by A. Almoni
Translated by Tina Lunson
After suffering hunger and receiving beatings from the Polacks, a few organized themselves in a group of twelve and decided to run away to the forest. One dark night they hid in a nearby forest with a group of Jews from Kelts. Some peasants from the village Maykov who knew about them attacked them and captured eight of them; the others got away.
While I was at work in the shtshetnitse a Polack from the village Maykov came and told the German guards that he had caught four Jews, but the business would only give him one kilo of sugar for each one. If the guards would pay more he would bring them more. An hour later he brought another four Jews and turned them over, since the others had fled. The Jews were promptly shot. Before their deaths they had screamed out to us to avenge the spilling of their innocent blood.
Those shot were: Khayim Shotland, Bernard Koen, M. Zoberman. We did not know the name of the fourth man.
Among the great persecutors at shop C were Shpadlo who had thousands of victims on his conscience; Vaytshik and Shevtshuk, who helped the German murderers may their names be blotted out to kill six thirtysix thousand Jews who were killed in Skarzshiske Osob and especially at workshop C.
There were another several hundred Polacks who tortured Jewish victims. On the bus was a horrible murderer who had many Jewish victims on his conscience. His name is Kotlenga Alshavi.
by Berish Brikman
Translated by Tina Lunson
After the big deportation of Ostrovtse Jews on the 10th of October, 1942, the remaining Jews, the workers, the legals and also those without workplaces, the illegals, were taken to a small area near the cemetery where a residence had been designated for them. Also those who had hidden in the town during the deportation and later returned to the Jewish ghetto. The conditions there were inhumane: ten to twenty people to a small room. The filth in that area had grown high and it was enough for the snow to melt a little and the whole ghetto was transformed into one big heap of mud and excrement. Because of the sanitary conditions there some cases of typhus illnesses had already begun to appear and there was real danger of an epidemic.
The ghetto was guarded by Polish policemen who frequently showed their sympathy for the unfortunate Jews by shooting without warning into the fence where a Jew was trying to buy a loaf of bread for money or to barter for some edible item. More than one Jew was shot running through the narrow path to buy food in the Polish shop. Such victims fell regularly.
They snatched up young people for work who had just come from their shift of eight or ten hours of hard labor, and the Ukrainians at the factory forced them to go on another ten or more hours loading wagons with iron or coal. People who had slept only through the night shift were dragged from bed to clean the courtyard or carry water for the Jewish police.
Turmoil seized the whole ghetto when it became known that an S.S.man or gendarme was coming in. Everything was hidden within one minute. One could only hear the wild barking of the S.S.man's dog, which had more than once sought the taste of Jewish blood… After they left, there were fresh decrees: they were looking for partisans and weapons. They brought out Jews to shoot. Every couple of days they openly shot a few Jews against the cemetery wall.
And over the quickly knockedtogether fence of lathing and broken doors from former Jewish houses, which vividly reflected the huge extermination, one could clearly see the free world, the fine winter days, Polish passersby dressed for a holiday, with gift packages for Christmas eve. Everyone was drawn to that freedom. The decision grew and festered: Not to stay any longer, not just look at the public. Let come what may! As the situation got tighter, all the more the urge and resolve grew to get out. People sought various ways to get false Aryan papers, which were called ;ognieshkies. How they came to have that name was not known. It is a familiar Polish girl's name. In any case a Jewish girl who went over to the Aryan side named them ;ognieshkies and from then on the name stuck.
The ognieshkies proved to be very effective. When they took Poles to work in Germany, many Jews with those papers smuggled themselves to Germany as Aryans.
The maker of those papers was a boy of 17, on whom lay the burden of supporting a family. He did his work very often at the risk of his life. He would go late at night often in the company of a Jewish adjutant over to an officer of the local magistrate to stamp the photographs he had brought with him onto the Aryan identification cards. The maker filled out the identification card as desired and replicated the signatures.
He was not the only one. Each person who wanted to go over to the Aryan side had to create such a false piece of paper for each case and so it became quite popular.
On the 15th of August 1943 the foreseen event took place: The second deportation. Many people, first of all the illegals, those who did not have work assignments, were sent for extermination to Treblinka. Youths who jumped off the trains and came back to the ghetto related the gruesome experience of those who were driven to their last road.
In the ghetto the workers were disgusted. Their urge to get our to the Aryan side grew stronger. It was the main theme the occupied each person in the ghetto.
Many people began to go over to the Aryan side; but many returned after a few days, pale, weary, with horrible reports.
They said that they were blackmailed on the outside. There were many traitors going around. One person related that near the exit gate, a Polish policeman demanded 5,000 zlotych from a girl. Another said further that, when the police recognized a Jewish girl in the passagecamp among those traveling to Germany he promptly shot her. All these reports held many people back from setting out, but a large number did not look at all that and held to their old decision, out, whatever may happen. And they went out into the dark night in search of rescue.
Despite the large number of ognieshkies holders a very small number seemed to leave and a very negligible number stayed out. Life was hard in the ghetto and hard on the outside.
The day arrived for the liquidation of the ghetto. On a certain early morning they including Ukrainians deported the people to the barracks. There they lived in an enclosure with guard towers with armed Ukrainians looking down on them. Theognieshkies maker was not among the prisoners. He had left with a group of Zionist youths to fight in the Warszawa ghetto. As we later realized, that group of young men and women from Ostrovtse excelled in the fight for the honor of the Jewish people in the Warszawa ghetto uprising.
The imprisonment of the remnants of Ostrovtse in the barracks began a second chapter of troubles for those few remaining Jews…
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