Written by Alexander Kimel
ON THE EVE OF THE EXTERMINATION
The Jews were standing in the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto studying the posters announcing the "resettlements." There was a lively exchange of comments. After all, they consoled each other, Warsaw is still the heart of Jewish Poland, and it was entirely different from all other ghettoes. It was very clear: Only those considered "useless" would be sent to work for the Germans "somewhere in the East." It was simply inconceivable that the Warsaw ghetto might be liquidated. It happened that next there was a poster bearing the words, "The Road to Happiness." It was an advertisement for a new Yiddish play which was going to be performed in the ghetto. (From Janusz Korczak - Ghetto Diary).
CHILDREN PLAYING IN THE GHETTO
The body of a dead boy lies on the sidewalk. Nearby, three boys are playing horses and drivers. At one point they notice the body, move a few steps to the sided, go on playing. (From Janusz Korczak - Ghetto Diary).
HE CRIMINIALS OF THE GHETTO SOSNOWIEC - POLAND
The Germans hanged publicly a mother and her five-year old daughter. The crime of the mother- she illegally bought an egg for her starving child. The crime of the child - It ate the egg.
The Capo of Barrack 18, was in a bad mood. Today, his group was
left standing on the Appeals Platz, for four hours in the
freezing rain. Suddenly he saw this idiot Beppe, smiling. His
blood rushed to his head.
He called Beppe, handed him a piece of rope, ordering." At
midnight, go hang yourself."
At midnight, Beppe, crawled down his bunk, tiptoed quietly past
the sleeping Capo, and hanged himself.
A piece of rope, a short command, and three children lost their
father, for life.
Adapted from the . . .
Yom Kippur action in the Ghetto of Rohatyn. Joel was running
home to warn his parents, when he was caught, stripped naked and
packed into a cattle cart with 200 other victims. "How are my
poor parents survive without me?" He worried. " I have to jump
He looked around and discovered that one plank was loose. With
bleeding fingernails he pried the plank and made an opening. He
prepared to the deadly jump, when two elderly ladies with this
dishelved look on their faces, blocked his way.
"You can't jump, young man, they declared, the Germans counted
the people and they will kill us when they discover that you
"Ladies," argued Joel, "they will kill us anyway. Please let me
"No, young man. Don't be selfish. Over our dead bodies, you
Joel felt the blood rushing into his head. He grabbed the old
lady at her throat and squeezed forcefully. When he let go, the
body of the old woman, slumped to the floor. She was dead.
Joel, was free to jump. Joel made I tback to the Ghetto and lived
a fes months longer.
THE SHOOTING GALLERY
Hans, the young SS man on duty in the concentration camp,
was bored. He avoided the front line duty, but the life in the
camp was depressing. No fun at all. When a detail of inmates,
returning from the work assignment passed by, Hans got a
He assembled the team of the prisoners,
near the electrified fence and ordered them to run for their
lives. As they run, he opened fire, and after each shot another
human being fell to the ground. Hans became excited. It was not
exactly front line duty but it was fun.
THE OLD LADY
Denmark 1943. Mrs. Bjornson was warned by the underground": The
Germans are going to resettle the Jews. Please hide."
"Me," replied Mrs. Bjornson, "I am a 90-year old lady, Who is
going to harm me?"
She was surprised, when on the way to Auschwitz, she found
herself in the company of a ninety-six years old lady. The
Germans were not age discriminating.
THE CAP TRICK
Mose Bernstein, an inmate of Auschwitz, clutched his newly
found treasure, the wooden spoon. He hid the spoon in his pocket
and walked toward his bunk. Suddenly a SS-man appeared from
nowhere. He approached Morris, pulled of his cap and threw it
toward the electrified fence.
"Go get it," he barked out the command.
Without hesitation, the prisoner obeyed. He ran toward the
forbidden zone, and was shot without a warning. The bullet broke
the wooden spoon, before penetrating his heart.
Denmark 1943. A strange funeral was winding his way through the
streets of Copenhagen. A cohort of black robbed mourners followed
a black casket. The procession stopped in front of the convents,
hospitals, hotels where new black robbed mourners joined in.
People on the street greeted the funeral with smiles and
When the funeral reached the cemetery, a strange thing happened.
. . the casket and the mourners vanished. The empty casket was
returned to Copenhagen, and the mourners dispersed in the nearby
forest to wait for the passage to Sweden.
Copenhagen was teeming with Germans, and the Danish underground
used mock funerals to get the Jews out. The Danish people wrote a
glorious page in the annals of history.
During the Yom Kippur action, the Germans picked up and
old Jew, Reb
Nahum, put a pail over his head, a broom into his hand,
and black goat to
his side, and ordered him to sing.
Reb Nahum started with weak voice, Eli, Eli . . . . but
soon the voice grew
stronger and stronger. Resonating by the metal pail, the
voice overcame the
shots and moans of the victims. "Habed min Hashamaim"
. . . cried Reb
Nahum, "God, look down from heaven and see how we
laughingstock of the people. Eli, Eli, Lama Azawtani.
God, my God why has
to abandon us?"
Soon a strange stillness prevailed. Even the Germans
looked in amazement
on the old man, who dressed in a white, blood stained
robe was taking God
to account for all the atrocities committed by man upon
Before starting the shooting a German officer, in a
jest, called the Rabbi
to deliver a sermon to the congregation. The Rabbi
complied with a short
sermon: "We are leaving this cruel and tormented world
full of hatred and
fear. We are going to a better peaceful world. A world
without hunger and
violence. It is a short journey. Let's make it with
dignity. No crying.
No begging for mercy. Let families stay together.
Fathers with the sons
and the mothers with the daughters, and don't forget the
Then The Rabbi raised his hands and blessed the
Adonai W'yeshmereha. . . Let the Almighty bless you and
give you peace. "
After the blessing the Rabbi turned around, and in
perfect German, told
the Officer. "Sir, I finished my job. You can begin
The German discovered a bunker, he stuck his head through
the opening, and
yelled the blood freezing call: "Juden Raus." Nobody
moved. The German
prepared to toss a hand grenade, when a small man, Moshe
the Tailor, stood
up and said quietly: "Good Bye children. Let the
Almighty protect you."
He walk out to face a sure death. His sacrifice saved,
or rather prolonged
the agony of about twenty people.
During an Action an old Jewish woman, pushed her
daughter in law under the
bed, saying: "You hide, I want to have grandchildren."
She walked out to
face the Germans.
Eighteen months later a miracle happen. The up-to-now
conceived and entombed in a bunker, gave birth to a baby
girl. Then, the
second miracle happened: Because of the baby, the
PANGS OF HUNGER
From the Dairy of a victim: "Never in my life, had
I know the pangs of
hunger. ... But now, I too know hunger. My strength is
times I can't even stand up. I fall on my bed, but rest
eludes me. I am in
a state of sleep and I am not asleep. I am plagued by
nightmares. Fear and
worry occupy me."
"Death is hard; harder still are the moments before
death; and even hardest
of all is being condemned to a death which is
inevitable, but whose time
has not been set. . . But when life becomes to hard to
bear, the desire to
live grows even stronger."
"Death is precious, when it takes your soul and you pass
into eternity. But
death which comes by the agonies of starvation and
tortures of the
oppressor, that turns the victims into living skeletons,
is the cruelest of
(Haim Kaplan - Scrolls of Agony).
WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING
To survive in the Diaspora Jews became passive but flexible
masters of survival. They were like the reef that bends
to the hurricane
and survives, while the mighty oak breaks like a match.
Holocaust the old methods of survival were useless
against the onslaught
of a cunning, mechanized and ruthless enemy.
When the Jews in Warsaw finally realized this, they rose
and fought with
determination and heroism. As the SS General Stroop
wrote: "Over and over,
we observed the Jews and the bandits, despite the danger
of being burned
alive, preferred to return to the flame, rather than
being caught by us."
Thousands of living human torches, hurled themselves
from the buildings.
A young man with a thin drawn-out face, dressed in torn brown
pants, came out from
the forest and disregarding the milling around German soldiers,
went straight to
the German police station. He approached the German sentry,
entrance, and declared:
"I am a Jew. Please give me a bowl of soup, let me take a shower
and shoot me later.
The man, Lonek Engelberg, did not survive the war. With bullets
the Germans were
quite generous. If they wasted a bowl of soup on a dead Jew, I
The Jews, caught in the action, were collected in the
marketplace, waiting for
their last journey. The echo of the shots mixed with cries of
Blood mixed with mud.
A young man, sitting next to a body of a young woman, rose to his
presented the passing German some papers. The German took the
examined it, and after consulting with his superior, let the man
Next day, I met Dolek Stein, and asked him what saved him from
He pulled out the magic paper and showed it to me. It was a
member card of the
Italian Fascist Party.
"You are a Jewish Fascist?" I asked surprised.
"Not exactly," came the answer. "I studied in Italy and joined
the Party to get
discounted railroad tickets. Now it will help me to survive."
A month later, he sent the card to the Italian embassy, and never
got it back
Soon, the Germans killed the only Jewish Fascist.
Sandomierz 1940 - Poland. Twenty Jews were assembled at the German post.
Two German officers, dressed in elegant uniforms entered the room.
All the Jews rose, some took of their hats, the religious Jews stood
with their hats on.
One German officer approached the Jew with his hat on, yelling:
"A German officer enters the room and you don't salute" He started to hit him,
harder and harder.
At the same time the other officer approached a Jew without his had,
yelling: "Am I your acquaintance, that you salute me?"
He also started to pound the man with his fists. It was an innocent
joke, but the beatings were real.
YOU ARE VISITOR NUMBER