The liquidation of Hrubieszow jews

This was early in 1942, before the terrible April 17, the bloody day at he Warsaw ghetto. Reports had reached us of the slaughter in Vilna region; the situation in Warsaw ghetto was as yet relatively quite.

I left the ghetto with Frumka Plotnitzka. At that time such a daring deed did not involve a grave risk; it was enough to bribe the policeman, remove the armband and jump on the train. We traveled to hrubieszow, because we wanted to meet our comrades and prepare them for the time when it would be no longer possible to contact them.

The Warsaw-Hrubieszow line was far from safe. At junctions the trains stopped for eight to ten hours, and personal documents were examined each time most scrupulously. You had to deliver the forged document and wait with all the patience you could muster, the while hoping that the gendarme would not perceive your quickened heart-beats or the flaw in the home-made stamp.

On approaching Hrubieszow, we became aware of an unusual commotion; big crowds were gathered on the platform. Unsuspecting, we alighted at the station. But we soon learned that the thousands herded there were Jews: men and women, old and young, children pressed among bundles of household effects; cries and shouts of the Germans. Four stout red-faced Germans, arms bare, gallop on horse-back along the platform, ply their whips ceaselessly, tread on whomever they find in their way, vent their wrath on mothers holding babied in their arms.

A huge German, with the face of a murderer, leads off four youths clad in Kapotes (traditional wear). Their face are frozen; a few meters from the window of the waiting-room, where Frumka and I took refuge, they are ordered to dig. They are urged along with the whip: "Quickly, we have no time!". A few minutes later, four shots are heard, and again the whip is used on those who are bidden to fill in the open grave.

Suddenly a horrible scream of a woman is heard, followed by a shot. A woman with a baby in her arms keels over. She wanted to throw the baby over the fence, in the hope that it would be spared. But a moment later she and the baby are trodden to death by the hors's hoofs. A deadly silence descends on platform. I hold fast the window-sill; I feel terrible dizzy, we started walking into town. The road is crowded with carts bearing old and sickly people who are unable to walk to their "destination". They are guarded by Ukrainian police.

We are allowed to look our fill. Only a "trifle" is required of us: a smiling face! Are we not supposed to be true Goyim, and is not spring in the air?

We go through well-known lanes and streets, we reached the house of Aaron Frumer, where we used to meet frequently. The door to his flat is wide open, the floor is littered with all sort of household objects, but not a living soul in sight.

Where to now?

In the center of the town two Germans walk, proceeding by a group of gentile boys. The German carry axes, the boys are leading them to a house, where Jews are hiding.

In order not to draw attention to ourselves, we quicken our pace in the direction of the church. There Frumka stays behind and I make a short tour. In a shop I learn that the Jewish youth had been concentrated back of the town. They are intended for labor camps, whilst the "rubbish" will go elsewhere. This remark by my informant is accompanied by a sly smile, which I have to return in kind.

Despite my efforts, we could not reach our comrades, and, as there was no train to Warsaw until 8 the following morning, we had to spend the night at the hotel. We pass the inspection of the hotel-keeper satisfactorily and given a room. Needless to say, we passed a sleepless night. Early in the morning, another inspection is through; the policemen are not quite convinced, and we are ordered to report later in the day at the police station.

We decided that we cannot risk another inspection. We check out and find our way to the station by devious ways. If we succeed in reaching Warsaw, we intend to return and try again to bour friends. A "special" train stands on the platform, filled to overflowing with Jews. The platform is strewn with bundles, pillows, prams, pots and pans. A number of gentile boys are waiting: as soon as the train steams out, they will appropriate the loot.

We reach Warsaw safely. We submit the first authoritative report on the situation in the provinciai towns; but nobody believes us. (From the book: Battles of the Ghettos)