The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/poland/wlodawa/wlodawa.016

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Life and Fall of Wlodowa: Trial of the Executioner of Sobibor
Summary: from the Yizkor book of Wlodawa
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project (CANADA)
Keywords: Lichtmann,Sobibor,Wlodowa

Archive/File: places/poland/wlodawa/wlodawa.016
Last-modified: 1993/03/22

              The Life and Fall of Wlodawa and Surroundings
                   Translated by Shoshana Leszczynski
             (Transcribed by Ken McVay,

        [Please refer to Wlodawa.001 for transcription comments]

                             Shimon Kanz

A jury of judges, prosecutors and defendors  who arrived from
Germany and headed by the Israeli judge Dr. Beniski, heard testimony for
3 days at the court of Tel Aviv. The testimony was given by Mrs. Ada
Lichtmann who survived after the revolt and who had refused to go to
Germany in order to testify at the trial of the executioners of Sobibor.
Her testimony led to a loud and stubborn victory of the persecution
 over the defense. The more she continued in her descriptions of
the hell she had experienced the more appeased the noise of the
prosecutors and their questions and comments stopped and they lowered
their heads.

In the eyes of the Jewish judge, who himself had tasted the camps of
Hitler, stood tears and his voice hardly found its way through throat.

                        SPECTACLES OF CRUELTY

"Don't ask me for exact dates", said Mrs. Lichtmann to the provocating
and torturing questions of the lawyers. "At that time no calender
existed but on the other hand I remember the events of those days which
I am describing because they will remain deeply rooted in my memory
throughout my life."

The awful depressed the mood and atmosphere of the courtroom. Horrow
accompanied the route from Krakow from where the Germans had openly
exiled her, through Miliz, Dubinki, Charaschow, and other places on the
bloody road to Sobibor. Physical and mental pains, blows and
humiliations. Her husband Mark Weismann was killed with stones during
the work in the camp Postak.

The strikes and blows of the SS-men and Ukrainians while passing the
"Spalier" (their lines) before the entrance of the concentration points.

Already at the beginning of her simple words the lips whispered
automatically: "Is this possible?" From where did this woman with her
delicate face and blue eyes, take the strength to endure these tortures?
From where did she have the strength to tell again of her suffering?


She recalls events of Jews struck and shot on Dobinko. In Dobinko the
Jews were loaded on wagon trains that went to Charabishow.

Planes flew over the train shooting with machine guns into the wagons.
They lowered the planes so that we could see the faces of pilots. And
when they stopped the shooting for a while we heard them laughing. The
devilish laughter deafened the screaming of those laughing.

On the way somewhere near to Dubinko, they were taken out of the wagons
and the men and women were forced to strip off their clothes and to
begin dancing. The voice of Mrs. Lichtmann breaks off.

Her face reflects her feeling of tortures and inability to tell all. Her
words shiver and only an echoe  is heard of those awful days which
had become from day to day more terrible.

They were kept on the ground only one day. It was fenced in with barbed
wire and again they were loaded on the wagons, like cattle from the
slaughter and brought to Sobibor. Usually the journey from Charobichow
took several hours. But then it extended to eternity and no one,
neither Mrs. Lichtmann nor someone else from the survivors, remembers
how long they travelled in the closed wagons.

Nevertheless, the journey lasted for a few days and the German soldiers
were amused by their victims. There on the station before Sobibor the
Ukrainians broke into the wagons and plundered jewelry and those who did
not succeed to take of the ring of their finger in time, had the ring
taken off together with the finger... "You don't need either the finger
nor the ring any more" the wild Ukrainians consoled their victims! "Soon
you will be broiled and soap will be made from you, dist".

The Polish farmers also waited in front of the entrance to Sobibor and
shouted at the Jews in the transports. "Throw us your money, anyway it
will not redeem you from death, you are going to the gas chamber."

                     THE SPEECH TO THE TRANSPORTS

The shouts of the Poles penetrated into the conscience of those weakened
from hunger and thrust  pains and agony and they started
screaming and yelling thus deafening the camp.

The SS-man Michel who was called by the camp inhabitants "the speaker"
as he received the arrivals with a prepared speech, did not have what
 to say to the Polish Jews. Those were received with whips and
gunshots. The Polish farmers also shouted at the Jews from Holland,
Belgium, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Greece - but those did
not understand the meaning of their shouts.

At their arrival to the camp they were welcomed with a speech by Michel:
"You have to be disciplined. Strip off your clothes, make a nice bundle
of them and attach them to the luggage, in order to recognize them
immediately after the shower, because you will not receive other
clothes here."

Among the transport of 7,000 men with whom Ada Lichtmann arrived in the
year 1942 and who went on the same day to the gas chamber only three
women survived chosen to work in the laundry. With an indication of his
finger the SS-commander took her out of the line and asked her for
profession. When she answered that she was a teacher he and his
assistants broke out in laughter: "We will teach you to be a
laundress... Choose two other girls." Her closest friends Bela Sobol and
Sarka Katz were already beyond the gate on the way to the crematorium,
but she managed to get them out of the line.

The Jews believed the Germans and in astonishing order they packed their
belongings and after an hour not even one was alive, only a few
craftsmen were allowed to survive.


We three organized the laundry in the camp. Until then the German
officers too were dirty and lice-infected. In the course of time the
laundry was enlarged and women from other transports arriving daily were
distributed to us. The judges realized how Mrs. Lichtmann hesitates in
her narration and talk to her kindly: "Talk, remember as much as you

The tension in the hall extended also to the memory of the woman. She
feels the good eyes of Dr. Beinski on her and of the stenotypist, a
Lieutenant in the police Mrs. Hela Koslowski who stops her tears while
writing every word going out of her mouth.

The Germans do not want to hear about what she knows to tell but what
she has seen with her own eyes. But how can she not tell about the
shouts of women who arrived with the night transports. The heartbreaking
shouts and screaming ceased for a moment and then once again beginning
penetrating the limbs and soul. The SS-men boasted the next day that
they raped the most beautiful women in front of the whole transport.

Generally the transports arrived during the day. Once on a hot summerday
a transport arrived with thursty  people as it had been for several
days since they had tasted a drop of water. The SS-officer allowed some
to go and fetch water, but there the "Unterscharfu"hrer" Michel was
already waiting for them and he made them run to a dug uphole which
served as a privy and forced them to smear their body and face with the
excrement. And thus he brought them back to the thursty  people of
the transport. From another transport young men were forced to beat each
other to death. The last one remaining from this terrible battle was
shot by the Germans.

                        HEROIC DEEDS IN SOBIBOR

The stories of Mrs. Lichtmann and her husband whom she met in Sobibor
after the revolt are horrifying.

They tell how the semi-alive victims tried to maintain to the last
moment not only their human faces but also their human soulds. They tell
about women who tried to save their children and were desparately driven
to perform heroic deeds: About young mothers who attempted with their
own bodies to cover and to defend their children. They tell about the
Jewish officer of the Spanish civil war who immediately after his
arrival tried organizing a revolt. The Germans found out about it and
they chose 72 men and sent them to the crematorium. This massacre was
supervised by the "Oberscharfu"hrer" Frenzel whose trial is taking place
at the present inferment. Returning from the scene of the murder he
ordered the quick erection of a temporary stage out of some planks,
called for the orchestra, gathered the  women and told them to sing and

This Frenzel once caught a boy red-handed, eating sardines, he gathered
all the Jews from the barracks and in front of all he shot the child.
Sobibor did not become at once a concentration of plants and workshops.
The camp gradually expanded, developed slowly, erecting all kind  
of workshops. There work was done only for the German officers and
guards. Coats, dresses, furs were sewn there for them, their wives and
mistresses. Very few Jews were sent to the forest to shop  trees.
Once the Jews of such a group attacked their guards, killed them and
escaped. The Germans took revenge on other Jews. But all considered the
heroism of the escaped as a miracle and dreamt of doing the same.

                      THE REBELLION COMMITTEE

Sasha Pizurski who was brought to the camp with a group of prisoners of
the Russian army immediately formed a committee to prepare a revolt. To
this committee belonged also the heroes Leibl Feldhendler, Shaul
Felischmann and others who strongly detested the Germans and had decided

In the barracks weapons were started to appear: axes and knives.  How
dangerous this was!  How much courage, cunning, patience you had to use
in order to conceal this.  Many efforst of the spirit and mind, will and
courage had to be used to take guns, rifles, bullets from the
storehouses.  The participants of this operation were divided into
groups.  The plan was worked out to the smallest details: Every group
and its duties - really imaginative tasks: Some had to assault the
guardtowers where the guards sat with machineguns; some had to tempt
the officers into coming into the workshops; others had to attack the
guards that were wandering about. Special men had to cut off the
telephone and electricity lines and tear down the barbed wires - to make
passage ways.


The revolt was fixed for October 14, 1943. 700 condemned to death
enthusiastically took their fate into their own hands. Until the
prearranged sign was given every group had performed its tasks well.
Nevertheless things which had not been expected in advance happened.
Guns started firing from both sides, axes and knives greedy for blood
shone in the air and the whole camp changed into a battlefield. On this
day, October 14, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon there began on the
hellground of Sobibor the shedding of the malignent blood of the SS-men
and their Ukrainian assistants. Those who had been so sure of themselves
when millions of innocent women and children were led to death, seemed
now anxious and inferior, they became confused and ran like mice into
the trap looking for a hiding place.

The SS-men and the police pursued the escapers. They mobilized airplanes
and the Polish farmers of the area to help them pursue the fleeing Jews.
Only a few pitied the victims and did not hand them over to the Germans.
Out of 700 escaping from Sobibor only about 30 survived. Also Mrs. Ada
Lichtmann and two of her friends, one of them a Polish woman called
Alina Stern-Sofermann, who is living in Israel succeeded, with help of
some young Poles, in arriving to the partisans in the woods of Parzew
and continued their war against the German army. But until they reached
the forest they wandered around day and night around the camp, living
of tree leaves and poisonous mushrooms that so burned their
intestines that they wished to die.

They lowered their eyes and one of them was turning his head from side
to side replied: "No, we did not easily agree to accept such a mission.
It was forced upon us officially". And the second added: "Its a good
thing that you did not agree to come to Germany,,,, so we were enabled
to come to Israel, a wonderful journey." One of the present in the hall
heard this conversation said: "The blood of the Jews shed by the Germans
flowed like a river. Don't you think that by defending the murderers you
emphasize the responsibility of the German people of what took place."
The two defenders ignoring the question avoided answering and the
question remained unanswered.

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