The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/poland/wlodawa/wlodawa.014


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Life and Fall of Wlodowa: Again in the Forest
Summary: from the Yizkor book of Wlodawa - After the escape from Adampol,
         we return to the forests and rejoin the partisans
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project (CANADA)
Keywords: Wlodowa

Archive/File: places/poland/wlodawa/wlodawa.014
Last-modified: 1993/04/22

              The Life and Fall of Wlodawa and Surroundings
                   Translated by Shoshana Leszczynski
             (Transcribed by Ken McVay, kmcvay@nizkor.org)

        [Please refer to Wlodawa.001 for transcription comments]

                          AGAIN IN THE FOREST
                           Eisik Rothenberg

When we were deep in the forest three gazelles jumped in front of us
"this is a good sign" I said "We will succeed" and we rushed on.

In the forest it was dangerous to walk during the day but we did not
have any choice.

This was the only possibility to gain distance from the area of the camp.
While running I felt at my neck as if the chain was still there... the
feeling haunted us quite a long time, even when we had already been sure
of our liberation.

Tuvia agreed that the signs were good but implored "Do me a favour, slow
down your rushing, I cannot run after you, I feel as if I'm going to
fall." I reduced my speed.

We arrived at the edge of the village Lubman which bordered with the
forest, where the forester lived. Tuvia entered and I remained outside.
The forester gave him a slice of bread and even for me he brought bread
and milk. Then the forester explained to us the way where to go.
According to him we knew that there were no Germans in this region, and
therefore we passed and there we found a farmer with his carriage. He
told us to mount and brought us to a hut not far from the village
Podgosi. There we descended and he explained to us where the place of
the partisans was.

When the farmer was till explaining a carriage with 2 horses
approached. In the carriage sat Jewish partisans. They brought us to the
partisans and we found there a few of those who had escaped together
with me from Sobibor.

                          AT THE HEADQUARTER

At he headquarters of the partisans which was known as "Jechiel's
group", no one wanted to believe that we had just now escaped and had
been rescued under such circumstances. Jechiel himself interrogated us
and looked doubtful at our story of the chain and of Selinger the
supervisor of the camp. He could not believe that there were still Jews
at all in this region. He suspected us to be spies, sent by the Germans.
I don't know how this would have ended if there had not been some men
who had escaped with me and could testify that I had been in Sobibor.
After the tiring interrogation and the testimony of the escaped from
Sobibor they still did not believe us entirely. So, first of all they
separated us. I was sent to one group and Tuvia to another. I don't know
whether we were watched over or not, at any rate, I neither saw nor felt
anything. On the contrary, I felt equal to everyone else in all matters.

                             IN THE TABOR

After a week this group which had already contained 100 people went to
the woods of Mokoshi. During this time Jechiel became convinced of my
loyalty and I received a gun. I went along with the group, but on the
way I had to join together with Tuvia the people of the "TABOR" (camp)
and the group continued. The "TABOR" was run by Nachman from Krassiwka.
50 people lived there: men, women and children and even elders. This was
a group of unarmed people that was under the supervision of Jechiel, if
someone did wrong in any way in his group, Jechiel did not kill him, God
forbid, but sent him to the "TABOR". If a lost Jew was brought from the
forest and they did not trust him he was sent to the "TABOR". There were
a few who possessed weapons and so we could defend ourselves in case of
small attacks.

 "TABOR" or we slept under the trees. The armed men stood
on guard. During the night they left for the villages to bring the
rations which the village - heads or leader of the villager promised to
supply: a cow or a young bull.

The problem of bread was more difficult, as we had to pass from house to
house gathering slices of bread, but finally the village head also took
upon himself the responsibility for this. For a few weeks, the "TABOR"
wandered from place to place. If we learnt that the Germans intended to
surround us - we moved on.

One day Jechiel and some partisans came riding to ask after us and they
left. Suddenly, a moment after they had just disappeared, the "AKA"-men
(the Polish army organization)-men attacked up "Rance dogury" that is
"hands up". We, the armed were so surprised of the suddenness of this
that we handed them over our guns.

Some of us who were not in their field of vision, escaped deep into the
forest.

At the same time, more or less, the Russians parachooted  Jews and
Poles in uniforms and started to organize special partisan divisions and
since then there began the formation of a regular army.

They also parachooted  arms into the forest and a military movement
was felt. From day to day we felt that the ground under our feet
stabilized more and more.

                             LIBERATION

There were rumors that the Sowjet Army was approaching. We guessed this
also from the tenseness of the Germans: They tried with force to cross
the forest and were pushed back. The partisans were already quite strong
of defeating them.

Now each day brought news. Everyone felt that liberation's day was near.
When August 24, 1944 arrived we heard that the Sowjet army was already
in Wlodowa. After the Russian advance partisans were sent to different
woods. The group of Jechiel was located in Lublin. I was then 19 years
old and weak so I was told that I could go where I would like. Though I
did know that in Wlodowa there was not a single Jew, I went there. I
trembled nervously upon seeing the streets where every stone had been
familiar to me.

Now I did not recognize anything, everything was destroyed and ruined.
The Germans had cleared the town from Jews, had executed the "Judenrein
Aktzia" precisely and among this devastation I stood alone, the sole
survivor of my whole family, my head bowed towards the earth which had
absorbed the blood of my relatives. I fell down on the ruins of our
house and from my eyes tears flowed.

                      "KEFER AVOIT" IN SOBIBOR

Sobibor had fulfilled its duty and was smitten. The Germans made it
equal to the ground. There was no sign of the extermination houses, of
the cruel bloodshed and other murders. There remained only the pierced
barbed wire fences and the barracks where the murderers had lived and
feated.

Mourning and with a bowed head, we stood a little group of Jews from
Wlodowa and the surroundings, at this horrible place to offer the last
honour to our relatives and our dearests. Sobibor, had formerly been a
naive name unknown to the world. And now - a cursed word, a name of a
place, that had drunk the blood of 750,000 old men, women and children.
May this name always be cursed forever. And may these people be curse
who participated in these murders. I could not remain in the
surroundings of Wlodowa. The deadly silence destroyed the remainder of
the energy I still possessed. The Poles who did not stop searching among
the ruins to find among the burned Jews legal booty, devoured with me
their hostile eyes that I had dared to survive. I left this place
forever.

On Passover's Eve I arrived at Atlit and this was the happiest day of my
life.

During the day we did regular work in the 

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