[Pages 310-335]

The Jews of Demblin during the German Occupation

by Stamphian Fidelis, Demblin-Zayejeje

The author of this work is Polish from the suburb of Demblin, Zayejeje. About three years ago, the book editor approached the city of Demblin in order to provide her documentary material about the Jews of Demblin. The little town nominated Mr. Fidelis to gather the requested material. And indeed, Mr. Fidelis did not disappoint us. He managed to gather many historic documents about the history of the little town and her Jews, but his main achievement was numerous photographs of the Jewish families from Demblin before the Holocaust. He sent all of those to us including very valuable photographs from the civic life n those days.

The committee and editors of this book do not agree with several of the findings and evaluations of Mr. Fidelis in regards to the life of the Jews. They decided not to change any of this testimony and instead leave it for future readers and historians t o come up with conclusions and more accurate data.

The chapter about the Jews of Demblin between the years 1918 until 1939 is the writing of this author (Mr. Fidelis), which was also translated to Yiddish and shows in the book on Page 92.

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It was the month of August in the year 1939. The days were hot, but comfortable. The days were beautiful and the nights were clear without any clouds, the stars and moonlight dominated the darkness of the sky. On such nights the blood flowed warmer in the arteries, the heart pounded stronger and a man's soul felt good. On nights like this, a man's heart yearned for love, warmth and belief. During such nights, the many hearts pounded with innocence and love towards each other. These bursts of emotions and yearnings for love from one person to another were full of warm desire and expectations that the good life was ahead. Many people didn't realize that these were the last fortunate days. Many others hoped to regain these feelings in good days, but with so much anxiety and sadness when the salvation days arrived they did not have any love in their hearts anymore.

These days of calmness were abruptly interrupted by a new order that was echoed from one edge of the country of Poland to another and the order was "conscription!" Many hearts full of love, that were burning from desire were shaken and the souls were afraid, in shock. "What will tomorrow bring us?" asked the souls. "What will be our fortune!" However, all of theses questions remained hanging in the air without a solution or an answer.

The army units that camped at Demblin left their camp and moved West in order to protect the borders of the country. Many of them included Jewish soldiers who joined the military to protect the country against the Nazi animal. Although the entire military moved westward to stop the invader, inside the country there wasn't any substantial defense.

As a result of the Nazi Luftwaffe airplanes flew in the sky of Poland without any interruption and took photographs under the skies of Demblin of military targets and later on targeted them without any interruption. There was not one Polish airplane that took off to challenge the murderers' airplanes. There was not one single shot against those airplanes to protect the country and there was not one gun pointed at them to challenge them. During the embarrassing and confusing period, the Polish central command was not able to issue even one order to protect the country. It is no wonder that all the German airplanes could fly freely under our skies.

The days before the War were days of embarrassment and chaos. This was especially felt among the Jews. The commerce froze totally and the Jewish community was captured by fear as a result of the surrounding bad rumors. Although the consumer goods commerce froze, the commerce of food products was on the rise, such as sugar salt, flour, oils and so forth. Those that had the money started to store as much as possible, in the storage room's barrels, in the ground and any other place that hey could find. The next priority after food storage was the fixing of the houses. However, the very poor people were not able to store or fix their houses, their entire property was carried on their back.

The German Invasion

On September 1, 1939, at 6:00 o'clock in the morning, the first German bombs fell down on the airport in Demblin. The first explosion alerted people from their beds. Above the airport could be seen large smoke and dust clouds. The noise of the airplanes spread fear and anxiety among the people. After the airplanes had begun, the very first chaos, disaster and death were revealed, human casualties, soldiers, children and clerks. The explosions also blew up many buildings, windows and roofs. Demblin experienced its first bombing attack. From the 1st until the 7th of September, the German airplane bombers, bombed our city daily. The targets were the airport, the fortress, the train station, the bridges. Excluding Potzovah Street, there were no bombs dropped on the city streets.

Many Jewish families left the city in the first days of the war and escaped to the forest and adjacent regions. The streets were quiet, the houses stood disgraced, and on the pavement were piled up pieces of broken glass and mortar that fell off the houses' walls. Stores' signs that were torn off from their places now just hung as a testimony to the chaos that inflicted the city.

Only the cats were sneaking among the houses, yelling with sadness and hunger.

On the 8 th day of the month, the Polish army abandoned the fortress as well as the airport that was totally quiet now. Only at Stovay was there still soldier guards that waited for the order to explode the storage of weapons and ammunition. And indeed on September 11, they set fire at the storage ammunition and the soldiers retreated eastward.

On the next day, September 12, 1939, the Germans took the city of Demblin and controlled the city until March 29, 1944.

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When the Germans took over Demblin, the Polish and Jewish population that had escaped earlier from the city, started to return to the city. Everybody was still afraid. During their first days of occupation, the Germans did not treat the population with cruelty. However, they inflicted forced labor on the Jews, such as collecting dead human bodies and dead animals that were piled up on the street. The Jewish population, without any compensation, were forced to clean the airport and the streets of the city from the destruction and the debris.

Although the Germans did not forbid the Jews to open their stores, the shelves in the stores were empty and there was no source for the new merchandise. Any new merchandise that was found disappeared immediately.

The Germans themselves started to purchase different merchandise in order to send them back home to Germany. Money started to lose its real value and merchandise that had been purchased previously at a regular price started to be excessively expensive. The German occupiers extracted from the economy the Polish monetary system, and instead injected their own money. The population did not trust the new system and they refused to trade their merchandise for the new money. Prices increased dramatically. There was unemployment and the Polish population started to conduct an underground economy and smuggling.

The population was demoralized. There was no house that didn't have one of its family members missing. Nobody knew what to expect for their loved ones. On September 26, refugees and conscripted personnel started to return. They had never arrived at their units, because the units were dissolved. Personnel in uniform had not returned yet because they were defending Warsaw and Modlin, where tough battles were conducted. Then Warsaw and Modlin collapsed with heavy casualties for the Polish army. General Kolberg put together what was left over from the retreating units and tried to put together a second line of defense in the forest of Kotzak. The units of General Kolberg, who were armed very minimally, eventually surrendered, although they fought heroically. From the beginning of October 7, General Kolberg's units surrendered entirely to the Germans. The fortress of Demblin was crowded again with Polish soldiers, but this time they were Prisoners of War (POW's). The population was forced to accept them among themselves though they were unable to provide them with real help. The Nazi guards were so sure about themselves that they scattered the population who were standing and looking at the line of POW's. They yelled and beat them, not allowing any individuals to get close to the lines of the POWs, who were marched in the city. Every once and a while, one of the POWs managed to escape from the line and enter one of the houses where the citizens provided him with food and he immediately changed his clothing. The Jews also were hiding soldiers and providing them with civilian clothing.

People got closer to each other and unified under the same crisis. The division between Jews and Poles disappeared. All were brothers to the same fortune. All were Poles. However, during many long months of occupation, terror and propaganda, the anti-Semitic poison started to bubble among the wide layers of the population. The smart and conscious among the Poles did not trust and follow the German propaganda. The Jews were their friend as ever.

From October 15, many soldiers started to return, all dressed in a strange uniform. These were the lucky ones who managed to escape from the Nazis, the occupation and the POWs. The population started to help them but the most significant assistance came from the Jewish population. With no limit, they provided material help, such as food and clothing. If someone would get help without being able to pay back he would hear the following condolence "At the end of the War, we will settle the bill." The professional military personnel first arrived to the Jewish houses, the first support that they got was information about their family and what was happening in the city in general. The Jewish families were the first to support and help because they knew very well what it felt like to be in such a crisis. Crises was always their company in this part of their lives. There was no time now for mourning and being depressed. It was a time for action and courage.

This was the testimony of Pair Yandzjevsky, officer from the 15 th battalion: "I returned to Demblin in mid-November. On the street I met the community secretary, Blazjesky, and I learned that the Germans were interrogating everyone about the officers from the Polish army who were hiding in Demblin. In order to get more accurate information, I ended up going to Yaacov Rosenberg's house and there I stayed overnight. Then, the next few days I spent at Pinchas Schteinbuch Kamiyan and at Lena Schtorn's. They were not working as merchants anymore and most of the conversations were about the War. "What will the future day bring and what kind of fate is expected to come upon us?"" None of the individuals had any answers to these questions.

At this time the Germans hadn't started with the murderous killing but commerce was forbidden. The Jewish population, in order to manage, started to sell, in hiding, industrial products, in order to provide food products for their family members. "The War will not last for too many days", said many. Many who listened to the broadcasts from abroad, claimed the English and the British had not entered the War yet and there was hope the Germans would not win the War. Many tried to console themselves and tried to keep up a higher morale.

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In mid-1939, the Germans ordered the submission of all radios and cameras. The Volksdeutscher, those Germans with the swastika bands, passed from house to house and conducted searches for the forbidden equipment, but on many occasions they took whatever they felt like taking with them. This was, as a matter of fact, the first forced action by the Germans on the Polish and Jewish populations.

On December, 1939, came the shocking news about the mass murder of 130 Polish people in Vahver, adjacent to Warsaw, for the revenge of the killing of a drunken German in one of the bars. Men were captured in their houses, in the train station and in the street and were assembled in a central site, where the mass murder was executed. These mass murders shocked the entire nation. Nobody was familiar with the horror of the Nazis yet, and they couldn't grasp this tragedy. How come for one German, 100 innocent people must be killed without even a trial? The community was shocked and terrified, while the Germans prepared for the future killing that didn't have any end.

The Jews were still living mostly in their houses. Only their big houses were confiscated by the Germans. The manufacturing and commerce started to die slowly, slowly, and many stores started to be closed everyday. From 1940, the Jews were not able to get licenses to conduct their stores and services for the general population at large, the only stores and services that they could conduct were for Jews only. At that time, the ghetto wasn't established yet and many Jews were able to get out of the city. And so, indeed, many of the Jewish merchants and manufacturers took advantage of this possibility, and they reached out of the adjacent cities and villages and brought food to their family members for fixing shoes or sewing garments. Although orders to limit and humiliate the Jews were not conducted at the time, the Jews felt the abuse of the German gendarme very well anytime they were meeting with them. The Jews would be beaten by the Germans, and the little food that they could carry on their back would be confiscated and destroyed in front of them. The Jews were very afraid from these encounters and tried to avoid them as much as possible. The Polish population would support and warn the Jews about such encounters with the Germans, and when the Germans would pass by they would signal the Jews that the road was available.

In May, 1940, the German occupation issued an order that all Jews should identify themselves by carrying on their arms a band with the logo of the Mogen David [Star of David]. This identification dramatically limited their movement outside their immediate community. But they took chances and removed the identification band and would get on the road to provide for their family members. These were mostly Jews that looked like the rest of the population, and nobody could tell that they were Jews by looking at their face. Also in the same year, the Judenrat was established by the Germans, and the Germans received the books of the population registration of all the Jews, and the registration of all that died. These books were destroyed at the time of the last expulsions. As a result, nobody can tell the number of the Jewish population in those days.

In the beginning of 1940, when the Jews were still able to move about freely, Rabbi Emanuel Rabinovitch left the city with his family to an unknown destination and was replaced by his vice Rabbi.

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[See PHOTO-C49 at the end of Section C]

In the first half of November 1940, the Germans concentrated the Jewish population in several streets of the city: Bankova, Okulna, Sanatorska, Wieyahtretznah, Neahtzalah and Pshachodneyah Streets. The houses of the expelled Jews were given to the Polish who were transferred from other streets. So by concentrating all the Jews in these streets, the Germans established a ghetto in the city. The ghetto wasn't fenced, a fact that was very important for the Jews, so that they could interact with the general population, although that too was in hiding. The Polish population would often enter the ghetto, but later an order was issued that it was forbidden to enter the ghetto and everybody that would be captured would be killed. After the first death penalty was issued, these inhabitants refrained from publicly entering the ghetto, though a few managed to get in, in hiding. The Jews were forbidden to get out from the ghetto unless they had a special permit, or if it was a group on the way to work. A Jew that was captured outside the ghetto without a permit was shot to death on the spot without a trial. And so, thousands of Jews were cramped into the area of the ghetto without any substantial means of survival. They did not get any food supply, water, medicine and heating, and that was not enough. The Germans kept issuing one limiting order after the other that limited the freedom and weakened the basic physical existence.

It was forbidden for the Jews to be in the streets populated by the Polish. It was forbidden to buy medicine in the pharmacies, it was forbidden to be in the market on the days of sales and purchasing food products from the farmers. But since the ghetto was not fenced at the time and the streets Okulna and Sanatorska were bordered with the general market, many Jews who dared, entered the market and while no Germans were around managed to buy chickens potatoes and other food products. Also, farmers on the way to the market who had to pass through the streets Okulna or Pshachodneyah would leave some of the food products with the Jews as long as the Germans were not aware of them and the bill would be dealt with at a later time and another place. Before the beginning of the War there were good relationships between the Polish farmers and the Jews. There was no antagonism to the Jews and they even helped the Jews as much as they could.

The Germans constricted Polish policemen who were serving there before the War. The police would guard the ghetto so that Poles would not enter it and Jews would not conduct commerce in it. Many policemen would warn the Jews whenever they saw the Germans approaching. So thanks to the help of the population, the Jews were not hungry. This of course related mostly to the more affluent inhabitants of the Jews in the ghetto. On Okulna Street there was a bakery that provided bread for the ghetto inhabitants only. Although the arrangement was to buy bread with coupons, the bakery provided bread even though many of the people didn't have coupons. Bread with coupons were given only for those who were enlisted as workers or laborers. These portions were very small and it was not enough to provide for the body and sometimes it didn't stop death from hunger.

Every month the Germans issued new orders. They nominated a new Ukrainian Commissioner on the Committee. Demblin was announced as a county that was commissioned by the Ukrainian commissioner and was helped by "gendarme" Police for criminal cases, or the "black police" and also "Arbeitsdienst". The Gendarmes were at the Demblin station and at the "Banshutz". The gendarme unit was composed of the S. S. man Yohan Peterson, Abal, Schultz, and the "Volksdeutscher" Edward Brokof and a Pole from the village Stroytzyah Kerash, Edek the infamous. The criminal police were composed of two individuals, the commandant Garbartzek and another policeman.

In addition there was "the blue police" and also other Gendarmes, but I will not mention these because they were not abusive to the population.

As soon as the oppressive organizations were organized, the Germans started issuing their criminal orders. The Nazi head of the "Arbaytz" ordered the Judenrat to prepare a list of the Jews who were able to work. From the list he chose several people to work at the airports, at the fortress and the maintenance of the roads and foundries. These workers received food coupons that were given in a very minimal quantity that obviously was not enough to satisfy their hunger, however the work outside the ghetto provided the Jews with contact with the Polish workers who provided the Jews different food products. Jews that were not in the labor force, stuck inside the ghetto, and did not receive food coupons.

The Jewish stores along Warshavsky street were totally diminished. A few of the stores were given to the "Volksdeutsch", to Portan, Kovalsky and the others. Other stores were totally looted by the Nazis and the merchandise was transported to stores in Germany. The Jews were left only with a few meaningless small stores in Germany. The Jewish banks were essentially savings for community services and were all closed in the midst of 1939. The Judenrat was situated in one of the bank structures on Bankova street. Among its members were Kanaryfogel, Korst, Teichman, Ekheizer, Pinchas Schteinbuch, Shulman, Price, Weinberg and Yaacov Rosenberg. The Judenrat job was to represent the Jews before the German occupation and also to keep security and order in the ghetto. As a matter of fact, the Judenrat was a very important channel to transfer orders against the Jews and execute those orders as well. The Judenrat established a Jewish police that was in charge of the order in the ghetto as well as keep the Polish from penetrating into the ghetto. In addition, the Jewish police were in charge of concentrating and transferring the Jewish laborers to their jobs. From those concentration points, the Jews were selected for numerous forced labor by Polish workers, Volksdeutscher, the Wehrmacht soldiers and the "Sonderdienst". The Sonderdienst were also called the Black because of their black hats. These were mostly Volksdeutscher and nationalist Ukrainians, hoodlums and criminals from the worst cases. There was no limit to their torturing of the Jews who fell into their hands. At any occasion they would inflict vicious beating with a leather whip on the Jewish body. Jews who were marched to their work were forced to dance and sing. Some of the humiliating words of the forced singing were "during the days of Marshall Ridge Shmigly we were lazy, but Hitler our leader, is teaching us how to work". The Blacks closely watched the singers and if one of the Jews did not sing, he would immediately and viciously be whipped with a leather whip or hit by a rifle and there were several cases where he would be murdered or be killed on the spot. No one would charge them for killing a Jew. There would be no inquiry why a Jew would be killed, and nobody had to justify themselves. They treated the Jews worse than an animal. There was one case where one of the Gendarmes, who used to kill Jews daily, saw a man whipping his horse very badly. He immediately grabbed the whip from the man and asked him why he treated a defenseless animal like that so cruelly. That was the basic mercy of the German gendarme.

As a result of the high density and the lack of water supply, heating and electricity, diseases, mostly dysentery, started to spread among the Jewish population. In order to prevent spreading the diseases beyond the ghetto periphery, the Germans let the Juderat open a hospital at the Zjelinsky house by the railroad in front of the park. This was on June, 1944. The hospital doctor was Kava, and his helper was the folk doctor Vanapol.

The main access to the hospital was through Warshavsky street, but in order to avoid meeting the German gendarmes and the German clerks, the doctors and the nurses approached through different streets, Neyzvietska and Koshtseylnah then to Warshavsky Street and then to the hospital. The Jews were forbidden to walk on the sidewalks, they could only walk on the street if they encountered a German on the way they had to take off their hat and hold it in their hands. In order to avoid that, many Jews chose to walk on an alternate, longer way in order to be able to walk on the pavement and not to take their hat off for the Nazis. The Gestapo, the Commissars and the officers and the soldiers of the Wermacht didn't care much about the Jews who were passing by them, however they kept the Gendarmes to execute those humiliating rules and orders.

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After France was conquered, Demblin was flooded with German soldiers. The fortress was occupied by the infantry, and the airport was occupied by the pilots. From morning until evening the sounds of orders, airplane engines and crowds singing "Heil, Heil" were echoed all over the place. There was a significant increase of military guarding the bridges, the roads and more pressure on the local population. Carriages and pedestrians were monitored and checked at every corner and different food products such as meat, flour, butter, eggs, etc. were confiscated. Many of the food products were not even reaching the city. The Germans confiscated much of it to their own discretion. It was also impossible to bring food products from the little town Ryki and at the train station the "Gunshutzman", the Gendarmes who guarded the train station, broke into the cars and conducted searches and confiscated many of the products that the passengers carried with them. From then on, Demblin was called by many passengers "Goloshiem" which means bolded head, because the Germans took everything away from the passengers, as if they shaved their head. This situation continued until the liberation of Poland. But food products were still available in Demblin. Can you imagine the difficult situation of the Jewish population that was stuck in the ghetto without coming in and out? The rich Jews didn't suffer any hunger, but the poor ones only had their bear hands ready to work at their disposal, looked pale and very thin as a result of lack of adequate food and medication. Event the Judenrat that tried to spread the food products equally among the Jewish population wasn't really helpful and functional. The food distribution became more and more difficult from day to day because the dramatic increase of new Jewish refugees who were expelled from Podzen county couldn't take with them any property or money besides just bedding. So that the little that was available had to be equally spread among the local poor Jews and the incoming refugees.

Among the refugees that arrived in Demblin was Dr. Kava and his wife who joined the very modest Jewish doctors. The Judenrat provided him with the necessary medical equipment and material an in return Dr. Kava took care of the Jewish and non-Jewish patients of the hospital. Many Poles enjoyed Dr. Kava's treatment, among them were my own family members. He was living on 13 Pshachodneyah street at the Rayefsky's house.

As stated before, the Jews' nutrition situation worsened from day to day. Many Polish families whose conditions were better because they could move from one place to another place freely supported their Jewish friends, but even this was very difficult because the War separated friends. Many were under surveillance and many were in hiding. In spite of all of that there were many Poles who provided help and that was a testimony for the close relationship between Poles and Jews.

Demblin's indigenous population were people who knew each other throughout their childhood years and they never forgot their neighbors while in trouble and handed them their help. But at the same time during a War and oppression occupation there was very cruel, unrelenting anti-Semitic propaganda, and a new human character emerged. This new character had no mercy in conscious to his fellows, just like a wolf. These kinds of people were merchants and involved in smuggling. For large sums of money, especially gold and expensive jewelry, they provided food. But these human relationships were not really surprising because whenever the Germans caught someone who was smuggling one kilogram of flour, butter or pig fat, he would execute that person immediately. The Germans also executed every Christian who came in contact with the Jews. Therefore again the price was very high, because life was very expensive. At the same time there were few in the society who tried to avoid the merchants and the smugglers to rip off the Jews. Those merchants and smugglers were especially opposed by the underground who were involved in the struggle against spies for the Germans, deserters. These were proud people who declared loudly that they were proud Poles and they had to unite in order to fight against the occupier. Many ended up in prison and were executed. So the Nazi terror was established in Demblin.

In October 1940, a Polish officer, Prantzeshak Yandzjevsky, was nominated to be in charge of the workers' food store. This workers' food store was located in the yard at Warshavsky Street in front of Bankova street. Also at the same place, in the basement of what used to be a bank, was additional storage of sugar and sugar products. There was a need for a new porter to work at the storage house. The chief commissioner, Lomod Vayndjeyvsky coordinated with the Judenrat and "Arbaytz" to send them the Jewish porter named Yosky (don't know his last name). Upon working at the storage house at Yandzjevsky's, Yosky started to transfer information from friends. Yandzjevsky organized at the storage house specific locations where food for the ghetto was assembled and organized.

He purchased the food product from the local farmers and from Fodjeyvah ranch. These products included mostly potatoes, cabbage, other kinds of vegetables and sometimes even eggs. All these products were sold to the ghetto at the same purchase price from the farmers without any additional cost. Yitzhak Goldberg, the nephew of Schteinbuch, was always present during the purchasing moments. In the event that the amount of product was a little excessive, Yosky would load them in a bag and transfer the extra products on his back into the ghetto so that it seemed he was carrying that bag to the storage house at Bankova street. However, in most cases, small amounts of food products were carried into the ghetto by Yithak Goldberg himself. With the permission of the head commissioner of the storage house, Yandzjevsky was transferring to the ghetto, salt, coffee, beans and other products that were not included in the food coupons for the Jews but they were still very necessary.

Yosky the porter took on himself to carry the food products to the ghetto people and then Goldberg was the connection person between the Yandzjevsky and the Judenrat. The Jewish guards that were located at Bankova Street helped Goldberg upon exiting an entering the ghetto so that he did not encounter the Germans. This support of Yandzjevsky for the ghetto inhabitants continued until October 14, 1942 when the ghetto was demolished.

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It was June 22, 1941 when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. The Luftwaffe airplanes repeatedly took off from the Demblin airport towards the territory of the Soviet Union. From a distance we could hear many explosions and after two days it was quiet. We didn't hear the airplane engines anymore and the guns were silent. But at the same time, day and night, lines of German infantry, tanks and armored personnel passed Eastward through the city. Twice a week the Germans broadcast their victories through a large speaker that was positioned in the central plaza of the market. People listened to the news with sorrow and expressions of pain on their faces. This was not the news they expected, not the German victory, all they wanted to listen to was the German defeat. But it turned out that these wishes were eventually realized.

On approximately July 10, the first Soviet POW's arrived in Demblin where they were imprisoned in the city fortress. Through many days, the Russian POW's flowed into the city and the city fortress was already full. Then they were imprisoned at the former 28 th battalion shacks that were located at Bilova Street. The Nazis did not provide them with food and care and they started to die by the thousands. There were reports about cannibalism at the super stalag where POW's ate their dead companions' bodies. The bad sanitary situation and the hunger caused the spread of epidemics of typhus of different kinds. However, the epidemic was not confined to only POW camps, it also spread throughout the entire area. Of course the ghetto condition was very good for the spread of typhus, many died and there was no house that didn't have a sick person in it. When the typhus epidemic started to penetrate through the Polish population, only then did the Germans take action in order to protect themselves from the spread of the typhus epidemic. The open hospital for the Polish at the schoolyard number 1 at Sochatzki street and for the Jews at the Pumienovsky house at Starovka Street.

The Polish hospital had very few medications, but on the other hand the Jewish hospital had none, because the Jewish hospital did not receive any medication, neither could they purchase medication by high payments because nobody would dare send medications to the Jews. The little that was in stock depleted quickly and new medication was impossible to get. Since the hospital couldn't be operated without medication, Dr. Kava addressed me and asked me to provide him some medications for his hospital. I was the sanitation inspector and knew many Jews, Yaacov Rosenberg, Pinchas Schteinbuch, Yitzhak Goldberg, Schweignberg, Kaminsky and his daughter Paula and I also had a license to get into the ghetto for my job. I addressed Dr. Kava's request for medication and I started the process of providing those from the local pharmacies. I contacted the pharmacy in Warsaw at Polvaska Street, I informed the owner at the pharmacy the kind of medication that I needed and the purpose. It was possible to get any kind of medication at that pharmacy and if they didn't have it the pharmacist would order and eventually receive it. I myself could not leave Demblin so often, so my wife took part in the purchase of the medication. This medications were mostly Kardiosole, Korameid, Koramein, Strychnine and so on. Upon receiving the medication order from the doctor or from Goldberg, I would take a trip to Warsaw, purchase those and order new ones. However, the production of medication had priority first of all for the German army so as a result it was more and more difficult to get those. Only the pharmacies named "Nur Pir Deutsche" were well equipped which of course served the Germans only. At one of those pharmacies, located at Krakovskeyah Pashdmiesche, my wife was able to purchase some medications after she was equipped with a recommendation letter from one of the pharmacists who was working there. In May 1942 the typhus epidemic was eased significantly and there was no need for medications anymore. As a result, the contacts with the pharmacies stopped.

In the winter of 1941 / 1942 the Germans ordered the population to provide a quota of winter jackets and gloves. This order was addressed mostly to the Jewish population and the Germans executed these orders very severely. They searched the Jewish houses and confiscated coats, furs and other products. The Jews and the Poles tried as much as they could to hide the furs from the Germans. It seemed that the order to hand over the winter jackets and the furs to the Germans did not reach everybody. On one of the difficult winter nights, two ranch owners, well dressed with fur coats arrived in Demblin. On the way to the city they encountered two German gendarmes who ordered them to immediately take off their fur coats and in order for them not to get cold the Germans beat them cruelly so that they would keep warm. The two jumped on their cart and escaped to their houses. From that day on nobody dared appear dressed with a fur coat in Demblin.

The encampment of the Jews in the Ghetto was a very convenient arrangement for the Germans. The Ghetto was easily accessible to every gendarme, Gestapo person or Nazi commissar, for conducting searches or sending its inhabitants to forced labor, especially to work for the Germans and as a reward they would be beaten. The ghetto inhabitants were to the Nazis like a milk cow, to be milked to its end and at the end to be murdered. The higher seniority a Nazi had, the more strict and cruel his demands were for the Jews. As a reward to "ease up" the condition on life for the Jews, the Nazis demanded from the Judenrat, gold, and without much choice the Judenrat made all efforts to provide them with those demands. If the Nazis while robbing a Jew caught a Jew with an expression of discomfort on his face, they would inflict a heavy beating with a whip and their rifle on him. So there were many cases where Jews were murdered while their house was robbed. While the Jews were struggling between life and death the War was still on. There were battles in the prairies of Russia and in the deserts of Africa. The British radio station tried to encourage the Poles to hang on, the War is towards its end and the defeat of Hitler is certain. But at the sane time at the plaza and streets of the city, the Germans hung banners with big V signs that declared their big victories of the German army in Russia and Africa and the speakers that were situated at the central plaza by the market did not stop screaming and reporting about the new conquests in the USSR and Africa. This activity lowered the moral of the population and trust in the allied victories.

Demblin became a place of mass murder. An endless cemetery of hopeless people. At the city fortress thousands and thousands of Soviet POW's died of hunger. At the train station and the cars, searches were conducted and if someone was found to possess a little bit of fat, flour, tobacco or n egg, he or she would immediately be arrested and beaten to death. The suspected ones were imprisoned in the Gestapo basement in order to put them in front of a shooting squad later on and kill them. Of course most of the suspected ones were Jews. They were not even imprisoned in the basement, instead they were even cases where those miserable were not even taken to a shooting squad, instead they were murdered on the spot, by the train car. The community cart that carried the dead worked around the clock and its itinerary was the train station cemetery. Many dead bodies were overloaded on one cart. These were mostly Jews who were murdered for trying to smuggle some bread for the children.

If a Jew was caught outside the ghetto he became a game for the murderers. First, to entertain themselves, they would torture him and when he would lie down unconscious they would finish him off by smashing his skull. In Demblin there were three executioners who were cruel beyond any human imagination. These were the Gendarmes, S. S. Johann Peterson, gendarme of the Volksdeutscher, Edek Edward Brokof and the policeman, Garbartzek from the criminal police. Peterson was an executioner and his height reached to two meters (about seven feet). He was always accompanied by a special dog trained to attack human beings.

Upon Peterson's order this dog would attack a human being at his neck and bite it to death. Peterson in the street meant death. And every day before he sat down to eat his breakfast, somebody innocent was murdered. Most of his casualties were Jews but if a Pole was encountered the result would be the same. When Peterson entered the community there were immediately a series of messages about the danger that was approaching. If there was nobody around as a result of the warning, the murdered would ambush his sacrifices behind a wall or sit by a window at the café "Nur Pir Deutsche" an wait for his sacrifice. If he saw a Jew in the distance, he would start shooting at him and if he missed he sent his dog to attack and bite him. He would then approach the Jew and shoot him behind on the back of his skull or leave the dog to tear him apart and kill him.

The others followed him. Although they did not shoot as much, they were still very dangerous and killed many. Edek and Garbartzek competed among themselves who would kill the most and the underground declared death on those. Although ambushed, these murderers were never killed and instead they were even more vicious in their treatment and the cruelty and they continued to kill more and more people.

- 7 -

In the second half of March 1942, the Germans brought Jews who were evicted from Czechia. Most of them were part of the intelligentsia, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, etc. In Czechia they were told there was a lack of intelligent manpower in the occupied area, and as a result, they were needed. They were allowed to take their clothing, bedding and other items. They were told to put their items and luggage in packages at the freight cars of the train and they were left out only with certificates and receipts that identified their packages. They arrived in Demblin in passenger train cars were heavily guarded.

Upon arriving at the Demblin train station they were informed that was the end of the trip. When they approached the guard to claim their luggage and packages, they were told that the freight train car disconnected by mistake from the train and upon request each one of them would be able to get his packages and that at the moment they all were to stay in special dormitories that were prepared for them with what belongings they had with them. They were handled by the Judenrat and all that they had left in their hands was a piece of paper documenting their last piece of property which they never saw again. They were placed in an already crowded ghetto that had to absorb hundreds of additional people without clothing and bedding. The Judenrat had a very heavy load, taking care of hundreds of additional victims.

A bunch of doctors got together and created a medical group in one of the abandoned apartments in order to raise money for their food. But who could really heal in those days and with what. Of course there were doctors, but medication was lacking. The doctors didn't have enough medication to deal with the epidemic that inflicted the Jewish population under the Nazi occupation.

The Czech Jews took off their expensive clothing and purchased for their value food. Now they looked like the rest of their own kind, the inhabitants of Demblin, and like them they were hungry for food like the fate of the rest of the Demblin population. The Jews from Czechia were not as stoic as their brothers from Poland. They could not withstand the minimal and bad living conditions that waited for them. Soon diseases spread among them and the poor hospital at Pshachodneyah Street was full of Jews from Czechia. They were sleeping two in a bed and still the hospital could not absorb all those in need. The death rate among the newcomers was disproportional compared to the death rate of the senior ghetto inhabitants. When a Jew from Czechia became sick he never came out of his bed, and he died. Although the sanitary workers and doctors were dedicated and worked hard, they could not save many of the lives. Their hard work and dedication was not enough to save people from death. They had a belief that the nightmare would not last for long, a miracle would come and the people would be set free again. This belief helped them carry the horrible days in a more positive way and hope for life, but the days became darker and darker.

Spring came, the sun shown happily but the misery was intensified. On April 19, 1943 the rumor spread from person to person that the Warsaw ghetto started an armed uprising against their occupiers. The resistors claimed that if they were going to die, they might as well die as heroes, with honor. Everyday came the news about the cruel treatment of the Germans, burning people alive in their houses, destroying houses and their inhabitants. Nobody could escape from the claws of the Nazi animal. The horrible news broke the spirit of even the most courageous people. The Jews of Demblin knew by then that their fate would be the same as the Warsaw Jews. Here in Demblin the situation wasn't so cruel yet because there wasn't such a mass murderer. The Jews who had been oppressed by the Nazis tried to save their soul and the little property that they still had. But their main worries were about their children. "We may not stay alive, but our children must survive", the Jewish fathers and mothers used to say. They started to give their children and property away to the Polish neighbors. At the time the Germans started to expel many Poles to work in Germany. While the Poles were not enthusiastic about this move, for the Jews that work in Germany was a chance to survive. As a result the Jews put a lot of effort to be included in the list of workers to be transported.

The main job of sending people to work in Germany was done by the Arbeitsamt that was headed by the German Kovalsky. Kovalsky knew Polish very well although he never admitted it. The rumors were that Kovalsky was an officer in the Polish army from the battalions at Pozan county. Kovalsky turned out to be a person that still kept his human image and treated the workers humanely. It is difficult today to state if he ignored many of the young Jewish working candidates who applied for jobs.

The clerks of the Arbeitsamt, who were previously army officers, cooperated now with the underground. As a result the public knew what was happening and people were hiding before the big arrest took place. These underground members got instructions to send as many Jewish youths as possible to Germany in order to save them from extinction. Similarly they did the same by sending the local Jews to a variety of jobs in the immediate vicinity of Demblin such as the airport and or other institutions in the city. However, sooner or later, the activities of the clerks of the Arbeitsamt was discovered and they were forced to run away to the forest and join the partisans. They were all caught by the Nazis and killed except one who survived the occupation.

- 8 -

June 7 was the first day of the expulsion of Jews from Deblin, Ryki and Bobrownik. During the morning hours, all the Jewish inhabitants were gathered from the houses into the central market plaza. They were not allowed to take anything except for a little package in their hands. The expelled were organized in two groups. The young and healthy in one, and the old and children in another. People were organized in lines. Behind them moved farmers' carts that carried the old, the children and additional carts that carried the bodies of dead people. The treatment of the Bobrownik Jews was relatively more humane because they were guarded by the soldiers of the Wehrmacht. Not so were the conditions of the Jews from Ryki. Those that were expelled were treated by the "Blacks". Many were murdered while on the road and everything that happened afterwards cannot be described by a sane human being. The old and the children who were not able to catch up with the march were killed on the spot, and those who were still dying were piled up on the farmers' carts with the rest of the dead bodies. Not all died instantly. They were lying under the dead bodies and died slowly, slowly, with agony. This is the testimony of one of the local eyewitnesses, who watched the expulsion of the Jews from Ryki. "The most horrible was to see the Jews of Ryki at the time of their expulsion. Surrounded by Blacks and Ukrainians they moved under the burning sun, sweating and with open mouths, hardly breathing. They were repeatedly whipped and beaten by rifle butts of the murderers and those who could not catch up were shot on the spot without hesitation. At that point three farmers immediately collected the dead into their carts."

There were more than 10 carts and they piled up very quickly with old people, children and women. This was a horrible experience that until today, after so man years, when I remember it in front of my eyes, a cold chill passes through my entire body.

At 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon the Germans conducted selections among the Jews of Demblin. Those that were going to be expelled were surrounded by Blacks and Ukranian soldiers that made them run through Warshavsky Street towards the train station. But lets go back to the beginning of the expulsion of our city's Jews. In the morning, as was the daily routine, the healthy Jews showed up for work at the German companies and other jobs that they had. However, by 10:00 a.m. in the morning the entire ghetto was surrounded from all over so that nobody could escape. Other units penetrated the ghetto and started to expel or to concentrate the inhabitants to the central market plaza. At the plaza, the manager of the "Arbaytz", members of German companies and Gendarmes were present. The expulsion of the ghetto was done by Blacks and Ukrainians. On the other side of the market plaza stood a Gestapo officer and the Commissar Laanek. A German officer reported to them that the Jews of Demblin had been all concentrated in the central market plaza except the sick ones who were still in their beds in the hospital. When he heard this report, the officer started to walk to the hospital at Pshachodneyah street accompanied with one of the Blacks. He got into the hospital and on the spot killed seven sick patients in their beds. After this murderous action he returned to the market plaza, called the members of the Judenrat, started to send the Jews who were able to work, along Okulna Street. The rest, about 2,000 people, joined the Jews who were brought from Ryki and Bobrownik to concentrate there. They were marched towards Warshavsky Street. The local farmers gathered the dead bodies of the Jews from Ryki by the fire station and while crossing themselves escaped from the place fearing the Satan of the 20 th century dressed in shiny meticulous uniform and on the buckle was written "Got Mit Ountz". What an insult! The name of God written on their buckles, and in their bodies is the blood thirsty Satan.

After the expelled people left the place, the rest of the Jews were allowed to return to their houses. The healthy Jews from Ryki and Bobrownik were also housed in the shacks at the field and were surrounded by barbed wire. The young women from Bobrownik and Ryki were housed in a camp by the road to the airport in order to work there.

In the late evening hours, the Jews returned from their work. They knew about the expulsion that took place while they were away from home. In their hearts snuck in the hope and illusion that the expulsions skipped their own family members. However, when they entered their houses they saw them empty and messy. Then they immediately understood that he murderers got them all. They all immediately burst into crying, and yelled from their hearts like tortured people. The cry sounded from many Jewish houses and the entire ghetto was in mourning.

The expelled were crammed by the Germans into freight train cars until they could not move any parts of the body anymore. The children were thrown on top of the adults that were standing in the car. Prior to loading, the train cars were spread with lye powder. The lye powder stuck to the hot and sweaty bodies of the miserable, burned their skin and eyes and inflicted pain on them. The heat from the many bodies cramped into the car was unbearable, the car was almost hermetically closed and there was not enough air to breath. The miserable fainted and died while standing and nobody could get close to them and help them. There was not one hand to approach them to help them with mercy by giving them a drop of water. All the cars were closed and sealed with a lock. And all around stood the German animals that guarded them from all around. Anyone who tried to get close to the cars was shot to death on the spot.

Whoever stood there and saw these horrific scenes will never in the world be able to understand this terrifying tragedy that took place during that day. Not even an imaginative person will be able to write to report the scene of the stretched hand, the quest and prayer for mercy and the eyes that were poking from their holes from horror and fear and the desperate cries of those who realized that they were on the way to their last hours. The Polish population was forbidden to hang around and witness the scene, however, they were passively witnessing the scene by looking through the windows, seeing their neighbors marching to their death. They could only feel sorry for those who were going to their death but not really help them. Every little expression of help could end up in immediate death. Many people were very fearful and did not trust each other. You didn't know who was your friend and who was your enemy who would tell on you. Those who were weak and had no personality followed their instinct of self defense and participated with the Nazis. Although there were not many who participated with the Nazis in Demblin, there were participators. Because of those traitors, many from the Polish people were encamped in prisons and found their deaths. In spite of everything and in spite of the traitors, many did not give up, there were still human hearts who were helping the desperate. During the first expulsion, the worker Yoskay was locked in the storage house and his friend did not let him get out, in spite of his request to go to the central market plaza. His wife and daughter were taken by the murderers and he remained with his agony and sorrow. Every day when he appeared at work, he would cry about his wife and daughter. If he only mentioned his wife and daughter's name, he could not speak anymore. Although he was not weak, one night he broke down. He did not talk anymore and he did not touch anything around him. He was not afraid of dearth anymore. On the contrary, for people in his condition death was salvation from sorrow and desperation. The sorrow and agony was common to all the people of Israel. Most likely in that day, every Jewish house lost at least one of its loved ones. But it was not the time to cry and mourn for loved ones. It was the hour to struggle against the Nazi animal and wear off the German hell. Those who survived the expulsion were determined to struggle and save many others from a similar fate. They started by hiding and smuggling children into the adjacent villages where many found a shelter among the partisans in the forest.

- 9 -

Two days after the deportation I met with Pinchas Schteinbuch who told me that one of the Jewish elders wanted to meet me. Schteinbuch gave me the address of the man who was living at the corner of Okulna Street and Warshavsky street. When I entered the house I saw the man standing and praying, covered with tallit and tfillin. He pointed out for me to sit on a chair and continued his praying. When he finished his praying, a deep sigh burst from his chest. He then kissed the siddur, untied the tfillin band from his arm, took off the headpiece of the tfillin and mumbled the prayers of "el male rachmim" [God full of mercy]. Then he reached out his hand to bless me, sat down at he table by me and his deep and wise eyes looked at me for awhile, then he addressed me and said, "Sir, I have recommendations about you, therefore I'll talk to you shortly and to the point. As you know, Sir, our family members were deported a few days ago to an unknown destination. Would you, Sir, agree to travel and follow them and find out where they have been transported. Of course we will cover the entire travel cost. Sir, please think about this offer for two days, and then give me your answer. And if you agree, we will provide you with the funds and the blessing of our God will accompany you". As we continued to talk for a little while, I felt as if any additional words increased his agony and soon after I departed and left.

Two days later I returned to the Jew that was the assistant Rabbi and I informed him that I accepted the offer to travel and to find out the destination of the Demblin Jews' deportation. He then thanked me on my good will and then added, that the travel was unnecessary because a few of the train station workers informed him that the destination was the Sobibor camp and he added that if he needed my services again he would certainly remember my willingness to help and would contact me again.

For the average man who didn't have any information about the tragedy and the horror that took place in the ghetto, it looked as though life went on as usual. Day by day people showed up at the concentration point, Germans came and selected among them the workers that they desired and the rest went back to their houses. There wasn't really life in the ghetto anymore, only the struggle to survive.

In one of the summer days of July, the German commissar, who seemed to be in a bad mood, called the entire Judenrat to show up in front of him.

Everybody showed up at once and lined up in one line, standing in the sun, facing the building wall. They stood bareheaded, the sun hitting their head and sweat rolling down on their foreheads. No one even dared try hiding against the blazing sun. Everyone was shivering with fear and on his lips hung the question, "Why did this happen to us?" Rosenberg noticed that the clerk, Yakovshek was sitting at the community room. He thought about asking him why were they standing like this in the sun and if it would be possible to stand away from the blazing sun. He then got out of the line and went into the office. As Rosenberg entered the building, Laanek the commissar burst out accompanied by several Blacks and Blacks to conduct "physical exercise" on his victims. Those hoodlums and murderers immediately understood Laanek's idea and with a wild desire started to torture their victims. They yelled and screamed their orders non-stop "Get up, fall down, jump, lie down", and so they did for one long hour. The miserable were rolling in the dust oozing sweat from all over their bodies, their breath short, their feet trembled and many collapsed to the ground. Then finally it seemed that the torturers got tired of torturing their victims and ordered the miserable to return to their houses. They didn't wait even a second and catching their last breath they started to run away from those Satan murderers, who shot after them in order to scare them away. With fear and anxiety the Jews arrived at the ghetto and disappeared into their houses. However, Rosenberg couldn't get out of the building because he was hiding behind the closet with the clerk Yakovshak and they both feared for their lives if they were discovered in the building because Jews were not allowed to be in it.

The principle laborer at the airport was the Austrian engineer, Schneider. The Judenrat people asked him to be included in his labor force and as a reward they gave him gold and jewelry. That engineer was decent. He accepted them into his labor force and as an exchange for the gold and jewelry he received he protected them by informing his supervisors that these Jews were necessary for the work at the airport and that many among them were professionals. His supervisor approved it because the work was very necessary and the War was still continuing.

Many looked for ways to save themselves. There were many who directly asked the Germans to protect them for gold and jewelry. Many others found other ways cheaper and safer. There were a few that asked Prantzeshak Yandzjevsky to help them by sending them to Germany through the "Arbauystanst". And indeed, thanks to the effort of Yandzjevsky the "Arbeitsamt" sent Arye Schteibach, Shlomo Stern, Sviegenberg's daughter, to Germany. However those did not travel as Jews, they traveled as Poles. As a result they were provided with documents that testified to their Polish origin and their roman catholic religion. Those documents were also provided by Yandzjevsky.

After the deportation there were many orphaned left to hang around without a house, father or mother. A few had been helped, but the majority could not find any shelter and continued to hang around from place to place, hungry and beaten like an oppressed animal and they were captured by the Gestapo.

Upon being captured, the Gestapo interrogated them as to who hid them, who provided them with food, and so on. After the interrogation, if they did not reveal anything, they were shot immediately.

In July 1942 there emerged from the police station, two young children, handcuffed, and behind them was Peterson accompanied with his dog. The boy was about 12 years old and the girl was about 9 years old. As they were marching, his dog attacked them. And when they arrived at the central market plaza, Peterson shot them to death at the back of their head.

When the Germans started to lose the battle at Stalingrad and the east front in Africa and when the war with the partisans started to spread and increase in the occupied territory, the Germans increased their terror action against the population in their occupied area. At that time, the murdered never made it to the cemetery. Instead, they were buried at the outskirts of the city in any available space, without any demarcation indicating their region or identity of the murdered.

Among the Jews from Czechia who arrived in Demblin, there were two beautiful women, the older one said she was the mother of the younger one. They were both very attractive and elegant looking. The rumor was that they might be from Yugoslavia. They walked freely in the streets and did not live in the ghetto. They used to be permanent visitors of the Gestapo officer that used to live at the house of Dr. Kodriatzev on Warshavsky street. The visits seemed to be for matters of different errands and also maybe for the purposes of sex, between the Gestapo officer and the younger one. But on one of the days in September, 1942, they all found themselves at the gendarme station together with Paula Kaminsky, two other unidentified women, and six Jewish men. All the 11 people in the group were loaded onto a truck and were led accompanied by the gendarme Edward Brokof Kirsch and another one, to the cemetery. At the cemetery they got off the truck and were led along the left side of the road where they were all shot and buried.

- 10 -

On October 15, 1942, the Germans started to dismantle the ghetto. From the very early hours of the morning, the ghetto was surrounded by units of Ukrainian "Death Skulls" and S. S. soldiers. The ghetto turned to hell. People went out of their minds while the Nazi murderers started to burst into their houses and with kicks and curses they expelled the Jews. The sick ones were killed immediately on the spot. The Jews who realized that the angel of death had come to take them away, started to hide. Many went crazy and ran away directly into the street where they found their immediate death. Those that did not hurry up to fulfill their orders, children, old and women, were shot on the spot. The rest showed up at the central market plaza. Upon watching these scenarios, many from the Polish population stated to cry and many of the religious among them crossed themselves and prayed to God for many of the murderers to be buried alive. At the same time, by the community building at the market plaza, one of the black Satans stood up peacefully with no expression on his murderous face, he did not even blink while looking at the horrible murderers that he caused.

Okulna Street, Sanatorska and the market plaza were full of the dead bodies of innocent victims. This was the end of the Jewish community of Demblin.

Upon concentration all the city Jews in one place, their classification started. Women were torn away from their husbands, children from their mothers and with beatings and screams they were sorted out into groups. At the side stood the laborer merchants expecting to get the slaves for no exchange. Those were the lucky ones that went out to work at the airport, the labor camp or the train station with a small package in their hands. They were not allowed to take the time to separate from their family members. The rest were marched along in long lines, with beatings and whipping through Warshavsky street. Cries, screaming and sighs of sorrow were carried among the marchers to their deaths and a prayer was echoed in the air, "May the God of Israel protect his people on its way to slaughter". However, the prayers did not penetrate the copper sky. God gave free hand to Satan to finish up his selected people, the people of Israel. People that in a little while would become dust were marching slowly, slowly toward their last destination. Their watery eyes looked at the houses' windows as if asking for help. But nobody was standing at the windows, nobody could save the miserable, nobody could bare their quest for mercy. The Polish population was also under terror. They were terrified by the screaming and the shooting that accompanied the Demblin Jews in exiting their city where their fathers had lived. The slow ones were shot on the spot. By the river, an old Jewish Czech and his daughter who was holding his hand were far behind the column, therefore one of the Blacks shot him. As he fell on the pavement, his daughter grabbed the rifle from the murderer and screamed, assaulting the murderer of her father. But suddenly she stopped, realizing what she was about to do, but at the same time another murderer aimed his rifle at her head and shot her to death.

For many years, the Demblin population could not forget the horrible and the terrifying scenes still visible to many until these days. The second deportation dismantled the ghetto entirely. That was the end of the last of the Demblin Jews.

The Germans imprisoned the Jews in three camps, at the airport, by the agricultural school that was located on the road between the airport and the fortress and the third was the cargo camp. The rest, about 15,000 people, were sent by the Nazis to Maidanek death camp to the gas chambers. The treatment during this expulsion was far more cruel than the previous one.

After the expulsion, the Nazis ordered the Judenrat to collect all the dead bodies by the synagogue. The next day the farmers came with their carts and collected the dead bodies and buried them at the Bobrownik cemetery. The murdered bodies were loaded on the carts by the Judenrat people and the Jewish police that were left in the ghetto to clean up the dead bodies that the Nazis left after them.

They were also present during the mass burial. I was there also, on behalf of the underground movement in order to see what the Germans did to the Jews. In order to avoid the Germans' suspicion I requested from Hancharski to provide me with documents that my presence at the cemetery was needed for supervising a proper burial to avoid diseases. And indeed I got such a document and throughout the entire burial wrote down whatever I saw. The Bobrownik farmers dug a large mass burial deep enough where all the dead were buried. The farmers were helped by four policemen, and the Germans from the "Death Skulls" and the Banshutze supervised the entire project. The Germans ordered the dead bodies to be stripped of their clothing, but after the farmers requested not to do so, the Germans allowed them. And so, the murdered were buried with their clothing at the moment of their death. Not all were buried on the same day, since the night came down. The Jews, the farmers and I, stayed to sleep that night at Bobrownik in order to finish the job the next day. During the burial, one of the Jews asked me to get a special permit from the murderers to allow him to bury his little son that he found among the dead ones, in a separate grave. The Germans accepted his request and the little boy was buried separately.

The Germans murdered 215 people in that deportation that was the dismantling of the ghetto. However, today I cannot exactly verify the number of the women and the men, because the list that I put together during the burial was all lost with other documents of the Krayova army. Two children, Izio and Ida Rozenman, managed to escape from the deportation. Yan Taryee, a fireman, found them and hid them at his house. Later he created contact with their parents who were imprisoned at the camp by the airport, and brought them back to their parents with the help of the Volksdeutscher and Yandzjevsky.

- 11 -

After the deportation the Germans started to loot the houses of the Jews that were murdered. They passed from house to house and looted every valuable item. To witness this action they brought Peter Pinka, Chaslav Stefanski, the community treasurer and me from the health department. We were all supervised by Gendarmes and the Black Rubientnik and Steinbuch from the Judenrat. One group put seals on the closed houses at Starovka street. We put seals on the sealed houses along Bankova street. And another group at the sealed houses on Okulna Street. At the first house on Bankova Street at the side of Warshavsky, an older couple sat at a table and prayed. When the Black saw them he was furious. He yelled and screamed at them, beat them with his rifle butt and immediately kicked first the old woman away from the house and about 20 meters away he killed her on the spot. Then he murdered her husband who collapsed beside her. We could not witness the murder of innocent and defenseless elderly and we were hiding at the adjacent house. We passed around other houses, they were all empty, but in one of the basements at Okulna Street the Gendarmes suddenly heard something.

The gendarme ordered me to walk towards the direction of the sound and see what was the source. When I looked into the basement I saw a Jew hiding behind the house. The Jew saw me as well. I hinted to him not to be afraid and I pretended as if I was scaring away a stray cat and I returned to the gendarme. I told him the cat was the source of the noise. I talked loudly so that the hiding Jew would hear me and see that indeed I didn't reveal his hiding. Later, on the way back, I told Schteinbuch about the Jew I discovered, in order to find a way of helping him to arrive at the camp at the airport. And indeed, the next time I met Schteinbuch I discovered that that Jew managed to arrive at the camp.

After November 1, 1942, the Germans emptied all the Jewish houses. They took apart the Jewish houses that were made out of wood and used the material for heating during the cold winter days. The rest of the houses that remained in good shape were confiscated for their living spaces and the rest they gave free for the Poles to live in.

As mentioned before, the Germans established four labor camps in Demblin. Two were situated by the airport, another one by the town and Mozovietchka and the fourth one by the cargo station. The Jews who were imprisoned in the camps by the airport worked under the supervision of the German engineer Schneider in the maintenance of the airport and its shops. The prisoners of the camp that was situated by the city and the other camp by the station were working in the loading and unloading of the train and the cargo cars. The camps were fenced with barbed wire and were guarded by Ukrainians. The camp by the cargo station was not isolated but it was also guarded by Ukrainians. In that camp, my good friends, Dr. Kava and his wife and also Yitzhak Goldberg and his wife, were imprisoned. This camp housed about 120 people and the other camp by the city was bigger and housed about 200 people. I entered and visited the camp by the train quite often and the camp by the city only one time because I did not have any friends and there was no reason for my visit. Even though I would tell the entire truth, nobody would believe me simply because it was forbidden for Poles to be in the camp area. The wooden living quarters in the camps had beds made out of wood and a little bit of straw was spread that seemed more like garbage. Only Dr. Kava had special conditions. He lived in separate quarters. At the camp by the train station, the Jews had a kitchen for themselves where they prepared "coffee" and "soup" and since this camp was not fenced the prisoners could easily provide themselves with some food products although at very high prices. Not so was the condition at the camp behind the city where Jews from Ryki and Bobrownik and other places were imprisoned. The local Polish population did not recognize them and they did not recognize the local inhabitants. They quickly exhausted the little savings they had with them and soon started to starve to death. When I visited the camp in the summer of 1943 many of them were already dying and not capable of working anymore. At the beginning of July 1943 the Germans dismantled the camp by Irena.

The camp by the station continued to operate, but inhabitants knew very well that the Germans would not let them survive the camp. They were aware of the existence of the death camps, Maidanek, Sobibor, Treblinka and Auschwitz. They believed that only a miracle could save them. I repeatedly tried to persuade Dr. Kava and Goldberg to run away to the forest and join the partisans, but they did not want to leave their wives who always tried to stay away from the forest because it was unknown.

In March 1943, Goldberg informed me that Dr. Kava and his wife got typhus and died. Their very poor health condition did not allow them to recover from the disease.

In the autumn of 1943, the Germans dismantled the camp by the train station. I could not find out the destination of the deportation because at that time the Nazis dismantled the small camps as well, such as Pulawy, Konskavola ands Poniatov.

I could not penetrate the camp by the airport because the Germans never granted me a special entry permit and claimed the camp was isolated and had its own sanitary system. Therefore I don't know how many and who were the people imprisoned in it. According to an unreliable estimation I would say that camp had about 500 people, but in order to verify the number only the people who managed to survive from this camp could testify.

Several weeks later Jews started to emerge from their hiding places, hungry, sick and thin like skeletons that were hardly recognizable as human creatures. With the help of a few Poles, the Nazis captured them very easily. The captured were immediately imprisoned and after interrogation they were shot to death at the community yard or at an abandoned house at Sanatorska street. Edek took on the interrogation and the murder himself since he was in the folksdeuthcher and knew Polish very well. That murderer killed with his own hands about 300 Jews and about 50 Poles. Micheslav Sabrin killed many Jews and Poles. The Polish underground declared the death sentence on him. By the final decision of Krayova army, Sabrin was executed in March 1944. Tadeush Tarchinsky was executed by the decision of the Krayova army in March 1942 because throughout many years he worked with Schteinbuch and gave the Germans many names of rich Jews to be executed. In 1943, just this was done to the head of the police, Garbartznek. Death found him at his lover's apartment at Staromieska Street. The hand of vengeance finally captured the master killer Peterson. The Polish underground ambushed him at the village, Krasnoglina, when he returned from Mozchianki. However, the murderers Zedward Brokof, Edek and Kirsch stayed alive and well in the land of Poland.

The camp at the airport existed until the beginning of 1944. As the Red Army approached, the Germans transferred the Jews to the Czenstechov region where the Russian winter offensive brought out their final freedom and liberation.


The description of the life of the Jews before the First World War, I based on sources from “Mobion and Viki” and also testimonies of the headmaster from the previous school No. 2, Kosik, and n stories from the elderlies of the city.

The sources for the descriptions of the life of the Jews between the two World Wars I drew from testimonies of many people, especially from testimonies of Blaziechic, the previous community leader (secretary); also testimonies of Vidala, a clerk in the community in Demblin; on the writing and lists of  Mr. Yandzjevsky, and also on my personal observations.

My descriptions of the period of German occupation were based on the testimonies of Yandzjevsky, Kosik, Blazjesky, Vidala and Viakovshek and also on my personal memoirs.

February 7, 1967

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