Until the summer of 1942, there were more than 2,000 Jewish households in the Slutsk ghetto. In July 1942, all the inhabitants of the Slutsk ghetto were taken to that same village of Makrita and shot. Among those killed were 700 small children.

 THE GOOD OLD DAYS
By Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess

 

Khaya Efron gave birth to a child. The next day, they snatched her along with her newborn, threw them into a cart, and hauled them away to Butrimantsy, a shtetl where mass “actions” had been carried out against the Jews. Another woman, the pregnant Feyga Miller, was seized by the butchers on the day when she was supposed to give birth. They dragged her to a car. She was struggling and moaning; her Lithuanian neighbors saw how the innocent woman was struggling. One dared to say: “What are you doing? Can’t you see that she’s just about to give birth?” The Germans then grabbed this Lithuanian as well and took him off to be executed along with the Jews.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

As I looked through the window I saw the lieutenant call Alfred over. I saw that the lieutenant had a big stick in his hand with which he started to beat Alfred over the head and body for about half an hour. By the end, Alfred was in a terrible mess, with blood pouring from his wounds. The next day all our bodies were covered in the most shocking bruises and were in so much pain that none of us were able to work. We stayed in our block for several days, which was unheard of in Auschwitz. Ordinarily we would have been shot or sent to the gas chambers.

A DETAIL OF HISTORY
By Arek Hersh, MBW

 

In the spring of 1943, an entire barracks full of children was discovered in one of the ruined collective farms in the Minsk region. They had been left to fend for themselves. The peasants had been bringing them things; seven-year-olds had been looking after three-year-olds. Many of them had perished from cold and hunger. The Germans burst into the barracks and made it their first order of business to find out from the children which of them were Jewish. The children were so small that they were unable to say anything in reply. Unable to sort the matter out, the Gestapo decided to kill [all] the children. They loaded them onto freight cars and sent them to the Minsk train station. There the children suffered without food and water for two days. Three of them tried to escape into the city, but the Germans shot them down. What the German fiends were waiting for, no one knew.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
Edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

Eli Rozenberg writes about Ivan Demaniuk and his behavior [at Treblinka]: “This Ukrainian took special pleasure in harming other people, especially women. He stabbed the women’s naked thighs and genitals with a sword before they entered the gas chambers and also raped young women and girls. The ears and noses of old Jews which weren’t to his liking he used to cut off. When someone’s work wasn’t to his satisfaction, he used to beat the poor man with a metal pipe and break his skull. Or he would stab him with his knife. He especially enjoyed entwining people’s heads between two strands of barbed wire and beating the head while it was caught between the wires. As the prisoner squirmed and jumped from the blows, he became strangled between the wires.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

“In the village of Zaborye in the Polotsk District, the Germans herded together eighty Jewish men and twenty women, the wives of Belorussian partisans, locked them in a small local blacksmith’s shop, doused the shop with kerosene, and put a match to it. They forbid anyone to put out the fire. One hundred people died in the flames in awful suffering.”

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

In Chausy, that small provincial town, eighteen-year-old Ira Gubnykh was well-known for her beauty; she was a slender blonde with big eyes that were always smiling. Her mother worked before the war as a pharmacist. Her father was a doctor. Her grandfather was a Jew. All the residents of Chausy who were still alive came out to watch Ira on her final, sad journey. The girl walked down the middle of the road surrounded by dozens of young people whose only crime was that their fathers or mothers had been Jews. The youngsters were crying, and the blonde beauty was consoling them: “Don’t cry! Don’t let the butchers see that we’re afraid of them. We’ll be avenged in the end all the same.” Ira Gubnykh was shot along with that group of youngsters on a green bank of the Pronya on a bright, sunny August day in 1941.

“THE GOOD OLD DAYS”
By Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess

 

Each group of those shot [at Zhmud] was covered with a thin layer of sand, then another group was shot on top of them. There were many cases of wounded people who were still alive being covered over. The following story is told in one such example. Leybzon from Laukovo was taken up to a pit along with others and there was made to cover those who had just been shot. When he began sprinkling them with sand, he burst into loud sobs; he had heard from the pit the voices of his own children, who had been taken out with the previous party. “Father! Don’t cover us over! We’re still alive.”

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

The hanging of Mosche Kogan and Wolf Kieper on the market square in Zhitomir, USSR. Note the many German soldiers in attendance.

“When we got to Auschwitz, they pushed my mother and my older sister to one side because they looked fairly young, but pulled my little brother out of her hand. My mother heard him cry, so she ran back to him and pleaded with the Germans to let her go with her youngest son. They did, but first they beat her up and then kicked her. She was screaming and yelled at us that if we survived we must tell the world what was happening to us. ‘Try to survive!’ she implored.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

In addition to the six Jews who survived in the small Latvian town of Preyli, one document survived that, better than any other, gives an account of the bestial nature of the German fascists. This document is the small notebook-diary of a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl named Sheyna Gram, who was killed along with the rest of her family and 1,500 other Jews at the hands of the German fascists in this little town in Latvia… When the war broke out, the Gram family was made up of six people: the father, Itzik, 60, a tailor by profession; his 52-year-old wife; their older daughter Freyda, 20; their son Gutman, 18; their daughter Sheyna, 15; and their son Leyba, 12. Out of the entire family, only Gutman survived…According to the Khagi family, Sheyna Gram and all of her family were killed on August 9, 1941. Her older sister, Freyda, who is mentioned in the diary, was kept back after work that day by the commandant, who, when he had his fill of her, had her killed on August 16.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

“We arrived at Auschwitz, where babies and the elderly were immediately selected and sent to be killed. They never even entered the camp. Everyone took a shower, and that’s when the Germans saw the naked girl who had worn an orthopedic shoe because one leg was shorter than the other. They took her away because of the gammy foot and killed her. She was only eighteen, and a nice girl.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

This was a rough camp [Hundsfeld], a rough camp. Despite the fact that only men were prisoners, every night I heard screams. In time, I learned that an SS officer, a sadistic Nazi, would find old Jewish men in their bunks at night, cover them with a blanket and drag them to the shower building where he would choke them to death. Every week, five or six men would be found lying dead by the showers. Meanwhile, the head of the SS carried an Oxenzimmer, or a whip, which he used to deliver severe beatings that often caused prisoners to lose control of their bowels. I remember him smiling, saying, “I am delighted when my whip is full of shit.”

MY NAME WAS NO. 133909
By Murray Brandys

 

The Germans entered Rezhitsa [Latvia] on July 3, and the atrocities against the Jews began the very next day…all the Jewish men between the ages of eighteen and sixty were to assemble on the city’s market square. Some 1,400 made their way there… The next day, the butchers selected the healthiest men and shot them… Among those executed were Boris Veksler, 35, and Mitya Manteyfel, 30. Mordukh Gassel, 30, the owner of a pharmacy, poisoned himself before he could be shot. Iosel Silno, 18, ran, jumped a fence and tried to swim across the river. But the bullets of the German fascists caught up with him, and he went to the bottom. The rest were tortured dreadfully before they were executed: they were skinned and beaten with clubs.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

“At first my work was to load the clothes of people murdered after arrival by cattle cars. When I had been at Treblinka two days, my mother, sister, and two brothers were brought to the camp. I had to watch them being led away to the gas chambers. Several days later, when I was loading clothes on the freight cars, my colleagues found my wife’s documents, and a photograph of my wife and child. That is all I have left of my family. Only a photograph.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

By the time our ragtag group arrived at Buchenwald the next morning, we numbered about 150. The rest were dead, piled onto trucks, which pulled up to the crematorium at the camp’s entrance. Many bodies were not whole, but missing limbs, faces or even entire heads, blown off by the gunshots. It was my grisly job and the job of several other survivors of the march to pull the bodies and body parts off the truck and drag them onto the warehouse floor, wet from rain and blood. I had begun my task, dragging a body by its arms off the truck, when an SS officer struck me with the butt of his gun. “You miserable pig!” he screamed. He then took a butcher hook out of the truck and used it to demonstrate his “more efficient” method: hook each body under its chin and drag.

MY NAME WAS NO. 133909
By Murray Brandys

 

“To begin with, the sounds were spaced out; then they came more frequently until they became continuous, crying that we all identified as the crying of a newborn baby. The man who had heard it first went to see where exactly the noise was coming from. Stepping over the bodies, he found the source of those little wailings. It was a baby girl, barely two months old, still clinging to her mother’s breast and vainly trying to suckle it. She was crying because she could feel that milk had stopped flowing. He took the baby and brought it out of the gas chamber. We knew it would be impossible to keep her with us. Impossible to hide her or get her accepted by the Germans. And indeed, as soon as the guard saw the baby, he didn’t seem at all displeased at having a little baby to kill. He fired a shot, and that little girl who had miraculously survived the gas was dead. The head of the largest pediatric hospital in Rome told me it was not impossible that the child, as she suckled, was insulated by the strength with which she was sucking at her mother’s breast, which would have limited the absorption of the deadly gas.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

Hamburg tailor Otto Giering, who, having been convicted repeatedly for homosexual acts, was taken to Sachsenhausen in early 1939, at the age of twenty-two. In mid-August 1939, Giering was called to the infirmary and sedated. When he woke up, with a heavy bag of sand on his stomach, he was told that he had just been castrated. A few days later, the commandant himself walked in and triumphantly held up a glass: “You can have one more look at your balls.”

KL – A HISTORY OF THE NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS
By Nicolaus Wachsmann

 

“I worked very close to the railway, which led to the crematorium. Sometimes in the morning, I passed near the buildings the Germans used as a latrine, and from there I could secretly watch the transport. The children were separated from their parents in front of the crematorium and were led separately into the gas chamber. Women carrying children in their arms, or in strollers, or those who had older children, were sent into the crematorium together with their offspring. The children were thrown in alive. Their cries could be heard all over the camp. It is hard to say how many there were. Our estimates of the number of children executed could only be based on the number of children’s strollers, which were brought to the storerooms. Sometimes there were hundreds of these, but at times they sent thousands.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

A member of the German police kicks a Jew who is climbing onto the back of a truck during a round-up. Two other Germans look on with derision.

 

On November 7, 1941 [at Minsk], on the anniversary of the great October Socialist Revolution, large armed units of fascists broke into the Jewish ghetto at 5:00 a.m., surrounded five of its twelve blocks, herded everyone into the street – men and women, the elderly, and children. The howls of mortal fear and horror, the cries of desperation, the weeping of children, and the sobbing of women filled the surrounding areas and could be heard throughout the city.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
Edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

Two dozen workers were busy checking the mouths of the dead, which they opened with iron hooks. “Gold to the left, without gold to the right!”… Dentists hammered out gold teeth, bridges and crowns. In the midst of them stood Captain Wirth. He was in his element, and showing me a large can full of teeth, he said: “See for yourself the weight of that gold! It’s only from yesterday and the day before. You can’t imagine what we find every day – dollars, diamonds, gold. You’ll see for yourself!…”

“The next day we drove in Captain Wirth’s car to Treblinka, about 120 km. northeast of Warsaw. The equiptment in that place of death was almost the same as at Belzec, but even larger. Eight gas chambers and veritable mountains of clothing and underwear, about 35-40 meters high. Then, in our honor, a banquet was held for all those employed at the establishment. Obersturmbannführer Professor Dcotor Pfannenstiel, Professor of Hygiene at the University of Marburg/Lahn, made a speech: ‘Your work is a great work and very useful and very necessary duty.’ To me, he spoke of the establishment as ‘a kindness and a humanitarian thing.’ To all present, he said: ‘When one sees the bodies of the Jews, one understands the greatness of your work!'”

BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

“Mother, brother, and I spent a lot of time hiding in many deep Berlin subway stations during air raids. When asked why I wasn’t in the Hitler Youth uniform, I said it was being cleaned. I was caught in a streetcar without my Hitler Youth ID, had to drop my pants in front of everyone, and of course I was circumcised and therefore Jewish. They arrested me, tied my hands behind my back, and took me to the basement of SS headquarters. I was only twelve, but they tortured me for two days, knocking out my teeth and beating me, but they didn’t get any information out of me. They put me in a cattle car to Dachau, crammed with captives and a whole bunch of corpses on the floor. There was nothing to eat, no water, and no sanitation facilities. It was the worst hell I’ve ever been in. During an air raid, someone opened the door and the strong jumped out.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

Leon Feldhendler, a prisoner in Sobibor, wrote about a transport that arrived from Lvov in June 1943: “There were fifty freight cars all together – twenty-five of them with living prisoners, and twenty five with corpses. The living were nude. In the freight cars with the killed, the corpses were mingled, without any wounds, only swollen. The prisoners were forced to unload the freight cars and put the corpses on the trolley to the crematorium. The smell of the corpses made it impossible to enter the freight cars. The Germans whipped us to force us to enter them. From the state of disintegration of the bodies, these people had been dead for about two weeks.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

“One afternoon, we watched a huge fire from the farmer’s house where we were hiding, and everyone tried to guess what was burning. I thought a public school was alight. A lady called Anna Kobinska went to find out what was going on, and when she came back to the cellar where we took refuge, she hugged and kissed us and said, ‘I’m not going to let you go. Stay with me. Whatever will happen to you will also happen to me, and vice versa.’ She now lives near Krakow and we correspond, and I send her Christmas gifts. She went to a church and reported back to us that a mother had tried to hide her baby in a crib, but it cried, they were discovered, and they shot the infant. She said the Jews were rounded p and shoved into a warehouse, where machine guns slaughtered many before the structure was torched with gasoline. A girl of twelve, whom we knew, ran out after her parents were shot, and the commandant’s brother-in-law caught her and threw her back in the fire. She escaped the flames, but again he snatched her and threw her back. Once more she fled, only this time she was on fire. A beautiful girl called Merka, in her twenties, was told to strip. A German touched her naked body, she slapped him, and they shot her. They wanted to retaliate against her father, but someone mistakenly pointed out his brother. They poked out his eyes before executing him.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

“I remember that one night a group of youths aged fifteen or sixteen arrived in the camp. The head of this group was one Abraham. After a long and arduous work day, this young man collapsed on his pallet and fell asleep. Suddenly Wagner came into our barrack, and Abraham did not hear him call to stand up at once before him. Furious, he pulled Abraham naked off his bed and began to beat him all over his body. When Wagner grew weary of the blows, he took out his revolver and killed him on the spot. This atrocious spectacle was carried out before all of us, including Abraham’s younger brother.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

Every day in Buchenwald [after Kristalnacht in 1938], the Jews suffered from dirt and disease, thirst and hunger. Food was only handed out at irregular intervals, as the SS struggled to maintain any semblance of order, while the persistent water shortages caused terrible dehydration. The men could not wash either, or change their damp and soiled civilian clothes; “One was covered up to one’s knees with a thick crust of clay,” reported Dr. Adler. Inside the barracks, the stench soon became unbearable, especially after a mass outbreak of diarrhea. There were no sanitary facilities to speak of, just two overflowing ditches, where murderous SS men tried to drown several Jewish men. Inevitably, many Buchenwald prisoners suffered from infections and injuries, including frozen limbs, as well as mental illness, but the SS initially refused them any medical care. Instead, the sick were dumped in a rickety shed – “a hovel stinking of excrement, urine, and pus,” as a prisoner orderly remembered; it was nicknamed the “barrack of death.”

KL – A HISTORY OF THE NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS
By Nicolaus Wachsmann

 

Prisoners were usually given between twenty-five and fifty lashes with a special leather strap. The SS usually did the whipping; sometimes a Ukrainian was given the assignment. Frequently the prisoner had to count the number of lashes out loud, and if he made a mistake, or if he had no more strength to count, they would start over – from the beginning. There were prisoners who, gritting their teeth, took their lashes without a sound; others screamed to high heaven. There were instances of beatings of twelve- or fourteen-year-olds, and their screams shocked and terrified the prisoners standing on both sides. But the SS enjoyed it. As the screams grew louder and louder, Franz and Kuttner – when they attended the roll call – enjoyed themselves all the more. When the whipping was over, the prisoner’s buttocks were a piece of bleeding meat. The prisoners who had no strength to return to the ranks after the whipping were taken straight to the Lazarett [and shot]. Those who were still able to return to the ranks but who had no strength to go out to work the next morning were also taken to the Lazarett.

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

“Toward ten o’clock or so, our boss runs up to me with the look of an animal on his face, drags me to the stove, and asks me a question about the Talmud. Before I could answer, he says: ‘It says in the Talmud that a Jew is allowed to violate a three-year-old Christian girl and then to kill her.’ I did not know what to say to him. The German begins to beat my head against the stove and hit me over the head with his revolver until I collapsed. Then he throws himself on another worker, striking him hard in the face and putting a hole right through his cheek. The guy falls over. Then the German throws a third worker down the stairs and begins beating him. This last one breaks free from his tormentor and begins to run. The Germans run after him and wound him in the leg with a shot from a submachine gun. The fellow stops and puts his hands up. The Germans approach him and shoot our comrade Girsh Zaydberg.”

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

Yechiel Reichman, who worked as a barber in Treblinka, writes: “I look at the victims – and I cannot believe my eyes. Every woman sits near a barber. In front of me a young woman sits down. My hands become frozen, and I cannot move my fingers… My friend next to me yells at me: ‘Remember, you’ll be finished if the murderer is looking at you, and you’re working slowly!’ I move the fingers of my dirty hand, cut the woman’s hair, and throw it into the suitcase. The woman stands up…Another woman sits down. She takes hold of my hand, wants to kiss it, and says: ‘I beg of you – tell me, what will they do with us? Is this the end of us?’ She was crying and asks me to tell her whether the death is long and difficult. Will they die of gas, or electric shock? I do not answer her…I cannot tell her the truth and comfort her. The entire conversation lasts only a few seconds, the time it takes to cut her hair. I turn my head away, because I am ashamed to look her in the eye. The murderer standing near us yells: ‘Cut faster!’ Thus the victims come one after the other, and the scissors cut the hair without stopping. All around there is crying and yelling, we must see all this and remain silent.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

Jewish women at forced labor in the Plaszow concentration camp.

 

“When we got to Auschwitz from the Lodz ghetto in 1944, I was fourteen. My mother was standing on the other side, and it was very painful for me as a youngster because the women had to undress completely right there. All the women had to undress as the men stood on the other side. As we walked toward the selection, I waved to my mother. It was very painful for me to see my mother naked, but I’m sure everybody felt the same way. I raised only one question with my father, ‘Where’s God?’ His answer to me was, ‘This is the way God wants it, and this is the way it’s going to be.’ He knew he was going to the crematorium. That’s the last time I saw them. It’s very disturbing and very painful. There are nights that I don’t sleep, wondering what went through their minds before their deaths. It didn’t take very long to know you’re going to the gas chamber. It took a minute and a half, two minutes. You began to choke. The screaming and the hollering, it’s still ringing in my ears. It doesn’t go away. It’ll never go away. The older you get, the more it works on you. The more guilty you feel that you’re alive. You miss them much more.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

There were more than 700 Jews in Nemenchina. They were driven into a local school. For several days they were given no food or water, and then they were taken to a nearby forest. One hundred managed to escape. The remaining 600 were shot. In Rodoshkovichi the Hitlerite Bandits shot every last one of the Jews. In Molodechno 2,000 Jews were exterminated. A sign posted at the station read: “No Jews here – clean.”

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

“They rounded up the children and elderly and marched us to a wooded area. We saw men digging a deep hole. They told us to line up and I noticed they had machine guns. They opened fire on us. Women toppled into the grave. Others were screaming and trying to escape, but there was nowhere to run to because of the rifles and machine guns. I tumbled into the pit like everybody else and others fell on me. I must have lost consciousness for a while. When I came to, there were other people on top of me. I wasn’t sure if I was dead or alive. I had a wound in my back where a bullet had grazed it. I felt something sticky and saw it was blood. There were no Germans around so I climbed out. It was easy because it was even ground. I ran into the woods and sat down in the thick undergrowth. It was daylight and I couldn’t go out into the clearing. Then I heard a man approach with a German shepherd. I thought it was the end. The dog stuck his head up under the branches but continued on. To this day I don’t understand what happened because they were trained to hunt people. I stayed there until it was dark; then I returned to the barrack where I lived with my stepmother.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

The commandant declared that Lyubavich should be punished with particular severity. He formed two groups of Jews – one younger and one elderly. The first group was shot right on the spot; the second group of Jews, whom the Germans called the rabbis, was thrown into a terrible torture camp just outside the village of Rudnya. Here, for several weeks and with the most refined methods, the fascist monsters tortured old men (there were several dozen of them), yanked hair from their beards with tongs, organized daily public floggings, forced them to dance on Torah parchments, and so on. All of those who were in a condition to withstand these torments were shot in the end.

“THE GOOD OLD DAYS”
By Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess

 

“One day five boys stole some cigarettes destined for the German Army. They were caught and put in a little room with no windows for a week. I don’t know how those boys survived without water, without food, without anything, but when we came to the square, we saw five gallows and little stools. They took the boys out and put the nooses around their necks. I’ve seen people die next to me but I’ve never seen anybody hanged. But those five boys didn’t give them a chance. They jumped off the stools and killed themselves. They didn’t wait for the Germans to kill them.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

On October 15, 1941, a German punitive unit arrived in Mstislavl. By order of Feldwebel Krauze, the unit commander, the entire Jewish population was gathered in the market square. They formed up men and women separately. Then they rounded up some thirty elderly Jewish men, loaded them into a truck and drove them off to the Leshensky ditch, where they were shot and their bodies left unburied. From the assembled women the Germans selected the young ones, herded them into a shop, stripped them naked and subjected them to rape and torture. Anyone who resisted was shot on the public square.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

“It was a common practice to remove skin from the backs and chests of dead prisoners. I was commanded to do this on many occasions. It was chemically treated and placed in the sun to dry. After that, it was cut into various sizes for use as saddles, riding breeches, gloves, house slippers, and ladies’ handbags. Tattooed skin was especially valued by SS men. Sometimes we did not have enough bodies with good skin. The next day, we would receive twenty or thirty bodies of young people who would have been shot in the neck or struck on the head so that the skin would be uninjured. We frequently got requests for the skulls or skeletons of prisoners. In those cases, we boiled the skull or the body; then the soft parts were removed and the bones were bleached, dried, and reassembled. In the case of skulls, it was important to have a good set of teeth. It was dangerous to have good skin or good teeth.”

OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH
By Anthony S. Pitch

 

They did away with 900 Jews in Semelishki [Lithuania]. There, in the ghetto, the Germans particularly distinguished themselves by their savagery – they robbed, killed, and raped women.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

There was no medical treatment whatsoever, and every day dozens were shot. Here also the prisoners tried every possible way to hide their sickness and continue working as long as they could. One day, at the morning roll call, an SS man announced that at the far end of the living barracks, an infirmary had been set up, and every sick man should report there for rest and treatment. The prisoners were not sure whether or not to admit they were sick. They were hesitant about relying on the promises of the SS men. But the disease overpowered them. Reichman writes: “The fear is great. Despite this, many sick are reporting because they cannot hold out any longer. Within a few days the infirmary is filled. And the number of sick reaches a hundred. I am among the sick in the room, and all of us have high fever. We do not receive any medical help, but it is good that they let us rest a few days. But the murderers do not keep their word, just like all the false promises of the Germans. A few days later, at five in the evening, a few SS come to us and order ninety sick people out. The Ukrainians burst in and drag the sick from their pallets by their feet… In a matter of fifteen minutes, more than eighty sick are taken out. They are not permitted to dress and they are ordered to take their blankets with them. From the hundred, thirteen of us are left. The rest are taken to the yard, and after a few minutes we hear the bullets begin whistling.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

Jews from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, wait in a clearing near a grove of trees before being led to the gas chambers.

 

The general conditions in Buchenwald in summer 1938 were appalling, but they were worst for the Jewish victims of June mass arrests. As there were not enough barracks, the SS forced hundreds of new arrivals, among them many Jews from Berlin, into a sheep pen; for months, prisoners slept on brushwood spread across the bare ground. And although all the recently arrested “asocial” were assaulted by the SS, the guards singled out Jews for the most vicious abuse. Many camp SS men were fired up about their first encounters with large numbers of Jewish “enemies;” some screamed things like: “At last we have you here, you Jew pigs. You shall all die a miserable death here.”

KL – A HISTORY OF THE NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS
By Nicolaus Wachsmann

 

Itskhak Blok asked for permission to say a few words before his death. His executioners allowed it. He stood up and said: “Now you are shedding good innocent blood. The time will come when your damn blood will spray the pavement.” They beat him to death with their rifle butts.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
By Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

Boris (Kazik) Weinberg, who was deported from Warsaw on September 4 and arrived in Treblinka…relates: “We arrived at a kind of train station. Jewish laborers opened our freight-car doors, and we saw in front of us a lot of Germans and Ukrainians… They started screaming and hitting, and we had to run…Jewish workers gave us string to tie our shoes. It turned out they needed about 400 men for work. A ‘selection’ was held among the men, and I was chosen. We stood in the courtyard and waited. Through the gate they brought in a group of workers who had already been in the camp for a while. They started hitting them: the scene was indescribable. They hit them with iron and wooden clubs, and a dog bit them. Those in the first rows fell, then the others fell on top of them. They were all pushed into a hut, then removed in groups of twenty men and shot.”

BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

On November 6…The city [Minsk] rose unusually early. SS troopers and local police were prowling the streets…They smashed open doors, along with trunks, cupboards, and wardrobes, while window glass showered down into the street. Trucks rolled up to the houses and took away clothing, pots and pans, furniture. Beaten and bleeding, people were driven into the streets. The column of people gradually grew. Young and old women, and small children were standing there. Many mothers held infants in their arms. Moaning and heartrending cries could be heard everywhere. They threw thirty thousand people out into the street in this way. For a whole day, columns of martyrs were driven along by storm troopers walked toward the village of Tuchinka. In order to justify their crime, the Germans staged a “revolutionary demonstration.” They took the first man that came along, thrust a red banner into his hands, and put him in front of the crowd. The Nazis forced people to sing revolutionary songs at gunpoint. Then the mass shootings began. They laid living people single file in a huge trench. From above, they sprayed them with automatic fire as from a hose. Then they laid a new group atop and killed and wounded and shot them in the same way.

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK
Edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman

 

“The SS man Frenzel selected twenty prisoners and told us that we should work naked because the corpses were dirty and full of lice. We had to take the dead to the trolley, a distance of about 200 meters. In spite of the fact that we were used to this kind of work, I cannot describe our feelings when we carried the dead on our naked bodies. The Germans urged us with shouts and blows. While I was dragging a man’s body, I stopped for a while and, not seeing a German nearby, I laid it on the ground. And then the body, which I thought was of dead man, rose up, looked at me with great eyes and asked: ‘Is it still far?’ He said these words with great effort and collapsed…At that moment I felt lashes on my head and back. The SS man Frenzel whipped me. I caught the living dead body by his feet and dragged him to the trolley.”

BELZEC, SIBIBOR, TREBLINKA
By Yitzhak Arad

 

 

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