Many of the 1,000 Jews in Lublin who escaped extermination in the “death camp” of Majdanek, situated on the outskirts of the city, were still too shaken today to write down the addresses of their relatives in the United States for the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who arrived here from Moscow to establish contact between the survivors and their friends and relatives in the United States, Canada and Palestine.
Five years of war and the constant fear of being caught by the Germans and murdered have resulted in the loss of the addresses of relatives overseas. Some of the Jews in Lublin are in such a state that they do not even remember the city in the United States where their relatives reside.
Characteristic of the state of mind of the surviving Jews is a letter which was handed today to the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on one of the main streets of Lublin by Rubin Gerecht who thinks that his brother-in-law Moishe Elbaum, former editor of the Warsaw Jewish Daily “Unzer Express,” is now in the United States. (Mr.Elbaum, the JTA learned, is in Shanghai where he was stranded en route to the United States when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.) The letter, given for publication, constitutes one of the records of horror which speak for themselves. It reads.
“None of our dear one remained alive. Father and mother together with her brother and married sister have been murdered by German soldiers. On August 21, 1942 the Germans in Warsaw drove everyone from the ghetto to the market place and in the evening many of them were packed in trains and transported to Minsk-Mazowiecki. On the market place there were heaps of corpses when I reached there; and among others I saw the dead bodies of Henia Aronowska, aunt Meisler, Jacob Rosenberg and his wife and many other people whom you and I knew.
TORTURE OF JEWISH WOMEN BY GERMANS DESCRIBED BY ESCAPED JEW
“During that entire night we were guarded by the Germans. Miuszka Aronowska, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, was violated by ten Germans and then bayonetted. Chuma Farbmann was violated in front of all of us while other Germans took snapshots. Rose Edelstein was violated by German officers and afterwards lost her mind. She was later killed. Radzymiski’s daughter was burned alive because she would not submit to a German major. Regina Rosenbaum was violated by a German officer, and then shot to death. And so were all young women outraged and maltreated during that night.
“In the morning of August 22, we were all leaded in railroad cars formerly used for carrying lime. The Germans sealed the cars. There were 120 of us in each car, eight persons for each square meter. Women and children were loaded separately. The train stood at the station for two days. We could not get any food or water. Finally the train moved. We were brought to the notorious Treblinki concentration. camp, where nearly all perished and their corpses burned. Some, including myself, succeeded in escaping to a nearby forest where we wandered without food and water. But then most of the group were killed by local people who wanted their clothing. Aron Feldman was killed for his good shoes which a local peasant wanted. Abram Felner and Abram Meisler hid in a workshop until they were discovered and killed. Henia Felner worked until March 1944 as a servant maid in the house of her good acquaintances, but they killed her because they were afraid that the Germans would discover that a Jew worked for them.
“I managed to work in a lumber yard near Starawiec until 1943 because the Germans had no one to replace me. Then I discovered that they wanted to kill me, so I and the few other Jews who worked there escaped to the woods. Not very far from the lumber mill where I worked was a Polish peasant who agreed to shelter thirteen Jews, including my sister Maria. When the farmer learned that I escaped from the mill, he became afraid that his farm would be raided by the Germans in search for me and the other escaped Jews, and he killed all the thirteen with an axe, burying their bodies in the yard.
“Our suffering have been tremendous. Malkunia from Viskov was together with us until 1943. Afterwards she was taken by a well-known engineer who promised to keep her until after the war for 1,000 Zloty a month. In May of this year, when he learned of the approach of the Russian Army, he delivered her to the Germans. The Gestapo first tortured her to find out my whereabouts, and since she couldn’t give any information because she did not know, they murdered her.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.