The Eve of Deportation
from the Warsaw Ghetto

(July 20, 1942)


At the Gestapo at 7:30 in the morning. I asked Mende how much truth there was in the rumors. He answered that he had heard nothing about it. After this I asked Brandt; he answered that he knew nothing of the kind. To the question whether a thing like that could nevertheless happen, he answered that he knew nothing. I came away unsure. I went to his superior officer, Commissar Boehm. He said that it was not his department, that perhaps Hoheman* might be able to make some statement in connection with the rumors. I observed that according to the rumors the deportation was due to start at 19:30 today. He answered that he would certainly know something if it were so.

For lack of any other choice I went to Scherer, the Deputy Director of Section 3. He said he was amazed at the rumor and claimed that he too knew nothing about it.

Finally I asked whether I could inform the population that there was no reason for fear. He said I could, that all the reports were nonsense and rubbish (Unsinn und Quatsch).

I gave orders to Lejkin that he should make this known through the area station....

 

July 22, 1940 [1942]

 

At the Community at 7:30 in the morning. The borders of the small ghetto are guarded by a special unit in addition to the usual one....

At 10 o’clock Sturmbannfuehrer Hoefle appeared with his people. We disconnected the telephone lines. The children were moved out of the little garden opposite.

It was announced to us that the Jews, without regard to sex or age, apart from certain exceptions, would be deported to the East. Six thousand souls had to be supplied by 4 o’clock today. And this (at least) is how it will be every day....

Sturmbannfuehrer Hoefle (Beauftragter [person in charge] of the deportation) called me into the office and informed me that my wife was free at the moment, but if the deportation failed she would be the first to be shot as a hostage.**

 

A. Czerniakow, Yoman Getto Varsha ("Warsaw Ghetto Diary") September 6, 1939-July 23, 1942, edited by N. Blumental, A. Tartakower, N. Eck, J. Kermish, Jerusalem 19592, pp. 325-327.

 

* The reference is apparently to Hoemann, an SS officer in Warsaw.

** The next day Czerniakow committed suicide.


Source: Yad Vashem