Re: Security Police Order
In accordance with the Order of the Security Police,
births are permitted in the ghetto only up to August 15, 1942. After this
date it is forbidden to give birth to Jewish children either in the
hospitals or in the homes of the pregnant women. It is pointed out, at the
same time, that it is permitted to interrupt pregnancies by means of
abortions. A great responsibility rests on the pregnant women. If they do
not comply with this order, there is a danger that they will be executed,
together with their families. The delegates** are making this matter widely
known. In warning the women of the possible consequences, they believe that
the women concerned will remember it well... and will take the necessary
measures during the registration of pregnant women which will take place
during the next few days, and subsequently.
Those present: M. Lejbowicz, B. Karton, A. Heller and A.
Katz of the Delegation; the doctors: Burstein, Blecher, Goldberg,
Dyrektorowicz, L. Pesachowicz and others. The Agenda: How should births
be prevented in the ghetto?
M. Lejbowicz: We will go back to the
question of the births. The ban on giving birth to children which has been
imposed on the Jews applies with the utmost severity to all the ghettos.
There was a birth recently in Kovno and all members of the family were shot
and killed. But no attention is being paid to this and people are behaving
most irresponsibly here. There are already several cases of pregnancy and
no measures have been taken against them.
Dr. Blecher asks: Can the
pregnant women be forced to have abortions performed? Are there statistics
on the women who are pregnant?
Dr. L. reports: We have had three births
since August 15 of last year; he did not know how they took place because
he did not treat the cases. At the present time there are about 20 pregnant
women in the ghetto, most of them in the first few months, but some who are
already in the fourth or fifth month and one even in the eighth month. Only
two of the pregnant women refuse to have an abortion; for one of them this
would be the third abortion and she is threatened by the danger of
subsequent childlessness, and the other is the one who has reached the
Dr. P.: They must be persuaded to agree to have an abortion.
They must be told what happened in Kovno and Riga. If necessary one must
make use of a white lie in this emergency and tell them that the Security Police is already looking for these cases.
Dr. Burstein proposes that the
whole medical team, including the midwives, should be forbidden to attend
Dr. Bl. proposes that all cases of pregnancy should be
registered and the pregnant women persuaded to have abortions.
must not make propaganda against births in public! The matter could reach
ears that should not hear it. We must discuss the matter only with those
concerned. He proposes that the pregnant women be summoned to the clinic,
that they be warned in the presence of the doctor and a representative of
the Delegation, and the full danger that awaits them be explained.
How can one perform an abortion on a woman who has already reached the
eighth month of her pregnancy? Surely we must understand the feelings of
the mother. It will surely be impossible to convince her. And what will
happen to the infant if we cause a premature birth? We cannot carry out an
operation like that in a private home, and it is forbidden to leave the
child at the hospital. And what will happen if despite everything the child
is born alive? Shall we kill it? I cannot accept such a responsibility on
Dr. Bl. adds that the position is really very difficult in a
case like this for no doctor will take upon himself the responsibility of
killing a live child, for that would be murder.
Dr. P. asks: Perhaps we should let the child be born and give it to a Christian?
M.L.: We cannot
allow the child to be born because we are required to report every case of
a birth. We have been asked three times whether there were any births and
each time we answered in the negative.
B.K.: What can we do when the ghetto
is in such danger? If the danger were only to the family of the infant we
could leave the matter to the responsibility of the person concerned, but
it endangers the whole ghetto. The consequences are liable to be most
** The Shavli Judenrat.
E. Yerushalmi, Pinkas Shavli ("Records of
Shavli"), Jerusalem, 1958, pp. 88, 188-189.* The reference is to physical extermination.