Priests, Rabbis Targets of Brutal Gestapo Action in Poland

Reliable information reaching Polish Government circles today said that 25 Catholic priests and a number of rabbis had been taken from their homes by Gestapo officials in the Polish city of Lodz and forced to clean streets.

Terrorism against the Catholic and Jewish clergy in Poland has reached the point where priests are afraid to walk on the streets, while rabbis, or any bearded Jews, when seen by uniformed Gestapo officers are halted and half of their beards are cut off publicly, the report said. In Warsaw, all rabbis had to report to Gestapo headquarters, where one side of each one’s beard was shorn. Every Gestapo officer carries a pair of scissors which he uses whenever he meets a bearded Jew to cut off half his beard before a crowd.

The report also declared that Wloclawek was the first city where the Nazis introduced the yellow badge for Jews. Gestapo officers set fire to the local synagogue, then forced local Jewish leaders to sign a statement saying that Jews had burned it down. After obtaining the statement the Gestapo announced a fine of 500,000 zlotys ($100,000 at pre-war rates) on the city’s population “for burning down a public building.”

The exiled Polish Government also obtained today the official map issued by the Gestapo in Warsaw showing the boundaries of the ghetto together with a list of about 150 streets in Warsaw where Jews are forbidden to reside.

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