The last days

On the ninth of Heshvan 1942, the third transportation of the Jews of Hrubieszow took place. All Jews were assembled, including the Judenrat and the Jewish Police. Through various means, David, Abraham and Leibish Lehrer managed to persuade the officer Kantac to let them go free.

As to myself, I was hiding at the house of Michal the shoemaker, a drunkard of a Goy; but despite the fact that he was well paid for his services, I came to conclusion that this was no solution, especially as Michal decided all of the sudden to chase me out. U therefore left his house, and proceeded to the police post. On the way I encountered a policeman, whom I accosted and asked him to report to the Gestapo that I gave myself up voluntarily, and that I was not ferreted out whilst in hiding.

The Gestapo sent me to a labor camp. A little later several other friends were freed and sent to the same camp: Joshua Kanner, Zalman Gelehrenter and Jacob Lehrer. Every morning we were led to the labor camp under escort, and in the evening we were taken to the town goal, where we were crowded together with convicted criminals. It was painful to watch those of our brethren who had been found in hiding being brought to the goal. They were taken to the cemetery and there shot them down. They included close friends whose memory I shall for ever cherish.

At that period the police caught Yankel Brand and Rabinowitz, together with their families, and brought them to the Gestapo; when the arch-murderer, Ewner, who was responsible for shooting thousands of Jews, saw them he asked them: "How come you are here, after I had locked you in the truck which left for Belsetz?", they told him that they managed to get the guard to let them out, on the plea that they had left behind money and diamonds, which they were willing to share with the authorities. The money and diamonds were duly expropriated, and the Brand, Rabinowitz and Arenstein families were left in peace for the time being.

One of the most tragic phase of this period was the creation of groups of collaborators with the Gestapo. It would be enough to mention that following Ewner's group, known as Group 1, his successor, Wagner, formed Group 2, and his successor Alex, created Group 3. None of these groups survived. One by one they were taken to the cemetery and there shot down to the last man.

We knew only too well that the turn of all those who worked in the Labor-camps would come pretty soon. In fact, a large pit was dug in the cemetery for that very purpose. But for some mysterious reason, when the fateful day in September 1943 arrived, we were sent to Bodzin, near Lublin, and thus survived the holocaust.