Translated by Janie Respitz
It is understandable that it is difficult to talk about political activity during the time of the German regime. Every form of organizational contact was considered by the German occupiers to be hostile and a potential threat. Therefore, the slightest hint of an organization, the smallest gathering of a group of people who were dealing with political questions would provoke the worst repressions on the part of the enemy.
At this place we would like to first of all try to establish what happened to the political parties which were active on the Jewish streets in Radom and what happened to their activists and leaders.
Unfortunately we cannot draw all the necessary information first hand because, there are no witnesses.
We must realize that a large portion of the active political elements and hues evacuated from Radom even before the Germans arrived and left for the Soviet Union.
The absence of a large amount of activists, understandably, depleted the leadership and weakened the backbone of all Jewish parties in Radom.
From some of the worker's parties like the Bund, communists, almost none of the activists who were in Radom during the German occupation survived the war. Consequently, we had to draw our information from workers who knew only indirectly the fate of our worker's parties. Their information was certainly not full or exact.
The Worker's Parties in Radom
The former activist of the Left Labour Zionists, Yisroel Glatt provided the following information:
In the first months, at the time of general chaos and capturing people en masse for work and torture, when the remaining population either hid or attempted to sneak over to the Russian side, there was absolutely no talk about common social contact and as a result none about political activity.
After a certain amount of time the Jewish population recovered a bit and tried to remain on their own feet in these new difficult conditions.
Things also began to move in the area of politics (it is difficult to talk about activity).
The worker's parties, at the beginning of the German occupation were in contact with their central offices in Warsaw. They received various printed and hectographed publications in Yiddish and Polish as well as instructions and circulars.
At the beginning of 1940 the representatives of the worker's parties gathered: the Left Labour Zionists, the Bund and the Jewish Communists, to discuss the situation.
The question of a physical resistance against the Germans was not yet on the agenda. They only discussed maintaining the existence of the party organizations, defending the interests of the working class at the elder's council where the participants were only from bourgeois elements and to develop a campaign for mutual aid.
The following participated in these deliberations: Shteynovitch representing the Bund, Glatt, from the Left Labour Zionists, and Kleynert from the communists.
It was decided to restrain the party organizations, remain in contact with each other and besides that, to demand separate social protection at the elder's council, help for the needy.
Shortly after the deliberations the first military operation of the German authorities took place against political activists, Jews and Poles. Approximately forty Jews were called up and 15 of them that appeared were killed.
This incident left an exceptionally difficult impression on everyone, especially within the organizations. These purely political arrests demonstrated that the Germans had the authority to take former political activists. Although it was not clear who supplied the names, the former Polish police or local informers, in any case, suspicion and mistrust was awakened, even toward our own.
This first mass arrest and murder of the former political recruits resulted in decreased activity of the parties and restricted their activity only to the specific struggle with the elder's council defending the interests of the Jewish poor and workers.
This resulted in a conflict with the elder's council during the deportation of some Radom Jews in the small towns (in 1940). The representatives of the workers believed, that former workers, even though they were no longer working, do not have to fall under the category of people that are a burden on society and they should not be sent away.
This position of the worker's groups failed because the bourgeois elements represented another standpoint and they had the power.
When the A.G (Order Service) was created the elder's council turned to the representatives from the left groups for their members to enter into the Order Service. However, the parties refused.
The political campaigns in the beginning of 1942, Bloody Wednesday and Bloody Thursday were aimed primarily at the workers. At that time a large amount of the remaining left orientated activists and former members of the worker's parties were killed. The Bundist activists, led by Avreymele Finkelshteyn, were arrested earlier, during Passover, 1940 and sent in an unknown direction. The small amount of workers that remained were searched for intensively by the Germans and had to hide using different names, or if possible, escape. I will attempt to offer specific information about each worker's party separately and their activists:
The Left Labour Zionists
Before I ran away from Radom, September 16, 1939, I burned the archive of the Labour Zionist party and of the society Friends of Workers in the Land of Israel as well as the flag of the youth organization. The archive of the youth organization remained with Yirmiyahu Zaltzman. At first all the work stopped. In February 1940 I returned from the Soviet Union. The following members had remained in Radom: Gavriel Vaysman, Meir Yekhiel Ayshay and Yudl Motzkin (the last two died there).
We did not dissolve the party. A tight group of comrades (at the most 15 people) gathered once or twice a week in private homes.
Moishe Kirshenblat had a permit and systematically (almost every week) travelled to Warsaw and was in contact with the party leadership. Through him we received party circulars, hectographed publications, newspapers Free Youth Worker's Newspaper, Nasze Haslo as well as instructions.
Often on the agenda of our meetings
was the question of our relationship with the elder's council. We intervened with them about our members and issues concerning dues, work etc…
The party was invited by the elder's council to the commission which was occupied with the abusive military operation in the small towns at the end of 1940. There, together with the representative from the Bund (Shteynovitch) and the representative of the communists (Kleynert) they created the so called Left Wing. We were in contact with the Right Labour Zionists and their leader Moishe Tzukerman, Yekhiel Altman and Shloime Hokhglober.
In the first political operation of 1940 our member Mendl (Mendele) Zilberman was killed. Itche Hoffman, Shloime Verber, Simkha Vrontzberg and Yidl Motzkin were ordered to report. Hoffman and Verber did not appear for the second time and went into hiding. Verber was later shot in Bialobzegi where he travelled with Polish documents. They searched him discovered he was a Jew and shot him on the spot. His clothing and documents were brought to the Jewish police in Radom. Hoffman hid and was later in Blizhin camp under the name Moishe Vaynglass. He died there.
After the first operation our gatherings became less frequent and in smaller groups. Form time to time Moishe Kirshenblat, Markovitch and I would get together. By then Kirshenblat was travelling less to Warsaw.
In April 1942 they searched for me and wanted to arrest me. At the time they arrested three other people with the nane Yisroel Glatt. Two of them were shot and the third ran away. I lived for a while under another name. I pretended to be sick in the tannery where I worked. This saved and covered me.
The following members from our party were killed in the Political Operations of 1942: Binyomin Zvolinsky, Shiye Kayler, Yisroel Goldberg. Our comrade Dovid Roznblat died in the small ghetto. Rafael Milshteyn and Yirmiyahu Zaltzman were deported to death camps. Khaim Markovitch died in Dachau. Khaim Glatt was taken away in the Great Deportation.
As far as I know the Bund in Radom, in the beginning, remained in contact with the central office in Warsaw. They were not connected to the Left Labour Zionists in Radom, except in a few cases.
The arrests of the leaders of the Bund began in 1941. According to information the arrests were in connection to a document found in Piotrkov which said the Bund was carrying out illegal activity. Arrests of Bundist leaders were happening in many cities.
It is known that the Gestapo ordered the elder's council to provide a list with the names of the leaders of the Bund. The council did not provide the list.
There were rumours circulating in the ghetto that the list was provided by our own, a member of the elder's council. Those arrested were Avreymele Finkelshteyn, Shteynovitch and Tzimerant. From among the Radom Bundists, Avrom Goldberg was shot during the Political Operation. Yidl Fridman was deported to a death camp. Feygenboym was deported to Glinitz. Flamenboym was shot on the spot. Shnayderman died in the Soviet Union.
The majority of Jewish communists left for the Soviet Union right at the start. A large amount of communists and former political prisoners however did remain. They ran their political activities, but I do not know exactly what. They gathered often. A stable place where they would meet was at 9 Voel in the home of the communist activist Hershl Gotlieb (who was called Hershl Tchaker). Among others, Dovid Vayntroyb participated in these consultations.
The majority of the communist activists were killed during the Political Operations from 1940-1942, as well as many of their family members. When the Germans did find the person they were looking for, they naturally shot the family or even strangers on the spot. Those who were identified were sent to Auschwitz.
In these operations, among others, Meir Shtern's wife and Berl Dinerman were killed.
The dental technician Kleynert and Fishl Goldshteyn were sent to Auschwitz.
The well known old worker activist Dovid Vayntroyb hid the entire time, however, in the end, was taken in the deportation to Glinitz together with Gimpel.
Totally separate, and under unknown circumstances, Moishe Goldshteyn was arrested (the newspaper seller) as well as a small group of people who were known as communists. This was at the same time when the well known porter and communist Yisrolik was released with force from the police station and escaped to join the partisans.
Meir Shtern was shot during his escape
from Hasag in Skarzhisk. Moishe Molarsky committed suicide when the Germans came to arrest him.
Shmuel Kosman was taken away during the Great Deportation. Meir Kosman died in the Soviet Union.
The Radom Kibbutz escaped to the Soviet Union in the first days of the war and continued its work in Rovno. Many of them came to the Land of Israel.
Zionist Youth Organizations
HaShomer HaTzair carried out secret cultural educational work with its members.
Many books from the former library could be found in Moishe Vaysman's house which he managed to hide.
One of their members, Franka came from Warsaw to the Radom ghetto and helped with this work. Moishe Vaysman had Aryan papers in Warsaw and was shot there with his wife in Paviak.
The Hechalutz was dissolved. I know that their main activist Goldsober was taken away during the operation in 1942.
Altman and Tzukerman were taken during the Great Deportation. The lawyer Taub was in the Soviet Union. His wife was in the deportation and was killed in the Purim Operation.
Zvi Rakotch provided the following detail about the Zionist youth organizations:
The youth organization Akiva continued to exist illegally and from time to time its members met. Chanukah, 1940, there was a gathering in my home where we sang and recited.
There was a memorial evening held in my home on Tisha B'Av. Zionist youth from Akiva, Hanaor Hatziyoni and Hashomer Hadati participated. There was a lecture about the situation of Jews in the world. In order not to be noticed we lowered the curtains over the windows. At the conclusion of the evening we sang Hatikva. Friday nights we welcomed the Sabbath.
I also know, in the winter of 1940/41, a certain Zvi Tatarka came from Sosnovietz to Radom and organized a group of Hanoar Hatziyoni. They would meet in the building of the tannery Troika in the old town.
Yakov Vayngort said the following about the Zionist and other civic parties and the fate of their members and leaders:
All the civic parties ceased to exist the moment the Germans occupied Radom. These organizations did not run any activities and they no longer met. From the professional organizations only the artisan union was permitted, for a short time, to be active.
From the Zionist activists, only a small amount survived. Mordkhai Leyb Fishman died a natural death before the deportation. His wife Beyle was sent away in the deportation together with Yakov Hoffman, Meir Granek, and the Mizrachi activists Mekhl Rikhtman, Eliezer Finkelshteyn, Itamar Garfinkl and others.
The chairman of Mizrachi, Yoine Zilberberg remained in the small ghetto and was later killed in a Nazi concentration camp.
Yidl Koyfman remained in the small ghetto on Shvarlikovsky. He was sent away from there and killed.
Moishe Luxenburg and Shmuel Tzuker were sent away in the Great Deportation.
From the artisan activists those sent away in the deportation were Moishe Rubinshteyn, Zaynvl Shpayzman, and Itchele Zilbershtrom.
The Agudah activist Mendl Horovitch died a natural death in the ghetto.
Leybish Mendl Ziserman was sent away in the Great Deportation.
A certain amount of party activists left for the Soviet Union. Among them were the chairman of the Zionist Organization and city councilman Moishe Rotenberg, the artisan activist Bormayster, Shanyder and others.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
As soon as the Germans occupied Radom, Jewish cultural life became practically nonexistent. Yet, under the most difficult conditions, in the intervals between one horrible action and another, great efforts were made to maintain intellectual activity to the maximum extent possible.
Most school buildings, including that of the Jewish High School [Lovers of Opinion], were occupied by the German armed forces. Most of the teachers fled to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the war.
In the spring of 1940 the Germans permitted elementary schools up to the 7th grade to be opened. This, however, applied only to the Christian population. Jews were denied the right to any type of education. They did not, however, resign themselves to this state of affairs. Secretly parents and teachers maintained classes in Jewish and general subjects.
The following were engaged in teaching; Elhanan Schuetzer [Schitzer], I. Wortsman, Sheva Baum, I. Frenkel, Niusia Ehrlich, Niusia Wortsman, the Goldstein sisters, Helen Graneck, Leona Vudka and others.
Special mention must be made of the courage shown by the educator and private school owner, Isser Lipschitz, who secretly continued to conduct his school on 20 Peretz St until the resettlement. At no time did he have less than 20 pupils.
Dr. Isadore Schuetzer [Schitzer] gave group and individual English lessons. David Frankel taught bookkeeping. Wolf Minchels conducted secret classes in Hebrew.
Younger children attended kindergartens. One was known to have been maintained by Miss Finkler. The children were trained to pretend to be sewing when they heard Germans approaching.
Regardless of the difficult situation, Jewish parents made an effort to provide education for their children.
At one time the Germans were petitioned to permit the reopening of schools in the ghetto. They gave a definite promise that permission would be granted soon. In view of this Mrs. Hurwitz organized in 1941 a Teachers' Seminar in order to train perspective instructors in Jewish and Hebrew literature and Jewish history. The seminar was housed in the Talmud Torah building and was attended by former public school teachers.
Punitive actions and restrictions in the Ghetto and the brutal resettlement nullified all hopes for legally organized Jewish schools in Radom.
In November 1941 the Jewish aid committee established mechanics and locksmith courses under the direction of engineers Marek Bojman and Mieczyslaw Baum.
At the beginning of 1942, courses in dressmaking, taught by Ludka Landau and Rachel Finkelstein were organized.
These courses aroused a great deal of interest among the Jewish youth. The mechanics and locksmith courses attracted 80 students, among them a number of Orthodox young men. There were 40 students in the dressmaking course. The mechanics course was located in the Gutman and Zucker tannery. It was equipped with a forge, 3 metal lathes, a welding apparatus and 40 vices. The dressmaking course was given in the synagogue at Shul and Peretz streets.
The instructor in metallurgy was I. Zucker and the locksmithing instructors were Teichman and Rafalowski. Professor Shelubsky taught theory and mathematics, and the engineers Buch and Bojman instructed in design and blueprints. Engineer Baum thought machine construction. The course students produced, among other things, Matzoh machines for Hoch's bakery.
The financial assistance given by the Jewish Aid Committee was insufficient and the courses had to be selfsupporting. There was a tuition fee of 50 zlotys a month. In addition, the school derived an income from products manufactured in the shops.
The German government tolerated the courses. The engineer Baum prevailed upon the representative of the German Labour Office, Yanick, that the students be issued Labour cards which would excuse them from forced Labour and protect them from street raids. In exchange for allowing the courses to function, the Germans in power demanded and received various gifts, made by the students, such as decorative candelabras, inkstands, ashtrays, etc.
This situation continued until the liquidation of the Glinice ghetto on August 5, 1942. The students were then taken from their classrooms and driven to Glinice to remove the bodies and clean up the streets. It became clear that the exemption cards would no longer protect them from deportation and the courses were disbanded just prior to the resettlement of the large Ghetto.
All Jewish libraries ceased to exist as soon as the Germans entered Radom. Until the Ghetto was established, Jews could borrow books from the Polish libraries, particularly the city library, but later, this too, was prohibited.
Nevertheless, the Jews read books during the whole period. There were a small number of private, small lending libraries in attics and other secret places (24 Peretz Street and others). Since it was dangerous to have catalogues, codes were set up to keep track of the books.
Most of the books from the largest Jewish libraries (the Zionist organization an Hashomer libraries) had been transferred to the Polish city library. A small number of books were retained by Jews and later circulated in the ghetto.
Upon orders of the German school inspector, two Jews were assigned to classify and catalogue the Yiddish and Hebrew books in the city library. Jews were even promised that some of the books would be returned to them.
We do not know exactly what happened to the thousands of volumes, but we are certain that none remained.
There were many books and Diaries written in the Ghetto of Radom. We know, for example, that Professor Elhanan Schuetzer [Schitzer] wrote a book and memoirs in the Ghetto, which he took with him on the last journey during the Purim action on March 1943. Rabbi Zlotnick also wrote a book in the Ghetto. Tuvia Rutman chronicled Ghetto Life; Moshe Weissman wrote on the experiences of a prisoner of war. Alfred Lipson kept a diary on events in the Ghetto and camps. It was later taken away from him at the Dachau concentration camp.
Many poems and songs were written in the ghetto; some became popular at the time. The authors were mostly anonymous. A few are still remembered and are recorded in the Jewish section of this book.
All Jewish plays and concerts closed on September 1,1939. Jews were forbidden to go to the movies. In front of the Adria movie theatre a sign was put up which read: Jews and dogs not allowed.
In May 1941, a theatre group was organized by the Jewish Aid Committee, under the direction of Mrs. H. Hurwitz with the assistance of S. Lotte, V. Stelman, I.M. Gutman, M. Weissman, Professor Wortsman and others.
In December 1941, this group presented at the Judenrat building, 8 Grodzka St., a revue called As Long As We Go On written by Moshe Weissman and others. The proceeds of the show were earmarked for the orphanage. The following participated in the review: Genia Rochman, Lisa Banowitz, Oscar Goldberg (recitations); George Krongold (songs); Guta Lotowicz (folk songs); Moshe Weissman (monologues); Krongold, Lotte, Mandelbaum, Gottfryd (male chorus); C. Nasielska, B. Hershberg, L. Soloveichick, F. Hirschenstraus, P. Frenkel (women's chorus) and an orchestra under the direction of the wellknown violinist, B. Kagan. The script of the revue was given to Dr. M. Weichert of the American Joint for safeguarding. The performance was repeated at a later date on Old City Square and Glinice.
Also on Glinice, there was a second performance On Glinice together with others, Nuisia Abramson of Lodz (Dr. Kellerwurm's niece) participated. The texts were lost.
Jews read Polish newspapers published under German supervision. On easier jobs and when the Germans were lenient, Jews often had an opportunity to get a glimpse of German papers and magazines.
Frequently the German papers carried news that the Polish press did not.
Radom also received the Jewish Gazette, the only official Jewish newspaper published in Krakow in the Polish language. This paper even had a representative in Radom.
Frequently some clandestine publications were smuggled in from outside Radom, for example, Naszw Haslo, published by the Labour Zionists in Warsaw.
The official German notices an antiJewish decrees were also published in the local Polish paper, Radom Daily.
According to a degree issued early in September 1939, the whole population (including Poles) was required to turn in their radios. However, not all Jews complied with the order. They hid their receivers and secretly listed to foreign broadcasts despite the death penalty. Yudel Swiatlo narrowly escaped being shot for having a radio in his possession.
Jews who were employed privately by Germans often had an opportunity to listen to the radio in the German's absence and sometimes they even switch the dial to the London station. In this way, Jews had only limited access to the latest news.
Somehow Dr. Isadore [Izak] Shuetzer [Schitzer] always had late foreign news and he used to disseminate it amongst the Jews.
Social Life All the places where Jews used to meet socially were shut down. All clubs (Intellectual Club, Zionist Club) were closed. Most people who had frequented the clubs and coffee houses now favored Itshele Silberstrum's confectionery shop which was at first located on Rwanska St and, when the Ghetto was established, moved to Blacharska Street, and as well to ItcheMotel.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
As soon as the Germans occupied Radom, Jewish religious services were forbidden. However this order was never obeyed. The great Synagogue was tightly sealed and later turned into a warehouse. At first Sabbath Services were still conducted in the Beit Hamidrash, but it soon had to be closed after several menacing raids by the Germans. Later, when the Ghetto was established, it became an isolation ward and the anteroom was used for the dressmaking vocational course.
The Germans seemed to know the exact dates of Jewish Holidays, and these became very special occasions to raid Jewish homes and to beat and torture the Ghetto inhabitants more brutally than ever.
For the first time since their settlement in Radom hundreds of years ago, the people of the Jewish community could not attend High Holy Day services in 1939. As time went on, and after they were herded into the Ghetto, Jews gathered for Sabbath and holiday services secretly in private homes. With complete disregard of German orders and inherent dangers, all rabbis and rebbes, as well as many Orthodox leaders in the community, turned their homes into houses of worship, open to anyone seeking solace in communal prayers.
Yacov Leventhal describes: Erev YomKippur 1939, the Germans were running wild in the streets that it was unable to go to the synagogue for KolNidre. The KolNidre evening in the synagogue was dark, and for the first time in the Jewish history of Radom, the Jews held private services in their homes.
In the Ghetto, minyanim were held in private homes by: Rabbi Kestenberg, Rabbi R'Yankele, the RoshYeshiva Burstin on Walowa 15, Pinchas New, on Shpitalna 2, Leibel Finkelstein, the teacher R'Israel Lindenboim, the Psticker [Przytyker] Rabbi Shapiro, Grotzka Street. In the ChevraKadisha [Burial society] locale, (ZhatilnaLittleStreet), Yerachmiel Gutman continued his lessons every evening of Gemara and Midrash.
All the Heders and Yeshivas, according to the decree of the regime, had to close. But the teaching did not stop. They existed in private homes. They studied in smaller groups or alone.
At ShpatzirStreet 13 [Promenadestreet], in the house; Abraham Yechiel Baum, 30 boys lived and partnered to study Torah. As for the illegal study, A. Y. Baum's residence was active until the deportations. In Glinice [Ghetto], on Granitze, they gathered and prayed.
According to the initiatives of Ali Tenenboim, in Glinice, a Mikveh existed for several months before the deportations. It was later forbidden.
The ChevraKadisha(president, Yitzhak Bialski, vice presidentYerechmiel Gutman) worked under difficult circumstances.
Yechiel Litvak describes details about the activity:
I was at that time a member of the ChevraKadisha . There was an overload of work. The members of the Chevra were: Moshe Bunem, Ryckhman, Meir Fatziner, Schmuel Boimgarten, Tanchum Rosenboim, Berel Rosenkrantz, Mendel Sheinboim, Israel Baronkroit, Moishe Leib Ostrovietski, Baruch Rosentzweig, Gedaliahu Citrenovitch ,Benjamim Koifman, Yitzhak David Pasternack ,Tanstman ,Yechiel Kuperwasser ,Mordecai Gertner and Mechel Rychtman .They performed this holy duty from morning till night .They had to perform Tahora [purityritual] here with tachrichim [shrouds] and with other difficulties. And the death machines continued…
The ChevraKadisha was in a small building behind the synagogue. Every day there were between 6 to 8 bodies and sometimes even more. The linens were insufficient as much as we gathered, it was still not enough.
Not caring about all these difficulties, the ChevraKadisha, nevertheless, conducted its work until the deportation.
During the bloody deportation of August 1942, most of the Radomer rabbis, rebbes and teachers [Melameds] perished and virtually no Holy person was left in the Jewish community in Radom.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
In the winter of 1942 conditions became progressively worse. There was a decree ordering Jews to surrender all the furs in their possession. The penalty for having furs after the deadline was death. One furrier, Samuel Ringermacher, failed to turn in a small fur; he was ordered to start singing and then the Germans shot him in the mouth.
In the spring of 1942, the Germans confiscated all horses, wagons, cattle, milk cans, sewing machines, bicycles and typewriters in the Ghetto.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
Serious Gestapo raids in the ghetto started in February, 1942. Early one Thursday morning hundreds of them raided a large number of homes [on Walowa] according to a prepared list and arrested over 40 men, some of whom were not on the list and shot them on the spot. In addition they arrested and abducted another 40 men, who never returned.
The second action took place on April 27, known as Bloody Wednesday. On this day several hundred Germans of the Security Service rated the Ghetto. Again they had a list, this time of supposed Communists. Everyone named on the list was either shot on the spot or arrested. If they could not find the people listed they picked up victims at random and shot them. A total of 100 Jews were killed in the Ghetto on that day, among those arrested were: Chairman of the Jewish Council Joseph Diament and members, Meren, Eiger and Blass, also officers of the Jewish police force, Geiger, Katz, Wiener and Weitzhendler, as well as 20 Jewish policemen.
During the days that followed about 100 more persons were arrested. These were butchers, ritual slaughterers, and persons connected with the supply of kosher meat in the Ghetto. Aside from this, Gestapo agents raided places of work and executed a number of innocent Jews. Hundreds were taken to the Gestapo cellars for torturing and later sent to Auschwitz.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
By 1942 conditions were such that those who had previously tried to avoid slave labour at any cost now volunteered to work because of the food rations that went with it and most important because of the desirable Labour card [used as a pretext to hide the real truth from the Jews], then considered a means to survive and escape resettlement. No one knew what resettlement meant- extermination! Most people interpreted the term as forced labour in the Ukraine. In order to avoid deportation people sought to take any kind of job, seeking these work-places that needed laborers for the Germans.
These were the major industries where Jews performed forced Labour in Radom:
Steyer- Daimler Armament plant (Waffen- Fabrik)German and Polish private enterprises were also desirable workplaces.
Foundries and machine shops (formerly owned by Diamond and Rosenberg now renamed
--Deutsche Maschinen-Fabriken und Giessereien[foundries])
Army vehicle maintenance- (Herreskraft-Park) in the Old Garden
Army uniform shops( in several locations)
Most of the factories and shops that were former Jewish property confiscated by the Germans:
Kromolovsky's Leather factory
The tanneries, Ludvika, Olympia, Obozhisk, Al-Gold, Fratza, Dkd, Gold,Tan-Back, Bogold
Rotenberg's Faience Factory
The foundries of Rubinstein, Diament-Rosenberg [renamed Deutche Machine Fabrik and Foundry]
Gentwuka [bent] furniture factory
Some were new enterprises paid for by fines imposed on the Jewish population.
In several factories the slave laborers were confined to barracks, separated from their families with no right to leave their appalling living quarters at any time. They existed in these inhumane conditions with no personal property and no right to complain. They labored 16 hours a day, were beaten at their work, terrorized and starved.
The Austrian managers of the armament plant Wytwornia were well known for their brutality. They tortured and beat the workers for the slightest infraction of the rules. They were responsible for the following atrocities:
Rosh Hashana 1942- shooting of a man named KuperAbout the arms-factory, for example, Moishe Kirschenblatt wrote a song:
After Succos 1942- execution of 13 Jews
February 1943- execution of 13 more Jews
After Passover 1943- murder of Weinberg
August 1943- killing of Moshe Lipa Rembishewski and Norimberski
For example, a song was written about the armament factory by Moshe Kirschenblat
The Germans arrived in Radom with murderers,An important workplace was the former Jewish Handworker shops [Szopie; some were in the same building as the mechanical bakery on Pretz street 22, part in the Old Town Square 10 and a part in Glinice. Here was a branch of the Krakower workers for the military.] There were about 300 workers in these workshops- among them professionals with their own machinery. The so called shops were on Rynek 7 and 8. The city councillor demanded that the Jews pay half a million zlotys to pay for the expenses of these workshops.
The Jews soon were not given any rest.
From trouble, from killings- given no chance to survive,
They became crazy through pain and sorrow.
With every step of the way
Jewish blood was shed.
In the weapons factory
Jewish slaves worked.
The work was difficult to bear,
We were tortured and beaten.
The horror and fear was great,
We couldn't leave the factory.
To go to the ghetto for a loaf of bread,
Which was associated with a certain death.
We had troubles not only from the Germans:
The Kapo was well up to date
And the instructions of the Germans he precisely performed.
He served the Nazis faithfully,
He was faithful to the Nazis.
Even when the SS were not close by,
The tall, agile Kapo boy
Had a sharp tongue for devotion.
It did not interest him at all,
When he led a Jew to be shot.
That a girl wanted to go to the ghetto,
She begged the Kapo, she cried:
I want to see my family, my friends,
Whether they are still here, whether they are still alive today!--
This was a way of life for the Jews of Radom in the ghettos in order to obtain their Work-pass which was supposed to save them from deportation .
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
It was Passover in the Radom ghetto when, for the first time, the Jews heard the words: Eviction, Vishedlenie, Deportation.
Yechiel Litwack tells:
We received news that in Lublin, an eviction took place. Where did they send the Jews (more than a hundred in a freight-car), only one God in Heaven knows. We told each other this in secret, that such evictions will take place in every town. We started to investigate where they took the Jews from Lublin but we couldn't receive any details. One said: to the gas chambers. A second one said: just for torture. A third one: for labour. One thing we knew for sure: it will not end well for us.Dinah Zelikowska describes the mood in the ghetto in those days:
We wanted to fool ourselves, whoever worked at a suitable workplace or worked in a camp with a work-pass[Labour Card], will have a better chance to survive. Everyone needed a pass from the German Work Office. Everyone started to look for these types of work-places, hoping to find the right place. Families were in despair, the panic grew day by day.
In June, the Germans ordered the engineer Marek Boiman[Bauman], to make new plans of the small ghetto(Glinice) and of the large ghetto(Walowa). The plans had to delineate each house, stable, building and others. The SS and other German officers continued with their patrols, more often now, as they knew all the side streets and passageways. This kept them busy. This strengthened the rumors that something will take place. Meanwhile the Germans rummaged through the more affluent Jewish homes and requisitioned the best furniture, bedding and linens and other valuables.
..We lived at my uncle's, the dentist Tatar, on Szwarlikowska and we believed that we will survive the war. We worked and we read the German newspapers about the ongoing political events. But life grew worse from day to day and the people started to speak about something that will take place in the ghetto. They spoke about a resettlement of the Jews in the General-Governement-to the work-camps in the Ukraine. Then we heard, for the first time, the word Vishedlenia.Joseph Manella describes the Glinice ghetto:
Every evening a group of friends visited us, among them were the Sanitskis and the Dentist Fraydus. Sanitski used to venture into the Aryan side and always received up-to-date news. Also, he knew something was about to happen. But, actually, only for the unproductive elements, not for the working or productive ones, there was nothing to worry about. Such rumours circulated and we believed them.
I was working in the Evidence-Office of the Elder-Bureau and often spoke on the telephone with my friend, Rena Nest, who worked for the Warsaw Judenrat. She informed me about the start of the resettlement program. At that time, whoever worked at a protected place, could protect their parents or spouse; but everything changed later on.
Although we didn't understand what eviction meant: it meant death-everyone's eyes were filled with fear and horror. Most believed only a small minority will not survive, most believed they will survive the war. So, we continued with our small dealings in the ghetto, worked, smuggled, taught the children in hiding, haggled, begged, and fought diseases and epidemics which flourished in these conditions. From time-to-time SS men suddenly arrived in the ghetto and carried out mass-slaughters. Also, they beat up the people at their work-places; with torture, torments, they beat them to death. This appeared to satisfy the Germans, in order that the general population would not be suspicious of the real truth, what they were really preparing for us. The atmosphere was tense. Nervousness reigned everywhere.
---"Tuesday evening, August 4th, the Kopel brothers who worked in the police-regiment, arrived in town to say goodbye to their families and take necessary articles with them. They had sad news, in the evening, a police-raid will take place in the ghetto targeting young men.[Page 302]
This news spread like wild-fire through the Glinice ghetto and the fear was great. In my home we all packed our rucksacks with necessities, I left through Zhabnia, the main street of the small ghetto, and I saw German railroad officials collecting unfinished goods from Jewish tailors, as well as cut goods. I returned home even more outraged. The ghetto was reaching a boiling point and no one knew what to do. We thought the worst. We undressed and went to sleep. In some homes they waited, or pretended to sleep.
Y. Lederhendler described; with all the inquiries presented by the frightened Jews to the Elder-Committee, they were reassured that no 'action' will take place in the Glinice ghetto. The Gestapo also reassured them.
Yechiel Sytner describes as an eye- witness:
-The entire Jewish police force of the main ghetto was ordered to report at 11:00 PM Tuesday, August 5, 1942 to headquarters on Old Town Square number 10[Stare Miasto]. All local Gestapo and SS leaders [Schoeggel, Schield, Neiman, Fuks, Krovze, Kurlender, and the SS Blum and Weinrich] were there to brief the police. Schoeggel, the much feared Security Service commander, said: we have orders to resettle the men of Glinice ghetto to Labour camps. You of the Jewish police must help us carry out this action peacefully by seeing to it that all Jews obey our orders. You are responsible for the maintenance of discipline among JewsMoishe Friedman describes:
After the speech, German SS officers assumed command of the Jewish police and marched us to the ghetto in the Glinice district. 40 Glinice policemen waited there to join us. [at Blotna 40, together with the Wolowa police].
Before my eyes this terrible picture unfolded:
The streets of the formerly quiet suburb of mostly private homes presented a picture of madness. The streets were brightly lit by searchlights. Germans with Insignia of lightning streaks on their black uniforms filled the streets. They were wild drinking savages. I saw them smashing windows with empty vodka bottles. Terrifying orders boomed from loudspeaker trucks roaming up and down the Ghetto streets. We were ordered to go in groups of three from house to house and repeat the orders. The Jews sat in their homes, in a dead silence.
Several minutes before 12, terrifying orders boomed from loudspeaker trucks roaming up and down the ghetto streets.
The Sturmbanfuhrer Voight (head of the Jewish division), gave the final instructions to the Jewish Police. He divided them into groups of 3: 2 from Walowa and 1 from Glinice. Each group was led by an SS man. They went to all the homes with lists and orders:
all Jews with Labour cards are to report at Kosna St. within half an hour. Jews with no Labour cards are to report at Graniczna St. Only essential personal belongings and food may be taken. Whoever will be found at home will be shot. At exactly 12, everything started!
The 'action' started at midnight sharp. Hordes of drunk SS troopers ran into homes shouting: Jews get out and drove the frightened victims into the streets with pistols and boots. People who had been asleep had no chance to put on their clothes. The aged, crippled, women and children who could not get out in time were shot in their homes. In the streets, people were forced to run to the assembly point by a hail of bullets. The shooting, mixed with the wild shouts of the Germans and incoherent cries of the victims, created a noise that could be heard for miles around.The survival of that horrible night, Joseph Manella describes:
They ghetto was surrounded with a double cordon of German police with machine guns at every conceivable avenue of escape. Polish police guarded all approaches to the ghetto.
At half past midnight, SS officers arrived in cars and voiced dissatisfaction with the slow progress. They urged the troops to 'work' faster. The shooting and clubbing intensified. More and more people were killed and the cobblestone streets were literally covered with blood.
The Jews ran in terror and panic. The Germans took away the whips from the Jewish Police to show them how to perform the necessary task according to their [German] satisfaction, by beating the Jews on their heads who were running away. The onslaught came so suddenly and with such a crushing impact that some lost their minds.
The mentioned Yechiel Sytner adds: The suddenness and the scale of the 'action' took the Jews by surprise. Jews ran around in disarray, like in madness. Mothers lost their children, husbands were separated from their wives--one runs with a pillow-- one with a broken pot
We were awakened by the heavy soldiers' boots. It was past 12. Suddenly we heard screams: Everyone get up turn on the lights! Open the windows! Dress quickly! Pack 10 kilos maximum! Run! Only men with work cards run to Kusno[Kosna] Street and old, women and children to Granitzna Street. Together with my father and our prepared rucksacks, saying our goodbyes to our mother and brother, whom an SS started to beat. We saw mother and brother running to Granitzna, it was extremely bright, as in broad daylight, and the shootings resounded. The bullets whistled over our heads. When we arrived at Blotna, we saw a mountain of dead. I stumbled on a corpse and my father helped me stand up. The shootings were less on Zhabnia Street. This was the last time I saw my mother and my brother. We arrived at the assembly-place, the Kusna St was full of Jews. They were beaten with rubber whips and rifle-butts, and placed in rows of 10. Women and children who came here by mistake, where torn from their fathers and husbands and chased back to Granitzna. But on the way, on Zhabnia, they were shot.[Page 303]
At 2 A.M. a selection took place at Garbavitch's Glass-factory, the street was cordoned off with SS and Jewish police. The work-cards are being reviewed-our papers were valid and they let us pass to the other side. We were fortunate. Again they lined us up in rows of 10, and all became quiet. The shootings stopped.
But on the other side bizarre things were taking place. A group was herded to Graniczna. Beaten, covered in blood, they were running blind.
Mostly women and children were laying in pools of blood.P. Shpeizman describes his eye-witness account:
They brought us to the Waffen Factory, where the shootings started again, and several from our group died, those who were not in line with us, because of the weight of their bundles. It was still dark outside when we arrived in the large ghetto on Grodzke Street, after the massacre. Frightened Jews stared out of the windows on Pretz Street. From time to time a shot was heard and the shutters of the windows closed. Gendarmes shot into the windows. We were greeted by the Jewish police with wagons, on their way to Glinice
----------On the cobblestones of the Glinitcer streets, dead children, women and men were laying in pools of blood The reflectors lit up the glistening blood which ran down the entire street. The Germans were shooting non-stop. The doors of the houses were open. Inside everything was broken and destroyed. The belonging were thrown into the streets and the feathers from the torn bed coverings were flying in the air.Yechiel Sytner tells:
The resonance of the shooting reached the large ghetto, 3 kilometers away. On Voel, Pretz-Street, Bernaginska, Zhitnia, the helpless Jews searched for a solution from one another; dumbfounded and disturbed looks- everyone was dressed, rucksacks were prepared and bundles packed.
The SS personnel thoroughly checked the living quarters of the Glinice ghetto. The buildings, the cellars and attics.
Not everywhere did people want to leave their homes. In some instances, like the baker, Schmerl Melamed's son-in-law, with his wife and 4 sons, didn't want to leave their home and were shot on the spot.
Old people, women and children who couldn't leave and hid were murdered in a refined- sadist way. With a stroke of a club or the pistol-handle.
The stream of thousands of people were funneled into Graniczna Street. The SS took up battle positions on the sidewalks along the route, kneeling behind machine-guns. Others practised sharpshooting at individual targets in the crowd, mostly at crying children or at those who could not keep up the pace. At the [Dolna] ramp, Germans with drawn pistols forced the helpless people into awaiting freight cars. Other SS reviewed the crowds, for a Jew, who they felt like tormenting and killing. The crackling machine-gun fire mingled with the horrible screams of the wounded. Most were chased to Dolna, hysterical and panic-stricken, the crowd stepped over the dead and wounded, who lay in pools of blood.
On the ramp at Dolna we stood in straight lines, in silence and in fear, a crowd of thousands of men. The stillness didn't last long, recounts Sytner. 1 o'clock, the SS chased the Jews into the cattle-cars, with continuous beatings. Many people that tried to hide under the cars were shot. A row of shot Jews lay at the side. The loading took time. Parcels and luggage were ripped from the people and thrown onto a pile. The roofs of the wagons were covered with a layer of chlorine.
The cars are overfilled, with hundred and fifty in a freight-car. The doors closed, the windows boarded up and surrounded with barbed wire. Streams of smoke from the chimneys filled the wagons, choking and suffocating us.
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
4 o'clock, dawn is approaching in the Glinicer Ghetto which looks like the aftermath of a battle; a gloomy morning enfolds.
Aron Lenga describes:
--According to the order of the stormtrooper Voight, the police were called to clean up the victims from the previous night's shooting in the Glinice ghetto and the ramp. They gathered the dead and brought them to one area to load onto wagons, which the Judenrat sent from the large ghetto. Every policeman took a corpse on this shoulder and ran through a crowd of SS, gendarmes, Polish police, train workers and firemen, which extended all the way to Leslau's factory on Dolna. The Jewish police were chased and beaten with rubber whips. The group standing guard, laughed, mocked and joked, either at the sight of the policemen or the sight of naked corpses. The loaded wagons departed for Biala Street, on the property of the Lentz factory. Here a very-selective group of Glinicer Jews were digging graves. The Jewish police from both ghettos were ordered[Page 304]
to march to Woel. Covered in blood, they were chased through the side streets. When they arrived at Woel, they were met by a chain of SS and gendarmes. The 'action' was now diverted here!Shloime Rakatch tells:
--"5:30 in the morning, when the order came to leave our homes, Jews with their bundles took to the streets. The SS men put them into rows, which stretched from Bernardinska to Stara-Krakowska Streets. The shooting was non-stop, each shot meant another Jew dead. The SS men were beating and torturing their victims. They were in a hurry and didn't waste time for selections. A command is heard: 'those with work cards- left, without word cards- to the right'. On Grodzka Street, the cardholders formed a column with hands in the air. Families were separated. One already knew that this separation will be forever.Mrs L. Rakatch describes:
Shootings came from the houses. Those left behind were murdered. The SS men, at the same time, robbed and looted their valuables.
I myself saw, Rabbi Kestenberg approaching SS officer Schoeggel. He told him something and motioned with his hands, his eyes were filled with fear. Schoeggel smiled ironically and sent the rabbi to the group with the cardholders. Suddenly Voight arrived, who called back the rabbi and gave him 2 whacks across his face, his hands covered with shiny gloves. Suddenly 3 SS men arrived who beat him with their rifle butts. Together with his family, Rabbi Kestenberg went to the group that were deemed to be deported.
The sadists were still not satisfied with the destiny of the Jews, another command: kneel! and the clicking-sound of the gun-triggers, the blood in our veins froze! Our hearts stopped beating! Our last hope was gone! Then suddenly another command: stand-up! and the SS men laughed at their sinister prank.
The resettlement group moved from their spot, they passed through Pretz- Park, in the direction of Glinice, while the SS men continued to aim at the group. The shooting continued. Those that remained at Walowa, heard the shooting and were in shock.
Suddenly a command comes:
Return to your homes. We can't believe what we are hearing. Soon we forgot about our bundles and valises, left them on the streets and we ran home. From time to time we heard some shots but the ghetto soon became quiet. Among the forgotten bundles and valises on Walowa, thousands of victims lay dead. Soon the wagons arrived and the policeman collected the victims and took them to Biala St.
The 'action' on Walowa was only a boost to the 'action' on Glinice, as the plan warranted 2000 victims.
Malka Yeshurin was a biology research worker at the Jewish Hospital for Contagious Diseases. Having a properly stamped Labour card, she was free to go home after this selection. But she chose to join her ailing mother[parents] on her march to the train. Her mother suffered from a previous disease and was limping. Though assisted by Malka, the mother was falling slightly behind the marchers. A German shoved her forward with the butt of his rifle. Miss Yeshurin struck him in the face and try to wrestle the weapon away from him.
Two bullets in the back, fired by another German, killed both mother and daughter instantly.
* * *
1000 men and 18 women out of an estimated population of 10,000 in the Glinice a ghetto were selected during the night to remain in Radom. They were first sent under escort into the large Ghetto, but after a few hours they were returned to Glinice and ordered to clean up the streets and homes. On orders of SS Sturmbann-fuhrer Voight, the Jewish police force was made to roll up their sleeves and join a clean-up operation. Prodded by German bayonets, they carried the bodies from the night massacre to one collection point and then loaded them into lorries for transportation to the fields near Biala Street. There the survivors were kept busy digging long ditches.The following is an excerpt from a testimony by Israel Zaidenweber during the post war trial of SS police chief Boetcher in Radom:
--The guards escorted us to the Lentz property on Biala Street, where hundreds of Jews were digging graves under the watchful eyes of the SS. A great number of bodies were laid out, their faces down. Jews were forced to remove the clothing from the dead, search the pockets, remove rings and watches and sort out all items in separate piles. Boetcher and his staff, including officers Blum and Shippers, were everywhere giving out detailed instructions as to how to lay the corpses in the ditches, etc. They repeatedly came to the piles of valuables and selected better items of jewelry which they loaded into their pockets.[Page 305]
At one point an SS man reported to Boetcher that several wounded Jews had been hidden under the clothing pile. Boetcher and his companions rushed to the scene with drawn pistols and shot them. Then they ordered all of us to line up alongside the ditches and picked out six well-dressed men whom they forced to step into the grave and stand on top of the corpses. They were immediately killed.
In a speech that followed the execution Boetcher warned us that anyone found assisting a wounded Jew would be executed in the same manner.
A wounded man named Seifman was later found among the corpses, unnoticed by the Germans. With some ingenuity he was kept on his feet all day by a group of workers and Jewish policemen and was brought back to the ghetto with the other workers. Seifman survived the war.Joseph Eizenman recounts:
A total of over 1000 victims were buried in layers and covered in lime that day on Biala Street.
--I was brought to the Glinice ghetto with a group of 200 people. We went through Narutavitch Street, where the deported from Walowa were led. The cobblestones were red from blood of the victims. Corpses lay at every step of the way. SS men photographed this picture. Others picked up a corpse, placed it against a wall, in grotesque positions, and photographed them. We arrived at Zhabnia. Some of us Glinice residents were drawn to our former homes. They were immediately shot. A family of 6 people were shot in front of my eyes, the parents, 3 sons and 1 daughter, who we found in hiding. We had to begin a clean-up of the empty houses: furniture, bed-linens, etc. and bring everything to the assembly point. Jewelry, money and other valuables were handled by the German soldiers. We returned to the Walowa ghetto in the evening. The work lasted all day.Moishe Friedman recounts:
--According to the command, we had to lay out the victims in the streets which we found in the homes. In the courtyard, corner Proste and Slovatskiego, we found the Chasid and wine merchant Sheinfeld, wrapped in a tallis, lying in pool of coagulated blood. Not far from him, on the stairs, lay his dead wife.Polia Krakowska tells about the murderers' macabre humor:
--Among the employed group, Heniek Kirchenboim, from Novogrodzka, was ordered to carry out a murdered woman and child from her house. He only found the woman, no child; he went out and reported this. He was sent back to ask the 'dead one' where her child was, Kirchenboim obeyed, returned again and said the body didn't answer. The SS man went into the house and said with these words: where is the corpse of your child? The 'dead one' was silent and the SS man laughed: she says, the dead child is under the bed. Kirchenboim actually pulled the dead child from under the bed. There was no trace of a wound on the body.
* * *
In the night of August 4-5, one third of the Jewish population of Radom was deported. The decimated ghetto fell into a grip of fear worse than they had ever experienced. Those that remained were heartbroken. They wandered through the streets in a daze in search of a mother, a child, a brother, who were no longer amongst the living. More grey days and solemn omens hung in the air. Rows of workers march to their work from the ghetto gates to Bata, to A.P.L. to agriculture, to the armament factory, forced to sing:
Far is the way
Back to the homeland
So far, so far
The Jews go back and forth
They go to the rotten muck
They are tortured-
While the world rests.
* * *
Before the last train with deportees left the ramp, the Germans found they had enough room in the freight cars to add another 2000[?] people. Hundreds of bloodthirsty SS troopers led by the sadistic Schoeggel, Voight, Shippers and Weinrich, descended on the large ghetto at 5:00 AM August 5, 1942, and surrounded an area of several square blocks. The massacre of Glinice was repeated there with such swiftness that the Jews hardly had any time to think. Spurred on by their success, the Germans tried to outdo each other in violence and brutality. Weinrich and SS captain, father of six children, ordered his company not to waste bullets on Jewish infants and demonstrated how to smash their heads against the stone buildings and streets.
During the selection, 100 older men were made to face a wall for execution. the marrow of the Jews chilled as they heard the concurrent clicks of the rifle bolts of the entire SS detachment:
Ready, aim, unload. The Germans roared with laughter, the 100 Jews shaking with fear and relief, were ordered to join the 2000 on their march to the train.
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