Abraham Lewin - Diary Extracts

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German Soldiers at one of the Warsaw Ghetto Entrances (Chris Webb Private Archives)

Abraham Lewin was born during 1893, in Warsaw. A writer, author of a novel, Kantonisci (The Cantonists), teacher and historian. Before the Second World War he taught in the Jehudyjah girls' gymnasium. He was married to Luba, formerly Hotner, and they had one daughter Ora, born in 1927. In the Warsaw ghetto he was one of the co-founders of the Underground Ghetto Archive. They lived at 2 Mylna Street. He was the author of a diary, that was subsequently published under the title, 'A Cup of Tears.' His wife Luba, was deported in August 1942, to the Treblinka Death Camp, where she perished. Abraham Lewin was killed in January 1943, during the first active resistance by the Jewish Underground in the Warsaw Ghetto. Ora their only child died in Warsaw, during 1943.

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Abraham Lewin and Ora Lewin before the Second World War

Extracts from his diary, document the period from the start of the Great Deportation Aktion which commenced in July 1942:

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German Notice - The Great Deportation Aktion in Warsaw (Yad Vashem)

Wednesday, 22 July 1942

A day of turmoil, chaos and fear: the news about the expulsion of Jews is spreading like lightning through the town, Jewish Warsaw has suddenly died, the shops are closed, Jews run by, in confusion, terrified. The Jewish streets are an appalling sight - the gloom is indescribable. There are dead bodies at several places. No one is counting them and no names are being given in this terrifying catastrophe.

The expulsion is supposed to begin today from the hostels for the homeless, and from the prisons. There is also talk of an evacuation of the hospital. Beggar children are being rounded up into wagons. I am thinking about my aged mother - it would be better to put her to sleep than to hand her over to those murderers. Ora brings exaggerated stories from Sweden- that the war is coming to an end.

Thursday, 23 July 1942

Disaster after disaster, misfortune after misfortune. The small ghetto has been turned out on to the streets. My nephew Uri arrived at half past seven. The people were driven out from 42-44 Muranowska during the night.

Garbatko, 300 women, 55 children. Last Tuesday in the night. Rain has been falling all day. Weeping. The Jews are weeping. They are hoping for a miracle. The expulsion is continuing. Buildings are blockaded. 23 Twarda Street. Terrible scenes. A woman with beautiful hair. A girl, 20 years old, pretty. They are weeping and tearing at their hair. What would Tolstoy have said to this? On Zamenhof Street the Germans pulled people out of a tram, and killed them on the spot (Muranowska Street)

Friday 24 July 1942 - Six in the morning

The turmoil is as it was during the first day of the bombardment of Warsaw. Jews are running as if insane, with children and bundles of bedding. Buildings on Karmelicka and Nowolipie Streets are being surrounded. Mothers and children wander around like lost sheep: where is my child? Weeping. Another wet day with heavy skies: rain is falling. The scenes on Nowolipie Street. The huge round-ups on the streets. Old men and women, boys and girls are being dragged away.

The police are carrying out the round-up and officials of the Jewish community wearing white armbands are assisting them. The death of Czerniakow yesterday at half past eight in the Jewish community building. As for the reasons: during the ceremony at Grzybowska Street, he said: 'Szlag mnie i tak trafi, prozse pani (I'll die anyway, Madam)

The round-up was halted at three o'clock. How Jews saved themselves: fictitious marriages with policemen. Guta's marriage to her husband's brother. The savagery of the police during the round-up, the murderous brutality. They drag girls from the rickshaws, empty out flats, and leave the property strewn everywhere. A pogrom and a killing the like of which has never been seen. 

Merenlender's visit. She and her father were taken the first day. In what kind of train-wagon are the prisoners kept? According to her they will not even last a night. Many buildings have received an order to present themselves on their own. The manager of 30 Swietojerska Street, Nadzia, gave himself up. People get attacks of hysteria; 11,000 people have been rounded up; 100 policemen held hostage. One of them let himself down on a rope, fell and was badly wounded. The policeman Zakhajm has been shot. Terrifying rumours about the night. Will there be a pogrom?

Schultz is dismissing 100 Jews. His explanation for his action. The great hunger in the ghetto. Someone saves his sister and a four-year old child, passing her off as his wife. The child does not give the secret away. He cries out: 'Daddy!' I am trying to save my mother with a paper from the Jewish Self-Help Organisation (ZTOS).

Saturday, 25 July 1942

Last night I couldn't sleep. It passed peacefully. Everything reminds one of September 1939. People rushing through the streets. The day is so long. Packages, mainly of pillows and bedclothes. Noisy movement. The never -ending questions: 'Meken do durkhgen? (Can one get through there?). Disaster: Gucia has been thrown out of her flat. Five killed in Dzielna Street in the night. Terrible scenes in the streets. The police are carrying out elegant furniture from the homes of those who have been driven out.

Umschlagplatz: a policeman is crying . He is struck. Why are you crying? Meine mutter, meine frau! Frau ja: Mutter nicht (My mother, my wife! Wife yes, mother no!) A smuggler who threw himself out from the fourth floor. I saw him on his sick bed.How did Czerniakow die? 10,000. The Wajcblum family. The looting of property. Last night there were a lot of suicides.

Conditions at the Umschlagplatz. People are dying where they are being held. You can't go in or out. By yesterday 25,000 had been taken away, with today 30,000. With each day the calamity worsens. Many give themselves up voluntarily. It is supposed that hunger forces them into it. The new proclamation: non-productive elements are being sent to the East. Vast numbers of dead among those being expelled. The German Jews are content to go. For them it is a long journey. The Jewish Self-Help Organisation is flooded with Jews begging for mercy, stretching out their hands for help - who is there to help them? Then every Jew would come and ask for papers from the organisation. Since Tuesday there has been no newspaper in the ghetto, apart from the very sketchy Jewish paper Gazeta Zydowska.

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Gazeta Zydowska Edition (Chris Webb Private Archive)

Sunday, 26 July 1942

The 'action' continues. The buildings at 10-12 Nowolipie Street are surrounded. Shouts and screams. Outside my window they are checking papers and arresting people. Human life is dependent on some little piece of paper. It's really enough to drive you insane. A lovely morning, the sky is wonderfully beautiful: the sun is shining, the acacia is blooming and the slaughterer is slaughtering.

The blockade of our courtyard. How it was carried out. Winnik's story. Good news from Brzesc. The closing of the post office. The seizing of an eight-year old girl, prettily dressed . She screams 'Mummy! Libuszycki, Lejzerowicz. The terrible hunger. Many give themselves up . They are not accepted, so great is the number that are going. Yet they still set up blockades so as to extort money. The terrible corruption of our police and their assistants. An outrage, an outrage.

6 Solna Street; 99 victims. Today 12,000 martyrs. The closing of the post office. A kilo of bread - 50 zloty. Potatoes -20. The violence of the police. Warszawski's son, an official of the Jewish community, was seized and ransomed for 250 zloty. Czudner (Meir Czudner, Hebrew poet, editor and translator who died in the ghetto). Kirzner's sister- seven people. The break-up of families- Mendrowski. Pola. It hurts so much. 37,000 martyrs today (till today that is, in the first five days of the deportation). The Jewish community and Jewish Self-help Organisation workers are also not safe. Only the workers in the 'shops' seem to be still safe,

A new leadership for the community. Lichtenbaum, chairman, the deputies: Wielikowski, Sztolcman, Orlianski. The shot in Brustman's window. Lola Kapelusz, the wife of a lawyer from Lodz. She goes twice with her daughter to give herself up because they are starving. 'We haven't eaten now for two days.' They send them away because of huge crowds of people giving themselves up. Confiscations of packages at the post office. First people were given a receipt confirming that the office had received the packages - then the confiscation.

Monday,27 July 1942

The 'action' still continuing at full strength. People are being rounded up. Victims on Smozca Street. People were dragged from the trams and shot. One hundred dead (old people and the sick) at the Umschlagplatz. Huge numbers of dead at 29 Ogrodowa Street. The remaining occupants were taken out, no notice was taken of their papers. The cause - a piece of glass fell onto the street when there were Germans passing. Shooting all day. Dead on Pawia and other streets.

The terrible hunger. Bread - 60 zloty, potatoes -20, meat -80. There are round-ups in the street.The commandant from Lublin is in Warsaw. How high will the numbers of deported become? Opinions differ: 100, 000, 200,000. Some will go even further: about 50,000 will be left and these will also be removed to Grochow or Pelcowizna. Today the number of those deported will reach about 44,000. And according to Wielikowski there is no prospect of an end to the 'action'. A break for 48 hours (so people are saying). Auerswald has returned. Perhaps things will get easier? Suicides in great numbers. The Cytryn family, mother and son embracing. The attitude of the Poles. Kalman weeping over the telephone. He calls for revenge. Neustadt has been murdered.

Tuesday, 28 July 1942

The 'action' continues relentlessly. There are so many volunteers, two families from 8 Nowolipie left their flats and gave themselves up (10 +5). The reason - the terrible hunger. Bialer - execution because he didn't remove his hat. The incident with Kirzner. Up to yesterday 45,000. Wealthy Jews have left Warsaw. The Rozencwajgs on a wagon. The seizure  of Gutgold. Lazar: taken off a tram. Deaths on Smocza Street. How was a strong young man shot between the eyes? He tried to escape was wounded in the arm. He begged for mercy, and was killed by two bullets in the head. Gruzalc's mother has been taken. He works at Tobbens.

Pessimism of Menahem- Mendel Kon. The Germans want to leave 60,000 Jews in the town. The fate of those who work for the Jewish Self- Help Organisation. Some say that their identity papers will only be recognised as valid for another two days. This is what Szerynski is said to have announced. A blockade on our building for the second time. The two Walfisz boys were taken away.

The sight of Nowolipie and Smocza Streets at midday - a hunt for wild animals in the forest. The world has never seen such scenes. People are thrown into wagons like dogs, old people and the sick are taken to the Jewish cemetery and murdered there. I heard that a smuggler who lives on our courtyard wanted to get rid of her old sick mother: she handed her over to the butchers. Jewish policewomen. The huge numbers of people and sewing- machines assembled in the courtyards of 44- 6 Nowolopie Street.

Wednesday, 29 July 1942

The eighth day of the 'action' that is continuing at full strength. At the corner of Karmelicka Street - a 'wagon.' People are thrown up on to it. In the courtyard of 29 Nowolipie Street the furniture of the occupants who were thrown out of the buildings is still standing there. A Jew sleeps in the open air.

Kon recounts a young woman who returning from work at a placowka told of the murder of two 19-year old boys, shot dead. One was left dying for a whole hour. They were shot for no reason. Ilenman Igla, the daughter from the ZZ (Food Office) walks with her mother. Places of execution: Piasczno, Pustelnik, Belzec. People standing at the windows are shot at. A Christian woman on Leszno Street, seeing the wagons with those who have been rounded up, curses the Germans. She presents her chest and is shot. On Nowy Swiat a Christian woman stands defiantly, kneels on the pavement  and prays to God to turn his sword against the executioners - she had seen how a gendarme killed a Jewish boy.

A meeting of Oneg Shabbes. It's tragic character. They discuss the question of ownership and the transfer of the archive to America to the Yivo if we all die. The terrible news about the Germans' plans. It is being assumed that they intend to deport 250,000 . So far 53,000. The terrible pessimism of Eliyahu Gutkowski and Menahem-Mendel Kon. They talk of death as of something that will certainly come. Announcements in the streets: all those who present themselves voluntarily before the first of the next month will receive 3 kg of bread and 1 kg of jam.

Workshop -mania. Will that save people? The Germans thank the police for their 'productive efforts'. It is said that they are going to put the police to 'work' in other locations. How are the Jews listening to the loudspeakers? So far eight Jewish policemen have committed suicide. Conditions in the streets get worse every day. Many Jews with identity papers from the Jewish Self-Help Organisation have been arrested.A bulldog that has been taught to attack only Jews with armbands in Warsaw-Praga. A Jew was seized by him.

How do Jews hide? In couches, in beds, cellars, attics. The Rozencwajgs were set free for 500 zloty. A memorandum has been handed to the authorities, offering a ransom in return for the halting of the expulsion. No reply has yet been received. No Germans appear until four in the afternoon. The Jews do everything in an orderly fashion. Each day about 1 per cent of those rounded-up, between 60 and 70 people are killed. They throw loaves of bread into the wagons. Those at the front grab even two or three of them, those at the back get none at all. The savage round-ups in the streets will go on until 1 August. Then those that are not working will receive orders . Children will not be separated from their mothers. Someone called our policemen 'gangsters'.

The day after Czerniakow's death the German officer Witossek came and apologised, justifying himself by saying he was not responsible for the death and giving his word of honour as a German officer that those being deported are not being killed.

At the employment office there are lists of the community workers and employees of the Jewish Self-help Organisation. For the moment they are being left alone. It is supposed that they are going to check them. For now they are sorting out the workshop employees.

Sometimes I am quite calm about my life and sometimes a little indifferent, but suddenly I am gripped by fear of death that drives me insane. Everything depends on the news coming in from the street. Blockades in the streets. On Nowolipie Street near the Jewish Self-help Organisation they seized a girl aged 15 or 16 who was going with a basket to buy something. Her shouts and screams filled the air. In H. well-dressed women were found. About 95 per cent of the people are sent away without any kind of packing, of linen or clothes.

Thursday, 30 July 1942

The ninth day of the 'action' that is continuing with all its fearfulness and terror. From five in the morning we hear through the window the whistles of Jewish police and the movement and the running of Jews looking for refuge. Opposite my window, in Nowy Zjazd Street, a policeman chases a young woman and catches her. Her cries and screams are heart-breaking. The blockade on our building. How was the Rajchner family saved? How did I save Mrs Minc?

Today the post office was opened again. Brandstetter was seized yesterday afternoon by the Germans. He was released at the Umschlagplatz. Dr. Fuswerg's wife was seized as was Klima Fuswerg. They were freed this morning. From midday yesterday onwards the shooting has not stopped next to our building. A soldier stands at the corner of Zamenhof and Nowolipie Streets and abuses the passers-by. Terrifying rumours the authorities have closed the Jewish Self-help Organisation.

Brandt expresses his condolences to the committee members on Czerniakow's death. Hofle defends  himself by saying he was not responsible for the death. The terrible appearance of Nalewki Street. A woman shot dead there yesterday when she came out of the courtyard and began to run. Workers were removed and deported from Tobbens workshop at 6 Gesia Street. Community officials were also seized and deported. All the workshops were emptied. Those who hid themselves or refused to go were shot. All the workers have been removed from the workshop of the second section of the Jewish Self-help Organisation, which was in the process of being set up. At the corner of Karmelicka and Nowolipie Streets they used axes to break off the locks and open up the shops. By midday 4,000 people had been rounded up, among them 800 volunteers. By yesterday evening the total number passed 60,000.

The notice in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung: they are broadcasting continually on London radio, 'SOS Save 400,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto whom the Germans are slaughtering. The 'lie' of the English propaganda is clear to anyone who saw the film from the Warsaw ghetto. A letter from Bialystok that a Polish policeman brought from a woman to her husband. She and her son are together with several other families and have to work hard in the fields, but they are receiving food. About 2,000 people have been removed from 27-9 Ogrodowa Street. Also a lot of children from the Pnimia children's home. Today many employees of the community were seized - including teachers - and from the Jewish Self-help Organisation. The story of Pigowski.

Friday, 31 July 1942

The tenth day of the slaughter that has no parallel in our history. Yesterday a large number of officials were rounded up. The female director of Tobben's workshop, Neufeld. At the corner of 11 Mylna Street they stop me and lead me up to an officer. The Jewish Self-help Organisation identity cards 'have no value any more. Odjazd - ambiguous. I was terrified.

They are driving out the old people from the old people's home at 52 Nowolipki Street. Those rounded up are divided up into: those fit for work (arbeitsfahig), those able to survive (lebensfahig) and those not fit to be transported (transportunfahig). The last group is killed on the spot. About 2,000 people have been removed from the buildings at 27, 29, and 31 Ogrodowa Street. The official from the Jewish Self-help Organisation centre, Rozen and his father taken away. A certain young man, Frydland, who has been working for several months at one of the placowki has been seized and deported. Rabbi Nisenbaum's wife was put into the wagon. Mrs Mlawer was shot and wounded. They removed the caretaker and his family from Centos.

Yesterday 1,500 reported voluntarily. Today by midday, 750. Among them members of the intelligentsia. There is talk that part of the 'squad' has already left for Radom. The remainder are leaving tomorrow. I have heard that they will be taking 500 Jewish policemen with them from here. At four o'clock they suddenly took those who had been rounded up out of the wagons and announced the action was being suspended. The joy and hope that this brought forth. At six to half past six the blockade started again.

A woman called Mydlarska jumped up into the wagon after her husband had been taken. In our courtyard a woman threw herself from the third floor - she was starving. Today about 3,000 people were taken away from Walicow and Grzybowska Streets. No attention was paid to identity papers 'Zay gezunt! Zay gezunt (Goodbye, goodbye!) a young Jew shouts from the wagon.

The calamity of the 'dead souls.' 120,000 fictitious food-coupons (bony).

Saturday, 1 August 1942

Outside there is destruction by the sword, and inside there is terror. The 11th day of the 'action' that gets progressively more terrible and brutal. Germans are in the process of emptying whole buildings and sides of streets. They took almost 5,000 people out of 20-2 and other buildings on Nowolipie Street. The turmoil and the terror is appalling. There is a general of all the occupants of Nowolipie Street between Karmelicka and Smocza Streets. The awful sight: people carrying packages of pillows and bedclothes. No one thinks of moving furniture. Fajnkind says to his sister -in-law: 'Hide yourself and your beautiful child! Into the cellar!'

The nightmare of this day surpasses that of all previous days. There is no escape and no refuge. The round-ups never cease, Shakhne Sagan and Ben -Tsion Chilinowicz, Dr. Edmond Sztajn, Zolotow, Karcewicz, Prync (teachers at the Yehudia Secondary School) Perets Opoczynski have been seized. Mothers lose their children. A weak old woman is carried on to the bus. The tragedies cannot be captured in words.

The rabbi from 17 Dzielna Street has been seized and apparently shot. Children walking in the street are seized. The property of those who have been expelled is grabbed by neighbours who are left, or by the new tenants, the shop-workers. Fifty of the customers, 10 staff were removed from the officials' kitchen at 30 Nowolipie Street. People who have hidden are shot. I spent the whole day at 25 Nowolipki Street and didn't go to eat, so was saved.

Sunday, 2 August 1942

I spent the night at my sister's at 17 Dzielna Street. The 12th day of the 'action,' which becomes more and more intense. From yesterday the parents of police have been excluded from the category of those protected. Last night a lot of people were killed or wounded. A new proclamation in the streets of the ghetto from the head of the Jewish police: the action will continue. All those who are not employed in organisations  or by the German authorities have to report voluntarily on 2, 3 and 4 August and they will receive 3 kg of bread and 1 kg of jam. Families will not be split up.

Today three people were taken away from the kitchen at 22 Nowolipie Street.. It looks like they have stopped recognising the identity papers of the Jewish Self-help organisation. Yesterday evening a large group of hundreds of Jews who have been driven from their homes was taken into the Pawiak. Early today some of them were brought out of the Pawiak, among them old people, young women with small babies on pillows. They were led by Jewish policeman. Jehoszus Zegal has been seized.

Among the tragedies: Karcewicz has been taken away; she left behind two children aged four and seven. Magidson. People murdered on Nowolipki Street. The 'action' continues. People are saying that there will be a break for three weeks from 5 August. Those who will remain will be able to get themselves fixed up with work. When that period is up, they will return and take away and liquidate anyone who is not working. A large number of people - estimated at 15,000 - have been taken from the small ghetto. Grandmother was killed by a single shot: she was standing at the window that looks over Sienna Street. Mother has gone to Gucia's.

Monday, 3 August 1942

The 13th day of slaughter. A night of horrors. Shooting went on all night. I couldn't sleep. In the morning I went to the Landau Brother's sawmill. A mass of people, men, women and children, were gathered in the courtyard and in the garden. They were trying to save themselves. Will they be saved? It is said that from those who were taken to the Umschlagplatz yesterday about 2,000 were freed who had various papers. People are consoling themselves with the thought that the savage round-up will stop tomorrow and it will be carried out in an orderly way. Everyone was taken from TOZ (Society for the Protection of Health) who was found there.

At the cemetery 56 Jewish prisoners were killed. A few days ago more than 100 people were murdered on Nowolipie Street. Today the Germans have surrounded the following streets: Gesia, Smocza, Pawia, Lubiecka, and took away all the occupants. Yesterday the following were taken away: Attorney Kahanowicz, Rusak, and Jehoszua  Zegal's whole family.

Tuesday, 4 August 1942

The 14th day of the 'action' that is being continued at full speed. Today the blockades were set up at ten in the morning. The Germans work together with the Jewish police. The small ghetto was surrounded and also Gesia and Zamenhof Streets. There are stories of terrible lootings and violence during the expulsions. They deport the people and loot and pillage their possessions. Shops are also broken open and the goods carried off. In this participate Jewish police, ordinary Jewish neighbours and Germans.

It was announced that 14 Jews were killed who had sought refuge at the cemetery, those who work in the cemetery organisations, in addition to the 56 sentenced to death, who were killed. I have heard the following: they found a woman who had recently given birth and her three-day-old child on Szczesliwa Street. They shot dead both the mother and the child -this is a true story. They are expelling the occupants from the buildings once again: from 45 Nowolipie Street and other buildings. Even if someone is not seized and sent away to die there is no certainty that when they return home they will find a roof over their head.

Again there is talk that the savage round-up will stop today . But we have heard this before and nothing came of it. The workers from the kitchen at 8 Prosta Street have been removed. A Junak was crying: 'Szkoda tych Zydkow (It's a shame about these Jews.') At 9 Nalewki Street a sick woman was murdered. The 'action' will continue until 17 August. Zegal's father has been taken away. How do they get the corpses out? Tozsa Apfel has been taken and sent away.

Our feelings have been numbed! We hear of great calamities happening to those closest to us and we do not react. A letter from Baranowicze. The writer is working as a farm-labourer. She asks for underwear. Life is cheap, 7 zloty for white bread, 1.80 for potatoes. It would be good if she could be sent underwear. The letter came by post.

Wednesday, 5 August 1942

The 'action' continued unabated. We have no more strength to suffer. There are many murders. They kill the sick who don't go down to the courtyards. Yesterday about 3,000 volunteers reported. Not all of them were taken. These they sent away. In the town they are rounding up people regardless of the papers they have. Whoever falls into the hands of the Germans or the Jewish police is seized. The Jewish policemen took away Hillel Cajtlin. He was released. Professor Majer Balaban has been taken. At 13 Dzielna Street they killed Mrs Grun who was ill and a girl. Yesterday the 'action' in Radom began.

Thursday, 6 August 1942

The 16th day of the 'action,' which is continuing. Yesterday they took away everyone from the offices of the Jewish Self-help Organisation who were there at the time, about 60 or 70 people. Some of them Dr. Bornsztajn, Sztolcman, a girl, were freed.They are predicting a hot day today. Once again there are the theories that the action will be suspended tomorrow because the annihilation squads are about to leave for Radom. Conditions in Landau's sawmill. The expulsion of the occupants of 10-12, 23 and 25 Nowolipki Street. Redoubled savagery and the maltreatment of Jews. While flats are being emptied out and people come to save their belongings, the SS arrive and seize the occupants.

Moritz Kohn and Zelig Heller have been killed. During a blockade by the Germans the Jewish police storm into Zylberberg's building. They are terrified that they have found them and say: 'Hide and lock yourself in well!' It was then that the whole family of the Radomsko rebbe was killed.

Popower saw orders with regard to trains and their numbers that were sent to Treblinka - the place of execution. Starvation haunts the survivors more and more, a kilo of bread -45 zloty, a kilo of potatoes 15 zloty. Today they already taken about 5,000 Jews from the small ghetto. Tosza Apfel has been caught and deported.

Friday, 7 August 1942

The 17th day of the massacres. Yesterday was a horrendous day with a great number of victims. People were brought out from the small ghetto in huge numbers. The number of victims is estimated at 15,000. They emptied Dr Korczak's orphanage with the Doctor at the head. Two hundred orphans. In the evening they drove out the people from the flats in the square bounded by Dzielna, Zamenhof, Nowolipki and Karmelicka Streets. There are no words to describe the tragedies and disasters.

Rozencwajg's two sisters were sent away. One with a child of six months, the other with a four-year-old. Mrs Schweiger is not there. How terrible. Today Germans and Ukrainians came to the sawmill of the Landau brothers and they rounded up a large number of women with their children from among the factory-workers, and women who just happened to be there Bluma Kirschenfeld-. Wasser, Smolar, with her child . Tintpulwer and others, many others. 

The workers turn on the intellectuals. A shocking experience. Many rabbis have been sent away. Mendel Alter from Kalisz and more, more. During the pogrom on Nowolipie Street about 360 people were killed. At number 30 more than 30 people were killed. Gorny's mother has been killed by the Germans, and he came to sell meal-coupons as if nothing had happened. So dulled have our feelings become.

The hunger presses in on us in a terrible way. Today I had no bread for breakfast. I ate pickled cucumber. Today a kilo of bread costs 55 zloty. A new order has been issued that if people report voluntarily for deportation from 7 to 14 August they will receive a kilo of bread and half a kilo of jam. From this it can be deduced that the 'action' will continue for at least a week. Saul Stupnicki has been sent away.

Three thousand were brought from Otwock directly to the Umschlagplatz. The number who have fallen victim is enormous. The crematorium near Malkinia and Sokolow. I have heard that Erlich - nicknamed Kapote - has disappeared. The shooting and the killing flourishes. During the blockade on Leszno Street four people were killed. Shmuel Hirszhorn has committed suicide. Many kill themselves. It is a miracle that there are people still alive.

Saturday, 8 August 1942

The 'action' continues. The 18th day. There are still reports of our cherished and loved ones who fell victim yesterday: our children. The children of our boarding schools, led away to be killed: 12-14 Wolnosc Street, about 1,200, 18 Mylna Street. Nathan Koninski with his wife and the children from the boarding school. They intend to eradicate the whole of Warsaw Jewry.

I hear reports today that the Germans are blockading Zelazna and Leszno Streets. They are driving people out of all the buildings on Mila Street. We have lived through a shattering and terrifying day - 30 Gesia Street. The numbness of everyone is staggering. Gorny loses his mother and sells meal-tickets. Smolar has lost his wife and daughter. Tintpulwer - widowed - goes around in despair, a broken man and tries to 'find' work so as to be involved in something, not to be superfluous. Terrifying reports from the town. At 64 Lubiecka Street victims, many victims on Mila Street. All the cows were taken away - about 120 - from the 'farm.' A loss of millions: there will no longer be the small amount of milk that was distributed to the children.

In the evening a pogrom in the streets. A great many killed at various locations: Smocza, Pawia, Mila, Zamenhof and others. I was on my way home at half past eight . Hela comes towards me. Luba and Ora are not there. I am sure they have been seized. They come home at nine o'clock. During the blockade they had stayed in the boarding-school at 67 Dzielna Street. What Luba recounted of the children (150) and the women teachers during the blockade. Their packages in their hands, ready to set off - to their deaths. Kon said yesterday: 'I am writing a testament about the events.' Chmielewski's parents were taken away yesterday and he comes to the factory and is still on his feet.

Sunday, 9 August 1942

The 19th day of the 'action' of which human history has not seen the like. From yesterday the expulsion took on the character of a pogrom, or a simple massacre. They roam through the streets and murder people in their dozens, in their hundreds. Today they are pulling endless wagons full of corpses - uncovered - through the streets.

Everything that I have read about the events in 1918-19 pales in comparison with what we are living through now. It is clear to us that 99 per cent of those transported are being taken to their deaths. In addition to the atrocities, hunger haunts us. People who during the war were previously well-fed come to ask for a little soup at a factory kitchen. The 'elite' still get some, but the rabble don't even get that.

Twenty Ukrainian, Jewish policemen (a few dozen) and a small number of Germans lead a crowd of 3,000 Jews to the slaughter. One hears only of isolated cases of resistance.One Jew took on a German and was shot on the spot. A second Jew fought with a Ukrainian and escaped after being wounded. And other cases of this kind. The Jews are going like lambs to the slaughter. Yesterday 23 Jews were killed in one flat.

I have heard that the 'action' in Radom is already over after a week and three days - 7,000 victims. That is the target they set in advance. And here we have no idea when they will say -enough. I have heard about letters that arrive from France telling of expulsions of Jews there. They also say that they will be brought to the Warsaw ghetto. It is a wonder that people can endure so much suffering, living the whole day on a knife-edge between life and death and clinging with all their might to life in the hope that they may be among the ten survivors.

Monday 10, August 1942

Yesterday was horrific in the full sense of the word. The slaughter went on from early morning until nine and half past nine at night. This was a pogrom with all the traits familiar from the Tsarist pogroms of the years 1905-6. A mixed crowd of soldiers of various nationalities, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and over them the Germans,stormed into flats and shops, looting and killing without mercy. I have heard that people are being slaughtered with bayonets. Yesterday there were a vast numbers of deaths.

In the town, proclamations have been published ordering the occupants of the small ghetto to leave their homes today by six o'clock. This is a further terrible calamity. Firstly for all those who have remained there. There is no possibility for them to take out with them a few of their possessions, clothes and bedding, because there is a danger of being seized while moving. And secondly, where can they move to? A great many streets and blocks of buildings have been emptied by German factory-owners. The number of buildings still in Jewish hands is very low.

The number of those deported out (read: murdered) is estimated at 150,000. Yesterday the Guzik family was seized. He was freed, his family not. It is reported that the community organisation is to be dismantled and a commissar appointed. I have heard that Gancwajch, whom they wanted to kill a few weeks ago, has climbed back to prominence.

i was unable to go home. We all spent the night at 30 Gesia Street. It was a very difficult night. Until two we sat on chairs, from two till five -we lay on plywood boards. We were told that 2,500 officials of the Jewish community and two members of the Judenrat have to present themselves at the Umschlagplatz. Later this was denied. The embitterment of the workers against the unwelcome intelligentsia is growing continually. They feel they have been wronged by them. The wife of the editor Wolkowicz has killed herself.

The terrible hunger: bread, 88 zloty, potatoes, 30. The appalling appearance of the Jewish streets. The shops and flats stand open, the Jewish crowds have remained- looting. In a building on Leszno Street, where 150 people used to live, there are now 30 left. Of these eight were killed yesterday. I have heard that in the course of the massacres yesterday the famous Warsaw singer Marisa Ajzensztat, the only daughter of her parents and a former pupil at the Yehudia School was attacked and killed. I have heard that yesterday Kohn's sister and her husband was killed. And she who had celebrated her recent marriage so exuberantly. A worker sat weeping, Jewish policemen had come to his home and taken away his 16-year-old son. What brutality!

Tuesday, 11 August 1942

Things are deteriorating fast. Appalling, horrendous. The brutal expulsion from the small ghetto. Whole buildings have been emptied of their occupants and all their possessions left behind. Christians are already beginning to loot. 24 Sienna Street, 28 Sliska Street. Except for Dr.Jakub Tombeck's family, there is not even a single tenant remaining in the building; the house porter is also gone. Aunt Chawa and Dora Feiga have been seized and deported. The destruction of families.

Early this morning the Germans and the rioters spread through the ghetto. By the evening they were distributed throughout the ghetto and were seizing people. In the course of five minutes they drove out all the occupants on Gesia Street between Zamenhof and Lubiecka Streets. They pay no attention to papers.

The Jewish community offices have moved to 19 Zamenhof Street, the post office building.They have reduced their personnel by half. The number of victims has already risen above 150,000. Today they will complete three weeks since the beginning of the terrible massacre. In the night a large number of women who worked at Tobbens' were removed. It looks like there is a policy to liquidate women and children. Yesterday at Tobbens' three Jews died at their work. Blockades and murders in the streets that still belong to the ghetto. The heavy blockade on the entrance to the buildings of the Warschauer Union, with two killed and a vast number seized, nearly 100 women, children and men. The mortal terror that gripped us as we sat in the office.

Smolar rang Sokolow. He was told that those that are deported, or if they are deported to Treblinka, are going to their death. The news that K brought. In Warsaw there is a Jew by the name of Slawa who has brought reports of Treblinka. Fifteen kilometres before the station at Treblinka the Germans take over the train. When people get out of the train they are beaten viciously. Then they are driven into huge barracks. For five minutes heart-rending screams are heard, then silence. The bodies that are taken out are swollen horribly.  One person cannot get their arms round one of these bodies, so distended are they. Young men from among the prisoners are the gravediggers, the next day they too are killed. What horror!

Wednesday, 12 August 1942

Eclipse of the sun, universal blackness. My Luba was taken away during a blockade on 30 Gesia Street. There is still a glimmer of hope in front of me. Perhaps she will be saved. And if, God forbid, she is not? My journey to the Umschlagplatz - the appearance of the streets -fills me with dread. To my anguish there is no prospect of rescuing her. It looks like she was taken directly into the train. Her fate is to be a victim of the Nazi bestiality, along with hundreds of thousands of Jews. I have no words to describe my desolation. I ought to go after her, to die. But I have no strength to take such a step. Ora - her calamity. A child who was so tied to her mother, and how she loved her.

The 'action' goes on in the town at full throttle. All the streets are being emptied of their occupants. Total chaos. Each German factory will be closed off in its block and the people will be locked in their building. Terror and blackness. And over all this disaster hangs my own private anguish.

Thursday, 13 August 1942

The 23rd day of the slaughter of the Jews of Warsaw. Today about 3,600 people were removed from Tobbens' buildings, mainly women and children. Today is Ora's fifteenth birthday. What a black day in her life and in my life. I have never experienced such a day as this. Since yesterday I have not shed a single tear. In my pain I lay in the attic and could not sleep. Ora was talking in her sleep: 'Mother, Mama, don't leave me.' Today I cried a lot, when Gucia came to visit me.

I am being out of the flat at 2 Mylna Street: they have already taken most of my things. Those who have survived are thieving and looting insatiably. Our lives have been turned upside down, a total and utter destruction in every sense of the word. I will never be consoled as long as I live. If she had died a natural death, I would not have been so stricken, so broken. But to fall into the hands of such butchers! Have they already murdered her? She went out in a light dress, without stockings, with my leather briefcase. How tragic it is! A life together of over 21 years - I became close to her beginning in 1920- has met with such a tragic end. 

Friday, 14 August 1942

The last night I will spend in my war-time flat at 2 Mylna Street. The sight of the streets: the pavements are fenced off, you walk in the middle of the road. Certain streets, such as Nowolipie (on both sides of Karmelicka), Mylna and others are completely closed off  with fences and gates and you can't get in there. The impression is of cages. The whole of Jewish Warsaw has been thrown out of the buildings. There is a full scale relocation of all Jews who have not yet been rounded up and are still in the town. Whole streets that have been given over to the German firms: Muller, Tobbens, Schultz, Zimmerman, Brauer and others. We have been sold as slaves to a load of German manufacturers. The living conditions of those in the workshops: hunger and hard labour. Their ration: a quarter kilo of bread a day and a bowl of soup.

The 'action' continues - today is the 24th day. Yesterday, they took away from Tobbens' workshops about 3,000 -4,000 men and women, mostly women and children. This morning the Jewish community council posted a new announcement: all Jews who live in Biala, Elektoralna, Zielna, Orla, Solna, Leszno, odd numbers in Ogrodowa , Choldna Streets have to leave their flats by tomorrow, 15 August.

Yesterday, and today, a huge number of people killed - victims of the blockades. I am moving my things over to Nacia's at 14 Pawia Street. Setting up blockades on Nowolipie and Karmelicka Streets. Further victims - there are more deaths today and very many driven out. There is talk of 15,000. I have heard that measures decreed in the expulsion orders are directed mainly against women and children. The police commandant of the second district is trying to save his wife and children.

A new raid on the Jewish Self-help Organisation at 25 Nowolipki Street. Dr Bornsztajn and his wife taken away. Elhonen Cajtlin with his son and others. This was carried out by Jewish policemen without the Germans, that is, on their own initiative. Renja Sztajnwajs. I have heard that Yitshak Katznelson's wife and one of his children have been seized.

The second day that i am without Luba. I am now also without a place to live. I have nowhere to lay my head. The number rounded up has reached 190,000, just counting those expelled, excluding those who have been killed and those who have been sent to the Dulag at 109 Leszno Street. Every crime in history, like the burning of Rome by Nero, pales into insignificance in comparison with this. Kirzhner has been taken away and deported. Together with him they took away a further 28 people. All were aged 35 and over. The same thing has happened, I have learnt, in another placowka, 29 people were taken away and deported.

Saturday, 15 August 1942

Today is the 25th day of the bloody 'action' carried out by the butchers. I spent the night at 17 Dzielna Street. The rain of shooting started at half past nine in the evening. Deaths in the street. The whole night incessant movement in and out of the Pawiak. Gutkowski sends his only son, three and a half years old, to the cemetery to have him taken to Czerniakow.

I have nowhere to rest my head at night, Gucia is being thrown out of her flat. Nacia and Frume are not allowed to enter. All the orphanages have been emptied. Korczak went at the head of his children. The pain because of the loss of Luba is becoming more intense. My soul can find no peace, for not having gone after her when she was in danger, even though I could also have disappeared and Ora would have been left an orphan. The most terrible thing is that Landau and Sonszajn misled me by saying that Luba wasn't in the queue. Be that as it may, the anguish is terrible and it will never be dimmed.

Rumours about reports arriving from women who were deported from Biala-Podlaska and Bialystok.

Today by eight o'clock there was a blockade on Mila, Gesia, Zamenhof and other streets. Our spirit is weary of the killing.' How much longer? Yesterday a huge number of bodies were brought to the cemetery, victims of the blockade of Tobbens' workshops. Today they were also taking people from the 'shops.' It will soon be seven o'clock and the blockade on Gesia is still continuing, around our factory. The Jewish police have been looting, breaking open flats, emptying cupboards, smashing crockery and destroying property, just for the fun of it.

More people were killed today in the course of blockades. People killed during the blockade, Mirka Priwes, her mother and brother have been deported. Yitzshak Katznelson's wife and two of his children have been seized and deported. The desolation and chaos is greatest on the streets from Chlodna to Leszno Streets, all the Jewish possessions have been abandoned  and Polish thugs with the Germans will loot everything. The whole of Jewish Warsaw has been laid waste. That which remains is a shadow  of what was, a shadow that tells of death and ruin.

Sunday, 16 August 1942

Today is the 26th day of the 'action' which is continuing with all its atrocities and animal savagery, a slaughter the like of which human history has not seen. Even in the legend of Pharaoh and his decree: every newborn boy will be thrown into the river.

People who have returned from the Umschlagplatz have told of women who were seized yesterday who were freed if they sacrificed their children. To our pain and sorrow many women saved themselves in this way - they were separated from their children, aged 3 to 12 to 14, and if they had identity papers, they were freed. Any woman carrying a child or with a child next to her was not freed. The Germans' lust for Jewish blood knows no bounds, it is a bottomless pit. Future generations will not believe it. But this is the unembellished  truth, plan and simple. A bitter, horrifying truth.

The Jewish police have received an order that each one of them must bring five people to be transported. Since there are 2,000 police, they will have to find 10,000 victims. If they do not fulfill their quotas they are liable to the death penalty. Some of them have already received confirmation that they have presented the required number. Since every Jew has some kind of documentation - in the main valid ones- they tear up every document they are shown and round-up the passers-by. It is now dangerous for every Jew to go out on to the street. No one goes out.

Rumours have reached me again that letters have allegedly arrived from the deportees saying they are working in the area of Siedlce and conditions are not bad. Lifschitz's son - my friend from elementary school told me that his daughter herself had read one of these letters from an elderly couple.

As things are developing, a handful of Jews will be left, those of a designated age. Apart from this there will be no way for a Jew to survive: there will be nowhere to live and no bread. The position of the old is especially tragic: they have no way out. They can either give themselves up into the hands of the butchers, or take their lives themselves, or hide out and live in dark corners and cellars, which is also very difficult because of the general expulsions from the buildings and the upheaval of the residents. In those buildings that have been taken over by new occupants, no strangers are let in. It is easier for an animal to find a hiding place and a refuge in the forest than for a Jew to hide in the ghetto.

Now - four in the afternoon - I have heard that there are no Germans at all in the Umschlagplatz. There are only Jews there and they are carrying out the bloody and terrible operation. Today rumours are going round that an order has been issued that all wives and children of officials have to report at the Umschlagplatz. Josef Erlich and his family have been killed, so I have heard. According to certain reports, Czerniakow's place here with us - a la Rumkowski - will be inherited by Gancwajch, the man they had been hunting and trying to kill. He is outside the ghetto at the moment.

Monday, 17 August 1942

The 27th day of the annihilation. Yesterday, I came to 14 Pawia Street  very late at night by a round-about route- via Zamenhof - and was anguished to hear the terrible news about Jakub, Frume and Uri. A very great blow. There is still a faint hope that they can be saved, since there were no train wagons yesterday and they weren't taken straight to the train. This morning I saw in the streets an announcement about a new reduction in size of the ghetto. Very many streets and sides of streets (the odd or the even numbers) must be vacated by the Jews by 20 August, at four in the afternoon. The ghetto will be a third or a quarter of its original size, if there are no further decrees of this kind. They are emptying those streets that had already been handed over to the German firms, and been fenced off, for example Mylna, Nowolipie, Dzielna Streets and many others. The enemy's claw is reaching out for us and it is still not stated.

Yesterday hundreds of officials of the community and of the Jewish Self-help Organisation were taken away. The Gestapo commandant Brandt stood there and struck the detainees with his own hands. Jakub, Uri and Frume were hit. The 'action' is continuing today. There was a blockade on the cemetery. Ora, who works with the group from Hashomer Hatsair, was in great danger. The group was saved today thanks to the intervention of Commissar Hensel.

Jewish policemen round up people all day. It is said that they have received an order that each policeman must find six Jews. They abuse those who are rounded up, and smash and loot the empty flats. I have heard that a thousand policemen have received an order to report at the Umschlagplatz. This report turns out to be false - for the time being.

Harsh conditions at the factory. Before 80 people were employed there and now almost a thousand are registered there. Hundreds of people wander around bored with nothing to do. They sit around in dread of German blockades and many hide themselves in all kinds of dark corners.

The pain over the loss of Luba is getting more and more intense. During the day I am often choked with tears. The fact there is no news about her suffering and torment, whether she is alive or dead, how she died - gives me no peace. If I knew that she was alive and that she was not suffering too much, I would be calm. And if I knew that she had died but did not suffer much at her death - then I would also be calm.

I have been told that Yitshak Katznelson shows great inner strength and endurance, keeping hold of himself after the terrible disaster that has befallen him. The Ejdus's have been seized. Every day there are killings When Jakub, Frume and Uri were taken away, someone tried to escape . He was killed on the spot. For a week now we have had no news of the progress of the war. The last report was a few days ago of the heavy bombardment of Mainz. The story about the Jew Chunkis (one of the directors of Adriatika).

Frume and Uri have returned. What they have told me about what is going on at the Umschlagplatz. Hell, pure hell. The rich save themselves, if they are not shut into the wagons straight away. The tragic fate of the Taubers. He was killed on the spot, his wife and beautiful and charming son -with statuesque features - Rapusz- were deported.

Tuesday, 18 August 1942

Today marks 4 weeks or 28 days of this bloody operation, which has no parallel in history. The Germans and the Jewish police have been carrying out further blockades.