I didn’t see the train leaving with the condemned Jews of Skala. What I did find was a scene of devastation. Approaching my neighborhood in the Jewish quarter, I saw that the streets were strewn with debris. Feathers floated in the air from cushions slashed open in search of valuables. Everywhere, windows were broken and front doors were swung wide open. It seemed that every building and home had been ransacked...
Quotes from this chapter
I didn’t see the train leaving town with the condemned Jews of Skala. What I did find was a scene of devastation.
I don’t know what Tateh did to draw Engel’s menacing attention but I saw the fearsome tyrant stride up to my father, demanding to see his work papers.
Feivel said the Jews of Skala had been sent to a place called Belzec. Nobody came out of Belzec, he said
Hundreds of ghetto residents were herded across town to the cemetery, where they were gunned down into open pits.
From grandmother’s apartment, I collected table cloths, candlesticks, her dishes and flatware. I took the seder plate. I made piles of clothing,
Nikolai pulled the wagon to a stop at the ghetto checkpoint. A guard with a clipboard gave a cursory glance, seeing just a delivery man and peasant boy, his son.
As the groups were being readied, an Army staff car rolled up and several officers and managers from the Liegenschaft emerged to consult with the Gestapo officers.
After that, there was a renewed frenzy of bunker building in the ghetto. Every basement and attic was a hideout.
Book excerpts about the people, places and events mentioned in the book
Ukrainian livery driver who smuggled Munye and Shulem out of Borshchow
Educator and philanthropist who published her Skala survival memoir
German border guard who terrorized Jews in Skala
Michael and his father were smuggled out of the ghetto on the eve of its liquidation
Michael's childhood home until Skala was declared "Judenrein"
Nazi extermination camp where most of Skala's Jews were murdered
Former feudal estate where the Wehrmacht was quartered
Polish border town where Michael was born and experienced his ordeal
Ukrainian townspeople ransacked Jewish homes after the roundup
The authorities tried to isolate the contagion within the Jewish ghetto