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 Dr. Izak Kaplinski
From box C210, file3, page 196-198, dated 25 March 1965. This German document
is headed "Translation".
"A few sentences relating to the narrator's feelings have been omitted in
the translation. Statement of Dr. Izak KAPLINSKI.
"My wife & I endured the horrible selection of 12 May 1942 in Ivye, Lida
1. It is fully true that the Nazi criminals you mention, Leopold Windisch
& Werner, presided over the process. I saw them right in front of me
that entire day & would recognize them again among thousands of people.
2. It is completely correct that we were told we'd be
sent to Lida or another town. The unfortunate men, women & children
therefore dressed in their best clothing. Women put on several dresses,
one over the other & dressed the children likewise. Men put on
two suits, if they had them.
3. During the terrible selection, which began at 9:30AM, the entire
SS group, consisting of Windisch, Werner, the chief of Gendarmerie, and the
Polish mayor Bialkowski, others, who were armed with [a type of ]whips,
scanned the faces of the terrified, unhappy Jews cursorily to determine who
was in good health. Anyone trying to show work papers was whipped bloody.
The large families were sent to the trenches first - their men had already
been separated out at the end of 1941 - about 350 in all. As the selection
of about 3000 people takes some time, but the Nazi murderers had no patience,
some elderly men & women were shot on site, and the last 1000 Jews were
driven to the trenches with no inspection whatever.
My wife and I were among the last 1000. Without regard for the fact
that, as a doctor, I wore a Red Cross emblem on my left sleeve, my wife &
I were also sent to the trenches amid the heart-rending lamentation &
chaos. When my wife pointed out to an SS-man that I wore a Red Cross
emblem, he whipped her until she was covered in blood. At the last moment,
the Polish mayor BIALKOWSKY recognized my wife & me & took us back.
This incredible miracle saved our lives.
As became known after the massacre, the Judenrat & Jewish police were
promised their lives in exchange for cooperation with the murders, ... and
so it was. Among the 450 survivors were: the members of the Judenrat
with their families & friends, the Jewish police with their families
& friends, a number of experts like shoemakers, tailors, who'd previously
done forced labor for the Nazis, and the 5 doctors, I among them.
I. Concerning the Nazi-criminal Leopold Windisch. On 12 May at 6AM
were driven, in part with whips, from our beds to the large market place,
where we were surrounded by machine guns. There one could see the small,
fleet figure of Leopold Windisch, who was the instigator of the massacre.
I myself saw him giving orders to the SS-members. He'd disappear for
an hour, and return again in a truck. Thus he spent the day between
the market place & the trenches. When the massacre ended at 3-4 in the
afternoon -- we, the small remaining number (of Jews) had heard machine gun
salvos every 10-15 minutes -- Windisch came to us & made a speech, which
I will summarize here. Since I'm fluent in German, I understood every
"The Jews are at fault for both world wars. They incited the Allies
to annihilate Germany; therefore it is only 'logical' that the German government
should exterminate all the Jews to blame for the catastrophe. You are
only remaining alive provisionally - depending on the status at the front;
at the first major setback on the front, you will all be murdered". The Nazi
murderers kept their word, because the small number of survivors, was, as
I heard, sent to Majdanek in 1943, from where not a single one returned.
II Concerning Werner. The second Nazi-murderer, Werner, a very
corpulent & tall individual, stood with an entire SS-group at the
selection. He was the man who stood there with a sack & collected
all the valuables - e. g. money, gold objects, jewelry, watches, even fountain
pens, from those of us still remaining at 3-4 in the afternoon. This
was probably also his job at the trenches. Like all the SS-men, he,
too, was armed from head to foot. I with my wife remained in the Ivye
ghetto to 31 Dec 1942, when the SS surrounded it at 4AM. They came,
to liquidate the remaining population of the ghetto.
But they did not succeed on this day, as a significant number managed to
escape, in spite of lively fire from the Polish police & the German SS.
I with my wife managed to survive the fire zone & reached the forests
the night of 12/31/42-1/1/43. Through a miracle, we encountered a group
of Tewie Bielski's partisans that incredibly frosty night. I was the
first physician there. I remained with the partisans 18 months.
On 21 March 1944 I was myself wounded as I was escorting a group of men wounded
in a large battle with German regular military forces, rearward. On 10 July
1944 I was liberated by the Russian army.
footnote to Bielski: a partisan leader very famous there".
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