The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 48
(Part 1 of 8)

Session No. 48

8 Sivan 5721 (23 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-eighth Session of the trial open. Please proceed, Mr. Bach.

State Attorney Bach: With the permission of the Court, we are now proceeding to the chapter on the Jews of Romania. I will first submit one document, Prosecution document No. 496. This is a report by a commander of one of the units of Einsatzgruppe D, reporting on a successful operation carried out at Czernowitz on 7 July 1941, and describing how they managed in the course of their operations, as he put it: "... to carry out a major operation, during which practically the entire Jewish leadership was rounded up." He then describes the process of killing those Jews, and how together with the Romanians, they managed to kill five hundred Jews in Czernowitz at that time.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1000.

State Attorney Bach: In order to illustrate the content of this factual report, with the Court's permission, I call as witness Mrs. Perla Mark.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew, Madam?

Witness Mark: Yes.

[Witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Perla Mark.

State Attorney Bach: I understand the witness would prefer to speak in German.

Presiding Judge: Can you speak Hebrew?

Witness Mark: It is easier for me in German.

Presiding Judge: Very well - please proceed.

State Attorney Bach: Mrs. Mark, were you born in Romania?

Witness Mark: No.

Q. Where were you born?

A. I was born in Poland.

Q. When did you come to Romania?

A. In 1926.

Q. What was your late husband's function in Czernowitz?

A. He was the Chief Rabbi in Czernowitz.

Q. From when to when?

A. From 1926 to 1944.

Q. Till which year, Madam?

A. Till 1941.

Q. Mrs. Mark, you studied at the University of Czernowitz?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you study?

A. I studied pharmacology.

Q. Were you living in Czernowitz in 1941?

A. Until 1941.

Q. Were you in Czernowitz in 1941?

A. Yes, we were in Czernowitz.

Q. Do you remember what happened on 7 July 1941?

A. Yes.

Q. Perhaps you would tell the Court what happened on that day.

A. On 7 July 1941, at 10 o'clock in the morning, four SS men came into our house, with two armed soldiers. They went into my husband's room and demanded 1,000 trucks from him.

Q. What was your husband's name?

A. Abraham Jakob Mark.

Q. Please continue. What happened then? What was your husband's reaction to this demand?

A. He didn't reply to their demand. Then they asked about jewellery. They asked: "Who has jewellery?" He replied: "It is out of the question for the Chief Rabbi of Czernowitz to give the names of people who have jewellery!" Then they took him with them and left.

Q. Do you know now where they took him?

A. I didn't know then.

Q. Do you know now? Perhaps you would tell us what you know today? Where did they take your husband and what happened to him?

A. They took him to the synagogue and asked him where the sacramental ornaments and the synagogue's silver vessels were, and again he did not answer. They then took him to the Schwarzer Adler Hotel, took him down to the cellar, to the lift shaft - I didn't know this - kept him there a whole day, and I only found out the next day.

Q. Was this synagogue a special one?

A. A special synagogue.

Q. The main synagogue in Czernowitz?

A. Yes, the main synagogue in Czernowitz, with special architecture.

Q. And what happened to him then?

A. The next day they demanded that a young man, who was also in the cellar, polish their shoes. And when they did not like the polishing, they beat him until he had a haemorrhage. And since he was a neighbour of ours, when his wife got to know about it, she let me know that my husband was also being held in the cellar of the "Schwarzer Adler".

Q. How many others were with your husband?

A. I cannot say. I don't know.

Q. What happened the next day to the synagogue and your husband?

A. The next day they brought some barrels of petrol and oil into the synagogue and set fire to it. They threw the sixty Scrolls of the Law into the flames and led my husband up from the cellar to the roof of that building - which was opposite the synagogue - and showed him: "Look, there's your synagogue burning."

Q. After the burning of the synagogue and the Scrolls of the Law, what did they do with your husband?

A. On Wednesday morning, they took some 150 or 160 more people from the Cultural Centre and from the Schwarzer Adler Hotel out of the cellar, down to the river Prut, and there they were shot.

Q. You said that people were taken from the Cultural Centre - were these Jews?

A. Yes, only Jews.

Presiding Judge: What sort of cultural centre was this?

Witness Mark: It was a Romanian cultural centre.

Q. Were Jews assembled there?

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach: Were these special people, according to a list?

Witness Mark: They didn't choose them specially. They went to houses and hunted people down and took them away. They even pretended to let them leave in the evening, and those who tried to leave they shot. Then the rest of them stayed there.

Q. Do you know where your husband's grave is?

A. No, I don't know.

Presiding Judge: Have you not learned anything since then about your husband?

Witness Mark: Oh yes, since then I have learned - I ran from one person to another, and I found out where my husband was; one of the people I went to was the Archbishop's representative, with whom my husband had friendly relations. He asked me to come several times in order to tell me something, but said nothing. It was not till one Sunday, when I met him on the street, that he said to me: "If the Jews had not shot at the Germans, the Germans would not have murdered the Jews." Then I knew what had happened. Until then I did not actually know.

State Attorney Bach: Did you later find out that your husband was one of the 160 who were shot?

Witness Mark: No, not yet.

Q. But eventually you did find this out?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you find out?

A. I went to my university professor, a very good friend of my husband's, and I asked him to tell me where my husband's grave was, because I wanted to bury the body; and he said to me: "We cannot do anything against the Germans; they are behaving not as if they own the country, but as if they own the entire world."

Q. What happened to the Jews of Czernowitz after that?

A. The Jews were put in a ghetto - all the Jews. That was a month later, in September.

Q. How many Jews were there in Czernowitz?

A. There were 70,000 Jews.

Q. How long did it take for these Jews to be moved to the ghetto?

A. They were there for perhaps eight days, and then they were transported to Transnistria.

Q. No, that wasn't my question. I asked how long it took for the Jews to be moved to the ghetto.

A. I think it all took just one day.

Q. Was your family also moved to the ghetto?

A. Yes, myself with my daughter and my son-in-law and a two- week-old baby. Of course we did not take anything with us - the most important thing was to get the child out.

Q. Could you briefly describe to the Court the process of getting the Jews into the ghetto, and life in the ghetto?

A. The Jews stood on the street, waiting to be taken to the railway carriages - we were among them as well, and we waited the whole day; it was not until evening that they told us there were no more carriages, so we went back into the dwellings where we had stayed in the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Did you ask, Mr. Bach, about the move to the ghetto or the move from the ghetto?

State Attorney Bach: To the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Because Mrs. Mark is talking about the move from the ghetto.

State Attorney Bach: [To the witness] I am asking you now not about the move from the ghetto, the deportation to Transnistria, but to the ghetto and life in the ghetto. Can you briefly tell the Court what the conditions were like there?

Witness Mark: You can imagine what it was like when the inhabitants of an entire town were put in two streets, which had been evacuated for the purpose. People lay on the floor, outside on the balconies - everywhere.

Q. When did the first deportations to Transnistria begin?

A. From the ghetto? They began immediately. A few days later they started taking people away from there.

Q. You have already said that you were actually supposed to get into a carriage, but the carriage was full and so they did not take you.

Did you have to wear the yellow star?

A. Yes, we definitely wore the yellow star, the whole time.

Presiding Judge: Who deported you to Transnistria, the Germans or the Romanians?

Witness Mark: The Romanians.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps you can also tell us who the Romanians were who carried out this operation of rounding up the Jews - the police, the army, or others?

Witness Mark: No, that was all instigated by the Germans.

Q. I was asking who actually were the people, the Romanians, who carried out this operation? Was it the police or the army?

A. It wasn't at all necessary. We were taken there like sheep.

Q. By whom?

A. I cannot say - I did not see anybody there. The people went of their accord. Perhaps there were a couple of guards, perhaps some policemen.

Q. Were many of those you knew deported to Transnistria?

A. They murdered my parents. My parents lived in Poland. They led them off to the ghetto. Father was 80, Mother 74. They fell down somewhere and did not get up again, and they were killed where they lay.

Q. Were many of those you knew in Czernowitz deported to Transnistria?

A. An enormous number. Practically all our acquaintances were deported to Transnistria. Those who did not get permission in time to remain in the town were also transported to Transnistria.

Q. Do you know what was the fate of most of these people who were deported to Transnistria?

A. Many, many of them died there. They did not all return - an enormous number of them never came back. There was typhus there, there was starvation typhoid. Generally people starved there. Among my own relatives, a very large number died there.

Q. Mrs. Mark, how did you manage to get out of the ghetto?

A. A colleague of mine obtained permission for me to remain in the town.

Q. And how did you live from the time you left the ghetto until the end of the War?

A. We lived off what we sold, we sold everything from our house - all our furniture, all our things. My son-in-law, who lived with me, was not allowed to practice, so we lived only off what we sold from the house.

Presiding Judge: What was your son-in-law's profession?

Witness Mark: He was a doctor.

State Attorney Bach: Mrs. Mark, apart from your parents, whom you have told us about, who else in your family was deported?

Witness Mark: My son - my middle son - he was in Prague, he was studying medicine there, they deported him to Theresienstadt, and my brother, too. He was an editor on the Prague newspaper called the Prager Tageblatt. They were both sent to Theresienstadt. My brother died there. They sent my son to Auschwitz. There the people they sent to the gas chambers were received with music; he played the cello. And they set up an orchestra there; he played there until 1944. In 1944 he was killed, he was sent to the gas chamber.

State Attorney Bach: Thank you very much, Mrs. Mark.

Presiding Judge: One moment. Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

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