David P. Boder Interviews Julian Weinberg; August 17, 1946; Paris, France

  • David Boder: [In German] You can speak Yiddish or German, as you wish.
  • Julian Weinberg: Hm.
  • David Boder: Where are you from?
  • Julian Weinberg: I come from . . . from Lodz
  • David Boder: Ja.
  • Julian Weinberg: Poland.
  • David Boder: Poland. What is your full name?
  • David Boder: [In English] August 17, 1946. Paris, Grand Hotel . . . Hotel, Spool Number 49. An Illinois Institute of Technology recording. The interviewee is the engineer Julian Weinberg, from Lodz, Poland.
  • David Boder: [In German] Now then, Mr. Weinberg, will you please tell us again, what is your name, and where you are from?
  • Julian Weinberg: My name is Julian Weinberg, from Lodz, Poland.
  • David Boder: What are you doing now in Lodz, Mr. Weinberg?
  • Julian Weinberg: I am now the managing director of the Electric Works, Lodz.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: One of the larger electric plants.
  • David Boder: Yes. Now tell me, were you also before the war connected with these works?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes. I worked before the war too, in this plant since 1911 . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . and in the year . . . this year, 1946, I have celebrated the thirty-fifth Jubilee of my services in these electric plants.
  • David Boder: Yes. But you look like a very young man, Mr. Weinberg. How old are you?
  • Julian Weinberg: I was born in 1890 . . .
  • David Boder: Aha . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: I am fifty-six years old . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And as a twenty year old man I already took over the post of engineer in the Electrical Works of Lodz.
  • David Boder: So that was still when . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Right after . . . that was in 1911—that means, short after my graduation.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: I studied in Paris. I was . . . I studied mathematics at the Sorbonne and then I graduated from the Politechnicum in Nancy.
  • David Boder: So, then, you were an engineer during the time Poland was [part of] Russia.
  • Julian Weinberg: Sure.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Exactly!
  • David Boder: You were employed in spite of being a Jew?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes . . . when Poland still belonged to Russia.
  • David Boder: Now tell me then, Mr. Weinberg . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: That was 'Congress Poland.'
  • David Boder: Yes. I am a bit nervous [uneasy] because you don't want to give me more than half an hour. And I know that you have to tell a great deal. I therefore should like to ask you . . . to ask you the following things. Answer a few questions. Where were you when the Germans marched into Poland?
  • Julian Weinberg: In the last war?
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: I was then in Lodz.
  • David Boder: You were in Lodz at you job.
  • Julian Weinberg: At my job. Yes.
  • David Boder: For how long did the Germans leave you alone [did not bother you]? [Pause.] How long did you continue working after the arrival of the Germans?
  • Julian Weinberg: After the arrival of the Germans I worked . . . [pause]
  • David Boder: Nu . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . Two months.
  • David Boder: Two months.
  • Julian Weinberg: Two months . . .
  • David Boder: What have . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . And then . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . our plant was taken over by an SS man . . .
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And I, as a Jew, had to leave my post. And so . . .
  • David Boder: And what did you do then?
  • Julian Weinberg: Then an order came that all Jews were to leave the city, in order . . . to the ghetto.
  • David Boder: . . . to move?
  • Julian Weinberg: To move . . . Yes.
  • David Boder: [Aside:] Do you talk Yiddish better?
  • Julian Weinberg: Makes no difference. [Footnote 1: His language difficulty may be due to two factors. (1) Long ghetto experience. (2) The strict adoption of the official Polish language after the liberation of Poland. —D.P.B.]
  • David Boder: Now then. Describe to us, as an intelligent person [educated person], as an engineer . . . describe to us the ghetto of Lodz.
  • Julian Weinberg: Even before we moved to the Ghetto we received such . . . [word not clear] marks of discrimination [??] as the armband, the yellow armband, so that we would be recognized on the streets as Jews. And then that appeared not enough to them, so they pasted [on us] such yellow stars from the front and on the back, so that from all sides it would be recognizable that here walks a Jew. Naturally the going about town was almost impossible for the Jews, because they were grabbed by the Germans on the streets. The Jews were [then] taken for most common labor. Regardless of who it was, whether he was a laborer or an intellectual, he had to perform the hardest forms of labor.
  • David Boder: What kind of work were you compelled to do?
  • Julian Weinberg: I, for example, was compelled one day to scrub floors . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: I also had an experience, when my mother had died on the fifth of March and I had to bury her. I was then the only one at the cemetery. Nobody was permitted to accompany the body to the grave, and when I was returning from the cemetery, I was grabbed on the street by a young Folk-German, dragged through a gate; and in the yard I was compelled to carry coal from a cart to the cellar . . .
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And that lasted several hours.
  • David Boder: And [word not clear]
  • Julian Weinberg: That was precisely when I was about to return home from the cemetery.
  • David Boder: Now then, Mr. Weinberg, let us have that straight. Simply a boy, not an officer—not an official . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: No . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: That was a boy—a young man of about twenty years of age . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: With a whip.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: He grabbed me on the street and dragged me through the gate of a building.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And there were many other Jews. About fifteen people were assembled there and all of them had to carry coal.
  • David Boder: For whom was the coal carried? Was it a government office, or was it a private . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: That was for the National Socialist Peoples' Union [Nazy Party]; it was NSV.
  • David Boder: Yes . . . And they simply . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: NSV.
  • David Boder: . . . were detaining people on the streets . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes . . .
  • David Boder: . . . to make them work:
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes.
  • David Boder: Now then . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: As the work was completed . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . several were released to go home; but I, when they learned that I was an engineer—
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: I was detained, and I had to remain for two hours longer, because they considered me an intellectual and I was compelled for another two hours to . . .
  • David Boder: drag . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . to drag the coal. Yes. From one cellar to the other, I had to perform a perfectly useless task.
  • David Boder: Oh, that was simply chicanery.
  • Julian Weinberg: That was pure chicanery . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And then, only at [late] hours, in the evening, was I able to go home.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: In general, it was dangerous for the Jews in the streets, because everybody could do with us as he pleased. That was but a small episode which I experienced shortly before my entrance into the Ghetto . . . Then . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: It was decided that we should go to the Ghetto of Lodz in an organized manner. For instance, every day a certain section of the city should be resettled.
  • David Boder: By the Germans?
  • Julian Weinberg: By the Germans, yes. Where I lived . . . about . . . this section was to go first. And so . . .
  • David Boder: Was that a better section.
  • Julian Weinberg: And at 17 hours sharp [5 p.m.] our home was by the SS men . . .
  • David Boder: surrounded?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . surrounded, and all the Jews had to abandon the city. The SS men entered the apartments directly, occupied by the Jews; have . . . have . . . gave us only five minutes time to leave the apartments instantly. And so everyone could take with him . . . only the least trifle of his possessions in a knapsack, and then step out into the yard. I had a peculiar incident happen with my son. He has a kind of an 'Aryan' look. So he was struck with a whip because he wanted to go with his father. The SS man did not believe that he was Jewish. And he thought that he wanted to smuggle himself away with the Jews. I had first to prove that . . . that he was my son, and so he was taken with us.
  • David Boder: Now for what 'lucky' purpose would one want to smuggle himself away with the Jews?
  • Julian Weinberg: Because he wanted to go with his parents.
  • David Boder: That's true. But how could an SS man think that anybody would intentionally [voluntarily] go to the Ghetto?
  • Julian Weinberg: [His language becomes rather erratic] He [the SS] did not know. He might have thought that he was an 'Aryan,' you see? That by chance that was a boy—He was that time . . . about . . . about fifteen years old, you see?
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: He was still young . . . young boy, you see? So he thought he may be up to some mischief. [Footnote 2: The SS often had trouble with children, Jewish and Christian alike. The 'transports' often looked like enticing adventures and young boys, not yet assigned for deportation, would join them not to be separated from a parent or, as if intending to become mascots in the lagers, which were pictured, at times, to the deportees, as most attractive installations. —D.P.B.]
  • David Boder: Aha. Now . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Now, that was in the winter. It was freezing. We were again assembled in a yard.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: All the Jews from the various houses of this region, this section . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . were assembled, and we did not know exactly where they would lead . . .
  • David Boder: . . . lead you?
  • Julian Weinberg: lead us.
  • David Boder: All right. Now tell me, Mr. Weinberg, I am, of course, eager to hear anything you say. But you have promised to give me only a half hour.
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes.
  • David Boder: And that is why I should like to come to other questions. How long were you in the Ghetto?
  • Julian Weinberg: I was in the Ghetto over five years. That is all the time [of the German occupation]. I only wanted to tell you briefly . . .
  • David Boder: Yes. Please tell everything . . . [a few words not clear]
  • Julian Weinberg: Afterwards . . . afterwards . . . how we went to the Ghetto. We learned . . . the same day . . . the same SS men . . . if they were not instantly admitted to an apartment . . .
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: They would break down the doors . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . and where there were sick who could not go with them . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . they shot the sick people.
  • David Boder: Now how come [not clear—both talk together]
  • Julian Weinberg: After we learned . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . that they intended to drive people to the Ghetto by such means. So the following days all the Jews went to the Ghetto on their own.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: So, although it [the resettlement] was to last a week, all the Jews left the town on their own, because they have seen the inhuman methods with which the Jews were treated. And so we were taken to the Ghetto on foot; among us were many young girls, old women in bedslippers. Some were running even barefooted on the snow. En route we had to throw away the rucksacks because the burden was too heavy to carry.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And so we arrived in the Ghetto. The Ghetto of Lodz was completely isolated from the city.
  • David Boder: What was it?
  • Julian Weinberg: There was absolutely no communication. It was surrounded with wire . . .
  • David Boder: But it was in the city?
  • Julian Weinberg: It was on the outskirts of the city.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: They selected the suburb.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: A section . . . the worse section of the city.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: That was assigned to the Jews. It was surrounded with barbed wire, and strictly guarded by police guards; so that nobody may leave the Ghetto, and there were to be no communication with the city whatsoever . . . Yes . . . [Pause] at the beginning it was said . . . that . . . at the beginning people still lived . . . Everybody still had some money which he took with him . . . and some people had taken some food also, provisions. And one could manage the first few days. Afterwards there was formed a so-called Ghetto Council. This Ghetto Council was actually an outgrowth of the . . . of the City Council.
  • David Boder: Yes. What did you say, a . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . a branch . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . a branch of the City Council.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: At the head of the Ghetto Council stood the famous Bieburg.
  • David Boder: Riebuck?
  • Julian Weinberg: Bie-burg [?].
  • David Boder: A Jew?
  • Julian Weinberg: No. That was a German from Bremen.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: A businessman [ a merchant].
  • David Boder: How do you spell his name? [The enunciation of the name still appeared indistinct]
  • Julian Weinberg: B . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: i—e—b—o—w
  • David Boder: Bielow [pronounced Bee-loff]?
  • Julian Weinberg: Bielow.
  • David Boder: Yes. Now then, he was a merchant from Bremen?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes. And he took over the whole management [council]. Now it was proclaimed that the Jews in the Ghetto had to work, otherwise they shall be unable to live. They were to earn their existence.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Well, then there were created various shops [?], various outfits where the Jews were compelled to work. Let us say, a clothing shop . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . where all kind of clothing was produced . . . the tailoring details. Then there were metal details, and electrical details, a rug detail, various . . . The people who had no . . . had no trade, had to reeducate themselves in order to do something. Naturally the Jews did not wish to work for the German power [state]. They were doing only a little bit in order to give an impression as if they were working. Otherwise we would have gotten no provisions from the Germans. However, Jewish labor was the cheapest as it was worthwhile for the people—the Germans—to create these various shops although the interestive work was not very interestive.
  • David Boder: Although the work was not very intensive?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Julian Weinberg: And it was not intensive because our Jews actually did not wish to work for the germans. It was a kind . . . a kind of silent sabotage against the Germans [Pause]. However, the Ghetto Council did good business in spite of that, because they were selling . . . They were selling the products that were manufactured in the Ghetto on the 'Left' market. For example . . .
  • David Boder: On the black market?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . on the black market.
  • David Boder: What did you call it, the 'Left' . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . the black market, it was . . .
  • David Boder: But what was the other word for it?
  • Julian Weinberg: 'Left' market.
  • David Boder: Did they use that expression?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes. Some were [called it] 'Left.'
  • David Boder: Yes. That is all right, I just want to know it. Now then . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: They sold on the 'black' without ration certificates,you see? Without certificates . . . [may also mean 'purchase permits'].
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: For instance . . . our wood detail.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: We constructed, for instance, very many pieces of furniture . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . and little beds for children.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: These they could sell without [purchase] certificates, and that is why it was [one word not clear] worthwhile for me to manage these works for us.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: To be sure. We were not getting any money, but only provisions, and very little. The best proof of it is that thousands of people were compelled to starve.
  • David Boder: Now . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Through the Lodz[?] Ghetto in excess of two hundred thousand people have passed. These were mostly Polish Jews; but there were also Jews from Germany, from Austria, and from Czechoslovakia brought also to the Lodz Ghetto, about fifteen thousand Jews.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And these people were precisely the ones who were unable to adjust rapidly to the hard living conditions in the Ghetto. And it is possible to say that 90% of these Jews . . .
  • David Boder: . . . who have come from abroad?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . who have come from the West were among those who were driven to death by starvation. Also the Polish Jews, especially the women, were neither able to stand the hard conditions, and many perished from hunger and various epidemic illnesses, such as spotted fever, intestinal typhus, and the like. Besides, these 'normal' [natural] cases of death, if that could be . . .
  • David Boder: . . . called . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . called 'normal' . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . There were these many deportations. It simply was said that the Germans were in need of people for various kinds of work. And so many people who were feeling bad in our Ghetto applied [for such work]. They thought that 'outside' it would be better. So they departed for work . . . but they never returned. Many deportations took place from our Ghetto, managed by the [word not clear], particularly by the Gestapo in coordination with the [name—word not clear] authority. These orders which were imparted to us arrived from Berlin. And so it was proclaimed that ten thousand people are to be deported—always it was said for work. But the people never returned. One 'nice' day they established in our Ghetto a so-called 'passage [?] blockade!' . . .
  • David Boder: Passage [?] blockade . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: Passage [?] blockade.
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . was established. And the SS men came . . . [word not clear]. All Jews had to assemble. They made a selection—who was to be evacuated and who was to remain. And so women and men who looked bad were embarked on carts and on trucks, and taken to assembly points. There came the so-called 'roll-commando' [transportation detail], 'roll commando.'
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Those were SS men on heavy, large freight autos, with trailers. There all the Jews . . .
  • David Boder: [A check on the German word] Anhänger means trailers, a second vehicle . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes, a second vehicle. There the people crowded into these autos and were removed. Also the hospitals were cleared of the gravely ill. The children were removed from the hospitals and from the homes, the childrens' homes . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Some of them were actually thrown on the autos, you see?
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And in this manner all that was carted away.
  • David Boder: Have you seen it yourself?
  • Julian Weinberg: This I have seen myself. Yes . . . It is interesting that . . . that afterwards the clothes of these unfortunate people who were shipped away . . . these same old clothes were returned to the Ghetto. And so as later . . .
  • David Boder: For what purpose?
  • Julian Weinberg: These old pieces of clothing should be used by the Jews who had still remained, because . . .
  • David Boder: [word not clear]
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . We remained in the Ghetto for more than five years. Of these old pieces of clothing, of these old shoes which came back torn, because they were searching for various valuable . . . valuable objects [hidden] in the clothes; so the clothes were torn up, altered. The shoes as well. In our Ghetto the better things were repaired, and then partly distributed among the remaining population in the Ghetto, and partly it was also shipped out by the Germans for the bombed-out German population. [Pause]
  • David Boder: Now then . . . And you spent five full years in the Ghetto?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes.
  • David Boder: Did you participate in community [affairs/?
  • Julian Weinberg: I participated but little in the community [affairs], because we had one elder of the Jews . . .
  • David Boder: What was his name?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . He was very much on his own [overbearing] . . . Rumkowski. [Footnote 3: This name appears in several interviews, always in an unfavorable light. His role appears especially precarious in the deportation and alleged subsequent annihilation of several thousand Jewish children from the Lodz Ghetto. —D.P.B.]
  • David Boder: What?
  • Julian Weinberg: Rumkowski.
  • David Boder: Yes. I have heard already that name from others.
  • Julian Weinberg: Certainly. He received the orders directly . . . the orders from the Ghetto management, and he afterwards executed the orders . . .
  • David Boder: Oh . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . as far as it was in his power. I did not want to participate directly.
  • David Boder: Is he presently alive?
  • Julian Weinberg: In these things, because I was opposed to the whole politics and I had to keep away from that whole business. Here . . .
  • David Boder: Is Rumkowski still alive?
  • Julian Weinberg: No, Rumkowski is not alive anymore.
  • David Boder: Who . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: He was annihilated by the Germans in Auschwitz. And so the last evacuation took place in the month of August, 1944. At that time the Oberburgermeister of the city came and also the functionaries of the Ghetto management. They made speeches, they told us that now the whole [trend of] politics has changed in Germany. Germany needs workers by the hundreds; Germany was bombarded, many German cities have been annihilated. These cities must be rebuilt and therefore, also the Jewish labor must . . .
  • David Boder: . . . be used?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . be made use of. Then there was a commission of generals, all of . . . a military commission, and they have decided that Lodz is located near the front . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . and it would not be right to keep so many Jews near the front. That was not right. They wanted to help the Jews . . .
  • David Boder: Yes . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . so that they may not remain in the front zone, and therefore they have arranged [?] that we should leave, and we shall have better work, good living conditions and that they . . . have . . . with such . . . [he is here completely confused in search of the proper words]. Oh . . .
  • David Boder: [Trying to guess the meaning] With such [apparent] frankmess
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes . . .
  • David Boder: [In English] sincerity?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . frankness presented [the proper word would have been cunning, slyness] that the people . . .
  • David Boder: . . . conviction?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes . . . That . . . they actually wanted to convince the people that . . . that they would have better work and better conditions. But what revealed itself [what actually happened ?], all the Jews were evacuated, not to the bombed-out cities, but everything [this pronoun refers, of course, to people; but like in so many other instances reflects the helplessness, the doom, the humiliation of the people concerned] went through Auschwitz—through the famous extermination camp. And there in Auschwitz the people were subjected again to a selection and most of them were compelled to pass through the crematories and there they ended their lives.
  • David Boder: Were you in Auschwitz?
  • Julian Weinberg: I was not in Auschwitz. I was . . . I remained among eight hundred and sixty people who were compelled to remain in the Ghetto of Lodz. That was a detail assembled by the Germans who were supposed to put the Ghetto in order.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: Put in order [straighten up]; that means to assemble the pieces of furniture that have remained, the . . . all the pieces of clothing, pillows [?] [He badly searches for words]
  • David Boder: . . . pillows and [In English:] bedding, [the confusion of the language by the interviewee obviously affects also the interviewer; like in the case of a normal individual talking to a stutterer—again in German] bedclothes.
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . The bed . . . Yes, all the bedding.
  • David Boder: Nu . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: That lasted a few months. We . . . as the last seventy thousand people were taken to Auschwitz the Ghetto became greatly reduced, and we, the remaining eight hundred and sixty men and women . . . we were in two factory buildings [search for words] billetted?
  • David Boder: . . . housed?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes. The men in one . . .
  • David Boder: [Words not clear]
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . in one factory building, and the women in another factory building.
  • David Boder: Where was your son? [?]
  • Julian Weinberg: That was . . . my son was with me.
  • David Boder: Hm . . .
  • Julian Weinberg: And my wife and my daughter were . . . were . . .
  • David Boder: On the other side . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . on the other side. And so . . .
  • David Boder: Are they with you now?
  • Julian Weinberg: Yes. We were housed directly in these two buildings—which have become some kind of lager, and from this instant we were regarded as a lager, like in Auschwitz, Dachau or the kind. We were subject to all disciplinary . . .
  • David Boder: All discipline . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . all discipline . . .
  • David Boder: . . . and rules . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . and rules of the lagers. That meant, every morning we had to assemble on the yard for appell . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Julian Weinberg: Then the SS men would come. They assigned the people to various labor tasks. So this business dragged on until the 19th of September . . . January . . . until the 19th of January, 1945, on which date our city was . . . was liberated by the Russians and the then onmarching Polish armies. Now, during the last days, as we saw that the Russian offensive approached from Warsaw . . . You must know that we had a concealed radio also in the lager. We knew, therefore, approximately how the events stood. And so three days before the liberation of the city we all hid ourselves. We abandoned our lager and we hid ourselves within the Ghetto because it was . . .
  • David Boder: guarded . . . ?
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . occupied by a police guard.
  • David Boder: Was that not the lager police?
  • Julian Weinberg: No [He uses the word 'only']. The lager proper had no German police guard, only the Ghetto as a whole. We got out of the lager at night and hid in various bunkers, in various buildings, in cellars, and in the attics of the buildings. I, personally, hid myself in a transformer station. That was a high tension room, where I have [hidden] my family. Altogether I hid there thirteen persons. And for that reason I remained alive. The Germans, as we learned later, had come into our yard and there they found, instead of eight hundred and sixty persons, only twenty-three individuals. They made a big 'to-do,' 'Where are the others?' The people were unable to give a reply. And they said, 'Yes, they got out of the lager.' And they arrested the twenty-three persons. They did not shoot them, only arrested them. And they decided to drag out of the apartments the rest of the eight hundred people who had hidden themselves, and then proceed with a general . . .
  • David Boder: Execution.
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . execution . . . [We know that] because they had dug with Jewish labor nine mass graves on the cemetery. We knew about that. And they intended to get us all out there and to annihilate us in these mass graves. [Footnote 4: The preposition in should stand although it is not sure whether it is correct in this particular case. During the occupation of Siberia by the Czechs it was reported that in one case (Omsk) they made the condemned men—about fifteen persons—first step into a shallow grave, fired a few random salvos, and then shoveled the earth over them without individual examination of the bodies for signs of life or coup de grace. —D.P.B.] And so the first day after they had arrested these twenty-three persons—there were about a hundred and twenty SS men with arms—they wanted to find us . . . The first day they were indeed able to find about seventy people, about seventy persons. They did not shoot them yet. They arrested them also, like the first twenty-three persons. And they came the next day . . . the next day they wanted to find the rest. Now they brought dogs with them. They wanted to find the people by means of dogs. The next day they found a few people again. All [were] arrested again. Another night went by and then they were compelled to abandon the city on the sly. And so the saved . . . the remaining people, who had stayed over in the Ghetto . . .
  • David Boder: [Not clear]
  • Julian Weinberg: . . . have saved themselves in this manner, and also the people who were arrested were later set free by us.
  • David Boder: One moment.
  • David Boder: [In English] This ends Spool 49, a report by the engi— . . . [ends abruptly]
  • Contributors to this text:
  • Transcription : Dagmar Platt
  • English Translation : David P. Boder