Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Ghetto Police

Uh, you said that the Germans had weapons, which means the Jewish police did not...

No, no.

...have guns anymore.

No, no, no.

Do you remember any of the Jewish police or any of the Jews that worked for uh, the Judenrat there?

I remember their names, some of 'em probably.

Did you ever see Rumkowski?

Yes. Yeah, Chaim Rumkowski, yeah.

Tell me your feelings about Rumkowski.

I, well at the time uh, well I was a kid. But now I think he tried to, to, to, to do, you know, he tried to uh, keep the ghetto going as long as he could.

And what about the Jewish police who worked?

Some of 'em were bad, others, you know, like, uh...

You told me about a man named Targovnik?

Targovnik, yes.

Tell me that story now.

He was a, he was a, well he was one of 'em. There were, there were plenty more. But I know him because uh, he told on my father and my uncle. He would uh, he worked for the Kripo, which was criminal, criminal police. And uh, they had a building inside the ghetto, it was fenced off and uh, he would uh, give 'em names of people that were uh, uh, semi-wealthy before the war and they figured they had hidden jewelry or money or whatever. And he'd give their names to the German criminal police and uh, they'd call 'em up and they'd take him in their room. There were four or five of 'em around, he'd, they'd put the person in the middle and start asking where the money is. If he wouldn't come out with it, they'd bea...beat him constantly for days and days.

That happened to your father?

Yes. My father was, twice or three times. Yeah.

And he was beaten.

Beaten, yes. Badly.

Um, what happened when he came back home?

He went back to his, to work.

You didn't talk about this, that he...

Oh yeah, we knew about it. I, in fact uh, we knew one of, we knew a driver, I think it was a driver that drove the horse and carriage that those guys used to go around and I'd, I'd take a, a, a sandwich or some food to my father once in a while, you know, whenever they'd allow me I'd ring the bell and hand it to, to, to somebody and hoping that my father would get it.

This is while he was in jail.

While he was in the, criminal po...yeah, inside there. And once in a while I'd uh, I'd walk by and see him work the field, because he knew how to uh, do farming and...

And was there money? Did he give up money?

I, the first time I know he did. I don't know the other times. I don't remember. The first time, yeah. Because they took him back where we lived before the war and uh, I guess they had some, something buried. But he never, he never told me what or when. But I know he went back to where we lived before the war, so apparently he did uh, give up.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn