I Wish It Were Fiction

Holocaust Memories 1939 - 1945

Part Two

Four months of horrible torture.

Our desperate situation became worse. There remained no place to escape, and the torture increased. We were driven in our clothes into the river, and ordered to lie flat on our stomachs. And then the Germans began to shoot at us. Some nights we were ordered to undress completely and then we were driven into the cold river. The Germans enjoyed this sort of torture.

I remember the case of one of our fellow inmates, his name was Yoel Melman, a landsman from Opatow. They ordered him to put on 10 military winter coats, and march forward. But he could not move at all. He made every effort to run, but unfortunately he failed. Then the Germans shot him on the spot.

They ordered another man to undress completely and jump into the river. When he was already in the water, the Germans began practicing shooting on him. They derived much pleasure in doing it. Several bullets hit him and he fell and drowned.

Another time, they tried out one of us. They ordered him to run across the border. As he began running a second group of S.S. men started shooting. Hit by flying bullets, he finally fell and died. This situation lasted for four solid months.

Then the days began growing shorter and colder. We were literally naked and barefoot. Winter was approaching. Early mornings were particularly cold. Many mornings the temperature was down to below zero. We had to sleep on the cold floor. There were no quilts or covers. We could hardly sleep. We had to press one against the other in order to be a bit warmer. And the Germans kept up their morning schedule. They drove us to work from early morning to late at night.

In desperation, some of us prayed to be shot.

Nobody knew who will come back alive. Our numbers diminished from day to day. Before leaving for work, the Germans picked out ten men to be shot every day. Returning from work, we were ordered to completely undress and bathe in the freezing water. One had to submerge another one of us. We were walking around like ghosts.

We were completely resigned, more dead than alive.

Surprisingly, the Germans permitted us to write letters to relatives at home. Many took the opportunity to write and tell about the horrible tortures. Sometimes replies were received.

As the winter approached, the work was stopped. We were all taken to the railway station and packed into freight wagons. The train began moving. It became clear to us that we were being moved to another camp.


Into the forest.

We arrived at a small station, not far from Kielce. They removed us from the wagon and moved us to the other wagons. It was dark. I looked around, [to see] whether anybody sees me, and seeing no one, I began running into the forest, not far away. I began to walk. I had no idea where I was.

By the shine of the moon, I understood that it must be midnight. The hunger was gnawing. I hadn’t eaten for several days. I tried to decide what to do next. I must find a way out, I thought to myself.

I began walking again. I walked and walked, until I saw a trickle of light from the distance. I reached the place from where the light came. I saw a little hut. Without much hesitation, I knocked in the door. But they would not let me in. I even told them the truth of who I was and begged the people to let me in. They told me that not far from the village, there lived a Jewish family and I should try there.

I had no alternative and continued walking and again spotted a little house. I knocked in the door and fortunately that was the home of a Jewish family. They fed me and let me stay overnight. In the morning I asked the people where I was. They told me that I was not far from Kielce.

I left the kind Jewish family, thanked them for their help and began walking in the direction of my home town Opatow.

When I reached my home in Opatow, I was met by my parents. They embraced me and started to cry. They were certain that I was shot by the Germans.

Some of those, who were arrested at the same time as I was, had also managed to escape and came back to Opatow before me. They told my parents that I was the first one to escape. My parents were overjoyed when they saw me. But my troubles were not over.

When I returned from the concentration camp, the situation in our town had changed completely. Our home did not look the same as before. It was extremely sad.

This was the year 1941.

The sadness permeated every Jewish home. The streets were empty. The German murderers ran around like wild beasts. Whenever they saw a Jew in the streets, they dragged him away for days and forced him to do slave labor. The Jewish police of Apt stood ready to carry out the orders of the Germans.

Older Jews with beards could not show their faces on the street. Any Jew with a beard, seen by the Germans was subjected to the worst humiliation. His beard was forcibly shaved off. This was done in the most sadistic way. The Germans used knives instead of razor blades, in order to subject the victims to the worst torture. Those Jews who treasured their beards, never went out onto the street. Most of them walked around, with their faces covered. They looked like wounded soldiers, after a battle. Elderly Jews were also caught and dragged away to hard labor. No exceptions were made for the elderly, the sick or the feeble.

Then, a new decree was issued by the occupants. Jews are not allowed to live outside of the city limits.


A ghetto is established.

A Ghetto for all Jews was established in Apt. The Ghetto consisted of several streets. Place cards were pasted on the walls, warning all Jews that whoever will venture outside of the Ghetto will be executed. The Jewish police guarded every street in the Ghetto. They were also on the lookout for any Jew who dared to try and leave the Ghetto.

In addition to the Jewish police, there functioned in the Ghetto a Judenrat and a Jewish Post Office. There were no courts. Any Jew could attack or beat up another one without being punished. The area of the Ghetto was reduced in 1942. The whole Ghetto was surrounded with BARBED WIRE and with a high wall.

There was also no room to breathe. Three families, and sometimes more, were forced into a single room. No one was allowed on the street after five o’clock in the afternoon. No lights, not even candles were permitted to be lit. The Germans maintained, that the candles are being lit for the purpose of prayers to the Almighty. If anyone was overheard mentioning the word God, he or she were subjected to severe punishment.

There was among us one saintly man, the pious believer, Reb Mendel Naman. He risked his life, he ran across over the barbed wire, then went straight to the old Jewish cemetery, where he lit in the vestibule a candle in memory of the saintly Rabbis, where were buried in the cemetery.

In addition to Rab Mendel Naman, there was also Reb Mendel Soifer (Mendel the Scribe) and the other pious Jews. They refused to believe that they will die, until the last moment, when they were deported to the extermination camp.

The congestion in the small ghetto caused the daily death of tens of hundreds of inhabitants. The food situation became desperate. General hunger prevailed. Many who succeeded in any running away from the Ghetto to the other non-Jewish side of town, were in most cases killed.

Because of the increasing death-rate and epidemics, the Germans relented somewhat and permitted a two-hour period a day outside, so that people could get some fresh air.

It is remarkable, that despite the horrible living conditions in the Ghetto, there were organized many social activities, particularly among the youth. Young men and women gathered secretly in homes, and arranged cultural affairs, lectures and discussions on current affairs. We managed - through connections outside of the Ghetto to receive news from the outside world. These secret youth activities lasted until the very last day, before deportation.


Imminent Deportation.

Rumours began circulating, that deportation took place in a number of villages near Apt. The people were not taken to work places, but directly to the death camps.

The Judenrat attempted to delay the deportation for as long as possible. They began employing more people at all trades, hoping thereby to convince the Germans, that we were productive and useful workers. In the broom factory, hundreds of Jews registered for work, both men and women.

The rumours about deportation persisted. We heard that some of our neighbouring towns, like Ostrowiec, Klimontov and others were already emptied of their Jews. We began to believe that we would be next. The panic increased.

The deportation of the Jews from Apt took place on the 22nd of October, 1942. According to the Jewish calendar, it was the 11th day of the month of Cheshvan.

It is difficult to describe how the actual deportation was organized. To this day I cannot understand what made me write down all these details. I did it a few days after the deportation took place, even though I was not at all certain, whether I would survive. But something inside me kept on urging me to write. Even if I will not survive, maybe someone else will find my notes, that [they] will remain as a document of German atrocities for posterity.

The chairman (of) the Judenrat, Mordechai Weitzblum, tried until the very last moment before the deportation to come up with some reason that could convince the Germans to postpone the inevitable.

He gathered together all the inhabitants of the ghetto [and] proposed that a big amount of money or valuables should be collected, and thus try to avoid the deportation. A hefty sum was collected. But it did not help.

We began to prepare for the inevitable. We were convinced that it will happen any day. We could not sleep nights. We began packing for the “journey”. Panic increased. Everybody sat aimlessly waiting for the tragedy to strike.


The deportation.

It was the 22nd of October. At five o’clock in the morning we suddenly heard an eerie sound of the sirens. It sounded like a huge fire alarm. The sound of the sirens was repeated five times and after that they fell silent. This was the signal for the beginning of the Akcje.

Armed S.S. gendarmes and Polish policemen, the so-called Granat police, surrounded the entire town. They were also assisted by the entire fire brigade of the city. We were all driven from the houses to a huge square outside of town, on the Targoviska street.

While being driven, we heard the steady cries and moaning of women and children, who were shot on the spot. Families were being separated. Whenever the murderers saw several people marching together, they immediately separated them. They spread panic and confusion. The cries became louder and louder.

I walked with my family. When we reached the square, we saw a huge mass of people, some with packs, others without anything. Women were carrying their small children, led the second child by the hand and the third was running and catching up. Some men and women could hardly stand on their feet. Some mothers carried newly-born infants, covered in cushions or blankets. Those who HAD REFUSED to leave their homes were shot on the spot.

I noticed an ordinary man by the name Shmuel Tem. All his life he was very attached to his horse, cow and goat. He refused to be separated from them. So he was shot on the spot.

Another one I noticed was Haim, son of Itche-Meir. He was quite old. He was considered to be a very wealthy man. An S.S. man approached him, looked into his eyes and then shot him in the head. He was a rather large man. But he fell to the ground immediately.

All the people were driven into one large square. Among them were the inhabitants of Apt, as well as those from surrounding towns and villages. They were all packed in into the small Ghetto. We realized our hopelessness. We were all sentenced to die. The shooting did not stop. We were constantly threatened by the murderers, that whoever will attempt to escape, will be shot on the spot.

I was standing next to my parents. Suddenly I felt a terrible pain. I was hit with a very heavy object. The pain was unbearable. Someone ordered me: Get out of the line. You are still fit for work. I was afraid that I will be hit again. I was not given the chance to say good-bye to my parents and sisters. I just looked at them. I began to realize that this may be the last time I looked at my parents and sisters.

The S.S. man grabbed me and dragged me to a place, where some others were standing.

During the five years of the German occupation, I spent days, weeks and months in different places. My life was hanging in the balance every minute of the day. The question was: Will I survive or perish?

To this day, I cannot forget the last moment, when I was separated from my family. Why did I leave them? Maybe it is my fault that I left them to be murdered by the Nazis? While I myself was saved?

The district commandant called on the Jewish policeman, to make sure that everybody should get ready to move on. They were ordered to form lines of 6 in a row. The entire German garrison of the city was assembled on the square.

The last order was that we should all march to the railroad station, which was located 15 kilometers from the place where we were assembled. The whole square was surrounded with barbed wire. At the exit, the Nazis formed two rows and we had to march between these two rows. The bandits had their fun, by beating every one of the marchers when they passed by.

It is very difficult for me to describe the agony of the victims. How tragic was the day of the deportation from Opatow!

From a distance I saw the huge march of so many of my relatives and dear friends. For a long time after, the agonized cries of the victims reverberated in my ears. The horrible sound of the agonized cries did not give me peace for years.

The square in Apt remained empty. There were no rare Jews left, not even the Judenrat. There is no Jewish police. There are no wealthy, nor poor. Everybody was marched off to their deaths.


We are being employed at cleaning the town.

I overheard one S.S. man, reporting to another S.S. man of higher rank, that 50 young Jewish men and 30 young girls still remained alive. I noted this fact in my diary. But I simply forgot who the remaining Jews were or their names. But the name of Mordechai Weitzblum remained in my memory. He was already one of us, since the Germans did not need his services any longer.

This Weitzblum was the Jewish policeman who had cooperated with the Germans. But now, being one of us, he was forced to do the same hard labor, that all of us were forced to. The girls too were forced to do hard labor.

We were being guarded by numerous S.S. men. Nobody among us was permitted to move. Nobody knew what will happen to us. We, the small group that was taken out from among the marchers, stood there and watched the long lines of marchers passing by. It took a long while for the march to pass by.

When the long column of marchers vanished from the horizon, we were ordered to clean up the Targowiska Square and remove the bodies of the ones, who were shot. We placed the bodies in one spot. They were then transported to the cemetery and we were ordered to dig deep trenches and bury the dead in one large community grave.

We were then ordered to collect all gold pieces, and also any gold-coin that could be found, as well as rings, pins, brushes and other valuables. We had to sort out everything, and place it in separate piles, according to the given orders.  We also had to sort out laundry items and clothing, and put this together in one big pile.

When we had finished all this sorting on the Targowiska Square, we were ordered to proceed on the same road, where the death march took place a few hours before. We were ordered to gather together the bodies of all those who were shot and also of those who collapsed and died. The bodies were of men and women of different ages: older people, middle-aged, young and also of children. We worked till late in the evening. When we arrived back in the Ghetto, we were dead tired. We could hardly stand on our feet.

We were led into the homes of Shame Shteinman and Shmuel Lilienbaum. We were terribly tired and exhausted. No sooner did we get into the houses, then we all lied down on the floor and immediately fell asleep. Early in the morning we were awakened by the S.S. and led outside. The first thing that we noticed was that the streets were stained with blood, rivers of frozen blood. Wherever we looked, there were bodies of murdered people, men, women and even small children. We were ordered to gather together all the bodies and place them in one corner. Thereafter we were separated. Every S.S. man took two of our people with him and ordered us to search every house, every nook and corner of each house, even the cellars.


Survivors shot by the S.S.

As our first task we were ordered to search if anyone was hidden. Secondly, we were ordered to collect all goods in the houses, even furniture, gather it together and bring it to the Great Synagogue or to the BETH HAMIDRASH.

Thus I and another one of our group together with the armed S.S. man reached our own house. When I came into the house, I was overtaken by a feeling of terrible fear. The door was screeching, moving back and forth There was no one at home to open or close the door. The silent door thus became the only occupant of the house, silently saying to us: Come and look. There were always people in here.

Where, oh where are they now?

In another house we met an elderly woman. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t even join her family in their last journey to their death. The bloody German S.S. man was surprised to see that the old lady was still alive. He did not lose any time, grabbed his gun and shot her through the head. She died instantly. A stream of blood flowed from the house into the street.

In another house we found two children. One of them was lying in a crib. The milk bottle was still in its mouth. The cold-blooded German looked at the child with admiration: “What a beautiful child”, he exclaimed. He took it out from the crib and began playing with it. Then he paused for a moment, and said: “Oh yes, no Jewish child must survive” and killed it on the spot. Then he shot the other child. He then ordered us to take the bodies of the children and place them in the pile with the other dead people. This was not the only case of live children that we found in the abandoned houses, some in their beds, some in cribs. Some were still playing in their cribs, as they were murdered by the S.S. bandits.

On the first day of the deportation, some of us, as well as the S.S. men, noticed smoke coming out from the cellar of Samuel Grinstein’s house. The S.S. men rushed down to the cellar and brought out from there some 40 people, among them the entire family of Samuel Grinstein, who was one of the wealthiest Jews in Opatow. They were later buried in one mass grave. Those whom I recognized, and there were some, I marked down their names, i.e. SAMUEL GRINSTEIN with his children; BRAINDL-LEA with her husband and children; MICHAEL ROTSTEIN and his wife; ABRAHAM WORTZMAN and his both parents along with a sister and children; CHAIM ITZIK WORTZMAN; MOISHE ROMENIK WITH HIS WIFE, SON AND CHILDREN; CHAVTSHE KUPCHIK and her child and others.

I could not recognize many of the dead. It is worth noting, that when the people were brought out from Samuel Grinstein’s cellar some of them tried to escape. But the bullets of the S.S. caught up with them and they were all shot on the spot.

In addition, some among the ones that did not try to escape were also shot. Among them was Grinstein’s youngest daughter, who was the first to be shot. When the S.S. men finished their bloody work and left, leaving the pile of dead bodies, one young woman YEHUDIS, emerged from the pile of dead bodies. The bullets, fortunately, avoided her. She immediately ran away. But (death) did not avoid her. Some time later she was killed.

Samuel Grinstein’s wife managed somehow to sneak away from the group of forty people who were shot. She succeeded in hiding till the next morning. But one of the Polish “blue” police found her. His name was Simchak. He brought her back and led her to the open mass grave where the others who were shot lie buried. There he shot her and she too found her final rest place in the mass grave. It should be noted that many Jews were killed by Polish policemen, who served their Nazi masters well.


What is going to happen next?

One morning we were all led to the Jewish cemetery. We were ordered to dig deep trenches and gather together all dead bodies and bury them in the trenches. We were also ordered to leave the trenches open.

We were talking among ourselves: We thought that the order to leave the trenches open was because the Germans figured that if any more escapees might be found hiding somewhere, they will be shot, and their bodies brought to the mass grave, Maybe the trenches were left open because they were planning to shoot all of us after the ‘job’ they gave us was completed. Then we will find our death and be buried together with our brothers and sisters in one mass grave.

Thus we continued the searches in the houses from day to day. We [were] also to thoroughly search the basements.

Once we found a large quantity of goods. The Germans were wondering how it was possible to hide such a large quantity of goods. They were now kept busy removing all the goods that were worth, according to our estimates, several million zlotys. Thus they shipped the Jewish goods, robbed from Jews, to Germany.

As the search went on, we kept finding people hidden in the cellars: We found a man, his wife and 3 children hidden in JOSEPH GREBER’s house. The family came to Opatow from a nearby town Konin.

When they saw us, they nearly collapsed. They were dirty, hungry and exhausted. I watched over them for ten days and did all I could not to expose them. I brought them food. But after a few days, the family surrendered to the Germans. They were shot by the Nazis on the spot.

We spent in Opatow some six weeks. We were being watched by the S.S. every minute of the day. There was a roll-call three times a day. They made sure, that nobody was missing. If they found an extra inmate, that had not been on their list, we had to tell them who this “unknown” was. We were warned with dire consequences every day.

After six weeks, our work was completed and we began wondering what will happen with us. According to the German policy, no Jew was to remain alive. And the open trenches on the cemetery remained uncovered.

I succeeded to obtain faked Polish papers and a permit to travel to Warsaw. But we were being watched so closely, that there was hardly a possibility to sneak away.

Finally we were taken to Kazimierz, where there was still a Jewish ghetto.


In the ghetto in Kazimierz.

While in the Kazimierz Ghetto, we heard a rumour, that the Governor-General for Poland, FRANK, issued an order that Jews in hiding will be permitted to go back to the Ghetto and move freely within the confines. The order applied to the Ghettos in Radomsk, Shidlowce and Kazimierz, and other cities. But some of us did not believe the rumours.

One deportation from Kazimierz had already taken place. But the Germans decided to establish a second “small” Ghetto for those who escaped deportation at first, as well as for those who managed to escape previously, and for those who were flushed out from the cellars or were caught while running away to the forest.

Many Jews from the smaller surrounding towns, who heard that there was still a Ghetto in Kazimierz, came there in order to escape certain death in their townships and villages. As a result, the population in the new “small” Ghetto grew to about five thousand.

The congestion was almost unbearable. The Germans were wondering, why there were so many new arrivals in the Ghetto, where did they come from, since to their knowledge, the entire Jewish population in the surrounding towns had already been liquidated. Be that as it may, entry into the Ghetto was permitted by the Germans, but no one could leave.

In December, 1942, I witnessed the liquidation of the new “small” Ghetto. As mentioned before, the stream of people coming to the Ghetto did not stop. Thus the congestion became unbearable. Every nook and corner of each house was occupied.

Epidemics, caused by the congestion, broke out. Hunger became more prevalent. While in the Ghetto in Opatow, we were all from the same town and knew almost everyone. We trusted each other. But here, in the Ghetto in Kazimierz, there were so many strangers. Few knew each other and hardly trusted each other.


Slow, agonizing death.

It became obvious that the decision of the Germans to establish the new “small” ghetto in Kazimierz was only for the purpose of deluding the people who managed to survive previous deportations by hiding or escape. It served them as a trap. It was classical German perfidy.

Let most of them die as a result of epidemics or illnesses, or hunger. That will create chaos and confusion in the ranks of the Ghetto inhabitants [a]nd the process of final liquidation will become that much easier. Those who will survive in the Ghetto will be that much easier to handle.

There were many who refused to believe that the Jews are being taken to their deaths. However after the deportations in the towns and villages took place, it became clear to those who managed to escape what deportation means. Those who came to the ghetto in Kazimierz knew for sure, what fate had in store for them.

The Ghetto was hermetically closed. There seemed to be absolutely no way out. The onset of winter, on top of the epidemic and hunger, made life almost unbearable. It was terribly cold. People built artificial ovens, made of bricks, to be able to warm up a bit. When someone managed to obtain some potatoes, [they] roasted them on the ‘ovens’ and thus obtained a meal. People felt like rats, running in circles, without any hope of getting out. Many people, in their despair, committed suicide.

The deportation from Opatow was tragic enough, but in comparison to the deportation from the Ghetto in Kazimierz, looked rather benign.

Everyone of the deportees knew that this was the final march to their deaths. I cannot find the words to describe the depth of the tragedy. There were no medicines in the Ghetto in Kazimierz. The Germans forbid the use of any medication. The Jewish doctor was ordered not to treat anyone, but notify immediately the S.S. of any ill patient. He was forced to supply a list of sick Jews to the S.S. on a daily basis. Those on the list were immediately liquidated. The killing of the sick was entrusted to an S.S. officer, a short, fat guy, whose meanness knew no limits. He always wore white gloves when shooting the victims.

I myself was employed at assembling the sick. The dead we transported to the cemetery. When we led the sick, they pleaded with us to drive slowly, since the bones of their emaciated bodies were hurting badly. The sick ones kept on asking where they were being led to. We did not answer. We did not want them to know that they [were] being led on their last journey. Thus we worked every day dragging the sick on buggies. The sick, feeble but still alive people to their doom. After they were gassed, we immediately took their bodies to the cemetery.

After a hard days work, exhausted and hungry, we came back to our huts and immediately fell asleep. Once I talked to a man who came back from work at the same time as I did. But while talking we both fell asleep.

I was alive when I woke up, but the man was dead. This was his last, eternal sleep. Similar incidents happened to others, who slept a few paces away. We were ordered to collect the dead bodies and carry them away to the pile of dead, collected from the other huts. This happened night after night. We never knew who will awaken alive, and who will never awaken.


I contract the dreaded sickness.

One evening, when I went to sleep on the miserable bit of straw, I suddenly felt very hot. I immediately realized what I can expect. “I will be shot”, and dragged away to the cemetery dead. I will share the same fate as others.

My fellow workers, with whom I labored together a whole day, found out about my illness. They took me upstairs to the attic, and told me to keep absolutely quiet.

A few of my friends took up vigil, and made sure that none of my fellow inmates should go up to the attic, so that the Nazi guard should not find out anything. The Jewish doctor, who attended the inmates was instructed to provide the Nazi administration with a complete list of the sick. But the S.S. officer Lescher and his pals did not rely on the doctor’s list. Every day he searched every hut to find more sick inmates, that the doctor’s list did not have.

My friends promised me that they will do everything possible to save my life. I remained in the attic for several days, then they brought the Jewish doctor, Kaplan, a doctor from Klimontov. He was appointed by the Nazi murderers to look after the sick inmates in the camp and make sure that they would not survive.

Once, in the middle of the night, Dr. Kaplan came up to me in the attic. My friends brought him to me. The doctor examined me and said. My sick man, make sure that you should recover soon.

“There are rumours, that the S.S. murderers are preparing the “deportation” to a death camp. This is already the sixth. And you know, what will happen to the sick ones.”

I replied: that it makes no difference to me whether I will die here or be killed somewhere else. But the doctor insisted that I should try to get better soon. Then he left.


The deportation from Kazimierz approaches.

On December 13, I began feeling a bit better. But I was very weak. I could hardly stand on my feet. I crawled down from the attic and went outside. There was lots of excitement on the street. People were yelling, some were crying.

I asked about some news and was told that the deportation will take place on the 15th. Every one wanted to escape from the ghetto. But it was impossible. The street was covered with snow. The bitter frost penetrated my entire body. In almost every corner one could see dead bodies, some of whom died while others froze to death, men and women of all ages, as well as small children.

I began to think of my situation. I did recover from the dreaded typhus. I am still weak, but alive. Somehow, I found some strength. I clenched my fists and said to myself: No, I will not surrender to the German murderers.

Suddenly the Ghetto was surrounded by the S.S. men and assisted by the Polish Granat police. A machine gun was placed at every few meters. Then they began to shoot. Incendiary bombs were thrown at the houses, which began to burn. The machine guns were aimed at people, and many of them collapsed. Suddenly the entire ghetto was in flames.

Even though the Ghetto was barricaded and surrounded, the news of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising managed to reach us. It is worthwhile noting, that the sister of the Ghetto commandant Hertzberg killed her two children and committed suicide.

I myself saw two children being taken away from their mother and put on a wagon, with the obvious intent of taking them out of the Ghetto and killing them. They said to the mother of the two children: You are still capable to work. You stay behind. But the woman clung to the wagon and kept on yelling. The Nazi beat her mercilessly, but could not tear her away from the wagon. Finally the German agreed that she should take back one of her two children. She could not decide which one she should take, the boy or the girl. The girl was 12 years old. The mother grabbed the boy first, but immediately after, she said she wanted the girl. Maybe she thought that since the girl is already older and bigger, she will be able to better take care of herself. I will never forget how the mother became hysterical and could not decide which child she should pick. But the German made his own decision. He shot the mother on the spot. The children, seeing their mother dead, began to cry uncontrollably, they were taken away to their death.


"The bad dreams will never go away"

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