|[The first liquidation started on June 10, 1942.] … At 5:30 in the morning the OD [Ordnungsdienst, the Jewish police] took us—me and my family—with a few hundred people. On the corner of Polna and Widok Streets I met my driver driving by and he says to me, “Boss! Where are you going? I’ve heard a Gestapo officer saying that those with the stamps don’t get deported.” I asked the OD-man to return my registration card, but he didn’t want to. He told me to go to the Gestapo station. When he went to get some other people and we stopped for a moment, it was on Polna Street, I caught a droshky [horse-drawn carriage], put my wife and child on it and went to the Gestapo station. There was nobody outside the Gestapo station. So I went to the Judenrat, but there were lots of people. I barely got through to Reiss and I told him everything. Reiss told me to immediately go back to get back my papers. The OD-man didn’t want to do that. But I wanted to beat him up, so he returned the papers. …
At 11 my brother wanted to visit his wife and child; he lived on the next street. As soon as he entered the apartment, OD-man Sambor came running and drove him and his wife and child to Magdeburski Square [renamed during the war from Plac Wolności]. They herded all the people from Starodąbrowska and Dwernickiego Streets (where the poorest Jews lived) to Magdeburski Square, to meet the quota. The OD-man knew that they were all going to the cemetery [to be executed by the Germans]. The Judenrat was to deliver a contingent of 600 people and it delivered the poorest ones. …
The Judenrat clerks spent the whole night writing the lists of people [to be granted stamps]. … In the evening I took all the Jews’ registration cards to the Judenrat. Everybody ran to the droshky, everybody was looking for their [registration cards]. There was shouting, crying, people were trampling one another, snatching the registration cards away from one another so that some of the cards were damaged. Those who had no stamps were stealing other people’s cards with the stamps. They were tearing off the [original] photos and placing their own pictures instead. Everybody stormed into the Judenrat office. There were a few thousand people [inside]. Robbery began. I was also looking for my wife’s registration card. I didn’t find it, because it probably had the stamp and somebody had stolen it. …
Half an hour later all the people were already on the square. [The Germans began searching the basements of abandoned houses.] … They entered another basement. They found a full storehouse of clothes, shoes, and underwear. It all belonged to the Judenrat. Those were the clothes [sent] from England and donated by the Joint for the camp in Pustkowie [Pustków]—but the Judenrat didn’t give anything [to anyone]. Lehrhaupt even put up an announcement that there was no point in asking for clothes because there were none. And there were thousands of items. …
It was already around midday when Romelman arrived and ordered all OD-men and those who worked in the Judenrat to stand in another corner with their children and entire families. He said that if the quota assigned for deportation isn’t met, then the OD and the whole Judenrat with the families would be deported too. A panic broke out in the square. The wife of a certain OD-man from Bielsko said to Listewnik (he was a Polish Gestapo functionary), and to German police head Jungnons and to Polish Police commissioner Laske, that she would show them a bunker with people hidden so that the quota would be filled. They all sat on my droshky and we drove to Dębowa Street no. 1.2. There was a bunker in a chimney. Nobody would’ve found it. They took a couple of people and 8 corpses out of there, because they opened fire inside. Among others there was Kluger, who was a Judenrat board member. They all went out covered in soot. The people from the bunker in the next house saw that and began jumping out on their own. They were given a horrible beating and were escorted to those kneeling on the square. My little daughter who saw it, closed her little eyes and kept saying, “Daddy! I’m not crying.” My driver took the gendarmes to lunch. They roughed him up on the way. They were all drunk. On the way they shot a Jew hidden outside the ghetto in his store. At that time one could still have stores outside the ghetto and go there with a pass. They ordered my driver to take off the dead man’s shoes and take them. He told us about all that after he came back.
All the ODs spread around the ghetto in search of the bunkers. They were promised that those who find a bunker would save themselves and their families. Wasserman, the Jewish Police superintendent, whose mother-in-law was 85, lived in the same building as my brother. To save her he gave away the location of the bunker where my brother was hiding with 50 other people. I arrived when they were already escorting the people out to the Czacki school. …
I informed the others where were the guards so that they’d avoid those places. I covered my sister and the children on the wagon with straw and hay and returned to Nowa Street. There was an empty apartment on the third floor abandoned by the deportees. We entered it with those who managed to sneak out. Luckily they managed to sneak through. Only my mother-in-law was spotted by the OD when she wanted to enter the apartment on Nowa Street and she was taken because she had no stamp. My driver cousin who saw me escorting everybody also wanted to go get his mother, who was hidden on that other side. His mother was hidden in a wardrobe. One half of the wardrobe was open and she sat on a stool covered with a coat. They kept coming in the whole day to look for those in hiding but they didn’t see her. The cousin came down to his mother and took her onto the wagon and wanted to ferry her to the other side of the ghetto. OD-man Weiser, who was even his distant relative, saw it and removed his mother from the droshky. Pleading didn’t help. He jailed her pending Romelman’s [Rommelmann] decision.572
During the third action [in November 1942] I lost my family, only my sister survived. It was in the fall of 1942. On the day of the action my sister went to work, I had escaped from the ghetto a week earlier and stayed at that school friend’s of mine I mentioned earlier, Gabriela, her maiden name was Niedojadlo [Niedojadło]. My sister told me later how it happened. It turned out that our parents were hiding in the same basement as I had with my sister during the previous action, but someone informed on them. It was someone who was taken away. He was at the train station and said he would tell where the Jews were. He was a Jew as well. He thought he would save himself.
There was even this one incident where a son, who was in the Jewish police, informed on his own mother, he said where she was hiding. He went to that shelter where his mother was hiding and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, come out, don’t be afraid. Come out, don’t be afraid, you'll be fine.’ And that mother came out. And later they were teasing him when he was leading people to work, someone from the first row would call this text: ‘Come out, don’t be afraid’, and someone else called: ‘You’ll be fine’ and they’d repeat it, and he would turn back, but could never catch the one who was teasing him.573
Informers from Tarnów were also active in nearby towns. A Jew from Gorlice recalled: “Once, four Jewish informers came from Tarnow [Tarnów], and sniffed out those who traded in currency. They caused fifty Jews to be shot, among them, Felder, Buksbaum, Zilber, and others.”574 As elsewhere, local Jews played a significant role in the destruction of the Jews of Gorlice. Jews who hid their furs when the Germans demanded their surrender were known to have been denounced and executed. A Jewish militiaman informed on Jews engaged in illegal trade.575
The Jewish police consisted of shady characters. One was a shammes in a synagogue, and had hundreds of Jews on his conscience. They were very diligent at their filthy tasks. One person who especially “distinguished” himself at this work was a person who got drunk with the Nazis, and betrayed the entire Jewish council of Gorlice and the vicinity. His end was terrible, regardless. Before all the Jews were driven out of the ghetto, all those mentioned above were shot. But the woman Bertha, who especially “distinguished” herself and handed over Jewish people and property, is now living in America.576
German Jews enjoyed a particularly bad reputation as lackeys of the German authorities. Conditions in Kielce have been described as follows:
Along with the establishment of the ghetto, a unit of Jewish Police (Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst) of several dozen men was recruited. Most were refugees who had arrived from Austria and the areas annexed to the Reich. Bruno Schindler, a German Jew, was appointed as the police chief, and his deputy was Gustav Spiegel from Austria. The Jewish Police were subordinated to the Judenrat. However, in the case of Kielce, they received orders directly from the Schupo and felt protected by their authority. Most Jewish policemen regarded the native Jews of Kielce as Ostjuden—miserable Polish Jews. They did more than what was demanded of them, and the head of the Judenrat was unable to prevail over them. Within the ghetto they were regarded as corrupt opportunists who blackmailed money from the Jews. They lived a life of luxury, and the entire Jewish community feared them.
… By the beginning of 1942, the number of Judenrat employees had reached 4,000. They did not conceal the benefits they received from the other ghetto inhabitants. The entire ghetto knew that the Judenrat and the Jewish police were not lacking for anything, even as many were dying from starvation and disease. …
Since Bruno Schindler, the commander of the Jewish Police, had been shot to death in the Third Aktion, his deputy, Gustav Spiegel, a Jew from Vienna and a bloodthirsty informer and collaborator, was put in charge of the Jews in the small ghetto, which was essentially turned into a work camp.577
With the transition to the ghetto in April 1941, control over the Jewish police was assigned to the Schupo (Schutzpolizei)—part of the German Security Police—which selected eighty Jewish policemen, mostly from Jewish refugees from Vienna and Łódź, although some local Jews and refugees from other parts of Poland were also included. In early 1942, the number of Jewish policemen was increased to 120. Bruno Schindler, a German Jew who had arrived in Kielce from Łódź, was appointed chief of the Jewish police, and an Austrian refugee by the name of Gustav Spiegel was made his deputy. …
Feeling protected by the authorities, the Jewish policemen took advantage of their position and, since most were refugees from Austria and Germany, they treated the Jews of Kielce as Ostjuden—wretched Polish Jews. From survivor testimonies we further know that, relative to the prevailing hunger and poverty in the ghetto, the Jewish police lived lives of luxury and profligacy and engaged in drinking bouts at the ghetto’s restaurants and canteens. Some beat up lawbreakers, and going above and beyond the Germans’ requirements. Policemen also were exempt from taxes, received increased food rations, demanded and received bribes from Jews, and even extorted money. On the whole, they were perceived throughout the ghetto as corrupt, and the entire Jewish public feared them and regarded them as an integral part of the German authorities in charge of the ghetto. Levy, head of the Judenrat, was unable to restrain the Jewish police, and it seems he made no effort to rid it of corruption.578
The Kielce memorial book mentions Johann Spiegel, an expellee from Düsseldorf, as well as other ghetto policemen such as Proszowski, Bialobroda, Strawczinski, who “harassed the Jewish population very much and their behavior was like that of the Nazis themselves.”579 According to another source,
To ensure that their orders and decrees were fulfilled exactly, the Nazi authorities set up a Jewish council in the ghetto with a Jewish police alongside it, who had to ensure that the entire Jewish population followed every decree and command. Thus, for example, a command was given to hand over hundreds of strong young men, suitable for backbreaking work for forced labor. The council with the aid of the police fulfilled this command precisely. …
The Ukrainian guards, the Gestapo and several of the Jewish police, who had been recruited from the underworld joined forces to wreak havoc on the inhabitants of the ghetto.580
Two young men who were among the first to be deported to Treblinka managed to escape from Treblinka, made their way back to Kielce and spread stories about what they had seen in the camp. The reaction was swift:
A certain Spiegel, a German Jew who was the Älteste of the Jewish police in the Kielce Ghetto, expelled these two young escapees from Treblinka out of the ghetto, saying that they were spreading panic among the Jews of Kielce.581
As in many other cities, the round-up and deportation of the Jewish population of Kielce proceeded smoothly with the Jewish authorities (Jewish council) and police performing the bulk of the tasks under German supervision. The Germans also employed some Ukrainian policemen, but not the local Polish police did not take part.
During the deportation in Kalisz, on November 30, 1941, the Judenrat ordered the Jews to assemble in front of the synagogue where they selected 600 Jews, mostly the infirm, the elderly and children. One of the members of the Judenrat by the name of Haftke searched out Jews who had hidden, but allowed some of them to go free upon payment of a bribe.582 In Chrzanów, “Although their living conditions were better than those of the native Jews, later on many of these German Jews caused trouble. Unfortunately among them there were traitors who ruined many families.”583 In Tyszowce near Hrubieszów, after the expulsion, the Germans appointed a new leader of the Judenrat named Markus Fischleiber, a German Jew. Fischleiber required that Jews who evaded deportation and returned to the ghetto pay an exorbitant fee to legitimize their residence. Some days later, the SS raided the ghetto and shot some 47 to 60 still unregistered ghetto residents.584
Then a new figure arrived on the scene: Rudi Kresh [Kreusch], a German Jew in his mid-thirties, who dressed like a German, always in a long leather coat. … Somehow, he became an intermediary between the Gestapo, or the local gendarmerie, and the Judenrat. His way of communicating with the Judenrat was official, German-like.585
According to Home Army reports, Rudi (Chaim) Kreusch was a Gestapo confidant who was permitted to live outside the ghetto. He played an active role in liquidating the ghetto in Parczew and amassed Jewish valuables by way of the ghetto police. He created a network of Jewish confidants who were dispatched to the forest to join Polish and Jewish partisan groups and then relay information about their activities back to Kreusch. The Home Army liquidated him in November 1943.586 Another resident of Parczew recalled that a young Jewish man, who was often seen in the company of German SS-men, informed them that his father (Pinhas Wunderbojm) was concealing merchandise in his home. His father was arrested and then released on a bribe of 50 gold rubles, which was negotiated by the young Jew.587
Corruption, favouritism, and servility flourished in ghettos. Jekuthiel Zwillich provides the following description of conditions in the ghetto in Zamość in the Lublin district:
… it was possible to buy everything in the ghetto in the Neustadt—but understand, at exorbitant prices. In the ghetto there was a woman named Goldhammer. This was the wife of that Goldhammer who initially was the ‘liaison’ with the Gestapo, and whom the Gestapo subsequently shot. She had a restaurant in her house. It was possible to obtain the best of everything there; fried and roasted meat; fish and a variety of beverages. The members of the Judenrat would come to her, and other ‘Big Shots’ with their loved ones. Each of these people had their own ‘food servant’ (the title was appropriate). The wildest orgies took place in her house. … the Judenrat would often conduct its sessions in her restaurant.
In Zamość, there was a family from Krakow [Kraków], a mother with two daughters and one son. They were named Lieberman. One of the daughters was the ‘friend’ of Memek Garfinkel. The city referred to her as ‘The Blonde Beast.’ She had a considerable influence with the Judenrat. If someone wanted a favor, or couldn’t get something dome by ordinary [sic: legal] means, they would go to her at home, and she already got it arranged. Understand though, that one had to pay quite well for this. …
The mission of the police was to collect the monthly payment from the populace, who had not turned it in by themselves to the Judenrat. …
The Judenrat represented that it is strictly forbidden for people to gather in one house in the Neustadt. However, in the ghetto, no great mind was paid to this order. Jews would come together and pray in a congregation. So the police would come, and detain the Jews, and it was then necessary to pay a fine. …
Lejzor Schultz, and a certain Blonde Jonah, from the ‘Hayfl’ had the reputation in the ghetto of being informers. …
Czech Jews were brought to Zamość. All of the Czech Jews looked well. All were dressed well … these newcomers held themselves at a distance from the Zamość Jews, it didn’t displease them that they had been brought to Zamość, but rather why was it that they had been mixed in together with Polish Jews … they were assimilated Jews—we called them Jaeckes. Many went to church on Sunday to pray. They were settled in the houses of Jews, that had undergone ‘evacuation.’ A number of them immediately became policemen for the Judenrat. …
On May 17, 1942, a notice appeared at the Judenrat in German and Polish: ‘To all older people’ and the names were listed. Within 2 days, those listed were required to present themselves at the Judenrat with the purpose of being forcibly taken from Zamość. …
The Jewish police went around during the day, and night, and looked for older Jews, which were on their list for ‘evacuation’ and wherever they did not find these people, they arrested the children. …
However, the Judenrat and the police applied themselves vigorously to find my parents, and they gave one of our neighbors a bribe to disclose the hideout. Police came, and indeed, did discover my hidden parents. The joy of the Judenrat knew no bounds.
As in the case of the neighboring villages, the Jewish police took a rather significant role in the ‘evacuation’ in Izbica, which consisted mostly of Czech Jews. They conducted their work with German punctiliousness. They took a direct part in driving and shouting at the Jews, that they should get into the wagons more quickly. A few minutes, however, before the wagons were locked, the Gestapo man Engels ordered the police that they should also get into the wagons. 588
Conflicts were common between the Polish Jews and the Jews who arrived in Izbica from other countries. The latter, who were mostly culturally assimilated, felt superior to the primitive and “dirty” Polish Jews.589 The open animosity between these groups was exploited by the Germans, who deliberately set the groups against each other. In 1942, they set up one Judenrat for the Polish Jews and one for the foreign Jews transported to Izbica. “During the course of the various Aktions the non-Polish Jewish policemen arrested Polish Jews, and vice versa.”590 The Germans relied on Jewish-Czech police from Izbica and Komarów to search for Jewish fugitives and carry out deportations in surrounding towns and villages such as Krasnystaw, Tyszowce, and Krasnobród.591
Gary Keins describes how German Jews deported to Zamość and the nearby town of Izbica looked down on the poorer Polish Jews, took advantage of them and even betrayed them to the Germans: “The small-town ghettos now became overcrowded and the newcomers forced the remaining native Jews out of their shacks; talked deprecatingly about the ‘filth’ in those Polish Jewish shanties. I found their behavior, sorry to say, despicable. … Some of them even pointed out hidden Jews to the Nazis.”592 Jewish ghetto police would hand over to the Germans non-local Jews who managed to sneak into the ghettos. Shlomo Kandlik from Brześć, who served in the Polish army, escaped from a prison camp near Berlin and smuggled himself into the Zamość ghetto. “He was recognized as a stranger by the Jewish ghetto police who handed him over to the Germans. They sent him to Lublin. From there together with other Polish prisoners they were sent to Majdanek …”593 Another time, Jews who had returned to Zamość from Lwów were seized. The Jewish police “seized 18 Jews, brought them to the offices of the Judenrat, who immediately handed them over to the Gestapo. They were then taken outside the town and shot.”594 Salomon Podchlebnik, a survivor of Sobibór, described the head of the Jewish council in Izbica, Abram Blatt, as being more efficient than the SS-men in carrying out the round-up of Jews for deportation to Sobibór.595 Jewish policeman and council members often exacted exorbitant amounts for special favours:
In Izbica, there was a Jewish policeman who for 1000 zlotys, in the course of 2 days made an Aryan passport with a photograph. …
For such dwellings, one had to pay a goodly sum of money. A Zamość baker lived in Izbica, Sholom Hantwerker, who was a member of the Izbica Judenrat, and it was he who allocated dwellings. For a good house, he took between 500 and 1000 zlotys.596
In Bielsk Podlaski,
A Jewish police force was founded, headed by a contemptible individual from Orla …If I had been told that such vile beasts, capable of losing all vestige of humanity, existed among the Jewish people, I would not have believed it. … They revealed secrets, endangering the very lives of their fellow Jews …
The police dragged people physically to forced labor. Sometimes they added the old and the weak to the work details, despite the fact that these people had not been designated by the Judenrat. …
I shall never forget the most despicable act these irresponsible police committed. … when the Russians fled the town they left, in their great haste, storehouses filled with merchandise and foodstuffs. The Jews took from these storehouses various items for the hard times … Upon moving to the Ghetto we attempted to bring as much as we could of these abandoned supplies. … So what did these ‘police’ do? Somehow they found out about the goods, and immediately they squealed to the Germans. …
[A Polish woman assisted in securing the escape of three Jewish prisoners of war.] The three young men were concealed by their families, until the fact was discovered by the “Drovitchin boys” [Jewish police from Drohiczyn], who squealed to the Germans. … the three young men were held in the Bielsk jail and forced to work as grave diggers. … When the three had finished their task, they too were shot by the Germans.
… Someone informed on Shlomo Epstein and another Jew whom I had taught something of the trade … I don’t mention his name for personal reasons. A similar case was that of Aron Glachinsky whom we had all liked and had taken in to live with us.597
Living conditions were horrible. … But worst of all were the Jewish police. They were to be dreaded more than the Germans. Markuse, the Commander of the Jewish police, and Hirshborn, the second in command, were two of the most brutal murderers in the world. Their hands were covered with the blood of many Jews. It was as if they had to outdo the Gestapo in bestiality if they wanted to stay alive. …
Other Jewish policemen arrived … They grabbed me. I knew that anyone who got into the hands of the Jewish police, whether guilty or not, was severely beaten …
During my incarceration a lad of about eighteen years of age, Isaac Silver, came to me and told me that I would not live much longer. Later on I learned that Silver was a Gestapo informer. His visit seemed to portend the last hour of my life.
In the meantime, I was beaten continually, day after day. The climax came when an officer named Repun struck me so violently with a hose that I passed out. I lay on the ground as though dead. …
I barely survived one dangerous situation before another one appeared. An eighteen-year-old boy by the name of Eisenberg was caught by the Gestapo in Krosno. The Gestapo promised not to harm him in exchange for information concerning other Jews who were in hiding.
He told the Gestapo that I, Jakob Breitowicz, had sent my wife with false papers to Germany. He also said that I had papers permitting me to leave and that I was now in the Reishof [Rzeszów] Ghetto.
The Gestapo men immediately came to the ghetto and contacted the Jewish police. Luckily, I had one friend, Weisenfeld, on the Jewish police force, and he warned me about what had happened. I didn’t waste a moment. I climbed over the fence and fled into the west side of the ghetto. …
One day while I was at work stacking furniture, a Jewish policeman named Med caught me smoking a cigarette. He took me to see Szupke, the Commander of the Gestapo. I was told to empty my pockets. I took out cigarettes among other things. Szupke told Med to take me back to the Jewish police, who were to hold me until the Gestapo decided what my punishment would be. Med suggested that they would be better off getting rid of me because I was a trouble maker and detrimental to the morale of others. But Szupke said that the Gestapo would be the ones to determine my fate and told Med to take me away.
The night in the police station was pure hell, full of pain and terror. At 11:00 p.m. they stopped beating me and let the chief’s dog into the area where I was held. They left me alone with the dog.598
A witness reports that in the Brańsk ghetto, “the more the Council raised the taxes, the more the Jewish police carried out confiscations of the last pieces of bedding, clothing, and whatever else they were able to lay their hands on.” A group of ghetto policemen in Łuków, headed by their commandant, “denounced the Jews and whipped them, thus assisting the Gestapo in forcing the Jews to surrender gold. Each new oppression became a source of income for them. They became very rich in partnership with the Germans.”599 Another account from Łuków states:
In June 1942 were taken 42 Jews in the night from their houses according to the list prepared by the Jewish police, brought out of the town and murdered. Part of them were Jews caught playing cards and part Jews, who returned from the Soviet zone.600
Of the Jewish police in Głębokie, one observer writes: “Who could better accomplish the looting of Jewish wealth, either willingly or by force, than Jews themselves? Who could know better than other Jews where Jewish treasures were hidden?” After carrying out German instructions to strip the Jews of their wealth, the ghetto police then proceeded to meet German quotas by rounding up and handing over Jews as required until the ghetto was virtually empty. “While assembling Jews for forced labor, or when carrying out changes in homes, the police learned from their German masters, they would quite often beat Jews.” During the final stages of the liquidation, they scoured the ghetto and dragged Jews out of their hideouts.601
A similar role was played by the Jewish police in Niemirów,602 and in many other towns. An account from Przemyślany reads:
With this “action” the Jewish militia participated actively for the first time, breaking into hiding places, seizing children, young people, women, and old men in the streets. For thousands of złoty and for dollars they saved certain people. In this respect, they were not better or worse than many Germans, who for a bottle of vodka or a can of sardines spared one’s life. They [Jewish militia] were just somewhat cheaper.603
In many rural localities, the Jewish police was employed to round up Jews working in the countryside and bring them to town for deportation to the camps.
At the beginning of November 1942, Jewish militia men went to all the villages near Hrubieszów, and also to the small towns, in which Jews still remained, with an order to the wójt [village mayor] and the mayor, that all Jews must appear … in Hrubieszów. In fact, all of them appeared.604
In Brześć nad Bugiem (Brest), “conditions in the Brześć ghetto were very disadvantageous because the Jewish police eagerly cooperated with the Germans. There were constant denunciations to the Gestapo.”605 The existence of the two Jewish underground organizations abruptly came to an end on the night before the liquidation Aktion, when the Gestapo, which was informed of all developments in the ghetto, arrested many of their members.606 Not only did traitors and spies plague the ghetto in Brześć, but also no Germans were required to hold the gates: “Jewish police shared watch over the gates with Ukrainian collaborators. … The Germans could rely on Ukrainian and Jewish policemen to aid them in starving out the Jewish population.”607 A Jew from Warsaw assisted the Germans in capturing Jews outside the ghetto and turning them over to the Gestapo.608 During the liquidation of the ghetto in October 1942, the Germans, probably tipped off by informers, surrounded the hiding place of the printing press and radio and blew them up, along with the people there.609
In Kamień Koszyrski in Polesia, “the Germans set up a new Ukrainian police watch, which included a Jew. … Even more distressing was the discovery that there were traitors in our midst, who reported to the Germans on events in the ghetto.”610 In Krzemieniec,
Two of the Jewish policemen acted as German agents: Bronfeld, a Czech Jew (who later became Judenrat chairman), and a Je from Łódź, Itsi Diamant. Diamant was connected to an international band of thieves and swindlers. He was shot when diamonds were discovered in his house.611
In Lublin, “The SS was looking for returnees from Russia. The Judenrat informed the SS about any such arrival.”612 A young Jewish woman who worked as a nurse in a Jewish hospital in Lublin realized that its director, Dr. Salomon Bromberg, soon became an agent for the Gestapo; when the SS arrived for an inspection of the premises, they were readily able to identify specific items that the staff had hidden away.613 The head of the Jewish Hospital at Czyste in the Warsaw ghetto decried “the intrigues, the informing” and “the atmosphere of intrigues and denunciations by anonymous informers,” while “stressing that such qualities could never be met with in the Polish medical world.”614
Sometimes, the role of informer, confidant, and agent merged with that of ghetto functionary and policeman, as exemplified in Międzyrzec Podlaski where there was no shortage of people ready to step in to fill positions of power and to abuse their power.
In December 1939 was established in Międzyrzec Podlaski Judenrat composed of 24 members, at the head of which stood the apothecary Klarberg, former revisionist leader, who received from the Germans many favors … Many Jews saw him as German collaborator, and informer. According to survivors, also the Jewish police was known from their collaboration with the Germans. …
There were attempts to organize an underground cell in Międzyrzec Podlaski … The members of the group decided first to acquire arms, and only later to escape to the forest, but the two leaders of the cell were denounced and arrested in October 1942, and the whole organization disintegrated. Several members decided to join a group of Jewish partisans who acted in the neighboring forest, but the Jewish police also denounced them.615
Germans had spies everywhere. … Lazar was a furrier by trade, working in a factory making coats. In fact, he had ten to fifteen men working for him who would break into shops and warehouses, then steal furs, pelts, bristles, and anything else of value. They would either sell their booty on the black market or ransom it back to its original owner. Lazar also ran a protection racket, making sure police didn’t bother people who were running a business without a license. He suited the Germans’ purpose perfectly. They had sought him out to make him head of the Jewish Council because he was the local underworld king … But if Lazar hadn’t done the job, somebody else would have. …
Lazar was particularly useful to the Gestapo … Lazar would tell them whatever they wanted to know: who had a lot of money, who worked in the government, who was politically active. He would pinpoint who was part of the intelligentsia: teachers, doctors, lawyers, rich manufacturers, politicians. In short, anybody who was wealthy or prominent. To the Germans, these people were particularly suspect. Lazar also would tell who belonged to Zionist or Communist organizations.
… the Germans formed a Jewish police squad. The ones who joined were in their late teens and early twenties. They all were from rich homes, so they were accepted because their parents had enough money to bribe the Germans. … The Jewish police turned out to be worse than I imagined. Lazar was in charge of them as well, and he made sure they did the Germans’ bidding. In fact, the Jewish police later became spies for the Germans, turning in many people who were going into hiding. …
Despite our precautions, the Jewish police came to our house a couple of times and carted away new clothes, coats, furs, a half dozen pairs of my father’s new shoes. The Jewish police lived among us. They knew what we had and where we had it. If they hadn’t known, a snitch likely had told them. …
[Lazar] now occasionally would extort money from people by threatening to have them sent to the camps unless they paid him.616
A new chief [of the Jewish], Srulejski, was installed by the Gestapo. He was a tall, strong, handsome man in his mid-thirties, a native of Miedzyrzec, who as a young boy had been arrested for petty theft. He stole from the peasants anything he could get his hands on. His criminal record was known to the Polish police and subsequently to the Gestapo.
Srulejski was a shameless tool of the Germans, one of their collaborators. He recruited agents from the underworld to spy on people. It was no surprise when the Germans made him leader of the Jewish police. The Gestapo, however, harboured a certain distrust toward the man. …
The following Saturday at noon they [the Gestapo] brought him, shackled, into the ghetto. There was talk that when the homes of the deported Jews had been abandoned, he had rummaged through them to plunder the valuables. The Gestapo took him to the yard where he resided, and ordered him to show them where he had buried the gold and jewellery which he had amassed. They took the valuables for themselves and led him back to jail.
As chief of police Srulejski had become influential and bold. He went out with an educated woman named Hela Rubinstein. Hers was one of the most respected and wealthy families in pre-war Miedzyrzec. After he became police chief, somehow his affair with Hela became known to his wife, an attractive woman from the same background as he was. She sought revenge by betraying him to the Gestapo. …
A week later, on a Friday, two Gestapo agents, Dieter and Bock, brought him into the ghetto once again. Srulejski knew that the Gestapo had him trapped. But he was aware that they were looking for the employment officer, Mr. Finkelstein. Hoping to regain some of his lost influence, he directed the Gestapo to a wall in the house where Finkelstein was hiding. While they were breaking down the wall, Srulejski inconspicuously slipped away. The Gestapo searched, but could not find him. However, Mr. Finkelstein was taken away and never seen again. Soon the news spread through the ghetto that Srulejski had escaped. The Gestapo issued an ultimatum that unless Srulejski was brought forth, five hundred people would be shot. That caused great panic. The Jewish police announced that whoever knew the whereabouts of Srulejski must report it immediately.
The next day a woman revealed that Srulejski was hiding in her attic. … Hauled down, he was shot by the Gestapo.
On a Saturday evening several weeks later a Jewish policeman named Goldman was shot in the back while walking to the store across from the Jewish police station. The people in the ghetto fell into an uproar. The shooting added to our horror because it indicated to the Gestapo that there were weapons in the ghetto. It was rumoured that Goldman was a traitor and that someone had shot him in revenge.617
In Jan. 1946 [Szymon Tob] stood trial in the district court for collaborating with the Germans in the ghetto of Międzyrzec Podlaski in the Siedlce district. According to eyewitnesses, he denounced his fellow Jews to the Gestapo and participated in the liquidation of the ghetto, leading [German] gendarmes to Jewish hideouts.618
Jews in small towns, especially those who ventured out of the ghetto, knew that the Jewish police and informers would soon be on their trail. As the following accounts show, it was above all fellow Jews whom they feared. The diary entries of a 13-year-old Jewish boy from Bodzentyn, a small town in the Kielce region, record the following experiences:
[May 10, 1942] The Jewish police has received the order that 50 men are still required. Immediately on receiving the order, they began picking people up. …
[May 11] The Jewish police have also been picking up people today. I stayed almost the whole day at a Polish boy’s house, I was frightened of staying at home.
[May 12] During the night the Jewish police were in our yard. They were looking for our cousins, but they weren’t there.619
The Jewish police in Bodzentyn also assisted the Germans in carrying out searches insode the ghetto, and during the liquidation of the ghetto in September 1942, helped the German gendarmes to chase some 3,000 Jews to the place from which they were deported.620 Historians have described the attitude of the Bodzentyn Judenrat towards the 600 Jews deported there from the town of Płock as “reprehensible.”621
A Jewish woman describes conditions in Raków near Staszów. In defiance of regulations, she remained outside the ghetto living with Poles and was relentlessly pursued by Jews:
At that time the head of the Judenrat in Rakow [Raków] was Zielony. Not one person in the village could stand this Jew. His actions irritated everybody. He was feared more that [sic] the agents of the S.S.
Many German Jewish refugees who were cruelly driven from their homes arrived at this village. Zielony used to treat them very rudely and impose upon them all sorts of taxes and payments … those who could not ransom themselves through bribery and could not withstand the load of the various taxes, were forced to appease him with their daughters in order that he could satisfy his lust through his continual debaucheries. …
… [Zielony] said that if he saw me one more time without an armband on my sleeve, he would order my arrest, for he was in charge of everybody there. …
At that time I moved from Forysiowa’s house to that of Zacharski … All the residents of the village, old and young, Jews and Poles, praised me for my courage and for the caustic words that I said to Zielony. …
I believe that it was in the middle of 1942. One day a big roundup took place … Precisely then I arrived at Rakow. …
Stach Zacharski and his wife came up to me, frightened, and said that they had heard from reliable sources that Zielony intended to have his revenge upon me now. They asked me to dress like a farm woman and to go to the field and pretend to be working. I was about to do this, but at that point some of my friends arrived and forcefully took me and hid me in a safe place. …
Meanwhile, Zielony declared that whoever caught me would be rewarded, and the family that turned me over would be saved from the roundup. The Zacharskis were in despair. … My companions and I succeeded in finding a hiding place …
Suddenly, a girl unfamiliar to us arrived and was surprised to see us. She was sent by Zielony to look for us … At that moment Jewish police arrived on the run with members of the S.S … Meanwhile another member of our group, Krysztal, was caught, and both of us were brought to the synagogue, which served as a collection point for those who were captured. … the two of us were led through the village like two criminals. I marched in front, with an S.S. man on each side, Jewish policemen behind me, and in the back of them came Krysztal, escorted by two S.S. men, and finally, Jewish policemen together with S.S. men. They brought me to the synagogue … [This woman managed to escape from the synagogue.]
After three days I returned to Rakow, to Forysiowa, for she lived practically at the edge of the village … On the second day at dusk I went to Zacharski … He told me that all the people of the village took an interest in my fate … In Zacharski’s house I felt at home.
Suddenly … a knock on the door was heard. Zacharski’s daughter opened the door, and in the doorway there were two Jewish policemen. … Mr. Zacharski asked them the purpose of their visit, and they replied that Mr. Zielony wanted me to appear at his office. Zacharski told them that I was sick and if I was so vital to Mr. Zielony he could bother himself to come and see me. Having thus spoken, he slammed the door in their faces. Fifteen minutes had barely passed when three policemen arrived, and this time asked that I accompany them to the chairman of the Jewish community. Hearing this, Zacharski snatched an axe and threatened to kill them if they did not immediately get out. I, fearing big trouble, calmed Mr. Zacharski down and asked him to let me go with them, since there was nothing to fear now that the Germans had gone …
With considerable effort I persuaded Mr. Zacharski that my reasoning was sound, and he let me go with the policemen on the condition that they would be responsible for me and my well-being, and if, God forbid, even one hair of mine were touched, he would take revenge upon them and slaughter them like pigs in cold blood. Of course he did not trust them and their promises and accompanied us. … After all of this I returned to the Ghetto exhausted …622
The Germans relied on Jews to fulfill various functions, both official and unofficial, as the following diary of a resident of the Staszów ghetto shows:
At about noon on the same Saturday [November 7, 1942], a Jew arrived in Staszow [Staszów] from Ostroviec [Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski]. His name was Abraham Itshe Kerbel. He was accompanied by a German S.S. man, and offered to take Jews on to work at the Bodzichow [Bodzechów] labour camp near Ostroviec for the payment of a thousand zlotys [złoty] each.
Jews paid the sum demanded in the hope of saving themselves, although the entire transaction was afterwards found to be a miserable swindle.
While we were in the shop we learnt that at 2 a.m. [on November 8, 1942] a number of the Polish intellectuals like Dr. Koslowski [Czesław Kozłowski] and Dr. Lemiescewski [Witold Lemieszewski] had been arrested and handed over to be guarded by the Jewish police.
[After the deportation of the Jews, a search of the houses in the ghetto began, and anyone found hiding was shot on the spot]: For this purpose they [the Germans] took the Jewish police with them when they went looking for all the remaining Jews.623
During the deportation and liquidation of the ghetto in Staszów, several Jewish policemen exploited the chaos to demand money from their fellow Jews.624
An analogous role was played by Jewish collaborators, Gestapo agents and informers outside the ghetto. It was not at all uncommon for Jews to encounter them when passing as Christians in larger centres. A Jew hiding in “Aryan” Kraków listened to his friend speak of the dangers he feared should his family leave the ghetto:
You know, there are people in the ghetto who are now in the Gestapo’s service; they go out into the town every day and look for Jews hiding on false papers because they think that they will save their own skins that way. Even one of my colleagues at the bank, a man I have worked with for many years, broke down and now works for the Gestapo. He turns in everyone, even members of his own family. Not long ago he whispered to me that he knew that Basia was living on false papers somewhere in the vicinity of Cracow. He doesn’t know you personally, and doesn’t know your name or where you live, but he is looking for you and is convinced that sooner or later he will find you. When he does, he will turn you in. I had always thought him a man of honor, but the times have changed.625
A Jew from Lwów recalled:
In November  … a German edict hit those Jews who lived in the Gentile part of the city. They were ordered to relocate immediately …
On a gloomy morning, we heard the first sounds of the Umsiedlung. Police kicked at our door and pounded it with rifle butts. … I ordered mother and the younger children, Wilo and Rozia, to slip under the covers of the feather bed. I told Abo to cram into a corner of the balcony. Then I shoved the heavy wooden wardrobe over the entrance to it, so that a stranger to the apartment might not guess what was behind it.
The intruders, meanwhile, pushed their way in and confronted me as I was about to open the door for them. A German Schupo man, or policeman, slapped my face sharply.
“You son of a bitch!” he howled. “Why didn’t you open up immediately? Where are the other Jewish swine hiding?”
He held me against the wall, as three of his men, one German, one Ukrainian, and one Jewish policeman, searched the apartment. Within seconds, they found our father in the dining room and Abo on the balcony, the imposing wardrobe notwithstanding. Lined up against the wall, each was administered the regulation slap in the face, after which the Jewish lawman stepped forward. I knew him. He had been my teammate on the Hasmonea, a Jewish soccer team.
“Where are your mother and the two children?” he asked in a commanding voice.
It was an unbelievable scene, something to which we weren’t yet accustomed: a Jew selling out another Jew.
“You can’t mean it!” I appealed desperately to the myth of brotherhood among Jews. “You know what happens to people who get deported!”
“I mean it,” he repeated glacially. “Where is the old woman? Where are the children?”
“I managed to regain my composure, “I don’t know,” I said quietly. “Nowadays, it’s everyone for himself. They must be hiding somewhere in town.” …
We were chased out to the street and into an open truck now filled to capacity with Jewish hostages.
The main [railway] terminal of Lvov [Lwów] was the first serious hurdle for any Jew intent on fleeing the city. … I was soon concentrating on avoiding eye contact with the men in the green uniforms of the Schupo, the gray and black of the SS and the black of the Ukrainian militia. They were all there, and so were innumerable plainclothes Gestapo. There were even, God pity us, Jews posted by the Germans to point out brethren who were trying their luck at escape. …
I was also told that a man named Altman, an officer of the Jewish Police and a Gestapo collaborator, had fallen in love with her [Nesia]. Altman’s job was to discover Jews in hiding …626
Jewish policemen and informers played a highly destructive role in most ghettos. Reliance on the Jewish councils and the Jewish police was a cornerstone of German governance. Proportionally, more Jews served in the Jewish police than Poles in the Polish police. There were more than 2,500 Jews recruited in Warsaw alone, and some 750 in Lwów. Emanuel Ringelblum described conditions in Warsaw as follows:
In those days, during 1939, 1940, and part of 1941, people would be seized for forced labor almost every day—so the men hid out in the shops, under bench beds, in mezzanines, cubbies, cellars, garrets, etc. … The Germans knew the location of such hideouts, thanks to their Jewish informers, who accompanied them and pointed out the hiding places. … During the time when there were blockades, the resettlement period, hideouts assumed a new importance. People took special pains to build good hiding places, because they had become a matter of life and death. Old folks, children, and women hid out there. … In 90 percent of the cases it was the Jewish police who uncovered the hideouts. First they found out where the hideouts were; then they passed the information along to the Ukrainians and Germans. Hundreds and thousands of people are on those scoundrels’ conscience.627
Many Jewish testimonies describe the treacherous behaviour of Jewish policemen in the Warsaw ghetto. Solomon Radasky (Radosiński) recalls:
My father was killed in April 1942. He went to buy bread from the children who were smuggling food into the ghetto. The children brought bread, potatoes and cabbages across the wall into the Warsaw ghetto. A Jewish policeman pointed out my father to a German and told him that he saw my father take a bread from a boy at the wall. The German shot my father in the back.628
The involvement of the Jewish councils and police was crucial to the success of the Great Deportation of the summer of 1942, when 250,000 Jews from Warsaw were seized and sent to the death camps. During the first weeks of this operation the task of rounding up six to seven thousand Jews daily was given over entirely to the Jewish police, who managed to accomplish this without any help from the Germans. (Later, German gendarmes reinforced by Ukrainian and Baltic auxiliaries were brought in to finish the task, without any Polish participation.629) Many Jewish policemen used force and brutality and were quick to use deportation as a source of easy money. Reuben Ainsztein notes:
… the majority [of the Jewish ghetto police], according to Ringelblum ‘carried out with the greatest eagerness the orders of the Germans. It is a fact that on most days the Jewish police supplied more victims than the quota demanded by the Germans. That was done to have a reserve for the following day. … Many a hideout was discovered by the Jewish police, who always wanted to prove themselves plus catholique que le pape and thus curry favour with the Germans. The victims who escaped the eye of the German were seized by Jewish policemen. For two hours I watched the march of victims to the trains in the Umschlagplatz and I saw groups exempted from deportation being forcibly driven back to the trains by the Jewish policemen. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Jews were sent to their deaths during those two hours by the Jewish policemen.’ Szmerling, a former boxer, a giant with a little beard and the face of a killer who was in command of the Jewish police in the Umschlagplatz, did not hesitate to use his whip and took advantage of his position to extort money and jewels from wealthy victims for allowing them to escape from the point of departure for Treblinka. His subordinates, acting in partnership with the Sonderdienst composed of Polish Volksdeutsche [i.e., ethnic Germans] and the Ukrainian and Latvian cutthroats, demanded from 1,000 to 10,000 zloties from their victims to allow them to escape. ‘There were cases when the police demanded from their victims, apart from money, also payment in kind: women had to submit to their lust.’ The police plumbed the depths of their baseness in the final weeks of the Great Liquidation, when thousands of survivors refused to obey orders to surrender for deportation, even if it meant dying in hideouts. Each policeman was then ordered to supply seven victims daily or share with his family the fate of the other Jews. Having already sold their souls to the Nazi devil, the policemen did their best to carry out the order. This did not stop the Nazis from killing over 1,700 policemen and their families at the end of the Great Liquidation.630
The descriptions of the round-ups and deportations penned by first-hand witnesses of those events is horrific. Small wonder that Ringelblum writes that the hatred towards the Ordnungsdiesnt “exceeds the hatred of Germans.”631 Chaim Kaplan penned the following entries in his wartime diary:
At the beginning … a directive was issued to the Judenrat to deport 6,000 a day; in point of fact they are now deporting close to 10,000. The Jewish police, whose cruelty is no less than that of the Nazis, deliver to the “transfer point” on Stawki Street more than the quota to which the Judenrat obligated itself. Sometimes there are several thousand people waiting a day or two to be transported because of a shortage of railroad cars. Word has gotten around that the Nazis are satisfied that the extermination of the Jews is being carried out with all requisite efficiency. This deed is being done by the Jewish slaughterers.632
[July 28, 1942]: Anyone who could see the expulsion from Warsaw with his own eyes would have his heart broken. The ghetto has turned into an inferno. Men have become beasts. Everyone is but a step away from deportation; people are being hunted down in the streets like animals in the forest. It is the Jewish police who are cruelest toward the condemned. Sometimes a blockade is made of a particular house, sometimes of a whole block of houses. In every building earmarked for destruction they begin to make the rounds of the apartments and to demand documents. Whoever has neither documents that entitle him to remain in the ghetto nor money for bribes is told to make a bundle weighing 15 kilos—and on to the transport which stands near the gate. Whenever a house is blockaded a panic arises that is beyond the imagination. Residents who have neither documents nor money hide in nooks and crannies, in the cellars and in the attics. When there is a means of passage between one courtyard and another the fugitives begin jumping over the roofs and fences at the risk of their lives … But all these methods only delay the inevitable, and in the end the police take men, women, and children. The destitute and impoverished are the first to be deported. In an instant the truck becomes crowded. … Their cries and wails tear the heart out.
The children, in particular, rend the heavens with their cries. The old people and the middle-aged deportees accept the judgment in silent submission and stand with their small parcels under their arms. But there is no limit to the sorrow and tears of the young women; sometimes one of them makes an attempt to slip out of grasp of her captors, and then a terrible battle begins. At such times the horrible scene reaches its peak. The two sides fight, wrestle. On one side a woman with wild hair and a torn blouse rages with the last of her strength at the Jewish thieves, trying to escape from their hands. Anger flows from her mouth and she is like a lioness ready for the kill. And on the other side the two policemen, her “brothers in misfortune,” who pull her back to her death. It is obvious that the police win. …
But isolated incidents don’t hold up the operation. The police do what is incumbent upon them. After the completion of the arrests in one house, they move on to another. The Judenrat prepares a daily list of houses in which blockades will be made that day. And here a new source of income is opened for the graft-chasing police. The wealthy and the middle class have yet to be brought to the transports. For those who have no documents, banknotes turn into documents. There is almost a fixed price for ransom, but for some it is cheaper, all according to the class of the ransomed one and the number of people in his household.633
[July 29, 1942]: The expulsion is reaching its peak. It increases from day to day. The Nazis are satisfied with the work of the Jewish police, the plague of the Jewish organism, and the police too are satisfied: the Nazis, because through industry and cruelty the police have succeeded in supplying exiles above and beyond the daily quota originally specified, and close to 70,000 people have already gone into exile; the police, because they are lining their pockets. This income is fortuitous and apparently not dangerous. The Nazis don’t bother about details. … In any event, the respite that the bribe creates is only temporary. A house which is blockaded today can be blockaded tomorrow too, and the next day, and so on ad infinitum. A man who was released once can be caught again—even by the same policeman who set let him go the first time—especially since the police have nearly 2,400 dogs. The wiles of the policemen know no bounds. Besides taking bribes, they also steal and rob. How? They order the inhabitants of the house to go down, while they themselves remain in the unguarded apartment. Thus they profit from all that is abandoned.
This criminal police force is the child of the Judenrat. Like mother, like daughter. With their misdeeds they besmirch the name of Polish Jewry which was stained even without this. At the transfer point where the exiles are collected, the policemen traffic in bread. Those loaves of bread, which the police force gets in abundance free of charge, are sold to the hungry and oppressed captives at 80 zloty [złoty] a loaf. For delivering a letter, ten zloty. They are growing rich on these profits, and for the time being they are experiencing the eternal reward in this life—until the Nazis take pity on them as well. Their day will come, and they too will be destroyed, but they will be the last. …
Immediately a great movement arose to set up factories to work for the good of the German army, and the German commandant invited German firms to establish branches in the General Government. The Jewish shop-factories received raw materials from these firms and began to manufacture for each one what was required to meet their obligations to the commandant. In this way factories for various trades were opened which employed tens of thousands of people. … Henceforward, only one who is enrolled as a worker in one of the factories under the protection of some German firm has the right to remain in the ghetto. A certificate (Ausweis) granted by a firm of the Reich has the power to save its bearer from expulsion … Within a week, tens of thousands of tradesmen, peddlers, unemployed men, idlers, spreaders of false rumors, and bums have been turned into creative workers, into a productive element; they sit hunched over a needle, sewing buttons on a pair of army pants.
The entire ghetto is a mammoth factory producing for the good of the German army. We have become a laughingstock!634
[July 30, 1942]: There is one category among those “insured” against expulsion whose eyes reflect fear, who despite the documents in their pockets, never go out of the doors of their houses … These are “officials” of the Jewish Self-Aid Society, who numbered over two thousand at the outbreak of the catastrophe. … Before the expulsion, the Self-Aid employed about four hundred people who were registered with the labor office … Thousands of people were left without legal protection and doomed to exile. Accordingly, the directors of the society, with the consent of the Judenrat, decided to provide their friends with a legal haven in the form of “legitimizations,” documents stating that So-and-so was an official of the society. … A veritable factory for legitimizations was set up. Anyone who had had any connection whatever with the activities of the society … received certification as one of its officials.
Within three days, over two thousand certificates were prepared and distributed … In point of fact it did save many people. They were seized and later released.635
[July 31, 1942]: The hunting goes on full force. … The Jewish police are fulfilling their humane duty in the nest possible manner, and the Nazis are so pleased with their work that some of them are being sent to Radom and Kielce, where expulsions have now been ordered as well. …
More factories are established every day. This is the only source of salvation now … Many people scurry to register for the factories. … Everyone is pushing his way into a “shop” and is prepared to sell all his possessions and give away his last cent, if only to be considered productive. …
None of the newly erected factories has any validity or future unless they are incorporated into the network of factories of some German firm; and this privilege too must be bought with cash from the Germans, who demand immense sums in return for the right to work for the German army.636
Vladka Meed wrote the following account:
The Jewish police were now very important people in the Warsaw ghetto. The Nazis relied on them to carry out their roundups, to control employment cards, and to load unemployed Jews into the wagons and transport them to the waiting railway cars. Obviously, no one was very fond of the police; even in better days they had been known to badger and harass people in their daily lives by insisting on rigid adherence to the Nazi regulations. Now they had become even more hostile and aggressive. They were feared, but at the same time they were the objects of envy. For one thing, the Jewish police were secure; even the Germans thus far had left their relatives alone. They were never threatened with “resettlement.”
One afternoon, during the first week of the deportation, I happened to be at home with my mother when a column of police suddenly sealed off our building. All residents were ordered to go down and assemble in the courtyard. In their alarm, people tried to snatch up a few belongings, but the raiders, some wearing white armbands reading “Judenrat,” told them, “You’ll have time to pick up your things when the wagons get here.” So, it was no longer only police, but also functionaries of the Judenrat, who had been delegated to assist in the task of “resettlement.”
The luckless residents of the building submitted to the orders of these men. Without protest, they were herded roughly down the stairs. With the callous arrogance of the privileged, the Jewish police dragged children, the elderly and the ailing down to the courtyard. Although a number of the residents had employment cards, the faces of all were pale with fear. Families clung together for whatever comfort they might be in closeness.
The elderly were pushed to the rear, while the young were lined up in front. Children snuggled up close to the adults. Hearts pounding, the distraught residents prepared for the inspection. Several women brushed past rudely and walked up to the police, flaunting their employment cards.
“These women are going to be released immediately,” one of the bystanders muttered. “Their husbands are in the police force.” And, indeed, as the troopers saw these cards, their arrogance softened; they smiled and motioned to the women to return to their homes. Envious glances followed them as they hastened off.
Three men approached the police. Someone behind me whispered that they were the richest Jews of our building. It was easy to guess their intention was bribery. The police never objected to having their palms greased. …
But the Jews who were about to be deported did not move. Ashen white with fear, they begged the police for mercy. …
It was no use. The men in the uniform ignored their anguish. A few of the less hardened, visible distressed by the scene, walked out of the courtyard.
We stood as though turned to stone. Near me someone muttered, “Dear God! Put an end to this misery!” Yet not one of the hundred and fifty-odd Jews who had been spared many any effort to help. They did not want to jeopardize their own good fortunes. One group gave thanks to the Lord for His Mercy; the other, defeated and resigned to their fate, handed over their sacks and baskets, and climbed slowly into the waiting wagons. From there, they stared out at the remaining crowd. Some of them broke into cries of despair. What grief was reflected in their eyes! What mute reproach! We stood there, stunned, silent and conscience-stricken. …
But why had no one helped the others? Why hadn’t somebody—why hadn’t I—pleaded for them? Flinching, I tried to silence these questions, to justify my cowardice, saying to myself, “Our own chances of being allowed to stay in the ghetto were slim enough. We could not afford to stick our necks out for others.”
Shortly thereafter, the police threw up a roadblock at the corner of Zamenhof and Nowolipki Streets, where the cards of all passersby were subjected to inspection. Any Jew without the proper documents was immediately forced into a waiting wagon. I showed my card and was waved on.637
David Landau described the round-ups in the Warsaw ghetto as follows:
From the first day of the deportations, a routine was established … A block of streets would be closed off in the morning; the Jewish police would call out that the street had been surrounded and no one was to leave their dwelling; the caretakers of the buildings would immediately close the building gates and anybody found in the street would be either shot on the spot or handed over to the police. The Germans and their assistants would then go from building to building and the Jewish police would call to the trapped inhabitants: ‘Alles herunter!’ (All to come down.) Pressure was applied to hurry: ‘Schnell, schnell!’ It was the duty of the Jewish police to go in first to check the apartments in case anybody had disobeyed the order. Walls would be tapped, wardrobes opened; they would look under the beds. The cellars and attics were searched for anyone who failed to obey the German order. The police would drag out those found hiding to be dealt with by the Germans or their helpers. …
When all tenants were assembled in the yard the selection started. … Those selected for deportation were handed over to the Jewish police. Together with their Aryan colleagues the police led the victims to the Umschlagplatz on foot or in carts.638
Landau wondered also about the continued collaboration of the Jewish police after the deportation of the summer of 1942:
The Germans had to enter the houses to remove the people they wanted for deportation yet they were still assisted by the Jewish police. I often ask myself what evil force made the Jewish police co-operate in January 1943, when they themselves had been decimated after the great deportation?639
Ruth Altbeker Cyprys provides the following description of the round-ups in the Warsaw ghetto:
Immediately after the publication of the ‘Resettlement Order’ the manhunts started. Ordinary large carts, accompanied by a few Jewish policemen, appeared in the streets. All those with inadequate documents, or with none, were forcibly pushed on to the carriages. …
I witnessed the expulsion of the Korczak Orphanage. … On the day that they left the ghetto they made a strange procession as they walked along Sliska [Śliska] Street led by an elderly, dignified man, and accompanied only be a few policemen. … Mr. Korczak would not leave his children. And I learned, later, that he gave the same answer to his Aryan friends when they tried several times to take him to the Aryan side.
In the first weeks after the expulsion order the Germans did not show up in the ghetto. Jews themselves, as for example the Jewish militia, were entrusted with the job. They carried out the checking of identity papers in the streets and even on the Umschlagplatz where the Germans were present; the loading and forcing of Jews into the railway carriages was left to the militiamen. After all ‘points’ and other places of collective Jewish misery had been cleared out, street catching was carried out ceaselessly. …
The institution of the blockades carried out by the Jewish militia became a daily routine. During a blockade, which as a rule took place in the early hours of the morning, a strong detachment of militia men would cordon off a whole street or a part of big road, and begin sweeping the blocks. There would be a shrill whistle and shouts of ‘All down, all to the courtyard’ which would announce the beginning of the blockade. After a while the militia men would enter the flats, chasing the inhabitants out. They were very efficient in their searches, even too meticulous, for they looked into the night tables and drawers, they climbed into the attics and descended to the cellars. The courtyards were swarming with militia men and when all the tenants were gathered, an officer would begin the checking. The lucky owners of good Ausweis passes were placed on one side of the yard, all the others on the other side. They were then chased out into the street and loaded into the waiting carts. …
On 6 August  I was resting at home after my night shift when I suddenly heard a terrible noise in the street, loud cries, shots and shouts of ‘Alles runter’ (all downstairs). I knew what this meant. The street was already full of Germans, Ukrainians and Jewish militia. A normal blockade had started. We all had to go out into the street guarded by Germans, Ukrainians and Shaulis (Lithuanians), while the militia searched the rooms and hideouts, forever dragging somebody out. …
Alas, they checked no papers. Only the families of the militia men were released on the spot. The rest, formed in fives, were hurried to the Umschlagplatz. The way was strewn with horrific sights. …
… During all this time the Jewish militia loaded the freight wagons with struggling people, sealed them in, while new trains pulled in to the station … 640
Izrael Lichtensztajn and Zosia Goldberg describe the round-ups in the ghetto with understandable bitterness:
The course of the operation is as follows: units of Jewish police march through the streets. They rush at the gate [of the tenement house] and surround the entire courtyard. Everyone has to leave their apartments and come downstairs. When the residents of the house find themselves in the open area, the entrances to the dwellings are blocked. All of the rooms are searched again and only then does the inspection of people begin. Everyone must come forward with his document. Those with a good certificate—for a workshop, an official of the community or self-help organization—are set aside. … All those without certificates are loaded onto carriages and sent to the Umschlagplatz … There empty freight wagons are waiting for them, into which are packed from 120 to 200 persons, and are sent on their way. …
Unfortunately, we were betrayed. Our leaders do not have the courage to die like people. They die like fleas, bugs or mice. Today I saw Dr. [Emanuel] Ringelblum sitting in a carpentry workshop at 59 Nowolipki Street. He’s hiding there with his family. … Did it have to come to this that activists worried only about their private life, and wrote everything else off as a aloss?641
One day the Germans encircled the house at Leszno 42, and they called everybody down. I was with my mother and we were sleeping on the floor with my aunts and we were supposed to go down with them. Instead, I ran upstairs to Bolek, a young fellow who was a friend of mine. He knew many of the Jewish police and he spoke Russian, so I said to him, “Go down and see what you can do.” Along with the German Nazis, there were Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Jewish police.
“Try to get all the family out,” I told Bolek. They were already forming lines to march to the trains at the Umschlagplatz. So he came back and said, “I saw Marian. He’s in the police. I’ll see what he can do.” But Marian, my ex-husband, the one I had married and divorced before the war, simply washed his hands of us and turned away. … He did not lift a finger to help. …
Then Bolek tried to talk to a Ukrainian who understood his Russian. He made up a story that my mother was his mother and I was his sister. He said our family was dead. Maybe because Bolek spoke Russian to him, which is close to Ukrainian, he felt sympathetic. I don’t know why, maybe it was just luck, but the Ukrainian said you can take out your mother and sister from the line, but nobody else. Everybody else had to stay.642
Calel Perechodnik, himself a policeman in the outlying Otwock ghetto, provides the following damning verdict:
There is no justification for the Jewish policeman in Warsaw. They cannot defend themselves by explaining that they had a mental blackout. This might be done in the course of one day, but not for three long months. Their hearts turned to stone; all human feelings became foreign to them. They grabbed people, they carried down in their arms infants from the apartments, they robbed if there was opportunity. So it was not surprising that Jews hated their own police more than they did the Germans, more than the Ukrainians. There is nothing like setting a brother against a brother.643
Yitzhak Katzenelson, an eyewitness to these events, penned “The Song of the Murdered Jewish People,”644 in which he bemoaned the role of the Jewish police.
Ani ha-gever, I am the man who watched, who saw
How my children, my women, my young and old, were thrown
Like stones, like logs, into wagons,
Brutally beaten, rudely abused.
I watched from the window and saw the brutes—O God!
I observed the beaters and the beaten—
I wrung my hands in shame. O what disgrace and shame.
Jews were being used, ah, to destroy my Jews!
Apostates and near-apostates with shiny boots on their feet,
Hats with the Star of David, like a swastika, on their heads,
An alien, corrupt and vile tongue on their lips,
Dragged us from our homes, flung us down the stairs.
They smashed doors and forced their way
Into closed Jewish homes with raised clubs in their hands—
They hunted us, beat us and drove young and old to the wagons,
Into the street! They spat in God’s face, profaned the light of day.
They pulled us out from under the beds and closets, cursing:
“The wagon is waiting! Go to hell, to the Umschlag, to death!
They dragged us to the street and continued to prowl—
The last dress in the closet, last bit of cereal, last morsel of bread.
Look into the street and you’ll go mad!
The street is dead, yet full of shrieks and screams—
He street is empty, yet the street is full.
Wagons laden with Jews, with mourning and grief!
Wagons laden with Jews, wringing their hands, pulling their hair—
Some are silent—their scream is loudest!
They watch, they look … Is it a nightmare? Is it real?
Around the wagons, alas, woe is me! Jews in police uniforms, in boots and hats!
The German stands aside, as if smugly sneering—
The German stands aloof—he doesn’t interfere.
Woe unto me—the German had Jews destroy my Jews.
Look at the wagons, behold the shame, look and see the suffering!
Looting was a significant component of the overall tragedy that befell the ghetto. The Jewish police looted vacated apartments on a massive scale often amassing for themselves considerable fortunes, about which there was considerable boasting within the ghetto.645 Emanuel Ringelblum noted the “wholehearted cooperation,” as he put it, between the assisting forces and the Ornungsdienst: “They loot together. The entire Jewish police force is awash in money and jewelry.” Chaim Kaplan determined that the Jewish police was actually pleased with the deportation order, delivering 10,000 persons per day, and not only the 6,000 requested by the Germans, “because it fills their pockets with gold.” Abraham Lewin described several times the manner in which Jewish policemen took their brothers’ property, even as they were being sent on their final journey. “People talk about terrible robbing and looting during deportation. They cast out the people, then steal and plunder all of the tenants’ property. Shops are also opened forcibly, so they can take out merchandise. The participants: Ordnungsdienst, plain ordinary Jewish neighbors, and the Germans.” Ten days later Lewin wrote: “Jewish policemen are participating in looting. They break into apartments, empty closets, break dishes and destroy property just for fun.” A week later he wrote: “Yesterday evening, at around six o’clock, the Ordnungsdienst raided homes and made the tenants vacate them. They threw tenants out by force, broke into empty apartments, looted and robbed anything they got their hands on, while at the same time arresting women, mainly those without papers. How did Jews come to be pillagers?”646
After the deportation, the Germans reactivated the Werterfassung department (the “collection of valuables detail”), which had been previously active in stealing furniture from apartments before the ghetto was established. The Warsaw division employed 4,000 Jews who always managed to rob from the robbers and take something for themselves out of the stolen and confiscated items being transported outside the ghetto. Operating alongside this official unit were those the ghetto residents called shabbers—Jews who looted empty apartments. Initially, they took only money, jewelry, or other items that could be exchanged for cash. Later on, everything was up for grabs, wrote Rachel Auerbach. Rolling down the ghetto streets were “armchair-beds and folding sofa-beds. New metal bed-frames that quickly rusted, old fashioned mattresses … giant piles of all sorts of bed linens, children’s coverlets, pillows, sofa cushions, straw mattresses, field beds. … There were pots, pans, kettles, Sabbath candlesticks and Passover Seder plates, undergarments and outerwear, dominos and chess sets, soccer balls and playing cards, baby clothes and toys, and many family photos.” Soon the Jews remaining in the ghetto were engaged in dealing in abandoned Jewish property with buyers from outside the ghetto on a massive scale.647
The beginning of the Jewish underground was fraught with difficulties, not the least of which was the plague of informers inside the ghetto.
The Jewish Fighting Organization [Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa—ŻOB] … was established in July  as the transports [to Treblinka] began. At first two key leaders of the ŻOB were Józef Kapłan and Szmuel Bresław of Ha-Shomer Ha-Za’ir. However, they were caught at the beginning of September, apparently because of informants, after they had succeeded in acquiring a few weapons. The underground collapsed but began to reorganize in October.648
Before the Jewish underground could carry out their planned resistance to future German deportations from the Warsaw ghetto, they had to get liquidate Jewish Gestapo agents and informers in their midst and collect money to arm themselves. Bernard Goldstein, a Bund activist, records:
In further preparation for the events ahead, the Jewish fighting organization took steps to clear the ghetto of all Jewish servants of the Gestapo. Special counterespionage groups tracked down every Jewish Gestapo agent and liquidated him. For example, there was Alfred Nossig, a Jewish intellectual from Galicia. He had been a contributor of articles in Jewish, Hebrew, and German to various journals. He had served as an informer on Jewish matters for the German government even before Hitler. His specialty was the Polish Jewry. After the First World War, when Poland became independent, he used to visit Warsaw from time to time. Now he appeared in the ghetto on special work for the Gestapo. One of our comrades discovered his apartment and searched it. An identity card showed that Nossig had served the Gestapo since 1933, the year Hitler came to power. The fighting organization passed sentence of death, and he was shot.
Fuerst, one-time director of the prewar Jewish Students’ Home in Praga [a suburb of Warsaw], and a Gestapo informer, was shot by order of the fighting organization. Lolek Kokosovsky, a Maccabre leader from Zgerzh [Zgierz], was a Gestapo agent whose specialty was political information about the ghetto and the members of the underground organizations. At first he escaped our agents only with a bad wound. His friends took him from the ghetto, and he recovered. Later, however, he was shot and killed on the Aryan side as he walked out of a restaurant.
Sherinsky [Szeryński], an apostate Jew, already has been mentioned as the commissioner of the Jewish police. Our attempted execution of him failed, though he was seriously wounded. Afterward he took his own life. Laikin, who had been a lawyer before the war, was Sherinsky’s assistant. After Sherinsky’s death he assumed the position of Jewish police commissioner. Greatly hated in the ghetto, he was sentenced to death and shot.
These executions further strengthened the morale of the fighting groups and increased the prestige of the Jewish fighting organization. It felt sufficiently powerful now to levy a tax on the entire ghetto to buy arms; it even taxed the Judenrat. Some of the wealthy who refused to pay the tax were arrested. The authority of the fighting organization began to be felt throughout the ghetto. Its influence and power grew with every passing day.649
David Landau, a member of the Jewish Military Union, writes:
From a speech by ŻZW leader Paweł Frenkel: ‘… both the ŻOB and the ŻZW have been collecting large sums of money from the rich Jews in the ghetto and from the departments of the Eldest to pay for the arms some of you are buying. Up to a few weeks ago we had mutually agreed to report to each other where collections had been made, in order not to duplicate our work. Of course, here and there, we used force, but in general even those who were approached knew that once they had paid up and the collectors gave them their receipts they would be in the clear. However, in the last few days it appears that some clever individuals have been going around making collections for their own pockets in our name or in the name of the ŻOB. … we have confiscated the collected money from the individuals who believed they were clever and have warned them that their game is very dangerous. …
A man we sent to execute a Jew who was an informer to the Gestapo, did his duty; he killed the traitor … The woman was Anna Milewicz, who previously belonged to the Hashomer Hatsair. She was removed from it. The Hashomer Hatsair was in full agreement with what we did, because it was proved that she worked for the Gestapo.’650
When the Germans embarked on the final liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, among the collaborators that marched into the ghetto on April 19 were the Jewish ghetto police, who headed the column of collaborators, a small group of Polish police (who were withdrawn once fighting erupted), and Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian troops.651 The insurgency (street fighting) was soon over. Some of the fighters and many other Jews took cover in numerous hideouts, called “bunkers,” which had been prepared in advance.
Many, if not most of the bunkers were closed and hostile to outsiders, even to those who had helped to construct them. One Jew recalled:
One morning when we came to the entrance of the bunker we had been working on, there was a tough man standing guard there who would not let us in. The place was now filled with people who had come from all over and were using our shelter. When I tried to get in around him, he smashed me over the head with his rifle butt. I had to have my head bandaged up.
The next morning, there I was standing on line at the “Umshlag Place” [Umschlagplatz] (the train depot), the place from which all Jews were deported to camps and to the gas chambers.652
Another bunker occupant recalled:
One morning we heard some knocking. The voice of a woman called my name and begged to be allowed in with her children. It was Mrs. Windman, with two children, her mother, and the brothers Kopchuk. It was clear to me we had no choice but to let them in, yet the others were staunchly opposed. The arguments continued all day; we almost came to blows. Those most adamantly opposed to accepting outsiders were those who still had some provisions. Softly, we, who were in agreement to let them in, instructed them when to come back and to use the entrance on Zamenhof Street.
We waited in vain. They never came. If, as we feared, the Germans had caught them, we were also lost. We learned later, that, indeed they had been picked up by the Germans and taken to the Umschlagplatz but they had not given us away. …
Yet to our astonishment, a group of Jews appeared in the opening, … who had made their way through ruins and dug passages to the Aryan side to enable them to escape. … They were in the same position as we, without means of livelihood, without room for the hundreds of survivors of other burnt-out bunkers, seeking a place of refuge.
Among them I saw many who had worked in the vegetable storeroom. Rabbi Meir whispered to one who knew my brother-in-law, Ackereisen, that I still had some alcohol on me. He did this to detract the attention from himself and the provisions he still had, which he wanted to share with no one, not even with the young children. He had taken over a section of the cellar and there closed himself off with his provisions. I bartered with one of the newcomers, agreeing to exchange some of my alcohol for dry biscuits for my son. I gave him the alcohol but never received the biscuits.
The new arrivals asked us to take in another thirty survivors. The arguments broke out again. …
We were all very worried. Only Reb Meir believed he would survive and refused to share any of his supplies.653
Occupants who were regarded as liabilities were expelled from bunkers. A mother and her deranged young son, who had screaming fits, were evicted from one large bunker, but the woman’s daughter was kept as a hostage so that the mother would not betray the location of the bunker.654 Infants were suffocated or poisoned by occupants who were afraid that their crying would betray the existence of the bunker.655
The Germans relied on Jewish policemen, Jewish agents and Jews who had been caught earlier and turned into informers to ferret out Jews in hiding, both during the revolt and afterwards.656 One Jewish survivor records that informers were already searching out the locations of bunkers before the uprising in the ghetto.657 Rikvah Trapkovits-Farber reported that Jewish policemen were employed to lure Jews out of underground hideouts, holding out the promise of safety in work camps.658 Some other examples of betrayal follow:
Along with us, neighbors from our stairwell and employees of the hospital were hiding in the attic. We heard shooting all the time—machine guns from the German side and solitary shots from the Jewish. …
Once—perhaps on the third or fourth day—I fell asleep in the attic. I was tired. Suddenly, something woke me up. I opened my eyes, moved a bit. … No one said a word. …
At one point I heard a loud ein, zwei, drei (one, two, three) behind the wall, then a pistol shot. Somebody was removing the loose bricks from the outside. It was a Jewish policeman. We had been discovered. …
We crawled out one by one. It was funny: a few Jewish policemen, one German, and a whole bunch of us. We could have just killed that German!659
The Germans now proceeded to demolish these [bunkers], on the strength of the lists furnished by Brandt [a Jewish agent]. … As soon as a bunker was discovered, some of the occupants would be shot in full sight of the rest. A German officer would then offer a reprieve to anyone who would disclose the location of other bunkers. This would sometimes produce the psychological effect of breaking down the resistance of one or other of the survivors, who would then lead the Germans to any hide-outs they knew of. A new plague of informers now infested the ghetto. The Germans, as a rule, would keep these informers alive only until they had squeezed them out of every bit of information, and then shoot them out of hand. The average life-expectancy of such an informer, therefore, was no more than a few days, and the Jews continued living in the ghetto.660
While some German units were engaged directly in fighting, others were engaged in sniffing out bunkers. Expert units were employed in this work. They were helped by sniffer dogs and here and there by the last Jews they managed to capture. They would leave one of them alive and make this unfortunate person follow them as they approached a bunker. The living sacrifice would be made to call in Yiddish: ‘Jews, you can come out, the Germans have gone!’ Sometimes the ruse worked.661
Jack Klajman, one of the many Jews whose hideout was betrayed by Jewish informers, states: “Clearly, the most effective method for the Germans was the use of Jewish informers—and that is how my hideout was uncovered on 21 April .”662 Benjamin P. describes how his bunker was betrayed by a Jew who had come around asking about his relatives, and then returned the next day with German gendarmerie.663 Halina Birenbaum states that her bunker was betrayed when one of its residents went out to scavenge and was apprehended by the Germans; he betrayed the location of his hideout and all of its residents were seized.664 Israel Mittelberg’s hideout was also betrayed by fellow Jews:
The Germans had come from the same opening as our guests of two days earlier; quite clearly they had denounced us. … Outside, we caught sight of the two young men who had denounced us—one was eighteen, the other in his early twenties. They tried to deceive us, further assisting the Germans in their treacherous work. … The informers were often put to death before their victims.
A selection took place. About one hundred and sixty of us stood for an hour in the yard. Those prepared to talk were told to move to the right. Out of our ranks, no one volunteered except for a couple by the name of Shuster—he had served as a Jewish policeman. We turned away from them in contempt.665
Another Jew captured during the mop-up of the ghetto recalls:
There were a few underworld personalities in our bunker, who had arms. They played the role of our “protectors”. A sharp debate broke out among them over some shady matter, and the defeated one, Yisraelikl, was threatened with revenge. Outside, we heard the shooting and bomb explosions from quite near. Houses were burning around us. The smelly smoke came in from around us. The air in the bunker was difficult to breathe. The eyes were tearing, the throats were strangling, and we were all choking. At night we opened the secret trap door to get some air. This also let us see what was going on outside. Suddenly, Yisraelikl was snatched out of the bunker. He disappeared. We had a suspicion that he would betray us. During the day we heard a strong explosion, and the lights went out. We were overcome by great terror. We heard Yisraelikl’s voice near the trap door: “Here you have the group to be annihilated!” At that moment, the trap door opened and the order was issued: “Out!” A hand grenade fell into the bunker with a bang. There was a terrible stampede. We crawled out of the bunker with the fear of death. The wounded were dragged out by the Germans with terrible beatings from their guns and whips. Encircled by the armed Germans, we were taken to Umszlagplatz.666
The largest and best equipped bunkers belonged to the criminal underworld. The most famous one was located at 18 Miła Street and served as the headquarters of the Jewish Fighting Organization (Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa—ŻOB) after its previous premises on 29 Miła Street was betrayed. In actual fact, this bunker belonged to Shmuel Isser, a prominent figure in the Jewish criminal underworld. It was one of the best equipped and largest in the ghetto, housing about 200 persons, among them many thieves, prostitutes and their families. This bunker was also betrayed.667
Leon Najberg, who held out in the bunkers of the Warsaw ghetto until the end of September 1943, witnessed the use of Jewish informers by in the service of the Befehlstelle, the local SS command headquarters, repeatedly throughout this period.668 Dawid Białogród moved around from place to place to avoid the Germans and their Jewish informers, who continued to hunt down the remaining Jews, until January 1944, when he escaped from the ghetto.669 The Jewish police also proved useful by throwing grenades into the entrances to subterranean shelters.670 All of this led to universal suspicions among the survivors toward all Jews: “the residents saw in every unfamiliar Jew who did not live in the hideout an informer in the service of the Germans or at best a suspect person.”671 As a precaution Jewish survivors in the ruins of the ghetto would not reveal their hideouts to fellow Jews.672
Many Jews went into hiding again after the general uprising of August 1944 was crushed by the Germans, and the Poles were ordered to evacuate Warsaw. Jews awaiting the arrival of the Soviet army in the ruins of Warsaw often had to be leery of those with whom they hid. David Landau recalls: