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February 05, 1982 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-02-05

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, February 5, 1981- 19

Starkopfs Memoir Is Published by Holocaust Library

By ALLEN A. WARSEN

_D

0

"There Is Always Time to
Die," authored by Adam
Starkopf and edited by Ger-
trude Hirschler, has been
published by the Holocaust
Library (Schocken) whose
primary purpose "is to offer
to the reading public au-
thentic material, not
readily available, and to
preserve the memory of our
martyrs and heroes un-
tainted by arbitrary or in-
vertent distortions."
tarkopf commences his
ocaust account by re-
cording the Nazis' sudden
attack on Poland on Sept. 1,
1939 and their invasion of
Warsaw 28 days after-
wards.
A short time later, Star-
kopf writes, the Gestapo ap-
pointed a Judenrat (a coun-
cil of Jews) of 24 members of
the Warsaw Jewish com-
munity with Adam Czer-
niakow, a civil engineer, as
the chairman.
The Judenrat's main
purpose was to enforce
and carry out the Ges-
tapo's orders. Its first as-
signment was to take a
census of Warsaw's
Jewish population. At
the same time,- the Ges-
tapo ordered all Jews,
except the very young
children, to wear white
armbands with blue stars
of David in their center.
Jews caught without
armbands would be ar-
rested.
The Gestapo demanded
quotas of men and women
that the Judenrat had to
make available every day
for forced labor. To carry out
the Gestapo's directives, the
Judenrat organized the
Ordnungsdienst, the ghetto
police. An important early
function of the
Ordnungsdienst was to
compel the Warsaw Jews to
share their living quarters
with Jewish refugees driven
by the Nazis from their
hometowns and-villages.
Unexpectedly,
the
memorialist writes, in July
1940, Warsaw was divided
into three sections: the most
desirable was reserved for
the German occupiers; the
workmen's residential area
was set aside for the Polish
population; and the slums
were designated as the
Jewish section.
This blighted area be-
came the Warsaw Ghetto.
The 80,000 Poles living
within its boundaries were
forced to move out to make
room for the Warsaw Jews.
As soon as the transfers
were completed, the
ctws were forbidden to
ive the ghetto area and
1..cre Poles to enter it "ex-
cept by special permisi-
son.!' Its 14 gates were
guarded day and night by
German soldiers, Polish
police
and
the
Ordnungsdienst.
-
The conditions in the
ghetto became unbearable.
Indignities and brutalities
increased. Worst of all, in
the spring of 1942, the Ger-
mans established the Treb-
linka death camp for the
mass destruction- of the
Jewish people.

The first victims were the
sick in the hospitals, the
residents of the homes for
the aged and the children in
the orphanages. The next
victims of the Nazi barbar-
ians were the Jewish pris-
`Oners. While the Gesia
prison inmates were being
loaded into trucks, Star-
kopf, one of the prisoners,
escaped. "The thought to es-
cape," he writes, "came to
me within split seconds, and
I acted quickly. One of the
circumstances that influ-
enced my decision was that I
still wore the clothes in
which I had been arrested
. . . As a consequence,
neither the Germans nor
the Polish police who were
standing by noticed me
when I made my way out of
the jostling crowd of pris-
oners and quickly ducked
into a side street."
Shortly after his escape,
Starkopf, through a friend,
obtained from the Polish
underground "home-made
Aryan documents" for his
wife Pela and himself. Ac-
cording to the forged papers,
he was Adam Bludowski, a
pure Aryan born in Kazan,
Russia and Pela became
Zofia Bludowska, born in
Leningrad.
Their escape from the
ghetto via the Jewish and
Tartar cemeteries • to
Lochow, a town about
100 miles from Warsaw, is
a saga of daring and ex-
ceptional ingenuity.
Instead of settling in

Lochow, they established
themselves in Zambrzyniec
village where they and their
child Jasia moved to a room
owned by peasants and
where they "started a new
life, a life of constant posing
and pretending to be what
we were not, in order that
our child, the one joy in our
lives, and we might live."
On numerous occasions
they were confronted by
grave dangers that they
narrowly escaped.
As their money ran out
and their fear of being sus-
pected as Jews by the vil-
lagers increased, they de-
cided to move to Sadowne, a
town nearby. There, Star-
kopf secured a job as a com-
mon laborer in the lum-
beryard. "My job," he
writes, "involved heavy
physical labor. I loaded and
unloaded lumber from rail-
road cars and stacked it in
the yard."
Another "Marrano" who
worked there was the
time-keeper, Walus Rad-
ziejewski. His father,
Daniel, he told the author,
had been "a well-known
textile manufacturer" in
Lodz. In Sadowne, like other
pea'sants, he made corn
whiskey at his home for
sale. Before long, the Ges-
tapo found out they were
Jews and murdered the
entire family.
"From time to time,"
Starkopf notes, "we were
given forceful reminders
that many Jews in Po-

land were not as fortu-
nate as we." Thus, one
night the Starkopfs were
suddenly awakened by a
volley of shots coming
from a passing train.
They wondered what
happened. But they did
not have to wait long to
find out that a group of
Jews tried to escape from
a train carrying them to
Treblinka.
Some of the Jews were
immediately killed by SS
bullets. The others, who
managed to get away, were
caught by villagers who
turned them over to the
Gestapo. As a reward, the
peasants received the vic-
tims' clothes and a few
kilograms of sugar.
Constantly fearing being
suspected of being Jewish,
the Starkopfs moved to
Bialki which the Russian
army liberated in the sum-
mer of 1944.
The Starkopfs, "after
years as fugitives in per-
petual flight and hiding,"
were again free people.

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Soviets and the Ameri-
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Jewish Situation Worsening
Goldmann Tells Newspaper

TEL AVIV (ZINS) —
Analyzing the situation of
the world Jewry in an arti-
cle in Yediot Ahronit,
former World Jewish Con-
gress President Dr. Nahum
Goldmann writes that he is
convinced that the overall
Jewish situation, in the
Diaspora and in Israel, is
going from bad to worse,
and possibly "leading to
tragic consequences."
"Today we are entering a
very unstable period, with
local conflicts everywhere,
with internal polarization
within both the democratic
and Communist blocks and
Third World. In such a situ-
ation, all minorities are in a
difficult position, particu-
larly the classic one the
Jews.
"Our people," he con-
tinued, "must stop living
in a fool's paradise,
over-estimating its own
importance, and ceasing
to believe that by protest
one can achieve anything
decisive in the long run.
Rather should it under-
stand that the first rule of
statesmanship is that to
ask for too much, means
to make defeat inevita-
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on the minimum de-
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survival in the Diaspora
and in Israel by being
modest and intelligent
enough to make the con-
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a mutually acceptable
solution to be reached.

They are now living in the
United States.
Adam Starkopfs "There
Is Always Time to Die," as
Prof. Yehuda Bauer writes,
"will form an important
item in the collection
(Holocaust Library) to be
read and reread and im-
bibed by the generations to
come."

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