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Report Smuggled out of Poland Says Only Few Jews Still Alive

February 12, 1943
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The Jewish Labor Committee today made public a report of Nazi atrocities against Jews in Poland which was smuggled out of Warsaw to London by a secret courier of the United Polish Underground Organizations who, for more than a year, was a member of the Polish police force, organized by the Germans.

Only a few of the millions of Jews who were in Poland at the time of its occupation are still alive, the report says, and “it is no longer a question of oppressing Jews but of their complete extermination by all kinds of especially devised and perfected methods of pain and torture.”

“In the city of Otwock,” the report adds, “the entire Jewish population, numbering 3,200, was murdered by two German companies in one night between midnight and 8 o’clock the following morning.” Even before the mass murder which began in the middle of July, 1942, says the report, conditions in the Warsaw ghetto were desperate. “The hunger was so great that people became crazed. They refused to share their crumbs. Children would permit their old parents to starve to death. There was nothing left to share.”

The report paints a grim picture of Nazi atrocities directed against young boys and girls. “Germans organized actual hunting parties to shoot down by the thousands the children roaming the streets of the ghetto, whose parents had been either murdered or had starved of hunger. Like beasts, the Germans comb the ghetto during the day, dragging children out of their homes or off the streets and shooting them before the ghetto gates. The Nazi authorities distribute arms to the Hitler youth – and boys of 15 and 16 come through the ghetto in hordes, shooting down all who cross their path.” The report also says German soldiers and Gestapo men visit the ghetto to test their marksmanship.

The greatest mass killings of Jews, however, were said to have started on July 8, last year, when “Squads for the Destruction of Jews” (Juden Vernichtungs Kolonnen) were introduced. With the destruction squads carrying out their “liquidation” activities, “street after street, city after city, are completely emptied of Jews.” Another method of disposing of great numbers of Jews is the deportation system. “Every day one can see thousands of Jews being led from the concentration points to the trains,” the report says. “On various pretexts dozens are shot during the march so as ‘to teach the Jews order before they die.'”

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