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Defying German Soliders Part I

George Turlo, Holocaust Survivor

Yeah, okay.  I was sitting anxiously in the home because my mother told me some about—I was very worried about some of my Jewish friends with whom I get acquainted before, and also about Priest Gerhowski.  And I found and I heard that Priest Gerhowski was arrested by Gestapo also.  So I figure out that probably my father’s friend the doctor who Priest Gerhowski arranged apartment and private practice in his parish also disappeared.  So I start to wandering on the street, and I encounter a scenario, scene.  I see a black uniform policeman, probably Byelorussian, convoying young Jewish boy, not so much older than me.  And he was carrying on the top of his head jar of something liquid—might have been the pee, you know; this probably was honey.  And I figured, oh, they probably captured him in the cellar somewhere, because a lot of Jews were still hiding, you know, before they escape to the partisan, to the woods. 

And I was so defiant, so defiant against any black uniform.  I was just trying to do something.  So I said, “Well, I am going to trick this black policeman.”  And when they were passing me I wink to this Jewish boy and [with] another eye indicate fence.  White fence was running, and behind them was a garden, an apple garden or something like this.  And when I passed him I fall down and start to scream, “Oh, my leg! Oh, my leg! Oh, my leg!”  And policeman, distracted by my screaming, turn his head, and meantime this Jewish boy took this honey and hit him over the head with the honey.  But this guy was cool.  The Jewish boy jumped over the fence and start to run, zigzagging through the garden.  This policeman wipe his honey from the face, kneel down, put the rifle between the fence, and start to shoot.  Well, third, maybe fourth bullet hit him, the Jewish boy, and he fall down.  And this policeman climbed the fence to fetch him, and I was paralyzed, seeing this stuff, didn’t move.

Finally, when I decided to move, I went to move and, suddenly, hand on my shoulders.  “Bleiben sie hier.  You stay here.”  And I look, and here is SS man officer.  I didn’t notice him; he was across the street, probably.  “Herr officer, Ich will nach Hause gehen. Meine Mutter—I want to go home, my mother—”  [The officer said] “Nein, you’re bleib-ing here.  You’re staying here.”  And after, when this black policeman brought this Jewish boy to the gate of the prison, he was holding his stomach: his intestines were coming out.  He brought me under the gun also, this policeman, and he start to swagger—I mean, talking quickly in the German to another guard there, pointing at me.  And I was saying, “Ich bin nicht schuldig.  Ich bin nicht schuldig.  I’m not Jewish; I am Polish.  I’m not guilty, I’m not guilty.

Nein, you be schuldig.  You help the Jew.  You are not Jewish?  Take your pants out.”  So, I drop my pants.  “Ha ha ha, you really are not Jewish.  Get on this truck.”  And they throw me on this truck together with the Jewish boy.  There were already some people laying there; this was already end of the day, so probably this was the last transport for execution.  And I was mad at myself that I was allowed to be caught.  I was worried about my mother, what—how she will be crying.  And what I can do?  You cannot move.  You have to lay down.  I remember how other people were laying down.  They sometimes throwing some jewelry, some watches with messages: somebody may find and somebody know what’s happened to them, or whatever.  I have nothing to throw.  And I felt—well, I have about twenty minutes to live, I would say.  That’s how long it will take to drive up.

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About George Turlo