The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-027-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-027-03
Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Q. That is to say - they worked there as Poles?

A. As Poles, in the vicinity of Vienna and Dresden.

Q. In August 1942 the Jews were again ordered to have their
papers stamped. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Who assembled the Jews?

A. By order of the Germans, all the Jews in every district
had to report, each one in his own town, at a place marked
"place 1."

Q. And you reported?

A. In Sosnowiec there were then about 25,000 people and they

were all ordered to assemble on a sports field. We, the

youth, felt that this was a trap. We knew that once we were

in their hands, they would do what they liked with us. And

what they wanted to do, this we had already seen and

understood. At that time news had already reached us of what

was happening in Auschwitz, through someone who succeeded in

escaping from there and who died in our town.

Q. So what happened - did the Jews in the district report?

A. The Jews reported - all of them.

Q. Who surrounded them?

A. The Germans surrounded them.

Q. Which unit?

A. I cannot say exactly what unit it was.

Q. Do you remember who was there - any German officer?

A. Yes. Dreier was with us.

Q. Which unit did he belong to?

A. He was the commissar for Jewish affairs in the Gestapo of

Katowice, and he stood there with his stick which was

inseparable from him, and was selecting people into those

who would live and those who would die, to life and death,

as he wished. He split up families, sending children to one

place, and their parents - if they seemed to him still to be

capable of work - to another place. And there were many who

went, knowingly, to their deaths, because they did not want

to part from their children. And young people went along who

wanted to support their parents in their last moments.

Q. This selection began in the afternoon, I understand.

A. Yes.

Q. When did it end?

A. The selection began in the afternoon and ended in a
downpour of rain in the late hours of the night. The Germans
did not want to get wet despite the fact that they had
raincoats. We did not have any.

Q. To what place were those people who were fit for work

A. The people who remained, all those who didn't manage to
pass the selection and all those amongst them who were
chosen as being destined for transportation, for the
Umsiedlung (resettlement), as they called it - all these
people were collected together in Sosnowiec in four large
buildings. There were thousands of people there. I worked in
one of the buildings as a nurse. It was impossible to pass
from room to room, from place to place, without treading on
people. There was no air, for the Germans didn't allow them
to open the windows, since the shouts were likely to reach
the street, and they did this quietly.

Q. What happened to those who were incapable of working?

A. All these were sent away later. All those who remained,
there were then about 6,000 people from Sosnowiec and a
similar number from Bedzin - all of them were sent to

Q. At the end of September 1942 you were sent by the

underground to the environs of Auschwitz in order to try and

establish links with the underground - is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You weren't successful?

A. No.

Q. You went back to Sosnowiec?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Did you have papers of an Aryan woman?
Witness Masia: Yes. I lived as a Jewess, but when I left the
ghetto, I had the papers of an Aryan. We had many - we used
to prepare them.

Attorney General: In 1943 you escaped to Slovakia and in
this way you were saved afterwards through a long series of

Witness Masia: Yes.

Q. You said there were thirty thousand Jews in Sosnowiec. In
your opinion how many remained alive after the War?

A. I think that if we were to say two hundred, that number
would not be an exaggeration, if included in this number we
were also to count people who were saved by the transports
to Germany as Poles, and in other ways.

Q. Tell us about one final episode. Who was Harry

A. Harry Blumenfrucht was a member of the Zionist youth
movement. When we were making efforts to obtain arms - for
with us the situation was of a special nature, we were in
the district of Silesia, where when the Germans entered most
of the Poles declared that they were Volksdeutsche,and there
was no Polish underground in existence at all - and in order
to obtain the arms one had to cross the border, and apart
from the normal risk involved in this, one had to undergo
the risk of a border check. However, even there it was
impossible to purchase or to obtain arms easily. One could
obtain a revolver with four bullets for a lot of money. It
was impossible to examine whether the revolver was in
working order. At the last moment when the revolver had to
be put to use and to be fired, it emerged that we had been
cheated and that the revolver did not work at all. We saw,
therefore, that it was necessary to look for arms locally,
too. Harry worked at his place of employment, in a plant
where, according to his information, the owner of the
factory possessed revolvers.

Presiding Judge: Was the owner of the plant a German?

Witness Masia: Yes. He came with a suggestion, since the
German was not at home, to enter his apartment and steal the
revolvers. The suggestion was approved and three people went
out - a girl and two boys, one of whom has survived - and
they succeeded in entering the apartment, and removed a
revolver from the drawer of the night table. There were also
both money and a gold watch. These things they did not
touch. They managed to return safely. The following morning
we read an announcement in the newspaper that Polish
partisans had burst into the German's apartment and had
taken weapons. It was obvious that a thief would not take
only weapons. After this operation had succeeded, we thought
that possibly this method was the easiest of all. And one of
the boys who is today a lieutenant colonel in the Israel
Defence Forces, came to us and said that the German with
whom he worked was a hunting enthusiast, and he had a
complete store of guns. Then a group of five people was
organized - this boy who initiated it, Harry, who had taken
part in the previous action, and three others. They had to
remove the arms from the apartment of the second German. In
the German's home there were two women. One of them
succeeded in making her escape and alerting the neighbours,
and our boys fled without having taken a thing. In the
course of their flight, after moving around a great deal,
Harry Blumenfrucht was captured in the streets with  the
revolver he had stolen in the first operation in his pocket.
He tried to shoot the German who attacked him. But this
German was well-known in the area. They called him a "Hund
mit Hund" for he always went around with a big dog. The dog
jumped on Harry and seized his hand and he was unable to
fire. Meanwhile help reached this German, and they took hold
of Harry and arrested him. Harry was tortured in a horrible
way. News reached us from people who worked in the prison,
for there were Jews who worked in the prison on various
jobs. News reached us from Germans. That same German from
whom the first revolver was stolen, was called to identify
the revolver and to check whether he knew Harry. He came
back astounded. He said: "This is superhuman heroism. This
is not an ordinary man. This is a lad under whose
fingernails they inserted pieces of wood which they set
alight." They made him stand behind iron netting, on the
other side of which was bread and water, and they questioned
him for 48 hours on end and he shouted: "I will not tell you
anything. I am a dead man anyhow." The Germans arrested his
mother and brought her to him, and she pleaded with him
"Harry, for the sake of cutting short your tortures whatever
happens, you are not going to come out alive confess to
something." Harry did not admit anything. He said to his
mother as well: "I am a dead man anyhow. I will not say
anything." And the Germans held him, I think, for two weeks.
They had a great admiration for this lad. They did not
understand what this was. Generally they hanged people
publicly and insisted that the Jews should come to watch
this spectacle. But they hanged Harry at dawn, during the
curfew, for they were afraid, for they had witnessed in him
something superhuman.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

Judge Raveh:   How old were you when the War broke out?

Witness Masia: I was 17 years old.

Judge Halevi:  You said that the Poles in your district
declared that they were Volksdeutsche?

Witness Masia: Many of the Poles declared that they were
Volksdeutsche. They were close to the border, and this was
near Silesia, but the majority were not Volksdeutsche - they
had no connection with Germany, and did not even know one
word of German. But it was easier to be a Volksdeutscher.
Food rations were larger, their conditions were better, they
were able to receive part of the plundered property.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Masia, you have completed

your evidence.

Attorney General: I call Dr. Dworzecki.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Meir Mark Dworzecki.

Presiding Judge: Doctor?

Witness Dworzecki: Yes.

Attorney General: Are you a medical doctor by profession?

Witness Dworzecki: Yes.

Q. You work at Kupat Holim in Tel Aviv?

A. Yes.

Q. What is your address?

A. 89 Rehov Dizengoff, Tel Aviv.

Q. Do you also engage in research and lecture on the

A. Yes, at Bar-Ilan University, on the history of the

Q. In this trial I would ask you to describe what you
experienced, what you saw with your own eyes and heard
with your own ears, and not what became known to you as a
result of your research. At the time of the War you were
in Vilna?

A. Yes.

Q. And after the end of the War you wrote a book on your
experiences entitled The Jerusalem of Lithuania in the
Revolt and in the Holocaust. Is this the book?

A. This is it.

Attorney General: I apply to submit this book.

Presiding Judge: This book will be marked as exhibit

T/275. Attorney General: In 1939 you fought in the Polish

army? Witness Dworzecki: Yes, in the War against Germany.

Q. You were taken prisoner, escaped from the prison camp
and came to Vilna?

A. Correct.

Q. When War broke out between Germany and Soviet Russia in
June 1941, you were there?

A. Yes.

Q. What were the first days of the occupation like?

A. The Germans occupied Vilna on 24 June 1941. They
entered the ghetto on 6 September. During these two and a
half months, about 40,000 Jews disappeared from Jewish
Vilna. It began with kidnappings. Already on the third day
of the occupation of Vilna kidnapping began in the streets
of the city. People, individuals, groups were caught and
disappeared. Occasionally one used to see them being
transported in a particular direction beyond Vilna, in the
direction of the forest of Ponar. Afterwards they
surrounded a house or a street, and the Jews would vanish
from the house or the street, from a suburb of the city
like Zarzecze.

Q. What did the Germans say - where were they taking the

A. The Germans said they were taking the Jews to the
labour camp of Ponar. But the Poles were saying that they
heard shots at Ponar. Ponar is a beautiful forest beyond
Vilna. We, the Halutzic youth used to gather at Ponar for
Lag baOmer* {*A Jewish holiday which youngsters celebrate
by lighting bonfires in open fields.}

celebrations. It was impossible to imagine at first that
this lovely forest, the forest for Lag ba-Omer outings,
would be turned into a forest for the extermination of
Vilna Jewry.

Q. You did not believe it?

A. At first we did not believe it.

Attorney General: Do you recollect the incident when a
woman with wild hair and barefooted appeared on the
streets of Vilna?

A. I remember that day, it was 3 September 1941, three
days after a strange "action" in Vilna which was called
"the action of provocation."

Q. We shall come to that. Tell us about this woman, about

A. I was, at that time, a doctor in Vilna, I lived near
the square of Novigored Street. One morning I saw in the street,
a woman with dishevelled hair, barefoot, walking with
flowers in her hands and giving the impression of a woman
who had gone out of her mind. The woman came into my room
and said to me: "I have come from Ponar." I asked: "Have
you come from the labour camp at Ponar?" She said: "No, it
is not a labour camp. They are killing the Jews there."
She described how, on the night of 31 August 1941, she was brought there
together with her two children, from Shawneski Street, to
the goal at Lukiszki, and from there, great masses of
Jews, about ten thousand Jews, were transported to the
large clearing in Ponar forest. And there the Jews were
taken out group after group and sounds of shooting were
heard. Her little boy begged for a little water, and she
wanted to give him a thermos flask with water. A German
policeman came up to them - he threw away this flask. She
began to comfort the boy, telling him not to be afraid,
that he would soon ascend to a quiet place, to the Garden
of Eden, where it would be good for him and all the
children. After that they took her. She saw how Jews were
saying the confession prayer, how others were concealing
memoir books, how others were tearing up bank notes so
that they should not fall into the hands of the Germans.
Afterwards she heard the sounds of shots. She fell into a
pit together with the children, felt that the blood of the
children was pouring, streaming over her, but she was
alive. And she remained amongst the dead bodies until
sunset. And that night when she heard the voices of the
Lithuanian pogromists who carried out the murder, she got
out from amongst the bodies. She crossed the barbed wire
fence, escaped, ran through the forest until she came to a
little valley, and there she found a simple Polish peasant
woman. The peasant woman made a bandage for her from a
towel, gave her flowers in her hand and said to her: "Run
away from here, but go with the flowers as if you are a
plain peasant woman, so that they should not realise that
you are a Jewess." And then she came up to me and opened
the towel-bandage and I saw the wound, the bullet hole,
and ants were crawling in the hole - ants of the forest.

Then I realized the truth about Ponar. I went out into a
street in the suburb of Novigored. Not far off could be
seen the house of Leckert* {*Lekert Hirsch - a member of
the Bund who shot the governor of Vilna in 1902 because
the latter had ordered a group of demonstrators to be
flogged.} who, during the reign of the Czar, killed the
Czar's commissioner - a simple hero. I turned to the Jews
and said: "Jews, Ponar is not a labour camp - in Ponar
they are killing Jews." And they said to me: "Doctor, you
too are creating a panic? Instead of consoling us, instead
of encouraging us, instead of giving us hope, you tell us
horror tales - that there are killings in Ponar? How could
it be that they should simply take Jews and kill them?"
Afterwards I saw her in the ghetto - she had changed her

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