An 18-year-old boy from Łuków
“On November 8, 1942, I was taken along with another hundred Jewish workers from the waterworks. This event took place at 4 am and no one thought of escaping. We were loaded into a wagon in the direction of Treblinka. Young men from our car broke down the door and jumped out one by one. While much is said about jumping out of train cars, very little is known about the deadly dangers and thousands of complications involved in jumping. Behind the hundred lucky people who managed to jump out unscathed, there are thousands of wounded, dead, with fractured skulls, with broken limbs, for whom there was no longer any hospital, no medical care, only one salutary death. There were as many dangers for those who jumped out unscathed.”
Finkelsztajn jumped out (of the running train) near the village Krynka. Having lost consciousness for a moment, he quickly recovered. With the impetus of hunted animals, he set off on a run – just as far away from the railway line as possible. A gang of 40 local peasants aged 20 to 40, armed with clubs and rods, rounded up anyone who was not vigilant and tortured [many of] them to death. Then they robbed [Finkelsztajn] of his clothes and money. About 250 dripping with blood, tortured people were rounded up together. Our informant [Finkelsztajn] lost his shoes and jacket. The Christians also searched the nearby grove – their aim was to rob. Then they called Łuków for the Bahnpolizei, which arrived quickly. All captured Jews, escorted by Christians and the Bahnpolizei, were rushed to Łuków. The seriously wounded were shot on the spot. In Łuków, they were locked up in a prison at the police station. Until Tuesday, November 11, people were constantly led out of there in groups and shot in the courtyard of the station. As those captured in Łuków informed Finkelsztajn, hundreds of Jews were caught in the city and then shot at the local Jewish cemetery. They were all sentenced to death. The attempt to escape from the transport ended tragically for everyone.
On Thursday, November 11, 1942, all 200 Jews who were caught were taken to the Jewish cemetery. Hundreds of unburied bodies of Jewish men, women and children lay there in heaps. The cemetery was surrounded by the gendarmerie and the whole group was divided into 20 people. At the wachtmaster’s order, the first 20 Jews lay down on the ground, having previously undressed down to their shirts. The Schupo (policemen) lined up one next to each victim. The victims lay face down on the ground, covering their eyes with their hands. Each Schupo man positioned himself between the legs of the lying victim, holding a gun to his head. Then, after the commander’s signal: – Aufpassen! Fertig! He pulled the trigger. The informant was in the second group: he undressed, lay down and just waited for death. Indifferent to everything, he only wanted the execution to end quickly. It is not known why, but the shot only blackened his head. He lay further down. After him, another 8 groups were shot. After the execution was over, the Schupo men checked whether all the victims were dead. The informant was shot again in the neck and shoulder. As soon as the executioners left, many Poles came running to rob clothes and shoes. […] Finkelsztajn got up, put on someone else’s trousers and shoes and dragged himself to a Christian friend. After 2 weeks, he came to Warsaw to his brother – on 26 Muranowska Street, where his two sisters were already located.
NN, Report, [in:] The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, the so-called Ringelblum Archive is a unique collection of documents that are one of the world’s most significant testimonies about the extermination of Polish Jewry. More information: http://www.jhi.pl/en/ringelblum-archive/the-underground-archive. General Government. Reports and documents, ed. Aleksandra Bańkowska, vol. 6, Warsaw 2012, pp. 163–164.