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Rachel's Role in the Warsaw Resistance

Rachel Nurman, Holocaust Survivor

They was all taken out.  It was called Judenrein.  You know what they did in Warsaw?  They blocked the houses, not to let out no one.  People want to run and to hide someplace, so they were standing around that block—a whole block, they blocked, so people couldn’t escape.  If they saw someone they shot him.  And they burned the houses, the same time.  And then they start taking them out.  The people run from the burning houses, and then they—they jumped from the fifth floor, the people; they jumped to their death.  But they shot them at the time when they are jumping down, the people.  That’s when we start the fight with them, the Jewish uprising.  We were throwing granats on the ground—how do you call that?—granats on them.

Grenades, yeah.  Some went in the windows in our house, and here the house is burning in the back and choking our throat—the soot from the burning, you know.  And we’re throwing bombs on them.They showed us how to make them in little boxes.  Nothing, we didn’t have no prepared ammunition.  We could fight more with them.  But they’re shooting straight in the window where I was standing.  And my girlfriend got killed at this time, in a similar place, similar organization.  She was throwing that, too.  So, that’s what they did.  They watched which window the grenades come and they shoot straight in that window. 

Then they took us to do the stuff for the people left.  The (inaudible) was—the ghetto was emptied out.  They left behind a lot of everything, the houses and clothing, furniture, everything.  So they took a few people from the—they didn’t know that I was throwing the bombs on them.  They took a few of our people to help them to take out—they called the Werterfassungkommand—that’s in Germany, the German language—that we should go in the houses and throw out everything in the street, and other people took this away in trucks and sending to Germany.  So we came to things to see, I could never forget in my life.  He came in for the (inaudible) with all bloody sheets, and the bedding was full of blood and some dead people laying on the floor and on the bed, which the German shoot them, you know.  That’s what we saw when we came in to take out everything.  And anyway, we took out everything from there, the possessions what they left.  The people don’t live anymore, they’re all dead.

So this we worked for a while, but the kitchen—we had a kitchen for the poor; we gave out the soup for people.  So, the Germans ate in that kitchen, too.  So some—a brother of that guy who had the kitchen, who worked in that kitchen, he came to his brother where I worked in that Werterfassungkommand, told him, give me some to the girls—I mean that they could do that.  And I made him because they just took away from the kitchen all the kitchen workers even was not enough for the chancellor, so they took the kitchen people in the kitchen.  So they eat in that place, give me some too.  So he came over to me.  “Here, Rachel, go, you and another girl.  Run into the kitchen.”  I see a man, a tall guy standing cutting meat.  I didn’t see meat for ages.  He said, “Don’t worry; if you are here, you have food enough.” 

So over the time a lot of people came; they escaped from the Umschlagplatz, the place where they loading the people in the train.  Who do I see?  My girlfriend, also, she was with us throwing the grenade; she came to the kitchen, to the roof.  Oh, her face was black, like from the coals, so she went from the roof and she came and she told us.  She told us that they’re loading the trains now and she escaped, and she wanted another (inaudible) our leader for now in the kitchen, from the farm that was.  She was our leader.  And her, too, she was in the—she said, “I wanted to save”—her name was Leah.  She want to save Leah; she’s waiting for me to come back.  So I give her some food and gave her something to take to her, and she went back, through the roof, the same way.