b. Sochachev, Poland, 1928
The Nazis knew that first the spirit had to be broken, then the body would follow. In 1939 when they took over Poland, the breaking of the spirit started immediately.
They came for my father and brother, and my sister and I followed to see what was happening. My father and brother were taken to the marketplace which was opposite the church. Many of our Jewish men and boys were already there.
The Jews who had beards and sidelocks were the first to suffer.
The Germans slashed beards, cut off one sidelock.
The Poles, who had congregated, applauded. They jeered, they mocked and laughed hilariously.
What a joke!
The Nazis made the Jews jump, dance in a ring, while their photographers took many pictures which were to be used for propaganda purposes.
All the Jewish women and children who witnessed this sordid spectacle and humiliation were crying. We were told we were making matters worse and were ordered to leave. We did not leave, only retreated.
What they had done evidently was not enough for the Nazis. In the next scene of this “comedy, ” they ordered the men and boys to walk across the shallow River Bzura. It was November and the water was icy. The Jews were not dressed adequately to withstand the cold. Later, many developed pneumonia.
We believed all this was an aberration and things would improve. We were wrong.
It was the beginning of the Final Solution.