his style, we understood that our warn out nerves were going to be subjected to another onslaught by his visit.

He sat down without being asked, and very cheerfully told about the colossal victories of the Germans on the eastern front. "We're going to do Russia in very quickly", he said.

The whole time that the German spoke, Gamaliel did not sew. His face became paler than usual. He looked at the German without moving. The German's face was full of color and joy, a great happy light in his eyes. Everybody saw that Gamaliel had passed through something quite horrible and that he had committed everything with great precision to his own memory. You could see that from his face, but it wasn't until a lot later that we learned what it was.

It's not possible to describe the pain that we endured in those sorrowful and terrifying days. The further Germans went forward, the deeper the bloody wound went into our hearts.

- 11 -

In a matter of weeks Hitler's army was already at the gates of Moscow.

Certain of their victory, the two-footed beasts revealed themselves in all their savagery. From the punishment camp, which they built for Jews in the city, at night we heard heart-rendering screams of the tortured. In the first days they brought to us the first victim, the Jew Tzezek, who they beat to death. His whole body was a mass of blows and mutilation. There was also talk about deporting the Jews from the regions that had been taken over in Russian territory. We were completely cut off from the world. We didn't know what was happening in other cities. As if in a locked cage, the Jews ran from one city to another, most of them from the big cities, Warsaw and Lublin, just trying to find someplace else to go. When it was bad in Lublin, one tried to escape to Warsaw. Most of them were rich families who wanted to save their lives. You could see them there, recognize them at the Demblin station. Because there they'd be pulled off the trains, robbed, tortured and murdered.

After awhile the placards about Germany's victories on all fronts slowly began to disappear. The newspapers began to write about difficult battles and Great Russian losses. The Germans became more savage. They beat us at work and screamed that the Jews started the War.

Again we became interested in the latest news. Once again our nerves which had hit rock bottom began to waken a little bit. We hoped that if nothing happened until winter and if it hit really hard, the Russian winter, with long unrelenting frosts, with enormous snowfalls, that the Germans would get stuck. And so our joy became great when it began to snow and the Germans still stood at Moscow. We knew that the Germans weren't used to the Russian brand of frost and cold and that they wouldn't come back completely victorious from that situation.

Every bit of fur for clothing the Jews were required to give away, and for not giving it up you could face death. Furious for not having succeeded with their blitzkrieg, the murderers, with a great deal of sadism, threw themselves on the Jewish population, and did everything that hard winter to torment us. They even ordered the destruction of all of the stoves in the ghetto where it had still been possible to bake a little something.

The winter was hard with long deep frost and cold and snowfalls. When it was still possible to grab a little bit of wood from one place or another we immediately chopped it up and burned it. First one piece of wooden furniture and then other kinds. The coal, which the Christians had been able to steal from the rail cars, they were too afraid to sell because they already caught a Pole like that and forced him to confess who he had sold the coal to. He did so, he said that he had sold it to Yichtzakal Daitsher's wife. They arrested her, beat her with sticks over her naked body so that she found herself for three days between life and death.

Hunger and cold made our hands reach out and made the work of the angel of death quite easy. The tormented Jews were quiet without a groan, fallen asleep forever. We began to run out of sheets for shrouds. How a Jew on the most dangerous of journeys had been able to make it from Warsaw to Demblin was something I couldn't understand. I asked a man like that, who was swollen, his feet wrapped with rags, somebody who was paler than the wall, how he had taken such a hazardous journey, going on foot, when every step exposed him not only to Germans, but also to the Poles. He answered me with a weak voice"

"Is anything worse than dying of hunger?"

Two days later, when a deep cold had locked in for over a week, we took this Jew away to the cemetery at Bobrownik.

- 12 -

In those difficult winter days, the Germans suddenly decided that all of the craftsmen should stay at the construction site, the airfield. We didn't dare to go into the town anymore. For over 6 weeks we were cut off from the town and worried terribly about what was going on at home. It was very difficult to live with. The Poles were constantly speaking of a deportation. We decide to sneak out and find a way to go home and to see what was going on and then come back right away.

We decided to do that one night when everybody was walking out of work. Outside in the dark maybe we'd be able to avoid the watchman because of course we didn't have any permission to do this. We made our way on side roads and half the time right through the snow. We didn't say a word between us the whole way, for fear. We kept our mouth shut until we had made our way into the ghetto.

We opened the door and went into the house. Our sister was crying terribly. She hadn't seen us for so long. And a lot of bitterness had accumulated in her heart during that time. There was no heat in the house, there was a thick, frosty whiteness on the window pains. The ceiling was black with cold and dampness. The house, half-lit, was full of sadness and didn't have any of its normal, familiarity or coziness. My mother, who suffered from asthma was in bed, dressed up in rags. Her pale face was blue and black from coughing and the deep cold. When she saw us she didn't say a word, but with a great deal of sorrow looked at us with half open eyes.

When she heard that we'd left the camp without permission she became even paler and began to cough very hard. She asked us to go back immediately. She couldn't rest. This great, great fear reigned in the town. There were rumors going around that the devils were preparing deportation right in the middle of the worst cold of the year. We were able to just leave few little pieces of bread in the house.

When we went out I barely said more than, "be well" to them. I couldn't say anything more, because the tears stuck in my throat. My mother with her skinny hands wiped her tearful eyes until we left the house when she didn't take her helpless eyes off of us until we left. It was the glance of a sick, feeble mother in the most brutal and frightening of times.

In the military hospital at the fortress which was full of the wounded, they brought German soldiers everyday with frostbitten hands and feet. The smile on the face of the German military tailor had long since disappeared. Once again, as he used to, he would sit there with us for half a day sewing uniforms, with a serious face and not a word passed his lips. We were also sitting, lost in our thoughts and very frightening ones. The cold which we'd hoped would be the turning point continued and even intensified. At that point they told us that we would not be put up at the camp anymore and we could sleep once again in town. In the morning, while praying, I saw the Jews, worn out, in rags shivering from the cold. I hardly recognized them. They'd changed so much in such a short time. Their pale and thin faces. They looked like ghosts. With such an utter annihilating cold that night, we had never seen anything like it in our house. The thick layers of snow on the window panes, the frost which had settled on the walls and ceilings, shimmered like silver. The water in the bucket was frozen.

Though it had already become light outside for quite awhile, everything was quiet, even the crows who used to come into the town and go at the big piles of frozen garbage and pick stuff out from under the snow, had long ago stopped trying to find anything to eat there, because except a little bit of dirty water, there wasn't anything to throw out anymore. In the fields, by contrast there was no shortage of corpses from those who had been murdered, upon which the crows could feast. "No", I said to myself, "The Germans aren't going to be able to stand up to this frost on the Russian front. I'm sure it's going to break them." My mood at that moment was quite good.

As soon as it became light outside I dressed quickly and went outside. A real heavy duty frost, the electric wires were covered with white snow, the red rising sun was finally showing itself after this cold. Very cheerful, I rubbed my ears which were feeling a little bit cold. "Aye, this is good! This is exactly the kind of cold we're supposed to have today", I thought to myself.

When I came to the highway that goes to the slaughter house I stopped in my tracks, shivering. On the wooden bridge near old Optayk's orchard, I saw Meir Bartek standing, with his hat in his hand. He was an old man and really worn out. Near him stood the infamous gendarme, Edec, who was well known for his savagery and murderous ways in the whole area. His mere appearance could make people tremble. After he had ripped out Meir Bartek's tallit, pulled it out from under his shirt, thrown it in his face, he turned around and ran into a little shack nearby. After a little while he came out with a hatchet and a bucket. "What's he going to do?" I thought.

Before I could even move from where I was, the brute ran down to the frozen stream and began to chop some ice with the hatchet. Then he came back with a full bucket of freezing water and poured it over the beaten down Jew who was already trembling with cold and the water went right down through his open collar onto his body. The Jew all bent over began to run and then very soon he just fell over. When the murderer left we were able to carry the man into a nearby house.

- 13 -

The deep cold and snow lasted a lot longer than usual. Everybody waited for the first rays of the sun in the morning to warm their frozen bodies. Meanwhile the Germans carried out more brutalities which froze the blood in your veins. They caught the son-in-law of Yellow Moshe in his courtyard just as he was about to leave his house and beat him savagely, broke his arms and his legs. The screaming was so murderous that it seemed that the murderers were taking living flesh out of their victim. As soon as the terrifying noise stopped a resounding shot rang out through the night and the ghetto was once again silent.

Sad news reached us. In all of the places where the Russians had fallen, the Jewish population had been deported. And of course add to that the savage crimes that the Germans were well known for. The old and the sick were often shot on the spot, the young and the healthy were robbed and beaten murderously. Afterwards, under hail of bullets, they were driven in a stampede into locked cattle cars with barred tiny windows, packed in so close together that even standing up it wasn't possible to move the slightest, with nothing to eat and nothing to drink, no air to breathe, whatever needs they had, they had to do right where they were, in the locked wagon. Often they would be that way for days on end, on a side track. And the murderers, as if they had absolutely no hearts at all, would listen to the crying of the women and children who were locked inside, and listen to them beg for water. With great sorrow and pain, the Jewish mothers, before they'd die, would have to watch the suffering of their tormented children. When everybody had in one way or another suffocated, when all the crying had ended, when the silence of the grave had descended on the car, when there wasn't a peep coming out of it anymore, at the time, a locomotive would lock onto the car and take it further.

A letter that a Christian had brought to a Jew from Demblin, from a relative of his in the Ukraine, sent shivers down our spines. He wrote to his uncle about truly terrifying things, things that were really unbelievable. "It's the end of the world, when people are capable of things like this. I wouldn't have believed it myself had I not seen it with my own eyes. A whole city of men, women and children were led into the forest, stripped naked and shot down in enormous graves. What happened there, let God take note of and punish. The screams and cries could have cracked heaven. Wounded, I was able to push my way out of the grave. I hid for three days, naked, behind a gravestone, in a cemetery. Save yourselves, as soon as you can. Think of God, don't believe Germans."

The closest little town, Kurow, Markuszow, and others, the Jews had already been deported from those places and there weren't any more Jews there. The conflagration was coming closer all the time. The last days of Demblin were at hand. The brutes would roam around with fat batons in their hands and beat us. Everybody would come back from work bloodied and wounded. Shmuel Nachmias was carried back from work with his head nearly hacked off.

We had a little more trust in the Germans who would come regularly into our actual workshop, and we wanted to see if we could find something out about the people who had already been deported. But we got the same answer from everybody, that they were sent to Austria to work. They said that they needed the Jews from Demblin here. The last words that the Jews wrote in his letter, that we should not believe the Germans, served as a warning for us. Our hearts were always looking with great terror at the moment that was approaching.

- 14 -

It was a lovely spring day the 6th of May 1942. We'd just begun to eat breakfast at work, a little bit of black bread, when the door opened and one of our own who had to transport something to the Germans at the construction site came and with great desperation said:

"We're lost. There's a deportation in the town."

"How do you know?" we asked him terrified.

"Trinishevska told me. She just came from the town."

Although the dark news wasn't unexpected, we nevertheless were plunged into confusion. Through the window we saw Trinishevska, an old Christian woman at whose hands we were always looking for some reason. Her little boy was also not any great sage. As soon as she came in and we hadn't even had a chance to ask her what was happening in the town, she burst out with a great cry and began to tell about it:

"Oye, Panovya, what's going on there, you won't believe it! There's a lot of rail cars gathered together. The whole town is full of Gestapo and police. All the Jews are being driven into the market place. They're beating them, they're killing them, they're shooting from all sides. I just managed to get out of there alive myself. Oh God! Oh God!" she sobbed a few times. "Terrible things are happening there. Oye, Panovya", she said hurrying. "Forgive me, I must run back. I just came here to tell my son that he should stay away from work today. I need to have him at home."

She left quickly. We didn't know what to do. We sent somebody into the offices of the construction center to ask what we were to do. The supervisor, a young German acted as if the whole thing was just completely incomprehensible to him, not even happening, not even true. "Just yesterday", he said, "we got an order from the S. S., from Lublin to make the living quarters ready for a thousand Jews." In this situation, he said he would immediately try to make contact by telephone with the commander's office. He told us to come back in 20 minutes.

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