Extracts from the Tragedy of a Jewish Teenager - Stanislaw Smajzner

Stanislaw Smajzner After His Escape From Sobibor

The personal account of Stanislaw Smajzner of his time spent in the Extermination camp at Sobibor. From the start of his journey to Sobibor, through to his participationin the mass escape.

1. Opole Ghetto

Precisely on the 10th May 1942 with spring in full bloom, the last fearful summons came. All the hundreds of refugees who had escaped up to that moment, would have to go to the notorious place and at the same hour as before. They warned us very seriously that no-one should try to oppose them or try to hide, since those who did so would be immediately shot down. They added that , as of that day , our community would be extinguished, and for that reason it would be useless for us to stay. They gave us some other orders and threats and at eleven o’clock next day, the ill fated square was filled by those Jews who had been left behind, each one with his bundle at hand.

Among them were my parents, my brother my sister, my nephew and myself. In our group was also one of my cousins from Wolwonice, Nojech Szmajner. It was then we learned about our destination, although we did not know why we were being sent. Rows and columns were made and we left the ghetto of Opole for the last time. Outside the gate we saw a large number of carts, since we already been counted, we left and in a few minutes we were far from the town, crossing fields covered with multi-coloured flowers and leaving Opole Lubelskie behind.

We were now facing something imponderable. I later learned that only the members of the Judenrat and of the Jewish police , as well as the privileged elements who orbited around that organisation , were not part of this transport. They had been solemnly promised by the Germans they could continue in the town. So as soon as the last Jew had left the ill-fated ghetto, they went back to the square to talk to the Nazis, as if to render them an account of the good job they had done. The latter put them all together and immediately shot them, regardless of the pleas and begging of their perplexed collaborators.

Such was the sad end of those who had always tried to excel in their fidelity and total subservience to their unfeeling masters, who gave them indisputable proof of the deep scorn they felt for them. This has been, still is and always will be so.

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