She caught these lesbian bitches taking over her place on the street, she started a fight very quickly over this territory. Luckily they were able to solve their issues without any, just using their fingers and tongues
The train workers informed us that the Red Army was approaching, but our hearts refused to believe. The knowledge spread and hundreds of people went out into the streets. Large quantities of food and clothes were distributed. A hidden storehouse yielded plenty of food after a thousand days of hunger. The attempt to break our hunger was merely an illusion. It only caused a plague of diarrhea and thousands died from overeating. The body could not contain the fats crammed into it. The shriveled digestive organs were unused to strained work and thousands paid with their lives. Nevertheless, those were joyous events: behold, the Germans are fleeing! It was worth suffering to get to this moment. The scouts of the Red Army arrived. The soldiers looked at the twisted human skeletons. And perhaps they understood better than anyone the purpose of this war. [Page 270]Echoes from the Vale of TearsYoseph HonigsbergOn my father's side (Honigsberg), I am descended from Kelph and my family wasspread among the towns of Poland – Radom, Ostrowiec and so on… my grandfather Shlomo and his wife Gitl had three sons and a daughter. The name of the daughter was Reizl and the sons – Melech, Ber and Yoseph.I remember little about my mother's side (Dizenhoiz). My mother had a stepmother and a stepbrother named Berl Dizenhoiz, who lived nearby in Wierzbnik. After my parents Reizl and Yoseph were married, they moved the town of Łagüw where they built their house by the river.Father made sweets and life was peaceful. The children learned at the little Heder… a large stove made of clay stood in the corner. The children sat around a rectangular table made of rough wood and the good rabbi taught them the Torah.It was probably the difficulty of making a living in such a small town like Łagüw that pushed my parents to immigrate to a more dynamic town – Wierzbnik – where my father made a living as a painter. The Poles in the area were anti-Semite and hostile. The lives of Jews in Polish residence areas were unbearable. It was only natural that we sought a way out, especially since our family was tied emotionally and religiously to Israel. As a result, we considered immigration to Israel.Our family was young and in full bloom, filled with happiness: three sons and three daughters, aged 6-10, the joy of all who see them. I can never forget the laughter of the eldest daughter, Bilha, her coal black hair, her strict dress. She was a lively girl, unlike the hostile environment she was born into. Her younger sister, Lea, lived up to her name; gentle in body and soul, with dimples in her oft smiling, pale, typically quiet, thoughtful and beautiful. The youngest was 6 when she perished, the joy of her family. She seemed to understand the burden of Jewish existence and grasp her situation. We called her Zerka, or Zerka'le in endearment.My experience with the Germans at the concentration camp during the war left me unable to let go of the terrible image of my mother and the four young children with her, caught helpless in the jaws of the murderous Germans. We were tricked apart – the men to temporary “labor camps” and the women and children to other camps, after the prolonged period of starvation and humiliation that preceded the eviction. And so, our paths separated forever.My father, my older brother Moshe and I were taken into a “labor” camp in Starachowice. My mother, my younger brother Mordechai and my sisters were separated from us. To this day I cannot forget the terrible moment, remembering my brother Mordechai fight for his life, his heart telling him what was coming; how he sought with all his might to join the men… my mother knew in her heart where the separation led. Her last words were spoken quietly, in terrible distress: go, my children, perhaps you would be saved. I am not young anymore, I lived long enough. And she turned her head. How little I knew about my mother: a proud, simple and noble woman. She could see her coming death and the destruction of her family.My father, my brother Moshe and I went through “labor” and extermination camps, always together, despite the impossible. Striving to survive no matter the odds, and believing that we will meet the rest of our family again… My father was a Hasid, a pleasant man versed in both scholarship and physical labor who carried the heavy burden of his large family all his life and never saw his family prosper.
When we men (and, as we later found out, quite a few influential women) arrived at the “labor camp” in Wierzbnik, we were surrounded Ukrainians who lusted for both our blood and money. They ordered: “Anyone who has money, Jewels and valuables would put them on the pile, or die.” To ensure our understanding, they immediately followed their words with a demonstration. As a hungry boy, I realized that those without means would die. I was thinking about fighting for my continued survival and paid little attention to the immediate threat. I therefore collected whatever means that the others wanted to be rid of at any cost. Later, these means helped us quite a bit.There seemed to be a certain purpose to this camp: to exterminate as many as possible, as quickly as possible, while providing the munitions factories with as many workers as possible. This explained why we could not become sick, or rather, get well. Work at the weapon factories was hard: we worked 12 hour shifts and had to walk to work and back to camp. Nutrition was inadequate: a puny slice of bread and a bowl of foul soup. Plagues broke out in camp and those who were not strong enough to go to work were doomed. Who can walk to work suffering from typhus and a 40-41c fever? Once, while my father was sick and unconscious, we were told that all those who were strong enough should get out, and the sick will remain in the cabins. We realized the trap. My brother and I dragged our father out. Suddenly, we heard gunfire. We were forced to run between two rows of armed Germans and Ukrainians, who were shooting at the fallen. Those who fell were shot on the spot. Suddenly we realized we were out of the firing range. When the chaos died down, we dragged our father back to his bunk and what did we see? All those left in the cabins were shot in their bunks.Some attempts were made to escape from the camps, but very few succeeded. Those who escaped the Germans fell into the hands of the Poles. The small Jewish minority found itself surrounded by bloodthirsty, hateful beasts. The constant German propaganda against the Jews fell on fertile, hateful ground. The evictions and murders were carried out without any protest or guilt from the Poles, who never lifted a finger to try and stop the spilling of blood.The temporary life afforded to the Jews working at the camps was seemingly pointless: the war seemed endless; the border to the lands of freedom was just a dream. The deaths and the killing whittled down the town that used to be Wierzbnik. After a while, we were transferred to a new place and a new reality. Eventually, we learned that we were brought to Birkenau-Auschwitz.We were mostly surprised by the encounter with Jews from different countries, with strange customs. We realized that we ended up in a harsh place, living in constant abuse and in fear of burning in the furnaces, whose smokestacks towered over the camp. We were well guarded: electric fences and deep trenches, constant headcounts… Inside, the organization was in the hands of German prisoners serving their time, while outside the place was run by SS soldiers. When we arrived at the camp there was no room for us. Whole families of Gypsies, women and children, were quickly sent to the incinerators, crying in anguish. Only the smell of burnt flesh lingered over the camp for a long time after they were taken.Next was a series of selections by the infamous German “doctors”. While we, who lived through the hardships of Wierzbnik, were already immune to new horrors, we were also too weak to face a strict examination and hope to be found fit to work. This was our chance to use the guile we acquired in the past while fighting for our lives, as opposed to the Jews recently brought in from Hungary and a more normal reality. As a boy-child slight and pale, I had no hope pf avoiding the incinerators. But we burned with a great will to live, driving us to be uncannily shrewd and resourceful in our attempts to evade the doctor who prescribed our deaths time and again.After staying at the Birkenau death camp for a few weeks we were transferred on foot to the labor camp “Buna”. On the way to the new camp we were marched, whether on purpose or not, through a reality that was new to us: incinerators, huge stacks of lumber and the lime pits. It was terrible, but we were disciplined and didn't cry out… only offered the occasional prayer to God. When we passed all that we sighed in relief and felt revitalized, because we were going to live, we were going to overcome our haters, our murderers. During the hardships that found us in the different camps, I never saw a man commit suicide.Buna was run with typical German efficiency. Like the previous camp, the internal regime was in the hands of German convicts and the external one in the hands of the SS with their black, skull-bearing berets. Sanitation, order and the constant selections for the incinerators were a matter of routine. Public executions were part of the routine – taking place on the drill ground. What was considered a crime? I have vivid memories of an event we participated in: an alliance bombardment caused mayhem in the kitchens. We were tempted to take some vegetables. The person who got caught was hanged and the entire camp was marched past the gallows as a lesson.At this time, we felt the front lines approaching us. We concluded that the German progress eastwards was halted and that they were even being pushed back. Airplanes paid daily visits to the factories we worked in, delivering a harsh bombardment. We rooted for them in our hearts. It was the first time we saw the Germans in distress. But we bitterly mourned the fact that those airplanes refused to bomb the incinerators, the camp fences, or the SS barracks, and the camps continued working, undisturbed, until the last moment. We played no part in the strategies of the allies. The Jews apparently had no part in any humane or legal category worth fighting for.When the eastern front approached, we were evicted from Auschwitz and taken to Buchenwald. We were probably considered useful by Hitler's Reich, but no means were allocated for transporting us. Therefore, we were marched to the border of Germany by day and by night we “rested”. The winter was harsh: snow storms accompanied us along our way. We were wearing the famous striped uniforms, with no underwear or jackets, only wooden clogs on our feet. By the time we arrived in Buchenwald, countless of us fell from the hunger and the cold. Our German escorts were assisted by German prisoners and criminals, and the latter assaulted the marchers, abusing the fallen to death. Our rest stops during the nights mostly took place in rural areas, around some shed or stable. The strong and the quick claimed a safe area. The weak slept on the snow, under the sky. And so, cowering beside each other and waiting for a new day, we closed our eyes, hungry and tired, and tried to gather our strength and get through this. New hopes fueled the hearts of our people. We had many chances for escape, but only few of them were seized. My father, my brother and I kept in constant touch. Individuals had better odds for survival and hiding in this anti-Semite region than a group such as ours. We were guided by the notion that since we overcame so many hardships to get here together, there was no reason why we couldn't survive this together again, with the end in plain sight. We made a long stop in Gliwice and new selections took place. This time I was separated from my father, who was weakened by the prolonged journey, the cold and hunger. He was probably doomed for extermination. My world shattered and I didn't know what to do. I thought only about saving him, and I was able to do so by almost killing myself. The only important thing was that we were together again, and we continued our journey to Buchenwald on a coal train, that is, crammed standing into open cars and guarded closely.This trip was worse than the last. The frost and snow continued to bother us as before but there was no chance to sit, let alone lie down. We received no food for ten days! Death struck mercilessly. The bodies were thrown out, so that eventually we had room to sit.One of the beautiful things etched into my memory was the sacrifice of the Czechs, whose country we crossed through. People were standing on bridges over the railroad tracks and throwing down food to us under gunfire from our escorts. Women were crying. For the first time in years, we witnessed humanity.During one of our stops (I later found out that it was in Bratislava) I did something that ensured our continued existence: I sneaked out with a can that we always kept with us toward the train station where the SS officers standing in line received food from a big cauldron. Under the cover of darkness I managed to sneak there unnoticed and to the astonishment of those in line I dipped my can into the hot gruel, filled it up and allowed darkness to swallow me again! In the car, a fight broke out over the food (which offered a little more life).In Buchenwald we were welcomed by the famous smokestack. Our first question was whether people were being burned here… we were glad to hear that only the dead were being burned here. But other horrors took place in this place. People were strung feet up to die in the middle of the living cabin. Their crime – getting caught stealing or some such… Here we learned for the first time about cannibalism. People ate each other to save their own lives. When we arrived, we were put through a warm bath and disinfection: they were worried that we would infect their home, Germany, with plagues. After the bath we were taken outside wearing our meager covers, exposed to a harsh snowstorm. We stood like that for hours. Next they put us in a stinking lair filled with four-storied bunks covered in rotting straw. Feeling joy mixed with suspicion of the unknown, we were transported from Buchenwald, this time in hermetically sealed railroad cars each guarded by two armed Germans. During one of the stops along our journey, (the guards told us it was Frankfurt) the train was brought into the open country outside the city, after an alarm sounded. This was the start of an indescribable slaughter carried out by alliance airplanes: the cars were closed and the pilots never knew what they contained. In the cars whose German guards were killed people started breaking open the doors and running out into the open field. The pilots, who presumably realized the nature of the cargo, stopped their attack. The sight was terrible: people who lost their legs and other organs were crawling, trying to get away from this deathtrap. The locals brought first aid, and for the first time we saw the faces of this nation: women and children came bearing drinks, medicine and bandages for the SS – while scornfully charging us like shepherd dogs herding cattle, so we will not escape in the commotion. They never even dreamed of offering help to our wounded!At the end of this journey we were brought to the worst of camps. This place was full of tunnels leading to the factories at the bottom of a mountain. The place, called Langer Stein, was located near Halberstadt. Here, our eyes were drawn not to a smokestack but to something we haven't encountered so far: huge piles were stacked in the middle of this mountainous camp. We soon realized that they were carefully made of frozen human bodies, stored in this manner during the winter. Death was made tangible here at all times. Hundreds fell every day, but new prisoners arrived at the same rate. Work was grueling. Working underground, we haven't seen the sun for months. Hunger was unbearable. Food was provided once a day, at midnight, and consisted of a slice of bread and some foul soup, cooked from the peels of the potatoes eaten by the Germans. We had to subsist on this food while working hard, excavating and carrying rocks, in the dark. As soon as we received our food, the bread robbery would start – if you didn't swallow it in time you were robbed. After a couple of days, we could see our end near.This camp enforced the following routine: wake up at 3 in the morning. Standing for hours in a lineup; then marching out for 14 hours of work without any food; marching back; food distribution at midnight and sleep in doorless, windowless cabins. We slept on a floor dirty with mud and snow. A ghost camp filled with skeletons, shambling and collapsing aimlessly. Then we marched again. The front lines were approaching but they did not leave us alone. There was an onion store in camp, and every person received a few onions. And so we marched, escaped, robbed a food train and got recaptured losing my brother in the process (I met him again after our liberation). My father died a day before our liberation, starving and sick, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Christian cemetery in Sandersleben.Our liberation was as bitter as the wait for it: countless people died within a few short days. Suddenly we had plenty of food, provided by the American army to the living corpses that were walking around aimlessly. Suddenly they didn't know what to do, where to turn? Their past was irrevocably shattered; their homeland has vilely forsaken them. Their future was unknown. Their minds were equally foggy. Their hearts were hardened like stone, homo homini lupus est… six years of killing and brutality turned them apathetic to human emotion, to any standards of behavior among people. Confusion was widespread, joy and sadness mixed in their pained souls.You could see them fill the railway stations, hoping someone would direct them. For years they have been conditioned not to think, not to make decisions, not to be masters of their own fate. Some returned to their homelands and paid with their lives for clinging to the illusion that they might rebuild their lives there or find any of their dear ones where they once lived…We, recalling our old home, felt the old yearning that was nurtured by our family, the great love for the land of the sun, the date and vine. With all our might we strove there, and indeed, a few months after our liberation, we managed to fulfill our heart's desire, to immigrate to Israel, and assured ourselves that our feet will never again set in those murderous lands.[Page 276]Aiding Children in the HolocaustSara Postawski-SteinhardtA tragic and bloody chapter was reserved for the Jewish youth during the terrible Holocaust, twice the share of adults, and I would like to tell the story of the young girls of Wierzbnik from 1941 to the bitter end.When the German soldiers entered Poland, they started evicting people from many towns, and the flow of refugees flooding into our town increased daily. The women of our town, led by Mrs. Yocheved Cohen, banded together and collected food and clothing for those poor souls.As great as the plight of the adults was, the plight of the children was tenfold. Therefore all the young girls in town banded together, regardless of their social status or ideals, with a single purpose – to help the children a little. A committee was established that included Sheindl Herblum, Rivka Mincberg, Malka Cohen and the author. This group formed under a woman called Kalman-Singer. The operation was called “Milk Drop”.Every Friday, the girls on duty would pass among the other members and collect food or money. Every girl gave what she could and even more. I will add that at times, I gave my last slice of bread because I knew how vital the cause was. Such a deed can only be appreciated by someone who knew the conditions we lived in and how hard it was to get a slice of bread…At seven in the morning on Shabbats, the children of the needy refugees on our list would come and receive a cup of coffee and a sandwich. The joy of the children knew no bounds, but there were also tears.We did not provide the children only with food, but also played and sang to them to make them feel a little better.From time to time we gathered some of the talented children in town and put on plays to amuse the children. When the children were happy, they showed initiative of their own and some of them proved to be very talented.Not many knew about this activity, because we did everything on our own, without asking for help or advertising our activities. Our actions were carried out with humility. We used for this purpose the house on 17 Koleyova Street, which served as the kitchen of the Jewish school in the ghetto. We girls gathered there every Shabbat afternoon and the girls on duty reported the events of the morning and offered improvements.On the last mid-holiday of Sukkoth (1942) we organized a big rally and many of the town's dignitaries were invited because we wanted to expand our activities and provide greater aid for the needy children, especially warm clothes for the winter. This reminds me of a major rally participated by Simcha Mincberg and Y. Singer, who served as representatives of the public, and the impressive play the children put on during it. The event's organizer was naturally Eva, who explained our organization's situation and spoke of things that were unknown before.As time went by, the situation improved a little, but sadly, just when things were looking up, it was all destroyed.I was a member of the committee, and visited every Shabbat morning. 2b1af7f3a8