Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eva Wimmer - January 1, 1985

Liquidating the Ghetto

And then, bef...even before my brother died, this brother, it was such a tragedy. We were so hungry. We lived in two small rooms. The rooms were much smaller than this size of the kitchen. The remaining family was the five sisters, my sick brother, my father and mother in, in one little room and the kitchen. This is where we lived and my brother was bedridden. He couldn't get out from bed. And one day they decided--the Gestapo wanted twelve men to hang them for no reason. They just want. They went--our uh, they called in the Lagerälteste. This was--he was in charge of the Jews in the ghetto. He was Dr. Lemberg, a very well known doctor in the city, a Jewish doctor. He was--in fact, we have a book. I don't know if we have it, but our hometown wrote a book. I think we have it somewhere and this doctor, mostly it is written about this doctor because he, when the ghetto--when the Gestapo from the ghetto, came and ordered him I want twelve men to, to, to die, to, to hang them. He said all I can give you is my immediate family--my wife, myself and my two children. He was willing to give up his family, but this wasn't enough. Unfortunately, he had to look for twelve men. And they pulled it out for no reason who the twelve men should be. Included was a wife, a woman, who was uh, uh, a dentist at the time, a young woman. And what they did, they called the whole ghetto in one place, and this was a very hot day, and they put up, everything to, to hang them and all of us should be witness what's happening. So-called that they did something wrong, which it was for no reason, but they were hung. At the time, my brother was still alive and it wasn't far away from where our place, where we lived, this place where we had to go out and my brother in, in his bed he said, he was a young man, twenty-three, he said, "My God, if I could only save those twelve people. I am going to die anyways and I could save maybe those twelve people's lives." And, and it was such a horrible thing. My mother and all of us was listening to this. We had to leave him in the house and we said, "Don't talk silly. You can't save them. We hope that someday you will recuperate and, hopefully, we all survive this trauma." And we left him in the house alone, unfortunately. He could not go and we went out and we witnessed this tragic thing. In front of my eyes, I will never forget what I have seen and I was so young. And I couldn't believe it why they did this, but they did. And as soon as they were hanging, they told us all to look back to our places. And after they showed us this my brother died. Right after this uh, we--they liquidated the ghetto to Łódź, which was out from our place with the train. If we would normally take the plane, it was one hour from--it's a big town. Łódź was a very big town. So, what they did they told us very little to take with, very little. They took us all to the Jewish cemetery. They took us like four o'clock in the morning and uh, what they did they separated two sides, the right and the left. They took--most of the people to the left were the young one, the kids and all of us like, maybe twelve and up went to the right side, which they know that we can still work for them in the ammunition factories in Germany and before this in the ghetto. Before the--Germany was the ghetto. So, what they did--we could not take. They told us right away not to take a lot of our possessions. What we wear, this is what we went with. We went out to, to the cemetery and it was terrible tragic because when they separated us we saw our parents, our aunts, our uncles, the whole families on the other side. We saw. We waved and we cried. The cry was hysterical. The Germans with the guns, soldiers, Gestapos, every...around us, surrounding. We couldn't even say a boo; otherwise, over the heads and plenty, unfortunately, got killed this way because they gave up. Either I will be over there where my parents are or do whatever you want to do. And many lost their life tragically. While we were standing there, they called men, strong men, out from the crowd. They should dig a big grave and they did, a very big grave. We did not know what this was for, for us, or for whatever. This is like today is Tuesday. Everything is the honest truth. It's nothing is made up. It's, it's not exaggerated. It's, it's left out. I don't go into every detail. It's, it's--it would take days to go into details. This is just what briefly. When, when we were standing there and the grave was already digged, they told the men to go out from the grave. And as we are there, come, come bodies, wagons on two wheels and our Jewish people carried the wagons, covered with big, big sheets. Blood all over on top of the sheets and we see little arms and things waving, going like this, still moving. They took our hospital. There was a Jewish hospital in the ghetto. They took all the hospital and shot each and one of the people, including the doctors, whoever was in the hospital, and put them like, like piles of potatoes, whatever. And they brought--our people had to drag this out and, and, and walking--God forbid there was no horses or anything. They took the people down to this grave and our people had to take every person down from this and put them in the grave. And we saw the little kids, blonde little hair, and beautiful little kids and, and women all ages, we saw them. Some of them were not dead yet and they put them down in the grave. And then they had to go with the shovels, the same men who digged the hole, cover it up, cover up those people. This was hours and hours this was going on. Then, we--at the same time, we still saw all our families on the other side and we are here. And, and we hope and we--maybe, maybe, and mother was crying and, and the Gestapos on both sides covering us so we can--if one wants to run was killed immediately. And naturally, we had hope because we were young. We were hoping maybe, maybe something will happen. Something from somewhere I knew it would happen and this would come to an end. But it didn't. Overnight they kept us on the cemetery, on the graves. And in the morning, early in the morning, we had to march in five, five, they told us, and five in German is funf ??? I don't know if you learned German, German. And as we stood there in five, they told us to march out from the cemetery and all the elderlies, elderlies, my mother was forty-eight. My father was fifty-two at the time. My aunts, my uncles, my cousins, the young ones, everybody was there. We marched out and the cries were just unbearable. We cried and they cried and it's, it's undescribable. So, where we marched out we had to walk to the train in our hometown, Zdunska Wola, we had to walk, which it was miles. We had to walk. No food, no water, nothing, nothing. We walked.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn