2. The Annihilation process; Final Destruction of the Community [*1]
By Dr. Yosef Kermish
Translated by Gooter Goldberg
When the aussiedlung [*2] from the Warsaw ghetto began, the Jews of Kałuszyn were risking their lives trying to bring back from there as many as they could of their brothers and sisters. Soon it was the turn of the towns and shtetls around Warsaw Mińsk-Mazowiecki, Siedlce (Shedlets), Łoszyce (?) and Mordy to be swept up by the Aktion.
The Aktion in Mińsk on the 21 August 1942 caused great panic among the Jews of Kałuszyn; the following day, 22 August the extermination squad reached their own town. All Jews went into hiding including members of the Judenrat and the Jewish police. The ghetto looked deserted; only Kishelnitzky with a few men of the order police remained outside. However, the killing squad did not have Kałuszyn in its sight on that day; instead, it carried out the Aktion in Międzyrzec Podlaski (Mezritch) and in other shtetls.
About 800 to 1000 escapees from the Mińsk Aktion found a temporary refuge in Kałuszyn. Some escaped to the shtetls in the vicinity: Mrozy, Kołbiel Dobry, Stanisławów, Sienica and Latowicz.
The Kałuszyn Jews came out from their hiding places, but their lives were now full of fear and anxiety, although the Judenrat received a promise from the German authorities in Mińsk that Kałuszyn will be left in peace until the end of winter. Nobody however, gave it any credence, and escapes from the ghetto kept increasing. The escapees went mainly to the camps in Kuflew, Jeziorek, Mienie and Sucha and other places that gave a chance to get work from the Germans[*3]. The Gestapo increased their demands threefold; it was now much easier to rob the Jews that escaped from the ghetto with their remaining belongings.
On the eve of Yom Kippur [*4], after Kol Nidrei [*5] two gendarmes arrived at Kishelnitzky's dwelling and gave an order for 500 men to present themselves in the synagogue yard the following morning. However, in the ghetto there were only about 300 men (from 14 to 60 years of age) not counting the number employed at various posts. Another order was then issued requiring all men to be in the yard by eight in the morning; those failing to do so would be shot. After eight the gendarmes fanned out together with Jewish order police and sanitary workers to look for men. Those found were shot straight away. Thus, two elderly people (one of them Michal Finkelshtayn's father) found at prayer were shot; so too were Yisrolik Taytlboym, Elboym and others. Two groups - of 200 and 100 men respectively were assembled and led off under guard of the Jewish order police to the labour camp in Jeziorek (12 km from Kałuszyn). The camp commandant Kantz examined the arrivals and rejected with the assistance of the Jewish overseer of the camp Goldshtayn 60 elderly and those that looked unwell; they were sent back to the ghetto in Kałuszyn.
That day (Yom Kippur) the gendarmes and the staff of the labour office went around from house to house and took away whatever they fancied (furniture, linen, sewing machines).
In the ghetto also appeared the chief of the Gestapo Schmidt, who arrested and shot Moyshe Kishelnitzky together with three thieves (? G.G.).
Notwithstanding the danger, many people came to Kishelnitzky's burial the next morning; after the funeral the news arrived that liquidation Aktion was taking place in the neighbouring towns of Węgrów, Sokołów and Kosów. This information caused new panic among the Jews of Kałuszyn. Those better off, the members of the Judenrat and their families and friends in the last minute moved to the nearest camps: Mrozy, Jeziorek, Sucha. Mainly, however, people flocked to the local camp the Strassenbauamt [*6] (headed by Eisele[*7]).
The last evening before the Aktion 40 men arrived in camp Jeziorek; during the night and at dawn came the last escapees from Mrozy and Kałuszyn, mainly members of the order police. They related that cordons of gendarmes, Latvians, Ukrainians as well as Polish police and firemen already surrounded those localities. During the course of the Aktion, some people managed miraculously to disappear from the besieged town and get into the camp. The last refugee was the commander of the order police Slomki, who escaped during the march of the evacuees to the railway station. In the first days after the Kałuszyn Aktion, some escapees from Latowicz, Kołbiel and Stanisławów also arrived in the Jeziorek camp.
During the Kałuszyn Aktion the labourers at Jeziorek experienced a dreadful moment when at about 10 o'clock Germans in two cars arrived at the camp. They took away eight women and children that stayed near the camp and they shot a few youth who had escaped into the woods.
In the meantime, (members of) the Kałuszyn Judenrat and the order police engaged in all sorts of activities, taking money from whomever they could.
(Whilst the Kałuszyn Jews were being taken away) Jews from the neighbouring shtetls like Mrozy, Dobry, Latowicz and surrounding villages were driven into Kałuszyn from the other direction.
During the last hours prior to the Aktion Jews sold or gave away to Polish neighbours their remaining possessions.
The Aktion in Kałuszyn began at down on Friday, the eve of Sukkot [*8], the 25th of September. Frightening gunfire from all directions cut through the ghetto (which was surrounded by hundreds of German gendarmes and Polish police). The Germans removed all Jews from their homes and drove them to the market square. The sick that could not come along were shot in their homes. Whoever attempted to flee was also shot. People were thrown off attics (where they were hiding). Jewish blood was flowing freely.
Among the first (subjected to the Aktion) was the camp Strassenbauamt of Eisele that had been considered 100 percent safe. About 3500 Jews were herded onto the square and forced to kneel. This lasted 10 hours without food or drink, kneeling in the mud - old people and little children, soaked in the rain. People were shot for every attempt to get up.
Meanwhile the Volksdeutche Sieradzinski, who took over the management of the pelisse factory of Berman and Gozhik, demanded that a few dozen men that he needed to produce pelisses for the German army be left in town. Among those were: Alter Gozhik, the best expert in the factory, the three brothers Berman, with their sister and brother-in-law Radzinski.
Incidentally, the factory did not function long. As soon as the work was completed the manager Sieradzinski delivered his 30 Jews for deportation. Some of them jumped from the train on the way to Auschwitz[*9]: one went to the partisans in the forest, the three brothers Berman with their sister and brother-in-law Radzinski hid in a bunker.
In the afternoon the people were driven to the railway station at Mrozy (men on foot, women and children were loaded onto wagons like luggage). The Germans rode on horseback driving the crowd and shooting all the while; the entire road was covered in bloodstains. In Mrozy, a freight train was waiting for the Kałuszyn transport. Everybody was squeezed into the wagons the floors of which were covered with lime. Many people choked to death as soon as they entered the wagons. Many (including women) jumped from the death train that was speeding to Treblinka[*10]. Most of those that jumped were shot by the Nazis guarding the transport, or captured by Poles and handed over to the Germans. Thus, for instance a boy that jumped from the train together with Abraham Wyezhba sustaining a leg injury was killed by a bullet fired by a Pole close to the forest. Some individuals that managed to survive went to the camp Sucha where they worked for a while for the poretz (non-Jewish landowner, nobleman G.G.) until he was ordered to send them to Kałuszyn. As soon as they arrived they were re-arrested and taken to the train.
In addition to the thirty morally dejected and physically afflicted workers in the pelisse factory, who were forbidden to move about freely (they were locked in and surrounded by barbed wire in the grounds of the factory) there remained in Kałuszyn after the Aktion many people that went underground in all sorts of hiding places. Polish firemen together with and without gendarmes, went from house to house with axes and iron bars looking for hidden Jews and looting everything they could carry away. They broke down double walls, concealed cellars, and other hiding places. All the people discovered were collected in the detention house. Every afternoon the policemen and their helpers have taking groups of 150-200 Jews to the cemetery. There they were forced to take off their outer garments and lie down in one of three mass graves, where each in turn received a bullet to the head. In this manner were caught and shot on the 27th and 28th of September around 1000 people, among others the families Kuperboym, Lutsker, Sadovski, Bernblum, Ruzhe, the sons of Pesach Moyshe Kuski, Avrohom and Hershl Gozhik, the mother of Adam Kamienny.
The Poles of the town assisted in killing the Jews by denunciations and with their own hands.
Hershl Gorfinkl was murdered by his Polish friend, who had been a partner in his factory.
Following a denunciation the Germans removed from a hiding place Shmul Layzer Sadovski, the former longtime Bundist [*11] alderman of the municipality, the honest communal leader and took him, his wife Sore and sister-in-law Neche (Hofman)[*12] to the cemetery to be shot. After they murdered the two women, they told Sadovski that they will shoot him the next morning; thus they extended his agony for another day.
Ruven Kohn with his family too, was found in a bunker and all were shot on the spot; so too Chaim Radzinski who was in hiding suffering from typhus. Every discovery of a Jewish hiding place was the result of a denunciation by Poles. No sooner had some noticed a Jew in a hiding place, Germans arrived at that spot.
A similar fate befell the well-concealed bunker on Olszewica Street, in the house of Got'helf and Karmazin. Three generations hid there: the elderly Rive Hendls, her daughter Dvoyre with her husband Simche Karmazin and their four little children. The over 80-year-old woman was murdered on the spot; the Germans killed the three tots by smashing their heads against a wall and Simche with his wife and eldest son they killed elsewhere.
Avrohom and Hershl Gozhik who jumped from the train to Treblinka and came to town to salvage a few things from their homes were also betrayed by Poles to the Germans.
Due to a denunciation by Poles was also discovered the hiding place in the attic of Hachnoses Kala (Support for Brides - see page 108 of Sefer Kałuszyn G.G.),, where were hidden the head of the yeshiva[*13], Reb Tsvi Dantsiger, Moyshe Aynbinder with his wife, Berl Beker, Benyomin Esikmacher with his wife and daughter. All of them were shot on the cemetery at the edge of open graves.
Exceptionally tragic were the events that took place in the attic of Hachnoses Orchim (Hospitality to guests page 108 ibid. G.G.), where the builders and keepers of the institution sought shelter. The Germans discovered 50 Jews in the hiding place, abused them and drove them to the cemetery. The screams of those being murdered reached the forests around town. With this mass murder is connected the following episode: when the Germans discovered this hiding place, the two-year-old boy from the Pinchas Gap family crawled under a pile of rags. When the horrible screams receded, the boy came out from his hiding place and became his own carer. He spent the next two weeks alone in the attic, fed himself on leftovers and trembled with fright at every sound. When Poles broke into the building seeking to inherit from the murdered Jews, they found the child and handed him over to the Germans, who immediately shot him.
After the Aktion the gendarmes conducted an auction of the Jewish homes and possessions. All things that were left in the Jewish dwellings were sold. Many houses were bought to be taken apart (for the building material). Entire houses with everything in them went for 500, 200 and 50 Zł. Peasants from the entire area came to town as if for a fęte, and took part in the auctions. They took apart roofs, walls, foundations and looked for concreted Jewish treasures. The bricks or timber alone was worth the money; these were taken back into the villages to build cottages. Some peasants became rich from wrecked Jewish properties.
After the destruction of the Jewish homes, the ghetto had the appearance of a desolate cemetery on which were scattered Jewish religious and secular books as well as photographs of the murdered former dwellers.
It is hard to determine how many Kałuszyn Jews were left in the labour camps of Mrozy, Sucha, Mienia, Kuflew, Jeziorek, Lenk (villages around Kałuszyn). In camp Jeziorek worked 500 people.
In Jeziorek the Jews worked in hard conditions in trenches at a distance of one to three kilometres from the camp. Some workers stood knee deep in water cleaning the floor, a second group laboured spreading the soil and planting. Each worker had to dig a trench of three meters width and 1.4 m. deep. Eighty percent of the camp inmates were poor, tormented and lice infested human beings who had to survive on a starvation diet (200-gram bread and a watery soup). These skeletal looking people quickly lost their strength and joined the number of victims buried in a mass grave near the camp.
In separate women's barrack stayed women and girls who worked at planting.
Little children were mercilessly mistreated in the camp: however, a few privileged children (of the commandant and order policemen) were kept concealed. During an unexpected check German gendarmes found a four-year-old boy, child of an order policeman and shot him on the spot. There were cases of parents in desperation abandoning their children in villages (where they were unknown to the locals).
In a forest near the camp a group of elderly women and children were hiding. They subsisted on food brought to them from the camp by their husband and sons. One day the Germans carried out a raid and shot eight children and a few women.
In autumn people were forced to work even during the rainy season; standing 12 hours in the rain they came soaked from work into the cold barracks and had to lie down on the wet straw. They quickly succumbed to typhus that claimed fresh victims daily.
The 30th of November the workers were ordered to prepare for a return to Kałuszyn, which was anew designated a ghetto. But before (the departure) gendarmes arrived and selected 102 people sick, old, young and dishevelled - loaded them on wagons and took them to Mrozy where they were all killed. The first group of Jews (around 40 people) from Kuflew that were marched into the Kałuszyn ghetto were (also) killed.
In accordance with the decree of the head of the Security Police and Security Services[*14] in the GeneralGovernment, General Krüger of the 28th of October 1942, Kałuszyn was included among the six towns in the Warsaw area designated as Jewish residential districts (Warsaw, Kałuszyn, Kosów, Siedlce, Sobolew and Rembertów). Therefore, the Kałuszyn Jews that worked in the camps Jeziorek, Sucha, Mienia, and Siedlce or lived in the surrounding forests were concentrated in the newly re-established ghetto. In addition to the Kałuszyn survivors, into the ghetto on the 1st of December were taken Jews from dozens of camps, among others from Mordy, Sienica, Kołbiel and Mińsk-Mazowiecki mainly barefoot people from whom the shoes were taken (off their feet) as well as warm clothing off their backs.
In the resurrected ghetto there were not enough dwellings for 2000 Jews; the ruined houses were further broken down during the post-Aktion period by those Poles who kept rummaging for the treasures that the Jews allegedly hid. There stood about 10 houses (around 50 rooms) fit for habitation on the entire area allotted for over 3000 Jews; some houses were stripped of the windows, doors, floors, (heating) ovens and kitchens leaving bare walls only. In one room dwelt 30-40 and often 60 individuals; people also spent nights outside in the frost without warm clothing.
A great part of the ghetto inhabitants was hungry, dirty, and unkempt; many of them were blind.
Meanwhile, the newly constituted Judenrat had a meeting and the authorities made an allocation of foodstuff, at first for the hospital, the Judenrat, the order police and the most destitute then for all the rest. A census of the population was conducted.
Due to the dreadful conditions in the ghetto there was no way to wash oneself or to change clothes people became infested with lice and this led to a frightful spread of typhus fever. The sick went without food, without medical help, without supervision. Every day a score of corpses were buried in the fourth mass grave in the cemetery - naked, since family members or neighbours striped them of their clothes to sell for a morsel of bread.
In that mass grave were also buried people shot by the gendarmes, often for no reason whatsoever - at times for stepping outside the ghetto confines. In these executions excelled the young gendarme Graf (Graff?) as well as the Polish policeman Zakrzewski.
On Monday the 7th of December a district commission consisting of many members visited the ghetto; together with the mayor and the local doctor they inspected the dwellings, the bath that was ruined during the Aktion, and the hospital. The commission ordered to enlarge the hospital and promised to send linen for the sick and to allocate a sum of 2000 Zł. to repair the bath. From this reassuring manner of the representatives of the authorities Jews inferred that no danger threatens the ghetto in the near future.
It soon transpired that the visit had all the attributes of the criminal hypocrisy and deliberately misleading propaganda tactics of the Nazi rulers, who tried until the last minute to conceal their exterminatory intentions.
Already at 4 am on the 9th of December, barely nine days after its establishment, the ghetto was surrounded by gendarmes and police. At the crack of dawn members of all the security formations (Gestapo, gendarmes, Polish police, Ukrainians, Latvians and Polish firemen) went on this freezing day from house to house and drove the people to the market square. There the people were forced to sit on the ground (2500 Jews) waiting to be lined up in a formation of three to a row. Children and the sick were loaded onto peasant cart that were requisitioned by the gendarmes. During the march to Mrozy the Germans and Ukrainians shot all those that fell behind. Jews threw away their bundles and overcoats to lighten the burden during the trudge. On the way to the railway station lay dozens of corpses with blown up heads and bellies.
During the evening the evacuees were packed into the rail wagons (100 200 people in each); the train moved out about 7 pm; again many tried to save themselves by jumping from the train and were shot by the German guards. Tens of corpses lined both sides of the railway line. A few individuals survived: the brothers Laybl and Efraim Shtchapovitch, Avrohom Wiezhba, Adam Kamienny and his fiancé Pesha and others that at first hid in the forest and afterwards came to the still existing camp in Mińsk, or were hiding with Poles.
A few people found a temporary haven in the Mrozy camp (until its liquidation in May 1943), and even in the Warsaw ghetto.
Among the survivors should also be mentioned a group (including Tuch'handler, Shloyme Piasetski) which managed to flee to the Minsk camp in the Kopernik school when the Aktion began in Kałuszyn.
The Kałuszyn survivors that saved themselves for the time being in the Kopernik camp were a month later burned to death together with the 400 Jews when the camp was set on fire from all sides after an act of resistance.
The Germans often carried out - with the assistance of Volksdeutche and Polish informers - raids against Jews that were hiding in the woods or were hidden by Poles. With the help of sniffer dogs they discovered during a raid in the forest the family Rotbart. First they found and shot Eleazar Rotbart; when his wife Yocheved and the older daughter Sima where unable to keep a check on their grief and horror watching the murder of Eleazar, they came out of hiding with weeping uncontrollably and were also shot.
The liquidation of the ghettos in Siedlce (end November 1942) and Kałuszyn (the 9th of December 1942) made a devastating impression on the survivors of the Warsaw ghetto and other still existing Jewish communities in the General-Government (it settled the question) of whether the ghettos would (be allowed to) remain or be finally liquidated. After all, these two localities belonged to the category of towns that according to the November edict were to remain as ghettos. But now they were liquidated, as noted by Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum in his diary Siedlce ostensibly because Jews were engaged in smuggling and Kałuszyn due to unsanitary conditions.
The destruction of the Jewish settlement of Kałuszyn was now complete. Of the former thriving community there survived a negligible number of Jews who sat in hiding places or saved themselves in Russia. Wiped out were also the neighbouring shtetls like Kołbiel, Mrozy, Sienica, Latowicz, Dobry, Stanisławów and all the other. They were destroyed together with the Jewish lives, the synagogues, the houses of study and the Chassidic shtibls. The buildings of the Kałuszyn Talmud-Torah[*15] were burned down already at the beginning of the war. Obliterated also were the libraries, the trade unions, party premises, cooperatives, sports associations that were renown in the local area. The cemeteries too were demolished; the one in Kałuszyn was razed to the ground there was not left standing a fence, a tombstone, or a tree.
Hand in hand with the extermination of the Jews went almost everywhere the demolition of their dwellings with the exception of the houses that could be utilised for Aryans[*16]. Only a few Jewish homes remained as stark reminders (of the destruction) - the houses of: Yosef Yavorski, Hertske Kuperboym, Tsimerman, Moshe Kishelnitzky, Menashe the carter, Kuropatve, Mendl Shpantser, Getsl Aronson, the little Shmul Elie, Goldshtayn and Shenitzky; also Ruzhe's mill remained standing.
|*1.||This is an unedited translation from Yiddish of
פֿאַרניכטונג־אַקציע; ענדגילטיקע ליקװידירונג פֿון דער קהילה -
- the second chapter of a historical account in Sefer Kalushin, published by the Kalushiner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries, Tel-Aviv, 1961. Return
|*2.||German for evacuation a Nazi euphemism used for the deportation to the death camps. Return|
|*3.||Thereby increasing the chance of survival. Return|
|*4.||Yom Kippur - known in English as the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn and important of the Jewish holidays. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. ( Wikipedia). Return|
|*5.||Kol Nidrei is a prayer recited in the synagogue at the beginning of the evening service on Yom Kippur. It is written in Aramaic. Its name is taken from the opening words, meaning All vows. (From Wikipedia). Return|
|*6.||German for Road construction office. Return|
|*7.||An old German family name (see http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/eisele-family-crest.htm) Return|
|*8.||Sukkot (Hebrew: booths), is a Biblical pilgrimage festival that occurs on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October) and lasts seven days. The word is the plural of sukkah, which is reminiscent of the type of huts in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. During this holiday, Jews construct sukkot where families eat their meals. Return|
|*9.||Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps and extermination camps, established in occupied Poland. The camp took its German name from the nearby Polish town of Oświęcim. Most victims were killed in Auschwitz II's (Birkenau G.G.) gas chambers using Zyklon B; other deaths were caused by systematic starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and purported medical experiments (Wikipedia). Return|
|*10.||Treblinka II was a Nazi German extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II. Around 850,000 people - more than 99.5 percent of whom were Jews, were killed there between July 1942 and October 1943; the camp was closed after a revolt during which a few Germans were killed and a small number of prisoners escaped. The nearby Treblinka I was a forced labor camp and administrative complex in support of the death camp (Wikipedia). Return|
|*11.||A member of the Bund see note[*3] of chapter 1. Return|
|*12.||Sisters and brother-in-law of translator's mother Dvoyre Kramarz-Goldberg. Return|
|*13.||An institution of higher Talmudic learning. (Talmud - a record of rabbinic discussions of Jewish law, ethics, customs and history). Return|
|*14.||The RSHA ? - Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office), was the central SS-department; all official and secret police and security organs of the Third Reich were led by the RSHA. One of the powers of the RSHA was the imposition of Protective Custody, which meant the deportation into a concentration camp without trial or the possibility of appeal for the victims. The SS-leaders within the RSHA were provided with almost unlimited power (Wikipedia). Return|
|*15.||See note[*15] of chapter 1. Return|
|*16.||the term Aryan was adopted for speakers of Indo-European languages in general, in the erroneous belief that this was an ethnic self-identifier used by prehistoric speakers of European languages. This development was in turn instrumental to the development of the concept of an Aryan race, which by the early 20th century posited Northern European racial superiority over all other peoples In Nazi Germany the classification of peoples as Aryan or not was most emphatically directed towards the exclusion of Jews. In colloquial modern English it is typically used to signify the Nordic racial ideal promoted by the Nazis (Wikipedia). Return|
By Dr. Yosef Kermish
Translated by Gooter Goldberg
Notwithstanding the fact that the Jewish population found itself in a constant vice of persecutions, it desperately struggled to go on with life. Whilst the enemy wanted to enclose the community in the ghetto and to completely keep it apart, the self-preservation instinct of the Jews impelled them for a time to put up stiff economic resistance and to adapt to the conditions of separation and isolation.
The economic perseverance found an expression in the smuggling of necessities and in the setting up of connections with the Aryan side [*2] over the ghetto walls. Contacts were maintained with the Aryan client by every available means, although those who engaged in trade had to face constant searches and plunder (particularly in the leather trade because the Germans were in need of pelts and fabric).
It required a great deal of initiative and ingenuity to build the channels through which the trade could flow in and out of the ghetto. The smugglers had to employ a sophisticated technique of corruption and trickery to prevent the seizure of the goods. In order to survive the Jewish population had to buy smuggled food at the cost of the last reserves of clothing and other possessions. The German authorities systematically and bloodily suppressed ghetto smuggling.
An indication of the passive resistance of the Jewish population was its attitude to the German decrees that were constantly being devised by the specialists in extermination. Jews tried as much as possible to sabotage the draconian rules which they had to break if they wanted to survive.
The poor, who wanted to save their families from starving to death smuggled themselves out of the ghetto and brought food from the countryside. Even after the ghetto was closed off hermetically (initially, when it was established Jews were allowed to move in and out, but this did not last long), and notwithstanding the increased occurrences of murder for crossing the ghetto boundaries Jews, to avoid dying of hunger ventured out to the Aryan side. For this transgression were shot Chaim Nemen, Tchechovitzky, a son of Naomi Zhito, the family Slodjina and a number of others. However, the first executions of people caught on the Aryan side failed to deter Jews from smuggling food into the ghetto.
This phenomenon was not a sign of recklessness or surrender to despair; it was an expression of the great vitality of the Jewish people and its steadfast will to survive.
Mention should be made of the self-help activities of the Kałuszyn Jews who, with the assistance of the Joint[*3] tried as much as possible to alleviate the distress of the great number of refugees and people who lost their possessions in the fire.
A Jewish Aid Committee was established soon after the end of the armed conflict (1939). It immediately applied to the Joint in Warsaw for assistance. However, not before the 7th of January 1940 did the Joint send a consignment of clothes, linen and footwear for 3000 refugees and fire victims (this transport was received by the delegates of the Kałuszyn Aid Committee Yuzefovitch and Feldman). The items were distributed among 355 families (1560 individuals) in the presence of the committee members Ber Feldman and Chaim Popovski, as well as commission (?- G.G.) members Hershl Blushtayn and Matis Gelbard. However, the quantity of goods was insufficient to satisfy the great number of people in need.
The requirements of the committee kept growing due to the enormous and increasing hardship and the continuous influx of people who lost their sources of income. In view of the rises in the price of foodstuffs and heating fuel, the committee was unable to meet the expectations of the needy of a warm meal and a piece of bread. There was no alternative, but to send messengers time and again to the Joint to report on the dire situation and to request help.
The 31 March 1940 the Judenrat decided to appoint two of its members (Layzer Bornshtayn and Motl Aronson) to the (Aid) Committee, after the approach of a delegation of needy fire victims.
Unfortunately we lack detailed information about the activities of the People's Kitchen (for the needy) which managed from time to time to extract some food products from the German authorities.
The Kitchen, however, was unable to meet the growing need and had to restrict itself to providing food for children only, until it was completely closed down.
There were differences of opinion in the Committee between its members and the Judenrat appointees, but in May 1940 an understanding was reached, in the presence of the Joint inspector Kertch, between the Judenrat representative Pienknavyesh and the Committee member Feldman. The agreement determined a monthly budget of 15,000 Zł. of which only 3000 would be provided by the Judenrat and the rest by the Joint.
Friction between the Committee members and the Judenrat delegates persisted. It prevented the setting up of a presidium and an audit commission. The threats by some creditors (the Committee at that stage owed no less than 6000 Zł.) forced the Committee to sell part of the received American goods. All the same, the number of individuals who benefitted form those products reached 1430 (apart from the refugees from Jêdrzejów).
At its meeting of 25th August the Committee decided with a majority vote to disband itself in order to end once and for all the internal bickering. It set up a commission of three persons which was supposed, in liaison with the Judenrat to establish a committee of a new composition.
On the 22ndof May 1941 was nominated the Kałuszyn contingent of the Jewish Social Selfhelp (JSS): Avraham Gamzu, chairman; David Batalin, vice-chairman; Yaakov Goldvaser.
The self-help opportunities were rather meagre because of the town's isolation as a result of the epidemics. There was therefore no alternative, but to apply (the 28th of August 1940) to the Joint for an appropriate allocation of money, food and clothing in order to enable a partial satisfaction (of the needs) of the great number of the indigent.
The Kałuszyn Committee was receiving from the Joint a monthly subsidy of 500 Zł. Due to the lack of a suitable venue the Committee was unable to re-open the People's Kitchen; with great effort the Committee managed to receive a place for itself (Piłsudski Street 84).
Beginning December 1940 the Committee sent a report to the Joint on the distribution of the Swiss donations and the 1020 kg of wheat flour. The Committee also managed to buy and distribute 70 kg of sugar; there was also a further distribution of unprocessed food, e.g. potatoes. On 10 December 1940 a distribution of 200 m. of potatoes[*4] took place.
This assistance, however, was hardly noticeable in view of the needs of the newly arrived expellees and the Kałuszyn fire victims who could no longer go to the neighbouring villages.
In view of the enormous need over 500 families lived in critical conditions, many refugees had no roof over their heads the Judenrat and later the established (since May 1941) Representation of the Jewish Social Selfhelp (JSS) in Kałuszyn kept on applying to the JSS in Cracow for assistance. On 20 January 1941 was sent an application to the presidium of the JSS for a subsidy of 10,000 Zł. in order to establish a disinfection facility. On 24 November 1941 the presidium received a request for assistance in the form of clothing and heating fuel for the impoverished population, 95% of which needed help.
Unfortunately the assistance (actually) received was meagre. Kałuszyn obtained from the presidium of the JSS, after the partial aussiedlung [*5] to Warsaw a subsidy of 1,000 Zł. which was used to buy potatoes.
In August 1941 the Representation received 1,500 Zł. (including 750 from Joint funds).
Nevertheless, the Representation conducted a feeding campaign for 355 children. The venue for the food distribution was a garage. The children whose parents lived in attics, in cellars or in stables came to the feeding point ragged, barefoot and dirty.
The Representation wrote to the JSS presidium in Cracow explaining that it was unable to maintain an appropriate nourishment action with educationally trained personnel. It would take about 50 - 60 thousand Zł. to erect a barrack for 100 orphans, in addition to about 10 to 15 thousand Zł. a month for the personnel, food, etc.
We were able to establish on the basis of found lists of recipients who were given cash assistance that in June 1941 223 people received all told[*6] 1085 Zł.; in August 308 individuals received 1426 Zł.; in October 292 people received 1085 Zł; in November 1941 have 307 people received 855 Zł.
The Kałuszyn Representation, not having received any assistance from the JSS during the period April-July 1942 was not in a position to undertake any serious help activity. The 11 September the JSS presidium advised the Kałuszyn Representation that it was unable to render any financial assistance whatsoever.
In consequence of the annihilation actions that commenced in the Warsaw district (since 22 July 1942) the area committee of the JSS in Mińsk ceased to receive as from August 1942 the monthly subsidy of 3,000 Zł.
The situation worsened when after the Mińsk Aktion about 800-1,000 refugees fled from there naked and in want of everything to Kałuszyn. An epidemic of dysentery broke out in the ghetto. The chairman of the Representation Gamzu advised on 7th of September 1942 the presidium of the JSS in Cracow about the conditions, requesting immediate assistance in the form of cash, food, clothing, medication, bandages, cotton wool and gauze for the Mińsk injured (refugees from the Aktion).
The spirit of passive resistance of the Jews of Kałuszyn is best illustrated by their behaviour during the great expulsion from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. We have already mentioned the success of the efforts to save temporarily and bring back from Warsaw the Kałuszyn exiles.
Among the other manifestations of passive resistance was hiding in forests and with Poles - in town as well as in the surrounding villages, and passing for Aryans. The latter is closely bound with the issue of Polish attitudes to Jews during the annihilation period.
It should be pointed out that there were individual Poles from all walks of life, but mainly from among the ordinary people, who hid victims of the ghetto liquidation notwithstanding the danger of death (to themselves). Poles of noble character were anguished by the fact that the witnessing of the mass murder caused pervasive demoralisation among passive onlookers, especially the young who became used to the idea of the permissibility of killing human beings en masse.
The brothers Laybl and Efraim Shtchapovitch who jumped from the Treblinka train (during the liquidation Aktion) were hidden for a few months by the Christian Strychalski. This Pole also helped them with necessities whilst they were hiding in the forest. They were also given food and were shown a readiness to assist by an 80-years-old shepherd while they lay hidden in rye in the village of Petrowina.
Itche (Yitzchak) Kuniak, youngest son of the well-known Kałuszyn job line tailor Chone Rozenberg (Obal) too had an opportunity to hide among familiar peasants, for whom he was sewing secretly. He moved about a few villages where some Poles would give him a piece of bread and a little soup. However, there were villages where he could not show himself without risking certain death.
On the other hand there were quite a few Poles that were strongly affected by the Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. It was not difficult for the Germans to influence and win over for their extermination policy the newly hatched Polish merchants and traders who inherited the occupations of the Jews as well as their enterprises and shops.
In the murder of the Kałuszyn remnant no small part was played by Poles, Volksdeutche, sinister elements who betrayed Jews in hiding. In this manner were murdered Dvoyre, Mordche Boymier's daughter and her nephew Tovye.
Even the woods became a nightmare for the tormented Jews. The boy Yosl Obfal who on the day of the final Aktion fled to the forest near Kałuszyn was found by the forest warden. He dragged the unconscious boy from his hiding place, tied him to his bicycle and in this condition took him to the German gendarmes who shot him forthwith.
Given these circumstances, Kałuszyn survivors who hid in the woods, out of desperation gave themselves up to the German killers. Chaim Dobzhinski, the youngest son of Avrohom Dobzhinski the butcher a young vigorous lad was reduced by hunger and loneliness to a stage where on a certain day he returned from the forest and asked the Polish policeman Fragacz to shoot him.
In the village Stare Budki were shot the Paysaks, sons of the Jewish (female) trader from Kałuszyn.
Likewise Eli Shpantser, his wife and two children were murdered in cold blood when they happened to hide in the same forest as Polish partisans.
Nor did those Jews that were hiding with their Polish friends fare any better. With few exceptions most perished.
Alter Moyshe Gozhik, the owner of the pelisse factory gave before the final aussiedlung a large sum of money to his Christian neighbour Sieradzinski for the latter to render assistance in an emergency. When the sole survivor of the entire Gozhik family came out of the forest some time later and begged Sieradzinski (who by then already inherited the whole Gozhik-Berman pelisse factory) to give him some help, the good neighbour and his sons bound Gozhik's son and handed him over to the Gestapo, who tortured him to death.
Yankev Furman, the capable leading member of the Kałuszyn Poalei Tsiyon Right (see page 218 of Sefer Kałuszyn G.G.) was hidden in the village of Przytyka by a peasant, an acquaintance whom he gave his entire possessions. This peasant later took him to work in the barn and murdered him in a gruesome fashion.
As late as winter 1944 seven Jews were hidden by a Pole in the village of Bojmie (Boymie), among them Velvl Rotbart and his sister Golda Laya. Rotbart died of a heart attack in the cellar of Dovid-Noah Kapuze where he went to look for his hidden money and did not find it. The Pole not having received his payment chased the other six Jews out of their hiding place to the woods and advised the Germans who killed them the same day. The Pole received from the Germans a reward of six kg of sugar.
There is therefore quite a bit of truth in the words of witness Chaim Rayzman, who with bitterness asserts in his testimony that the Poles helped to annihilate the Jews through denunciation as well as with their own hands. They tried their utmost to render the one-time 90% Jewish town of Kałuszyn - Judenrein [*7]. They were also motivated by practical considerations: robbery of Jewish property.
There was no lack of Poles in pursuit of Jewish goods. The desperate situation of the ghetto population caused many Jews to willingly give away their possession acquired over generations to Poles to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Germans. It was believed that in the event of survival at least some of it would be recovered. In the end, however, some Christians wanting to inherit those who showed them such trust tried, as quickly as possible to get rid of the Jews. In this, they used all means to deliver them to the Germans and to kill even their children, who might otherwise in the future claim their inheritance.
Even decent Poles had on their conscience appropriated Jewish things as is shown by the behaviour of the honest democrat Peczak. This man received for safekeeping from the Kamienny family prior to the final liquidation of the ghetto personal items such as suits, overcoats, clothes, linen, bedding, etc. However, in an emergency he - the inheritor of all the household things of the family refused to return the slightest item.
After the first Aktion, Poles systematically took over all Jewish houses, carting away everything that had any value.
Eyewitnesses related that before she was shot at the cemetery Hershl Feldman's daughter, Berman's daughter-in-law sharply berated the Poles that came to watch the execution in readiness to loot: What are you here for? She asked to grab the clothing off the corpses like dogs after a bone? My dress you won't get! With all her strength Mrs. Berman tore up her dress, shouting for revenge. A Nazi bullet silenced her screams.
A number of Kałuszyn Jews managed to survive on forged Aryan identity papers, whilst others were not so lucky.
Avrohom Wiezhba lived in the area passing among the peasants for a Russian partisan. He made himself a Russian hat and made use of a smattering of Russian that he knew. The peasants didn't touch him fearing retribution.
Adam Kamienny lived on the Aryan side for a considerable time and worked as a barber in a number of firms exposed all the while to constant trials and tribulations. His fiancée, on the other hand wasn't able to withstand the anguish to which every Jew was exposed on the Aryan side and (eventually) fell into the hands of the murderers. Because of the bad (living) conditions and the harassment by the Christians who hid them on the Aryan side in Warsaw, Melech Kishelnitzky and Shloyme Piasetzky were forced to move into the still existing ghetto. However, two uncles of Adam (Kamienny) and their families, as well as a few other Kałuszyn survivors succeeded in finding a haven on the Aryan side .
Special mention ought to be made of individuals defying German orders.
When the Germans requested of the longtime devoted communal leader and president of the kehilla [*8] Ruven Michlzon that he made available the shul (synagogue) as a stable for their horses he refused, exclaiming: I built this shul, and as long as I'm alive you won't convert it into a stable.
With a death sentence was also punished the member of the Judenrat Moyshe Kishelnitzky for refusing to meet the German requests of plunder.
Exemplary was the bearing of the Judenrat chairman Gamzu[*9]. This longtime leader and spokesman of the General Zionists in Kałuszyn proudly rejected the request of the Germans in the camp near Mrozy to become a kapo [*10]. As punishment he was made to work at the hardest tasks and used to return home every day covered in blood. During the Aktion the Germans demanded that Gamzu provide (list of) Jews for transportation he firmly refused and was shot in his home. His wife and children were taken to Treblinka together with all Kałuszyn Jews.
Unfortunately we lack details about an act of revenge by a Jewish individual in the notoriously cruel camp situated between Mrozy and Żelichów, where killing a Jew was an everyday event. On a morning after two Jews were shot (one of them Moyshe Geler), a Jew with the name of Laybl threw himself at the German and shouting revenge! squeezed his throat until the German collapsed with his tongue hanging out. The brave attacker was immediately shot.
Then there was the tragic death of the mentally ill Velvl Grushka, the singer of Chassidic[*11] songs and impoverished author of aphorisms about the wealthy. He walked out of the ghetto onto the path of a squad of marching Nazis and exclaimed: It won't do you any good you must lose the war! One of the Nazis shot him then and there.
We do not have precise information about the underground activities of the Kałuszyn youth. A witness only asserts in general terms that the youth of Kałuszyn were active in the resistance in the various extermination camps (but) nobody returned from there. However, it is known about an act of retribution executed by them for the murder of Hershl Gorfinkl. The Jew was murdered by a Polish friend that was a partner to his factory. The Gentile hoped to take over the whole plant, but the following day he was found dead on the very spot where he murdered Hershl. The Kałuszyn youth exacted a life for a life and thus have honoured one of their friends.
It needs to be stressed that any attempt of partisan activity in the Kałuszyn area was associated with great difficulty and dangers. The peasants in that sparsely populated locality were not generally sympathetic to partisans; they greatly contributed to the annihilation of the Jews in hiding.
A partisan detachment existed in the Kuflew district. To the squad belonged the (former) Kałuszyn residents Yehoshua Berman and the brothers Shinoletzky. Its mission was to place mines between Siedlce and Cegłów (Tseglov).
Special mention should be made of Kałuszyn Jews, soldiers in the Polish Army that was organised in Russia during the war. They often had the opportunity to exact revenge from the murderers of their brothers and sisters. There was, for instance Yankl Ray who marched from Lenino to Berlin and took part in all the battles (including the liberation of Kałuszyn). In January 1946 Ray was assigned to Berlin to work with the Polish mission in the Control Council[*12]. He performed there an important function the transfer of German perpetrators of atrocities to Poland to face prosecution. Among others he guarded the gauleiter of Danzig Albert Forster[*13].
Regrettably we lack precise information about the heroic Kałuszyn participant in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the clothing worker Yehoshua (Shiye) Shpantser, active among Jewish communists and trade unionists. During the uprising he was a member of a fighting group of left wing unionists (Jewish communists of the P.P.R. or Polish Workers' Party). His name is mentioned among those that died together with Mordechaj Anielewicz[*14] in the bunker of the Jewish Fighting organisation at Mila 18.
At the beginning of this narrative (in chapter one) we have already mentioned the part played by Jews in the Kałuszyn fight for freedom right after the Germans captured the town. It is worthwhile to dwell at greater length on this collective act of resistance.
Whilst the Nazis, after having taken the town for the first time, have engaged in rampaging and terrorising the population a group of Poles as well as Jews organised themselves for active resistance. The initiative came from Krause, the former commander of the Kałuszyn fire-fighters, who at the time the fires raged in town took command of a larger group of riflemen (strzelcy), stranded soldiers and ordinary citizens, among them young Kałuszyn Jewish army veterans.
In a surprise move Krause and his men, shouting and firing attacked the main road where the Nazis were concentrated and from where they were bombarding the town. The Jews that were gathered in the fields near the old Jewish cemetery were set free, among them Tenenboym, Yosef Yavorski, Shmulke Riba and many others.
Among the advancing fighters was also the tailor Yudl Kalikuts, a member of Hechaluts[*15] and a decorated soldier of the 7th Ułany[*16] Regiment in Mińsk-Mazowiecki, and other Kałuszyn young men. They reached the Klimkowski orchad (near the fire brigade and opposite the Catholic cemetery and the old Jewish one) where the Germans were concentrated under the cover of the stone wall, and opened fire (on the enemy). Yudl Kalikuts manned the machinegun. The Germans became confused by the surprise attack and quickly withdrew leaving their dead and weapons. They stopped a few kilometres from the town. On commander Krause's order the fighters separated into groups (manning different positions). In the ensuing grim battle that went on for a few hours into the night (most) Polish and Jewish fighters were killed. Krause too, fell fighting to the end.
A few hours later the Germans attacked with full force and reoccupied the town. The daring resistance further enraged them and they took terrible revenge on the Kałuszyn population.
Among the survivors after the liberation of Kałuszyn (the 27 July 1944) were Mend Berman with two brothers and a sister Faye and brother-in-law Ephraim Radzinski, all of whom were hidden in a bunker; Pola and Chana Kornblum, Adam Kamienny, Yablonki, Mala Nisnboym, Grinka Kelman, Sara Aronson, Chana Grinberg; Shmul Lev together with his wife Hadasa who have returned to Kałuszyn form the Siemiatycz area, Avrohom Wiezhba, two young daughters of Eleazar and Yocheved Rotbart, Laybl and Efraim Shtchapovitch, Avrohom and Melech Kishelnitzky.
Unfortunately, the liberation did not end the victimisation of the Jews. Those Poles who built their houses on the ruins of the Jewish ones or helped to kill or have themselves murdered Jews during the annihilation era, did not wish to see a single Jew any more in Kałuszyn. The newly appointed after the liberation Jewish mayor Shmul Lev (the son of Dovid Stolazh), who wanted to bring to account those who spilled Jewish blood - was murdered. His wife Hadasa (daughter of Laybl Rozenfeld) and her child survived because they happened to be out of the house. The gang that killed Lev also murdered a son of the butcher Nisn Finklshtayn. The Pole Sieradziński shot the son of Pesach Kuski, the only survived member of the entire family. (The father of the victims had at one time entrusted to Sieradziński a considerable amount of money).
It is not surprising therefore that following these murders the last (Jewish) survivors left the town: the family Berman, Akiva Ruzhe, Shiye Berman and Ayzik Shlamkes all went to Warsaw.
Thus was the former Jewish town Kałuszyn left without Jews.
The survivors left Poland together with the Kałuszyn Jews that returned from Russia; during January-February 1946 the first groups of Jews from Poland, including Kałuszyn Jews, arrived in Munich, Bavaria - the American Zone[*17]. By April 1946 over 30 Kałuszyn Jews came to Lands'hut, where they settled temporarily. The chairman of the Jewish community Chaim Popovski (formerly of Kałuszyn - he survived the war in the Warsaw ghetto, in the concentration camps Majdanek, Kraśnik, Płaszów, Mauthausen, Mölk near Amstetten and Ebensee, where he was liberated by the Americans the on the 6th of May 1945) had the difficult task of welcoming and settling the arrivals, providing accommodation, work, etc.
In Lands'hut was held the first memorial service for the Kałuszyn kdoyshim [*18]. The 7th day of Chanukah Tuesday the 24 December 1945 was set as the date of the anniversary. Over 100 Kałuszyn Jews gathered for the commemoration. Mendl Berman, a witness to all the tragic events read facts and dates from his notes about the torment and destruction of the Jewish community in Kałuszyn.
The following year the service was held the same date. This time were also present the Kałuszyn Jews who returned from Russia.
Following the establishment of the Jewish State began the aliya [*19]; the majority of Kałuszyn survivors settled in Israel; thanks to the efforts of the American friends Avrohom Piasetzky and Vatazh twenty Kałuszyn families immigrated to the US (among them the families Berman, Popovski and others).
|*1.||This is an unedited translation from Yiddish of
פּאַסיװער װידערשטאַנד; דערשײנונגען פֿון אַקטיװן אַנטקעגנשטעל
- the third chapter of a historical account in Sefer Kalushin, published by the Kalushiner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries, Tel-Aviv, 1961. Return
|*2.||For Aryan see note [*16] of chapter 2. The Aryan side refers to the area outside the ghetto walls. Return|
|*3.||American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (popularly known as the JDC and the Joint), organization founded on November 27, 1914, as the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers (During) the German emergency in 193339 (the) JDC provided about a third of the funds spent by German Jewry's central bodies while continuing its work in Eastern Europe. During the 193945 attempts (were made) by the Polish JDC office, directed by Isaac Gitterman, to alleviate conditions in the ghettos (Encyc. Judaica). Return|
|*4.||This presumably means 200 cubic meters of potatoes which would yield approx. 120 metric tons, or with a population of 3000 about 40 kg per person since, according to a Polish publication - Farmer 23/2006 - www.farmer.pl/srodki-produkcji/budynki-inwestycje/dobra_atmosfera,686b11cb44e0779ab298.html?sbno=2), a cubic meter (of potatoes) weighs 550-650 kg. Return|
|*5.||See note [*2] in chapter 2. Return|
|*6.||This means that the sums cited were NOT received by each recipient, but in total for the number of individuals listed. Return|
|*7.||Cleansed of Jews, a Nazi expression denoting areas where all Jews had been either murdered or deported. Return|
|*8.||See page 82 in Sefer Kałuszyn. Return|
|*9.||See page 466, Sefer Kałuszyn. Return|
|*10.||KAPO, prisoner in charge of a group of inmates in Nazi concentration camps. The appointment of Kapos was made by the S.S. who guarded the camps. It was the Kapo's task to carry out the orders of the S.S. and to ensure absolute control over the prisoners. Initially, Kapos were appointed from the ranks of German prisoners convicted on criminal charges. These criminals enjoyed extra privileges of great importance under camp conditions: better food, clothing, and housing. In return, many of them tyrannized the prisoners with a cruelty equal to that of the S.S., motivated both by the desire to curry favor among the S.S. as well as by sadistic inclinations Jews were appointed Kapos only in those camps which were all Jewish. There were Kapos who helped their fellow prisoners. The majority were primitive people who imitated the criminal methods and conduct of the S.S. Thus, the term Kapo became synonymous with a cruel and egocentric person who oppresses, tortures, and exploits others. (Encycl. Judaica). Return|
|*11.||Chassidic Judaism - from the Hebrew: Chassidus, meaning piety is an Orthodox Jewish religious movement (Wikipedia). Return|
|*12.||Control Council. Legal Division., Germany (Territory under Allied occupation, 1945-1955: Russian Zone). Return|
|*13.||In 1930, Forster became the Nazi Party's Gauleiter (the party leader of a regional branch of the Nazi Party or the head of a Gau - an old word for a region of the Reich that translates most closely to the English shire) of the Free City of Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland). Following Poland's defeat (1939) Forster became the Gauleiter and Reichstatthalter (governor) of the province Danzig-West Prussia from 1939-1945, thereby concentrating both the State and Nazi Party power in his hands. He ruthlessly applied Nazi racial practices to the Jewish population, in what could only mean murder or deportation. He was also one of those responsible for mass murders at Piaśnica, where approximately 2,000 Poles and (local) intelligentsia were killed in 1939-1940. Forster was condemned to death by the Polish court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1948 and hanged on February 28, 1952. (From Wikipedia). Return|
|*14.||Anielewlcz, Mordechai (19191943), commander of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Anielewicz was born into a Jewish working-class family in Wyszków, Poland. He joined Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir (a left wing Zionist youth movement G.G.) and at the outbreak of World War II, was one of the leaders of its Warsaw branch. When the German army approached Warsaw, he fled eastward in an attempt to reach Palestine, but was caught at the Rumanian border. He went to Vilna, where many members of the Zionist youth movements found refuge and from there returned to Warsaw in order to reestablish his movement in occupied Poland. From western Poland, where he went to organize branches of his movement, he returned to the Warsaw ghetto after hearing of the horrors of the Nazi Aktion of JulySeptember 1942 (see Warsaw, Ghetto). Anielewicz had long advocated armed resistance against the Germans and upon the formation of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa or Z.O.B. (Jewish Fighting Organization) (comprising Zionist and non-Zionist movements in the ghetto- G.G.), he was named its commander. He was the sole survivor of the Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir force which he led at the time of the Aktion on January 18, 1943. Thereafter, he prepared both the Z.O.B. and the entire ghetto, now effectively under his control, for the final uprising in April 1943. He led the Warsaw ghetto until May 8, 1943, when he fell, together with scores of comrades in arms, in the command bunker at 18 Mila Street. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai (in Israel) is named after him. (Based on Shaul Esh, Encycl Judaica). Return|
|*15.||HeChalutz (Hebrew: The Pioneer) - an association of Jewish youth whose aim was to train its members to settle in the Land of Israel, (and) which became an umbrella organization of the pioneering Zionist youth movements. (Answers.com). Return|
|*16.||Polish for lancers cavalry. Return|
|*17.||The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during the period 19451949. The American zone consisted of Bavaria and Hesse in Southern Germany, and the northern portions of the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg (Based on Wikipedia). Return|
|*18.||Hebrew-Yiddish for martyrs. Return|
|*19.||Literally ascending - the Hebrew word for immigration to the Land of Israel. Return|
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