The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Session No. 48
8 Sivan 5721 (23 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-eighth Session of the
trial open. Please proceed, Mr. Bach.

State Attorney Bach:  With the permission of the Court, we
are now proceeding to the chapter on the Jews of Romania. I
will first submit one document, Prosecution document No.
496. This is a report by a commander of one of the units of
Einsatzgruppe D, reporting on a successful operation carried
out at Czernowitz on 7 July 1941, and describing how they
managed in the course of their operations, as he put it:
"... to carry out a major operation, during which
practically the entire Jewish leadership was rounded up."
He then describes the process of killing those Jews, and how
together with the Romanians, they managed to kill five
hundred Jews in Czernowitz at that time.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1000.

State Attorney Bach:  In order to illustrate the content of
this factual report, with the Court's permission, I call as
witness Mrs. Perla Mark.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew, Madam?

Witness Mark:  Yes.

[Witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Perla Mark.

State Attorney Bach:  I understand the witness would prefer
to speak in German.

Presiding Judge: Can you speak Hebrew?

Witness Mark:  It is easier for me in German.

Presiding Judge: Very well - please proceed.

State Attorney Bach:  Mrs. Mark, were you born in Romania?

Witness Mark:   No.

Q. Where were you born?

A. I was born in Poland.

Q. When did you come to Romania?

A. In 1926.

Q. What was your late husband's function in Czernowitz?

A. He was the Chief Rabbi in Czernowitz.

Q. From when to when?

A. From 1926 to 1944.

Q. Till which year, Madam?

A. Till 1941.

Q. Mrs. Mark, you studied at the University of Czernowitz?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you study?

A. I studied pharmacology.

Q. Were you living in Czernowitz in 1941?

A. Until 1941.

Q. Were you in Czernowitz in 1941?

A. Yes, we were in Czernowitz.

Q. Do you remember what happened on 7 July 1941?

A. Yes.

Q. Perhaps you would tell the Court what happened on that

A. On 7 July 1941, at 10 o'clock in the morning, four SS men
came into our house, with two armed soldiers. They went into
my husband's room and demanded 1,000 trucks from him.

Q. What was your husband's name?

A. Abraham Jakob Mark.

Q. Please continue.  What happened then? What was your
husband's reaction to this demand?

A. He didn't reply to their demand. Then they asked about
jewellery. They asked: "Who has jewellery?"  He replied: "It
is out of the question for the Chief Rabbi of Czernowitz to
give the names of people who have jewellery!" Then they took
him with them and left.

Q. Do you know now where they took him?

A. I didn't know then.

Q. Do you know now? Perhaps you would tell us what you know
today?  Where did they take your husband and what happened
to him?

A. They took him to the synagogue and asked him where the
sacramental ornaments and the synagogue's silver vessels
were, and again he did not answer. They then took him to the
Schwarzer Adler Hotel, took him down to the cellar, to the
lift shaft - I didn't know this - kept him there a whole
day, and I only found out the next day.

Q. Was this synagogue a special one?

A. A special synagogue.

Q. The main synagogue in Czernowitz?

A. Yes, the main synagogue in Czernowitz, with special

Q. And what happened to him then?

A. The next day they demanded that a young man, who was also
in the cellar, polish their shoes. And when they did not
like the polishing, they beat him until he had a
haemorrhage. And since he was a neighbour of ours, when his
wife got to know about it, she let me know that my husband
was also being held in the cellar of the "Schwarzer Adler".

Q. How many others were with your husband?

A. I cannot say. I don't know.

Q. What happened the next day to the synagogue and your

A. The next day they brought some barrels of petrol and  oil
into the synagogue and set fire to it. They threw the sixty
Scrolls of the Law into the flames and led my husband up
from the cellar to the roof of that building - which was
opposite the synagogue - and showed him: "Look, there's your
synagogue burning."

Q. After the burning of the synagogue and the Scrolls of the
Law, what did they do with your husband?

A. On Wednesday morning, they took some 150 or 160 more
people from the Cultural Centre and from the Schwarzer Adler
Hotel out of the cellar, down to the river Prut, and there
they were shot.

Q. You said that people were taken from the Cultural Centre
- were these Jews?

A. Yes, only Jews.

Presiding Judge: What sort of cultural centre was this?

Witness Mark:   It was a Romanian cultural centre.

Q. Were Jews assembled there?

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  Were these special people, according
to a list?

Witness Mark:   They didn't choose them specially.  They
went to houses and hunted people down and took them away.
They even pretended to let them leave in the evening, and
those who tried to leave they shot. Then the rest of them
stayed there.

Q. Do you know where your husband's grave is?

A. No, I don't know.

Presiding Judge: Have you not learned anything since then
about your husband?

Witness Mark:   Oh yes, since then I have learned - I ran
from one person to another, and I found out where my husband
was; one of the people I went to was the Archbishop's
representative, with whom my husband had friendly relations.
He asked me to come several times in order to tell me
something, but said nothing. It was not till one Sunday,
when I met him on the street, that he said to me: "If the
Jews had not shot at the Germans, the Germans would not have
murdered the Jews."  Then I knew what had happened. Until
then I did not actually know.

State Attorney Bach:  Did you later find out that your
husband was one of the 160 who were shot?

Witness Mark:   No, not yet.

Q. But eventually you did find this out?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you find out?

A. I went to my university professor, a very good friend of
my husband's, and I asked him to tell me where my husband's
grave was, because I wanted to bury the body; and he said to
me: "We cannot do anything against the Germans; they are
behaving not as if they own the country, but as if they own
the entire world."

Q. What happened to the Jews of Czernowitz after that?

A. The Jews were put in a ghetto - all the Jews. That was a
month later, in September.

Q. How many Jews were there in Czernowitz?

A. There were 70,000 Jews.

Q. How long did it take for these Jews to be moved to the

A. They were there for perhaps eight days, and then they
were transported to Transnistria.

Q. No, that wasn't my question. I asked how long it took for
the Jews to be moved to the ghetto.

A. I think it all took just one day.

Q. Was your family also moved to the ghetto?

A. Yes, myself with my daughter and my son-in-law and a two-
week-old baby. Of course we did not take anything with us -
the most important thing was to get the child out.

Q. Could you briefly describe to the Court the process of
getting the Jews into the ghetto, and life in the ghetto?

A. The Jews stood on the street, waiting to be taken to the
railway carriages - we were among them as well, and we
waited the whole day; it was not until evening that they
told us there were no more carriages, so we went back into
the dwellings where we had stayed in the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Did you ask, Mr. Bach, about the move to
the ghetto or the move from the ghetto?
State Attorney Bach:  To the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Because Mrs. Mark is talking about the move
from the ghetto.

State Attorney Bach:  [To the witness] I am asking you now
not about the move from the ghetto, the deportation to
Transnistria, but to the ghetto and life in the ghetto. Can
you briefly tell the Court what the conditions were like

Witness Mark:  You can imagine what it was like when the
inhabitants of an entire town were put in two streets, which
had been evacuated for the purpose. People lay on the floor,
outside on the balconies - everywhere.

Q. When did the first deportations to Transnistria begin?

A. From the ghetto? They began immediately. A few days later
they started taking people away from there.

Q. You have already said that you were actually supposed to
get into a carriage, but the carriage was full and so they
did not take you.

Did you have to wear the yellow star?

A. Yes, we definitely wore the yellow star, the whole time.

Presiding Judge: Who deported you to Transnistria, the
Germans or the Romanians?

Witness Mark:   The Romanians.

State Attorney Bach:  Perhaps you can also tell us who the
Romanians were who carried out this operation of rounding up
the Jews - the police, the army, or others?

Witness Mark:   No, that was all instigated by the Germans.

Q. I was asking who actually were the people, the Romanians,
who carried out this operation? Was it the police or the

A. It wasn't at all necessary. We were taken there like

Q. By whom?

A. I cannot say - I did not see anybody there. The people
went of their accord. Perhaps there were a couple of guards,
perhaps some policemen.

Q. Were many of those you knew deported to Transnistria?

A. They murdered my parents. My parents lived in Poland.
They led them off to the ghetto. Father was 80, Mother 74.
They fell down somewhere and did not get up again, and they
were killed where they lay.

Q. Were many of those you knew in Czernowitz deported to

A. An enormous number. Practically all our acquaintances
were deported to Transnistria. Those who did not get
permission in time to remain in the town were also
transported to Transnistria.

Q. Do you know what was the fate of most of these people who
were deported to Transnistria?

A. Many, many of them died there. They did not all return -
an enormous number of them never came back. There was typhus
there, there was starvation typhoid.  Generally people
starved there. Among my own relatives, a very large number
died there.

Q. Mrs. Mark, how did you manage to get out of the ghetto?

A. A colleague of mine obtained permission for me to remain
in the town.

Q. And how did you live from the time you left the ghetto
until the end of the War?

A. We lived off what we sold, we sold everything from our
house - all our furniture, all our things. My son-in-law,
who lived with me, was not allowed to practice, so we lived
only off what we sold from the house.

Presiding Judge: What was your son-in-law's profession?

Witness Mark:   He was a doctor.

State Attorney Bach:  Mrs. Mark, apart from your parents,
whom you have told us about, who else in your family was

Witness Mark:   My son - my middle son - he was in Prague,
he was studying medicine there, they deported him to
Theresienstadt, and my brother, too. He was an editor on the
Prague newspaper called the Prager Tageblatt.  They were
both sent to Theresienstadt. My brother died there. They
sent my son to Auschwitz. There the people they sent to the
gas chambers were received with music; he played the cello.
And they set up an orchestra there; he played there until
1944. In 1944 he was killed, he was sent to the gas chamber.

State Attorney Bach:  Thank you very much, Mrs. Mark.

Presiding Judge: One moment. Dr. Servatius, do you have any

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

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