Dr. Servatius: It is also possible to translate it “I
think.” But these doctors have very soft hearts, and they
tend to give these certificates in abundance. Such
certificates are not acceptable to a Court, if the other
side does not agree to their submission. We need an
official confirmation here. Previously, it was said in the
first certificate that the witness was unable to travel by
plane, and in the second certificate it says that he cannot
be examined at all. I should not be deprived of the
opportunity of cross-examination, which can then be compared
with the cross-examination of some of the witnesses.
I want to add something else, namely, that I have a feeling
that this affidavit is very long and constitutes, in my
opinion, the combined efforts of several people, which the
witness confirmed retrospectively as his own. This, too,
will have to be cleared up.
[State Attorney Bach: tries to reply.]
Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, we cannot convert this into a
matter that there should be a right to a further reply.
What do you want to raise? Only something very essential.
State Attorney Bach: Just one sentence, in order to show
that there is, in fact, no contradiction between the two
medical certificates. Defence Counsel wanted to argue as if
there were a conflict between them, and I wanted to insist
that no such conflict exists. As it says here: “He is
certainly unable to travel by air at the present time and
testify at a trial.” At most, it could be said that it is
insufficiently clear whether the expression means that he is
not capable of testifying in a trial at all, or whether he
is incapable of travel by air in order to testify in a
particular trial. For this reason, we have the second
certificate, in order to clarify this matter.
Decision No. 78
We are not prepared to apply Section 15 of the Nazis and
Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950, in order to
admit the statement of Dr. Imre Reiner, which was made in
October 1960, in view of the fact that Defence Counsel will
not be able to cross-examine Dr. Reiner. We reject State
Attorney Bach’s application. Do you have anything further,
State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. Attached to T/1156,
there is the affidavit of Dr. Ernoe Boda, of Budapest.
Here, Dr. Boda certified that certain pages of the book,
which was published in Hungarian, contain a minute of a
meeting which had taken place on 31 March 1944, and that
these pages corresponded to the original minute which he had
written, and that this minute was a correct and faithful
copy. At the time, I attached to this affidavit a German
translation of that minute, although the affidavit referred
to the pages of the book in Hungarian. I notified the Court
then that I would submit a further affidavit by the
translator, who would attest his German translation; that is
to say, that he would certify that the German translation
corresponded to the text in the book in Hungarian.
I now wish to submit the affidavit of Police Officer Amram
Blum, who is fluent in both languages, and who confirms
there the text of the German translation of those pages in
Hungarian. Actually, he corrected the style of many
expressions in that transcript which I submitted at the
time, and since I want to submit a translation which is as
exact as possible, I request the Court to accept Mr. Blum’s
statement with an annex to the exact translation of those
pages written in the Hungarian language. Perhaps it would
be possible to attach this to the same exhibit T/1156.
Presiding Judge: Do you have any comments, Dr. Servatius?
Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection. I shall
express my views on the value of the document.
Presiding Judge: We shall mark the document T/1156a.
State Attorney Bach: I should like to present some
information to the Court. Through our Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, we approached the Hungarian Government in regard to
the record of proceedings which was drawn up at the time,
according to the evidence of the witness, Tibor Ferencz,
concerning his discussion with the Ministers Endre and Baky,
under circumstances which he described. We received a reply
that the matter was actually receiving attention, but we
have not yet obtained an answer as to whether these records
were found. As soon as a reply is received, I shall advise
There is one further matter. The Court will remember the
incident concerning the children of Lidice. There was
another document there in the Czech language which confirmed
certain details concerning those children. I have examined
the document once again and noticed that it contains certain
inaccuracies. There is no distinction made between the
children who were sent at the time from Lodz to the
Generalgouvernement and the children who were then sent to
Germany to become “Germanized”. In the absence of such a
distinction, it is difficult for me to ask the Court to rely
on that document.
Presiding Judge: What is the reference number of the
State Attorney Bach: The document was not submitted.
Presiding Judge: Was that after Dr. Servatius maintained
that these children were well treated? Is that right?
State Attorney Bach: That was not his argument in relation
to this particular document. He argued that generally, in
the case of those children. He said so when I attempted to
submit the evidence of one of these girls, Hanfova, who
testified in Germany. In fact, no distinction is drawn
there between those children who were sent to Germany and
those who were sent to the Generalgouvernement.
We, therefore, approached the Czech Government once again,
in order to clarify the matter and to inform us exactly what
happened to these children, as far as the Czech Government
was aware; on this point, too, we shall advise the Court as
soon as we receive a reply.
Presiding Judge: [To Attorney General.] You now have two
Attorney General: Yes. I call Mr. Shalom Cholawski.
[Mr. Cholawski mounts the witness stand.]
Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?
Witness Cholawski Yes. I should like to make an
Presiding Judge: Why?
Witness Cholawski If I have that right, I should like to
Presiding Judge: That is your right as a non-believer, I
Witness Cholawski I ask to be given this right.
Presiding Judge: But I am obliged to ascertain the reason.
There are two reasons…
Witness Cholawski I should like to be sworn in a manner in
which I believe with complete faith.
Presiding Judge: All right.
[The witness makes an affirmation.]
Presiding Judge: What is your full name?
Witness: Shalom Cholawski.
Presiding Judge: I want to explain to you, right at the
beginning of your evidence, that we have allowed you to
testify, but that it must be clear that it is quite
impossible, within the ambit of your evidence, to unfold in
its entirety the episode which, I understand, you are about
to describe. This must be clear to you.
Attorney General: Mr. Cholawski, you are a member of Kibbutz
Witness Cholawski Yes.
Q. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, you lived at
home with your parents in Nesvizh in Belorussia?
Q. In 1942, there was a revolt in the Nesvizh Ghetto?
Q. When the Germans, with the aid of the Lithuanians and
others, intended to execute the Jews?
Q. Perhaps you would tell us, briefly, how this uprising
happened and ended, and what you did subsequently?
A. On 21 July, at night, the Germans surrounded the ghetto
and announced that there would be a selection in the ghetto.
It was after the Germans had made a selection for the first
time on 30 October 1941 and brought four thousand Jews, 85
per cent of the Jews of our town, alongside two large pits
near the town. At this order of the Germans, the Jews
declared: “We shall not go to the selection!” The Germans
burst into the ghetto, firing shots.
Q. What German unit was it?
A. It was a unit of German SS and Lithuanians, a unit which
the Germans established to serve them, to help them. They
burst in, firing shots, an underground outpost returned the
fire, Germans fell. The Jews, upon a signal from the
underground, set fire to the ghetto. We set the ghetto
alight, and the Jews burst through the barbed-wire fences,
through the bunkers; some of them were saved, and others
perished in the ghetto. But the Jews did not go to the
selection. I was one of those who broke out of the ghetto
and reached the forest.
Q. What did you find in the forest?
A. In the forest, I found the survivors of the Jewish
townships that had been previously destroyed, parts of
Jewish families, only parts, broken up – fathers, mothers,
old women, children. They were in the forest, amongst the
undergrowth, and were naturally afraid to come out of these
Q. What did you set up there?
A. We set up a Jewish fighting detachment; we established
family camps for these Jews, which we protected; they were
under our protection.
Q. Under whose protection?
A. The protection of the Jewish fighting force, the Jewish
Q. Those who were called “partisans”?
Q. What did you do in order to remove other Jews from the
ghetto to the forest?
A. We wrote letters to the ghettos in the vicinity. This
was in the summer of 1942, when a great holocaust swept
through Belorussia and the Ukraine, and the largest ghettos
and a few small ones were left only as embers after a fire.
We established contact with the nearby ghettos; we wrote
letters to them; we sent a special emissary to one of the
nearby ghettos, but he fell in the approaches to the ghetto
– he did not manage to reach it. Not many Jews came out.
One must understand that there were many obstacles, at the
time, in the way of Jews wanting to reach the forest. In the
first place, the collective responsibility which was most
Q. What do you mean by “collective responsibility”?
A. That meant – if a number of Jews left the ghetto and
disappeared, the entire ghetto was likely to be destroyed,
on account of the disappearance of some Jews.
Secondly, there was a lack of weapons – and without arms, it
was impossible to exist in the forest or in the vicinity.
Thirdly, there were the closest family ties. Children were
not able, and did not want, to leave their parents; mothers
with babies were unable to get out, since it was impossible
to maintain babies in the forest. The babies would also
reveal the hiding places of the Jews.
In the fourth place, where there was a choice between what
was in store for a Jew in the ghetto and what he could
expect in the forest, the simple Jew preferred to remain in
the company of other Jews. The forest filled the Jew with
fear. The Jew and the forest were two concepts apart – they
were always remote from each other. He did not see before
him a chance of existing in the forest, and for these
reasons the Jews paid a heavy price. Generally speaking,
they did not leave unless they were trying to escape from
Q. Did you manage to liberate a forced labour camp?
Q. Which one?
A. In 1943, in January, together with a partisan from my
section named Posisodski, I planned the liberation of the
forced labour camp at Sverze. There were two hundred and
fifty Jews there who were working in a sawmill. This man,
disguised in farmer’s clothing, went into the sawmill as if
he had come to buy wood, made contact with his brother-in-
law who was inside the camp, and, in the course of the half
day that remained, the whole camp was organized for escape.
At night, small units were ready to leave.
The fences which had been put up by the men inside the camp
were wooden fences; they had been constructed with nails the
heads of which had been removed, so that it would be
possible – they knew in advance, they had thought of escape.
At night, they opened the fence, and two hundred and fifty
Jews left the forced labour camp. One hundred and twenty
Jews came to us, and one hundred and thirty Jews fled to
another place, another camp.
Q. How did the Jews live in the forest? First of all, how
many were there? You moved about in the forests for two
years – do you have an estimated number of the Jews who
escaped to the forests?
A. I can only make a rough estimate. There were two
categories of Jews in the forests: There were Jewish
fighters, and there were family camps.
Q. How many fighters were there?
A. I estimate that there were approximately fifteen thousand
Jewish fighters in the forests.
A. Partisans. The family camps – it is very difficult to
assess how many reached the forest. For very many more fled
to the forests – but fewer arrived. And, of course, only a
small part got out.
Q. Why did less arrive than the number of those who fled?
A. Because, when the Jews left the ghettos, they were
obliged, sometimes, to go through police posts, places where
a German army unit was stationed, places where German
detectives were patrolling.