Many Jews Slain in Daily Arms Searches by Nazis; Sadism Given Free Rein
Menu JTA Search

Many Jews Slain in Daily Arms Searches by Nazis; Sadism Given Free Rein

Download PDF for this date

Wanton slaying of Jews by Nazi arms-searching parties in Warsaw and sadistic tormenting of others was charged today by a prominent Jewish social worker who recently escaped from Warsaw. His name cannot be revealed because his family is still in the former Polish capital.

The social worker told this correspondent that many Jews, including women, were being shot dead during daily searches for arms and valuables in Jewish houses. One Jewess, he charged, was slain because in turning over her jewels to the raiders she forgot to give up her wedding ring.

One well-authenticated incident, he related, concerns a Jewess whose flat was raided by soldiers under the command of a Gestapo agent. The agent, upon entering, ostentatiously placed his revolver on the table. The apartment was then searched. When no arms were found, the Gestapo man picked up his own revolver and, shouting “You Jew swine! you hid this revolver and now pretend it’s mine, “beat the woman on the head with the butt of the weapon and left her unconscious. Other Jewish women have been beaten up by the Nazis at the slightest sign of protest, the refugee declared.

Thousands of individual Nazis, the informant asserted, have been given free rein in treatment of Jews. They are not only not hampered by any prohibitive order but are encouraged to maltreat Jews, he said. The social worker cited the following example of the extent to which this freedom is being used by the Nazis:

“In the popular resort of Konstancin, 20 kilometers from Warsaw, German soldiers seized some 15 Jews at random on the street. One of the Jews was an acquaintance of mine, a well-known Warsaw physician.

“The soldiers ordered the Jews to line up with their faces to a wall. They then went through the usual routine preparatory to execution, shouting from time to time ‘prepare yourselves for death.’ This lasted for two hours. Several of the victims fainted and were revived by pails of cold water dashed into their faces.

“The prisoners later were ordered to dig their own graves on the shore of Lake Konstancin. When this was done, they were pushed into the lake and told to swim for their lives.

“After distributing the Jews’ clothes to gaping Poles around the lake, the Nazis permitted the Jews to come out and ordered them to go home naked.”

In contrast with such treatment, the social worker said, there were some examples of true chivalry on the part of some German soldiers. In one instance, he said, a German soldier entered a Jewish house one evening and, after apologizing for the panic he had created by his sudden entrance, put a loaf of bread and some butter on the table and withdrew with a friendly goodbye.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund