Testimony of Jacob Druck

This testimony was sent to the World Jewish Congress as part of a search to locate witnesses to war crimes committed in the Lida area, so that the perpetrators could be brought to trial in Germany.  The records of this search are now preserved at theJacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati OH in File C210, boxes 3, 4 & 5.  Translation by Irene Newhouse

Page 95 of box C210, file 3 is headed "Sworn Statement".  

"I, the undersigned Jacob DRUCK born [date given] in Lida, currently residing at [Canadian address given], attest hereby to the following: 

I have learned that a criminal proceeding is to be instituted against Johann Konrad Windisch.  In this matter, I wish to testify as follows:  I swear under oath that my statements are true, and that giving false testimony is a punishable offense.  I can well remember Johann Konrad [EIN: sic; actually Leopold] Windisch, and were I to see him again, I would recognize him immediately.  He was Chief of Staff for Jewish Affairs in the Regional Commissariat Lida, Region of Novo Grodeck [sic], about 100 km from Vilnius.  He personally had executed about 10,000 Jews in Lida & the surrounding region, etc: 
on 8 May 1942 in Lida,
9 May 1942 in Vasilishki,
10 May 1942 in Shchuchin,
11 May 1942 in Voronovo and Radun,
12 May 1942 in Ivye.

 The procedure was the following:  All Jews in the above mentioned cities and towns were gathered in one place, where several roads crossed.  Everyone passed by Windisch, and he indicated the route to be taken: right, left, or ahead.  At first, no one knew what that meant, but soon we realized that those sent straight on were destined for death, as among them were all the older women, children, the sick, and the intellectuals.  To the right he sent manual laborers and craftsmen who were in good health.  I myself participated in the selection at Voronovo and was sent to the left.  Apparently Windisch was at the time unsure what to do with that group.  As soon as the  division was completed, those directed straight ahead were driven forward, but not too far, only so that one lost sight of them & shortly thereafter, we heard cries and shots. All were shot on the spot.  As I survived this selection, I was transferred to Lida, where all the survivors of the other towns were sent, naturally, the Lida survivors were there, too.   As far as I recall, there were before this mass murder 14,000 Jews in Lida.  On 8 May, ca. 8000 were murdered. 

After this, I did various kinds of forced labor in Lida and saw Windisch often.  He generally did not enter the ghetto alone, but in the company of SS Man Werner, Regional Commandant Hanweg, and there was often also a woman along.  When they appeared in the ghetto, a tremor of terror passed through the population.  It particularly amused them to call the word "Jew" to a bloodhound that accompanied them, and [the dog] then sprang on the nearest person and ripped out a piece of flesh whereever he landed.    It was standard operating procedure that Windisch abused the population.  Mostly with a stick or a whip.  Often he beat his victim to death.  One Sunday, I was doing clean up work, and as it was a Sunday, when the SS remained in barracks, and I saw no one in the vicinity, I lit up a cigarette, which I had obtained by barter.  Suddenly Windisch appeared, and when he caught sight of my cigarette, ran toward me, picking up a heavy cable which lay on the ground, and beat me until I fell over unconscious."

From box C210, file 5, pages 45-47 . In a letter dated  14 Sept. 1964, Prosecutor  in Mainz wrote to the Institute for Jewish Affairs that the prosecution of war criminals for crimes committed in the Lida area had been transferred from Munich to him, because the 2 criminals who remained to prosecute, Windisch & Werner, lived under the jurisdiction of the court there.  In this letter, he summarizes previous testimony of Jacob Druck which is not contained in the World Jewish Congress files in any form I can read.

"Witness Jacob DRUCK, now living in Canada, who lived in Voronovo until the mass murders there in 1942, when he was taken to Lida, has already provided testimony, taken on 17 July 1962 at the Superior Court in Toronto, to the Landesgericht in Vienna for a proceeding there.  He testified in part, "On a Sunday (no further date provided), former Chief of Staff & Director of Jewish Affairs  Leopold Windisch (Windisch was in Lida from about Aug 1941 to Dec 1942) with his own hand shot the Jew HALPERN with a revolver because a small piece of butter was found in his pocket, allegedly in front of hundreds of witnesses.

The same witness DRUCK further stated in a notarized document of 14 Dec 1960 that 2.  Windisch brutally beat the inmates of the ghetto with a whip, a stick or a cable.  He often beat victims to death.  The witness DRUCK he once beat so severely that he was unconscious for several days.  Witness DRUCK further stated, in the deposition of 17 Dec 1962 before the Superior Court in Toronto, that the co-defendant Werner, who was Economic Director of the Regional Commissariat in Lida, had had a dog who answered to the name "Donner".  According to the witness, Werner would say "You're dying" to someone & that person would be "done for".  To this I must add that many other witnesses, including Germans, have testified that Werner owned an extraordinarily sharp shepherd dog, apparently trained to attack Jews, who repeatedly attacked ghetto inmates".  

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