[Page 16]

Told by Schaje Schmerler


They were like twins, Bynjumyn Kleiner and Beirych Winter. It was not that they were much alike physically, and even less in their way of dressing. Because Bynjumyn Kleiner — despite the fact that he was not well off — was always dressed beautifully and neatly which the other one did not care about.

The black velvet hat which Bynjumyn Kleiner wore, and the long dark satin caftan in summer, or the "Tylyp" (fur lining) with the yellow fur collar which was supposed to have been fox fur many years ago, in winter — they were always clean, not wrinkled, and there was not a speck of dust on them, even if he always wore the same clothes for many years. His shoes, too, were beautiful, black, always clean and polished.

Striking was his exceptionally beautiful, long, white beard which reached down beyond his chest and gave Bynjumyn Kleiner the look of a patriarch. The cane with the silver handle which he always carried completed his beautiful appearance.

The only other beard of such beauty in our area was the one of the Delatyner "Ruw" (Rabbi).

What I really meant to say with "they were like twins" is: Bynjumyn and B eirych, for many years, worked together in the same job which always required two people, and this made them inseparable.

Their address was either the entrance to the court building, or the notary's waiting room, where they offered themselves as the two witnesses needed for the conclusion of contracts for the purchase of Naphta or other documents of that kind.

They probably knew all the people from our area so they could perform this job. In no case did they become rich from their earnings.

In fact, neither Beirych Winter nor their job etc. had anything to do with the delivery of the beard. I just wanted to say something about poor Bynjumyn Kleiner, past 75 years old, who was forced "voluntarily" to deliver his beard, his ornament to a sadistically inclined German murderer; this, naturally, made me think of his "twin brother" Winter; also, I wanted to see once more, in my memory, our Bynjumyn Kleiner, the way he looked with his decorative beard.

About the delivery of the beard — it happened as follows:

According to a German decree we Jews could at this time, fall of 1941, until we were locked into the ghetto in spring of 1942, stay in the streets outside our homes only for a limited time. If I am not mistaken this was from 6 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock In the evening. Whoever was seen in the street after this curfew was beaten to a pulp and also fined a sum of money.

Due to these and other dangers we were exposed to at all times, it became impossible for the religious Jews to say their morning — and evening prayers in Schul (Bethäusern) as they had been used to do from way back. They helped themselves, however, by having "Minjan" — consisting of ten Jews past the age of thirteen who are needed for such services — in their homes where neighbors got together for this purpose.

Poor Bynjumyn Kleiner was just on his way to such a "Minjan" which had been arranged at Heisler's on Naajer-Schtuut; it was his misfortune that the dreaded gendarme Mahler saw him commit this "crime", and there was a fatal ending for the poor old Jew Bynjumyn Kleiner.

The punishment meted out to him was much harder for the unfortunate man than it would have been, had they beaten him to a pulp — he possibly received blows on top of it —. He was ordered to deliver his beautiful, long, white beard which had adorned him for many years, the following day, wrapped in a box, at the police station, and also, to pay a fine of 20 Zloty.

Bynjumyn Kleiner, separated from his beautiful beard, perished a short time after, on October 6, 1941 in Bukowinka.

His beautiful, white, long beard, I am sure, was sent as a Christmas gift by that German criminal to his family in the "homeland", or it was used for mattress stuffing by the "practical German supermen" the way they did with short hair of women who went into the gas chambers, so that their brood could sleep, resting softly.


Nobody has returned at Meier Hutt's house, the house next to our apartment (Meier Hutt was my childhood friend) — nobody of the Jewish inhabitants captured by the German-Ukrainian murderers during the "Aktion" on October 6, 1941, and deported to the Bukowinka. All of them, from this house, died on this Sukkoth-day, a black one for us Jews in Nadworna, and they filled the mass grave there in Bukowinka, together with the other martyrs.

Into this no-man's house Fingerer moved. If I am not mistaken his first name was said to be Schmiel. He moved there with his wife and their small children.

Fingerer was still a young man, shoemaker by profession. I especially mention his shoemaker's profession because he, Fingerer, was probably the only one of the few Jewish shoemakers in our town whom the German murderers had missed killing.

Naturally, the Ukrainian "Miestschany" took advantage of the helplessness of this poor shoemaker; they overburdened the young Jewish shoemaker, while he was still alive, with loads of repair work on boots and shoes for which the Ukrainian "benefactors" paid poor Fingerer a few potatoes; once in a while, to appear generous, they gave the hard working Jewish shoemaker a handful of grain in addition. This was hardly a fraction of what they would have had to pay a non-Jewish shoemaker for such work.

In any case, Fingerer was satisfied, despite the fact that he had to work day and night in order to earn enough to fill up the little swollen bellies of his undernourished children with more watery soups.

To this Fingerer we used sneak — my son Dolphi and myself and a few neighbors, ten altogether — mornings and evenings, to say "Kadysch" together.

This "Minjan" consisted of the following ten "Kadysch-sayers":

1) Schmiel Fingerer,

2) Schlojmy Perl (it was only him alone, because his wife and children were not alive any more),

3) Schlomy Perl's older brother from Delatyn who had also lost all his family in Delatyn and came here to be with his brother,

4) A relative of the Perl's, also from Delatyn,

5) Schmiel Kressel,

6) Someone else from the Kressel family, I cannot remember his name any more,

7) Julek Brucker,

8) Mendaly Hübner. (This honest and pious Mendaly Hübner did not want to part with his beard which was still black at the time; so he hid it under a cloth in which he kept it wrapped in such a way as to make believe he had toothaches).

Hübner was one of the three Jews in our town who, after the "Aktion", when all the Jews were forced to cut their beards, did not want to surrender under any circumstances to the cruel occupants, the Germanic "Amuleik"; thus, these three brave and proud Jews met death without parting with their Jewish facial ornament.

The names of these three saints were:

1) Meier the Pasieczner-Ruw,

2) Ducie Rosenheck,

3) Mendaly Hübner.

My son Dolphi and myself completed the number of 10 persons. If I am not mistaken, Bumcle Diamand also belonged to our "Minjan".

Our "Baal-Tyfila", the man who led us in prayer, was Schlojmy Perl. He felt that it was his right and his duty to do that, since he was hardest hit by misfortune (he had lost his wife and all his children). Of course, none of us objected.

And when hard-hit Schlojmy Perl, during the "Schymona-Esra-prayer", came to the part that goes: (meaning: All the enemies of your people, oh God, you shall annihilate, break, and destroy, soon in our days) — then poor Schlojmy Perl called out that sentence crying so pathetically that it made one shiver.

This prayer was the only weapon the unfortunate man was able to use against his arch-enemy who had killed of his whole family so cruelly.

It was no less frightful and oppressing, especially the first days, right after the terrible tragedy of the 6th of October, when all of us ten people gathered in Fingerer's small apartment; there we lit the candles feeling in their glow the souls of our cruelly murdered dearest and most beloved ones, and together, crying, we wrung the "Kadysch" from our bleeding hearts.

[Page 18]


Told by Schaje Schmerler

Two Neighbors with a common Well
and two Water Lifters
My daily Rendezvous at the abandoned,
ice-covered Well
Winter 1941-1942
Two Neighbors with a common Well
and two Water Lifters

They were two neighbors who commonly owned a well which was located exactly in the middle between their adjoining yards. I am using the word "exactly" in order to underline that, for the building of this common well, each neighbor had to give up exactly half of the surface measure of the well from his piece of land, not one inch less.

Naturally, so as to avoid possible arguments, and to be sure that none of the two neighbors could be at a disadvantage, first there was a thorough survey (measuring) done — which certainly took more time than the digging of the well — and a mutual agreement was signed in front of a notary. Only then this common well came into existence.

Difficulties arose, however, with the installation of a system for drawing water. They could not agree, either on a crank with a chain, or on a lifting system with centrifugal bars and shaft — one of the reasons being that one of the two neighbors who claimed to use less water, did not want to cover half of the expenses for their installation and maintenance.

Besides, the horizontally balancing bar of the lifting system gave them a considerable headache because, when water was being drawn, the moving bar would swing far beyond the airspace above the neighboring yard — and the balancing bar reaching across the neighbor's yard could already turn into a reason to claim the right to make use of this yard ("right of servitude" the people used to call such a case); and in this case the actual owner of this yard would never again be able to put up any kind of buildings in this yard.

It must sound inconceivable, almost unbelievable for anyone who did not know the conditions in our little town; it is, however, unfortunately the bitter truth that Jewish people in our town would spend sleepless nights, get sick, and carry on years of court proceedings — all for an inch of ground; for the cost of these legal procedures one could have bought a building lot.

Brothers and sisters who loved each other and were very close in their childhood in their parents' home, turned into deadly enemies later on while the inheritance left them by their parents was being divided up. Unfortunately, this is how it was.

After the two neighbors could not agree on a common water lifter they each installed, in their own yard, a system for drawing water; it consisted of a high mast upon which was placed a horizontal bar which could sawing upwards and down; from this bar a shaft with a pall on it went vertically down into the well.

The owners of this common well are — (rather, were): Mojsche Hersch Reiter whose yard and house were located of the East side of the well, fronting the park, and Meier Sockel whose yard and house were on the West side, fronting Flakomyjka.

Now the well, about 10 meters deep, stands abandoned because its owners are not alive any more.

Meier Sockel with his only daughter and her child as well as the widow of Mojsche Hersch Reiter, who died even before the war, with her two sons, they don't live next to the "common" well any more; together with the other thousands of Jewish inhabitants of our little town, they went on their last way on October 6, 1941; there, in Bukowinka, they died as martyrs; and now they are resting there, in a "common" brotherly grave.

In their former yards, only the two high masts are standing, without the swinging bars and palls (the Ukrainians took possession of those, just as they stole all the Jewish property).

These two dismantled, abandoned high masts stand there like silent witnesses to the fact that once the smart, lively Mojsche Hersch Reiter and the well-educated scholar of the Talmud, Meier Sockel, lived here; and that they frequently, like many more of the intelligent good Jews in our little town, carried on ridiculous, worthless squabbles about borderlines which led to nothing but and brought only bitterness and hatred.

My daily Rendezvous at the abandoned,
Ice-covered Well

It is the winter of 1941-42, and it is very cold. We who survived the "Aktion" of the 6th of October. 1941, are living or, more correctly, hiding in our homes up to now (there was no ghetto yet).

Nobody ventures out of the houses in order not to meet the ill-famed German hangmen. Here and there, like shadows, the unfortunate people sneak out of their homes (hiding places). Usually they do that in the early hours of the morning so that they can bring in some foodstuff for themselves and their families in roundabout ways.

It was difficult to provide for water, especially for those who lived in the center of town. Because, in order to get to the two municipal public wells near the city hall on Holzplatz meant that, for one thing, one ran the risk of meeting Germans, and for another, that the frozen or dried-up pump did not always work. It was necessary, in order to make it usable, to bring hot water and pour it into the frozen or dried-up pump, and sometimes not even the water one poured in would help.

Also, working that iron pump made a tremendous noise which reverberated loudly in the dead town.

That is why we avoided getting water from the two wells; everybody tried to get that pail of water for his daily need somehow from the more easily accessible wells in the side streets.

At that time we, my son Dolphi and myself, were still "living" in our place in Berger's house (opposite Schlojme Perl). I brought water daily, in the early hours of the morning, from the well on Holzplatz because this well was the one closest to us.

But I gave it up when a German policeman noticed me and came up to me saying: "Don't run away, I won't do you any harm. Whatever happened!! will not happen again; we only punished the Communists amongst you; nothing is going to happen to the decent Jews". Of course, I did not answer the "humanistic" German policeman; it would not have made any sense, even if I had had the courage to spit the elegantly uniformed animal in his puss (face).

Even less sense it would have made, had I asked that monster if he really believed that these murdered children, many of whom were still infants, could possibly have understood what Communism was.

I breathed freely when he let me go with my pail full of water, after I had told him that I was permitted to go to work.

Next morning, very early, I went to the deserted well with the rider on the pedestal. Fingerer the shoemaker who had moved into the depopulated house of Meier Hut, advised me to get water from this well (it is this Fingerer where some of us survivors used to go twice daily, secretly, to say the "Kadysch"). I should, however, bring a heavy cord in order to reach the water since the device for drawing water was not there anymore. Also, I was supposed to bring a smaller pail that could pass through the narrow opening that was cut into the frozen well.

Furthermore, it is important to take along an iron bar in order to make accessible the iceberg formed around the well by the spilled water.

When I arrived at the well with all these implements I found there an elderly woman, wrapped in a heavy shawl, standing and shivering with cold. I hardly recognized that poor woman, she had changed so terribly. Old and broken up the poor woman stood there with an empty pail, waiting for someone to come and help her draw a pail of water. The big catastrophe that had hit us and all our one could read in her face.

This pitiful looking woman standing there was the widow of the murdered Meier Sockel, former partner of this abandoned well , and she, the unfortunate one, stands here and is not even able to get a little water from the well that has changed into an iceberg.

Every single day, in the dawn of the winter mornings, I have a rendezvous with this poor woman at this well, and I draw the pail of water for her until we are driven into the ghetto.

This unfortunate woman only lived by the hope that she would, once the war would be over, go to her only son, a famous doctor in New York.

The poor mother, however, never went to her famous son, because the German murderers caught her, too.

After the war the son, the famous neurologist Dr. Sockel, pupil of Professor Dr. Freud, did not even find it necessary to inquire about his parents from those people from Nadworna who did get over there.

Could Professor Dr. Freud possibly explain why?

Dr. Sockel is not alive any more either; he suddenly died in New York, a few years ago.

[Page 21]

Told by Schaje Schmerler


I do not know the reason why the German Commissar (Landeskommissar) decided to send some Jews from the ghetto into the Bukowinka, armed with shovels, so they could "improve" the earth cover over the mass grave of the slaughtered Jews.

This Commissar in civilian clothes who had come to us in Rabbi Mordychaly's Nadwerny from the land of the murderers in order to "take care" of our needs and well-being — this Commissar probably feared an epidemic which was likely to be caused by the thousands of corpses heaped in a barely covered ditch.

This ditch was filled with half of the Jewish population of Nadworna as well as with several hundred Hungarian Jews who, under the"protection" of this Commissar in civilian clothes, had been cruelly murdered on October 6, 1941, and who were now, after the long winter, already decomposing. This Commissar who was so very much "concerned", with the health of the population, figured that he would prevent an epidemic by piling on a heavy layer of earth.

We, my son Dolphi and myself, were among the people sent there to take care of this work.

We, as well as the others who went there with us, took along, besides the shovels, a few candles to light at the place of those dearest and most beloved to us.

When we arrived at that vale of tears we faced a horrible and unforgettable sight. There were enough traces left to see of the awful tragedy that had taken place there about eight months ago.

Strewn all over were many torn shirts, underwear, shredded left-overs of dresses, "Laabzydeklych keys, documents, photos, wigs (Scheitel). Also torn prayer books were lying around; some in Hungarian translation; most likely the Hungarian Jews (there were several hundreds of them) who had lost their lives there, had brought these prayer books from Hungary.

We were gripped by terror and horror when we saw a chewed-off hand, pointing towards heaven, stick out of the middle of the mass grave.

That hand, reaching towards heaven from the grave, was raised like a signal of accusation against God and men for the gigantic crime committed here by bestial men — themselves created by God who cruelly murdered here thousands of innocent people, hundreds of children among them, for no other reason than that they were Jews.

I cannot free myself from the feeling of guilt I felt at the sight of that outstretched accusing hand.

A feeling of guilt which probably bothers everyone of us: why did we not have the courage and the "Gewure" to do what one of our people, Simson has proven himself able to do in the olden times, long past.

This was when Simson — blind, chained, and helpless in the midst of his numerous enemies was forced to be present at a funny show: the killing of a Jew. The Jew Simson, however, preserved his human dignity despite his helplessness, and did not sell his life cheap. With a scream he tore down the pillars on which the temple rested, and the temple where thousands of his enemies had come together in order to make fun of the helpless Jew Simson, collapsed and under its ruins buried many thousands of his enemies, and Simson along with them. And this is how the Jew Simson died.

We covered the grave with earth, after we had put to rest there the scattered wigs, prayer books, "Taleskutens", and more.

We could not stay there long because from the woods some Ukrainian fellows were approaching. Hurriedly we lit the candles we had brought, said the "Kadysh" and left the place of the martyrs which we would, unfortunately, never be able to visit again.

[Page 22]

Told by Schaje Schmerler


The innocent looking German Commissioner in civilian clothes took precautions that ours would not be a long life in the ghetto, even at the time when the plans were laid as to the future location of the ghettos for us.

Item: This pretentious German murderer had, at the time, not neglected to have "our" bath built outside the fence of ghetto "B", so that we would not be able to use it-despite the fact that this bath was located within the area of the alley which he himself had designated for the ghetto "B".

I put the worts "our bath" in quotes, because this bath was in fact, and exclusively, a Jewish bath; it was built-as were all bath houses in Polish towns where Jews lived-by the Jewish Congregation and it was kept up by it; also, it was used only by Jews. The non-Jews were free to bathe there, but rarely did so (Probably they shunned water).

I am not even sure if anyone of us in our terrible situation at that time, would have been able to think of such a "luxury" as taking a bath altogether; but at least, we could collectively wash our bugridden clothes and underwear; that, however, this "good" German did not want to have us do.

The many people who formerly used to live all over the city, and the Jews brought from the surrounding villages whom the Commissioner "taking care" of our health, had crammed together in a few narrow alleys, all these people together caused the latrines rapidly to fill with excrement and pollute the fountains which were close to those overrunning latrines, and so the water was contaminated; which was exactly the thing this "good" German desired.

The people who drank this poisoned water naturally came down with typhoid and dysentery.

The vermin, of course, quickly transmitted the sicknesses to those who had not yet been infected. The little "fellow-lodgers" simply ignored the boundaries decreed by the Commissioner; they simply came and went undisturbed, without a pass, wherever their lousy hearts desired.

The German Commissioner who "worried about us" had, as an additional helper, hunger which raged most furiously in ghetto "B". The undernourished people just lost all resistance and there was great mortality.

Considering the Typhoid epidemic, our "caretaker", the "humane" German Commissioner, naturally took the "necessary precautions" immediately in order to "help" us in this time of need; he ordered the "Judenälteste", Dr. Schall, to appear before him, and then he yelled at him, remonstrating with him that the Jews were dirty, filthy, did not like cleanliness, and so on.......

He told him strictly and exactly how to fight the sickness. Besides that, this "clean" German had posters put up all over town, outside the ghetto, as well as on the outside of the fences around the ghettos: those posters showed a Jew sneaking around in the street, and in this craggily beard and "Pajes" (side locks) as well as on his caftan huge lice were crawling which, behind him, were failing onto the street.

Above this picture there were big headlines in three languages — German, Ukrainian and Polish - which said approximately: "Warning"! Jews and lice are known to be carriers of the dangerous typhoid. Aryans, be cautioned not to get in contact with these carriers of pestilence. Exterminate them!"

After poor Dr. Schall, loaded with recriminations and strict orders from the Commissioner, returned to the ghetto, there started, especially in our ghetto "A" some feverish activity. There was washing and scrubbing, as it used to be before Pessach; only the "Chumez" (unleavened bread) was missing which, in the good old times, one could afford to burn.

Those entrusted with keeping order ransacked the apartments searching for some thing. What it was they meant to find with us, only God and the keepers of order would know.

A commission consisting of a German policeman, a Ukrainian militiaman, led by Dr. Schall and his "adjutants", carried out an inspection in our ghetto "A". They inspected several houses until they got to Bannet's house in the Flakomyjka where they halted.

They looked at the house from all sides; then there was a short conversation between the policeman and Dr. Schall who called the keepers of order over, whispered something to them-and that was the end of the inspection.

Soon we found out: this commission, consisting of a German policeman, in company with Ukrainian militiaman and the "Judenälteste", had been delegated to the ghetto by the Commissioner in order to find a house in which a hospital for typhoid patients could be set up; and the commission found Bannet's wooden building next to the Flakomyjka canal suitable for this purpose.

The residents of this house, together with their furniture and possessions, were simply put out in the street, and the work of setting up the hospital was started.

We brought straw from the agricultural cooperative of the district; the straw was put down on the floor in place of beds and mattresses.

Pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels the order keepers requisitioned somewhere from the Jews. Also a table and few chairs, and a small medicine chest were brought in. The medicine chest remained empty, of course, of medicine. The Jews had no medicine which could be confiscated, and to requisition anything from the gentile pharmacist was simply no good form.

So it was that in but a very few hours a hospital in ghetto "A" was operative and ready to accept patients.

I had the opportunity to see the first Jewish patient in the newly opened hospital.

Myself and a few other workers happened to be in this house, named hospital (we took down a wall in order to enlarge the ward), just as the first patient was brought in.

I saw this unfortunate human being. They brought him here from ghetto "B" on a little wheelbarrow on which he could later, together with other corpses, be taken to the place from where one does not return after having spent some hours here in terrible pain.

The patient one had brought was the musician Leitner, emaciated like a skeleton.

The man looked terrifying, a skeleton covered only with a thin yellowish skin with blue veins showing through, and the big eyes staring straight and immovably ahead.

I walked over to Leitner. He looked at me without any expression in his eyes, and whispered almost inaudibly: "Schmerler, schajn sejyn mir ous, gyty zaatyn zych dyrlejbt".

Leitner was the first patient in that house, Bannett's house on the Flakomyjka-canal, which was established as a "hospital" for our "well-being" in 1942 A.D. in ghetto "A" by the "humane" German Commissioner; very soon it was filled with Jewish patients trying to get help, and then it emptied again, until there were not more sick Jews.

! ! !


Neither the high fence around the ghetto nor the brutal Ukrainian militiamen could prevent it: the hungry children would slip through from the ghetto to the Aryan side, venturing there in their search for food. However, the German Commissioner in civilian clothes, the one who "loved order and children", had no difficulty in putting an end to the "children's game" with an order.

He issued a decree to the "Judenälteste" (Eldest of the Jews") Dr. Schell which ordered him immediately to open a children's home in the "B"-ghetto for orphaned and homeless children roaming the streets and alleys.

As matter of course, the "humane" order was carried out immediately.

Somewhere in a house in the "B"-"Gehenom" (Hell) such a "Children's Home" was established for those Jewish children who had lost their parents in various "Actions" and had been orphaned, as well as for those children who lusted for a bit of sun and went into the street hoping to forget their hunger over their games.

30 to 50 children were taken into the "care" of this "Children's Home". But this "Home" founded for Jewish Orphans was very short duration. The food supplied to them by the "child-loving" Commissioner was so "ample" that all the children in this "home" soon starved to death.

Once more, the house — vacated through the death of the children, was open to Jewish child " passengers" destined for transportation into the Heavenly regions.

[Page 24]

Told by Schaje Schmerler

The Jail in Ghetto "A"
The First "Criminal" brought in
"Pardoned" by the "General" of O.D.

In our newly created "federal autonomous Jewish State "A" and "B" — surrounded by "protective walls", — we already have everything a "modern State" is supposed to have.

I.e., we have:

a) a President (called "Judenältester"),

b) a Parliament (called "Judenrat"),

c) several Ministers (called "Judenrätler"),

d) an armed force (called "Ordnungsdienst"),

e) a hospital equipped according to latest requirements with "self-service".

The only hospital in the world that employed neither doctors nor medications. The Jewish patients in this hospital practiced medical science for and on themselves.

Only a people as intelligent as we Jews are could be "blessed" with the ability to cure itself.

We are, all of us, smart and all-knowing, as it says in our "Hagada" (Tales of the great wonders that have happened to us, the chosen people).

f) We also have a "Children's Home", rare, never before known to exist just in this fashion, where Jewish children who had been taken into its care" were "trained" to live without food.

It is true that our fathers who had fled Egypt. have already shown themselves able to hold out for 40 years without food, in the desert where nothing grows. To our fathers, however, at least the Heavens had been merciful in sending down to them a daily portion of food substitute — they called it "Manna" and with this they nourished themselves for 40 years.

At that time, of course, they were lucky not to be locked up, and they were able to gather this "substitute" (Ersatz) every day.

To our children, however, in the newly opened "Children's Home", Heavens were not merciful. The Gates of Heaven were closed to them, "Mannah" from Heaven was not sent down to them; and even if, on occasion, such Mannah from above had been sent to them, it would have a difficult time passing the Hitler-blockade and reaching them, the children. And even if had slipped through the blockade the children would not have been able to gather the Mannah, because they were held under lock and key.

And so it was that our Jewish children lived in this "famous Children's Home" with nothing but the sweet memories of the times when they still had mothers who pampered them, and prepared good food for them; eventually they were soothed by sweet dreams, and rocked to sleep forever with a sad smile on their pale little lips that had no blood left in them.

In Heaven their Mamas were waiting for them; they had recently been dispatched there, together with millions of other Jewish mothers, by the Germanic "Supermen".

The watchful eye of our "protector", the German Commissar, did not fail to notice that we who were supposed to be provided with all necessities. were short only one thing: a jail.

This German Commissar who was "watching out" for us, therefore had the Judenälteste with his "assistant" called to him; after a "polite consultation" a plan was worked out, how and where such an "educational institution" (criminal corrective institution) should be established.

It was quickly decided. That same day we were presented with that "Urgently needed" jail.

This "reform institution" was opened in the "A" ghetto, in the cellar of Awrum Duwid Heckerling's house.

Several workers, myself among them, were hurriedly mobilized in order to empty the cellar from the grime and dirt that was packed high in there, and to install a few wooden planks for beds to sleep on.

It seemed that the Commissar cared more for the jail than he did for the hospital where the patients had to lie on the floor, while the prisoners in this jail were going sleep on boards.

It so happened that I could see the first "criminal" brought in here, as I had seen the first patient, at that time, taken to the hospital (the musician Leitner).

I was just busy down in the cellar nailing the boards together when he was brought in, making a loud noise and crying.

That crying "criminal" was Jidyl Dürer's grandson, about 12 years old. I think his name was Kwartler.

The loud and very angry "Ordnungshüter" (warden) who had caught and delivered this great "sinner" was the "Kommandant" Commander the O.D. himself, with the modest-sounding name "Kuten" (the little one) who, however, carried on a Jewish Woman in the Ghetto as if he had been "Gudel" (the great one).

The terrible crime the poor boy had been guilty of was this: he had picked a few green apples, unripe yet, in a strange garden. His sin was much worse yet because of the fact that the apple-tree from which the 12-year-old "criminal" took the forbidden fruit stood in the garden of the Bartkiewicz-house which, at that time, happened to be the "residence" (in this case, in the sense of palace) of the O.D. "General" Kuten, the "Little one playing the Great one".

The boy cried miserably, and not only because of the slaps and blows which the "great" man liberally gave him. He cried more from fear that he would send him to the "B" ghetto which the strict "Commander" kept threatening him: "sheigyts einyr, zymir, zymir bysty gygangyn ganwynyn! wart ejch wel dejch schykyn yn dem "B", dort wet myn myt dir schojn lehrnyn". Which means: You went stealing at my place, I will send you to the "B" ghetto, there they will teach you.

Since I was present at this most embarrassing and painful scene, it was natural for me to take the boy's part, and I said to the "Commander" who was fuming with rage: "Kutyn! duus jyngyl hot a naryschkeit upgytijn, schenkt ihm duusmuhl, er wet byschtymt nyscht mehr nochamuhl duus tijn". Which means: Kutyn! The boy was foolish, forgive him this time, he will not do it again.

My unexpected intervention made the man even angrier. He yelled at me: "Schmerler! noch a wort yn ejch schyk dejch myt dem schajgatz yneinym, ouch ahin yn "B". Which means: Schmerler! Another word, and I will send you to the "B" ghetto together with the boy.

With this he ran out of the cellar, locking the door behind him.

But a few minutes later he returned, not fuming quite as much any more, and yelled at the boy: "arous fyn danyn, lomych dejch mehr nyscht uunkykyn". Which means: Get out of here so I don't have to look at you any more".

Of course, the boy ran like lightening, and to me Kutyn said: "ejch byn nyscht azoj schlecht wi aach dacht sich, ihr of maan platz wet nyscht gykent saan bessyr". Which means: I am not as bad as you think I am; if you were in my place you would not be able to act differently.

Jidyl Dürer's grandson was already feeling better for having been caught by a Jewish "Gaslyn", not like that hungry Jewish boy, from the "B" ghetto who had once been caught by a "merciful" Ukrainian militiaman in a similar "crime": this one, from "compassion" with the poor hungry boy, beat the kid mercilessly-and he had pretended to be a "decent" Ukrainian militiaman! - and simply threw him over the high fence into the ghetto where he hit the concrete pavement.

[Page 26]

Told by Schaje Schmerler

In devout Memory of our Dearest and most
Beloved who lost their Lives "Al Kidusch Haschem",
In Nadworna, on October 6, 1941 — On the first
"Jahrzeit" (first Anniversary of their Death)
in a Work Camp in Stryj.

It is fall 1942. This is the time of year of the holy Jewish holidays, called "Jomim-Noruim" (awesome days).

In the heavens, upon his throne, sits the Almighty at this time of year, and judges the humans he created, each according to his merits:

Who will have the right to go on living

Who will have to die

Who will have to starve to death

Who, of the humans, will be murdered, shot down, burned, and gassed.

And which people will be worthy of watching this spectacle, and enjoy it.

The angels, the secretaries of God, enter into the open minute-book those just verdicts passed by the Almighty which, after the passage of ten days (days of atonement) become valid, unless the condemned have been pardoned in the meantime.

Authorized with a seal the verdicts are then sent down to earth, to the executive organs (murderers and hangmen), and are carried out as ordered from above.

For scapegoats our dear Lord has picked his favorite, his chosen people, the Jews; and for executioners who had to carry out the death sentences the merciful God appointed the Germans.

It is likely that our dear God entrusted this "important mission" to the Germans because the germanic "Superman" is extremely well versed in this kind of work. He has learned it thoroughly, and he was also brought up to carry out orders with precision and ruthlessly.

What was it, really, that gave me the idea to mention our Jewish High holidays "Jomim-Norulm"? Certainly not so I would not forget that, soon, we would be able to enjoy the coming of the holidays. After all, it makes no sense to remember that; with the invasion of the German hordes all holidays and all pleasures came to an end for us Jews; and to remember that we would soon have our "Jomim-Noruim" (awesome days) is not at all necessary — we do have them continuously, day in and day out.

What I had in mind when I mentioned the approaching holidays is this; in these fall days, on the first day of Sukkoth, it will be exactly one year when the horrible, gruesome bloodbath took place in our Nadworna. On this first day of the Sukkoth holidays the German hangmen and murderers carried out the death sentences sent to them by the Almighty via Berlin, and they carried them out on several thousand Jewish people sentenced to death, among them many hundreds of children.

Why our dear and merciful God has punished us so cruelly can not, of course, be understood by the narrow human mind; after all, 99% of the Jews of Nadworna were poor, honest people who worked hard and bitterly to earn their daily bread; it is difficult to believe that these poor people should have committed any sins, and it is less believable still that children and infants should, in any way, have sinned.

Even that 1% of the Nadworna Jews who possibly had done some wrong, did not deserve to be punished with death, because capital punishment is intended only for murder, and in Nadworna there were no Jews who could have committed murder.

To answer this, naturally, is impossible for a human being.

Of course, we have not forgotten what happened to us a year ago in Nadworna; and us 10 Jews from Nadworna, now in a work camp in the town of Stryj, got together on this Sukkoth day in our place in the work camp in order to commemorate the first Jahrzeit (anniversary of death) of our dearest and most beloved relatives whom we had lost on this day of misery.

At the time we were together: Myself and my son Dolphi, Lajbaly Goldberg (my brother's son-in-law), Koppelmann and his son, Schaje Kawaler, his wife with son and daughter, and Wilus Knoll.

Lajbaly and Koppelmann said the prayers. It was heartrending when we, all together, crying loudly, said the "Kadysch".

This was the first and also the last Jahrzeit for all mentioned above. Except for myself, not one of them is alive any more.

They lost their young lives because they were Jews.

Previous Page   |   Next Page

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Nadworna, Ukraine     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Ada Green

Copyright © 1999-2024 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 9 July 2004 by LA