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The Destruction of the Jewish Community of Piotrkow
By the Nazis during World War II

  1. Disaster
  2. Extermination
  3. Resistance
By Dr. Joseph Kermish, Israel

Translated by P. Wollman, U.S.A.

Edited by Hassia Ben Harari and Joseph Goldberg, Israel

Typed up by Genia Hollander

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I. Disaster

The town of Piotrkow was heavily bombed at 08:30 in the morning on Saturday, September 2, 1939, the day following the outbreak of the war. Hundreds of bombs were dropped on the city, and Romek Zaks, who was killed at once at Slowacki Street (Kaliska)[1] was the first Jewish victim. Lolek Epstein was also killed on the same day.

A second heavy bombing took place the next day, Sunday, beginning at 10:00hr in the morning and caused many casualties. About 100 explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped during the day, destroying a number of public buildings such as the city hall, police headquarters, the State Bank, Bank Polski and the post office, as well as the city water system.[2] Numerous Jewish homes were set on fire as well, but a large number of Jews managed to escape to Sulejow (Silev), near the Pilica River, 15km from Piotrkow in the direction of Lublin.

The city itself became an empty shell, but the main roads became congested with thousands of refugees loaded with whatever little possessions they had managed to hurriedly take with them. These refugees were trying to reach the shelter of the woods in the belief that they would be safe there from the German air raids. Even while many streamed from the city, others, from outside, were turning towards it.[3]

The Jews who sought protection in Sulejow were bitterly disappointed for that town was heavily bombed on the afternoon of September 4th. Several squadrons of German bombers attacked it twice with explosive and incendiary bombs. The small houses collapsed in flames, burning to death those unfortunate people who didn't succeed in escaping. Those who escaped the bombing of the town were strafed by the planes as they fled. Among the thousands killed were over 1,000 Jews and the dead lay spread out on the streets.

After the Germans occupied Sulejow, the surviving Jews buried their dead in two mass graves. Individual graves were accorded only to those such as the Dayan of Piotrkow, Rabbi Jacob Glazer, his daughter and grandchild, who were found by their relatives. Some Piotrkow families, for instance, the Goldblum family, were completely annihilated in Sulejow.[4]

Tuesday, September 5th at 4p.m. the Germans entered Piotrkow and conquered the city after two hours of street fighting. The same day, they shot twenty Jews, among them Rabbi Yechiel Meir Fromnitski, Reb Eliezer Blumstein and Reichman.

The next day, September 6th, the Germans set fire to the whole Jewish quarter which encompassed the square of Jerozolimska, Wspolna, Warszawska (Jews' Street) and Zamkowa Streets. Jews trying to escape from the burning houses were shot on the spot. The only ones saved were those who managed to run, unnoticed, over a narrow “Dead Lane”, officially Wspolna Street to the Henoch Horn house, which had a gate at Zamkowa 13. Epstein, the painted, was fatally wounded while trying to escape. An hour later, after the fire ceased, the Germans entered the house at Zamkowa 13, took out six Jews, ordered them to run and shot them. Five of the Jews died instantly and one, Reb Bunem Lebel was wounded and later died.[5]

The streets of the city were covered with bodies, many of which lay there for several days. Volunteer brigades of workers and artisans were quickly organized by Jewish “Ashanim” (public functionaries) to remove the corpses to the cemetery.

In light of the German atrocities, the Jews still hidden in their homes were panic stricken. They soon noticed that the Germans were primarily interested in their property. Individually or in groups, the Germans invaded the Jewish community and stole everything on which they could lay their hands such as clothes, linens, furs, carpets, valuable books, etc.

The doors to the homes of rich Jews never shut; no sooner did one group of looters leave than another appeared, guided by the local Folksdeutsche or by members of the Polish underworld. Often, they came to Jewish stores with trucks and took away all the merchandise. Thus, the stores of Ziskind and Meir Frenkel were emptied. A roomful of merchandise belonging to a Jew of Katowitz was confiscated at Szewska 8, and a large sum of money was taken from Reb Motel Michelson under pretence that it was counterfeit. All the possessions of Baruch Zilbershatz and many others were taken. On Shabbat Tshuva, September 16th, almost everything was stolen from Mrs. Baila Raichman's hardware store on the Platz Trybunalski, from Yitzhak Aron Sochatchewski's grocery store on Farna Street and from a number of smaller stores. On the eve of Yom Kippur, the confiscation of furniture, clothing and pillows from the Jews began.

The Germans often invited the Poles on the streets to participate in the robberies, after which they fired bullets into the air in order to give the impression that they were driving away the Polish “thieves”. These scenes were photographed in order to create the impression that the Germans were protecting Jewish property from Polish looters.[6]

A decree was issued on the eve of Rosh Hashana that shops must be kept open every day of the week except Sunday and that whoever did not comply would be punished as a saboteur. Jews were forbidden to be outside their homes after 17hr and Getzel Frenkel, aged 27, was shot to death for coming home five minutes late.[7]

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Jews, old people included, were kidnapped and sent to forced labour camps where they were tortured or beaten, often to the point of unconsciousness. The kidnappings took place during the days preceding Rosh Hashana (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, September 11th, 12th and 13th) as well as on the holiday itself. Jewish men hid themselves in cellars, attics and other places.

The Germans shut up whole houses in the Judengasse, Platz Trybunalski, Pilsudski Street and in other small streets in their search for men to work in the forced labour camps. In the course of the searches, many things were stolen from the Jews. Those who were found were brutally beaten, especially religious Jews who were discovered with prayer shawls (talis-koton) or wearing skull caps (kipot). Their beards were torn off together with their skin. Mezzuzot were cut down and torn and phylacteries (tefillin) and holy books were torn up and burned. The remaining Jews, thereupon, were forced to abandon their traditional apparel, to cut off their beards and to hide the tefillin and holy books. The Germans ordered the Jews to wash floors and windows with talessim and shrouds (tachrichim), and to use pages of the Talmud and other sacred books for the purpose.[8]

Jews caught for hard labour were sent to one of several places. Those who were lucky were sent to military bakeries where they often received a loaf of bread after work. The work of loading and unloading wagons was onerous, but the fate of Jews sent to work with the “Black” (SS Precinct) in the “Casino” or in the Landrat School on 3rd, May Avenue, was indeed pitiful. The object of the work there was torture rather than production. Jews were forced, for instance, to do “gymnastics” at which time they were beaten and exposed to all kinds of humiliations. While this was taking place, hundreds of Poles watched, laughing and enjoying the sight of the tormented Jews. Labour conditions were somewhat better, however, at German Headquarters in the Railway Workers' House, called “Pekin”, at Pieratska Street[9], captured girls, especially well-dressed ones, were also sent to do housework in houses and hospitals[10].

One affliction suffered by the Jews during the early days under the new regime was their being chased away or beaten as they queued for food together with other citizens. Any opposition on the part of the Jews resulted in their being shot[11]. During the Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, as Jews gathered to pray hurriedly in the synagogues, in the “Shtiblech” or in private homes, other oppressions were inflicted upon them. Several German officers entered the synagogue at the end of Mussaf, causing confusion among the worshipping Jews who escaped hurriedly. Twenty-nine worshipers were taken from the Amshinower Shtibel on Farna Street, brutally beaten and taken to prison. Among those arrested were the Rabbi of Ushiakow; Yitzhak Aron Sochatchewski, lay-leader of the congregation; Baruch Asher Nudelman, Dean of the “Beth-Yosef” Yeshiva; Moshe Chaim Zalmanowitz and Reb Peretz Praschker, head of the Talmud Tora.

The news of this even rapidly spread over the city, causing great fright, consternation and anxiety[12]. After long and terrible torture, the 20 arrested Jews were forcibly shaven and then sent to a concentration camp in Germany. Reb Peretz Praschker died on the way to the camp and some of the others returned four weeks later without shoes and in rags.[13]

There were no worshippers in the synagogue on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. On the day following Rosh Hashanah, the Germans searched the premises of Judengasse 13 (Staro-Warshawska) and found the Strykower Shtibel, whose two Torah scrolls were torn up and burned. Reb Motel Michelson's home at 13, Garncarska Street was searched that day as well, and a complete set of the Talmud (Vilner Shas) that was found there was torn up and thrown out of the window. Two Torah scrolls from the prayer house “Chessed Shel Emeth”, located in the same yard, were trampled on and desecrated.

The demolition of synagogues and prayer houses was begun several days later. Two days before Yom Kippur, officers and troops entered the closed synagogue, broke up the furnishings and completely destroyed the beautifully ornamented Eastern wall. They broke down the artistic Holy Ark which was built into the wall, tore up the floors and broke up the pulpit, chests, lamps, etc. The synagogue's Torah scrolls, many of them valuable antiques, were partially torn up. All the scrolls, both torn and intact, were then put out onto the square in front of the synagogue.

The Beth Hamidrash was subjected to similar destruction. Desecrated and cut Torah scrolls, benches, stands and parts of the demolished Holy Ark and pulpit were put out in the square in front of the synagogue. Almost all the books, among them are old first editions which had been presented to the Beth Hamidrah 200 years earlier by the wealthy Rabbi of Piotrkow, Rabbi Natan Neta Piotrkower, were torn up.

German guards were set at the square to prevent to Jews from rescuing the scrolls which lay, for a long time, exposed to the autumn rains.

All the silver ritual objects in the synagogue were confiscated with the exception of silver objects of Lipnie in Upper Silesia, which had been transferred to Piotrkow the day before the outbreak of the war for security reasons. These were hidden in the cellar at Dobroczynnosc and were kept there until 1942[14].

The Germans squeezed several thousand prisoners-of-war, among them many Jews, into the synagogue and the Beth Hamidrash on the eve of Yom Kippur. Jews were seized and set to cleaning the synagogue and the Beth Hamidrash which had become defiled with human excrement since the prisoners had no other place where they

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were able to take care of their needs. For the cleaning work, they were given talessim, Torah scroll covers, curtains of the Holy Ark (parochets) and “kittles”.

On Yom Kippur, the Jews were searched for talessim, Torah scrolls, tefillim and holy books. There was no more public worship and those who prayed individually did so as the Marranos had done in Spain hundreds of years earlier. Jews were caught for 24-hour work stints on Yom Kippur and forced (some of them in prayer shawls) to load barrels of gasoline. The Jews had to pass a row of vicious guards, armed with truncheons and bars, who beat them ruthlessly. Many of the Jews did not survive these blows[15]. On Yom Kippur, a group of Jews were accused of buying eggs, butter, etc., from the peasants and were arrested, beaten and made to endure other terrible indignities[16].

The Germans ordered long, deep pits to be dug at the end of the cemetery and a large toilet was erected there for the thousands of prisoners. A great number of tombstones, which had been dug out before the war due to the initiative of the “Iwo”, were removed from the graves. These tombstones (many of them decorated with the Polish Eagle and other designs) were used to form a sidewalk running from the synagogue to the toilet and crossing the whole cemetery. One night, a few days after Succoth, the toilet was removed by unknown individuals. For this, 22 Jews were arrested as hostages on the following day and a fine of 20,000 zloty and numerous articles of food such as coffee, tea and cocoa, was imposed on the Jewish community. After paying the fine, the community erected a new toilet on its own account, in the yard of the Jewish hospital which bordered the cemetery[17].

The synagogue and Beit Hamidrash were finally emptied of prisoners at the beginning of November and the guard was taken away from the square where the remnants of the Torah scrolls and other religious articles had been lying. The Jews immediately mobilized themselves to save the scrolls while the Poles carried off the benches, tables and the remnants of the Holy Arks of the synagogue and Bet Hamidrash to be used as firewood. The synagogue and the Beth Hamidrash remained empty, but were shut by the Germans. The window and door frames, floorboards and whatever books still remained in the Beth Hamidrash were taken away by the Poles to be used as fuel and only the four walls were left. Little-by-little, the Jews rescued the Torah scrolls and books from the square and brought them to the cemetery where they were hidden in the tens (ohel) of the Rabbis[18].

In October, the Wehrmacht (German military forces) gave the rule over the city to a civil administration headed by a commissar, Oberburgermeister Hans Drexel. Two weeks later, a Jewish Community Council (Judenrat) was appointed. It was headed by the “Bund” leader, Zalman Tenenberg, former instructor of “Ort” and pre-war chairman of the Jewish community, member of the city council and chairman of the professional unions; In the 24-member Judenrat, the majority were members of the “Bund” or of other socialist groups, as had been the case in the pre-war community council.

Besides the Chairman, Tenenberg, and the treasurer, Zalman Statchewski (formerly a member of the Municipal Council), other “Bund” leaders in the Judenrat were: Leon Kimmelman, Maurise Meirowitz and Shmuel Zeiten, former city and Jewish community councilmen: Yeshaya Weingarten, former member of the Jewish community council; Yitzhak Samsonowitz, former head of the Department of Culture and Education in the Municipality; Tanchum Freund, former head of the Students' Advisory Council of Ort and Moshe Sternfeld. The representatives of the General Zionists were: Michael Hertz, Berish Bitsh, Abraham Eli Rosenthal and Joseph Berish Rosenblum. The Aguda representatives were Motel Michelson, Baruch Zilbershatz, Fishel Lubliner and Moshe Nordman. The right wing of Poalei Zio was represented by Simcha David Blachman and the left wing by Shimshon Gomolinski. Shmuel Eliahu Ziegelman represented the Socialist Artisans' Union and Abraham Samelson represented the Artisans' Union. Finally, Shimon Warshawski was representative of all the non-affiliated Jews.

The Secretary-General of the Judenrat was Samsonowitz and the Treasurer was Statchewski. Other department heads were as follows: Marcus Litmanowitz (General Department); S. Blachman (Finance); F. Lubliner (Supply); Abraham Weishof (Technical Dept.); Pinchas Nissenson (Economic Dept.); M. Sternfeld (Social Investigation and Welfare), who was later arrested and replaced by M. Nordman; Dr. Jacobowitz (Medical and Sanitary Dept); Ziegelman (Labour Director); Poznanski (Registration); Simon Stein (Housing Dept); J.B. Rosenblum and Bunem Kaminski (Funeral Dept); Judge Borenstein (Law and Legal Advice); Engineer Lipe Hirsch Broide (Commerce and Trade); and Bitsch (Post, Telephone and Telegraph).

Together with the members of the Jewish Police, which was set up in the Spring of 1941, about 500 people worked in the Jewish community[19].

The Jewish Police Service (Ordnungs-Dienst) was headed by the lawyer, Stanislaw Zilberstein, and was responsible for matters of supply and health. Its function was to supervise the regular bathing of the inhabitants as well as to see to it that those unwilling to work as requested by the Labour Department, were forced to cooperate. Their first operation was to arrange for gardens in the Jewish quarter. A year after it began its activities, the Police Service of Piotrkow was reorganised. It was then composed of 45 members divided into three groups. In connection with this reorganization and its expanded functions, the Service received special hats and arm badges. The Judenrat was very strict about the behaviour of the Jewish policemen, at least at the beginning of its functioning[20].

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The heads of all the parties sat in the Jewish Council of Piotrkow. These men had been the elected representatives of the community in the pre-war period. The Jewish Council, during the first period of the occupation, developed real social work services. It did its best to satisfy the needs of the population within the scope of its possibilities. The fact must be considered that Jewish life during the occupation was concentrated within the framework of the community which took care of supply, housing problems, taxes, social work, etc[21].

An Emigration Committee operated from December 8th, 1939, first at 27, Pilsudski Street. This committee issued a special communiqué on December 26, 1940, announcing that the registration of emigrants to Soviet Russia would be continued and that the date of departure of the first emigrant trains would be announced publicly.

The Emigration Committee functioned with the permission of the German authorities who sent special forms to the Jewish Council to be filled by proposed emigrants who designated themselves as “Ukrainian citizens”. The projected exchange with Russia of “Ukrainian citizens” against citizens of German origin residing in Russia ended in a fiasco, as the Russians saw through the German deceptions. It was, nevertheless, possible to smuggle Jews of Piotrkow over the border into Russia and many Jews, including whole families with children, made the attempt. The fugitives were exposed to many dangers before reaching Russian border cities, Malkinya, Biala Podlaska and others, and many of them perished on the way. Some of them returned, ragged and barefooted. It must be noted that some of those who came back did so even though they had already crossed the border.

Besides the emigration to the Soviet Union, the Committee probed the possibilities of Jewish emigration to other European countries and overseas, establishing contacts for the purpose with Hias and with shipping companies such as Adriatica, Francopol and Norddeutscher Lloyd. The Committee also mediated between residents of Piotrkow and their relatives abroad. According to correspondence from Piotrkow published in the official Jewish newspaper of occupied Poland, “Gazeta Zydowska” N°19 of September 24th, 1940, a few Jewish families emigrated prior to the prohibition of Jewish emigration from Poland. Emigration of Jews was officially prohibited in October, 1940 by the Hauptreichs-Sicherheits-Amt, (the Chief Security Office of the Reich) in Berlin as it was felt that the emigration of Polish Jews had great influence on the “spiritual renaissance of North American Jewry”.

The Committee also dealt with the search for missing persons and relatives during the war, making contacts for the purpose with other Jewish communities in Poland and abroad. Lists of all persons who left Piotrkow after September 4th, 1939, were prepared. As a result of the work done by the Committee, financial aid from several countries reached Piotrkow during a certain period[22]. It is not known when the Committee ended its activities.

An order to erect a ghetto in Piotrkow (for the first time officially called a “Ghetto”) was issued on October 8th, 1939 by the city commissar, Oberburgermeister Hans Drexel. This was the first ghetto in the occupied areas of Poland. In accordance with this order, a registration of the Jewish population was to be ready by October 20th. A special appeal of the Judenrat on October 28th requested the Jewish population to cover the expenses of erecting the ghetto and to move into it no later than October 31, 1939, in conformance with the order received from Drexel. Initially, the order did not include those Jews who had special permission to remain outside of the ghetto until a special date. At the same time, landlords and tenants were requested not to interfere with the moving of the Jewish population to the localities set aside for them by the community.

Sign-posts were set up at the exist of the ghetto about December 1939, bearing a white skull on a blue background (40x60cm in size). The ghetto as yet had no fences or guards and these signs were, for the time being, the only announcement of its existence. They cause, however, considerable anxiety among the Jews.[23]

Simultaneously with the erection of the posts on the ghetto borders, the Jewish Council issued orders on December 20, 1939, that all Jews still living outside the ghetto or having businesses there must move into the ghetto at once. This request included those who had obtained temporary or permanent permits to live outside the ghetto as well as those who applied to the authorities for permission to live outside. The Council warned that the German authorities would impose severe punishment on anyone transgressing the above orders[24]. The Jews who had to leave their dwellings in the rest of the city in order to move into the ghetto were allowed to take only their pillows and blankets with them. Thus, with one stroke, the 600 Jews who had to leave their homes became paupers. Those Christians who lived in the area of the ghetto had to move out.[25]

The area of the ghetto included the following streets:

Jerozolimska N°s. 1-19,19a,20-42,44,70,72,76,84,86,90-93,96-97,97a,99,101,105,138,140,142,144,146,148,150,153-159: Mala N°s: 1-7; Krzywa N°s. 1-20,22,24,26,28: Spatzerowa N°s:7-10: Handlowa N°s: 3-5; Rzemieshlnitza N°s: 1-8,10-12,14,18,19,21,23,27,28,33. Litewska N°s: 1-3,6-15,17-20,22,24,26; Platz Litewski N°s:1-14: Odjelna N°s.2-14,18,20,22,24,26,28,30,32; Wieyska N°S:1-10,12-16,17,19,21; Pilsudski N°s:1-33; Zamkowa N°s:1-5,16,19,24; Garntsarska N°s:1-13,16,24,26,28; Peretz N°s: 2-14,11,17; Leonarda N°s: 1-15,20; Staro-Warshawska N°s: 1-35; Zamurowa N°s: 1-16; Farna Nos: 1-8;

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Platz Tsarnietski N°s: 2-10; Lazienna Mokra N°s: 1-6; Konarska N°s: 1-4; Rynek Tribunalski N°s: 1-12; Rwanska N°s: 1-5; Ritserska N°s: 5-10; Sheratzka N°s: 1-10; Shewska N°s:1-10; Platz Niepodlegloschi N°s: 2-7; Nadrowa N°s: 2-6; and Wspolna N°s: 1,6,8[26]

Characteristically, the ghetto borders were complicated and ran in a crooked line. They were determined in many cases with the help of bribes from landlords who feared that the houses they owned would fall outside the ghetto boundaries. These landlords raised a collection among themselves in order to bribe the authorities concerned to set the borders in a manner favourable to them. There were even houses which were “islands” apart from the ghetto, yet considered part of it.[27]

The only Jews outside of the ghetto were old Dr. Shantser who had been an apostate for 60 years, Jacob Witorsh, who was a Turkish citizen and an Egyptian named Kam. These people were only briefly permitted to be exceptions; during the “Action”, they were transferred to the ghetto and from there to Treblinka.[28]

In accordance with the orders of City Commissar Drexel of December 1, 1939, Jews were permitted outside their homes in the ghetto only between the hours 8:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m. and they were allowed to be outside the ghetto only between 11hr a.m. to 13hr p.m. The order of October 5, 1939, restricted the Jews to their homes except between 10hr a.m. to 13hr p.m. and 15hr p.m. to 16hr p.m. as punishment for purchasing food, which was regarded as an act of sabotage.

They were permitted to walk in some streets for longer hours than in others and were not permitted the use of the main streets at all. There were other streets where they were allowed to walk only on the road and were punished if they used the sidewalks. Even in part of Pilsudski Street (since the invasion of Russian known also as Ostland Street), which was within the ghetto borders, they were forbidden to walk on one sidewalk. Signs were put up reading: “Jews are forbidden to use the sidewalk”.

The Jews used the few hours during which they were permitted to be outside the ghetto to take walks around the city or take the short train ride to Przyglow and Wlodzimierzow where they could stroll in the surrounding woods. Those who transgressed the restrictive orders were threatened with dire punishment under martial law for sabotage, punishment which was actually carried out.[29] After the “sperrstunde” (curfew time), a dead silence fell on the ghetto as all the inhabitants sat in dread and wondered what events the coming night would bring.[30]

As time went on, the decrees, prohibitions and limitations increased in number and severity. According to the decree of Governor-General Frank for the occupied provinces of Poland, dated November 23, 1939, the local decree of December 12, 1939, and the decrees of the city and district of Piotrkow of December 23, 1939, all Jews over the age of ten were required to wear a white badge sewed on to their right sleeves. The bade had to be at least 10cm wide, embellished with a blue Magen David of 1cm wide and 8cm long. Those who failed to comply with the order would be punished with six months imprisonment and required to pay a large fine.

The local despots, it should be noted, did not wait for orders to be given by the central authorities with regard to the Jews, but issued even severer restrictions on their own initiative. For example, the “Kreishauptman”(district captain) Buss of Piotrkow, on November 27th, ordered all Jews over the age of six to wear a yellow badge 10cm in width on their right arms.[31]

The city commissar, Oberburgermeister Drexel, on December 1, ordered all persons who had even one Jewish parent, and even converted Jews, to wear a yellow bade on their right forearms bearing the inscription “Jude”. Anyone found without such a badge from December 3rd would be court-martialled.

Similarly, all Jewish stores had to affix a white sign with a blue Magen David to their premises in order to “protect the non-Jewish population from the Jews”. Even the droshkes (hacks) in the ghetto (of which only 10 remained by the summer of 1940) had to bear a Magen David.[32]

The decrees which aimed to legally expropriate Jewish property ruled that no Jew was to be allowed to possess more than 2,000 zloty or any gold or jewellery, nor was he permitted to earn more than 5,000 zloty per month. Jews were prohibited from working in heavy industry or in public or governmental institutions; they were not allowed to bake bread for Aryans nor to engage in trade with them. They were neither permitted to heal Aryan patients nor to be treated by Aryan physicians. Furthermore, Jews were not allowed to leave the city without a permit nor to ride on a train.[33]

An even greater calamity was the request for frequent “contributions” by the local authorities, on their own initiative or, more frequently, on the orders of the Governor-General. The first “contribution” amounted to 25,000 zloty, another was for 15,000 zloty and a third for 350,000 zloty, and there were also contributions in kind. The Ringelblum Archive contains the written order for the contribution of 350,000 zloty within a few hours. On November 29th, the Commissar of the Piotrkow city district presented the Jewish Council with the following decree: “In accordance with the order of Herr Governor-General (Hans Frank) of the occupied territories in Poland, you are requested to deliver 350,000 zloty to my office by 11:a.m. today. If this request is not complied with, punitive measures will be taken as ordered by the Governor-General”.

It is needless to go into detail on the difficulties involved in raising such a large sum in a few hours. Many wealthy and middle-class Jews had escaped from the town but the sum had to be paid somehow. During one of the

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periods during which a sum of money had to be raised, three hostages were held and were beaten so mercilessly that one of them, Leib Desseau died.[34]

On October 29, 1939, the Jewish Council, in compliance with a local decree of the German authorities which was issued in the “Ordinances of the City and District of Piotrkow” (N°3, October 26, 1939), requested all Jewish producers and merchants of textiles and leather goods, as well as shoemakers, to deliver an inventory of their goods to the city commissar.[35]

The German authorities, at the end of November 1939, ordered all Jews to bring their merchandise to the Jewish Council. Part of the textiles confiscated by the Germans was returned to the Jewish Council for storage, on the pretext that it was for the use of the Jewish population.[36] On March 4th, 1940, the chairman of the Jewish Council announced that all property owners over the age of 21 had until March 10th to register all their property with the Council offices located at Garntsarska N°7.[37]

The German, Ronig took over the administration of the expropriated Jewish houses which were located outside the ghetto. Jews also worked in this office. The Germans also appointed commissars, among others, to be in charge of Jewish firms and stores. Important Jewish firms thus directed included the Piotrkower Manufacturing Co. Goldblum Mill, the Phoenix Glass Works, the Spirit Rectification plant, the Wola Krzysztoporska farm and chemical factory, the Panel Plywood factory, Patzanowski and son and Joseph Goldfried's vinegar factory.[38]

At the beginning of the occupation the relations between the Germans and the Jews depended, to a large extent, on the Jewish Council, that is to say, the larger the bribes that could be paid to the Germans, the more agreeable the relations. The Council, therefore, operated a kind of business which enabled them to satisfy the needs of the Germans for furniture, Persian carpets, furs, paintings, diamonds, etc. They were often ordered to furnish, within a few hours, an apartment for one of Hitler's dignitaries. An undated appeal to the community found in the Ringelblum Archive, requests the Jewish population to voluntarily declare, in order to avoid requisitions, what furniture they possessed for the apartments which were to be occupied by German military personnel.[39]

At times, the chairman of the Jewish Council succeeded in easing the restrictions by bribery. Many Jewish “transgressions” were dispelled in the warehouse of the community, where all the goods delivered by Jewish merchants were stored. This merchandise was not officially for sale, but the Gestapo, police and other officials constantly “bought” from the storage place. The best Jewish tailors and shoemakers were overrun with work orders for the Germans and their families. Many Jews were thus saved from imprisonment or death for minor transgressions with the help of the community warehouse and the Jewish craftsmen.[40]

A report by Commander-in-chief, Ost, dated February, 1940, states that two sergeants of Battery 182/3 in Piotrkow on February 18, 1940, captured two Jewish girls, Miss Machmanowitz aged 18 and Miss Satanowska aged 17 and forced them at gunpoint to the Jewish cemetery where they were raped.[41]

Even before the law of compulsory labour which forced Jews aged 14 to 60 to work as slave labourers was issued, the Jews were exploited for hard tasks. They were ordered to carry out such work as street cleaning, labour in German military units, in city buildings, etc. German soldiers, Gestapo men, railway clerks and “Selbstschutz” members would enter Jewish houses, search and capture Jewish men, forcing them to compulsory work; The point of this indignation was often not because the work had to be done, but merely to humiliate them in the cruellest possible manner.[42] Through its employment office, the community regularly delivered a quote of Jewish workers. Jews who were unwilling to work had to pay a weekly fee for each work day they missed. The Jewish Council was known to have made a payment, in February 1940, of 25 zloty per day for 28 work days to 1,000 compulsory workers.[43] Some Germans, however, were unwilling to take on workers from the employment office and continued to capture Jews for work details, claiming that the capturing of Jews gave them pleasure.[44]

A decree from the city commissar was delivered to the Jewish Council at the end of November, 1939, ordering them to deliver 1,000 workers daily under police escort, beginning December 2 for the urgent task of erecting barracks on the rear square of the synagogue and on Litewska Street. The barracks, 40m long and 28m wide, had to be completed by December 10 and were to serve as lodging for the masses of displaced Jews who were expected to arrive in Piotrkow.

At the request of City Commissar Drexel, the Jewish Council had to deliver exact registration lists of Jewish inhabitants, according to their addresses, during the first two days of December. Lindner, a German architect, was put in charge of the work of building the barracks and the German police detailed to the job were under the command of Schwapert. The Municipality's technical office supervised the technical execution of the work.

On December 6th, Drexel ordered the community to immediately deliver all materials needed to erect the barracks and to supply material for the restoration of the military barracks (at Curie Skladowska Street) and for the inside equipment (barrack bunk beds) of the synagogue (Jerozolimska Street) and of the Jewish Gymnasium (Peretz Street). In addition to supplying the workers and the material, the community also had to “satisfy the claims of the third parties”.[45]

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In order to arrange for covering the huge expenses involved in building the barracks, a meeting was arranged for the trustees of wealthy Jewish firms at which it was decided that administered firms belonging to the Jews would make a one-time donation for the benefit of the community. The Piotrkower Manufacturing Co. gave 10,000 zloty; the Warshawianka Mill gave 4,000 zloty, the Renoma Mill 2,000 zloty, the Phoenix Glass Works 4,000 zloty, the Spirit Rectification plant 1,000 zloty and the Panel Plywood factory 1,000 zloty; in all: 22,000 zloty were collected.[46]

As related by the late Jacob Kurtz, the barracks at Litewska Street remained uncompleted and the second set of barracks were used by the German artillery. However, the bunks erected in the synagogue and the Beth Hamidrash, as well as in the Gymnasium, served the masses of refugees and deported persons who were driven into the ghetto at Piotrkow.

During the first days of construction of the barracks, the Jewish forced labourers were cruelly beaten and tortured while carrying loads of boards and planks too heavy to bear. The Community had supplied carts for transporting the wood from Zilberstein's sawmill, 3km outside the city, but the Germans insisted that the wood be carried by the workers themselves. Avoidance of this forced labour was considered sabotage and was punishable by death.

Monday, December 4th, 1939, was a dreadful day. The Jews were ordered to run from the sawmill with heavy beams on their backs. Jews unable to do so were bayonetted! The cries and laments of wives, mothers and children who were gathered in the Community building rose to the skies. Immediate steps were taken to put an end to this awful state of affairs, and after a few days, the cruelty stopped.[47]

In January of 1940, all men aged 12 to 45 were registered for improvement work in the two nearby swamp villages, Mileyow and Witow which were under the administration of the trustees. Brigades of Jewish youth arrived daily to dig canals and trenches, removing tons of earth. The work was difficult and exhausting and the labourers worked up to their knees in water all day long. Many of them suffered from rheumatism and lumbago as a result, or contracted pneumonia or tuberculosis. They were forced to work naked and barefooted in winter under the harshest of conditions, without sufficient nourishment. Upon returning home, many of them fell sick and died.[48] The workers were supplied by the Jewish employment office which was managed, except for a brief period, by Shraga (Felix) Poznanski until the great “Action”.

Between March 14-19, a special registration for compulsory labour was carried out of men born between 1914 and 1923.[49] These men were also ordered to register in the office of the Community (23 Pilsudski Street) on March 28th, and to declare their income for the year 1939.

A short time later, 900 labourers aged 16-40 were sent to the notorious Lublin camps – Chechanow, Plazow, Belzetz and Dzikow. There, close to the border, they dug protective trenches and dungeons under terrible living and working conditions. The workers were transport daily some 15-25km to their place of work and were treated terribly. The people in Belzetz died of hunger and filth; labourers in Chechanow (under the command of S.S. officer Dolf) slept on the ground of a ruined house, winter and summer, and received a daily food ration consisting of 200gr of black bread and a watery soup. Camp prisoners from Piotrkow received food parcels from their families by way of the Jewish Council. A few days before Rosh Hashanah 1940, a delegation from the Jewish Council visited the prisoners in the Lublin camps and distributed clothes, food and money among them. This help was made possible thanks to Mr. Haber and Mr. Spiegel of Lublin, friends of Rabbi M.CH. Lau of Piotrkow. It did little to alleviate the hardships of the camp prisoners, a number of whom suffered from tuberculosis. Their weight dropped to 30kg. More than 60 prisoners were shot in the course of the work, but some of the young men succeeded in escaping and crossing the Russian border. The Rabbi of Piotrkow made an appeal for the prisoners before Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur eve in all the houses of worship, for the head of each household to contribute 10 zloty plus 1 zloty for each member of the family.

With the completion of the fortifications at the Russian-German border at the end of 1940, the camps were dissolved. The functionaries of the community in Piotrkow organized the repatriation of the camp prisoners. Those who carried out the rescue behaved heroically, especially Mr. Gomberg of Lodz, who exposed himself to frequent danger in the process. He died in Buchenwald shortly before the liberation of a contagious lung disease caught while saving the lives of other prisoners.[50]

During the summer of 1940, about 1,200 Jews worked near Piotrkow, doing river-control work under very difficult conditions. Many of them contracted rheumatism.[51] About 300 camp prisoners worked in Witow from April 1940 at control-work on the Lucianza River, under the supervision of the “Boleslaw Gombinski” firm. The camp in Witow was liquidated in December 1941. The 265 camp prisoners of Chechanow worked together with the Wolborz prisoners, controlling the Wolburka River under the direction of the E. Yaglinski firm. Many of the workers ran away from the unbearable working and sanitary conditions. The German authorities forced the Jewish Council to use the German Police to catch the escaped camp prisoners.[52]

Some of the people occupied themselves with working small gardens on the Rynek Trybunalski and Platz Tsarnetski. This work was supervised by Jacob Kurtz, a Palestinian, on the instructions of German Burgermeister Buss.[53] The gardens were instituted due to the efforts of

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the Jewish Council to employ a greater number of Jewish workers (about 1000) in the vicinity of Piotrkow.[54]

A number of local firms, the “Kara” glass works, “Hortensia”, “Phoenix”, the “Petrikauer Holzwerke” (wood factory) “Dietrich and Fischer” (over the Bugai); “Ostbahn”, “Kreisgenossenschaft”, etc., began to employ Jews in 1941 (about a year before the great “Aussiedlung Action”) but young workers were given priority.

The Jews employed in the glass works learned new occupations but the work itself was very hard. About 1100 Jews worked in the Kara Glass Works as firemen, breakers, can-blowers, glass-blowers, etc. They also loaded soda, coal and other materials. A great many of the afflictions of the Jews working in “Kara” were due to the managers Fogel, Papielowski and Mrozinski, and to the many foremen, German and Polish, who mistreated the Jews at every opportunity. A giant glass-cistern had to be built and a huge deep pit dug for the purpose. The Jews had to dig the masses of earth from the pit while foremen, armed with sticks, stood by, hurrying the workers. This excavation lasted a year and, in the summer of 1943, a new cistern was begun as well as other building work. Besides digging, the Jewish workers had to carry bricks and stones.

A group of very young boys worked at the Hortensia Glass Works (the director was Christman; the general manager, Kutschhammer and the personnel manager, Herford who was assisted by three Poles, Woidala, Slomka and Kubara. The work of these boys was to run with glasses, saucers, petrol flasks, bottles, wine glasses and other products. Another group of youngsters unloaded wagons or carried bricks and white-wash for the bricklayers. Work at “Hortensia” was not easy, but the conditions were much better than at “Kara”.

The workers of the “Petrikauer Holzwerke,” “Dietrich und Fisher” were recognized as a “productive element”. This factory was installed at the site of a textile factory “Piotrkower Manufacture” on the Bugaj, which had belonged to Max Zilberstein of Lodz, and which was carried off by the Germans. The “Zegwerke”, large mechanical wood-working shops equipped with machinery which had been confiscated from Jewish joineries, produced wooden items mainly for the German military authorities, barracks, tents, plywood and wooden blocks which were used as heating material for generators. The plant employed qualified carpenters as well as apprentices. In all, about 1,000 Jews and 700 Poles worked in the factory, not only at joinery but also at manual work. Paul Erich Dietrich and Fischer, German owners of the factory, were known to be sadistic individuals who mistreated the Jewish workers, especially at the time of the extermination action in the ghetto.

The Jews managed to smuggle food into the factory with the help of firemen, for the beet soups and mouldy bread they got to eat, there were not enough on which to subsist. The workshops organized in the “Ort” building by the Jewish Council must also be mentioned. Hundreds of skilled craftsmen worked in a series of workshops concentrated there.[55]

As a result of the forced resettlement of Jews, the ghetto became increasingly crowded with the influx of refugees from Gniezno, Tuszyn, Lodz, Pabianitz, the Poznan and Plotsk districts and other areas. The Jews from Gniezno arrived by passenger train. The city commissar informed the Community on February 5, 1940, that many transports of thousands of refugees would shortly arrive as part of the “Umsiedlung” (resettlement). The Community was to take care of the refugees and provide them with shelter. The Jews from Gniezno were settled in the neighbourhood of “Maccabee” and on the Platz Tsarnietski (“Judenplatz”) where bunks were quickly set up for them. Most of the new arrival were middle-class Jews, industrialists, merchants, landlords, doctors, engineers, officials and company owners. These families were housed in the ghetto like chicken in coops, each family receiving one tiny cubicle, narrow and so low that one could not stand upright in them.

The Jews of Tuszyn came to Piotrkow in far worse fashion. One cold winter night when the temperature was minus 20°C, all the Jews were expelled from their homes. Many children froze to death during this resettlement. These Jews were housed in the meat market. At the same time, Piotrkow Jews whose houses had been burnt, settled in the prayer houses (shtiblech) of Ger, Alexander, Radomsk, Krimelow, Skiernievitz and in Fishel Alexandrowitz' Beth Hamidrash.

The refugees from Lodz were mainly doctors, lawyers, engineers and manufacturers who were first kept for a few days in the Radogoszcz Prison near Lodz.[56] They arrived in Piotrkow during the winter if 1940 in masses, threadbare and barefooted. Even the belongings they had carried on their backs were confiscated during the trip. Many babies died on the way from the freezing cold. A number of Jews also arrived from Warsaw before the closing of the Warsaw ghetto, most of them refugees from Lodz who had previously escaped to Warsaw.

At the end of the winter in 1940, a large transport arrived from the Poznan and Plotsk districts. The transport consisted of over 3,000 Jews and shocked the Jews of Piotrkow who had never before faced the problem of resettlement on these dimensions. These Jews had been expelled during the night and were given only 15 minutes to get ready. Among them were some fortunate families who had succeeded in taking some objects of value with them and were later able to use them as their only source of income. In the spring of 1941, about 300 refugees from Skierniewitz and about 700 from Drabin and Sherpt arrived in Piotrkow.[57]

Before the outbreak of the war, the total population of Piotrkow was approximately 50,000, of whom about 15,000 were Jews. The Ghetto's population grew rapidly

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With the influx of refugees and numbered 14,100 on June 1, 1940, including 3,625 refugees, according to the official figures of the Jewish Council which was interested in minimizing the numbers for various reasons. On April 1, 1942 official figures listed 16,469 inhabitants, 8,141 of them refugees (mainly from the districts of Poznan, Drabin, Sherpts, Lodz and Skierniewitz, as well as from Kalish, Wielun, Sheradz, Suleyow, Serotsk and a number of villages in Pomorze such as Naklo, Shubin and Bydgoszch).

The number was actually much higher than the official figures and reached about 20,000 persons. According to the late J. Kurtz, the ghetto contained 13,800 permanent inhabitants in 1942. These inhabitants were officially registered according to the rules and carried Jewish passports, “Kenkarten” (yellow booklets in German and Polish containing a photograph of the owner and bearing a blue Magen David on the first page). Bearers of these cards were given bread cards and other rationed products allotted to Jews. There were also 4,000 “strangers” who had confirmations from the Jewish Council, but were not entitled to bread cards or other rations. In addition, about 2,000 Jews were not registered at all for various reasons. They had found themselves hiding places where they secreted themselves in times of danger.[58]

The refugees were settled by the Housing Department of the Jewish Council in the synagogue and on the balconies of the synagogue, in the prayer-houses and in other public buildings such as the gymnasium of “Maccabee”. Those would could afford it found accommodation in private houses and there was not a Jewish house which did not take in some of the refugees. Some of the Jews were resettled in Przyglow in houses which were quite unliveable. Regardless of the great overcrowding, the Community was prepared to take over 1,000 refugees from Krakow in the summer of 1940.[59]

The ghetto contained 182 houses comprising 4,178 rooms. On the average, there were four persons to a room although often as many as eight lived in a room.[60] The streets of the ghetto were always crowded, especially during the summer months. The Rynek Trybunalski and the Platz Tsarnietski (“Judenplatz”) where the Jews gathered to discuss the day's events, was constantly teeming.[61]

The Jewish Council of the Community provided the hordes of refugees with food. The most public-minded and most intelligent of the Jews worked for the Jewish Council and they had an influence on the social life of the ghetto. Other relief organizations were set up but their possibilities were limited. Many of the Piotrkow Jews volunteered to help the unfortunate refugees and took children or adults home where they shared their own beds with them.[62]

The Department of Social Welfare became intensely active, giving permanent support where needed as well as emergency help to the wayfarers in Piotrkow and providing the poor with food and clothing. They organized a dental clinic and a pharmacy. A special committee of the Jewish Council collected clothes for the resettled and a nursery was set up in a rented room. The clinic supplied medical care and also ran a kitchen, distributing 180 portions of mild a day and canned foods. There was also a special children's clinic which was very active (it even had sun-lamps).[63]

The local population became poorer and poorer. Work opportunity and earnings of hundreds of Jewish workers were reduced to a minimum, and economic enterprises went bankrupt as a result of the restrictions on Jewish trade. Lawyers, engineers, officials and other members of the free professions were unemployed.[64]

The only source of income for many of the inhabitants was from the sale of personal belongings. As time went on, the number of people who had to be fed by the Community became greater. A social welfare kitchen was organized by a number of public-spirited women (the wife of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau organized the kitchen with the cooperation of Mrs. Henia Greenberg, wife of the doctors; Malvina Tenebaum, sister of Dr. Z. Tenenbaum and Mrs. Bunem Kaminski) and distributed over 1,000 hot meals daily during the period it functioned.[65]

Two kitchens distributed soup during the summer of 1940. One kitchen for children under the age of 14 and the other for adults. The kitchens were for the refugees and served 600 persons. These was also a kitchen for the “intelligentsia” which distributed free meals for certain persons who were incognito.[66]

The Social Welfare Department wanted to increase the number of meals to 1,200 daily for adults and 1,000 for children. However, the problem of supplies proved to be a hindrance to the scheme. It was impossible to buy more food or more coal, and utensils and space for setting up additional kitchens were also lacking.

The situation was so difficult, even for the wealthier sectors of the population, that any proper social work on the level of what had been done before the war, was impossible. The war damage, the contributions and requisitions, the building of barracks, the reconstruction of the bath house (as part of a de-lousing station) and other expenditures which were financed by the Community, impoverished the permanent tax-payers.[67]

There was a small minority of Jews who managed to have a good time, even in the ghetto. This group consisted mainly of highly skilled craftsmen, tailors, shoemakers and the like, who worked for the Germans. They were not restricted in their movements outside the ghetto and could trade on the black market. This group spent its evenings in its own exclusive circles or in the cafés of Rama and Jurkiewitz, playing billiards and poker while scores of other Jews, especially the refugees, were dying for lack of bread. During the hunger days, more than 30 deaths were registered daily. Most of the refugees from the Poznan transport camp died, one by one.[68]

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The newly established Jewish Social Welfare District Committee appealed to the Jewish population, at the beginning of the summer of 1941, to pledge a regular monthly contribution to feeding poor children.[69] As the poverty of the population increased, children begging in the streets became a common sight and the work of the soup-kitchens operated by the Social Welfare Committee increased greatly. The kitchens distributed 2,100 meals daily during the summer of 1941, while the special kitchen for the “intelligentsia” (including a number of Orthodox Jews) distributed 550 meals a day. The children's kitchen distributed 450 meals a day for children aged 5-12. In addition, the orphanage provided for 72 children.

The Mother-and-Child Clinic of the Social Welfare Committee provided medical care for 200 children, distributing a daily milk ration for children aged 1 to 3. Due to the initiative of the Clinic, the Jewish Council ordered compulsory small-pox vaccinations for children. Injections against measles were also given to children who were 9 months old in 1941 as well as to all children who had never been immunized.[70]

That the condition of the Jews in other towns of the province of Piotrkow was no better was brought out in the protocol of the Conference of Judenrat representatives of the district which took place in Piotrkow on January 19, 1941, and was presided over by Tenenberg, chairman of the Jewish Council of the entire province. In addition to the representatives of the Piotrkow Jewish Council (Chairman Tenenberg, Vice-chairman Simon Warshawski, Samsonowitz, Director of the Organizational Department, and Mrs. Goldberg, Head of the District Department) the following heads of other town councils participated in the conference: S. Glogowski of Przyglow-Wlodzimierzow; H. Weintraub of Suleyow; Rosenblatt of Wolborz; Sheinfarber of Kaminsk; Kenigstein of Wola Krzysztoporska and Carmiel of Rozprza (to which belonged the two villages of Porzniewitze and Niechcice).

The situation in Suleyow, Przyglow, Kaminsk and Wola Krzysztoporska was very difficult. The Jewish population of Przyglow had consisted of only nine families before the war, though many others spent their summer vacations there. Now some 500 refugees were domiciled in the empty villas. This tiny community, to which Joseph Goldstein was sent in May, 1941 as a special emissary to organize help, had no means of its own and a number of people died of starvation as a result of the situation. Accompanying hunger, a typhus epidemic spread in the village and took its toll among the Jews. The Piotrkow community did all it could to ease the situation, but even so, many of those who had survived the epidemic died of starvation.

The situation was just as bad in Wolborz. This community was forced to put up a bath-house on short notice at a cost of 5,000 zloty, by order of Dr. Brashkowski, the district physician. Bread and potatoes were lacking in the winter and 75% of the community perished. The Jews of Kaminsk were also starved, though some food was bought for them with contributions from the private resources of members of the Jewish Council.

The only help the Piotrkow committee of the Jewish Welfare Department was able to provide for the province was to give a small allotment of potatoes (30% of 30 tons) which was distributed by the Radom Jewish Welfare Department, to the most afflicted towns; Suleyow, Przyglow, Kaminsk and Wola Krzysztoporska.[71]

Even Jews who had formerly lived from agriculture in the small villages suffered from hunger. In Gieski, for example, some of its 20 families had lived from vegetable farming, while the rest had been officials or workers on the Niechcice farm. The Germans fired all the employed Jews on the Niechice farm and confiscated the small holdings of the Jews in Gieski. These Jews thereafter lived in poverty, together with five refugee families, until they were all expelled to Rozprza. Together with the Jews of Rozprza, they were later transferred to Piotrkow on the eve of the great “Action”.[72]

By the beginning of 1941, epidemics began to spread in Piotrkow as a result of the shocking housing situation and the bad sanitary conditions (the ghetto was only partly equipped with sewage and drainage systems). The first sporadic cases of contagious disease were partially isolated, with one doctor and two nurses in charge of each ward.

A large number of patients attended the out-patient clinic which was located first in the “Dobroczynnosch” yard and was later moved to the area of the Community offices. All the Jewish doctors of Piotrkow, including those who came from other places during the war, served in the out-patient clinic which was headed by Dr. Leon Weinzieher and included the following: Dr. M.A. Greenberg, Dr. Leon Glatter, Dr. Sigmund Tenenbaum, Dr. Maurice Brahms, Dr. Rattner from Poznan, Dr. Ziegler, Dr. Jacobowitz who was born in Piotrkow but had practiced in Belchatow and in Lodz, Dr. Basior, Dr. Sigmund Greenspan, his wife, Dr. Brass-Greenspan, Dr. Neumark and Dr. Rosenberg. The dental clinic was staffed by Drs. Rosenberg, Broide and Mila Weinzieher. Three registered nurses, Rosa Israelowitz, Maria Migus and Guta Cederbaum, worked in the clinic in addition to Jacob Abramowitz, medical assistant. The pharmacy of the clinic was managed by Musia Litmanowitz-Magilaner.

The beloved Dr. Rattner worked with exceptional devotion to the sick and the poor. He was later taken away to Treblinka together with his fellow Jews.

The clinic issued hundreds of chits entitling the sick to special food rations (1/2lb sugar and 1lb of flour or barley). The clerks of the clinic frequently forged the signature of the doctors in order to obtain more food for the poor who were entitled “the sick”. The doctors worked under difficult conditions in the out-patient clinic

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As the lacked necessary equipment and instruments which had been confiscated by the Germans at the beginning of the invasion.[73]

As the population of the ghetto increased and the over-crowding became worse, the diseases became epidemic. Epidemics of painful skin irritations which were very difficult to localise, spread particularly in the bunk rooms of the synagogue and “Maccabee”. Tuberculosis took a terrible toll and in 1941, a typhus epidemic claimed over 1,000 victims.[74]

Some doctors did not report the cases of typhus. The Jewish Council called a conference of all the doctors, sanitary personnel and representatives of the professionals. At the conference it was decided to make an all-out attack on the epidemic. Sanitary cadres were set up whose job it was to see to the hygiene and cleanliness in the ghetto, to find the hidden nests of typhus cases and to transfer the relatives of the sick to other accommodations. These relatives were put up in the building of the former Jewish High School but these precautions failed because of the overcrowding there. The disease was transferred even more widely by those persons who were able to escape from these isolation wards, carrying the disease.

The newly formed Sanitary Committee headed by Dr. Jacobowitz, introduced compulsory baths and disinfection of clothing every three weeks for the inhabitants of each house. The Sanitary Committee consisted of 60 men including office personnel, the disinfection staff and the “sanitary police”. When hats were distributed to the sanitary policemen, they looked just like the regular Jewish policemen. During the “Action” and afterwards, some of the sanitary police wearing hats with blue badges, carried out the same functions as the ordinary policemen and thus earned for themselves bitter notoriety.[75]

At the beginning of 1942, the sanitary police carried out some successful operations. Sanitary delegates of the house committees were re-organized in January. In order to improve the deplorable situation which existed in whole sections of the ghetto, a one-time cleaning operation was undertaken. The streets, yards, garbage cans and toilets were thoroughly cleaned with the help of workers sent from the employment office of the community and trucks which they managed to obtain from the Compulsory Administration of Jewish Property. The tenants themselves had to clean their own yards, staircases and entrance halls and those who did not do the work themselves had to pay workers to do it for them. The operation, conducted by the heads of the quarters and their assistants, with the help of the housing committee and the sanitary services, was a great success.

The typhus epidemic was finally beaten. Fewer people were sent to the isolation house and homes containing typhus cases were disinfected and isolated. Only a few cases remained in the whole ghetto.[76]

The absence of a hospital for contagious diseases was strongly felt during the epidemics (the existing department was tiny). The Jewish hospital had been occupied at the beginning of the war and integrated into the general hospital. Jewish patients were, therefore, treated in the municipal hospital and the cost of treatment was borne by the Social Department of the Community. A separate 50-bed Jewish hospital for contagious diseases was created at the beginning of 1942, in the building of the Jewish High School.[77]

Although the Jews of Piotrkow were restricted and oppressed, their situation was comparatively good compared with that of the Jews in other large cities of the occupied areas in the first years of German rule. The situation improved in Piotrkow in the summer of 1940 when the city commissar, the notorious Drexel, was transferred to Kielce. Drexel was succeeded by a new city commissar, Buss, who extorted money and other valuables from the Jews but who was less oppressive than his predecessor.

The Jewish Council took advantage of what little autonomy was granted it and managed to increase its food reserves to a large extent. The Supply Department bought as much food as it could, in addition to the official rations, even taking a proportion of the rations of the soup-kitchen with the consent of the German authorities. A certain quantity of coal was also obtained by the Jewish Council for the inhabitants.[78]

The Jewish Council became a kind of information centre concerning the position of the Jews in the occupied areas of Poland. This was due, to a great extent, to the fact that Piotrkow was located on the border between Occupied Poland and the areas of the West, including Lodz, which had been annexed to Germany. It should be noted here that the Piotrkow lawyer, Yitzhak Bogdanski, president of the Belchatow Judenrat, earned the reputation of being an honest and devoted leader who did all in his power to help people.[79]

On Saturday, July 5, 1941, Chairman Tenenberg and a group of “Bund” members of the Jewish Council were suddenly put under arrest after it was discovered that they were cooperating with the underground movement. These arrests came as a result of the detention of a woman liaison officer of the Polish Socialist Party (P.P.S) who was traveling on the Warsaw-Katowitz train carrying a suitcase containing confidential Jewish literature. After enduring inhuman tortures, the woman disclosed that the sender of the suitcase was Tanchum Freund. Tenenberg's aide, Yechiel Krzak, broke down during the investigations and disclosed the names of many persons.

Among those arrested by the Gestapo were many prominent persons and members of the Jewish Council, such as Jacob Berline, the popular “Bund” member in the ghetto who gave himself up to the Gestapo out of loyalty to his comrades: Zalman Statshewski; T. Freund and his wife; Abraham Weishof, former alderman and leader of

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the community; Moshe Adler, former community functionary and city councilman; Maurice Meirowitz, Yeshaya Weingarten, Shmuel Seiten and Yechiel Fish. Later, Moshe Sternfeld and Yitzhak Saner, one of the most active members of the “Bund” in Piotrkow, were also arrested. At the same time, Esther Wolfstein-Bogdanski, an active “Bund” member, was arrested and sent to the women's camp in Ravensbruch were Mrs. Freund was already incarcerated. Poalei Zion members Blachman and S. Gomulinski were arrested as well as was S.A. Ziegelman, representative of the Socialist Union of Artisans. A member of Poalei Agudat Israel was also arrested. The arrests were not limited to Piotrkow. In Tomashow Mazowietzki, the Gestapo arrested the “Bund” functionary, Kosherowski and “Bund” members Mr. and Mrs. Blum.

The investigation lasted ten weeks and the arrested were cruelly tortured during that time. All intervention was fruitless. On September 13, eleven of those arrested were sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz and three (Gomulinski, Blachman and Ziegelman) were set free. A few days after the deportation to Auschwitz, telegrams were received by their families informing them of the deaths, due to illness, of the deportees.[80]

After this fiasco which shook and dejected the mourning Jews of Piotrkow, a series of investigations were begun in the ghetto while forced contributions and further arrests burdened and depressed the life of the ghetto Jews. This change in the relations between the German authorities and the Jews was without any doubt another step in the programme leading towards the extermination of the Jews, which quickened after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war.

After the first series of arrests, the chairmanship of the Jewish Council was taken over by former Vice-chairman Simon Warshawski, owner of a mill. He chose his associates on the Council, among the Yitzhak Feiner as Vice-chairman, the Teitelbaum brothers-in-law, Broide of Lodz and others. One of his most faithful associates was Dr. Jacobowitz.[81] The presiding members of the Council in 1942 (in addition to the Chairman and the Vice-chairman) were the lawyer S. Silverstein, Mr. Hertz, M. Nordman, P. Lubliner and Abraham Samelson. Another of the 17 members of the Council was Judge Borenstein who was appointed Secretary-General of the Executive Council.[82] A strong and lasting rivalry in the Council sprang up between Warshawski and Feiner. Feiner was shot in the small ghetto after the first Action.[83]

At the end of 1941, the Germans passed an edict prohibiting the Jews from leaving the ghetto. A decree was issued by the governor of the Radom District on December 11, 1941, referring to a similar decree of Governor Frank's dated October 15 which threatened anyone leaving the ghetto with the death penalty. Poles who gave aid or succour to the Jews faced the same penalty. On the basis of this decree, the Germans began closing the open ghettos. A special decree issued by the Piotrkow district captain at the beginning of March ordered the closing of the ghetto as of April 1, 1942. As of that date, the ghetto was hermetically sealed: no Jews was henceforth allowed to leave the ghetto and no Christian was allowed to enter it.[84]

Before this date, the ghetto boundaries were considerably narrowed. A special commission of the Municipality dealt with the distribution of apartments for Jews and Christians, but in actuality, bribery and influence were the deciding factors. For a time, before the March 31 deadline, apartments were traded between Jews and non-Jews. Those non-Jews who owned fine apartments and stores in the ghetto tried to have their property set outside the ghetto. The Jews successfully countered these attempts by means of bribes, from which City Commissar Buss became wealthy. In place of the 200 Polish house superintendents, Jewish superintendents were appointed by a special Jewish Qualification Commission.[85]

The Police Department of Piotrkow put up special posters announcing that Jews and Jewish children were forbidden to leave the ghetto: “It is forbidden to buy, sell or trade. Those transgressing this decree will be shot without trial.”[86]

It was not only the German police who saw to it that the new decree was executed; Captain Steigermann, the district representative, also enforced the “law” and saw to it that the poor women and children who endangered their lives to bring in potatoes from the “Aryan” side were chased off.[87]

The requisition of furs in the middle of winter (late December 1941 and early January 1942) was a heavy blow to the inhabitants of the ghetto. The Piotrkow police at first requested the delivery of the coats together with their furs, but after great efforts and the use of “protection”, they consented to take only the furs. Nevertheless, many persons became sick as a result of the confiscation of their warm apparel. Other clothes were also requisitioned under cover of the fur requisition decree. The authorities even ordered furs to betaken off people in the middle of the street during the last few days before the deadline of the decree.[88]

Arrests and executions became a daily occurrence during this phase of the extermination programme. Every day the residents of Pilsudski Street heard the bitter cries and lamentations of those Jews who were being transported in the notorious police coach, hands bound and blindfolded from the prison to the execution place in the Rakow forest – for the crime of crossing the ghetto border, for buying food and frequently for no reason at all. Those arrested included children, women and old people.[89]

Some of the most horrifying experiences the inhabitants of the ghetto had to suffer were the frequent visits of S.S. policeman Williams with his big dog. Williams visited the ghetto together with his Jewish friend, Yona Levy.

[Page 336]

On the command of his master, the dog tore pieces of flesh from the bodies of people, especially children. Williams himself who first appeared in the ghetto in 1941, occupied himself with attacking Jews in their homes and beating them until the blood ran. Williams' dog so terrified the children that when they heard, “Willy with the dog”, they hid in panic in attics and cellars and could only be taken from their hiding places by force.[90]

Another source of terror for the Jewish population were the two police officers, Kleter and Beier, both from Breslau. Kleter would beat Jews daily and even shoot them without any reason whatsoever. He once shot a boy at work because he unintentionally broke a glass. He also shot Y.A. Sochatchewski, the merchant who was running over the Judengasse to bring food to the people hiding in the bunkers in his house.[91]

Leonarchik (“Fatty”), the Polish policeman from the Poznan area, also behaved sadistically towards the Jews, frequently searching and attacking them. He was killed by partisan fighters in 1944.[92]

Beginning in 1941, the Gestapo Chief, Putchala, committed many murders himself. He shot two elderly Jews and a 14-year-old boy in the cemetery. In 1942, he sent many Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz for such “sins” as making horror propaganda: Moshe Kenigstein; Flatau; Michael Hertz, the well-known Zionist functionary (whose daughter, Ania, was executed in the Rakow forest); Goldblum; Moshe Sternfeld, the community official; Lolek Cohen (for being discovered with a song about Hitler and Stalin); Glogowski, the president of the Przyglow Community and his secretary. Putchala arrested, in place of well-known Communists who had long ago disappeared from Piotrkow, Jews possessing identical names (Joseph Lefkowitz and Zemel, the religious teacher) as well as merchants, the “bourgeois”. All of these were deported to Auschwitz and shot within a few days. Their relatives received, as a souvenir, an announcement of their deaths together with a numbered suitcase containing the possessions of those murdered.[93]

In addition to being oppressed by the Nazi, the Jews suffered from the Jewish policemen and from informers, both local and from other cities and villages.[94] Some of the Jewish policemen were guilty of heaving sins against their fellow Jews.[95] The Jewish Police consisted of 50 men before the “Action”. These Tadeks, Saleks, Janeks and Mareks, it is to be regretted, stained the honour of the ghetto's population during its dreadful period.[96]

Sources

  1. Jacob Kurtz, Memoirs (Yiddish), typewritten, 2 vols. Dr. Sigmund Tenenbaum, Memoires (Polish). Return
  2. Shmuel Eliahu Ziegelman, “The History of the Piotrkow Judenrat”, Collection of Testimonies, Yad Vashem Archive; Rabbi Simon Huberband, War Chron., Manuscript of the Ringelblum Archive; Thaddeus Nowakowski, “The Piotrkower September 1939” (Polish), “Gazeta Ziemi Piotrkowskiej” N°21, September 17-23, 1958. Return
  3. Maria Migus, “In the Underground during the Occupation”; Dr; Tenenbaum, op.cit., Abraham Tushiner, “Historical Questionnaire”, Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection N°1667/338. Return
  4. Huberland, op.cit., Migus, op. cit., Ziegelman, op.cit., Testimony of Esther Kaminska-Hipsher, Yad Vashem Archive; Testimony of David Rosenstein, Destruction Archive of IWO. Return
  5. Huberland, op.cit. Return
  6. Huberland, op. cit., Testimony of Abraham Goldberg taken May 8, 1940 in the office of the United Aid Committee for Polish Jews in Tel-Aviv, mimeographed. Compare: Book of Horrors, Documents, Testimonies and Reports of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II, Sect.I edited by B. Mintz and J. Klausner, Jerusalem, published by Reuben Maas, 1945, p.118; Ziegelman, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  7. Huberland, op.cit., Goldberg, op. cit. Return
  8. Huberland, op.cit. Return
  9. Ibid. Return
  10. Ibid. Return
  11. Migus, op.cit., Dr. Tenebaum, op.cit. Return
  12. Huberland, op.cit. Return
  13. Rabbi Simon Huberband. “The Destruction of Synagogues, Batei Midrash and Cemeteries”, Ringelblum Archive. Comp. “Report of the Religious Jewish Congregation in Piotrkow”, written December 18, 1945; also Goldberg, op. cit. Return
  14. Huberband, op. cit., Shamash (Sexton) Mordechai Mendel succeeded in hiding the holy articles of the Beit Hamidrash in time. Return
  15. “Report of the Religious Jewish Congregation in Piotrkow”, op.cit. Comp. Hersh Biezuner, “Historical Questionnaire”, Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection. N°2144/55. Return
  16. Kurtz, op.cit. Return
  17. Huberband, op.cit. Return
  18. Ibid. Return
  19. The list of members of the Jewish Council was compiled from memory by Ziegelman, op.cit. Return
  20. Letters from Ziegelman, op.cit., “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°6 (9.8.41), N°53 (2.7.41); Dr. Tenebaum, op.cit. Return
  21. Letters from S.A. Ziegelman to J. Maltz; also Kurtz., op.cit. Return
  22. Announcement of the “Emigration Committee” of December 26, 1939, “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°19 (9.24.40); Kurtz, op.cit. Return
  23. “Decree of Hans Drexel printed in Wiadomosci Piotrkowskie” N°5 (10.8.39); Census of the Jewish Social Self-help of May 1942; “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°3 (30.7.40); Migus, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op.cit., Yehoshua Greenbaum, Testimony, Destruction Archive, IWO. As known from German sources, the project organizer of the Piotrkow ghetto was the lawyer, Walesinski. Return
  24. Notice from the Jewish Council, December 20, 1939 (German, Polish); Announcement of the Jewish Council (Polish), January 12, 1940, Ringelblum Archive N° 1/340, 1/119. Return
  25. Greenbaum, op. cit., Moshe Kimmelman, speech delivered at a Yizkor meeting of the Piotrkow Landsmanschaft in Montreal. Return
  26. Decree of Drexel, op. cit., J. Greenbaum, “Historical Questionnaire”, Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection N° 1915/434; Thaddeus Nowakowski, “On the History of the Piotrkow Ghetto” (Polish); Gazeta Ziemi Piotrkowskiej, N°51-52 (13.12.59, 1.6.60). Return
  27. Kurtz, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op.cit., Rast, “Historical Questionnaire”, Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection, N°2144/502. Return
  28. Dr. Tennenbaum, op. cit. Return
  29. Order of City Commissar Drexel, Ringelbium Archive N°1/1199; Order of Drexel of October 5, “Wiadomosci Piotrkowskie” N°5; Kurtz, op.cit. (In summer, the hours during which it was permitted to be out in the streets were prolonged). Return
[Page 337]
  1. Dr. Tenenberg, op. cit., Goldberg, op. Cit. Return
  2. “Anordnung der Stadt und Landkreis Petrikau”, N°7 of December 1939, p.9. Return
  3. Kurtz, op. Cit. Return
  4. Tushiner, op.cit., Migus, op. Cit., Kimmelman, op. cit., Greenbaum, “Historical Questionnaire”, op. cit., Ben-Giladi, “Piotrkow Youth Under the Whip of the Swastika” (Polish) Return
  5. Manuscript in Ringelblum Archive, N°1197; Rabbi Huberland writes about a contribution of 50,000 zloty, Kurtz about 75,000 zloty while Greenbaum speaks of further contributions: October 1, 1000 zloty, ten days later, 150,000 zloty. According to Dr. Tenenbaum, Drexel imposed a contribution of 500,000 zloty on the Jewish population, which was paid within three days. In his above-mentioned testimonial, Goldberg reported on further contributions: 20,000 zloty, then 500 sacks of flour, 100 sacks of sugar, 12,000 eggs and 300kg of butter. The next contribution was 25,000 zloty and the one after that, 35,000. However, Naphtali Lau, who carried the sack of money of the first contribution for this father, Rabbi Lau, the morning after Yom Kippur, to Drexel in his office in the courthouse, recalls that the sum was 25,000 zloty. Drexel shouted that he had demanded 25,000 marks (50,000 zloty) but the rabbi explained to him that he understood zloty. He also told him that the city was empty and that it had hardly been possible to collect this sum which had been gathered during the appeal before “Kol Nidrei”. Drexel ordered the money to be poured out on his desk and when he saw the high amount of small change, he didn't even count it. He opened a drawer of his desk, and slid the money into it, throwing the empty sack into Naphtali Lau's hands. Return
  6. Obwieszczenie Gminy Wyznaniowei Zyd do wszystkich wytwocow I sprzedawcow towarow tekstynlnych, skory, towarow skorzanych szewcow ipt. 29.10.39, Ringelblum Archive N°1/340. Return
  7. Greenbaum, op.cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. Cit. Return
  8. In this announcement, the Jewish Council referred to the Governor-General's order of 24.1.40 and to the local “Ordnungsblatt” N°3, 1940. Return
  9. Files of the U.S. (Jewish Social Welfare) N°T/278 in the Archive of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Manuscript of Ringelblum Archive N°1197; Tenenbaum, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit., Greenbaum, op. cit. Return
  10. Ringelblum Archive, N°1199 1/340. Comp. Tenenbaum, op.cit. Return
  11. Kurtz, op. Cit., Greenbaum, op.cit., Tenenbaum, op. Cit., A. Winter, “Destruction of Piotrkow”. Return
  12. Yad Vashem Archive, Acts of “Oberbafehlshaber (Commander in chief) Ost”. Return
  13. Kurtz, op. cit., Greenbaum, op.cit. Return
  14. Migus, op. cit., A. Rutlowski, “Hitler's Labour Camps in the Radom District”, Bulletin of the Jewish Historical Inst. (Polish), N°17-18, January-June, 1956, p.108. Return
  15. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  16. Decree of City Commissar Drexel of December 1, 1939, Manuscript of Ringelblum Archive N°1, 199, Huberband, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  17. Protocol of March 11, 1940, signed by the “Selbstschutz-Reichsfuehrer” (his signature is illegible; his S.S. rank is “Hauptstrumfuehrer”), Archive of the Jewish Historical Inst., J.S. Files, T278. Return
  18. Order of Drexel, see above; also Huberband, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  19. Ben-Giladi, op. cit., S. Poznanski, testimony, Yad Vashem Arcguve, cilo. Also report of the Congregation, op. cit. Return
  20. Announcement of the Jewish Council of the Community, March 15, 1940. Return
  21. “Gazeta Zydowska” N°19 (24.9.40)., Zvi Diamond, testimony Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection N°2175/1947. In his testimony (Destruction Archive of IWO), Joseph Freeman states that he was deported with a group of 500 young men from Piotrkow to Belzetz. Comp. Also Yechiel Kotkowski “Underground Work in Piotrkow”, Ben-Giladi, op. cit., Report of the Congregation, op. cit., Kurtz estimated the number deported to the Lublin camps at 800. Winter at 700 but the above-mentioned exchange of letters from Piotrkow (printed in the official Jewish organ of Occupied Poland of September 24, 1940) speaks of 900 prisoners. See also Rutkowski, op. cit., p.112; see also observations of Naphtali Lau. Return
  22. Winter, op. cit. Return
  23. Rutkowski, op. cit. Return
  24. Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit. Return
  25. Rutkowski, op. cit. Return
  26. Ben-Giladi, op. cit., Kotkowski, op. Cit., Zelman, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. Cit. Return
  27. Files of the J.S. op. cit., Huberband, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  28. Migus, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit., Greenbaum, op. cit., Zelman, op. cit. Return
  29. “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°3 (30.7.40). Census of the Jewish Social Self-Help of May 1942. The report of this census not only minimized the actual number of inhabitants during the occupation but also the Jewish pre-war population. According to the report, the Jewish pre-war population consisted of only 10,240 persons, while in actuality, there were 30% of the total population of 50,000. Even the “Gazeta Zydowska”, which also kept quiet about the actual number of inhabitants in the ghetto, gave the population figures as 11,217 on September 1, 1939. M. Greenstein (in his testimony) estimated the population at 25,000 in 1942. Blachman at 30,000. Return
  30. “Gazeta Zydowska”, op. cit., also N°7 (14.8.40); Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Blachman, op. cit., Zelman, op. cit. Return
  31. Census of the Jewish Social Self-Help, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit. Return
  32. Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit. Return
  33. Migus, op. cit., Blachman, op. cit. Return
  34. “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°7 (14.8.40), N°11 (28.8.40). Return
  35. Rosenblum Manuscript. Ringelblum Archive, N°1197. Return
  36. Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., observations of Naphtali Lau. Return
  37. “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°3 (30.7.40). Return
  38. Rosenblum Manuscripts, op. cit. Return
  39. Report of the Congregation, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Ziegelman, op. cit., Blachman, op. cit., Migus, op. cit., J. Galili(Glogowski) “The Story of a Hero”, “From the Dark Days”, “Thirteen among Many”, Moshe Niechtchitski, Testimony, Yad Vashem Archive. Return
  40. “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°53 (2.7.41). Return
  41. “Gazeta Zydowska”, N°53 (2.7.41). Return
  42. Files of J.S. N°278 (Archive of the Jewish Historical Inst. In Warsaw); “Gazeta Zydowska” N°10 (24.8.40) and N°44 (3.6.41); comp. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  43. Letter from J. Maltz to Yad Vashem of Dec. 29,1947 concerning Gieski. Return
  44. “Gazeta Zydowska” N°3 (30.7.40) Migus. op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit. Return
  45. J.S. Census of May 1942, Greenbaum, op. cit., Stashewski, op. cit., On April 1, 1942, seventeen typhus cases were reported. It is understood that in addition, there were many more unreported cases (J.S. Census, op. cit.,) According to the report of the Congregation, 80% of the typhus cases died. Return
  46. “Gazeta Zydowska” N°19 (24.9.40); Migus, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit., Ziegelman, op. cit. The Disinfection Detail included Bunem Yachimowitz, the two Wenglishewski brothers, Israel Weiser, Moshe Chmielnitski, Jacobowitz and others. Return
  47. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
[Page 338]
  1. “Gazeta Zydowska” N°11 (28.8.40), Census of J.S. of May 1942; Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Greenbaum, op. cit. It is characteristic that before the “Aussiedlung” (deportation to death camps) of the ghetto's population, the inscription on the Jewish Hospital “Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Braun” was removed. Return
  2. Kurtz, op. cit., Hela (Hannah) Ginsburg Stashewski, Testimony, Yad Vashem archive. Return
  3. Zeev Blachman, “A rare Thing”. During the April 1942 “Action” in Belchatow, Bogdanski tried to escape with his family in order to avoid fulfilling the orders of the Gestapo. Unfortunately, he was captured together with his wife and her whole family, brought to the Radogoszcz Prison and all of them were put to death there. Return
  4. M. Migus, “The First Arrest”; Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Greenbaum, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit., Yitzhak Samsonowitz and Leon Kimmelman manged to avoid arrest by fleeing to Warsaw, while Abraham Weiser and Yankel escaped to Tchenstochow, as did David and Hershel Nissenholz. S.A. Ziegelman, “The Arrest of the Piotrkow Judenrat”. Return
  5. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Ziegelman, op. cit. It is quite true that Warshawski felt an obligation to the wives of the Jewish Council members who had been put to death in Auschwitz (comp. the chapters, “The Final Extermination”, “Actions” and “Aussiedlungen”). Return
  6. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  7. Migus, op. cit. Poznanski, op. cit. Return
  8. Census of J.S. of May 1942, op. cit., Tushiner, op. cit., Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., A. Rutlowski, “Martyrology, Battle and Doom of the Jewish Population in Radom District”, Bulletin (Polish) of the Jewish Historical Inst., N°15-16, July-December, 1955, pp. 84-85. Return
  9. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  10. Rutlowski, op. cit Return
  11. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  12. Report of the Congregation, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  13. Z.W. Blachman, “The Resistance of the 42 in Rakow”; Migus, op. cit., Moshe Zelman, Testimony. Return
  14. Migus, op. cit., Kotkowski, op. cit., statement of Yehezkiel Shidlowski; Zelman, op. cit. Return
  15. Zelman, op. cit., Paula Arluck, “Historical Questionnaire”, Yad Vashem Archive, Munich Collection; David Rosenstein, Testimony, Destruction Archive of IWO, reports that Kleter personally shot a large number of Jews. Return
  16. Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  17. Kurtz, op. cit. Return
  18. Statements of Yehezkiel Shidlowski, Moshe Horowitz and Fishel Neuberg. Return
  19. Galili (Glogowski), op. cit., Shraga Poznanski, Memoirs, Yad Vashem Archive; comp. Arluck, op. cit., and observations of Zeev Blachman. Return
  20. Dr. Tenenbaum, op. cit., Galili (Glogowski) op. cit., Blachman, op. cit., Niechtzitski, op. cit. Return



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