The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 30
(Part 2 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Q. Where did you reach the mainland?

A. With the last piece of bread, 200 gr., which we got as our last ration we spent nine days before reaching Luebeck.

Q. What happened in Luebeck?

A. The ship was not given permission to land, because we sailed with a yellow flag, which meant quarantine, sick people. Then we turned round and the crew wanted to get rid of us at all costs; then we encountered the big "ship of millions," which was sunk with Jews; they, too, did not want to take us, but they lowered coffee down to us.

Q. Who did not want to take you aboard, the Jews?

A. No, the ship's crew.

Presiding Judge: What is the "ship of millions?"

Witness Neumann: It was the ship of millions collected from all camps, named "Cap Ancona," which was sunk.

Q. Why do you call it "ship of millions?"

A. Because millions of Jews were drowned there.

Q. Millions? That cannot be.

A. Very many Jews were drowned there. It was an enormously big ship, and we called it "ship of millions."

Attorney General: Afterwards your ship caught fire, correct? Answer my questions. Your ship caught fire, and then you managed to jump onto the shore. You yourself and a few others and locked yourselves in a latrine.

Witness Neuman: There were five of us, and we locked ourselves in a latrine; we didn't open the door, even though the crew was knocking outside and promised they wouldn't harm us. We didn't believe them anymore.

Q. The Germans opened fire, didn't they?

A. When we approached the other ship one of the sailors lowered the yellow flag and advised us to keep quiet and not to reveal that we were Jews, but to say we were refugees from Danzig. But when he himself went aboard the other ship he announced that we were Jews, so the crew which had no captain - he was on shore - manned the machine guns.

Q. Did they open fire?

A. Yes.

Q. They opened fire. You were wounded. You still have visible scars from the bullet wounds. You sustained two bullet wounds, correct?

A. Yes.

[Witness shows two bullet scars.]

Attorney General: How were you set free?

Witness Neuman: We were on this ship until the English took us off.

Q. You returned to the ship?

A. We remained on this ship, we jumped from our burning ship through the fire onto this armoured ship off Kiel. We remained on the ship until the English entered Kiel and liberated us. Then the ship with all the dead and burned on board landed in Eckernfoerde. Six could still be saved and remained alive. Only 190 survived from this ship.

Q. How many had gone aboard?

A. Three hundred and thirty five.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you wish to question the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Neumann, you have finished your testimony.

Attorney General: I call Mr. Shmuel Horowitz to the witness stand.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew, Mr. Horowitz?

Witness: I speak Yiddish.

[The witness is sworn.]

Attorney General: Are you a tailor by vocation?

Witness Horowitz: Yes.

Q. Do you live in Holon, 8 Tchernichovski Street?

A. Yes.

Q. From 1922 you lived in Kolomea in Eastern Galicia, and there, too, you were working as a tailor?

A. Yes.

Q. When the German army entered Kolomea in 1941 you were ordered to work as a tailor for the local Gestapo?

A. Yes.

Q. There were several "actions" against the Jews in Kolomea?

A. It happened on the first day, when the SS and the Schutzpolizei came in, on the first night they went to the great synagogue, placed barrels of petrol inside and the whole synagogue collapsed. The whole roof and the windows, everything sank into the ground. On the second day they said that Communists were hiding in the Jewish quarter. They carried out an enormous "action" and took away about two thousand people.

Q. What happened to these two thousand?

A. These two thousand people were locked up and were kept alive for a couple of days. Afterwards they were loaded on closed trucks covered on top with canvas, so the people inside wouldn't be seen. Schutzpolizei men were seated in front and local militia men were standing in the rear. Whoever stuck out his head was hit on his head with a stick.

Q. What happened to them afterwards?

A. They were taken to Szeparowce, a forest about 3 km. from Kolomea, where they were all shot dead.

Q. This was the first "action." Were there more "actions?"

A. Many "actions." Then they came to the Jewish Council and demanded household equipment for themselves, the best stuff, furniture. They should see to it that the most expensive stuff around should be supplied at once. If not, they would kill all the Jews. And the best tailors to be found in Kolomea should be sent too. I was ordered to report with my partner Weiser, of blessed memory, at the Gestapo to work for them.

Q. Did you work there?

A. Yes, I went to the first Gestapo man. His name was Weissmann. I came into his apartment. He went over to the other apartment. I went over to the window.

Q. The details aren't important. How long did you work as a tailor?

A. The whole time until the end of 1943.

Q. In the meantime, were there "actions" in Kolomea?

A. There were a great many "actions." There were "actions" almost every week. But big "actions" were an exception. Every week there was an "action."

Q. What did an "action" look like?

A. The ghetto was divided into three sections. The first, the second and the third. From all over the province, they brought them in from the whole area, from the small towns, all were brought to Kolomea, into the ghetto. You would find fifteen to twenty people in one room. It was just awful to see when you came in at night.

Q. In every house?

A. In every room, they were lying there like herrings, one next to the other. Then they carried out the first "action." There were three "jarnitzes," three sections. We lived in the first one. Those who worked for the Gestapo got the order to live in the first section, the first "jarnitze."

Q. How many people were you in the first section?

A. In Kolomea alone there were up to 22,000. And together with those that were brought in, it came to about 60,000 people.

Q. You haven't answered my question. How many lived in your section?

A. In a small lane there were up to three thousand persons.

Q. Describe to us the "action" now. Don't give us other details - the Court has already heard them from other witnesses. I am asking you to describe to us what did the "actions" look like in Kolomea.

A. The first "action"...

Q. We have already heard about the first "action." What was the next "action?"

A. There they set the ghetto on fire, because the Jews went into hiding. Not all of them came out. So they threw hand grenades in. All the houses were on fire, and they stayed there until night and kept watch to see if any of the Jews could not bear the heat and tried to escape. The SS and Schutzpolizei would wait in the back and grab the Jew and throw him into the fire again so that the third section was soon liquidated...

Q. How many Jews were there?

A. Who could count them? It is impossible to know exactly how many were there. I couldn't know because obviously I didn't count them. It was terribly crowded in the attics and on the floors people slept everywhere. It was terribly crowded. There were many thousands.

Q. What did the following "actions" look like?

A. About the next "action." I saw a case, for example, in the other "jarnitze," the other section, where my brother-in- law was living. So I went there. I thought maybe I could do something because I could move freely more or less because they knew me, they liked my work. Nevertheless I heard "verfluchter Jude" (damned Jew). But that is another story. I saw a child lying on the ground with its body twisting; maybe it was wounded or something; a woman, maybe the mother, I don't know, took the child in her arms. Hartel, the Schutzpolizei-Kommissar, ran after her and fired another shot at the woman together with the child.

Q. In spite of all the "actions," there were some Jews who managed to hide?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Germans know about this?

A. They certainly knew about it.

Q. What happened at the beginning of 1943?

A. There was another case. Kommissar Leideritz, he was the SS Kommissar, ordered the Jewish Council to establish a hospital. "You may arrange a hospital for yourselves, you have certainly got a lot of sick people."

Q. How many Jews were there then in Kolomea?

A. There could have been about 40,000 people still left, certainly. So a hospital was put up. A lot of people did not want to go in. Everybody knew it was a trick. By then they no longer believed them. Yet women who had no choice, who didn't have husbands, who had nobody, about thirty women went in and lay there sick with two small children. Then one day, Knackendoffel of the Criminal Police, the head of the Department was called Warmann, and Knackendoffel was the representative of the Department. He came to the hospital with his dog, a big black dog. The dog stayed outside. He began shouting at the sick people to go downstairs. So the women had to run downstairs in their nightshirts. As for the two children - he opened the window and tossed them out. And two women were unable to get up. He shot them in their beds. Then he went downstairs and told them to lie on the ground with their faces down and he shot all of them.

Q. Did you see this?

A. Yes, I saw it with my own eyes. I was then at the Jewish Council. The hospital was opposite the Jewish Council. Just as he left I went upstairs. Shots could be heard; when I got upstairs I saw the two women lying in their beds full of blood.

Q. What happened to you later? What happened to your son?

A. About my son - that was towards the end, what happened to him. I worked for the Gestapo throughout this time. Then came the last "action."

Q. When was that?

A. That was in 1943. I happened to go to the Dienststelle (office) for a fitting. The Kommissar had issued an order not to go to private apartments for such fittings but only to the Dienststelle. So I went there to fit a suit on one of them. I looked around. I saw all the Schutzpolizei and Gestapo people, nobody was allowed to leave. Kommissar Leideritz said to me: "You may stay, you can't go home now." About three to four hours later I realized what had taken place, it was the last transport of about 6,000 people who were all taken to the Criminal Police.

Q. What happened to them afterwards? What happened to these 6,000 people?

A. They were taken to the Szeparowce forest and they were all shot there.

Q. Now would you go on to tell us what happened to you subsequently?

A. He said to me: "You may go home now. Nothing will happen at the Umschlagstelle (transit point)." That's what they called the place where we worked. When I returned they asked me - all those who worked there - and the late Weiser: "Where were you?" "They wouldn't let me go," I said. "Did you see the 'action'?" they asked. I answered: "Yes, I did." Half an hour later SS and Schutzpolizei came again and surrounded the Umschlagstelle, shouting: "Umschlagstelle raus" (out). All of us got outside and Leideritz came up to us: "Horowitz, Weiser this side, the good side." My late wife and daughter - my daughter had been working with me - managed to get away from the bad side and sneaked behind my back. My son remained standing on the bad side. So I went up to the Kommissar and told him that he should free him since he was the tailor for trousers. "How old are you?" he asked him. He replied: "16." "Get back, get to the bad side," he told him.

Q. Did you see your son afterwards?

A. He was taken away and shot with the 6,000.

Q. Meanwhile, only a few hundred Jews were left in Kolomea?

A. Only a few people were left, including those who had hidden. We continued to work at the Umschlagstelle for the Gestapo. One day Frost appeared. I forget his rank, but I remember his name. I remember all their names.

Q. What happened?

A. He said: "You will remain here, you got a courtyard, a well, and you will go on working." It was a lane off Walawa Street. It was at night. In the morning, at 4 o'clock, the "action" started. They also came to my room - the late Weiser was still alive - and shouted: "Out into the street, out." There was a little child outside, about three years old. I picked it up, wrapped it in a blanket because it was winter, and took it with me. When I went out into Walawa Street, I saw many Jews lying on the ground. Frost said to me: "Hurwitz - at the time my name was Hurwitz and not Horowitz - whose child is this?" I found it in the street, so I took it," I answered. He turned to the group and asked one of the men, "Where do you work?" He answered: "At the Kreishauptmann's place." Then he said to him: "Take the child from Hurwitz, it will be better for him." Then he shouted, "Get up!" They came at us from everywhere with sticks, beat us, and chased us to the Criminal Police building. Whoever was strong outran the others. Everybody tried to get away from the clubs. Those who stayed behind were shot on the spot. At the Criminal Police we were kept in the yard, not inside, lying on the ground. Frost arrived; he was running the "action." He selected thirty people - doctors, pharmacists, two tailors - of various professions.

Q. Please be brief, Mr. Horowitz, what happened next?

A. We were told to go home, to take all the essentials we need and to go to the Aryan quarter.

Q. Did you go home?

A. Yes.

Q. You saw the destruction in the ghetto? You saw what had happened?

A. When I returned home I saw terrible things. There was a great deal of blood in the streets; children and people were lying all over the streets. They had been hiding and were caught in the meantime.

Q. There were people who hanged themselves, is that true?

A. I went into a room where my friends lived and wanted to tell them that the place was judenfrei, there was no use staying there. So I went in and saw five women hanging from towels.

Q. Did you run away then?

A. No. We were transferred to Waleszaze Street and stayed there for seven weeks, working for them. They did not want to do without us.

Q. They took you to the cemetery after that, right?

A. After seven weeks all thirty artisans were taken to the cemetery.

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