In the month of October 1942, when the large deportation action was still occurring, four communist activists, Heniek Tencer, Daniel Warszawski, Wilik Celnik and Sumek Abramowicz, already had begun to organize a fighting group. This group arose in the furniture camp and active workers from other parties as well as the unaffiliated joined. This group earlier had gathered money and weapons in the large ghetto under the label Dar Narodowy [gift to the nation]. Heniek Tencer, who was known as an active communist during the years before the war, was at the head of newly reorganized fighting group. Heniek was a grandson of the well-known Czenstochow resident, Ziser. During the school year of 1929-30, he and 11 other gymnazie [secondary school] students, among whom were Mietek Perec (son of the well-known dentist Ahron Perec) and two more of his friends, Olek Behn and Pruszicki, were arrested for communist activity among the school youth. He continued to be active in the communist ranks after he left prison until he was sent to Bereza [Kartuska prison]. He placed himself under the authority of the anti-Fascist underground movement at the beginning of the German occupation. As soon as the Jews began to be taken from the temporary workplaces to the small ghetto, Heniek Tencer was designated as house guardian at Nadrzeczna 88, where the workers at the furniture camp were supposed to live and where these workers built bunkers for the mothers, children and old people who were rescued during the deportations. Heniek was entrusted as the house guardian for two reasons:
At the start of 1942 the Germans began to transfer the groups of cashiered Jews from the temporary workplaces into the small ghetto. Here, every survivor took stock of the savagery that had taken place during the last five-week deportation period. The last hope that they would see those closest to them who had perhaps survived at another temporary workplace ended for a large number of them. A few surviving underground workers from the large ghetto also realized that a strong plague had torn out of their ranks the much greater number of the surviving activists. However, no one knew exactly what would actually happen to the tens of thousands of Jews. It did not take long and letters from Mendl Wilinger and from Lubling were read in the ghetto that they had sent from Treblinka through a Polish train conductor about the suicide of their comrade and coworker, Shimshl Jakubowicz and about the actual fate of all of the Jews who were sent to Treblinka. They ordered that everything should be done for the world to learn what was happening to the Jews there. The word Treblinka that first became known in Czenstochow then annihilated all hopes of those who had fooled themselves and did not accept the terrible truth
It is difficult to record the mood that began to dominate the ghetto then. It
appeared as if everyone would become apathetic and that it would not matter
what would happen next. Yet, the resistance movement began to solidify
themselves. At the end of November there was a meeting at the laundry run by
Rozine at Garncarka Street 56 in which took part: Dr. Adam Walberg, Yisroel
Szimanowicz, Jakob Razine, Wilik Celnik and the writer of these lines. It was
decided at the meeting to begin collecting weapons and various tools with which
they could stand against the German in case of a deportation.
It also assigned to comrades Frajman and Jachimek, as craftsmen, the preparation of scissors and pliers with which they could slash through the wire fences. In addition to this, it was decided to smuggle in benzene and to place it in all corners of the ghetto so the ghetto could be set on fire on all sides in case the fight was lost. Dr. Walberg took on the military leadership. Communists, Bundists and non-party members belonged to this group.
A group of six young girls, Risha Gutgold, Saba Ripsztajn, Polya Szczekacz, Dasha Szczekacz, Sura Gutgold and Lusia Gutgold organized a collective at Nadrzeczna 66 at the same time. These six young girls decided to draw into their collective even more young people with whom they had worked at the TOZ Świetlicys [common rooms] in the large ghetto for the aid committee and also to spread literature more young people. The collective grew quickly with their following comrades: Kuba Ripsztajn, Mietek Ferleger, Mendl Fiszlewicz, Yitszhak Windman (Lala). Joining later were: Lolek Frankenberg (Francek), Mietek Wintraub (Marduk), Hipek Hajman, Aviv Rozine, Marisha Rozencwajg, Polya Hirsh, Jadjsha Mass, Lunya Wojdislawska, and even later this group joined: Izidor Fajner (Faja), Wladek Kapinski, Harry Gersznowicz and finally Felya Zborowska and Pinek Samsonowicz. All 23 young people were from 17 to 20 years old, of whom the larger number were communists. They immediately began to prepare a revolt. They were satisfied with only eating dry bread and saved the collected money for weapons. After they had gathered a little money, Mietek Ferleger with Szulman's help left for the Kielce area and bought two revolvers. They declared themselves a fighting group, divided themselves into fifths and designated Mietek as the commandant of the entire group. This was the second and youngest fighting group that arose at the beginning of December in the small ghetto and they called themselves: Nadrzeczna 66.
The third group arose later at Nadrzeczna Street, no. 70 under the name,
Kibbutz; this was a haHalutz [pioneer] group that Rywka Glanc, Yehuda
Gliksztajn and the shoymer [armed guard] Avraham Zilbersztajn led at first.
There was yet another communist fighting group composed of: Sztajnbrecher, Szwierczewski, Rajch, Sztrasberg, Yanek, Yankl Besermen and Broski.
A conference of representatives of all of the fighting groups took place at the
end of December 1942. The conference took place in an atmosphere of complete
understanding. The ZOB [Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa Jewish Fighting
Organization] was founded. A commander was elected who set as a purpose: to
make contact with the general underground in Czenstochow itself as
well as outside of Czenstochow; to procure weapons and monetary means for this
purpose. All members of the group were divided into fifths [groups of five].
Chosen as the commandant of the fifths was Mordekhai Zilberberg
a young man who had early excelled with his energy and with a certain
knowledge and while still cashiered in HASAG began underground activity (his
pseudonym was Mojtek). The representative of the commandant was
Simek Abramowicz. Heniek Fajsak, the Halutz [pioneer], was designated the
liaison among all of the groups. At first the Jews in the ghetto reacted to the
fighting group with a certain skepticism, several with mockery and others even
with hatred. The feeling of hatred was felt by the Jews who still believed that
after everything they would survive and they were afraid that the crazy
ones would bring the end closer
Little by little the activity of
the Combat Organization began to have an effect; it evoked a feeling of respect
from all of the Jews and also fear. The Combat Organization grew to such
strength that everyone in the ghetto had to respect it. All of the fighting
groups, that until the unification numbered approximately 70 men, grew after
the unification to 300, of which 120 were constantly involved in active work.
Money for weapons was gathered from taxes and thefts. The
better-situated Jews were taxed and had to pay the designated sum for a
particular period of time. The Jews who did not fulfill the demands were
arrested and were only freed when their relatives paid the demanded sum.
Thefts were carried out endlessly in the security police's
warehouses of stolen goods on Garibaldi Street.
There also were robberies twice at the Judenrat warehouses and once the apothecary at the Judenrat where chemicals useful for the grenades were found among the medicines. The robberies at the Judenrat warehouses and from the apothecary were carried out by: Avramek Czarna (Czara), Heniek Wernik (Jacek), Benianim Erenfrid, Pinek Samsonowicz and Lolek Frankenberg (Francek). This took place during the months of March and April 1943. Harry Pataszewicz, Avramek Kaplan, Hilel Fridman (Chilek), Mlodanow and others from the fighting group who proceeded to help, took part in collecting the assessments. Herszl Frazer with the help of Mosze Shmuel Landberg, Leon Fuks and a certain Guterman was busy stealing uniforms and other needed items from the security police. Jacek and Josek Kantor directed the digging of the underground tunnels. Jacek and Bastek directed the grenade workshop. Kaufman (Mikrus), the chemist, prepared the explosive material for the grenades. Michal Wajskop took care of assembling, repairing and cleaning the weapons. Designated as liaison men with ZOB in Warsaw were: Rywka, Hipek and Francek.
A similar case took place much later with Zosha the courier who
carried weapons for the Czenstochow ZOB. In Czenstochow, she threw herself on a
spy who persecuted her starting in Warsaw and in an uneven struggle with the
Germans who encircled her, she fell.
The third case of victims during the purchase of weapons was on Kamionka, four to five kilometers outside Czenstochow. Zilberberg, Kantor and Reni* Lenczner were sent there to receive a transport of [short barreled] rifles that were ordered for 250,000 zlotes through the cooperation of a weapons broker. The broker probably was an agent of the German gendarmerie. As soon as they left the designated spot with the weapons they had received, they were encircled by gendarmes and members of the Gestapo who immediately opened fire. Several Germans were wounded during the exchange of fire. Unverified news reached us that two gendarmes fell dead. Zilberberg and Kantor succeeded in extracting themselves from the German encirclement and returned to the ghetto. Renya, severely wounded, was taken alive when she already had fired all of the bullets from her two revolvers. Dying, she was tortured in the cellars of the Gestapo and did not reveal her sacred secret. All of the failures agitated the entire ghetto. Every failure was another heavy blow for the fighting group. However, the heroic conduct of the comrades who perished filled everyone with pride and inspired them to new deeds.
* [Translator's note: Reni Lenczner's name is also given as the diminutive Renya.]
All of the Jews in the ghetto had long been assembled in the square. The aktsia that Lieutenant Rohn was carrying out was already in progress. Dozens of old people, mothers and children were sealed off separately under the watch of the Ukrainian fascists. At Rohn's order, the entire group of young people was surrounded and, as a punishment which they received later like all of the Jews, they were taken over to the group of Jews who were confined. Here, the group of fighters decided to die with honor. As soon as they were taken to the square and began to stand in rows to be led away, Fiszlewicz threw himself at Rohn with the revolver and Fajner with the knife at Lieutenant Safart. Rohn was wounded in his hand and Safart turned from the square, with a slashed uniform and cut boots. Fiszlewicz's revolver jammed because the cartridge case from the bullet that he shot remained sticking out. Fiszlewicz began to fight with his teeth and nails and fell, pierced by a series of bullets that the Germans fired at him from a machine gun. Fajner, seriously wounded, also fell.
The murderers did not end their blood lecture with this; they pulled out 25
more men from the rows, divided them into two groups and shot them in front of
everyone. Twenty-seven young lives were annihilated and among them: the two
young fighters Fiszlewicz and Fajner, Herszl Fridman, the well-known fighter
since 1905, Natan Rozensztajn the lawyer, Wernik, Szlecer, Trambacki, Haptka
Sztal, Wigodzki, Zilberszac, Goldberg, Radszicki and nine more who were not all
known. Not all who fell died immediately from the bullets. Several of them,
among whom was Fajner, were tormented with convulsions of death for hours.
Then, after this, everyone exhaled their souls. The rest of the assembled Jews were allowed back into the ghetto. The surrounded group of Jews of about 300 people was taken to Pilsudski Street 21, where the commissariat of the Polish police was located. A group of fighters designated to be taken away, who were able to extract themselves from the encircled group of Jews during the tragic struggle, were among the 300 people. Later, Dasha Szczekaz, the young female fighter, was the only one to extract herself from the commissariat.
The command of the fighting organization did not rest. It sent tools to cut through the bars to its male and female comrades. In the morning, under heavy guard by the gendarmes, all of those held were taken to Radomsk where the expulsion of the last assembled Jews was then taking place. The fighters decided to escape along the road. Sura Gutgold was the first to escape. Jadzia Mass, who slipped and fell when running, was the second. She immediately was recaptured and the guard around the transport was greatly increased. This prevented further tries at escaping.
However, the command did not rest and sent out two emissaries, Yitzhak Windman
and Zvi Lustinger, to Radomsk to bring to bear on the spot all its strength to
extract their male and female comrades. The emissaries arrived in Radomsk in
the very fervor of a deportation and it was impossible to do
anything. The Ukrainians who were bribed took the money and then threatened to
shoot them, if anyone tried to escape there. The female fighters decided to
commit suicide and not go into the train wagons. Jadzia Mass was the first to
hang herself. The second one was supposed to be Marisha Rozencwajg. The
remaining Jews, who were with them, stood opposed and did not permit any
further suicides. Therefore, the female fighters decided to make use of their
last means springing from a moving train. They all entered one train
wagon with the tools that had been sent to them by the command in Czenstochow.
Under way they filed through the barred window openings of the horse wagon and one by one began to jump out. Others also made use of this opportunity. Only a few women, among whom was Ceshia Borkowska, the active fighter, returned to Czenstochow. The larger number were shot while jumping from the wagons and the rest perished while wandering back to Czenstochow.
During the late night hours when the prisoners in the ghetto, after a day of pain, insult and heavy labor, slept with a deep but uneasy sleep, shadows began to sneak quickly out of every ghetto corner and with careful movement went in the direction of an abandoned ruin of a house. Here was the workshop; here stood the forge where the forms were poured for grenades. The smoke irritated the eyes, but in every face was mirrored stubbornness, human earnestness, energy and the fervor for courageous deeds.
February 1943 the first grenades were done. The almost grey fighters
trembled with joy. The eyes of the young and even younger fighter-mechanics
shone. However, doubt began to gnaw: and perhaps? Perhaps all of the work was
in vain? The grenades had been finished with bare hands and without the least
experience! We must test the grenades! came an order.
Members of the grenade group smuggled themselves out to Mirow, outside of
Czenstochow, tried out the explosive force of the grenades and in the morning
they brought with them a rejoicing greeting
The greeting cheered up everyone. They began to feel more certain and stronger. Until now they felt as if they were hanging over a frightening abyss and now they felt firm support. They began to weave the beautiful dreams of an open fight with the Huns of the 20th century. Now we will not go into the freight wagons like obedient sheep to the slaughter! We will not wait until the murderers come for us; we will go to them and annihilate them: blow up bridges, unscrew rails, blow up trains of the military and ammunition, killing the German criminals and perish ourselves with weapons in our hands! this was now the most beautiful dream of the Jewish fighter in the small Czenstochow ghetto. They took to the work with full fervor. A platoon of fighters for special assignments was trained. Leibl Cukerman, both Nasek brothers, Avramek, Czarna, both Szmulewicz brothers, Bastek, Harri Pataszewicz, Mikrus, Yacek and so on did not rest. The stole from the ammunition factories and from other temporary workplaces: aluminum, tin, carbide, quicksilver, dynamite and other chemicals that were needed for grenades. All of this was smuggled into the ghettos in small casks in which were the lunches for the ghetto kitchen for workers in the temporary workplaces.
The work was carried on in the same manner every night. Several poured out the forms, which were turned over to the mechanics and from them to those who worked in the chemical division and from there to those who finished the grenades and even adapted the handles which were manufactured on the lathes of the furniture camp and in the carpenters' workshops in the ghetto itself. Young men and women, almost still children who rose here to the height of those who take upon themselves a sacred task, worked here. The work went on night after night. The finished grenades were even varnished and then they traveled to the main arsenal of tunnel no. 1 [which was] built with great effort. The workshops were disassembled and cleaned at daybreak to again be assembled with the coming of deep night and again to pour the grenades with which such beautiful hopes were bound
At the same time, when one group of fighters was busy with manufacturing
grenades, a second was busy with building underground tunnels.
The first and most important tunnel began at Garncarska Street no. 42 and had its exit outside the ghetto at the old market no. 17. The second tunnel began at Nadrzeczna no. 80/82 and had its exit in an empty field outside the ghetto at the corner of Jaskrowska Street. The tunnels also had entrances in the houses at Garncarska 40, at Nadrzeczna 86, 88 and 90. Both the entrances and the exits were well hidden and there was no danger that the evil eye would notice them. The work of building the tunnels went on day and night. The work was done in two shifts with up to 100 men for each shift. The young who were not yet drawn into the ranks of the Combat Organization also worked here and were ready at every call of the headquarters.
Rywka Glanc, Hipek Hajman and Yitzhak Windman returned from Warsaw with literature and instructions at the beginning of April 1943. Rywka and Yitzhak entered the ghetto and Hipek, who was supposed to enter the ghetto with the workers at the Enra temporary workplace, was detained in front of Wilot (ghetto gate). They found literature and a Kennkarte [basic German identity document] on him. He was taken immediately to an arrest house at the Jewish police at Kocza Street and was handed over to the supervision of the Jewish and Polish police. He was supposed to be held here overnight to be given over to Degenhardt's disposition in the morning.
First, they twice warned the band, which had terrorized the Jews in the ghetto,
and they extracted money from them, making use of it in a scandalous way in the
name of the fighting organization. The two Szwimer brothers (the sons of a
former servant in the mikvah [ritual bathhouse] were at the head of the band.
The presented themselves as strong ones and did not take heed of
the warnings and continued their work of terror.
A death sentence was carried out against them. A second death sentence was also carried out against the baker Motl Herman Kulbajki, who had been long suspected of being in contact with the Gestapo and whose letter to the Gestapo had been intercepted by Mekhl Birncwajg. A corked bottle was placed in the grave of every traitor containing a piece of paper on which the reason for carrying out the sentence was written.
The work of the organization became even more difficult and more dangerous.
However, no one lost his courage and everyone was ready to carry out anything
that was placed on him.
Lolek was the first one who peeled off and he made it peacefully.
Dovid Altman was supposed to be the second one. However, he was stopped by the
railroad security man, Karna, a volks-Deutsch [ethnic German] from Wyczerp
outside of Czenstochow. First he tried to bribe Karna; however, he immediately
latched onto a second German from the railroad security. Karna withdrew from
taking bribery money and both [Germans] resumed their guard duty.
Harry opened fire on the two train guards in order to free Dovid. One of them immediately fell seriously wounded and Dovid escaped. Harry, Aviv and Zvi did not have time to escape because they were surrounded by a crowd of Germans, who shot at them from every side. Harry and Aviv fell on the spot, Zvi barricaded himself in a peasant's barn and defended himself until he was severely wounded by a grenade that was thrown [into the barn]. Alive, but seriously wounded, he was caught by the Gestapo who threw him into the same Gestapo cellar where he had previously been tortured to [get him to] reveal his comrades. Zvi did not break down and was shot at the Jewish cemetery.
As a punishment, the Gestapo and the security police shot 25 more men on the same day, that is every second Jew who worked in the temporary workplaces, with whom the saboteurs left the ghetto. Among the 25 shot were: Yakob Mosze Gelber-Litwin, Nakhman Enzel, Berl Zeligman, Stefan Montag, Goldberg (Warszawiak), Rusin (a former student at the Y.L. Peretz school in Czenstochow) and Dudek Lewkowicz. At the same time the Gestapo found the scent of Wladek Kapinski, arrested him and shot him at the cemetery. As later related by members of the Gestapo themselves, Wladek wrestled with them during his arrest and even when he finally stood in chains before his own grave.
The blows that constantly fell on the heads of the fighters were heavy.
However, everyone was full of pride as well as hatred that their comrades were
perishing in this way, as they all had dreamed in a struggle with
weapons in their hands.
On the 18th of June 1943 the security police, under the direction of Degenhardt himself, attacked the furniture camp with the purpose of eliminating Machl and his closest coworkers. The security police surrounded all of the workshops with the speed of lightning. Several security police with Degenhardt at the head entered the room in which Machl was located. No one was permitted to move from the spot where they were when the police arrived. They carried out a search and did not find any suspects. Therefore, Degenhardt ordered that they not shoot without his order. However, Degenhardt ordered Machl to bring together all of his family members. Machl immediately realized that Degenhardt wished to kill him and his entire family. Therefore, he made use of the moment, ostensibly to bring together those closest to him and calling out: They will not take me alive he disappeared. Three people were shot on the spot and the security police took two with them and later killed them.
Machl entered the square of the furniture camp on the same night,
closed himself in a bunker of which only a few comrades knew. He was in contact
only with Feywish Altman and with Michal Wajskop whom he told of the locations
of hidden weapons and money. When all of the important matters already were
completed, it was decided to take Machl out to stay with a Polish acquaintance
with whom he had maintained contact the entire time.
Ahron Birnbaum, Chaim the barber-worker, Kobriner the painter-worker and Feywish Altman took upon themselves the removal of Machl from the furniture camp. They took him out in a wagon in a coal basket. They stopped with the wagon on Ogrodowa Street near a paint shop, looked around to see if anyone was looking and gave the agreed upon sign. Machl came out of the basket and disappeared. A Polish woman who lived in the courtyard in which they had stopped the wagon noticed and reported it to a granat policiant [Blue police - Polish police in the Nazi-occupied area of Poland known as the General Government]. This policeman stopped all four comrades and transferred them to the security police. They were taken to the police station at the third Aleje no. 75. At the investigation they all denied [doing anything wrong] and argued that they had been sent by the old painting master, Avraham Grajcer, to receive a transport of chalk that was ordered by the furniture camp from the paint shop that was located in that house.
The furniture camp was surrounded by the security police and
Degenhardt himself led the investigation. The arrestees told the writers of
these lines about the manner of their defending themselves and this was told to
Grajcer, the old Jewish painting master who said that they were his co-workers,
that he would take all of the guilt on himself. At the cries and pleas of his
children (a son and a daughter), that he not draw a rope onto
himself, Grajcer simply answered: I already have lived out my years and I
want to be the redeemer of four young lives. During the investigation
Grajcer did not break down and told Degenhardt that he sent the four men for
chalk on his own and it was his fault that he forgot to give them an official
note to receive the chalk; it also was his fault that they traveled
unaccompanied by a German (Grajcer survived the liberation). Grajcer rescued
the lives of four young men with his courageous bearing and he, himself, also
got away without a punishment. The four arrestees were freed. During the
liquidation of the Combat Organization in the small ghetto, one of them, Chaim
the hairdresser, perished.
On the 28th of June 1943, the security police found Machl's tracks; he was hidden with a Polish family. He was arrested and shot.
The period of escape was designated for the 23rd of June at night. However, the
plan failed because of the cowardice of the arrestee, Moniek Krojze, who broke
down at the last minute. That same day when their plan was discovered, that is,
on the 23rd of June, Gdalya and the entire group were shot at the Jewish
cemetery. On the same day the security police demanded of Doctor Walberg that
he immediately report to Garibaldi Street to dispense medical help to a worker
who was employed in the police storehouse who had become ill. Klipsh and Bulle,
two German security police, were waiting for him at the designated spot. They
greeted him with a friendly look; one of them led him to see where the
sick one lay and the second one, who walked a few steps behind
them, fired his revolver, aiming at Walberg's head. He immediately fell dead.
At the same time that this happened to Walberg, the security police arrested a
young Jewish couple with papers of Volksdeutsche [ethnic Germans], who worked
as guards in the police house at the Third Aleje no. 75 and simultaneously
worked with the Polish underground movement in Czenstochow.
While they were being taken, the man succeeded in escaping and the woman was taken to the Jewish cemetery where she was murdered with the haberdashery group. Walberg's body also was brought there and buried in a mass grave with the group that had been shot.
As Jewish workers, among whom was Prazer, who as a tradesman worked at the security police, later related, several security policemen boasted that they had shot bandits and thus gave the following history: a certain member of the A. K. [Armia Krajowa Home Army] in Czenstochow and simultaneously an agent of the Gestapo in Radom said that Dr. Walberg was an important leader of the underground in Czenstochow and also that the couple who served as guards at Aleje 75 actually were Jews who were in contact with the Polish underground movement.
The fighting organization in the ghetto searched for signs of the two traitors, Rozenberg and Plawner and carried out a death sentence on them. Domb, the Jewish policeman, was also sentenced to death for his particular zeal during aktsias [actions, usually deportations] against Jews in the small ghetto. On the 21st of June 1943 the comrades: Avramek, Pinek, Waszilewicz, and Baster carried out the sentence against Rozenberg. After the liquidation of the small ghetto, the sentence against Domb also was carried out. The Gestapo itself shot Plawner after the liquidation of the small ghetto because it no longer had any need for his information.
The fighting organization decided to send out a transport of weapons to the
groups that were located in the forests. Three comrades were designated for
this purpose: Pinek Samsonowicz, Harri Pataszewicz and Lolek Blank. Leibush
Tenenbaum, a former member of the Peretz School managing committee and a member
of the fighting organization, undertook the provision of a vehicle for this
Through the intervention of Wojdislawski and Winter, two Jewish foremen in the HASAG-Pelcery ammunition factory (Apparatexbau), Tenenbaum bribed the German driver of a truck that undertook driving the three comrades and their weapons. As it was learned later, the driver earlier had told everything to the Gestapo.
The three comrades left with the transport of weapons on the 24th of June. They were surrounded on the way by a horde of members of the Gestapo. While shooting at each other, Pinek fell dead, Lolek saved himself by running away and Harri fell into the hands of the enemy. They brought Harri dying into the ghetto, sat him by an open window in the building of the Jewish police and ordered that all of the Jews in the ghetto march by him. Three members of the Gestapo stood near Harri, torturing him terribly so that he would reveal who among those marching by were his coworkers.
They threw cold water on him whenever he began to pass out and continued to beat him. Winkler, a member of the Gestapo, stood out in the torturing of Harri. Harri used his last strength and did not break down. Finally, the Gestapo decided that they would get nothing from him and took him away to be shot. Tortured, Harri breathed out his soul on the way to the cemetery.
The driver also denounced Wojdislawski and Winter. Both were tortured so
severely that they were broken and named Tenenbaum [as a coworker]. The Gestapo
arrested Tenenbaum, tortured him and then brought him back to the HASAG to show
him to his coworkers. To avoid suspicion, the representative of the work
security leaders led him through the factory, not the Gestapo. The Gestapo got
nothing from the torturing of Tenenbaum. They brought him back and shot him
along with Wojdislawski and Winter.
The weapons were divided among all of the groups and a roll call began. Marek Palman of the Warsaw ZOB [Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa Jewish Fighting Organization] took the roll call in tunnel no. 1. Everyone was solemn. Everyone took an account of the serious situation and of the duties that each of them had taken upon themselves. They felt and they knew what would soon await the ghetto and they were prepared to oppose the approaching events.
The couriers of the groups who were already in the forest took part in this roll call. The couriers of the fighting groups in Upper Silesia also took part. They reported and they remembered the male and female comrades who had perished. The names of those comrades in the Czenstochower fighting group who perished floated up and the names also of the male and female Jewish fighters from other groups floated up. There floated up the name Zoshya the pseudonym of the 19-year old seamstress, Ruchl Szabszewska, from Sosnowiec, who was one of the hardest working and boldest fighters in the Gwardia Ludowa [People's Guard armed communist organization] group (G.L.) of Garbaty, which operated in the Kielce area. Zoshya was murdered near Wloszczawa by two traitors, Josef Laskowski and Czeslaw Stoliarczik, agents of the A. K. [Armia Krajowa Home Army the largest Polish resistance group]. (She was murdered at a moment when she was very sick.)
The name of the fallen heroes in the Warsaw ghetto floated up. Marek told about
the courageous fighting comrades in the Warsaw ghetto and about the stubborn
fight there. He spoke, gave out instructions and asked that [we go] in the
manner of the Warsaw ghetto fighters. He called for fighting until the last
bullet. We were absorbed by his descriptions and we were full of envy of the
Warsaw ghetto heroes who had the great fortune to die in such a magnificent way.
The scouts brought greetings from the ghetto every 15 minutes. The ghetto was calm for the moment. All of the scouting divisions reported at three o'clock in the afternoon that the workers at the temporary workplaces had returned as normal from their work and nothing suspicious was noticed.
The mobilization was called off. One by one the fighters left the tunnel. Only the commandant, Mojtek, who was sick, and Lutek Gliksztajn, who was guarding the weapons storehouse, remained in tunnel no. 1. It was quiet in the ghetto and the fighters did not give a thought to the fact that this might be a quiet before a storm.
Only an hour later, terrible firing from machine guns took place throughout the ghetto. The Gestapo and security police announced their arrival in the ghetto with this shooting. The houses at Nadrzeczna 86, 88 and 90 the most important locations of the fighting organization were surrounded and were covered with a hail of bullets. Blood flowed in the streets. The members of the fighting organization, who had left the tunnels an hour earlier, hurried back to enter [them]. They hurried to grab their weapons and pay with blood for blood, with death for death! However, they fell before they managed to enter [the tunnel]. Yisroel Avigdor Szuldhaus fell; Yosek Kantor fell; dozens of other comrades fell, unsuccessful in taking revenge for the innocently spilled blood of those closest to them, of the fighting comrades and of their parents.
The Germans attacked the tunnels with grenades. They murdered the small group
of fighters who desperately resisted. Other Jews who were in the
above-mentioned houses also fell. Thirty grenades, one revolver and two rifles
fell into German hands. Luttek, who stood watch over the weapon storehouse, was
the only one who emerged from there. Mojtek committed suicide at the last
moment so as not to fall into their hands. The Germans later took revenge on
Mojtek's body and hanged him up in the tunnel with his head down.
Meanwhile, the fighters in the ghetto who were in the tunnel that had its
entrance through the house at Garncarska 40 were the only ones who remained
alive. This group under the leadership of Marek came out of the ghetto through
the tunnel and barricaded themselves in a house at the old market no. 17. Here
they waited for the enemy with their small number of weapons.
Early the next morning, on the 26th of July 1943, the whole group decided to leave their positions, taking the rescued weapons with them, to join their comrades in the forests to jointly take up the fight in relatively comfortable conditions. They began to leave the barricades in threes.
When most of them were already out and only six fighters were left under the leadership of Rywka Glanc, they were surrounded by security police and the Gestapo. The six fighters carried out an embittered defensive fight with two revolvers and one grenade. They made use of the grenade after firing all of the bullets. One member of the Gestapo fell and Lebel, the security policeman, who later gave the details of this fight to several Jewish workers who were employed by the security police in the Third Aleje no. 75, was wounded. The six fighters carried on their fight without weapons, but with stones and they finally all perished. Here fell: Rywka, Heniek, Polja, Dashya, Rashya and Marduk. Few survived of those who did not perish during this fight. Marek perished later, traveling by train; Francek and Sumek were attacked on the Aryan side; Yitzhak Windman safely reached the group in Koniecpol and was murdered two weeks later when he traveled for weapons to Skarźysk [Skarźysko-Kamienna] with a certain Krzak (the news about the death of Yitzhak was brought by the same Krzak. However, the comrades believed that he had murdered Yitzhak because Krzak's statements seemed vague). Fela Zborowska, Yehuda and Bela Bram were shot by the Polish national police; Kuba Ripsztajn and Lutek Gliksztajn fell in the fight that the Koniecpoler group carried out against reactionary members of the A. K. [Armia Krajowa Home Army].
The murderous liquidation of the small ghetto took place at the same time that
the small group carried out its embittered fight at the old market 17. Dozens
of Jews were shot on the spot and hundreds were taken away in trucks to
the Jewish cemetery and murdered there.
Members of the fighting organization were also among those shot on the spot and among those taken away.
Herszl Praser had been placed separately in the Ryneczek [central square] and was supposed to be shot. Then at the observation by a security policeman that he could be of use as a good tailor at the police workshop on Garibaldi Street, he was taken there and permitted to live. While others pleaded and wailed, Mosze Lewensztajn, already in an auto, with an upraised fist made a declaration against the murderers. At Zlota Street on the way to the cemetery, Lewensztajn, Chaim the hairdresser and other Jews tore open the trunk of the car and began to escape. Several fell on the spot under the fire that gendarmes opened on those escaping. Six of them managed to avoid the bullets. They were persecuted by Kindel, the gendarme, who had returned. The persecuted then stabbed him with his own bayonet.
The six men returned to the ghetto with the certainty that there still were Jews in the ghetto as well as several of their fighting comrades. However, there were no longer Jews in the ghetto, except for several dozen people to be shot, who were still being held. The six escapees again had fallen into the net of death and their lives were ended along with those sentenced to death.
The small ghetto in Czenstochow was liquidated on the last of the month of June
1943 and the heroic chapter of the fighting organization in the small ghetto
ended. Surviving, closed in the camps of HASAG was a small number of Jews. A
few fighters also remained alive in the forests and in the camps. This small
group of surviving fighters did not cease [its activity] and continued to carry
out its underground work both in the forests and in the HASAG camps.
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