Transliterated by Judy Petersen
Transliterated by Judy Petersen
|SAPIR (or SHAYE)||David||11.7.1906||25.4.1945|
Transliterated by Judy Petersen
|GLAZMAN||Neta||20.6.1920||13.12.1944||born in Shidlovtzy|
|RICHTER||Chaim||3.2.1912||5.1.1945||born in Pshitik|
|ROSENBERG||Eliezer||5.10.1899||7.2.1945||born in Pshitik|
|TISCHLER||Gutman||5.9.1926||5.2.1945||born in Pshitik|
|FRIMMER||Eliezer||6.10.1904||6.11.1944||born in Yedlinsk|
|HANDELSMAN||Yehoshua||5.1.1919||20.11.1944||born in Skaryszew|
|GELBARD||Hersch||21.12.1891||22.1.1945||born in Skaryszew|
|RADAR||Yakov||11.12.1907||24.11.1944||born in Firlej|
|TUROK||David||6.4.1897||1.12.1944||born in Pulawy|
|BUCHMAN||Eliezer||20.8.1883||14.11.1944||born in Mogiliow|
|VEISBORD||Yosef||2.6.1914||14.12.1944||born in Drildzsh|
|BAUMAN||Meir||11.6.1913||12.2.1945||born in Drildzsh|
|MILGROIM||Shalom||22.2.1912||29.12.1944||born in Opotshne|
|SHWAGER||Moshe||5.3.1921||5.10.1944||born in Staszow|
|ROSENTAL||Pinchas||20.1.1925||28.12.1944||born in Staszow|
|FINKELSTEIN||Zalman||21.11.1920||20.1.1945||born in Staszow|
|VEINBERG||Leizer||2.3.1921||3.2.1945||born in Staszow|
|LONDON||Yechiel||25.4.1894||4.11.1944||born in Farisew|
|FISCHMAN||Yisrael||26.8.1914||29.12.1944||born in Bialabzheg|
|HAIDAR||Moshe||14.8.1905||3.1.1945||born in Groyetz|
|VEISMAN||Moshe||15.12.1910||22.1.1945||born in Groyetz|
|AKERMAN||Moshe||15.6.1910||18.1.1945||born in Volianuv|
|ROTAR||Bentzion||24.9.1896||23.3.1945||born in Chmielnik|
|RUBINSTEIN||Avraham||7.9.1915||25.3.1945||born in Magnishev|
|ZIGELSCHIFER||Moshe||7.8.1903||16.2.1945||born in Lublin|
|VEINTRAUB||Yosef||5.1.1904||6.3.1945||born in Pshische|
|ALBAUM||Yitzchak||2.5.1920||1.3.1945||born in Fabianitz|
|ZSHAVNER||David||11.9.1923||16.2.1945||born in Starachowitz|
|STOPNITZKI||Feivel||23.8.1932||23.12.1944||born in Apatow|
|DIAMENT||Chaim||10.1.1910||20.2.1945||born in Apatow|
|LERMAN||Yechiel||5.4.1906||27.3.1945||born in Apatow|
|TENENBAUM||Yona||28.5.1923||13.2.1945||born in Ostrowce|
|ZILBERBERG||Shmuel||2.9.1895||13.2.1945||born in Lipsk|
|GRINBERG||Mendel||1.3.1908||4.3.1945||born in Folonitza|
|BLUMENFELD||Shamai||22.4.1923||15.1.1945||born in Koshitz|
|DORENFELD||Aharon||8.7.1900||30.12.1944||born in Yanov|
|TENENBAUM||Moshe||2.9.1912||27.10.1944||born in Tshechini|
|GRONAR||Yisrael||12.4.1922||21.2.1945||born in Tarnov|
|KALMUS||Herman||20.8.1882||6.6.1945||born in Tarnov|
|MALTZ||Natan||5.3.1914||8.3.1945||born in Tarnov|
|MILMAN||Moshe||5.7.1907||15.1.1945||born in Konsk|
|KOJANSKY||Anschel||20.2.1900||18.1.1945||born in Radomsk|
|SHTERN||Shlomo||26.3.1908||23.1.1945||born in Sokolow|
|KRIZMAN||Moshe||15.2.1901||19.1.1945||born in Kaminsk|
|SCHAIKOWITSCH||Leon||16.1.1896||6.3.1945||born in Tschenstochau|
|KAMPFNER||Hersch||19.7.1910||1.3.1945||born in Tomashov|
|BOSCH||Shmuel||19.2.1919||15.12.1944||born in Neusantz|
|GOZDZHINSKI||Hirsch||18.5.1916||26.11.1944||born in Kielce|
|TASCHMA||Shmuel||2.4.1892||6.4.1945||born in Kielce|
|KESTENBERG||Yakov||16.1.1910||2.3.1945||born in Lublin|
by Yishaye Eiger
Translated by Janie Respitz
Oswiecim was a small town in Polish Upper Silesia. Right at the start of the Second World War, September 2nd, 1939, the Germans occupied Oswiecim and the surrounding region. They chased out all the civilian inhabitants, burned the houses and properties and set up prisons in the barracks.
Oswiecim took on the name Auschwitz, which soon became a fearful word for everyone in Poland. Being sent to Auschwitz meant a cruel death.
At first they only had prisoners of war. Later, the Germans began to send civilian people, and among the first was a group from Radom which included Avrom Finkelshteyn, Moniyek Tzemakh and the three Vorm brothers. They were all cruelly beaten and murdered within a few days.
The second group from Radom was from the Bloody Operation which was carried out in April 1942. In this group were the chairman of the Judenrat Yosef Diament, vice chairman Aron Merin, the members of the aid committee and the food providers: Yosef Blas, Yishaye Eiger, Yosef Zvikelsky, Yishaye Melkhior; a group of Jewish managers and ordinary Jews taken from their homes.
Added to this transport from Radom were Jews from Ostrovietz, Skarshisk, Kielce, Piotrkov, Tchenstokhov and Krakow.
After two days travelling in closed freight cars without food or water they arrived in Auschwitz.
A frightful darkness prevailed. Only the barking dogs and a light in the distance indicated a village was not far away.
Soon the entire area surrounding the train was brightly lit. Shouts from Germans and barking dogs hurried the people out of the opened train cars.
People were falling on top of each other. The Germans beat them and cursed. The dogs bit off pieces of flesh of those beaten. A fine rain penetrated the painful skin which made people forget about their hunger and thirst.
Lined up in rows of five they were led to a dark building without doors or windows, without even a roof. The people had to stand there all night in the cold dampness. The wind which blew through the window and door holes was terrible and the night felt like an eternity.
They huddled together without speaking a word. Everyone was thinking of those dearest to him who he will never see again. A few recited the confessional prayer saying goodbye to life.
In the darkness of the night they suddenly heard screaming and running. Then the Germans told them to exit the ruins quickly.
A few people dressed in civilian clothes with flashlights and a few S.S personnel stood in two rows at the exit. A civilian read from a list of names in alphabetical order. Once called you had to reply and quickly run between the rows for a beating.
When no one else emerged the Germans went into the ruins and dragged out the sick and the faint and laid them outside.
A civilian man ordered every one to strip naked and give all their clothing to the office. Then, run to the bath.
There was no water in the bath. You received a number, went to the clothing office and received some rags to cover your skin and a pair of wooden shoes.
Once again everyone was lined up in rows. The sick were no longer with us. Then armed Germans arrived and ordered us to march. The road led to Birkenau (previously Bzhezhinki). Everyone knew this was the place of mass murder and everyone's grave.
People were no longer afraid. They were resigned to their fate. Even the hunger stopped tormenting.
The four kilometres from Auschwitz to Birkenau took a few hours. The soaking wet clay soil and wooden shoes made it impossible to walk. Many threw away the shoes and walked barefoot. The Germans shouted they would shoot, but did not.
Finally the mass arrived at a muddy place where there were three buildings. In front, before the last barrack they were lined up in two rows. The Germans left. They no longer had to guard these exhausted former humans.
It began to turn dark when a tall strong man with a black arm band came out of the barrack and began to call out names.
When he came to the name Eiger he said: Whoever is Eiger should step out of line. Immediately three Eigers stepped forward: Yishaye, Yitzkhak and Khaim Sholem. The man then said that only the Eiger from the Radom orphanage should remain standing.
I remained standing as I had been the trustee of the Radom orphanage for the past few years.
The man quickly returned to the barrack and everyone thought this was my end. I said goodbye to my brother Yitzkhak, my cousins and friends.
The man soon returned with a group of strong young men. They all passed by and looked straight into my eyes.
When he finished reading the names he told us this was the last time we will be referred to by name. From then on, only a number.
Everyone was shoved into the barracks, in bunks, three levels, one on top of the other. The wood was raw and round and squeezed our exhausted limbs. It was also very cold and people barely slept.
From the deep darkness you could hear moans. Rays of light from flashlights would occasionally cut through the darkness. Sinister voices, chopped words and the falling of heavy cargo could be heard.
At daybreak electric lights were lit. The young strong guys ran into the barrack. One oft them came to me, took me down from my bed and took me away. I then heard someone shout Achtung and an S.S man entered. He ordered all apes to lie facing forward. He walked by and examined the merchandise and made signs with his hand. The young guys quickly grabbed the man he pointed to and dragged him outside and threw him on the ground. A piece of wood was dropped on his neck. Two men pressed the wood and after a few minutes the corpse was thrown onto the pile of dead which was lying there from before.
The first victim was Yekhiel Galt Kielcer. Right after him, Hershele Kasman (Kazanover) the youngest son of Eli Blatman, and 60 other people.
When the Germans left I was brought back half dead. I was trembling and could not utter a word. Soon the strong man returned with a large piece of bread and a pot of hot, dark water. I could not enjoy this and shared it with the others. The bread was quickly devoured and the hot coffee went from one mouth the other. People gathered around crying asking for a sip of water. The stretched out their hands. The pot was passed to another bunk and disappeared.
Get out! Get out! we heard them shout as a fire broke out. Quickly, everyone went outside where it was cold and gloomy. We lined up in two rows, were counted a few times and taken away in groups to work.There were people from Radom in each group.
In the evening, when everyone returned from work they told about their day.
In the middle of the day I was taken from work and sent away to construction work. Yoine Grinzveyg was taken to electrical work. The next day the two groups, almost all from Radom, stood together when they realized they would be sent together. This was not always successful because in the darkness and rush, they were caught by other Kapos.
Every day dead people were brought back by various commandos. Besides that, people simply disappeared.
People from Radom stuck together and became the most outstanding group in the camp. They got to know a few Kapos and recommended others from Radom to the commanders. They protected themselves from evil and had a reputation of being good workers.
In 1943, when I was already a writer, I met a block elder in an external camp who was previously one of the strongmen in Auschwitz. He recognized me immediately as he was the one who dealt with me right after my arrival in Auschwitz.
He told me why the then camp elder showed interest in me although he did not know me personally.
On that evening, when the camp elder read the list of names of those that arrived from Radom, he went into the block, called all his assistants and told them he found a person he must help and told them the following:
In the summer of 1940 he came with his wife in children to Radom from Warsaw because in Warsaw people were dying in the streets from hunger. In Radom he was arrested by the Polish police as he did not have the necessary documents. They told him his wife must bring the documents within three days otherwise they will have to hand him over to the Germans, which meant death. He was a Jew with Aryan papers. His wife ran around trying to find a place to leave their children, but she could no find anything. All the committee members of the orphanage told her they could only take children under the age of four. When she came to me, I took her straight to the doctor and right after the examination took them to the orphanage. They remained there for a few days until his wife returned with the documents and he was released.At the construction work we quickly became acquainted with the civilian building masters who came from the surrounding area. They worked all week and returned home on Saturdays.
There was a master from Khzhanov where Khaim Sholem Eiger's sister in law Hinde Heller lived. The master took a short letter and when he returned on Monday brought a package of food and writing paper. The following Saturday they gave him
a few letters, one also to Radom. The letter arrived in the ghetto, however they feared provocateurs.
Every Monday Khaim Sholem received a package of good things until a rascal learned about them from Yosesl (the little tailor Moishe Vaksman's grandson) and demanded he give them special items. He forced Khaim Sholem to write a letter on the Sabbath. Until then he had never written on the Sabbath. He was the son of the Lublin Rabbi. I wrote the letter and the following Monday he did not receive anything.
This gang did not want to believe Khaim Sholem and viciously beat him up. He arrived at the precinct and never returned.
Another transport arrived from Radom. They learned what was going on from the others from Radom who took them to their places of work.
Only Yisrolik Tzingisr, Yoske Nayman and Itche Zilber did not go to work.
Yoske Nayman from 7 Lublin Street, the sausage maker's son became a Kapo. The two others became block assistants.
A few days later Nekhemia Eiger arrived sick at the precinct. He told us Yosef Diamnet, Aron Merin and Binyomin Reikh were killed.
Nekhemia died in the precinct.
The last night of May, the Altermans, father and son, Flamenboym and Yitzkhak Eiger and a few others were murdered in their bunks. The crime was a broken window pane. The following morning Menashe Rapaport was beaten to death for the same crime.
One day in June 1942 the whole team was called back from work in the middle oft the day and lined up for roll call. A commission of officers arrived with the commandant of the camps and chose forty healthy men for a special team. They were immediately taken away to another block and we could not see them.
As we later learned they were all killed with an experimental gas. Among them were Shimon Kurtz, the bothers Avrom and Akiva Tzingisr, Borukhovitch, Drasman, and others. One day the young Yosl Rikhtman (at construction work) went over to a barrel of dirty water which was used to mix cement and wet his lips. The Kapo noticed and forced him to hold his head in the barrel of water. The Kapo held him there until he died.
Shmulik Varshaver could not take it any more and attempted to run away to the forest. He was shot by the guarding soldiers.
The brothers Hillel and Yiosroel Goldberg worked at the electricity station where the majority were from Radom. They both died in the precinct. One morning as we were leaving for work (it was raining), the camp Kapo came and asked Yosef Blas why he was squirming. Yosef replied something and then the camp Kapo beat him and threw him in a puddle of muddy water. He did not permit him to get up until the team was gone. In the evening his corpse was lying in the yard.
Ruven Psherover, Yishayahu Melkhior and Yerakhmiel Rokatch became ill and did not return from the precinct. Kalman Grosfeld, Yishayahu Hershenfus, Yosef Zvilielsky, Avrom Rozentzveig, Yekhezkl Novopolsky died in the precinct.
When a new special team was chosen Alter Kleynert, the brothers Moishe and Yakov Tenenboym, Leybl Goldshteyn and Zaltsman were taken in. They were taken to a separate block where it was forbidden to go. However, we received help from them including food, medicine and other necessities. Leybl Goldshteyn was especially helpful. He took many risks when he heard someone needed help. Nothing was too difficult for him.
The entire special team was killed. An informer from Paris told the Germans that within the special team there was a group preparing to escape. The Germans locked up the team and carried out a strict search where they found money, valuables and materials needed to escape. During the search it was clear who the informer was and Moishe Tenenboym took an ax and split his skull.
The following night the entire team was brought to the forest and shot. Two days later, their bloodied beaten and ripped bodies were brought into the camp to be buried. There was still no crematorium.
When a cleaning team was put together to go to Warsaw and clean the war ruins, no Poles were chosen. Despite this, the following from Radom were sent: Migdal (Zilbershtrum), Peysakh Tenenboym and Aron Kaplan. They were brought from Paris and were recognized as foreigners. They participated in the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
The Radomers Aron and Tchipe Vaynberg, Yenkl Handelsman (Snapek), Varshavsky and Dr. Goldshteyn, Yirmiyahu Goldshteyn's son were also brought from Paris. He became the doctor in the camp thanks to the intervention of the others from Radom. Other doctors in the camp were Dr. Shenderovitch and Dr. Fastman. They survived the camp.
In December 1942 I was called to write exams together with a group of 58 men in the camp who had diplomas to form a political division. With the help of the French group and especially from Yitzkhak Furmansky, I passed the exams and received the position of camp writer number one.
While still in the electrical group, together with Yoine Grinstzveig I received a punishment to spend ten nights in the standing bunker. The standing bunker was in the open air near the ovens and rarely did anyone withstand this.
The assistant Kapo Adam Kshizhanovsky from Prushkov helped me as well as Grinstzveig. The German Kapo Zepl helped us too. They allowed us to sleep at work which helped us endure the vile punishment.
Adam Kshizhanovsky was the first to succeed in escaping from Auschwitz.
After him a group of 68 well organized Russian prisoners of war succeeded.
In March 1943 Adam Kshizhanovsky was once again in a transport from Poland however at reception I registered him as Adam Gursky. A few weeks later he disappeared again.
Adam was a remarkable organizer in the Polish underground movement against the Germans. He was also the founder of the resistance group in Auschwitz. I was attracted to the movement through him. Others from Radom in this fighting group were Yenkl Rozentzveig, Yenkl Handelsman, Yosef Varshavsky and we were helped by Leybl Rozentzveig, Leybl Zilber and Godl Zilber.
In the block where Yenkl Rozenzveig was deputy to the Polish block elder (a political activist from Krakow), I wrote down all the plans. This is where groups met to distribute explosive materials to blow up the camps. This is where I was arrested and sent to the commandant Shvartzhaber in January 1944. They found compromising materials from the resistance movement. I took the blame for everything. To everyone's surprise I was released although I was assured a death penalty.
In every camp there were representatives from the resistance. Yenkl Handelsman and Yosef Varshavsky were the representatives at the crematoria and gas chambers. They had the bomb and the explosives.
Thanks to the girls Bronke Glat from Radom and Dorke Sapirshteyn from Sosnovietz who organized the systematic smuggling (in special sewn pleats in their clothes) of materials from the gunpowder factory where they worked the night shift, the specialist pyrotechnic, Colonel Borodin, assembled small bombs with great explosive power.
In September 1944 Yenkl Hendelsman came to Rozenzveig and said the Germans were preparing to liquidate their command and therefore want to blow up the camps. The same day a consultation took place in Rozenzveig's block. It was decided no step could be taken until the following Saturday.
One October day in the afternoon it was decided to carry out the big plan to blow up all the camps in Auschwitz together with an attack by the partisan groups and free the prisoners.
After the decision was made Handelsman returned to his group. However, at three o'clock that same day we heard to loud explosions. The crematorium and gas chamber 2 flew into the sky. The wires around the camp were torn apart.
Before this they threw the S.S leader and Kapo into the fire.
The approximately two hundred Germans hid not knowing what was going on.
Later, reinforcements came from the main camp. Those escaping were hunted down. The shooting returned the dead to the camp and those who were brought back alive were later shot.
Handelsman was wounded in his leg. At the investigation he did not divulge where the bombs came from nor his connection with the resistance group. He was shot.
This unsuccessful incident undid the plan for an uprising.
In 1944 many people from Radom arrived in Auschwitz from various camps. However, they did not find the hell that had previously existed.
(The author of this article, Yishayahu Eiger died in 1960 in the United States).
by Yona Borenstein
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
It was 1944. In the 9th block of Birkenau there was a group of Radomer Jews, among them were: Epstein, Teper, Buchweiss, Marek Hendler, Yona Pshemislov, Leibish the Tailor (the Black Leibish), the writer of these lines and others. It was 8 weeks since they were last allowed to leave the camp, due to the scarlet fever epidemic which broke out among the children. The 300 people with 70 children from Kovno, were crowded together like herring.
The night watchman in the sick house was the Radomer Israel Hackman, a butcher from Glinice (now in Israel). He was one of the veterans of Auschwitz, who guarded his brothers from Radom with body and soul. He organized shoes, linens and other things which he gave to the Radomers. Also, he secretly smuggled pots of food for them.
A week before Yom-Kippur, Hackman got an idea to organize a minyan to daven on Yom-Kippur. Together with the block-Kapo, a Pole from Katowice, a corrupt man and a morphine-addict, he arranged to give up their food rations of that day so he can stand guard while they prayed.
A day before Yom Kippur the quarantine was lifted in the camp. Hackman was lucky to receive some siddurim and tallitim from the crematoria. With trembling fear we prepared for our prayers.
The Kol-Nidre night arrived, in a tense atmosphere, full of fear, we assembled in a separate room and began the service.
The cantor was H. Kholeva from Ostrovtse [Ostrowicz].
Hope was reignited within our hearts, our prayers will break through the seven skies and our redemption will soon be near.
When we finished praying, the Kapo arrived and kissed and hugged the cantor and others. We were surprised that he cried.
We didn't sleep that entire night. The next morning we got up eagerly to pray. In the middle of the sermon, we were told that the selection-murder doctor, Dr. Mengele arrived in the camp. We immediately returned to our beds.
Dr. Mengele started his selections after lunch. Many people had been sent the previous night to the gas- ovens. I was also on the list, but by some miracle I was saved at the last minute.
In the evening, when the men from our block were selected for the gas chambers, the Kapo arrived with like a mad-dog, full of rage, and began murderously beating us left and right. He especially selected the cantor Kholeva, who just yesterday he had kissed and hugged.
When the case was put to Hackman that the Kapo was stealing our food portions in order to buy morphine, Hackman decided to take matters in his own hands in order to get rid of this Kapo from our block.
When the Kapo returned full of rage and tortured the people in his sadistic ways, we, together with Hackman's help, gathered 10 portions of food, and the journalist Shmuel from Bialystock, gave it to the SS officer who was in charge of the provisions, and told him about the tricks the Polish Kapo was performing on the Jews.
The SS officer and the camp-scribe arrived at our block the next morning, removed the Kapo and stripped him from his post(took off his ribbon) and presented him with murderous blows and threw him into a pool of water.
After this lesson they put him in the penalty-block. After a search of his room, they found large quantities of morphine and opium.
We didn't have a Kapo in our block for many days, nevertheless we still were fearful, as the officers let it be known that they were still in charge.
by Moshe Perl (Hebrew: L. Richtman-Yiddish)
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
It was still a difficult year in the Vaihingen concentration camp (1944-1945).
On one side-the heavy stone-mining in Shtolboi, the unbearable night-shifts, cold and hunger; and on the other side-the typhus epidemic and other strange illnesses which caused the death of thousands: the fallen[dead] at the hands of cruel torture invented by the SS-sadists and by the bullets from their rifles-all of this led to the creation of mental indifference.
Nevertheless, even under these circumstances, there were some who displayed stubbornness in this madness in order to maintain a Jewish identity.
Pesach (Passover) was approaching. How could we avoid eating Chametz? [forbidden food during Passover]
My brother Meir's words lingered in my head, in the earlier years we still had means, even in the small ghetto[Radom], where we baked matzah in the ovens of the armament-factory. But in Vaihingen? In such a hell-hole?
The question tormented me more than the threat of death, which hounded us every minute and at every step.
People got accustomed to this and stared into the face of death daily. But we weren't prepared to eat hametz during Pesach.
Where do we find flour and potatoes and how can we bake our matzahs!?...
And this is what happened.
Several days before Pesach someone arrived in my workshop where I worked as a sign-painter, one of the SS camp leaders. We called him Gabela. He was a small-statured German,
somewhat of a less-energic torturer than the others. And his motto was, eat and go to work, a routine among the internees. This Gabela came to ask me: can you make me a shooting range to learn to shoot? These signs[scraps] which are damaged by bullet holes exist should be repairable.
At that moment an idea came to mind and I requested a large clean-up; put the garbage into large paper sacks (which were in the workshops) and I will paste white paper on the sacks with a drawn soldier in a helmet. With this plan, I told him, we need a lot of flour to make a cluster....
My proposal appealed to the German and he immediately gave me a paper(requisition) for the provision-shop for 5 kilos of flour.
Seeing this as a sign for our salvation, I went immediately to the boss of the camp-kitchen, A Czech Volksdeutch, by the name of Pil, who looked like an elephant. By trade he was a painter. Hearing about the 5 kilos of flour, he became very interested in my workshop and about my trade. He insured me that I would receive my flour, but he told me he has his suspicions- is the
flour going towards producing matzah for Pesach
He still remembered from his Jewish neighbours the taste of matzah
At first I was frightened but then I asked Pil for an additional 5 kilos, which was actually to bake the matzah.
To my great surprise, Pil showed his sincerity and gave me 10 kilos of flour, on the condition, not to take the entire load in one shot. If they [the Germans] caught me, I could show the original paper that I received for the flour.
In the end, he told me that those that didn't want to eat food from the kitchen, can roast their own potatoes which he will provide.
I couldn't believe this, what my ears just heard.
His gentle words, it seems, where a result of the front closing in, which was taking place on German soil, and perhaps not too far from the camp (at night we heard explosions in our region and the Allied airplanes cut through the German zone; this left us with renewed hope- in the hearts of our downtrodden people )
The German gave me a receipt for the supervisor of the store, to give me 10 kilos of flour. Arriving there, I began to negotiate with him for additional flour, as we needed the matzah for the entire Pesach at first he yelled at me, he will not endanger himself for those fanatics, but afterwards, I preached to him some humanity and showed him the devotion of some Jews, his Radomer brothers, who don't want to eat chametz during Pesach; he softened and gave me the additional 5 kilos of flour. We now had, more or less, 15 kilos of flour.
He gave me the flour from a newly-opened sack, to make it as kosher a possible
Bringing the flour to my workshop, with my brother Meir, I assembled our friends in the evening and showed them the great miracle
Their joy was beyond description.
The extinguished souls were ignited again. We undertook our work, together we organized pieces of wood. A carpenter from Radom provided the wood. I found a wheel in my workshop and the Holy task began.
With a piece of broken glass from a bottle we prepared to clean the table surface. We place the prepared dough on the table and in the small workshop oven, I placed bricks and in this way we baked our matza
In this secret work, with locked doors and windows covered with shmates, these people participated: Sholem Chervonokmien, Yacov Leventhal, Gabriel Bergman, Hershel London, my brother Meir and others.
The wall of my workshop bordered the wall of the camp-leader, Yechiel Friedman's room.
The wall became overheated from the nonstop use of the oven, Friedman knocked on our door and asked to open quickly, to see what was going on with hesitation we opened. As soon as he saw the oven he stood speechless.
With surprise he asked us to slow down the firing because the sparks were coming through the chimney, and he didn't want to raise suspicion. The guards will shoot us.
Departing, he asked us to remember him and leave a matzah for his first seder .
We noticed tears in his eyes, and our fear of him dissipated.
We hid the baked matzas under the roof.
But the news of the matzah spread like fire among the Jews in the camp (there were also non- Jews in the camp, from 16 nations of Europe) and a renewed hope beat in their hearts: such a small event like baking matzah under such difficult circumstances in the Vahingen concentration camp, Jews still had the courage to believe in their Judaism to bake matzah
At the first seder-evening, the aforementioned, as well as Hamia'la Milstein, Leibel Krel from Warsaw, Leibel Richtman, Ezriel Warchivker, and Motele Gritzer assembled in my workshop, and in great fear, like the Anusim of Spain years ago, we sat around two large tables with reverence and led our seder.
--We were slaves!...Each one at the seder received 3 matzahs. Instead of wine, we served sweetened water. Instead of maror-white beets. As karpas-potatoes. Salt and water we had plenty .
We said the Haggadah from a siddur which we managed to hide the entire time. After the first half of the Haggadah, Ezriel Warchivker went into ecstasy and led an entire sermon, not to fall into despair, keep our faith, endure the injustice because our redemption is near
We were later informed, other Jews stood outside on guard. The night was truly was a blessing .
by Moshe Kirschenblatt
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
In the first month of 1945, when it was already clear to the Germans that their absolute defeat was unavoidable, the evacuations of the Jewish slave work-camps and concentration camps began.
They chased the exhausted Jews from one concentration camp to another. Daytime and night-time, they chased the Jews throughout Germany, by road and through fields, greeted with shootings, their skeleton bodies in striped clothing clearly visible. Their destination was never known or predetermined. If a group managed to reach a predetermined concentration camp, the next morning they were evacuated again, fearing [the Germans], that the Allied Forces will invade the camp, on their victorious march in Germany.
In Hessenthal there was a concentration camp which was called a Labour-Camp. The Jews worked on an airfield under the worst conditions in terrible cold in order to receive a bowl of watery soup. There was no crematorium in this work camp, no executions, like shootings or hangings-it wasn't necessary as the nature of the work and the difficult conditions, that only, in the two months, (January- February 1945), over 200 Jews out of 800 died from starvation and cold.
At the end of February, it was already known that the camp will be liquidated
and we will be evacuated. The SS made preparations for the evacuation. They closed the camp and didn't allow any-one to enter. We were no longer sent to work. We were isolated for a week. At the time, there were about 600 Jews in the camp with a significant number of Radomers.
Despite the fact that the train station was not far from the camp, we had previously laid train-tracks to go into the camp, so on the day of the evacuation, they provided two wagons (with three storey beds for the seriously ill) and within several hours the camp was evacuated.
It is remarkable, that a short while after leaving the camp (the train with the Jews had barely left the station] when a squadron of airplanes bombed the camp with such precision that no trace of it remained.
Also our train was bombarded, the locomotive-scattered with some wounded. Understandably, the train could no longer continue.
The SS Camp-director had an order to bring us to Dachau. Normally, by train, it took six hours. Since we had to travel by foot, it took four days.
During our March, dozens were shot for marching at a slower pace. The March occurred virtually without interruption- daytime and night-time. We slept for several hours, and even this, in cold barns covered in stone or mud.
Marching with endless beatings and shootings, one night, they brought us to a field where there was a large open pit.
This night was dark and raining. The SS, with their whips and rifles, forced us to go into the pit to sleep on the wet earth. On all sides of the pit, they quickly installed reflectors and machine guns. We were certain that this was our end! Either in the middle of the night or in the morning, the SS will shoot us and leave us buried in this mass grave!
Dozens of thoughts went through our minds: should we organize a resistance, with bare fists, or should we run away? Every hasty step could have a consequence, the SS could suddenly start shooting at us, even with-out an official order.
This is what preoccupied us in the pit and we discussed what we should do?....
At that moment, an order came from the SS: everyone, find a spot on the ground (the earth was soaked with rain) and go to sleep!
Not having a choice, we had to comply with the order. Everyone tried to sleep closer to the edge of the pit, in case, they attempted to escape.
It was a ridiculous calculation, because it was impossible to take three steps, as the machine guns would begin to shoot.
When we lay quietly for some time, pretending to sleep, one reflector shut down, a long while later -a second one-and then, the third one.
The 4th reflector was elevated by the SS in order to light up the entire pit.
Seeing this, we breathed a little easier, coming to the conclusion, that this time they will not shoot us.
Early in the morning, when daylight appeared, they chased us again in the direction of Dachau.
It is very difficult to describe the March to Dachau because every second, every minute and every hour has its own horrible chapter.
In Dachau [Alach-Dachau], we remained for two weeks, without going to work.
We had information that we will not remain here. The SS had an order to send us further, to Tyrol. They waited for a train with empty wagons. One day, the order came to prepare ourselves for the departure. They packed us, 60 men, into a freight-car, (some of the cars were open) and the train went in the direction of Tyrol.
We were in the wagons for about 10 days when we noticed that the train was going in one direction, which means, going backwards and forwards the roads were already blocked by the Allied Armies and so they could no longer reach their destination and bring us our final place.
Despite this, the SS guards didn't ease up with their attitude towards us, they didn't allow us any leniency from there punishments and harassments which included shooting us.
About giving us a little more food, that was out of the question. The food provisions for a day consisted of 2 pounds of bread for eight men with a piece of horse meat or marmalade.
Many men died in the wagons from starvation. Every morning the SS asked each one of us if there were any dead amongst us.
If there were one or two dead in a wagon, the SS immediately gave us less bread.
Therefore, there were plans not a report a dead person for a day or two, in order to have his portion of bread.
In such conditions we remained until Sunday, the 29th of April, 1945.
The train stood in a forest, near the town of Staltach. About 10:00 o'clock in the morning a delegation of the International Red Cross arrived with the SS commander of the transport, came to each wagon, spoke to us in German so the SS commandant could hear and understand,
comforted us, told us to be strong and reported that we are now under the supervision of the Red Cross and no harm will come to us. In several hours the Americans will arrive and will liberate us. And, surely, in several hours, the Americans arrived and liberated us.
Two hours later the Red Cross gave us packages of food which consisted of all sorts of desirable things.
The packages, however, created problems for many.
We were exhausted, famished, our insides were dried up and shrunk, not caring, everybody seized the food and then got ill afterwards.
The next morning Monday April 30th, we noticed, a motorcycle arrived with an American soldier. He threw a grenade near our wagon, then an outbreak of shooting coming from nearby.
Here the SS appeared heroic: They hid in the corners of the wagons. They tore off their uniforms, their Nazi inscriptions and they begged us to hand over our Pashiake rags [striped prison clothes] in order to fool the Americans that this wagon contained Jews, so they will not shoot this train.
A short while later, the shooting stopped and the Americans began to arrive.
An American officer came to our wagon, ordered the SS guards to leave the wagons, to lay down their weapons and to stand on the side with their hands up high.
This is how we were liberated and we went out of the wagons as free men.
The happiness of liberation was mixed with pain and tears because each one remained alone in the world.
Besides this, we were left in a forest, in a foreign land- in Nazi Germany!
Several days after Liberation we were still sleeping in the wagons in the forest, as well as living on rationed food.
We were left forgotten and we didn't know what to do or where to go!
Until the American automobiles evacuated us to Feldafing and Landsberg, accommodated us in the so-called D.P. camps under military guard.
Life there, in the so-called D.P. camps, a duration of several years, is a separate chapter
by L. Richtman
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
The attempts to participate in the resistance and take revenge on their murderers were tragic.
The cruel collective responsibility of the local populations, the refined, sadistic procedures of the Germans, the forests being far away, the powerful Polish Partisan Organisation A. K. [ Armia Krajowa-Polish army] who showed their great hatred [anti-Semitic] for Jewish Partisans-all of this impacted every effective resistance activity.
A large group of Jewish youth, who at the end of 1941 managed to penetrate the forests and remained there for a long time, were murdered in the last hours.
But many of them were spontaneous resistance fighters, Radomer Jews, who also participated in rebellion in the Treblinka Concentration-Camp and in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1944.
Further, we are bringing a collection of testimonies about Radomer Jewish resistance fighters.
Rochel Rottenburg tells:
--Even before the evictions of the summer of 1942, emissaries from the Hashomer Hatzair branch in Warsaw came to Radom: Franca Kirschenbaum from Hurbieszow and Josef Kaplan from Warsaw, whose purpose was to form relationships between all the branches of Poland and to obtain weapons. They came into contact with Lawyer Salba and proposed a plan to organize an armed resistance in Radom.
The above-mentioned Franka Kirschenbaum came to Radom several times, with Aryan papers and she was later murdered in a Partisan-action, in the Lubliner forests. Kaplan perished in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Yechiel Sitner tells:
--End of 1942, I was introduced to a Jewish family in Radom called Berenstein. They were 3 brothers: Zalman, Chaim-Rafael, and Motel, who lived before the war on Jagielonsky Square and were the owners of a restaurant. In the same house lived their brother-in-law, Gutek Kurtz. They owned an illegal restaurant in the small ghetto.
This family remained in contact with a Polish vegetable-merchant, who lived across a criminal, who belonged to the underground movement.
The Berenstein brothers, Kurtz, Binjamin Rosenberg, I, and another 6 Radomers decided to organize an armed group and depart to the forests to join the partisans.
The fore-mentioned Pole was given money to buy weapons. A hiding-place was prepared, but suddenly, the January-Action took place and we lost contact with this Pole.
Benjamin Rosenberg survived the war and later, in Stuttgart, he perished in a car accident.
And this is what Mieczyslaw Buch describes:
In the fall of 1942, I was deported to a work camp in Wolanow. There I met: Daniel Bercovitch, Finkler from Szydlovske [Szydlowiec], Kuperwasser from Wolanow, Michal Berkovich and Bauman from Pshstick [Przytyk], Yezhi Winegart from Radom and others.
We made preparations to run away to the partisans. For this purpose, we made contact with a partisan group from Konsk. But to our great sorrow, the forest keeper reported them to the Germans, their hiding place was discovered and each and everyone was murdered in a desperate battle.
After this unsuccessful attempt, we formed a liason with a Radomer Pole, called Kozlovsky, who worked in Wolanow. Through his mediation, we made a contact with the partisan group, A. K., who proposed one condition: to bring them a large number of weapons.
We gave them the weapons. But they deceived us and chased us away.
The above mentioned Yezhe Weingart belonged to different resistance movements. One time, during an action, he came from Lviv [Lemberg] to Radom. From Radom he fled to Warsaw, and from there to Hungary.
Israel Glatt tells about the Jewish Radomer partisans:
--From a Tchefelower [Ciepielow] inhabitant with the name of David Sonkievitch, who often came into the Radom ghetto, I became aware of the existence of a resistance movement in Radom and its surroundings.
After the first action, Jewish youth began to run away, armed, into the neighbouring forests.
In Radom, a group of 100 men organized themselves, among them-friends from the Radomer neighbourhoods, like Ciepielow, Kazanow, Lipsk, Zwolen, under the leadership of Berish Ackerman, who forged contacts with Polish Partisans of the Left Wing.
At first, a good natured Polish Ciepielower, helped the Jewish partisans, but as a member of the Polish AK [Armia Krjowa], he conducted two- faced politics. At the end, knowingly, he was responsible for the murder of six Jewish partisans.
When we were near the shtetl Hudze, their Polish population handed us over to the Germans, who immediately surrounded the village and attacked us. We returned the fire. Several Germans were killed. But later in the battle, 64 Jews were killed, together with their commander Berish Ackerman.
The rest ran away in small groups but the A.K. caught and murdered them.
By the way, in the Jewish group there were also Polish Partisans from the Left Wing.
After this, when the cunning Germans declared amnesty for the partisans, many laid down their arms and returned to the ghetto, not being able to fight on two fronts: against the Germans and against the A.K. Army.
Most of the people who returned were later murdered, according to a list which the Germans possessed.
Peisach Speisman tells:
Abraham Haberberg from Radom worked in Drilzh, with Poles, who accepted him into the Partisan Movement.
In the fall of 1942 he took an active role in a partisan action. He was in a mixed Polish- Jewish group, to which his brother-in-law also belonged, the machinist from Radom, Lenga.
Sometime later, Lenga told, that Haberberg fell during a battle with German gendarmes in the region of Wierzbnik.
Also, from Lenga himself, there was no more information of his whereabouts.
Mendel Gotfried tells:
--After the evictions of August 1942, a group of Jewish youth from the Radom ghetto organized themselves with the purpose to run away to the forest. This group was comprised of: Lolek Gorfinkel, Moniek Vygotsky, Zelick Verber, Fredek Rosenboim, Yezhe Weingart, Studnia, Shteren and myself. In November I worked in agriculture on Traugota 61.
There I made the acquaintance of a Pole with the name of Macheshchik, a member of the PPS, who often gave me secret information and newspapers, which called the Jews to rise up against the Germans.
One time, Yezhe Weingart, went out of ghetto, met with this Pole in a carpentry shop on Malchevskiego 6, and discussed the conditions to enlist in the Polish underground movement. The Pole, after consulting with his friends, informed us the conditions were as follows: bring weapons and prove yourselves battle-worthy by attacking the gendarme and kill him. After we obtained the weapons, suddenly we received new information from the Pole, according to a new set of rules, Jews were no longer allowed to participate in the Partisan Movement.
Rochel Gorfinkel tells:
After escaping from the large ghetto in the winter of 1941, I became aware from my husband Yacov, about a Jewish underground movement.
I knew that my husband participated each week in a secret meeting at the shoemaker's home in Glinice. As well, he maintained contacts with partisan members, among them, one which bears the name Shrulek, he was one of the most active in the Polish Resistance Movement.
As I later learned, Jews from the Left Wing were also part of this movement. All relevant to the movement had weapons. Among other areas of work were: to raise money for the families of the arrested and the expelled.
In April of 1942, Shrulek's friend, by the name of Zelza, was arrested, also a member in the movement. A short while later Shrulek was arrested and was brought to the Jewish Police Commander.
The next morning, the police removed him with force, immediately my husband was informed that he must also escape. He hid for a short time until one person was arrested and became an informer, revealing secret information to the Germans. My husband returned.
As I later found out, Shrulek fought with a partisan group in the forest and fell as a martyr.
Zvi Rakatch tells:
--In November 1940, the 19 year-old Akibha-member Zvi Berneman was attacked by Germans in Pentz' Garden. Berneman fought back with all his strength. But, he was severely wounded and was sick for a long time. We raised money and sent him for convalescence. However, he died when he returned in the spring of 1941.
Dr. Wainapel tells:
--In the beginning of 1942, from Glinice, they brought a sick person into the Jewish Hospital, with typhus, whose name was Korman. No one from his family came to visit him. Two unknown persons came on his behalf who presented themselves as members of the Communist Party, they requested that the sick man, Korman, be given special attention because he belonged to the underground movement in the Glinice.
These two men came once again and asked me to raise a sum of money for the underground. I then received various sums of money from the Jewish Tailors Union, Bauman and others, who knew exactly where the money was needed.
Many of the Jewish youth didn't believe the warning signs to leave the ghetto. When the actions took place, some escaped to the Aryan side where they waited, until the consequences of the action in the ghetto subsided.
L Kurtz tells about such an episode:
--In the hospital next to Obozhishka Street worked a Radomer by the name of Finkelstein. His brother, who had Aryan papers, was suddenly discovered, and it seemed, because of a Polish informer. He was brought before the Gestapo, together with a friend of his, and when they got closer to the Gestapo commander, they attacked the Germans and ran away.
Shootings began and Finkelstein was shot next to the house at Zheromskiega 9, the second one next to the Warsawer Street.
Finklestein was brought to the hospital in a hopeless condition and two days later the Gestapo arrived and murdered him.
Israel Glatt tells:
--Israel Malarski, a member of the underground movement, whom the Germans looked for, hid in a warehouse. However, he was discovered due to an informant and when the Gestapo arrived to arrest him, he committed suicide by stabbing himself with a knife.
Also, his brother, Josef, committed suicide after lengthy interrogations by the Gestapo, in order not to reveal the names of his friends.
As it was known, the entire Malarski family belonged to the underground movement.
Dr. Wainapel tells about the 20 year- old Noah Schlaferman, the electrician Adolph's son, who ran away from the ghetto and joined the partisan movement.
After some time, he returned to the ghetto at night, ragged, tired and dirty. He told us that he barely ran away with his life after a battle, which his group fought against the Germans near Bialystock.
He rested for a short while and in the evening he departed again. At the Radom train-station a Polish policeman asked for his papers and wanted to turn him over to the Gestapo. With all his force he resisted and managed to escape.
He returned to the partisans and it is acceptable to say that he fell somewhere in battle.
About visits of the underground messengers to the Radom ghetto and separately-about the visit of the Krakawer partisan-representative Mirka Liebeskind (she is mentioned in Justina's diary) tells Soba Wolcana-Wainaple:
-- One evening a Jewish policeman came to see me and announced that someone is waiting for me at the Jewish police.
When I arrived there, I saw before me my good friend from the Akiva- movement in Krakow, Mirka Liebskind. I guaranteed the police that she will leave the ghetto the next morning and she returned home with me.
An hour later, a Jewish policeman arrived to arrest her. But in the meantime she went to visit Lolek Kwat. The policeman went to fetch her and brought her to the station.
I imagined they had my guarantee, and that the situation was very serious. I went to the police station when it suddenly became clear to me, that the Gestapo knows about her plan.
In the meantime, we had a short conversation. She was in a wonderful mood and said to me: no matter what, we will not survive, therefore it is better to die with weapons in your hand. My brother Dolek, she told me, killed two Germans in Krakow and he will continue his revenge. I am ready to be killed, but not to be led as a sheep to the slaughter!
Mirka was tortured to death by the Gestapo, but she never revealed the names of her friends or about her activities.
Peisach Spiesman tells:
In April 1943, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Stormtrooper Kapke arrived in the small ghetto with a group of Ukrainians, in order to take 50 Jews for work. No one doubted their fate. The Jewish police officer Fried witnessed this and started screaming hysterically: we suffered enough! Break down the gates! Everyone should go where he wants! I don't want to send anymore Jews to their death!
Someone told the Gestapo about this and Fried was arrested and his remains were never found.
Severin Weingart describes about the smuggling of Radomer Jews to Hungary:
--a known colleague Koler, a Jew from Lemburg with Aryan papers, organized the smuggling of Jews to Hungary. He had, truthfully, received a lot of money from rich Jews, but he used this money to help the poor. In the summer of 1943, he smuggled many Jews to Zakopane and from there to Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
On the way, David Margalit and his family successfully arrived in Eretz Israel. Also, my brother, Yezhe travelled with a group of Radomers, among whom were: Moniek Opatovski, Yezhe Werber, Fella Werber and Mieczyslaw Buch with his wife.
After their long travels they arrived in Hungary and afterwards, in Romania, from there- 'through Turkey' they arrived in Eretz Israel.
My brother, Yezhe Werber and Opatowski died on the boat.
Part managed to arrive in the Land. The married Buch returned to Poland.
Afterwards thanks to Koler, the tailor Bauman and his wife left Radom who were arrested by a Gestapo-agent. Koler, who took the entire blame upon himself, was murdered by the Gestapo. The Baumans were sent to the Plashower Labour-camp.
Rachel Chmielatch tells about the sabotage performed by the Radomer Jews:
--The factory belonging to Moshe and Shloime Chmielatch was in the German's jurisdiction and was managed by a Polish engineer. When Moshe was brought from Warsaw to Radom (in order to force him to reveal the chemical formula) he, through various speeches, no matter what, did not want to reveal the formula. He also threatened the Polish engineer, if he will push him against the wall, he will tell his friends in the underground movement about his treatment. The engineer was frightened and left the factory.
To replace him, a German engineer arrived by the name of Dr. Lichtenheiler, who proposed to Chmielatch he should continue operating the factory. Chmielatch, in the meantime had returned to Warsaw, send him sick-papers, and to take his place-one, one of his former pre-war workers, who used to fix the machines, but Chmielatch was unsuccessful with this plan.
The German became fed up with his antics and hired a Polish engineer from Poznan, who also was unsuccessful at this work.
During the large action in Warsaw, Chmielatch's wife and daughter were sent to Treblinka and Chmielatch tried to commit suicide, but his friends saved him. He came into contact with active members of the Polish Underground Movement. But, in the meantime, the German commissioner of the factory came to Warsaw with his helper, and forced Chmielatch to return to Radom. They tried with whatever means available for him to reveal the secret, but without any results.
Through a Polish worker, he was notified that he needed to see him right away. Thanks to a Jewish policeman this was successfully arranged.
Despite his 44 years, he already looked like an old man. With various signs, he showed me a spot in a wall, where he hid the professional note-books of the factory, and begged me to give them to his eldest brother who managed the factory with him.
With the help of the Polish worker, Chmielatch ran away to Warsaw, where he became sick. We put him into an Evangelical Hospital, as a Christian, where he died.
About the efforts to buy arms, Yonah Bornstein tells:
--Afterwards, when I was told about the bitter truth about Treblinka, I, my brother, and a group of Radomers, like Yichiel Sitner, Mendel Goldberg and Josef Richtman, decided to organize and search for a contact on the Aryan side.
Our group was joined by the following: Yechiel Stashevski, Yacov Interstein, Moshe Turover's son, the Bruch brothers and Gavriel Matz from Skarichev [Skaryszew], Mendel and Yacov Ailboim and their sister Shaindel from Dhrilzh.
I was the link with the Aryan side. Working at the glass factory owned by the Norimbersky brothers, I had better opportunities to go into the Aryan places [streets], according to the addresses which I received.
One time I met a Polish friend from before the war, Baranowsky, who worked in an armament factory. I made a transaction with him, to sell me 4 revolvers for 8 thousands zlotys.
We determined a meeting place, Voel 28 [the house of the Talmud Torah]. I will give him the money and he will give me the revolvers.
I kept my part of the agreement, although he delivered a package of stones instead of the revolvers.
Afterwards I was warned, not to meet up with him again as he could hand me over to the Gestapo.
After this plan, we liaised with a Pole by the name of Abelewski, who was once a prisoner in Kartuz- Bereza [originally set up in 1934 as a Polish political prisoner camp], and he connected me with his friend who started to provide small amounts of weapons and helped some of our friends escape to the nearby Schwentokshisker forest.
Unfortunately, some of them, because of hooligan [local Polish] persecution, had to return. Some were murdered in a confrontation with the Germans.
We remained in contact with a pole called Ranchka, without a hand, who helped us a lot at every opportunity.
I received money to finance the expenses from Joseph Richtman, Moshe Goldberg and my brother.
Stashefski, Unterstein, Moshe Turover's son and Baruch Matz, received 4 revolvers from Moshe Goldberg, which he stole from the SS warehouse where he worked. They ran away into the forests in the Skarishever region, but Polish hooligans caught and murdered them.
Also, the brothers Ailboim and their sister, who ran away to the Schwentokshisker forests were murdered by Polish hooligans.
When we crossed over to the Skolna, we again renewed our relations with the Poles, but the Socialists sent us to the Communists and the Communists to the Socialists.
We planned our escape and for this purpose we excavated two small bunkers, through which twenty-something men crossed over into the Aryan side.
Unfortunately, they were mostly caught by Polish hooligans and for the small amount of five kilograms of sugar, were handed over to the Gestapo.
Only some individuals were successful to join the partisans in the forests.
Josef Zimmerman tells about the participation of Radomer Jews who organized the Uprising in: Treblinka:
--As I was in Warsaw during Yom Kippur of 1942, I was then sent to Treblinka. Here I met the Radomer Tsesa Mandel, who worked, first as a cook in the German kitchen, and afterwards in the warehouse.
I was forced to work with the undressing of the men who were unloaded from the wagons and sent to the barracks.
We started thinking about an Uprising, an honorable death, but the opportune time did not come until the terrible sadist Stormtrooper Frantz [Lalke] went on vacation.
It was August 2, 1943. About 100 people took part in the preparations for the Uprising, and Tsesa Mandel helped us infinitely.
I received two hand grenades and a revolver, which we stole from the German warehouses. My goal was to kill every German going in the direction of the Ukrainian barracks.
Five in the evening we set fire to several barracks and killed the Germans who stood nearby. I threw the two grenades at the benzene-station, which burst into flames immediately. One Ukrainian was killed. We ran away and wandered through the forests for three days.
From there we managed to arrive in Warsaw .
Zimmerman tells us more about the fate of the evicted Jewish Radomers of August 1943:
In a train, that transported the deported from Radom, I recognized Himelfarb, from Lubliner 26, Melodista and his daughter and many others. When Melodista descended from the wagon, I recognized the Stormtrooper, as he was a well-known musician in Poland. As he played for the Germans, he was later appointed as the leader of the orchestra in the Death Camp Number 2. In Camp Number 1, the orchestra leader was Arthur Gold.
With a transport from Warsaw the Radomer orchestra leader Marek Hantzberg arrived, who became sick and despite the efforts Tsesa Mandel, the Germans shot him.
Kuba Luxembourg was also there, who served as a Kapo.
When I worked in the camp, I found thousands of thousands of documents about Radomer Jews, who were deported during the first action of August 1942.
In the newspaper, Our Hope, number 18 from 1946, I. Miller writes that in documents about the Uprising in Treblinka, Tsesha Mandel is mentioned as one of the initiators and organizers of the Uprising. She was born in Radom in 1916 and her father was one of the insurgents in 1905.
Abraham Konsker tells about a group of young boys who escaped from the armament factory, among them were:
Sobek Israelavitch, Abraham Horn from Piotrkow, Lindsen and he [Abraham Konsker].. This is January 15, 1943. Near Firley, the gendarmes opened fire and Horn was shot dead.
After several days of hunger and thirst, Israelavich return to Piotrkow. Here the Gestapo captured and shot him.
The others went as far as Yoschemb [Yastrzamb], where they encountered Radomers; Zalman Rutman, Moshe Lerman, and his brother and others who escaped from the armament factory in Pianki.
Lindsen organized his own group. When they were in the Grabover forests, they were surrounded by German gendarmes and Lindsen, together with six young boys, were killed after a short struggle.
Another group of Radomers, which included the above mentioned Konsker, was attacked by the Jew-hater Gorsky, in a village. The arriving gendarmes opened fire, but the group managed to escape in the direction of Stokow.
Two civilian Germans, who escaped, hearing the shooting, were captured by the gendarmes and as the peasants later recounted, they were murdered by the Germans themselves.
Konsker with a group of friends remained behind in the Yastrzhember forests, and a second group with Bezalel Finkelstein as leader, left to the Vsoler [Zwolen] forests.
January 15 1945, Konsker's group was liberated by the Soviet army. Together with the military they entered Radom.
Shmuel Gutstadt tells about his escape from Radom to Warsaw:
--In the fall of 1943, together with five friends, we escaped from the bath-house on Stara- Krakowska, to Warsaw with Aryan papers.
I rented a house in Warsaw on Panskia 46 and lived there with four Jews, among them: the lawyer Leshchinsky of Kunin.
After several months, living in rather good circumstances, a certain Lesczek came to us with recommendation- papers from friends, and as we trusted him, he started bringing us illegal literature.
Suddenly Lesczek stopped visiting and instinctively we felt that we were in danger.
And truly, one day in May of 1944, the house was surrounded by Gestapo and SS, who came to escort Leszek .
Seeing the danger, Leshchinsky committed suicide by jumping from the 4th floor of the building.
I, by some miracle, was able to escape. But I was captured by the Polish police on the street and brought to their office.
The remainder of the Jews who were in the house, after a bitter struggle with the Germans, were killed.
I was sent from the Polish police to the Jewish division of the Gestapo, on Shoe-Alley. Here I met another 15 Jews, as well . Lesczek...
My question-why did you turn us over to the Gestapo? his answer was-you are a Jew and every Jew must die!
The next morning, I was brought before they well-known killer of the Gestapo, Brandt, who asked me: where do I come from and about my vocation. I told him that I was a automobile-glazier from Radom and took the opportunity to tell him about Lesczek, that in the course of several months, brought us anti-Nazi literature. Brandt immediately called him for a confrontation, but Lesczek denied all these allegations [lied]. They threw us both in Paviak [prison]. I in cellar 256, which was known as for those condemned to die.
I encountered other Jews in this cell which had been waiting for their death for several days. Among them-the owner of the Viennese firm Horniphon [radio-factory]. I noticed on the wall addresses of Jews, which passed through the seven fires of hell, among them-three from Radom: Kestenberg, Kuhner and Moshe Wiseman.
One morning they brought us into the court-yard. The SS man pulled me over to the side being an automobile glazier, the others were sent in an unknown direction.
I was the only one from cell 256 that remained as a professional, who was needed to work for the Gestapo in Paviak.
Among the Poviak- professionals were the largest experts of Poland, among them the famous Warsaw tailor Ackerman, also an expert for complicated locks.
Each day they took us out of the prison to work, with a warning, if we attempted to escape, we will immediately receive a death-sentence.
Nevertheless, in a clear blue day, three Jews escaped. Immediately a selection took place and the Radomer shoemaker Ackerman, from Lubliner 32, and a Jerzykover [from Jastrzab] tailor, were shot on the spot.
Since this setback, they no longer took us out of the prison for work. Not being able to go outside, we were continued to work in the cellars of Paviak.
There I made the acquaintance of a professor, Cordonski, a Jew, who hatched a new plan- to dig a bunker, through which I and another 10 Jews escaped.
We hid among the corpses of the Povonzeker cemetery until the Polish Uprising broke out.
About his participation in the Polish Uprising in Warsaw, Shmuel Gutstadt tells us:
August 1,1944, laying amongst the corpses in the Povonzeker cemetery we heard heavy shooting- the Polish Uprising began.
Immediately we took our place in the ranks of Captain Topolnitsky, who captured the first tank.
With this tank we attacked a concentration camp between Povonzek and the PAVIAK [there was a concentration camp inside Warsaw] where we found 400 professionals, among them many Jews. We freed them and enlisted them into our unit.
The Germans ran away in great panic and the joy of the liberated knew no boundaries.
Afterwards I took part in a battle with the Germans on Acapave Street and afterwards on Franciscan Street 12, where 2000 A.K. fighters. Were previously positioned.
The Germans attacked this house with machine-guns and most of the fighters were killed.
By some miracle I remained alive and I crawled to the barricades on Kozhle Street, where many Jews from Radom fought.
We were forced to leave our barricades and crossed over to Krashinsky Square. There I received an order to lead 800 men through the sewer pipes to Napoleon Square. This March, took five hours, in my lifetime, I will never forget this!
Leaving the sewer pipes, we took our position on Zhelna 8, but this house was bombed and 200 men were killed. Again, I was miraculously spared!
Warsaw surrendered. I, together with three Jews and two Poles, hid in a bunker from where we escaped through Growets [Grojec] to Radom, where we remained until the arrival of the Red Army.
Among the Radomer Jews who took part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were: engineer Arthur Koskler, who fell in battle; the officer Menahem Lifschitz, Severin Weingurt, Lara Rutman, Ruth Weisburg, Schmuel Gutstadt, Scheinfeld [the well- known wine merchant's son], Zingiser (from Lubliner 12), Zeidenweber, (the son of the Goldsmith Lubliner 7] the decorator Domnievitch, Glatt from Trauguta Street, and the head doctor of the insurgents, Dr. Kadishevitch- Koshinsky.
In August 1944, there were 100 Radomer Jews left in Warsaw. The Radomers in the Praga district were liberated in September.
After the failure of the uprising, the Radomer Jews who survived, looked for any way possible to keep themselves alive, until the liberation. They hid in bunkers, in the destroyed Warsawer streets. Among them were: the Kaplan family and Yechiel Lechtech. At night they went to search for food and water in the destroyed houses.
About the liberation of Warsaw, they received the news only several days later.
Mrs. Kaplan died in the bunker.
About four Radomer young boys who were killed running away from the Peat-bogs, Zalman Fux [Fuchs] tells:
--the two Ourbach brothers, Abraham Weisfus, and the policeman Yacov Margalit escaped on the way to the peat, utilizing the opportunity when the the non-vigilant gendarmes were on duty. They managed to hide on Shpitalna 11, but hooligan Poles informed on them. The gendarmerie arrived and arrested them.
On the orders of Boetcher, they were led by a group of Ukrainians to be shot, but one of the Orbach brothers managed to escape. The other three were shot on the peat-field and their bodies were laid out at the entrance as a warning.
Moshe Goldberg tells about two groups of Radomers, in the beginning of 1944, escaped from the bath-house, dressed in civilian uniforms with weapons in their pockets:
Both decided to meet at a pre-determined spot in the forest but unfortunately the meeting did not take place. One group was caught by the Gestapo and shot near the armament factory, the second group, with Yechiel Stashefski, Yacov Interstein and Eliyahu Turover escaped to the Shidlovtser [Szydlowiec] forests. Afterwards they fought in partisan units and fell in battle.
M. Wiseman tells:
--How he, Benjamin Freedman, Mordehai Worm, Kalman Pshititsky and Meir Freedman escaped from Troop-economic CAMP, hearing, that the Sky-commando was arriving in Radom.
They hid in the forests near Drildhz, they were discovered and Freedman, Pshititsky and Worm were killed when they escaped.
He, Wiseman, and the second Freedman ran until Makow. Here they reported themselves to the camp-command of agriculture, which allowed them to remain.
After several days, to this work site, the known murderer Max Klingburg arrived from Radom to take potatoes. By coincidence, he became aware of the two newly arrived Jews. He took them with him to the Skolne and on the orders of Stormtrooper Zigman, Hecker gave them 30 lashes on their naked bodies. Afterwards he sent them to dig sewers on the site of the camp.
Zelick Lifshitz tells about the Munk and Goldberg brothers from Radom and a young boy from Stashow, who, two days before the evacuation, July 1944, approached the electrified fence, cut through and escaped. However, they were caught.
Yitchak Greenebaum, from a well to do family in GLINICE (today he lives in Kiryat Chaim) survived interesting experiences, together with his wife and friends in the forests near Lukow. He fought with the partisans against German detachments and marched into Lublin with the Soviet Army.
In his book I Chased Eichman for 15 years, Tuvia Freedman tells an interesting story, he and Motele Boilmelgreen and some other friends, escaped from the armament factory in Radom several days before the evacuation, wandered through the forests, stabbed a German and awaited the liberation by the Red Army.
And Reizel Kartchack's book Flames in the Ashes(printed in Israel by National Kibbutz of Hashomer Hatzair) tells about 2 sisters from Radom, Sara and Ruzka Zilber, who were killed near the Malkin, in April 1942. They were caught by the Germans with weapons in their hands.
This was during the course of their transfer to Warsaw during an appeal by the P.P.O [United Partisan Organization], who called the Jews in the camps and ghettos to take part in an armed resistance.
These two sisters before the war belonged to the Hashomer Hatzair movement. They went for Haschara [training to make aliya] in Czestochowa and when the war began, they crossed the border illegally and went to Vilna, where they were active members in the underground movement.
Armia Krjowa(AK) was the dominant resistance movement in German occupied Poland during WW11. Its allegiance was to the Polish Government in exile in London, later known as the Polish Underground State.
On the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, near the Gesiowka prison, a concentration camp was built on the ruins, which was never classified as a concentration camp.
by Shmuel Gutman (Gzhegozh)
Translated by Janie Respitz
I had orders to carry out great sabotage operations like blowing up train bridges so the murderers could not bring their military, weapons or food to the front.
I received an order, among others, to blow up the bridge in Malkin over the Bug, but it did not happen. As many times as I sent people, they returned with nothing. There were 4 train gendarmes guarding the bridge and no civilians could get closer than 100 steps from the bridge.
When I reported this to Colonel Tzorok he banged the table, got angry and raised his voice: And why don't you go? Are you afraid to leave the women from Zhelonk?
Colonel I said, there is only one solution: given that no one can approach the bridge with the exception of railroad workers and conductors, you should supply us with the appropriate clothing. I will take care of false papers from the railroad administration, then, we will try to do our work.I replied:
Fine he replied. I like this. How many uniforms do you need?
7 but send more so we can make adjustments.We spent a bit more time together and then he left.
Captain he called out to me, and for you too?
Yes I replied, I'll be the seventh.
Good, I understand. Now you can carry it out.
I too left for the group commander to tell him what the colonel ordered, quickly prepared falsified papers, also for my adjutant. In the evening I met my good friend in the tavern, a Christian, the engineer Zovadsky. (The Christian engineer Zovadsky was our own Yekhiel Varshever from Radom). A man with very fine manners, not an anti Semite. We enjoyed ourselves until the last bitter drop.
Later I went home along the edge of the forest, a little drunk. I knew my Patron Vlodzha would already be back from Warsaw.
I was overcome with terror when he told me a non - Jew working in their factory was recognized by the gendarmes as a Jew from Radom.
Mister he said to me, He is a great hero. He admitted his name is really Grinberg (or Grinboym). When they led him to the door he quickly pulled out a revolver, shot both gendarmes and ran away. By the time our militia showed up there was no trace of him. I never would have believed Jews could be so capable and brave.Later the owner of the villa arrived and with great joy said he will begin the harvest the next day and invited me to help him a bit.
Yes Mr. Vishnietsky, I accept the invitation. I have never refused such a thing I replied.The old man Vishnietsky, an enemy of the Jews, added that he had prepared a bottle of schnapps which we will open at lunch.
Early the next morning I went to the field near the railroad tracks. I found them already at work.
It was just after eleven when we heard the moaning of the locomotive which was pulling a large heavy load.
I understood what this was. The train was approaching, the misfortunate train, which every day at the same time travelled with two locomotives and 80 train cars full of Jews, to Treblinka, as usual, with heart wrenching cries and screams.
Suddenly we heard wild cries:
Stop! Stop!Then a few shots.
We saw, how a few people, women and men, were running hastily, but before they reached our field, loud shooting erupted.
All the escapees were shot dead by the murderous bullets. They were lying one beside the other. Among them I recognized my brother's youngest daughter Esther, from Radom. I stared at her face. Could you imagine what was happening in my heart?
I fell into a depression and later on could not eat. The whisky prepared earlier did not help either. The Jew hater asked me:
Mister, what's bothering you so much? The dead Jews? It's been coming to them for a long time.
How could I respond? I thought: when will my time come?
The next day I left my work early. I wanted to find out if they already sent the uniforms and if the false documents were ready.
I was still under the influence of what I saw the day before.
A non Jewish woman walked past me and stared. My heart skipped a beat. Why is she looking at me? Does she think I am a Jew?
I walked quickly to her and she looked at me with wonder. I asked her loudly and with pride:
Why are you staring at me?She responded calmly in Yiddish:
You don't recognize me?I answered her calmly in Polish:
No, who are you?She looked around to see if anyone was around and took off her kerchief.
Look at me she said in Polish.We quickly moved aside and went to the young forest and began to talk. I asked her: What are you doing here?
No, I do not recognize you.
But tell me, aren't you Shmuel, our neighbour?
Who are you? I asked still wondering.
I am she said, Yehoshua Burshteyn's wife, the tanner.
Don't ask. We were hiding with a gentile and we were discovered. We barely escaped with our lives. We are now hiding not far from here in a ditch in the forest. We don't know what to do. No one wants to take us in. it's terrible.I said to her:
Don't worry. Go now, to that small little house between the hills. Ring three times. They will open. The property owner's name is Mrs. Yuzepa. Tell her that Captain Godlevsky sent you. She'll take you in. But remember, I am a Christian and a big anti Semite. I come from a place near Tchentokhov, I'm well off. Your husband used to buy grain from me. This is what your family members should say as well. No one should know my Jewish origins.Burshteyn's wife and her group were welcomed. They were seven people and they survived the war.
The next morning we received our train outfits and the necessary papers, even travel trunks and clocks.
We decided the next day, Wednesday at 12:00 we would meet in Volomin and march from there.
It was the 26th or 27th of May, 1943, in Kobliki near Volomin. We were 7 men: Libek, Vikher, Yozhek, Zayontz, Khmara, Rudek, Odashek and Gzhegozh. All were chosen professionals. We began to pack our valises with all our tools, food and a good amount of schnapps. We examined our papers, dressed properly as train conductors and mechanics and travelled by train 2 stations. After we had to walk 6 kilometres.
Having walked an hour we already saw the bridge over the Bug.
We were already able to see the guard with the gun standing on our side of the bridge. He looked at us. There were two others hanging around the bridge with guns.
We got closer to him. He stood there waiting for us. He asked where we were going. I replied we were going to the small train station on the other side of the bridge, in Ushch, because at 6 o'clock we have to get the train to East Prussia.
And why are you not travelling with the worker's train?Meanwhile the two other gendarmes arrived. One of them asked me where I learned German. I replied I was from Poznan. He understood.
We are not sure if the worker's train will travel today as normal because two bridges were blown up by bandits I replied.
Yes he said. You have plenty of time before 6 o'clock. You can rest here and wash off your dust.Meanwhile the second one asked: Do you have any schnapps?
Yes I replied, we have pure pub schnapps.We went into their large barrack and put down our valises. They sent the fourth to the village to bring bread and eggs from the farmer. They gave us soap and towels to wash. I went outside with Rudek to wash. I did not think for long and said to Rudek:
Oh good, we have good hors d'oeuvres he answered and called to the fourth to come.
We should not waste any time!We returned. The Germans were singing. They set the table. Suddenly there was a hail of bullets. All three dropped dead.
Quick! Down to the boats!Lyovke already emptied the boxes of explosive materials: 2 time bombs.
Everyone ran out. Only Vikher remained on guard with a gun. When the fourth returns, he'll greet him from a distance.
They all went to the bridge in boats and I walked in the water. I remained there with a gun in my hand. Meanwhile, the train arrived.
Close the entrance! Vikher, quick, close the entrance, we are lost!Vikher turns, another one comes to help.
One squad gives a sign to the other: Ready, set the wires.
We'll be ready in one minute said Rudek.The train was 200 steps from us. There was a signal and a whistle to open the way.
I shouted: March! Quick! Remove the remaining boxes from the barracks!
But there was another problem:
One of the boats with my people got stuck in the stones and sticks in the Bug and could not reach the shore. I told them to leave all the remaining tools in the boat and jump in the water.
Finally they are back. Vikher threw down his gun and came to us.
I commanded: After me, after me, to the forest!
The forest was two kilometres away. The train was whistling loudly to another train which was coming toward him from the other side. When they noticed there was no one on the bridge they turned on the green lights and small whistle alarms on their own and carefully crossed the bridge, one on the right side and one on the left.
We ran and heard the noise of bang and then another. We knew what that meant.
I told everyone to throw everything away so we could run faster.
We heard horrible explosions. We were surrounded by a cloud of smoke. The bangs are getting stronger and louder accompanied by flashes of fire
This was because the last train car was loaded with ammunition. Everything fell off the bridge into the water and began to explode and give off a cloud of smoke and fire flashes.
It was hard to reach the forest because of the mud. As we ran we heard a shout:
Save me! Save me!We turned around: Libek was lying on the road behind us. We ran to him facing great danger. He was hit in the back by a piece of iron.
We picked him up and carried him. (We could not run with him). It was noisy and smoky.
We were in luck. There was a wagon riding quickly behind us. We thought it might be Germans or Polish police so we quickly moved to the side of the road, put down our gravely ill friend and prepared to fight. But it was a peasant escaping from his field work to the forest.
We placed our patient on the wagon and said to the peasant:
Stand beside me. Give me the reigns and do not say a word. Everyone climbed onto the wagon.I began to hasten the horses. We did not ride, we flew. We still heard heavy explosions and the earth trembled.
After a half hour of travelling we turned off the road and stopped.
I went with two others to look for partisans. Shabla was there with his team and they needed food. We sent the peasant and he promised not to tell anyone. When we were nearing the forest house we telephoned (a field telephone) the partisans. 12 men arrived on horses. We told them what happened at the Malkin Bridge.
Meanwhile our wounded friend breathed his last breath.
Captain! Lyovek is not alive one turned to me and said. He left you a request. He said he was a Jewish doctor. His name is Lubeltchik or Lubelsky. He barely managed to say this. We barely understood him. He asked if you, with us, would bury him in a Jewish cemetery.I froze. I tried very hard to make sure they would not suspect I was a Jew.
I turned to my group and the partisans and told them that we Christians must fulfill the wish of this recently departed hero.
I pointed out Jewish heroes, like Avrom Prokhovnikm Yakob Zialkovsky, Berek Yoselevitch, who were Polish freedom fighters. The same goes for our fallen who we will award with the rank of Lieutenant and write about it in our bulletin and underground information, about those who fell heroically in the Orl forests.
With these words everyone stood at attention and presented their weapons. A guard stood beside the deceased.
We turned to the forest guard, a liberal Christian Yankovsky, and he built a coffin. He wanted to paint a cross but I did not allow it. I asked him to paint a Star of David.
The funeral too place Friday night at 12 o'clock. It was attended by many partisans from the surrounding region and a priest.
30 men with weapons led the procession. The coffin was carried by 8 men, always changing. On the way the priest performed a ritual prayer. He spoke from the heart about the greatness of heroes who fight for freedom for their country with no differences in nationality or belief. After he quoted the passage Man comes from dust and will return to dust.
I felt a shiver through my bones.
Day was breaking when we arrived at the Tshizhev cemetery. I saw a monument meant for an important person.
They quickly dug a fresh grave. Everyone awaited a command. I said quietly:
I command we bring Lieutenant Lubelchik Lubelsky Liyovek to his eternal rest as a Polish fighter and hero of the Nazi era. May the earth be good to him and may he remain in Polish history equal to all Polish fighters although he was not a Christian. Our battalion Revenge lost a dear fighter, we, the remaining, will remember you and will honour your name when the occupiers leave our Polish soil.Then with a gesture of my hand told them to cover the grave and I went out. I knew I no longer had any tears in my eyes
With a broken heart I thought, he was privileged to have a Jewish burial in a monument for important people
My colleagues did not know that before them stood a broken Jew in the role of a Polish commander quietly reciting the mourner's prayer:
Magnified and sanctified be God's great name!
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