The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-021-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-021-03
Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Q. Where did you relieve yourselves?

A. Everything inside this hall.

Q. In front of each other, women and children and men

A. Yes, together. We were inside the train for several days.
They closed the door. The windows were already shut, and
also secured with barbed wire. Towards noon the train moved.
We could notice through the aperture in the windows that the
train was travelling in the direction of Przemysl - after
that in the direction of Yaroslav. We knew that they were
exterminating the Jews of the surroundings in the camp at
Belzec. We decided that if the train turned to the right in
the direction of Rawaruska, we would try to burst out of the

Q. To the right was in the direction of Belzec?

A. Yes.

Q. And left?

A. In the direction of Cracow. We still had only a spark of
hope that perhaps they were transferring us to Plaszow that
was a labour camp near Cracow.

Presiding Judge: All this was known to you?

Witness Gurfein: Yes. But they announced, day and night,
that they needed the trains for their victory. We couldn't
understand that nevertheless they found the time to
transport the Jews for extermination all the time and to use
trains for them. On every train there was an inscription:
"Raeder muessen rollen fuer den Sieg" (Wheels must roll for
the sake of victory).

Attorney General: At that time you didn't believe that the
programme was to destroy the Jewish people?

Witness Gurfein: No.

Q. Despite the fact that you had heard reports from Belzec?

A. We received reports, but the spark of hope, nevertheless,
still flickered in our hearts and we hoped that, perhaps,
despite this, some miracle would occur. They kept promising
day and night that they were stopping the deportations, the
exterminations. But in view of the fact that the train
turned in the direction of Rawaruska, we managed to force
the window open and several of the people in the train
jumped out. Each time a person jumped out, we heard shots.
On each waggon there was an SS man with a machine gun. At
approximately 2 o'clock in the morning - this was beyond
Yaroslav - my mother pushed me from the waggon and told me
to jump. I jumped from the waggon.

Q. How old were you?

A. Twenty-one. I left behind, inside, my mother and my
brother. I hid in the snow. They halted the train and began
to shoot in my direction. I crossed to the other side of the
track and dug myself into the snow; I remained in the snow
for two hours until I heard the train moving.

Q. Did you see your mother after this?

A. I didn't see my mother after this, nor any members of my

Q. How many hours were you in that horse waggon?

A. I was in that waggon from Friday morning until      2
o'clock the next morning.

Q. Did they give you any food there?

A. They gave us neither food nor drink. They didn't even
allow us to bring snow into the waggon. We wanted to quench
our thirst with snow; even this they forbade, and they shot
into the waggon ahead of us because someone had brought a
little snow into it.

Q. So where could you relieve yourselves?

A. In the corner of this waggon.

Q. There were women and children there?

A. There were women and children and old people together.

Q. Before this operation, could you tell us something about
the plunder of Jewish property?

A. Yes. Immediately after the occupation of Sanok in
September 1939, the Jews were ordered to bring to the
Gestapo building every object of value in their possession
under threat of the death penalty - gold, diamonds, foreign
currency. Naturally the Jews gave them up. In the winter of
1941, the Gestapo gave orders, through the Judenrat to bring
in furs and also - for those who had them - skis. These were
needed for the German army. There were cases where people
simply forgot to bring a glove or a piece of fur. The
Germans subsequently conducted searches, took these people
and brought them to Auschwitz. About one month later they
found in the possession of a certain Jew, a piece of fur -
they killed him on the spot.

Before the general deportation, they ordered the Jews to
close up their homes, to leave everything in an orderly
fashion and to bring the keys to the Gestapo building. The
Jews were engaged in the transfer of their own furniture. In
every case where they found attractive furniture, they
transferred it to the local Germans. What they did with the
remainder - I don't know. I saw in the camp at Zaslav piles
upon piles of silverware, candlesticks, blankets, sheets.
They piled up everything in order. They loaded the
silverware on wheelbarrows - there was so much of it there.

Q. Tell me, at the railway station when they packed you into
the train going to Belzec, when you thought that it was
likely to go to Belzec why didn't you resist, why didn't you
board the train?

A. We no longer had any strength left. Very simply, we
wanted it to end quickly. This was in 1943. After so many
years we did not have the strength to resist any more.

Q. You wanted it to end?

A. We wanted to die more quickly.

Q. Then why did you jump from the window?

A. There nevertheless was an impulse. For from the moment
that we saw that the train was going in the direction of
Belzec some spark was ignited. We saw someone jumping and
some spark was kindled within people who wanted to save
themselves. I wouldn't have jumped, if my mother hadn't
pushed me forcibly.

Q. How were you saved from this hell?

A. After I jumped from the train, I went on foot in the
direction of the town of Yaroslav. From there I reached
Przemysl. I didn't find a single Jew there. I went into a
house of some Christians. They allowed me to sleep there.
After this I remained for some days in Przemysl and from
there I travelled to Cracow. Cracow was a large city. I also
tried to get into the ghetto. I was inside the ghetto for a
little while. I saw that it was very bad there. I ran away
from it. I hid as a Christian. Thereafter I entered the camp
at Plaszow, together with people returning from work.
Because the conditions there were so terrible, I ran away
and hid as a Christian. Subsequently I crossed the border to
Slovakia, and from Slovakia to Hungary.

Q. And from Hungary to Rumania?

A. And from Hungary to Rumania, and from Rumania to Turkey,
and in 1944 I came to Palestine by train through Syria.

Q. And since then you have lived here?

A. Since then I have been here.

Q. Thank you.

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

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions to this witness.

Judge Halevi:  Mr. Gurfein, you mentioned the members of the
SS - Kratzmann, Mueller and Schulz.

Witness Gurfein: Schulz was the commander of the Gestapo in

Q. And who was Kratzmann?

A. Kratzmann was the Judenreferent within the Gestapo.

Q. Where was his office?

A. In the Gestapo of Sanok.

Q. And Mueller?

A. He was also a Gestapo man in Sanok.

Q. I didn't understand what you said about them. How did
they take part in these events?

A. Kratzmann and Mueller were the most terrible Gestapo men.
They also took part in the killing of Jews. The officer
Schulz reached us in 1942 from Yaroslav. Subsequently we
realized that he had come especially to organize the
deportation of the Jews of Sanok. As I mentioned, they came
to us, for we were a number of Jews together with their
families within the camp of the Schutzpolizei (Civil
Police). We hoped that we would be able to remain and to
work there. They arrived that night, and saw that not all
the people were capable of working. There were also small
children. Despite the fact that previously they had allowed
us to come into that camp with the members of our families
as well, they separated us from each other and left only 20

Presiding Judge: You were asked what was the role of each of
these Gestapo men.

Judge Halevi:  What did the three Gestapo men, whose names
you mentioned, do?

Witness Gurfein: At that time they separated our families
from us, they loaded them onto trucks and transferred them
to the Zaslav camp to be deported.

Q. You stayed there?

A. We remained in the camp of the Schutzpolizei.

Q. What happened to your families?

A. They removed them to the camp at Belzec in that same
train, except for my uncle whom they gave another three
months to live, and he was shot at the time the 500 people
were shot.

Q. You said something about 10,000 Jews. Were they sent away
all at the same time?

A. They were sent away together in three trains.

Q. Where to?

A. To Belzec.

Q. Was a separation made between those fit to work and

A. They took all the 10,000 Jews, both those who were fit to
work, and also women, children and old men.

Attorney General: The camp at Belzec was an extermination
camp, not a labour camp. There they did not separate people.
There they exterminated everyone who arrived at the place.

Judge Halevi:  You spoke of a particular case of separation
of the families and that they cheated you and told you that
within a short time you would see your families again?

Witness Gurfein: This was on that night, before the
deportation, when they took the parents and the children
away from us. The people who still remained in the camp
began to plead that they should leave the families behind as
they had promised. They calmed them down by saying that this
was nothing, they were taking them only to some new
habitation - we would be reunited within a week.

Q. Who said this?

A. The Gestapo commander in Sanok, Albert Schulz.

Q. That was a lie?

A. Of course, seeing that on the following day they
transferred them by train to an extermination camp.

Judge Raveh:   Did you meet any other persons from your town
after the War?

Witness Gurfein: Yes. I met people. There were those who hid
and who were not included in this transport. They hid with
Christians and managed in this way to be saved. But of those
who were on the train, I didn't meet anyone.

Q. Do you have an idea how many Jews of your town were

A. I think that it would be possible to count them on the
fingers of one hand - five or six people.

Q. Out of a population of 13,000?

A. Yes.

Q. Did your uncle survive?

A. No. They took him on the second transport and he

Attorney General: I call Mr. Noach Zabludowicz.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Zabludowicz: Also Hebrew.

Attorney General: The witness speaks Hebrew.

The witness is sworn.

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

A. Noach Zabludowicz.

Attorney General: Do you live in Holon?

Presiding Judge: Age and address, please.

Attorney General: Yes. You live in Holon, at 14 Rehov
Kalischer. You were born in 1919 in Ciechanow, and you work
at the Electricity Corporation in Tel Aviv?

Witness Zabludowicz: Yes.

Q. At the outbreak of the Second World War were you in

A. Yes.

Q. Where is Ciechanow?

A. It is near the border of Eastern Germany, a little more
than 30 kilometres away.

Q. Was this annexed to Germany as "Eingegliederte Gebiete"
(Incorporated Territories) after the occupation of Poland?

A. It was "Neue Heimat" (new homeland).

Q. Was it annexed to Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. Wasn't it part of the Generalgouvernement?

A. No.

Q. I understand that after the outbreak of the War and the
transfer of people from Ciechanow to Warsaw, you remained in
Warsaw until the surrender and thereafter you returned to

A. Yes.

Q. Tell us about the way back. Do you remember that the
train stopped at one of the stations?

A. This was at the station Nasielsk, about 30 kilometres
from home. When the train reached the station, the
stationmaster came out - he was a German in a brown uniform
- of the SS I believe - and ordered all the Jews to leave
the train. Not one left - and most of the passengers on the
train were Jews. When he turned to us a second and a third
time and no one got off, he said that he wanted everyone to
leave the train. All alighted from the train and stood there
in rows. With me were my father and my two brothers. My
mother had already returned some time before in a cart with
my small brothers and sisters from Warsaw. Near me stood a
woman, a teacher, with a few-months' old baby girl in her
arms. Then the station commander turned to the crowd and
said: "All Jews are to step out" and no one did so. He came
up directly to the woman who was standing near me and asked
her, in German: "Are you Jewish?" She answered in Polish
that she didn't understand. He didn't ask anything further.
He shot the baby. The woman shrieked and then he shot her,
too, and said:

     "Now, all of you get inside, back into the train."

Q. Let us come to the middle of 1940. Did any particular
administration come to Ciechanow then?

A. A German administration. It was the SS, SD, the Gestapo
and the SA.

Q. A civil administration?

A. German civil administration.

Q. What happened to the Jews when they came?

A. As soon as they came, they began to issue anti-Jewish
decrees. They issued identity cards, on the first page of
which there was written in large letters the word "Jude."
They published a law whereby Jews had to wear the Star of
David on their chests, on the left-hand side, with the word
"Jude," and a patch of yellow cloth on their back. Jews were
forbidden to walk on the pavements. Jews had to remove their
hats before any person in German uniform. The Jews were
ordered to report every morning at six at the market place
in order to go out to work. When all the Jews had been lined
up, the Mayor - the "Buergermeister"came out and all the
Jews took off their hats and said: "Good morning, Mr.
Mayor," and his reply was "Good morning, swine." And with a
whip in his hand he passed amongst the ranks and hit anyone
he chanced upon until he was sated with Jewish blood, and
they then detailed the detachments for forced labour - road
building, cleaning roads, buildings, etc.

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