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
Testimony of Josef Kaplan
Box C210, file 3 page 143-144
Letter from Harry Kaplan, Israel, dated 10 April 1964. It's labelled
"To the World Jewish Congress!
As I have heard the German prosecutor is searching for survivors of the
Lida ghetto, I have a sacred duty to come forward.
I, Josef Kaplan (or Caplan) now in Israel, survived in the words around
Lida. I was in the ghetto until its liquidation.
Under (the direction of) the Regional Commissariat Lida 28,000 Jews were
persecuted & murdered in Lida.
The criminal leaders were
1. Anweg (Hanweg) Regional Commissar
2. Windisch Chief of Staff
3. Werner, Economic Inspector
4. Winheim (Wienheim?) " "
5. Ditze " "
6. Kardes (Kordes) Work Inspector
7. Borman (Barman) was Regional Commissar in Potosk or Polosk (illegible)
8. Miss Maia
All the Jews were imprisoned in 5 ghettos:
1. Lida 2. Voronovo 3. Vasilishok 4. Szczuczyn 5. Ivye
First, all sorts of humiliation, "contributions", confiscation of
savings, murder of the BERKOWITZ family, murder of 12 Jews. Arrest
of (illegible) Jews, their shooting. On 1 March, the Judenrat
& 170 others murdered. On 9 May, the Jews of Voronovo were murdered,
on 10 May, those of Ivye & Vasilishok. Thus the above-named bandits
murdered all the Jews in the region. Much more can be said about this,
but it's hard for me to write about. Those who survived the 8 May Aktion
in Lida were imprisoned in 3 ghettos: Lida, Shchuchin & Ivye, then
deported to Majdanek in 1943. All were murdered there. No one
survived Majdanek. Thus the end of my city Lida. I promised the
dead I would tell the world how they were laid in mass graves near the barracks
& covered with lime.
I myself was also beaten by Werner, and he also sicced his dog on me.
Marks of the dog's bites are still on my hands & feet. All 4 were
soon thereafter in Werner's house. In Vasilishok 7. (street?)
They carried out all the Aktionen & selections. The fate of every
Jew was in their hands. Police, Belarussians, Ukrainians & Lithuanians.
They decided everything & carried it out. Savings were confiscated,
people were tortured, used as forced labor, beaten, starved. Everything
which was owned by Jews was destroyed. All this was done by the Regional
Commissariat. Winheim, Ditze, Bachmann, Korde or Karde, or Corde or
Carde, & also Wassikiewicz, a special assistant to Windisch". Conditions
in the ghetto: 100 grams of bread per day. Twice a day (illegible)
12 Jews worked at the railway. One day one of them was 15 minutes
late. The SS took them all out & shot them. It was Dec. 15.
One of them fell unnoticed in the snow under the iron bridge. The SS brought
the Jews to the Judenrat at Korashower St. & shot them next to the building.
They counted the bodies & realized there were only 11. They gave
the Judenrat until 4 PM to find the missing Jew & if he wasn't found by
then, they would shoot 200 Jews. The wife & 2 children of the missing
GERSHOWITZ were handed over as hostages. Thereupon he turned himself
in & the SS shot him
The translator has added a footnote that 5,850 Jews were murdered in Lida
in 8 May.
The parenthetical comments above were added by the original translator of
the letter into German from (probably) Yiddish
Copyright © 2004, Irene Newhouse
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