Chaim A. Kaplan quickly discovered the reality of the German occupation for the Jewish citizens of Warsaw:
I was suddenly informed that the newly arrived Germans had already managed to requisition five houses on Nowolipki Street – numbers 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 – and to expel all their Jewish inhabitants. They did not permit them to take even a shoelace out of their apartments: they did not permit them to don even an overcoat. In a matter of minutes, all the Jews were expelled and all the houses cleared. The Jews went out afraid and shocked, in a state of confusion and wearing house clothes. Two or three soldiers arrogantly and noisily stormed into every apartment and shouted: ‘Jews, heraus!‘
They were not permitted to utter a syllable. Within minutes hundreds of families were left without a roof, without clothes, without food, without an apartment, without money – and I among them. And to add to my misery, I had left all my savings in my apartment. My last straw to cling to in an hour of need had been taken from me. Up to now, during the dangerous days, I had left my money in safe-keeping with my wife; after things quietened down a bit, we put it in a box which we locked in a chest in the closet. Now I am stripped of all my possession. I don’t even have a roof over my head.”
Chaim A. Kaplan was to keep one of the most detailed records of the holocaust as it unfolded in Warsaw. Written in extraordinary conditions he managed to chronicle the ever increasing persecution with a tone of almost detached observation, even though he was a victim as much as those around him.