The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 28
(Part 2 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Q. What happened further to that mass of people?

A. On the third day, when there were already only a few people on the field.

Q. Why were there few people?

A. All the time convoys passed by, convoys conveyed people to the railway station during those days.

Q. What did they do with the Jews who were brought to the railway station?

A. I do not know to this day.

Q. Did you see anyone of them subsequently?

A. I did not even find my parents there in the field, and I was separated from them.

Q. Have you seen them subsequently to this day?

A. No. My father merely expressed his wish that I should say the Kaddish (mourner's prayer) on the first day of the month of Elul. This was three days before the first day of the month of Elul, and he calculated that the journey would possibly take two days, and he would be there one more day.

Presiding Judge: Did you know where they were bound for?

Witness Karasik: We knew - we already had experience with all the deportations. We had heard of all the deportations.

Attorney General: Where to?

A. To Treblinka.

Q. Very few of you remained at the end?

A. We remained very few. It was one transport. Then the Germans began to separate the men. They assembled about 700 men and ordered them to sit on one side. A truck came up and some six men began to distribute bread to these men.

Q. The men who were more fit?

A. Fit men, not young or old men.

Q. What happened to them?

Presiding Judge: Only men, and what about the women?

Witness Karasik: No women. Definitely not. I specially took a young girl who had arrived earlier, who had come one day earlier from the forest. We had a plan to break out of the railway waggons. I did not want to be parted from her. I took her along, and I said that she was my wife and that I wanted to go with her. Then one of the officers took a stick, placed it on my neck and dragged me to the side where the men were standing.

Judge Halevi: How old were you at the time?

Witness Karasik: 27 - 28 years old.

Attorney General: What happened to you?

Witness Karasik: We slept in the field. The following day Friedel, Magel and Halbreich came once again, and called out several names from the list. Naturally many of these names were not to be found amongst these men. Then some more Jews were added. We were 70 in all. They seated us in trucks with a strong guard. We began to move. We arrived at the prison in Bialystok. The gate opened and we were taken into the prison.

Q. Did you work for about two months?

A. We worked for two months - so those in charge of us said - we worked on the construction of pigsties for the SS General Halbreich. Some of us worked in the SS offices on Warszawska Street.

Q. What were they doing there?

A. Services. There were a number of locksmiths, a number of carpenters.

Q. Work of skilled artisans?

A. Work of skilled artisans.

Q. Did you sleep in the prison?

A. Yes. In the morning they would take us by truck, and in the evening they would bring us back to the prison. When we arrived at the prison, the Germans told us that we should remove the badge, for there were no more Jews in Europe, and they marked us with a cross on our back, and long blue stripes on our trousers.

Q. When was this?

A. About 20 August 1943.

Q. Afterwards, one day, an order was received to go out of the gaol and to line up in rows?

A. Yes. There was an instance where our comrades who were working on Warszawska Street escaped, and they took us away from our work and brought us to the gaol. We did not know what had happened, since it was in the middle of the day when they took us away from work. The prison commandant, Knappel, told us that now we would have to pay for the treachery of our comrades, and they kept us in gaol. They did not permit us to leave the gaol to go to work. Some of the Jews who were working on Warszawska Street remained there to sleep.

Q. What happened to you?

A. We were in gaol until May 1944.

Q. What happened then?

A. During the eight to nine months we were in gaol, we saw how the Germans all the time sent out groups who were being transported to death.

They used to bring in Jews who had hidden in bunkers after the liquidation. At first they killed them every there or four days, and after some time they killed them once a fortnight. There were also cases where they seized Christians in the street, because of some provocation, where they said they had killed a German doctor, and they brought them, a thousand, one hundred and twenty people...

Q. How many, a thousand, one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and twenty?

A. One hundred and twenty. The following day the usual truck came and removed them from the prison. After an hour or two we saw how their clothes were brought to the prison stores. We worked in the prison in services, so that we knew everything that was going on in the prison, and we served as a link between the cells.

Q. You mentioned the matter of clothes. I understand that in Bialystok there was also a textile industry, for the army?

A. Yes. Most of the city's industry was textile. At the time of the Soviets, the Russians organized all the small factories and concentrated them into combines. The Germans naturally exploited this and continued with the work.

Q. Mr. Karasik, please answer my questions. Did transports of clothing of murdered Jews arrive?

A. Yes. After the "action" of 5 February 1943 many waggons arrived with clothes. The Jews who worked in the textile industry related that they often found documents of the Arbeitsamt (Labour Office) in the name of people they knew.

Presiding Judge: Where were these clothes brought to?

Witness Karasik: They arrived at the textile factory.

Presiding Judge: Did you work there?

Witness Karasik: No, but the Jews who did work there told me about it.

Presiding Judge: And did they also tell you where these clothes came from?

Witness Karasik: This they did not know, but they found papers and they knew that these were the clothes of the Jews of Bialystok. First of all they found the Shield of David on the clothes.

Attorney General: And the clothes were used by the industry for making uniforms?

A. To make new uniforms.

Q. For whom?

A. For the Germans, for the Reich.

Q. In May 1944 you were removed from the gaol?

A. In May 1944, at the beginning of May, an officer came to us - I worked in the locksmith's workshop of the gaol - the officer came and ordered 40 chains with rings at the end of two metres' length, and also a number of short and long hooks and iron beaters. He ordered all this and it stood there in a side room in the workshop.

Presiding Judge: What?

Witness Karasik:: They ordered it and did not take it. It remained there.

In May, I don't remember the date exactly, Friedel came once again - he was the one in charge, he was our constant visitor. We knew that if he came, something new was going to happen. And so it was. They took us out into the yard; he looked at us and said: "You are still looking fairly well. You will go out to construction work." They removed ten of our men and left them for service in the prison; and they told the remainder to go into the sewing workshop; they tore a hole of about 10 centimetres in our clothing and in its place sewed white cloth on our back and on the right knee. Thereafter they put us into the famous truck. They told us also to take the hooks and the chains and we began moving.

Attorney General: Where did you go to?

A. When the doors were opened, we saw that we were in the courtyard of the Gestapo on Siemkiewiczo Street. There we underwent an additional search, and they took away from us all the things that remained from the gaol - pencil stubs, shoelaces.

Q. What place did they take you to?

A. We went further on and reached Augustov. There we found a place prepared for us, two cowsheds surrounded by a barbed wire fence.

Q. Did they give you anything to eat?

A. They gave us as much food as we wanted: bread and honey and pork, and they allowed us to rest for a few days. After that they took us out to work.

Q. To what kind of work?

A. To construction work, just as they had said: They gave us spades for digging, they brought us to a particular place and marked out the place where we were required to dig.

Q. Who marked out the place for digging?

A. Those who accompanied us.

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