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[Page 337]

In the Realm of the Judenrat

by Lusia Fuchs, Jezierna

Translated from the Polish by Dobrochna Fire

Zborów, ghetto, February 1943

In the Jewish section of Zborów,
On the main street in the center of town,
Stands a rather large two–story building
That is neither very old nor very new.

You know this building well, my friends,
And curse the owner either aloud or in secret.
You have no need of my explanations.
He is insensitive to groans or pain.

A curved staircase leads up to the residence
Of his excellency, the director of the Judenrat,
The one who rules over us imperiously
And reigns in the town by the grace of ‘The Boss.’

He is our representative everywhere,
With no sympathy for poverty or misery.
He plagues us, skins us alive, seeking
Valuables and tributes as presents for ‘The Boss.’

We have to think: the Master of lightening
Looks in silence at this den of wolves.
Is it possible that the heavens are protecting him
And shielding him from our curses?!

Our Duce.[1] We are his to own,
For he, anointed by The Boss himself,
Was told, “Die Juden sind deine
Und du Judenaeltester bist meiner
.”[2]

If someone should ask,
“Where is this leader's retinue?”
His question would be just. I will describe
Each one in great detail, to be sure.

This famed institution
Extracts from us a contribution,
And it is called the JUDENRAT,
Much ‘beloved’ by us.

The Judenrat, but above all its members,
Can be compared to a nest of parasites.
Like parasites, which live at another's expense,
They build their nest on the affliction of others.

There are thirteen of them, you know.
Against each one be on your guard.
Obmann's role suits him so well.[3]
He is energetic and makes a great impression.

One can see from His Excellency Obmann's words
That he has had a sip of intelligence.
Truly worthy of his position,
He forges ahead, though the road is slippery.

When he leaves the Judenrat building
And walks down the street, head held high,
He is followed by everyone's gazes
And by a flock of … wishes.

We invariably all wish him the same
Each day of our suffering.
But he remains unaffected
And continues to reign over our town.

He is respected by both great and small,
As he maintains excellent order in the town.
He fulfills his duties in a praiseworthy way
Sprouting up even where he is not needed.

He gets along well with the Nazi authorities.
When he is summoned to the Gestapo, his heart does not pound.
But this is not sorcery; we would all be this brave,
For he certainly brings them valuable gifts.

When he walks down the street with them,
They appear to be equals. But this is an illusion.
He has the demeanor, the chutzpah, even his enemy would admit,
Not everyone would be capable of the same.

It took such effort, conniving, deception, and toil
For the people of Zborów to be free of roundups.
Aktions would take place first in the towns
Around Zborów, as long as they existed.

He himself arranged their order. I'll tell you in secret
That his own life and that of his family were at stake;
If only dust remained of the people of Zborów,
Whom would he represent?

His greatest flaw,
Something no man can control,
Is that he suffers from itchy hands,
And is subject to hellish torment.

Only then is he relieved, does he revel, does he live,
When he can bash in the face of a Jew or Jewess.
Something that every Jewish passerby must fear,
Obmann calms down when he has given them a beating.

He gets the greatest satisfaction from the action
Of re–doing a woman's face.
His greatest turn–on is when
The victim of a face bashing is a woman.

He is not ashamed of this,
He may even see it as an asset.
Everyone has to blow off steam somehow,
And he blows off steam by bashing in a face!

Have you seen him, good people,
When on a Wednesday or Sunday,
He would chase about like a lunatic,
Yelling and swinging his horsewhip every which way,

Onto heads or backs, women, children.
“Gather it up,” he would scream. “Gather up the trash!”
He wants to show his supervising Nazi
That the town is clean, to impress his Boss.

All in all, this ruling creep,
This beating Obmann, this caricature,
Was apparently sent by God himself
In service to the Gestapo, our enemy.

I have devoted enough space to you, Obmann.
While I write in despair, you are having an ample breakfast,
A good dinner, and a tasty supper–
While others starve; but you are right.

After him, I must say with pathos, goes
Hersch Shapira, with his long nose;
Not wanting to make him angry
I'll add that he is Obmann's deputy.

A puffy face, blood–shot eyes–you can see
He is no stranger to drink. And for those
Who want to know more, no joke,
He is a lover of ‘art’, a passionate card player.

Whoever knows how he lived before the war
Also knows that he was a machinist.
Don't look so surprised–
He did his sitting[4] where there were machines.

He should be congratulated
For his clever machination,
For he hangs around at the Ungler Company
With the vigor of quicksilver.

You all know about this well,
Although we don't want to spread it about.
It is also generally known that he and Obmann
Get along like cats and dogs.

There is nothing I wish to write about Schwab;
He is always around, interfering, controlling.
In spite of it all, he is really no wit,
He may huff and puff but is truly a nothing.

The camp Hauptverbindungsmann[5]
Is tall, handsome, even quite terrific.
God bestowed strength of arms on him.
Who would not complain about that?

And what are you so proud of, Sanie dear?
That the camp inmate fasts and starves while you eat cream!?
That at the camp, you are second–in–line after The Boss?
That you have such self–important confederates?[6]

Not much space on my paper
Will I grant to you, Pilsner.
I know you peer into the kitchen to see
If someone has stolen something from there.

I proclaim, may it be known for all time,
That you have money, secret funds, that you can use.

We can't complain about Rosenberg;
We can only wish more were like him.
You know him–he sells goods in his store;
He's in charge of provisioning, I believe.

He is polite, but is this politeness inborn,
Or are we seeing his fiancé's influence?
Perhaps she, Miss Mania, was the one who extorted
This politeness from him as the price of her ‘love’?

Leibaleh Kronisch, the housing clerk,
Has an important function. Ever the official,
He is in great demand. This petty little man is
Forever sullen, never smiling.

People pursue him, quite a few waking him
From his after–dinner nap.
Here is someone with bundles in the yard,
Surrounded by children; he can't take any more.

It's too wet and leaky for one, too dry for the other.
This one is prevented from cooking his offal.
Yet another is cramped, squeezed like a sardine;
He insists on being moved to another place.

This one complains of the darkness, like being buried alive.
His wish is that God grant this to you, Kronisch.
Another complains his neighbors have lice
Not only have them but share them as well.

One has a burst pipe in his kitchen,
While a hole in another's kitchen is smoking.
Arguing here and thrashing there,
This one is threatened with expulsion for theft.

Everyone comes to him. Everyone sincerely wishes that you,
Leibaleh, were in their place, not only now but eternally.
The health clerk is the lawyer Bund,
Yet how can anyone here be gesund?[7]

His most secret desire is
To go where the money is.
He has been collecting Kopfsteuer[8]
Without fail, from the beginning.

You all know the tall old gent, on daily duty at the secretariat.
He gives out prescriptions to the sick, as you know.
He will give out a prescription even though
The patient is already dead and gone.

Listen up, our dear medic, why do you not take
One of your own prescriptions?
You will be doubled over in pain
And running to the t … every minute.

The Judenrat's cashier is in charge of rations.
An old fellow, in glasses, named Rubinstein I believe.
He is not from Zborów; he favors his own people,
And they are the prime recipients of rations.

With his cap tilted a bit over his eyes,
Here comes the head of our post office.
Do you know whom you have the pleasure
To meet? That's our David Herman.

His hat may be tilted over his eyes,
But he never fails to eye a young girl.
Because he likes such things,
He will never retreat from a young lass.

He still knows how to make eyes at someone,
And although an old fellow, he understands
That the best thing in the world is …
Well, we all know what that is.

He never parts from his briefcase,
Since it gives him official standing.
He hired a female assistant so he himself
Does not have to spend time in his office–it is much

Better for him. Our Marder from Jezierna
Is a placid, quiet, passive man.
He feels like a foreigner among them;
These gambling boys don't understand him.

He does not have Schwab's chutzpa
Or the hand or the mug of some other ruffian.
He has to listen to them, to want what they want,
In order to keep this wretched armband.[9]

The one who should be judged among all others
Is the one who managed to set himself up
As seeming to be a straw widower;
Such men are usually called ‘hustlers’.

He left his wife and daughter in the Jezierna camp,
Yet he himself came to Zborów. Here he plays
The bachelor. He won't let a girl cross the street
Without giving her a pinch where it's convenient.

He fondles them, and the girls flock to him
To get information, if needs be,
They cozy up to him to his face
But make fun of him behind his back.

They call him old man. He believes they love him,
But they know how to play him for a fool.
Nunio Paket is this Don Juan's name,
He who plays the bachelor with the girls.

I have finished describing you all.
Enough–I want to rest.
As much as I could and I knew,
I wrote it all down about all of you.

But this is not yet all.
I get the chills when I recall.
If I had wanted, just for fun,
To describe your dealings,

Your shindigs, drunken carousals, parties, the excitement!
Those daily celebrations, hoots, bravados,
Your shouts and head–bashing,
All this decadent life of yours,

There would not be enough room. In all this hoopla,
You've forgotten what is our destiny–
As well as yours. You've forgotten that there is no option;
None of us will avoid our fate–annihilation.

Although you may consider yourselves to be better,
The Gestapo will murder both you and us.
Don't look too far, just look in front of you,
For before you know it, we will be together in heaven.

I may have here used too many words.
These are, after all, our representatives.
When the heart is breaking of despair and pain,
Despair dictates, and the hand records.

  1. Duce (Ital.) = leader. Return
  2. Die Juden sind deine und du Judenaeltester bist meiner (Ger.) = The Jews are yours, and you, Jewish elder, are mine. Return
  3. Obmann = representative [Ger.]. Yanek Fuchs was appointed as Obmann of the Zborów ghetto. Return
  4. This is a play on words in Polish: siedzieć literally means ‘to sit’, but it can also mean ‘to spend time in jail’. Return
  5. Hauptverbildungsmann (Ger.) = chief liaison. The position was held by Sanie Auerbach (see next stanza). Return
  6. Szwagier (‘brother–in–law’) can also refer to men who share the role of lover to the same woman. Return
  7. Gesund (Ger.) = healthy. Return
  8. Kopfsteuer (Ger.) = head tax. Return
  9. Even though all Jews were required to wear identifying armbands, Judenrat members had special privileges. Return


[Page 343]

About the Poem by Lusia Fuchs

by Menachem Duhl

Translated by Maya Avis

These lines were written by Lusia Fuchs, daughter of Shaul Fuchs and Nusia (nee Heliczer), in the Zborow ghetto. This young child was also one of the forcefully removed Jews of Jezierna.

She was 15 years old when she wrote these lines. Through the eyes of a child she witnessed the events around her, the demolition and the daily reality which, taken all together, brought her to understand the tragedy of her people, who were sentenced for eradication.

She also saw those few Jews who, at the expense of the persecution and misery of others, were able to live good lives. This wounded her young soul even more. Her wish was that the Jews from the Jezierna that once was, who remained among the living, would know how those days had been; that the whole world would know how the Jews had lived, how they were persecuted and destroyed in the ghetto. These very lines are the voice of one of our martyrs that calls out to us from the grave: DO NOT FORGET!

Dozia Blaustien, who was saved by a miracle, entrusted us with this poem for publication and we are fulfilling the composer's last wish by printing it in Polish, the language in which it was written.

Perhaps, while reading these lines, not just one will shed a tear, and will recall the author. This will be her compensation.

May this be an eternal memorial to her.


[Pages 344-348]

Documents

Editor's Note:

There are no page numbers in the last section of the book, which contains articles written in various languages.
The original articles can be read online at the following website, using the Image Number listed. http://yizkor.nypl.org/index.php?id=1289


Document 1
(Image 348)

Compiled by M.D.

Translated by Doron Friedman

We wrote about the efforts to bring to trial Richard Dyga, commander of the camp in Jezierna, the murderer,
who killed thousands of Jews with his own hands. In this section we present letters and documents regarding that matter.


YAD VASHEM _ Remembrance Authority of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes

19th of Kislev, 5720
Dec 20th 1959

To Mr. Mendel Duhl
Haifa,
82 Hagiborim St.

Dear Sir,

Under Discussion: War Criminal Richard Dyga

The prosecution in the town Waldshut, Germany contacted us with a request to assist them in finding witnesses – survivors of Jezierna Camp near Tarnopol, who can testify regarding the activities of the war criminal, commander of the camp Richard Dyga.

We have been told by our friend N. Blumenthal that you would be able to assist in the mitzvah of bringing the wicked to justice.

We would be grateful if you could provide names of people who have knowledge of the aforementioned criminal.

  Sincerely,
(signature)
Dr. Y. Kermish
Director of the Archives


Document 2
(Image 349)

Translated from German by Shoshana Rappeport

Waldshut, the 5th of February 1960

State Prosecutor at
the District Court of
Waldshut
The Attorney General
Waldshut
Bismarckstr. 23
1 Js 8658/59

By Air Mail

Mr.
Nachmann Blumenthal,
Tel Aviv /Israel
Ben Zakai St. 2

Re: Proceedings against
Richard Dyga from Königshütte,
for multiple murders.

Dear Mr. Blumenthal,

I have received notification from Magistrate Naumann, the investigative judge at the Giessen district court, that you may be able to give information as a witness in an investigation currently proceeding here.

I am conducting an investigation against the former camp commander of the forced–labor camp Jezierna in the Tarnopol district, Richard Dyga, who comes from upper Silesia.

If you have any knowledge or are in possession of any documentation I would be grateful if you would communicate this information. Should witnesses be known to you I request notification concerning the possible addresses.

  Respectfully,
(signature)
Dr. Angelberger


Document 3
(Images 350-351)

    

Translated from German by Shoshana Rappeport

3.1.1960

To the
State Prosecutor
at the Waldshut District Court
Attorney General
to Dr. Angelberger
Bismarckstr. 23
Waldshut, Germany

Dear Dr. Angelberger,

We hereby confirm the receipt of your esteemed letter dated 2.12.1959, file number 1 Js 8658/59, regarding Richard DYGA, former director of the central work camp Jezierna in the Tarnopol district.

Due to our connections we were able to locate the addresses of the following witnesses to the crimes of the above named:

  1. Mendel Dol
    Hagiborim Str. 82
    Haifa, Israel
  2. Anna Dol
    Hagiborim Str. 82
    Haifa, Israel
  3. Henia Heliczer c/o Mgr. Zelig Anderman
    Afridar, Pharmacy
    Aschkelon, Israel
  4. Zila Zaimer, nee Heliczer
    address can be obtained from her sister Henia (No. 3)
  5. Engineer I. Steinberg
    5116 Hamilton St.
    O'ky, Brooklyn 19,
    New–York, USA
  6. Max Richman
    184 College Str.
    Toronto, Canada
Furthermore it is known to us that the witness Pepi Scharer and her two daughters are located in Australia; their addresses we will ascertain in the near future, together with those of the important witnesses Zainer (a judge by occupation) and Michal Rajski (Engel), who both live in Poland. Mr. Rajski is presently visiting Israel and we hope to be able to contact him.

In our archive there is a short description of living conditions in the ZAL [central–labor–camp] – Jezierna and about the murder of thousands of Jews during the period of its existence. This was written in Polish by Dr. Liblich for the Stuttgart branch of the Jewish Historical Commission in Munich, which functioned in 1946–48.

In the memorial book “Czortkow”, published by Kohen Israel, Tel Aviv, 1956, the war–criminal Richard DYGA is named, in the memories of Mendel Dol (see No. 1)

Testimony is accepted by the Central Court of Justice in Jerusalem via the Israeli Mission in Cologne or by direct contact with the Central Court of Justice in Israel, Jerusalem, Russian Compound. Regarding your willingness to send us additional documentation, this is desirable for furthering the matter; accordingly, we would also like a photograph of DYGA. We will immediately send you further documentation should such reach us. For this purpose it would be necessary for you to keep us informed about the developments of the investigation.

Copy: Mr. Attorney General Schüle With great respect,
(signature)
Dr. J. Kermisz
Director of Archives


Document 4
(Image 352)

Translated from German by Shoshana Rappeport and Ayelet Ophir

Jerusalem, 14.2.1960

To the
State Prosecutor
at the Waldshut District Court
to Dr. Angelberger
Attorney General
Registered Post

Waldshut
Bismarckstr. 23

Dear Dr. Angelberger,

Regarding: War criminal Richard DYGA

We confirm with thanks the receipt of your valued letter of 27.1.1960 with the enclosed photographs of war criminal Richard DYGA. We also thank you for the information about the confrontation of DYGAS by Mr. Simon Wiesenthal, engineer.

We are endeavoring to find further incriminating evidence against DYGA and will forward such to you without delay.

With regard to witnesses who presently live in Poland whose addresses we gave you in our letter of 24.1.1960, we would like to add that it is possible to make contact either directly or through the Jewish Historical Institute, A1. Gen. Swierczewskiego 79 Warszawa/Poland.

Copies:
Simon Wiesenthal, Eng.
Linz

M. Dol
Haifa

Respectfully,
(signature)
Dr. J. Kermisz
Archive Director


Document 5
(Image 353)

Translated from German by Shoshana Rappeport

Jerusalem, the 25th of March 1960

To the
State Prosecutor
AIR MAIL– REGISTERED

at the Waldshut District Court
to Attorney General
Dr. Angelberger
Bismarckstrasse 23.
Waldshut, Germany

Regarding: War Criminal Richard DYGA

Dear Dr. Angelberger,

In continuation of our letters from 3.1.1960 and 14.2.1960 we would like to inform you that besides the persons named in those letters we have been able to locate the following witnesses:

  1. Frida Herszfeld
    9, Huntley Rd.
    Melbourne, Australia
  2. Pepi Scharer
    c/o Herzfeld
    as above
  3. Bronia Feuer– Toraki
    c/o Herszfeld
    as above
  4. Mrs. Doris Ozover O'Farril
    630 dtos. Vibra
    Havana, Cuba
  5. In regard to the last witness named, we would like to mention that DYGA murdered her father.

  Respectfully,
(signature)
Dr. J. Kermisz
Archive Director
Copy: Attorney General Schüle
Central Office of the State Judicial Administration
Schorndorfer Str. 28, Ludwigsburg/Germany

Mr. Simon Wiesenthal, Engineer
Raimundstrasse 39/III
L i n z, Austria


Document 6
(Image 354)

Translated from Polish by Professor Tomasz Rutkowski

227/94

Concentration camp (lager) in Jezierna was created in February 1942 solely as a labor camp (arbeitslager) for male–Jews, which was later converted to an extermination camp (vernichtungslager). Initially, a labor office (arbeitsamt) sent prisoners and then the Gestapo.

A type of work – building roads. Working and living conditions were unbearable. The camp was guarded by Ukrainian police posts – surrounded by a high fence with barbed wire. The sanitation – below any criticism. Long time there was no infirmary and sick people were lying together on a single bunk with healthy, and even after death they lay for a few days. High mortality from typhus. Often they died from exhaustion and the blows they received from the executioners.

Local people, Ukrainian, helped camp executioners. And [they died from] cases of denunciation, accidents, because of elimination from the concentration camp, which were on the daily agenda. Often there happened also murders of Jews, asking for a piece of bread, which were committed by peasants from the same village. When someone of the prisoners (lagerinsas) managed to escape, they would hang in public ten innocents, to terrorize.

For minor offenses [prisoners] were shot, beaten and often hanged publicly. In the concentration camp they killed about 20 thousand Jews either from starvation, disease and execution.

lania.– [slaughtered like deer]

The concentration camp was burned down in August of year 1943.

  / Dr. Liblich /
Histor. Kommiss.
Stuttgart
/ J. Eiger /


Document 7
(Image 355)

Translated from Yiddish / Hebrew by Sari and Daniel Avis

Devora Lempert was invited to submit testimony in the trial against war criminal Richard DYGA

By Air Mail

Judicial Authorities
in
Waldshut

Mrs. Dwora Lempert

State Prosecutor
at the District Court of
Waldshut
Tel. 336, 337, 673
Nordaustr. 18
Nes – Cyjona / Israel


Hannah Reichman, born Katz, now in Toronto
26. 1.1960

Dear Mr Duhl,

We received your letter and read it with sadness. The murderer, who killed our loved ones, is still alive!

17 years have already passed and this terrible murderer is still walking free in the world. What kind of a world is this?

You write to me about giving testimony. Of course I will testify. I will remember everything he did. Write to me as to where I should go. We will publish it here in the newspapers. Maybe here in Canada there is someone else who was in the Jezierna camp. There were Jews there from many cities and towns.

I remember how the murderer Dyga, the camp chief, beat and killed Jews in the street.

We wish you and your family well,

Hannah and Max Reichmann


Document 8
(Image 356)

Translated from Polish by Dorota Poteralska

Isadore Steinberg, engineer, who spent approximately 5 months in the Jezierna camp and survived, gave testimony at the German Embassy in the USA

I. Steinberg
5116 Ft. Hamilton Pkwy.
Brooklyn 19, N.Y.

Mr. Maximilian Dul

Brooklyn, 18 /XI / 1960

Dear Mr Dul !

I took care of the Dyga matter immediately after receiving your letter, in which you informed me about Dyga being arrested.

At the same time my lawyer got to know about it and took care of the case personally, which he knew well from my testimony in the Wiedergutmachtung [reparations] case. I know that, being a man of law, he knew how to present it well.

A few weeks ago I received a letter of summons from the German embassy for 22 November, to give my testimony in the case. The fore–mentioned lawyer offered to accompany me to the embassy.

When am there I will certainly say that in addition to shooting and tying up Jewish people, he let them freeze, leaving them outside in the winter naked. One of them was the father–in–law of the pharmacist from Jezierna.


[Pages 349-352]

Dozia Blaustein Testimony

My name is Dozia Blaustein and I am one of the few survivors from my hometown, Jezierna.

I am the daughter of Ben-Zion Blaustein and Rosa Lechowitz. The names Blaustein-Lechowitz were well known in Jezierna, therefore there is no need for further explanation. We were two children, an older brother, Moishe, named Munio, and myself.

Before the days of the second war, Jezierna had a beautiful and intellectual Jewish community, in which my parents as well as my brother played a great part.

With the outbreak of the second war, and the Nazi occupation, the Jews of Jezierna shared the destiny of the other Jews of Poland. On a rainy Friday, a few days after the occupation, the Nazis did what they called “Aine-Accie” and a great percentage of the male population were shot and buried, half dead and half alive, at the outskirts of the town. In that particular massacre my father and brother survived. Since that day life became a constant fear, and survival a struggle.

Shortly after the massacre, the Nazis ordered the formation of a Judenrat (a Jewish committee, composed mostly of Jews). Their first law was that every Jew must wear a ten inch wide arm-band with a blue Star of David, and on our windows there had to be posted a ten inch Star.

We all had to do forced labor, and as young as I was I was assigned to the fields to cut the crops. Shortly after, the Nazis formed the first labor camp in Jezierna and the first to be thrown into the camp were the male youth, among them my brother Munio. At the time of the founding of the camp in Jezierna, the remaining Jewish families from Jezierna and the other neighboring towns were sent to a ghetto in the city of Zborow. Unfortunately, Munio never passed the barbed wire, except when working and in July of 1943 the camp was “liquidated”. Among those few hundred Jews my brother Munio, age 20, met his death.

Life in the ghetto and the living conditions are well known to all of us today. My parents and I shared a three room apartment with four more families. From day to day hunger became more acute and the sanitary conditions worsened. This led to an outbreak of typhoid. People were dying daily by the dozen, but G-d was good to us and we escaped the epidemic. Once in a while the people of the ghetto had to pay a contribution toward The Party. In a short time all of the gold, silver, furs, and any valuables were collected and given to the Nazis.

While in the ghetto we were all assigned to forced labor. Some of us went to build roads, others to factories, and still others went to sew clothing for the Nazi soldiers. I was assigned, with another group of girls, to do the laundry and work in the gardens of the Gestapo Headquarters. A pass was issued to us and every morning we used to leave the ghetto for work and return at night. The work wasn't hard, but we were slapped without reason--but for being a Jew. The worst punishment we received from the Nazi officers was their harsh and sadistic statements about the Jews. Often they would give us their camouflage raincoats to be washed; these raincoats were splattered with blood and they reminded us that this was the blood from other Jews of other ghettos and this was what awaited us – the Jews of the Ghetto of Zborow.

Outside the Ghetto of Zborow a forced labor camp was created. In the early spring of 1943 my father was taken into the camp. My mother and I remained inside the Ghetto. I kept on working at the S.S. Headquarters.

Food was getting scarce. Some Gentile people, with heart, used to smuggle some food into the Ghetto. Between those bringing in food, there was a young man from my hometown by the name of Kola Leskof. His father was a good friend of my father and during one of his trips, Mother asked Kola if he could hide us. Without giving it a thought Kola agreed. It was hard to believe that without one word said or thought, this young man should sacrifice himself to hide two Jewish women, but we had nothing to lose; by staying in the Ghetto we knew what was coming, and by leaving we had a chance to survive.

At the end of April of 1943, with the help of a Gentile family from Zborow, we escaped. We were quite lucky, for we made it to Jezierna to the house of the Leskof family. As Kola had promised, they accepted us and made shelter for us in the attic. For a Gentile family to keep Jews the punishment was death. The Leskof family shared with us every piece of bread they had.

In May of 1943, the Zborow Ghetto was “liquidated” and in July of 1943 the Camp of Zborow, where my father was kept, met the same fate. The day my father and brother died Kola came to the attic to see us. His grief was profound and I remember, as if it were yesterday, his telling Mother, “Even if I have to give my life, I shall protect you and shelter you”. I shall never forget Kola and his smiling face, for he too met his maker a year later.

We stayed at the Leskof home throughout the winter, until March of 1944. At that time the Russians were advancing and the battlefields were at the outskirts of Jezierna. The Leskof's house was burned by the Germans, for the simple reason that it obstructed the view of the battlefield. We had nowhere to go but into the woods. We wandered from place to place and it seemed that G-d was guiding us out of trouble.

In July of 1944 we were liberated by the Russians. After a short time in Jezierna we moved to Tornopol, where we lived with a few Jewish families.

In 1945, after the worst was over, we were allowed to leave the Ukraine and go to Poland. We settled in Byton and waited for a pass to leave for America, where my mother has brothers and a sister. Unfortunately, my mother's health was deteriorating and as soon as she was confined to bed, in 1946, her brother, Moris Lechowitz, came from Russia and joined us in Byton, for he was alone, as his wife, Netka, and three children lost their lives in a concentration camp in Poland. Together with Mother, in a stretcher, we left Poland to go to Paris. After a few months in Paris, Mother died.

On January of 1947 my uncle Moris and I left France for the United States. Behind I left only graves and bad memories, but I had to forget all this, for I was going ahead to an unknown country in search of happiness and a better tomorrow.

 

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