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June 15, 1979 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-06-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

The Death Train': A Survivor's Memories of Nazi Era

By ALLEN A. WARSEN
"I have often thought of
Luba and her past. What
courage is required to live in
the, camp; to survive with-
out collapse at the loss of
family and child. And to be
reborn whole and good."
The above passage is from
Julius Schatz's introduction
to "The Death Train,"
authored by Luba Krugman
Gurdus, published by the
National Council on Art in
Jewish Life and distributed
by Schocken Books.
The book, a memoir of a
Holocaust survivor, in-
cludes 61 vivid and moving
drawings by the author por-
traying starvation, de-
gradation and death in the
ghettos and extermination
camps.
The author commences
her memoir with a de-
scription of Warsaw's
capitulation to the Nazis
on Sept. 26, 1939, and the
occupation of Poland's
capital by the German
armies on Oct. 1.
Shortly thereafter, the
Jews became easy prey for
Germans and Poles alike.
Their situation became
even more aggravated fol-
lowing the Nazi decree of
Nov. 12, 1939, ordering
every Jew 12 years old and
older to wear on their right
arms white armbands with
blue Stars of David. Simul-
taneously, the Jews were
forbidden to ride the street-
cars and walk on the
sidewalks.
On Oct. 16, 1940, the

.

saw passing "death trains"
carrying their passengers to
the extermination camps.
There, too, the author's par-
ents were shot for disobey-
ing a Nazi order and were
buried in a mass grave.

Germans decreed the estab-
lishment of the Warsaw
Ghetto and the exchange of
the Jewish and Aryan popu-
lations: 150,000 Jews who
lived outside the ghetto
boundaries were forced to
move into the ghetto and
80,000 non-Jews to move
out.
The
boundaries,
moreover, were thrice
changed, forcing thousands
of people to move several
times. And each time, as the
Jews approached the ghetto
gates, the Nazi scavengers
robbed them of their belong-
ings.
Soon afterwards, to the
already crowded ghetto,
German, Austrian and
Czechoslovakian Jews
were brought. As a result,
the living conditions
worsened: food became
scarcer and there was a
shortage of fuel to heat
the homes. Not surpris-
ingly, epidemics spread,
and hundreds of people
died of malnutrition,
typhus and other illnes-
ses.
To get away from these
horrors and indignities, the
memorialist and her family
fled Warsaw for a hamlet
near Zamosc where a non-
Jewish friend owned a fac-
tory. But the Nazi barbar-
ians discovered their hide-
out and forced them to move
to 'the nearby ghetto of
Zwierzyniec.
There the family rented a
small house close to the
railroad tracks where they

One day the news reached
them that at the nearby
town.of Jozefow the Nazis
murdered hundreds of Jews
in retaliation for the killing
of a Gerthan by the parti-
sans.
A few days later, Ger-
man soldiers and Polish
policemen accompanied
by vicious hunting dogs
suddenly surrounded the
ghetto and rounded up
all Jews: men, women
and children.
The author and her sister,
Mira, managed to escape to
Chobrzany, a village near
Lublin. There, in a cottage
where they were hiding,
they heard a peasant
woman brag that her son
removed the jewelry from a
murdered Jewess for which
they would purchase a new
horse. That night, the peas-
ants, like predatory beasts,
"elated by their sudden
wealth, tried to out-smart
each other in the barter of
the looted goods. Some of
them gambled with the sto-
len money and stayed up all
night drinking and fight-
ing."

being detected.
Apprehensive lest she'd
be recognized, Luba decided
to go to Lublin, but was ar-
rested at the railroad sta-
tion and sent to Maidanek.
Unexpectedly, she was re-
leased with 'a group of
Polish women inmates. She
immediately returned to

The following morning,
Luba and Mira left for War-
saw. There they were forced
to frequently change their
"living quarters" for fear of

Warsaw where she re-
mained until the end of
1945 when her husband,
Kuba, came from Palestine
to rejoin her. -
Luba, Kuba and Mira left
Poland for Palestine and es-
tablished a kindergarten for
children in Natanya in
memory If their son.

Friday, June 15, 1919 21

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