The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Q. Perhaps you will read the extract in Hebrew - perhaps you
could translate one extract into Hebrew. The title of the
leaflet was - ?

A. The title of the leaflet was A Voice from the Depths.
Part of it says:

"And so, Hitler has not attained his objective. And he shall
not be able to attain it. The Jewish people lives! Out of 17
million, over 5 million have been exterminated. But the
Jewish people of 12 million fights with greater
determination and force for its existence and for its better
future. The Jewish masses throughout the world share our
tragedy with us; they suffer together with us, and are doing
all they can to arouse the whole world concerning our
situation and coming to our help. They are fighting with
great energy and enthusiasm in order to reestablish Jewish
life anew and to bring about an economic and social

     "Only one, sole historic compensation can be considered
     after the flood of Jewish blood that has been spilled:
     an independent, democratic Jewish State in which the
     tortured Jewish people will have an unrestricted
     opportunity for development and productive existence."

Q. What was the date of that leaflet?

A. 22 August 1944, on the Aryan side of Warsaw, after the
destruction of the masses of the Jewish people in Warsaw.

Presiding Judge: Who wrote this leaflet?

A. I think that Berman worked out the idea. At any rate, we
afterwards sat down together and both of us wrote it.

Presiding Judge: Please give me the leaflet. This leaflet
will be exhibit T/256.

Attorney General: You knew then that five million Jews had
been exterminated?

A. I think that we weren't wrong then.

Q. Then, perhaps, it was only five million. Did you also
fight in the Polish rebellion in Warsaw?

A. Yes.

Q. My last question to you - why did the Warsaw Ghetto
revolt, why, in your opinion, as you knew the Jewish
realities in Poland and other places, why didn't the others
revolt? Why only the Warsaw Ghetto, and was it really only
the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. I think that is wrong. And I say this from my experience
from the period that I was a commander of fighters. It is an
error to think that only the Warsaw Ghetto fought and
rebelled. In several places the last of the Jews tried to
revolt. I cannot accept the idea that my comrades in
Czestochowa, who had less arms, less Jews, less fighters,
and they fell upon the Germans with their fingernails and
fought until the last moment - I cannot accept the idea that
they did not fight. I am convinced that they put into this
struggle of theirs not less than we in Warsaw, even though
they did not achieve the same effect.

Q. And what happened in Bialystok?

A. In Bialystok, too, there was an organized revolt, if I am
not mistaken, on 16 August 1943. In Bedzin there was an
uprising of Jews, of members of the Jewish fighting force,
in the bunkers; in Cracow there was the revolt of the Jewish
youth, and the same thing in many other places.

Q. And what about the extermination camps themselves?

A. This is a chapter which, with all its great horror,
contained a ray of light, although this was already at the
very end. If the last of the Jews, who were there, still had
the strength, in Treblinka, in Sobibor, and in Janoska, to
carry out underground activity in Hazag, in Peltzri, in
Skarzysko, and Radom, in the camp at Piotrkow...

Q. And in Auschwitz?

A. In Auschwitz the Jewish underground was integrated with
the general underground. But the very fact that this was
possible in Treblinka after the murder of 750,000 Jews, and
possibly more than that - in my estimation - the very fact
that the last of the Jews were able to revolt, points to the
fact that they gave proof of unusual heroism.

Q. This was a reply to my second question; namely that not
only the Warsaw Ghetto revolted. But why, in the Warsaw
Ghetto, were they capable of the action that took place?

A. I think that the conditions for fighting - and if we are
talking of a revolt in the ghettos, it began in Warsaw -
well on the eastern border area, which was much nearer to
the swamps and the forests, there was a large movement of
Jewish partisans, at least 20,000 Jewish youth fought in
Byelorussia, in Lituania and in Ukraine. Then it was not
only that we were different, the form of fighting was
different. It is true that the Jewish fighting force had a
point of view of principle in this matter. It wanted - not
only because the forest was far away and it was impossible
to get there, it wasn't possible to get near the forest - it
was an ideological approach to fight in the ghetto. For we
couldn't allow ourselves, we the younger ones, the braver
ones, to abandon the masses of the people, the elderly
persons, our sick, to leave them in the ghetto so that they
could be taken to Treblinka. Therefore we deliberately chose
to revolt. And not only in Warsaw. This was the reason for
my journey to Cracow, to go into the ghetto and to organize
the ghetto to fight, on the day the order would be given,
inside the ghetto, in order to rescue what could be saved.
If not life itself - at least our honour. But, in Warsaw,
the conditions were much better. In Warsaw there was a
larger Polish underground. In Warsaw we could nevertheless
do more, but even in Warsaw we were able to obtain arms only
after the Germans themselves began selling arms, and they
began to do so - German soldiers - after Stalingrad and El

And then we were able to prepare for January and April to a
small extent.

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

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

Judge Raveh:   How did you arrive at this figure of five
million, which appears in this leaflet?

Witness Zuckerman: At the time we calculated the area of
Poland before the first of September 1939, and we reached
the conclusion that three million and three hundred thousand
Jews at least lived on this land - close to three million
five hundred thousand Jews. We imagined that a certain
percentage, very small, had managed to flee in the wake of
the Red Army to Soviet Russia, and we deducted this. After
that we knew about the transport of the Jews of Hungary to
Auschwitz, we knew about the execution of the Jews of
Slovakia, firstly in Belzec in 1942, the transports that
arrived there. We were in touch with other countries. We
couldn't assist them, but we knew about it. And in
accordance with this, we made the account. And I believe
that, at that time, we wrote that we estimated that more
than a million were still incarcerated in the concentration
camps and were about to be executed.

Judge Halevi:  You mentioned that you attacked an officer of
the Jewish police, if I understand you correctly; who was

Witness Zuckerman: Yes. He was a converted Jew, a colonel in
the Polish police before the war, Shaminski who before the
War did not have any contact with Jewish life. But because
he was a non-Aryan, he was put into the ghetto and placed at
the head of the Jewish police. A man who was alien to, and
cut off from, Jewish life, like many of his colleagues.

Q. Why did you attack him to kill him?

A. We couldn't execute all the traitors. He was a
collaborator - even though he did not carry arms. But the
very fact that Jewish policemen who thought that, because of
this, they would save their families or their wives,
collaborated and used to reveal places where Jews were
hiding or where there were any auxiliary units, we deemed it
correct to take vengeance on them, and we did so. But he was
only the first in a longer list.

Q. The Attorney General submitted to us yesterday an
official report of the SS commander in the district of
Galicia to his officer Katzmann who was in charge of the
whole of Galicia.

A. He became known to me as a result of the Brody episode.

Q. The SS commander writes there: "During the operations
there were also other terrible difficulties, since the Jews
were planning to avoid the deportations. They tried not only
to escape but hid in bunkers. Underground bunkers were
discovered which had been skillfully camouflaged. The
approaches to the bunkers were concealed in such a way that
they could not be found without a knowledge of the place.
Here only the participation of a Jew, who had been promised
who knows what, availed." He quotes as an example the
Stalingrad bunker, which consisted of three large bunkers in
the Rogatin Ghetto in Galicia, and there 60 Jews concealed
themselves, and that this bunker was revealed by treachery.
Do you know of an instance of revealing bunkers?

A. Yes. I know of the revealing of bunkers and other acts by
Jewish collaborators. These were people who weren't known in
Jewish public life. And evidently, as degradation is of
general application, some Jews were also found who, because
their life was given to them as ransom, were ready to
sacrifice others. I know of cases also at the time of the
revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Q. A year after the Warsaw Ghetto revolt, in the pamphlet A
Voice from the Depths,  you say that you alerted the whole
world. How did you alert the world, and when?

A. We did whatever we could. Between us and the outside
world there was a censor - there were the Polish authorities
in London. At first we passed on news items by the secret
radio station, that was at the disposal of the Armia
Krajowa. On 20 April they broadcast the news. And we knew
that on one of those days, there was something on the radio
in London, but not much. At a later stage we transmitted
reports constantly by means of airplanes which came to take
the mail of the Polish underground, and in this way we also
used to report to London.

Q. When?

A. This was at the end of 1943 and also in 1944. The
material which reached Palestine, also One Year in
Treblinka, the first full evidence of a person who was there
a whole year and who was amongst those who revolted, and who
came to Warsaw, and we attended to him and ordered him to
write down his experiences - this, too, we passed on in
Polish to London. And after the War I saw this in a Hebrew
translation, in 1945.

Q. When did it reach London?

A. It reached London in 1944.

Judge Halevi:  Thank you.

Presiding Judge: Along what route did the aircraft fly?
Where did they land? Tell us briefly.

Witness Zuckerman: Even if I wanted to make it longer - I
don't know. I was accustomed not to ask questions, which
would compromise me afterwards. But I knew from hints of my
Polish comrades, that in certain surroundings, in clearings
in the forests they used to give signals at night in
accordance with London radio - some song, they used to give
signs, light fires, when all this area was guarded by men of
the underground. And then they would land. On that day we
would not receive mail, but somewhere else when it was
convenient to land.

Attorney General: Will the Presiding Judge: permit me, in
the light of the questions of His Honour Judge Dr. Halevi,
to ask one question? Was the incidence of informing and
betrayal limited only to Jews? Did this also not occur
amongst others, when they thought that their lives could be
saved - non-Jews?
Witness Zuckerman Very many. At all events, what people saw
on the surface, and I was for a long time on the Aryan side
of Warsaw, people did not see the true state of affairs, not
the good, not the humble, but the informer and the traitor.
They were not the majority, they were not even a large
minority. But they existed. And I suppose that the Polish
underground suffered a great deal from the collaboration,
and, as I got to know afterwards, all the underground
movements that were fighting, suffered from traitors, some
less, some more.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mr. Zuckerman. You
have completed your evidence. We shall now adjourn.

The Session will be resumed this afternoon at 3.30.

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