Gestapo Beginning to Wipe out Jews in Lodz in Anticipation of German Retreat

Apparently anticipating a German retreat far into western Poland, the Gestapo has begun liquidating the Lodz ghetto in which, according to the most recent reports, there were living 150,000 Jews employed as slave labor in vital German war industries. The Lodz ghetto is the only one remaining in all of Poland.

A message from “inside Poland” received here today by Dr. Ignacy Schwarzhart, one of the two Jewish members of the Polish National Council, says that “the remainder of the Jews in Lwow have been massacred in the most bestial manner” and that “the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto has been started.”

The message, dated February 22, states that 20,000 Jews have been massacred in the Lodz ghetto “as a beginning.” It says that a “similar fate awaits all the remaining Jews of Lodz,” and desperately appeals for action “to save the remnants from total extermination.”

Dr. Emanuel Szerer, the other Jewish member of the Polish National Council, today received a report from the underground movement in Poland stating that a German orchestra played gay tunes while German soldiers executed 8,000 Jews in the Trawniki “death camp.” The Jews were compelled to dig their own graves and were mowed down by machine-guns when the trenches were completed. Among the prisoners in the camp were 3,000 Jews brought from Italy, the report stated. Another report received today by Dr. Szerer discloses that more than 2,000 Jews have been executed by the Germans in the Lipowie Camp, near Lublin.

An eye-witness account of the murder of 30,000 Jews in an unnamed concentration camp located on the outskirts of Warsaw has been received by Belgian circles here. The report was written by a Belgian who was conscripted by the Germans to serve in the occupational police in Poland, and who succeeded in escaping recently. He discloses that on November 9, 1943, the units to which he was attached, together with S.S. troops, participated in the massacre of approximately 30,000 Jews, who were buried in several large trenches which were 30 to 40 yards long and three to four yards deep. The Jews were forced to strip and run a gauntlet of S. S. men armed with whips and rifles, before being shot and dumped into a trench. Among the victims, he states, were many children.

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