Gens After His Appointment
as Vilna Ghetto Leader

(July 15, 1942)


Announcement

 

By Order of the Gebietskommissar of Vilna of July 12, 1942, I have assumed full responsibility for the ghetto as Representative of the Ghetto and Chief of Police.

The basis of existence in the ghetto is work, discipline and order. Every resident of the ghetto who is capable of work is a pillar on which our existence rests.

There is no room among us for those who hate work and in devious ways engage in crime. In the belief that all the inmates of the ghetto will understand me, I have given orders to free all persons now under arrest in the ghetto. I hereby proclaim a general amnesty, in this way permitting the criminals of yesterday to return to better ways, in the understanding that this is in their own interest. But let no one doubt that in time of need I will not hesitate to use stringent methods in the struggle against criminal elements wherever they may appear.

I believe that all inmates of the ghetto without exception will support this declaration and have given the following orders:

1. All charges of administrative character will be cancelled and crimes committed within the ghetto by occupants of the ghetto up to 7 p.m. on July 13, 1942, will be pardoned.

2. All investigations and court procedures will be closed with regard to offenses referred to under Para. 1, regardless of the stage reached in the investigation.

3. Persons serving prison sentences with respect to offenses under Para. 1 will be released on the basis of my decision.

4. Fines imposed, but not yet collected, with respect to offenses under Para. 1, are herewith cancelled.

5. The orders set out under Paras. 1-4 do not apply to persons who committed the following offenses:

a) Murder;

b) Grievous or serious personal injury;

c) Insulting or physically attacking a policeman carrying out his official duties, or in connection with these duties;

d) Offenses against the authorities;

e) Disciplinary offenses (on the part of officials of the ghetto management or ghetto police).

6. Persons in illegal possession of permits or Bread Cards will benefit from the amnesty if they return the illegal permits or Bread Cards voluntarily by 7 p.m. on July 28, 1942. They should be returned to the appropriate Police Station in the Registration Office or to the Housing Office.

7. The closing of investigation or court procedures and the remission of sentences already imposed, on the basis of this amnesty, do not release a person from an order to pay compensation either to individuals or to the ghetto management.

8. The prison sentences or fines cancelled by this amnesty can be reactivated by a court order or other appropriate authority in the event of the offender committing any other offense, or failing to obey instructions, or showing lack of discipline at his place of work or when he is sent to work, within three months of the date of publication of this amnesty.

 

Vilna Ghetto, July 15, 1942

 

Representative of the Ghetto and Chief of Police

Gens

 

Moreshet Archives, D. 1.352.


Source: Yad Vashem