Starvation Faces 35,000 Lublin Jews After 3-month Nazi Reign of Terror

Eyewitness accounts of a Nazi reign of terror against the 35,000 Jewish residents of Lublin, hub of the “reservation,” were related here today by reliable persons who have just arrived from the territory.

For more than three months the city’s Jews were the victims of pogroms, systematic plunder and torture. Those of the regular residents still left in Lublin are stripped of all their worldly possessions and are doomed to starvation, the refugees said.

Twice the Nazi authorities imposed huge collective “fines” on the Jews. The first was for 500,000 zlotys ($100,000 at pre-war rates). This later was reduced to 320,000 zlotys and collected in three days. The second “fine” was 300,000 zlotys in cash plus 500,000 zlotys worth of gold. This was imposed after a secret wireless station had been discovered in a Polish students’ hostel. In this connection, also, six priests and 30 students of the Lublin Catholic university were executed.

All Jews, irrespective of their age or sex, were forced to wear on their overcoats a yellow Mogen David (Jewish star) ten square centimeters in size. Not a single trade or profession was left open to the Jews. Pogroms were repeatedly staged. Hundreds were subjected to torture, many dying of their wounds. Virtually every Jewish shop, house and apartment was stripped of fixtures, furniture and valuables.

Synagogues, including the famous Maharschalschul, were similarly plundered and used to accommodate deportees from other parts of Poland and the Reich who were being dumped into the “reservation.” Jews living in non-Jewish sections of the city were evicted from their apartments on half an hour’s notice. Their apartments were turned over to Poles evacuated by the Nazis from Silesia and Pomerania. The Jewish Community was ordered to register all Jews from the ages of 18 to 55. No reason for the registration was given.

The buildings of the famous Jewish religious college, Yeshivat Hahmei Lublin, were transformed into a barracks for Nazi storm troopers and a frightful torture chamber. Torture of Jews caught in the streets adjacent to the college was a daily occurrence. Not less than 60 per cent of the younger generation has fled from the city.

A similar reign of terror prevailed in the city of Chelm, second largest in the province, with a Jewish population of more than 25,000. All Jewish notables were arrested and a number of them, including the physicians Zuckerfein and Ochs, were shot. Pogroms and plundering of Jewish property were conducted repeatedly. On one cold December day, more than 2,000 Jews were rounded up in the market place and ordered to leave the city. They were driven to an unknown destination, reportedly the Soviet frontier. Many perished of torture and exhaustion.

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