David P. Boder Interviews Kalman Eisenberg; July 31, 1946; Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

This is Spool 9-12B, the second part of Spool 12. Taken in Paris at Chateau Boucicout, among the Buchenwald children. It starts with a rather unharmonius singing, but the melody can probably be recognized and the words eventually translated, if that hasn't been done. The interviewee is Kalman Eisenberg, who later sings the solo song.

Kalman Eisenberg

[Singing].

David Boder

All right. That was very good. What is your name?

Kalman Eisenberg

Eisenberg.

David Boder

And the first name?

Kalman Eisenberg

[In a tone imitating a radio announcer:] This is Chaver [comrade] Eisenberg from Poland singing, having gone through five years of concentration camps in Germany.

David Boder

Thank you very much. July 31st, 1946. Still at the Chateau...what is it? Still at the Chateau Boucicout. This is the third subject, a young man, just finished singing a song. His name is Eisenberg. What is your name, your full name?

Kalman Eisenberg

Eisenberg, Kalman.

David Boder

Kalman?

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes.

David Boder

Kalman...Kalman Eisenberg. Nu, tell me, Eisenberg, where were you born?

Kalman Eisenberg

I was born in Germany...in a small town, Starachowice.

David Boder

Then you are German by birth?

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes. That was in Germany.

David Boder

Yes. You were a German citizen, correct?

Kalman Eisenberg

Starachowice is Middle-Poland, in Congress-Poland.

David Boder

Oh, that was in Middle-Poland.

Kalman Eisenberg

Congress-Poland [Congress-Poland is the heart of Poland, the area around Warsaw].

David Boder

Was is Germany or was it Poland?

Kalman Eisenberg

Poland.

David Boder

Poland. And how old are you now?

Kalman Eisenberg

Eighteen.

David Boder

You are now eighteen years [old]. And tell me, how old were you when the Germans came to your place?

Kalman Eisenberg

When they came I was fourteen years old.

David Boder

You were fourteen years old.

Kalman Eisenberg

Fourteen years.

David Boder

All right. Tell me, what happened during the first days when the Germans entered. But speak slowly so that it could be well understood. Go ahead. Begin.

Kalman Eisenberg

And so at first...when the Germans entered...entered...to us...into the town, the parents immediately...

David Boder

What was the name of the town?

Kalman Eisenberg

Starachowice.

David Boder

Un-huh.

Kalman Eisenberg

That is Middle Poland. That is Starachowice. Skarzysko. Ostrowiec. This was the center of the Polish textile[?] manufacturing region. And this was one of the towns of that center. Starachowice. I was born in Starachowice. As soon as the Germans entered in the year '39, we immediately left the town, left with the whole family to a little town.

David Boder

Tell me...

Kalman Eisenberg

[Word not clear, the name of the little town.]

David Boder

How large...tell me, Mr...eh...

Kalman Eisenberg

Eisenberg.

David Boder

...Eisenberg, how large was your family?

Kalman Eisenberg

Our family consisted of seven people.

David Boder

Yes? Tell me, a father, a mother, and who else?

Kalman Eisenberg

No, a father I did not have.

David Boder

Oh.

Kalman Eisenberg

I had a mother forty years old and two older brothers, one of whom perished with a tragic death, in my arms, [inflicted]by the Germans.

David Boder

Nu, and?

Kalman Eisenberg

And the rest, one sister and the other brother, were taken to Treblinka about whom till this day there is not word.

David Boder

Wait. I want that in order. So you were at home. Who...who was supporting the family? Who was caring for the family?

Kalman Eisenberg

And so my older brother took care of the family, and...

David Boder

Before the Germans entered?

Kalman Eisenberg

Before the Germans entered...[he] took care...

David Boder

Yes. What was the occupation of your older brother?

Kalman Eisenberg

My older brother was a cobbler.

David Boder

A cobbler.

Kalman Eisenberg

A cobbler.

David Boder

Yes. And who else of the family was working?

Kalman Eisenberg

Only the older brother and the mother were working. No one else.

David Boder

And what did your mother do?

Kalman Eisenberg

The mother was helping out the brother. She traded a little in dry goods.

David Boder

Traded a little in dry goods.

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes.

David Boder

And your brothers and sisters were then older or younger?

Kalman Eisenberg

All younger. Younger. And they were going to school...also in difficult circumstances.

David Boder

You were the second?

Kalman Eisenberg

The second.

David Boder

And so tell me in order what happened when the Germans entered.

Kalman Eisenberg

As soon as the Germans entered our town we left immediately for another town, a small town in which very few people lived. Since our town was a manufacturing city with large factories, people were very scared. And a week's time, two weeks later when the German was already [there], we could not make a go of it in that small town so that we had to return to the [our] town. Soon during the journey we were stopped by Germans and searched. The little property [belongings] that we had was taken away from us on the road and distributed among the Poles, the Gentiles. And afterwards, when we came back to the town, we did not find anthing in the house any more. Everything had been taken out, and everything had been robbed by other neighbors. And in the town there were very few people. Soon on the next day, it was on 'Yom Kipper,' coming out next morning, the synagogue was already no more. We saw already it is in flames. That old synagogue that had been standing for years and years was lit up in flames. In the middle of the night, in the middle of the night on the second day, the synagogue was still burning. As propaganda, people had to take the rabbi and sign that the synagogue had been set on fire by ourselves. And we had to save [fight the fire] by ourselves. And who...and whoever came out to [try and] save the synagogue, they were beaten with terrible beatings, and also a few people were shot. And later on, when there had already passed a long, quite a long time, they were then...the Jews were then separated from the... from the Poles. The Jews had to live then in special houses on special streets where no Pole was allowed to enter. And soon there began very hard living conditions. And afterwards, after quite a long time, there was...there was...there was...issued an order from the German authorities that all Jews have to wear the bands. And [he] who does not have a band on his arm, he receives 'ten years' punishment, or else be shot [?] on the spot. Many cases happened when a Jew in that crowded ghetto, where he was living and could not sustain himself and his family, was forced to go out on the...on the forbidden streets. And many times it happened that Jews out of luck were shot, and half a year later an order came out that everyone from eighteen to forty-five has to report to the Jewish council...council. The next day at eight o'clock in the morning all the Jews in the town reported and [were] led out to a square, guarded by Germans, and there we stood without eating or drinking a whole day. In the evening, herded like cattle into RR-cars and shipped away. Many people, one may say...report that fifty per cent remained there in the lager...

David Boder

Now wait. Were you there with those people?

Kalman Eisenberg

No. Just my brother.

David Boder

What?

Kalman Eisenberg

My brother was with those people.

David Boder

But you were not there?

Kalman Eisenberg

I was not. My brother was.

David Boder

I want that you should tell me your story.

Kalman Eisenberg

My story.

David Boder

Yes. Your and your family's [words not clear]. Your brother had been called but you were not taken.

Kalman Eisenberg

No, I was too young.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

I was only fifteen years old, and only from eighteen to forty-five were taken. And so the brother was there. By accident, when he saw that death is already near him, he risked his life and ran away. He was shot after with many bullets, but he succeeded in escaping. It was not so strict yet. It was in the beginning of 1940. It still could succeed. During all that time we experienced very hard conditions at home, and altogether...and afterwards, when I ...when I was...when an order had been given that children from twelve years have to go to work for the Germans, every day...

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

Without wages, without pay, and also to get beaten. I go once to a 'chief' whose name was...eh...what was his name? Altoff. A chief Von [?] Altoff. His name was Altoff. He was a 'leader' of the...of a factory, a German. He took us, eight boys, to him...to work for him, to work for him. We would work very diligently. He would stand and watch. All at once he comes over, gives us a Nagan in the hand and says, 'Beat your comrade!' I take [it] and beat him. He says, 'that is not how one beats,' takes that Nagan out of my hand, and gives me such a hard blow that I could not lift my hand any more. He says to me, 'That is how one beats Now will you know? Now beat your comrade.' In such a...in such a way they tried to liquidate us in the quickest manner. And afterwards he took...and said...

David Boder

What is a 'Nagan'? [Nagan is the make of a revolver. He may confuse it with the term Nagaika, a short, heavy horse whip used by the cossacks].

Kalman Eisenberg

That is a rubber, a special...a special rubber...a thick one that with one blow...

David Boder

Yes?

Kalman Eisenberg

One blow with it, then there shows...there is immediately a mark on that place, a black mark. There is immediately a black welt on that place.

David Boder

Yes.

Kalman Eisenberg

That is a terrible thing which the Germans used a lot against the Jews.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

And afterwards he took...he said for two people to fill up a RR-car with coal, and for two people to lay down on the floor and they should be entirely covered [buried]. After that, after they were covered...

David Boder

Who said that that should be done?

Kalman Eisenberg

That...that...that Wehrmacht leader of the Germans, that Altoff.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

He was a big leader of a factory. Altoff.

David Boder

Hm, to cover them with coal?

Kalman Eisenberg

To cover them with coal. When they were covered with coal, he was standing [there], and he laughed. He laughed at us. He smiled, and afterwards he ordered us not to dig them up. They should come up by themselves. And if they cannot come up, they can remain there, too.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

This was going on for a long time. We were terribly tormented, and we endured very bad times. All of a sudden there began arriving in our town...

David Boder

That was in your town?

Kalman Eisenberg

In 'your' town.

David Boder

And...

Kalman Eisenberg

In Starachowice.

David Boder

And...

Kalman Eisenberg

Starachowice.

David Boder

And at night we went home to sleep?

Kalman Eisenberg

And at night we went to sleep. When we went home to sleep, the oldest...a father I did not have. The mother, to earn for bread she could not, because she had to stay only on the streets that had been assigned. And on the other streets where the Christians, the Gentiles, were living we could not go out on any more, and so it was very hard, that life. Returning home at night, sometimes I would find a potato without salt, and sometimes there was not even that. And early in the morning, again with the same hunger, return to the same work that a hundred per cent...fifty per cent, one can say, I did not expect to return, because [one was] without strength and getting beaten very much. All of a sudden Jews from all over begin to arrive in our town. There begins a traffic with autos, with trains. From all over Jews begin arriving. And so what is going on? There is a bustle in the town. People are being resettled. People are being resettled from all the towns to Treblinka from where people do not return any more, the death lager which is known all over the world, Treblinka. We are thinking about a way out, but there is no way out. Thus it was going on for two weeks. One bright...bright morning a five o'clock, the whole town is guarded, surrounded, and an order was given that in ten minutes not one Jewish child [son or daughter of Israel] is to be found in his home. And many Jews...and many Jews were prepared for it. We slept with the clothes on. [He used the word Ungetuigs for clothes which was not understood by the interviewer.]

David Boder

How did one sleep?

Kalman Eisenberg

In the clothes. In the clothes we slept.

David Boder

What is that?

Kalman Eisenberg

With the trousers on.

David Boder

Yes.

Kalman Eisenberg

We slept with clothes on, in the trousers, the jacket, the shirt, everything ready, and a small bundle at the head. We took that bundle and ran out at once. Coming out of the house, there were already waiting Germans with guns, with grenades in the hands.

David Boder

Only children?

Kalman Eisenberg

Only...Germans. Everybody!

David Boder

Yes.

Kalman Eisenberg

The whole family went out. The whole family came out of the house. There were already Germans waiting with grenades, with machine guns in the hands and looked for the moment to kill us. But we had...but we were following the order, and it did not last...did not take ten minutes to come out. Coming out on the street, I once more...I, myself, looked back once again at my house, and I said, 'This house I will not see again.' We went out to the market place. This is a large square in the center of town. All the Jews were assembled there. Walking, we already saw how Jewish blood flows in the streets, and the bullets are flying. When we were already assembled on the square, we see an old couple walking. They have no more strength to drag their feet. So a German takes and leads [them] into a house and with one bullet he shot both of them. Put one next to the other, both heads, and shot both. Going ahead, looking around the town again, we see the children lost from their mothers and mothers lost from their children. They are calling, the mothers to the children and the children to the mothers. But those children whom the Germans had noticed, who had from great fright lost their mothers, died immediately on the spot. Such a panic lasted four, five hours. It was terrible. Also while standing in rows, the Germans came over and took off immediately everything, the better things. I myself was dressed in my best suit, my best clothes. They soon took off my jacket and my boots, and they asked if I do not have any money or anything else.

David Boder

How old were you then?

Kalman Eisenberg

I was then fifteen years old when all that happened. Also the Germans...

David Boder

In which year was it?

Kalman Eisenberg

That was in the year '40. [Corrects himself:] In the year '42.

David Boder

Yes.

Kalman Eisenberg

Thousand, nine hundred and forty-two. The end of 1942. In the tenth... in the tenth month. [NOTE: Spool 12 ends here. The continuatin of the interview took place on the following day. Mr. Eisenberg undoubtedly must have 'prepared' himself for the continuation of the narrative, which may account for the apparent increase in pathos in his style.]

David Boder

[In English:] August 1st, 1946 [the following day]. Chateau Boucicout 'under' Paris. This is Spool 13, a continuation from a short introduction on Spool 12 by Kalman Eisenberg. He will continue right on this spool although we have lost some continuity on account of some recorder trouble.

David Boder

[In German:] Say a few words. Say who you are.

Kalman Eisenberg

I am Eisenberg, Kalman. My name is Eisenberg, Kalman, born in Poland in the town Starachowice.

David Boder

Go ahead. Say whatever you want [words not clear].

Kalman Eisenberg

[Whispers:] Where shall I start?

David Boder

Wherever you want. It does not matter, yes? Whatever you remember. Where did we stop yesterday?

Kalman Eisenberg

And so, standing on that market place where all the Jews were removed to...we were already standing arranged in fours...and [I] heard the last words of my mother, how she said to me, 'No! You are going with us. Whatever will happen to us will happen to you, too.' At a short distance passed an SS man, and [he] immediately took off my jacket and a pair of boots. I remained barefooted. Luckily I had in my bundle a pair of old shoes that I had taken along. I put [them] on and stood dismayed, mornful, seeing what is happening to Jews. How the blood flows, and the little children taken by the feet and thrown against the wall. And later on when the afternoon came, everybody was tired standing on that square. There suddenly arrived an auto with five SS men. And they said for all young men from eighteen to twenty-five to fall in, to be taken to work. I was a boy of fourteen years. I did not have the chance to step forward. But suddenly an SS man was passing, and he took a liking to me. He gave me a sign with his revolver, and I had to step our from the ranks, and with a heavy...with an embittered heart I looked at the mother and left the ranks, [and was] incorporated into the ranks of the workers. Once more I wanted to turn and take a look at my mother. I soon got [it] with a riding crop over the head that to this day I still have a souvenir of that instant.

David Boder

What were the last words which you have heard from your mother?

Kalman Eisenberg

My mother, when I was leaving, spoke, 'My child, go. Maybe you will remain alive. But we, we know for sure that we are going to death. And you should take revenge for our blood, innocent blood that is being spilled innocently by the barbaric, murderous hands.' And with that, with such an embittered heart, did I go out from the ranks. Arriving in the new lager, we were spread out in two places. We separately, and the women, very few, separately. When we where standing on that square an order came to hand over whatever we still had. All our things on one side and the rest that we have, to throw away. We went over to the other side. The things we left on the place on which we were formerly...standing before. And later on there arrived a few SS men and gave an order, 'In the name of our Fuehrer ten people will be shoot.' And immediately ten people were selected. Anybody might have become that burned offering.

David Boder

What did he say? In the name....?

Kalman Eisenberg

In the name of our Fuehrer of the Reich ten people will be shot. And when those ten people were shot we were standing all around [in a circle], and those ten people [were] shot in the center. And they said that the same thing will happen to every Jew, to every woman, to every child who won't hand over his possessions that he has hidden on him.

David Boder

How were the ten people selected?

Kalman Eisenberg

He passed through. Whoever he pleased, whoever caught...whoever struck his fancy. He made a sign with the revolver in his hand. And he had to step out in spite of knowing that he is going to a certain death.

David Boder

Did he pick older people, younger people [words not clear]?

Kalman Eisenberg

Whoever...whoever caught his eye. Whoever was standing near him. Whoever struck his fancy he took. There was no difference whether young or old. The burned offering could have been any one, whoever stood there.

David Boder

Nu?

Kalman Eisenberg

And afterwards when those ten people had been shot...

David Boder

Did those people say anything before they were shot?

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes. The last words of those people...we heard nothing more but, 'Shema Yisroeil' [Hear, Oh, Israel], nothing else. These were their last words. And a few people going to be shot fainted instantly, and fell on the spot. And afterwards, when that 'action' was finished, we were arranged in two rows and led by, past five SS men. The five SS men had the job of searching all our belongings. Tore our shirts, tore our shoes. The hair was searched. Wherever there might be a chance. They even looked under [the soles of] the feet if one had not pasted on any valuables with adhesive tape. Arriving in the new lager we were led into barracks. Those barracks were made entirely of wood, temporary barracks. We entered, a hundred people to a barrack. The barrack looked low. One little electric bulb. Three-tiered beds, without straw, without anything, just wood. [Words not clear. As I have explained...explained, everyone...two people received one little bed. That bed was 1.20 meters long and 60 centimeters wide.

David Boder

What kind of little beds were they?

Kalman Eisenberg

Wooden ones. Three-tiered little beds made out of wood.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

Such a bed, 1.20 meters long and 60 centimeters wide, was given to two people. On that we had to sleep. When we entered that lager, the cries, the wailing of everybody was terrible. It looked like Tishe B'ab [a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple], like Chorben Beth Hamigdash [Destruction of the Temple]. So it looked. Everybody was thinking about what had happened to the parents and to the other people who had remained there on that square. In such...in such a mood [?] we sat till the evening. The night fell slowly. It fell gradually, and everybody on the plank beds, bewildered, confused, brooding. There was no question of sleeping. The desire to sleep came to nobody's mind. I, as a young boy, sit and cry and complain. With whon did I remain? And what will I do? And what will the future be? Lost. There is no hope. I myself must summon courage that I should be able to live through that moment and be able to relate to the Jews all over, in every corner or the world, in each of the four corners of the world, what has happened to the...to us. The story, the times we have gone through. In the middle of the night everyone sits exhausted, in thoughts. Suddenly we hear a shot. Indeed [?] a guard, a Ukrainian, got a fancy and shot [burst] into our barrack. And there fell two badly wounded and three dead.

David Boder

How can there fall two badly wounded and three dead from one shot?

Kalman Eisenberg

From a machine gun. It was a shot from a machine gun. And if all the bullets had found a mark, there would have been many more victims. But, thank God, it only cost three burned offerings and two wounded. And so, tacken aback by the dead and by the wounded, there was no councel or aid. We had no water. To go out was a threat of death. And so gradually with our own efforts we did whatever we could in order to alleviate their suffering, to reduce their plight. Dawn was nearing slowly. We all arose, and we wanted to go to work. We thought that if we remain lying they will take it for sabotage, that we do not want to go to work. So we all arose and went to work. [While the prisoners were] walking out through the door, the Ukrainians heard it. They immediately surrounded our barrack and fell upon us like murderers, with machine guns in the hands, and were beating with rubber truncheons. 'What do you think, you Jew? You band of Jews, what do you think, you have any way out of this lager? Here you must remain! Here you must croak! And your life you must end in this lager' And with terrible blows they chased...chased us back into the lager. By six o'clock in the morning there came in a Jew who was...who had been elected temporarily to take charge of the lager.

David Boder

Who elected him?

Kalman Eisenberg

A Jew. His name was [first name not clear] Wilczyk. Born also...born I do not know where, but he had been living for a long time in Starachowice. An elderly Jew around forty years. He was made a temporary overseer of the lager.

David Boder

Who made him? The Germans or the Jews?

Kalman Eisenberg

The Germans. [Corrects himself:] The Ukrainians. The guards [authorities] of the lager made him so temporarily. And he came in...he came into the block, and he told us to get dressed and go to work. In five minutes everybody was ready, because nobody had slept, nobody had undressed. Everybody was depressed, crush-...crushed by his...by his misfortunes, by his pain. [We were] arranged on the square and went to work Going out through the gate we received the bread which we took along among our things. Everyone received a slice of around ten dekas, five dekas. It depended on how much luck one had. And a little bitter, cold, unsweetened coffee. That was the first day of our going out to work. When we arrived at work...[when we were] entering the factory, the Ukrainians received us with bad beatings [?]. We were assigned to sections in Polish, 'Do wydzial' [to work halls] where everyone was to work. We immediately got the worst kind of work. We, Jews children, were taken,of eighteen, or seventeen, of sixteen years, [and] assigned to ovens of two thousand degrees of heat. They made ammunition, cannon...shells for cannon. And who did not complete the 'norm' like one says in Polish, that means the number that he was supposed to make--that was two thousand to three thousand shells--had to stand sixteen hours. And if I did not finish in sixteen hours, he [I?] Had to remain for twenty-four hours. That is how it was going on every day, the day by day work. In a short time very, very many people had fallen who did not have the strength to endure all those things. When the...when the Russians had come closer, [when] they came near the Vistula, the Germans considered it a danger if we should remain in the place, and we have to be sent away to [the interior of] Germany. At night there came an order that not one Jew is to go to work but has to remain in the place, on that spot, in the lager. A terrible fright gripped the whole lager. Everybody walked around brooding and said, 'Now [these] are our last moments. The Russians are approaching and the Germans knows that he has lost the war. He will finish us all off on the spot just where we are.' Two three...two days this situation [?] lasted.

David Boder

Which lager was that?

Kalman Eisenberg

In Starachowice.

David Boder

Yes.

Kalman Eisenberg

Two days...

David Boder

That is the town or the lager [?]?

Kalman Eisenberg

That is the town and also the lager. They were together [?].

David Boder

Where you were born?

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes, where I was born.

David Boder

Hm. Have you heard about your mother since then?

Kalman Eisenberg

My mother had already been sent away a long time, and we were in that lager.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

And so next morning comes an order. The section which is working from seven in the morning till three in the afternoon can still go to work. It became a little easier, but still people were still going around with the same fright. [The continuity seems disrupted.] Arriving at work, the Gentiles, the Christians, told us the terrible agony that was experienced by the people who had remained there on the square. Because until now we had had no information, and later on we had some information from people who had returned...who were taken as far as Treblinka and after that they returned. And part of those people [possibly Christians] were also working there in the factory, who were driving the wagons, the engines from on factory to another. An acquaintance, a Jew, was acquainted with such a machinist, and he told him about the terrible tortures that the Jews, those people had suffered, who had been taken away. First of all, a hundred and fifty people were packed into a small RR-car. Entirely closed, nailed shut, doused with chloride [chlorek]. And the bundles taken away, and the water they needed. And chased inside [the RR-cars], beaten up, grabbed bloody, herded into the RR-cars. That Christian reported the impossible thing that fifty per cent would arrive half alive at that place. He said that he is completely convinced that not a single Jew will [could] arrive at that place alive, not withstanding that the place as such was the death sentence. That means Treblinka. Returning from work, we heard that the guards had searched the entire plant [to see] whether, God forbid, a Jew did not hide himself there and escape at night into the forest and hide himself.

David Boder

That is what that man had related?

Kalman Eisenberg

Yes.

David Boder

Nu? [Both apparently have lost the thread of the narrative.]

Kalman Eisenberg

To that lager came again an order that the second...the second shift, from three to eleven at night, cannot go to work any more. With a terrible fright all of us went around again. All of a sudden the 'Commandant' of the lager...that same Wilczyk who was the overseer had become 'Commandant' of the lager.

David Boder

A Jew....A Jew?

Kalman Eisenberg

A Jew. He had become 'Commandant' of the lager. That is 'Commandant' in our eyes, but he had not much say with the Germans.

David Boder

What sort of a man was he?

Kalman Eisenberg

He was a quite ordinary man who...an older man of forty years, who could speak a little more. He had a little more experience, but otherwise quite an ordinary man. It just happened that he was made 'Commandant' of the lager. There were...[?]

David Boder

How did he treat the Jews?

Kalman Eisenberg

The Jews he treated quite well. Nothing can be said. He was also tortured the same as we were.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

But the only thing...he carried the name of 'Commandant' of the lager, but much...much to say he did not have. Absolutely nothing to say. In the afternoon a decision was made by the Jews that from this lager we have to get away. Should we remain till next morning there are definite rumors that we will be shot. At night everyone was awake. No one slept. The police [apparently Jewish trusties] came into each barrack and said 'Jews, the last moments of our lives are approaching, and so we have one way out, to break out of the lager. And not far from the lager there is a forest. It is quite certain that many Jews will fall but this cannot be helped. Who will remain alive...whoever will be able to save his life will remain alive. And if we shall do nothing, the entire lager will perish. There is no place where we could be taken. There is no place, and the Germans will not let us live. It is an impossible thing that they will let us live.' At night, everything ready, a little bundle in the hand, with hammers, with pliers, with axes, [we] went over to the...eh...went over to the wires. There was no strong guard. And so on all four side Jews were standing and watched for the moment to be able to go over, tear out the fence and escape into the forest. Thus it lasted four, five, ten minutes. After that there came people running from all four sides and breaking the boards and cutting the wires. And a few people running from all four sides and breaking the boards and cutting the wires. And a few people succeeded in escaping. At the same moment fire began falling from all four roofs, from the towers where the guards stood, and many, many were shot and a very small part escaped into the woods. But the majority of Jews were afraid to risk [it] and did not have the possibilities any more of running over to the fence and running away, because death awaited them immediately.

David Boder

Where were you?

Kalman Eisenberg

We...I myself was lying under a...under the barrack, under the block, not far from the wires and watched for the moment so that I could escape. But I noticed that terrible fire [shooting]. And the...and from that terrible fire I have noticed...and from...and the..and from the thrown grenades a lot of people were shattered and torn to pieces. Not a sign of them remained. Many people...the feet, the hands...and of one it even tore off the head. I noticed at the moment...

David Boder

How was his head torn off? From the shooting or from...

Kalman Eisenberg

From...from the grenades. From grenades.

David Boder

Oh. Who was throwing grenades?

Kalman Eisenberg

The...the...the guards. They saw...

David Boder

And the guards were Ukrainians or...

Kalman Eisenberg

The guards were Ukrainians and Germans.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

In a few seconds the whole lager was surrounded by many sentries and the Germans. And to escape was out of the question. Everybody [was] chased into the barrack. Everybody was silent, more dead than alive, and awaited the order when the moment is to arrive. Because there was no thought, no hope for us to remain alive. Throughout the night on that square the guards were milling with the grenades, with arms in the hands. Finally we saw the dawn. So we were allowed to go out to wash, and back again into the barrack. An hour later we were all lined up and all our clothes everything that one had on, was taken away.

David Boder

What was taken away?

Kalman Eisenberg

The Untuigs [clothes], so that the people should not be able to escape.

David Boder

What is 'Untuigs'?

Kalman Eisenberg

Trouser, jacket, shoes, the...the...

David Boder

So what did you remain with?

Kalman Eisenberg

We remained just in a shirt and a pair of shorts [underwear].

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

But many people had hidden in the straw mattresses, on which they slept...they had hidden spare trousers, spare manarka.

David Boder

What is a 'manarka'?

Kalman Eisenberg

A coat.

David Boder

A coat.

Kalman Eisenberg

A coat. And all the clothes on that square that have been taken away [were put] into the storehouse.

David Boder

In what language is 'Untuigs'?

Kalman Eisenberg

Ungetuigs? That is just [word not clear].

David Boder

Polish or Yiddish?

Kalman Eisenberg

That is...no...Ubranie is in Polish.

David Boder

'Ubranie.'

Kalman Eisenberg

But Untuigs is in Yiddish.

David Boder

Yes. [Root is German: antun, to put on, 'put-ons,' like pull-over.]

Kalman Eisenberg

Untuigs.

David Boder

'Untuigs' is in Yiddish.

Kalman Eisenberg

In Yiddish.

David Boder

Hm.

Kalman Eisenberg

And all that was taken away, and it was put into the warehouse. And with that the Germans thought we will not be able to escape. And once in plain daylight we again awaited the monemt when the...there was a very weak guard. And again forty Jews succeeded in escaping. Ten Jews were then shot on the wire who were...who...who had climbed up [?]. And thirty Jews succeeded in escaping into that forest. The forest was soon surrounded by sentries, and [they] fired into it with machine guns and grenades, but [a few words not clear]....[End of Spool 13.]

David Boder

Do you know his name?

David Boder

Slow down.