We Remembr Jewish ZAGLEMBIE!

David Liwer

IR HAMETIM

Town of the Dead

(The Extermination of the Jews in the Zaglembia Region)
Translated by A. Sz. Sztejn

Tel Aviv 1946

Translated to English by Ada Holtzman, in Honor of Lance Ackerfeld!

Dedicated to the memory of the comrades
Dora Hercberg
Aliza Zitenfeld
Sara Kukelka
Szmuel Rozencwajg
The modest heroes who died on a foreign land on their way to Eretz
Israel

Table of Contents

 

Page

Forward

7

A message is delivered, by the translator

12

The battle started, 1939

14

Every place and its horrors

16

In Bedzin again

18

The first community

20

The beginning of the Gestapo activities

24

The first very bad news from Lodz

26

New decrees

28

The murder of the Jewish prisoners of war

29

The confiscation of Jewish factories

30

Moniek (Mosze) Marin

32

The Jewish police

34

Help to Warsaw and Lodz

37

The confiscation of the houses of the Jews

38

The center of the Judenrats of the Jewish Communities in Eastern and Upper Silesia

39

The mobilization to Forced Labor

43

The "Shopy"

45

The farm

48

The mission of Eliezer Geler

52

February 1941

53

New decrees

54

In prison

58

Gallows

64

The first deportation from Bedzin - Sosnowiec

65

June 1942

69

The second deportation

12 August 1942

72

Life continues...

June 1942

July 1942

77

The visit of Mordechai Anilewicz and Elizer Geler

September 1942

81

What was happening in the Forced Labor Camps

October 1942

The song "Mamma Mamma"

84

Help from abroad

96

The assault on Szymon First

97

The Forced Labor Camp A. K. (Arbeits Kommando)

January 1944

102

The erection of the Ghetto

103

The passports of foreign countries

105

The last action of Marin and his end

May 1943

113

The third deportation

22 June 1943

116

Defence

123

1 July 1943

129

Regards from Eretz Israel

130

The total deportation 1 August 1943

134

In the Forced Labor Camp

149

My escape from the Forced Labor Camp

166

Smuggling the border

1944

178

The road across the border of Slovakia - Hungary

183

Budapest

186

The date: 11 March 1944

191

Across the border Hungary - Romania

196

Arad (Romania)

201

Bucharest

205

"Kazbek" (the ship)

210

INDEX
Compiled by Ada Holtzman

Nr.

SURNAME

NAME

PAGE

1

ALTMAN

Hindel (Hanoch)

51

Deported by Marin and among his first victim.

2

ANILEWICZ

Mordechai

81,82

The leader of Ghetto Warsaw Uprising.

3

APPELBOIM

M.

157

A famous artist.

4

APPELBOIM

-

18

Builder of the grand synagogue of Bedzin.

5

BACHARARZ

Mordechai

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

6

BALAWAN

M. Prof.

37

From Warszawa.

7

BARENBLAT

-

85

Head of the Jewish police in Bedzin.

8

BELCHARZ

Kalman

100,101,109,111,
112a

Among the "Gordonia" activists.

9

BERGER

-

76

Two brothers deported to Auschwitz 13.8.2003.

10

BERNARD

Hedva

146

Member of the pioneer movement underground; Kibbutz "Dror"; befallen in battle.

11

BICHOWSKI

-

112

From the Jewish police but cooperated with the pioneer movement.

12

BLAT

-

167

An activist of "Hanoar Hatzioni"; hid in the Aryan side of Sosnowiec.

13

BLUMENFRUCHT

Hari

124

Members of the pioneer movement underground.

14

BLUMENFRUCHT

Roza

122

Wife of the artist CYGLER; jumped off the train to Auschwitz.

15

BOCIAN

Cypora

146

Member of the pioneer movement underground; Kibbutz "Dror"; befallen in battle.

16

BONHARD

Bunem, R'

108

Delivered by the Judenrat to the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz.

17

BORENSTEIN

Dr.

40,82,114

Among the managers of "The Joint" in Poland.

18

BORENSTEIN

-

109

Father of Hanka.

19

BORENSTEIN

Hanka

81,82,100,101,106,
109,111,134,147

Among the leaders of "Gordonia"; one of the main characters in "Hakhalutz" and in the underground.

20

BORZIKOWSKI

-

122

Daughter of Eliezer from Sosnowiec; jumped off the death train and deported again the following day.

21

BRAND

Joel

188

Active in the rescue activities in Hungary.

22

BRANDES

Cwi

109,131,132,142

Leader of "Hashomer Hatzair"; active in the resistance.

23

BRANDES

Aharon

142

Brother of Cwi; among the survivors.

24

BRANDES

Fola

145175

Member of the pioneer movement underground.

25

BRAUN

Bronka

118

Saved a whole bunker.

26

BRZESKI

-

51

Friend of KORZUCH.

27

BUCHSZREJBER

-

17

Father & son.

28

CHMIELNICKI

Bracha

101

29

CIMMERMAN

Szlomo

81110

Among the leaders of "Gordonia".

30

COHEN

Nachum, Rabbi

65

Hung in a public execution in Sosnowiec.

31

CUKERMAN

Szlomo

164

Hid in a bunker; killed by the Germans after the last akcja.

32

CYGLER

-

18122

Builder of the grand synagogue of Bedzin; jumped off the train to Auschwitz with his son.

33

CYMERMAN

Szlomo

49,100,109,111

Among the leaders of "Gordonia".

34

CZARNA

Fania

40,66,67,114

Active in the Judenrat.

35

CZERNIAKOW

Adam

40

Chairman of the Judenrat in Warszawa.

36

CZERNSKI

Sz.

37

From Warszawa.

37

DAKS

Mosze

187

Member of the pioneer movement in Bratislava.

38

DEFNER

-

142

Died in Bedzin in the 3rd akcja.

39

DIAMENT

Israel

50,82

Representative of "Hanoar Hatzioni" in Bedzin.

40

DOLENROZA

Frumka

146

Member of the pioneer movement underground; Kibbutz "Dror"; befallen in battle.

41

DOMB

-

147

Jewish policeman; helped the "farm" and the underground; killed in the field in the last akcja.

42

DUNSKI

Cwi

107

Member of "Hashomer Hatzair"; in the underground.

 

43

DUNSKI

-

107

Mother & sister of Cwi.

-

 

44

DWORSKI

Tuvia

146

Member of the pioneer movement underground; Kibbutz "Dror"; befallen in battle.

45

EK

Natan Dr. & Family

37,82,83,85,105,
106

From Warszawa; among the leaders of the party "Hitachdut" in Poland.

46

ELIASZ

-

127

Member of "Gordonia"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

47

ENGLARD

Abraham

17

Brother of Mosze.

48

ENGLARD

Mosze

17

Brother of Abraham.

49

ENGLARD

Szajal'eh, Rabbi

66

The Rabbi of Sosnowiec; deported to death in the first deportation.

50

ERLICH

Jakob

22

Second chairman of the Jewish Committee.

51

ERNEST

Joske

17

52

ERNEST

Melech

129

A rich Jew from Bedzin who helped the underground a lot.

53

FAJT

Josel

15,16

54

FEFFER

Uwarmund

65

Hung in a public execution in Sosnowiec.

55

FINKELSTEIN

Szmuel

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

56

FIRSTENBERG

-

157

Among the rich people of Bedzin.

57

FISHER

Max

145171

From Kibbutz "Bedzin"; survived.

58

FOGEL

-

125

Chairman of the Judenrat in Pilica; murdered with his wife after liquidation.

59

FRUST

Szymon

85,86,97,98,99,100,
101,110

From Warszawa; member in "Gordonia".

60

GAFTEK

Baruch

49,52,81,82,112a,
146

The commander of the Jewish fighting organization.

61

GEBIRTIG

Mordechai

90

A Great Yiddish poet from Krakow; author of "Es Shtetl Brent".

62

GEFNER

Aharon

110

Survived because he held foreign passport of Paraguay; detained in a German camp.

63

GELBARD

Una

124

Member of Hashomer Hatzair; sacrificed herself for the underground.

64

GELBERT

Israel

106

Representative of "Zionim Klaliim".

65

GELER

Eliezer

49,50,82,83,84,85,96,128,129

Messenger and leader of the resistance in Warszawa and Zaglembia.

66

GERTNER

-

20

Wife of Max GERTNER.

67

GLAZER

-

54

A refugee from Bilic (phonetically spelt, may be Bielica); an activist in "Hitachdut".

68

GOLD

Abraham

110

Survived because he held foreign passport of Paraguay; detained in a German camp with a family.

69

GOLDBLUM

Alter

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

70

GOLDMINC

-

121

He and his brother jumped from the death train to Auschwitz.

71

GOLDMINC

-

163

The commander of the Jewish police in Sosnowiec; killed by the Gestapo.

72

GOLDSTEIN

Libek

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

73

GROIBARD

Benjamin

108,109,110

Among the survivors with his wife.

74

GROIBARD

Bobek

107

In the underground; grandson of the old Rabbi of Bedzin.

75

GROSMAN

Rabbi

,6,68,,72,7,112,
155,156

The Rabbi of Bedzin; activistin "HaMizrachi".

 

76

GROSMAN

-

19

77

GRUBARD

Benjamin

22,41

Third chairman of the Jewish c; head of the Judenrat in its beginning.

78

GUS

Gutek

122

Among the members of the pioneer movement (& the underground).

79

GUTER

Neta

161

Manager of the Kheder (the religious school) "Yesod Torah".

 

80

GUTMAN

Alek

124

Members of the pioneer movement underground.

 

81

GUTMAN

-

165169

Potatoes merchant; hid in a bunker for months then killed by the Germans in front of the camp.

82

HAFT

-

18

Builder of the grand synagogue of Bedzin.

 

83

HAMBURGER

-

19

Father & son.

-

 

84

HEGER

Rabbi

66

The Rabbi of Sosnowiec.

-

 

85

HENIG

-

163

Active in the Judenrat; arrested and killed by the Gestapo.

 

86

HERCBERG

Dora

174,175,175,178

Member of the pioneer movement underground.

87

HERSZKOWICZ

-

149

A carpenter and his two sons; killed in the last akcja.

88

HERSZLIKOWICZ

Abraham

122

Among the members of the pioneer movement (& the underground).

89

HERSZPINKEL

-

76

Deported to Auschwitz 13.8.1942.

90

HIRSZENBERG

-

53

An artist.

91

HOLLENDER

Regina

20, 125

Member of the pioneer movement underground; survived because of the foreign passport.

92

HUTNER

Chawa

120

Presdient of "Wizo" in Bedzin; died in heroism.

93

ICKOWICZ

-

19

94

IZBICKI

Abraham

136, 167,169,171

From Czestochowa; member of the pioneer movement underground; wrote a poem "In the Bunker".

95

JAKOBOWICZ

Pnina

146

Member of the pioneer movement underground; Kibbutz "Dror"; befallen in battle.

96

JAKOBOWICZ

-

20

Father-in-law of LEWKOWICZ.

97

K.

Fela

173,174

Member of "Hashomer Hatzair".

98

KAC

-

18

A baker.

99

KAMINER

Idel

142

Brother-in-law of the author; in the last Jewish workers group.

100

KASTNER

Dr.

187

Chairman of "Haichud" party in Budapest; active in rescue activities.

101

KATZENGOLD

Hala

127

Member of "Hashomer Hatzair"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among the 19 victims.

102

KLEIN

-

163

Active in the Judenrat; arrested and killed by the Gestapo.

103

KLEJNBERG

A.

40163

Member of the supply unit in the region Judenrat; killed with his family by the Gestapo.

104

KLINGER

Chajka

81,82,140,141,145,
171,181,182

Among the resistance activists.

105

KOENIG

Dr.

80

From Magdburg; deported to Bielsko and from there to Bedzin.

106

KOENIG

-

 

His last words before embarking the death wagon: "I go with my people; Khzak Veematz"!.

107

KORINSKI

Josef

166,170,182,186

Activist of "Hakhalutz" in Poland; active in Bratislava; survived. In page 186: his name is Kornanski Josef.

108

KORNFELD

-

30

P.O.W.

109

KORZOCH

Bolek

167

Activist of "Hanoar Hatzioni"; hid in the Aryan side of Sosnowiec.

110

KORZUCH

Josef (Israel)

51,106,112,131

Among the Judenrat but helped the Zionist youth and resigned; representative of "Hanoar Hatzioni".

111

KORZUCH

-

 

Son of Josef.

112

KOSZOSZOWICZ

Dr.

35

113

KOWALSKI

Jechiel

25

114

KOWILC

Klara

175

Her father owned a house where members of the underground hid.

115

KOZLOWSKI

Dawid

20,106,107,112a,
127

Representative of "Hashomer Hatzair"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

116

KRINSKI

-

85

Manager of the Gymnasium in Warszawa.

117

KRUWKA

Icchak

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

118

KSZOSZIWA

Motel

105110

In the underground; from the "Dror" movement; survived with wife.

119

KUKELKA

Renia

124,141,145,178,
181,182

Member of "Dror"; sacrificed herself for the underground.

120

KUKELKA

Sara

124,140,141,145,
169,170,173,174,
175,178

Sister of Renia; heroine of the underground.

121

KUPERBERG

Rywka

101

Survived.

122

KUPERMINC

Abraham

174

123

KUPERMINC

Chaim, Rabbi

66

Activist of "HaMizrachi" in Sosnowiec; deported to death in the first deportation.

124

LANDAU

Chana

119

Cried at the Nazis and died in heroism.

125

LANDAU

Family

119

126

LASKER

Mechil

85,110

Head of the labor office by the Judenrat; survived with a family.

127

LAZEROWICZ

-

33,106

Head of the community; representative of "Poalei Zion".

128

LENCENER

Chawa (Chawka)

145

Member of the pioneer movement underground.

129

LERNER

Szlomo

100,109,111,131,
132,134,147

Among the "Gordonia" activists.

130

LEVI

Josef

83

Killed in Lodz in the beginning of the war.

131

LEWIN

Mendel, Rabbi

77

Rabbi in Bedzin.

132

LEWIN

Rabbi

67,68,72,75

Son of r' Hirsz Henich LEWIN; brother in law of the Gerer Rabbi.

133

LEWIN

-

25

The Rabbi of Bedzin.

134

LEWINSZTEIN

Dr.

40

Marin's assistant.

135

LEWKOWICZ

I.

25

Editor of the newspaper "Zaglembier Zeitung".

136

LEWKOWICZ

-

20

Son in law of JAKOBOWICZ.

137

LEZENGA

-

101

Survived.

138

LIBERMAN

H. Dr.

50,156,168,174

Chairman of the Judenrat in the last camp of Sosnowiec.

139

LIBERMAN

-

174

Father of Dr. H.

-

 

140

LIBLING

-

107

Brothers arrested by Marin and delivered to the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz.

141

LICHTENSTEIN

& Family

83

Deported to Dachau and then to Auschwitz where gassed to death.

142

LIPSZIC

Gucia

120

Manager of the kitchen.

143

LIWER

Abraham

59

Lived in the Aryan side of Krakow.

144

LIWER

Arie

49,50,81,82,105,
110,111,166

An activist in "Gordonia"; head of the resistance group "lakrav" (to the battle).

145

LIWER

Chaim

145

Uncle of the author; shot in his bed at the last akcja.

146

LIWER

Dawid

59

Representative of the party "Hitachdut"; author of the book.

147

LIWER

Kalman

59

Father of seven sons including Dawid Liwer.

148

LIWER

Menachem

101,153,168,175,
179

Son of Miriam & Dawid.

149

LIWER

Miriam

101,107,112,143,14
4,169

Wife of the author Dawid Liwer.

150

LIWER

Szlomo

61

Youngest brother of Dawid.

151

LONDERNER

-

174

Comrade freed from the Markstadt concentration camp

152

LUBOTKIN

Cwia

167,168,169

Among the leaders of the Warszawa Ghetto uprising.

153

MANALA

Abraham

101,110

Son of Prof. M. Manala; activist in "Gordonia".

154

MANALA

M. Prof.

40,74,110

Marin's assistant.

155

MARIN

Chaim

40,41,58,115

Brother of Mosze Marin.

156

MARIN

Mosze (Moniek)

21,22,32,33,40,43,
44,50,51,52,55,66,
67,68,69,70,71,73,
83,84,95,97,102,10
7,110,111,112,113,
114,115,116,125,12
9,162

Chairman of the Center of the Judenrats in Zaglembia; murdered also, probably in Auschwitz.

157

MEGER

-

174

Comrade freed from concentration camp Markstadt.

158

MENSZEL

Aron

49,50

159

MLACH

-

19

160

MORAD

Cypora

127

Member of "Kibbutz Bedzin"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

161

MOLCZADSKI

Chaim

40,41,50,51,72,73,
86,99,100,101,107
108,111,131

Marin's assistant.

162

NEJFELD

L.

145

Cousin of the author; shot in the street for not running fast enough to the death train, in the last akcja.

164

NOJMAN

Aizik

126

From Zarki; only survivor of an underground group betrayed by the Pole Sucha.

165

OPPENHEIM

Mosze

120

Among the members of the pioneer movement (& the underground).

166

ORBACH

Mosz'leh

127

Member of "Hashomer Hatzair"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

167

ORNER

Abraham

76

Son of the Rabbi of Nasielsk; deported to Auschwitz 13.8.1942.

168

ORNER

Ne'e Liwer

76

Author's sister deported to Auschwitz 13.8.1942.

 

169

PERLMUTTER

-

76

Committed suicide during the second deportation 12-13 August 1942.

170

PESACHSON

Edza & Sister

82,124

Two sisters among the resistance activists.

171

PESACHSON

-

119

An old activist of the "Bund"; killed himself in heroism.

172

PFEFER

Alek

119

Son of Cwi.

173

PFEFER

Cwi

119

A dedicated Zionist; brother-in-law of the author.

174

PIEPSZ

Szlomo

25

175

PLOTNICKA

Frumka

105,111,131,132,
146,

In the underground; from the "Dror" movement.

176

POHORILA

Markus

131

Member of the "Kibbutz Bedzin"; active in the underground.

177

POLITANSKI

I.

25

178

PULMAN

Chawka

126,171

Sister of Marek; active in the underground of Warszawa.

179

PULMAN

Jadwiga

126

Mother of Marek from Warszawa; active in the underground.

180

PULMAN

Marek

126

Memberof a known family from .

181

PULMAN

Wol

126

Brother of Mar; active in the underground of Warszawa.

182

PUMERAN

Vania

130

A messenger from Istanbul.

183

PUTCZ

-

145

Had a sausages shop; carried hiown shot father to the cart of the dead after the last akcja.

184

RABINOWICZ

-

16

185

RECHNITZ

-

30

P.O.W.

186

RECHNITZ

-

112

Survivor; from the Jewish police but cooperated with the pioneer movement.

187

RECHTMAN

Dr.

103

Zionist activist and member of Bedzin municipality; survived.

188

REJCH

Bobi

182

Active in the pioneer movement in Slovakia.

189

ROTNER

-

53

190

ROZENBERG

Kuba

124

Member of the pioneer movement underground.

191

ROZENCWAIG

Szmuel

160

Member of the pioneer movement underground; hid in the Aryan side.

192

ROZENFAFT

Yosele

120,121

Among the members of the pioneer movement (& the underground); leader of the Polish Jewish survivors in Bergen-Belsen.

193

ROZENKER

Mosze

174,185

Representative of the party "Hitachdut" in Bedzin municipality; refugee in Kosice.

194

ROZENKER

-

174

Sister of Mosze.

195

ROZENS

Dawid

146,169,171,185

Member of the pioneer movement underground; drowned in an illegal ship on the way to Eretz Israel.

196

ROZENS

-

169

Wife and son of Dawid; hid in the Aryan side.

197

ROZOWIN

Cwi

110

Survived because held foreign passport of Paraguay; detained in a German camp.

198

RUBINLICHT

Eliezer

19,20,22,25,117

Deputy of the town's mayor; first chairman of the Jewish Committee.

199

RUMKOWSKI

-

40

Chairman of the Judenrat in Lodz.

 

200

SALA

-

127

Member of "Gordonia"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

201

SCWARTZ

-

185

Helped the refugees in Kosice.

202

SOKOWSKI

-

104

Member of "Poalei Zion"; in the underground.

203

SPIRSTEIN

-

19

204

STAWSKI

-

18

A baker.

205

STEJER

Mosze

161,162

Father of Pincze.

206

STEJER

Pincze

161

Member of "The Youngsters of Agudat Israel"; kept Jewish prayers and customs in spite of the constant threat of death penalty.

207

STERN

Herszel

65

Hung in a public execution in Bedzin.

208

SZ.

Meir

175,176,177

Comrade hid in a bunker in Michalkewicz.

209

SZAJNERMAN

Mordechai

65

Hung in a public execution in Bedzin.

210

SZAJNTEL

Israel

127

Member of "Gordonia"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground

211

SZAJNTEL

Meir

134

Deported to Auschwitz in the last transport and called the victims to cheer "L'Khaim Jews; l'Khaim!" in the train.

212

SZAPIRA (BRIKEWER)

Rabbi

76

Rabbi of Bedzin; the brother of the Plocker Rabbi SZAPIRA (executed by Poles in 1920).

213

SZEHN

-

33

Owner of a factory.

214

SZIFER

J.

37

215

SZMIETNA

-

115

216

SZPICBERG

A.

40118

217

SZPIGLER

-

19

218

SZPRINGER

Herszel

50,105,107,112,
112a,120,122,131,
132,140,142,145

Representative of "HaKibbutz" in Bedzin; prominent character of the pioneer movement underground.

219

SZPRINGER

Joel

122

Among the members of the pioneer movement (& the underground).

220

SZUALB

Natan

96,105,106,128

Stationed in Geneva in the "Communication Bureau" ("Lishkat Hakesher").

222

SZWARCBOIM

Alfred

25,111,128

From Bedzin; foresaw the events and run away to Swiss in time and from there he helped "half of Bedzin"...

223

TANENBERG

Abraham

127

Member of "Gordonia"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground.

224

TANENBERG

Zalman

127

Member of "Gordonia"; betrayed by a Pole Sucha; among his 19 victims from the underground.

225

TENCER

-

50

Representative of "Hashomer Hatzair" in Bedzin.

226

TENENBOIM

Szlomo

141

Among the survivors.

227

TERLA

-

125

Helped the underground.

228

TERLO

Gur Arie

125

From Jerusalem.

229

TOBIASZ

-

23

Owner of an iron factory in Sosnowiec.

230

WEJCIER

Dr.

35

231

WEJCZENBERG

A.

20

232

WEJNCIER

G.

19,20,25

An engineer.

233

WINER

Cina

158

Sabotaged the Jewish property robbed by the Germans after the liquidation of the Ghetto.

234

WOLHENDLER

-

106

Representative of "Poalei Zion Smol".

235

WONDERSMAN

Herszel

146,165,169

Member of the pioneer movement underground; killed by the Germans in Budapest.

236

WONDERSMAN

Mrs.

165,166

Died in the bunker where she hid herself.

237

ZACHARIASZ

-

107

Born in Palestine and returned to Poland with mother; in the underground.

238

ZILBERG

Chaim

106

Representative of "HaMizrachi".

239

ZILBERSTEIN

Abraham Dr.

106,128

Representative of the Jewish Agency in Geneva.

240

ZILBERSZEIN

Abraham

142,145,152,153,
175,179

Member of the pioneer movement underground.

241

ZITENFELD

Aliza

130,140,141,145,
171,174,175

Handled the connection with children sent to camps in Germany.

242

-

Benito (Jakob)

182

Member of Hashomer Hatzair in Slovakia.

243

-

Blumka

155

A nurse who took care of the clinic in the last camp; survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

244

-

Dudi

147

Member of the pioneer movement underground; in the farm; killed in the 2nd day of the last akcja.

245

-

Esterka

152,153

A little girl survived the akcja and escaped from the camp in Bedzin.

246

-

Moniek

145

From the children Kibbutz; survived.

247

-

Natka

147

Member of the pioneer movement underground; killed in the last akcja.

248

-

Rabbi of Miszkow

79

Prayed with his people "Vidui" (the confessional prayer) before deportation to death.

249

-

Roman

173,174,175

A German who helped the underground and was killed by the Nazis.

250

-

Szmuel

178

 

DEFENCE
Pages 123-129
Translated by Ada Holtzman

On the outside, it seems that the Ghetto returns to its routine, to its worries and sufferings, as before, but it was not but a delusion. We lacked peace of mind. The methods of the Germans were now transparent: first use the power and labor ability of the young; then rob all the Jewish property; and finally take the soul.

There are some who ask why didn't you escape? Those who ask this question ignore the fact that there was no where to run away in this world full of hatred and animosity. We thought we are the last Jews of Europe, and sometimes we saw ourselves, here in the Ghetto, the last Jews of the world' short of any help and assistance, isolated and cut off human ties, and we cannot trust but ourselves - us, few Jews, weak in body and broken in spirit' after four years of torture and oppression, starvation and humiliation under the Nazi boots, surrounded by the armed enemies, equipped with the newest and technologically the most advanced arms. And in spite of this, the Jewish youth of Zaglembia who survived decided to fight and defend himself. Unfortunately we did not know that a very short time was left before the next Aktion (akcja), and we truly had faith that we shall materialize our plans - and we had grand plans, like the plan to encircle the Ghetto in a belt of mines and blow it together with the Nazis. The comrades from Warszawa sent us instructions to make bombs and mines - but the storm of the deportation prevented us from fulfilling it.

The groups who prepared themselves to the defense and uprising were from members of the youth pioneer movements ("tnuot hanoar hakhalutziot"): "Gordonia", "Hashomer Hatzair", Kibbutz "Dror", "Hanoar Hatzioni" and "Hashomer Hadati". But we had no arms. In spite of that, preparations were made to self-defense, even before the last deportation and by the guidance of members of the Kibbutz we started training of the use of weapons. To get the desired arms we were forced to send members to Warszawa - a matter of great danger and huge difficulties; we worked to obtain foreign false passports bearing Christian names, smuggling the border in Zarki and more.

Three young women volunteered to scarify their life for this holy mission: Edza Pesachson, Una Gelbard ("Hashomer Hatzair") and Renia Kukelka ("Dror"). The first one, Edza Pesachson, was caught in a train station at Czestochowa and severely tortured, but did not reveal who was she, for whom and for what did she carry the weapons. According to what comrades from Czestochowa told us - she was hanged in the local prison as a Christian. Tsecond one, Una G, mto evathe German hangmen, finally failed and was caught in Zawiercie anthere she was shot. Rwas captured while she traveled for the second timto Warszawa and succeeded, after four months of torture, by the help of her courageous and heroine sister Sara (member of Kibbutz Bedzin) to escape from the prison in Myslowice.

Also the members from Hanoar Hatzioni made extensive efforts to obtain arms, and one case is known about the young man Hari Blumenfrucht who decided, together with two of his friends - Alek Gutman and Kuba Ro, who is in Israel now, to attack a German apartment and take weapons found there by force. They entered the apartment of a known German by the name of Micacz tied his wife and servant and confiscated the arms found there. On their way back to the Ghetto, a notorious Nazi murderer by the name of Scherter noticed Hari Blumenfrucht and asked him about his whereabouts in the Aryan side without the sign "Jude". The young man took out a pistol and wanted to shoot the German, but he stood near him and managed to take the pistol off his hands. The young man was arrested and severely tortures but did not reveal anything, also after his parents were arrested too and he was promised they would be released if he told them who are his partners and associates. He died in terrible agony, but in purification and heroism.

We endeavoured to have contacts with the Polish underground. To our dismay, there was not any activity of Polish underground in the Zaglembia region. It is indeed very strange, as this region in Zaglembia - Upper Silesia, where there was a big center of Polish workers with a communist inclination. Where were all its activists? It is true, the progressive Polish intelligentsia and workers activists were deported to Concentration Camp Dachau, or to the General Government zone. But it remains a fact that there was not any anti-Nazi movement in the region nor any comprehensive sabotage activities in our region. The Polish underground was active only in two neighboring towns, in Pilica and Wolbrom. From German newspaper we learned about raid on police stations, blowing storehouses of weapons, killing German and Polish policemen etc.

The chairman of the Judenrat in the town of Pilica, Fogel, was very popular by the population, because he spared no efforts to save us from the nails of the hangmen. Also the Gestapo had to come in terms with him. By the comrade Regina Hollender, in whose house we gathered to discuss with him saving our comrades by joining the Polish partisans, we learned of his contacts with the Polish underground. But according to his opinion, it was impossible, because the Partisans in this are were not assembled in camps or in the forests, as our region has nearly no forests, but rather they emerge from the local population in the town or the villages, and attack Germans targets or make sabotage actions and then return to their own homes. In spite of this, we made up connections with one name Terla (his origins are from the town of Wolbrom and he is a relative of the comrade Gur Arie Terlo from Jerusalem), and he helped us in purchasing arms in Warszawa. Afterwards he came to Bedzin and helped us in obtaining false Polish certificates etc.

After the deportation of Pilica, Fogel wished to settle in Bedzin, and asked permission from Marin (the town Pilica was in the Generalgouvernement zone). His request was rather, that he would not disturb his transfer and the permission itself he will get by himself from the Gestapo. But after their conversation, Marin refused to adhere to his request. Fogel was obliged then, to remain in Pilica after the deportation, together with a small group of its last Jews who worked in the liquidation of the Jewish property, assembled in camps for dispatch to Germany. Part of this property, Fogel used to smuggle to polish partisans. But eventually, someone denounced him to the Gestapo, informing that he keeps ties with the Polish Partisans and even help them with money. As a result, the entire group who survived was imprisoned immediately, including his wife who was in Zawiercie, and everyone was murdered in horrible cruelty.

In spite of all this, we did not give up the trials to contact the Polish Partisans. Comrade Mark Pulman*) who spent a long time with the Polish Partisans in the area of Warszawa and Radom, returned to Bedzin from Warszawa in the beginning of June. He confirms to us the fact that the Polish Partisans do not wish to join Jews into their units, and only because of his Aryan face he could stay with them as a Pole. In Bedzin Marek met one Christian name Sucha (who lived in Sosnowiec, in 23 Mundziow Street), whom he knew in Warszawa already, as an officer in the Partisans' army. This Christian accepted to transfer a group of our members to the partisans in the Miechow-Krakow area, in the condition that they will all be arms with weapons. After a visit of two of our group in his apartment - who gave the impression of a poor house where the misery pops from every corner and the children there are all hungry (it was all staged eventually in advance) - it was decided to send the first group, who counted 10 people. They received leather coats, new shoes and arms. In the place they were also delivered a slogan, according to which one Pole will connect them with the partisans in the assigned place.

After three days the Pole who led them returned and the secret slogan in his mouth. Only afterwards we learned that he led them to false "partisans". Then the second group left, with 10 members again. Only due to lack of arms - fortunately - not a bigger group left then. After two days returned to Bedzin one of it members, Aizik Nojman of Hashomer Hatzair in Zarki and testified the following:

"Happily we passed villages and were accepted nicely by peasants who knew we are going to join the partisans. By night, when we arrived to the forest, we sat down to have a rest. Our Polish escort got further away from us, telling us that he was going to fetch water. Afterwards he brought a can of water and than disappeared again. All of a sudden we were encircled by a unit of riders, and before we could get hold of our arms and defend ourselves, we were shot at by bullets of machine guns. Only by pure chance I was not hurt and kept alive. When they left the place I started run as fast as I could. I caught a train in the train station and returned to Bedzin."

The following day, this Polish traitor Sucha, came and told us that the group failed but he knows another safer route and he will continue transfer them to the Polish partisans. We informed him that we do not have arms and persons anymore, and if times come we do, we would contact him. Then we learned that this Pole is a Gestapo agent and it was him who betrayed and turned all our members to its murderous hands. Thus we lost young dedicated and dear comrades; from the Kibbutz: Alter Goldblum, Szmuel Finkelstein, Cypora Morad, Icchak Kruwka, Mordechai Bachrarz, Libek Goldstein. From "Hashomer Hatzair": Dawid Kozlowski, Hela Kacengold, Mosz'leh Orbach; from "Gordonia": Abraham Tanenberg, Zalman Tanenberg, Israel Szajntel, Eliasz, Sala and other 4 members of "Hanoar Hatzioni" and "Hashomer Hadati" whose names I don't know.

Nothing was left for us, for the time being, to do but continue building the bunkers, which we started to do already before the two deportations. We build now bunkers in nearly all the houses. Known are the "blind rooms", or dark attics without windows: building one additional wall parallel to the wall of the room and the entrance to it is blocked by a cupboard or a mirror; or a bunker build in the cellar that the entrance to it is through an opening in the window-still, or through a stove on which one part there are still pots for camouflage and an entrance to the bunker is hidden in another part. We made a hole across the floor and from there to the cellar. In Sosnowiec there were bunkers of which the entrance was from a well in the yard, under piles of waste etc. And there was one bunker, which its cover wall was closed and open by electricity - result of special building art full of innovatiand inv.

The Kibbutz iBedzin erected two bunkers to its members. One was bin a warehouse of coal:a pile of coal covered its entrance and the exiwas across the second wall of the house. Another one was in the laundry of the Judenrat. Beside those, other 3 bunkers were built: of "Hashomer Hatzair" and two of "Gordonia". After one of them was liquidated, its inhabitants gathered in the bunker at the farm.

The equipment of the bunkers with arms was with many difficulties as already explained. After Ghetto Warszawa Uprisingon 19 April 1943 - Eve of Passover day 1 5703 - we could no more contact the comrades in Warszawa, and transfer of arms outside the fence was impossible. We sent comrade Natka from the "Gordonia" group to Warszawa and her mission was to contact Eliezer Geler. But she returned after a short time without being able to contact no one of the comrades whose addresses in the Aryan side she had. In spite of all this, we had some arms and money in every bunker of the movement, because although there was sever censorship and closed borders, we somehow succeeded in getting some money transferred in some ways from the "Communication Bureau" ("Lishkat Hakesher") in Swiss and from Warszawa, according to the addresses of the movements for whom they were sent to. Who but us can appreciate the extent of the efforts of our comrades Natan Szualb and Abraham Zilberstein in Swiss? Part of the success in the transfer of funds and arranging false certificates should be credited to Alfred Szwarcboim, a man from Bedzin who lived in Swiss. Nearly half of the Jewish population of Bedzin and Sosnowiec had contacts with him, wrote him letters and sent him photographs. He was among the few Jews who foresaw the events and run away to Swiss in time (1940), leaving behind a prosperous iron shop. He also dared to refuse Marin who wanted to appoint him the head of the Judenrat of the community of Bedzin. "You cannot imagine what great happiness is expected to you and your family", he tried to persuade him, but his efforts were in vain.

There was in Bedzin a group of members who Eliezer Geler transferred a while before from Warszawa and Czestochowa, unprepared for defense, without documents, clothes and weapons. "Gordonia" decided to run for them a special appeal among the party members. I managed at that time to enlist to the idea of Jewish defense a rich Jew, among those who became rich from the war. This Jew, son of a distinguished family, Melech Ernest was his name, contributed generously to everybody in need and to us he donated 50,000 marks. We decided to attribute it all to Eliezer Geler's group. With the help of a comrade from Wolbrom, we bought a few arms to equip their bunker and also food and clothing for them. The rest of the money was shared among the members to ease their misery.

*) Mark Pulman was a member of a distinguished family from Warszawa, member of the Zionist Socialist movement. The mother, Jadwiga, activist in the underground movement; the elder son Wolf, active also, as well as his young brother Marek. The sister Chawka was active as will in the movement and the ZOB (the Jewish Fighting Organization, Warszawa) and was member of "Hakhalutz". Among the survivors and live now in Sweden.

**) Ajzik Nojman; among the survivors, immigrated to Eretz Israel in the illegal ship "Tel Khai".



Page 149

A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Bedzin

Zaglembie, at JewishGen Shtetlinks

Book of Sosnowiec and the Surrounding Region in Zaglembie I

Book of Sosnowiec and the Surrounding Region in Zaglembie II



Shalom Zaglembie!

Posted in  April 28th, 2003

Last updated September 25th 2007