JTA Correspondent Reports 1,000,000 Jews Exterminated at Majdanek; Finds 1000 Survivors
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JTA Correspondent Reports 1,000,000 Jews Exterminated at Majdanek; Finds 1000 Survivors

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The Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent arriving hero today established that two-thirds of the more than 1,500,000 men, women and children annihilated by the Germans in the "death chambers" of the notorious Majdanek "extermination camp" near Lublin were Jews.

The correspondent also found that about 1,000 Jews succeeded in miraculously escaping death and were the only Jews serving in Lublin and the vicinity, which was liberated by the Russian Army. Only fifty of them are residents of Lublin where 48,000 Jews resided before the war. The remainder were brought from other sections of Poland for extermination.

Many of the survivors have relatives in the United States and in Palestine. Their names were obtained by the JTA correspondent for transmission to America. Their addresses are registered with the Komitet Zydowski W Lubline, the Jewish Committee of Lublin.

It must be remembered that survival of Jews in Poland under the Nazis is in itself a miracle. The survival of 1,000 Jews in the area where Jews were massacred in the hundreds of thousands is an act surpassing human understanding. This was emphasized by Dr. Emil Sommerstein, Jewish member of the Polish Committee of National Liberation and head of the Reparations Department of that committee, which is recognized in Moscow as the temporary government of the liberated part of Poland.

Interviewed by the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Sommerstein, prominent Zionist leader and member of the pre-war Polish parliament, expressed the hope that the number of Jews remaining in the Lublin district may rise to 2,500 since many of the survivors are still in the woods and on farms where they hid from the Germans for more than three years. He estimated that in all of Poland no more than 100,000 Jews can have survived, in addition to those who were saved by evacuation into the U.S.S.R. prior to the German attack on Russia.

"The total number of Jews in Poland after all evacuees will return to their home towns will not exceed 250,000 as compared with the 3,500,000 that lived there before the war," Dr. Sommerstein predicted.


The Jewish Committee in Lublin is now engaged in registering all Jews in the liberated parts of Poland in order to enable their return to their home towns as well as to establish contact for them with their relatives abroad. The registration reveals a gloomy picture of Jewish annihilation by the Germans all over Poland.

So far the committee has established that no more than 100 Jews survived in the city of Zamoso; about 150 Jews were found alive in Vlodava; there are about 300 Jews in Krassek; 100 in the city of Sedlice; 200 in Lukow; 250 in Chelm and less than 50 in the city of Jaroslav. All these places were thickly populated with Jews before the Germans occupied Poland. In Lwow, where 75,000 Jews lived before the war, there are now no more than 2,000.

Many thousands of Jews are believed to be alive in the part of Poland still held by the Germans. The correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency spoke here to one who just escaped from the besieged city of Warsaw who said that there were 7,000 Jews in Warsaw. It is also known here that up to a few months ago about 60,000 Jewish mechanics worked in Cracow in German war plants as slave laborers. There were also about 2,000 Jews in the German-held city of Czenstochowa.


Speaking to many of the Jews in Lublin, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency established that every surviving Jew is dominated by a strong desire for revenge. Dr. Shloima Hersjenhorn, a Jewish captain in the First Polish Division who on return to Lublin found that his wife, his son, his parents and all his relatives had been killed by the Germans, told the correspondent what most of the Jews in Lublin say today. "I have nothing to live for," he said, "except to serve those who are still alive and to obtain revenge."

Revenge is a common word among the Jews in Lublin. It is also a common word among non-Jews here who are horrified at the annihilation by the Germans of 1,500,000 people at Majdanek.

American and British correspondents brought here from Moscow were appalled at what they saw at the Majdanek camp. They visited the gas chambers where the Germans suffocated their victims and inspected the crematories where the bodies of the gassed people were burned to ashes. They also visited the storage places where the personal possessions of the victims were stored by the Germans for transportation to Germany. Among these possessions were suit cases, clothing, shoes, family photographs, and even kitchenware. It was obvious that the victims, prior to deportation from their homes to Majdanek were told that they were being transported to a ghetto and not to an extermination camp.

The correspondents established that the victims, upon their arrival at the camp, were taken to a barracks for "bath and disinfection." There they were told to undress and after taking a shower were led into the next chamber which was a gas chamber where they were killed within ten minutes by poison gas, after which their bodies were taken in trucks to the crematories and burned.

German prisoners of war and officers associated with the camp told the correspondents that hundreds of children were among the exterminated victims. One of them testified that he was in charge of shipping to the German State Bank all the gold, jewelry, rings, watches and other valuables of which the victims were stripped.

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