Persecution of Warsaw Jews continues

German troops search Jewish homes

Stanislaw Sznapman kept a diary of life in Warsaw under the Nazis:

Household possessions were the next to go, as the Germans went from one Jewish apartment to the next, systematically and according to plan, seizing furniture, appliances, linens. Some people were stripped of everything; others lost only part of their belongings. Under threat of being beaten, they were forced to carry their own property to the waiting cars.

Doctors were robbed of their microscopes and other instruments. Wealthier families with better-furnished homes were evicted on the spot, so their apartments and everything in them could be handed over to Volksdeutsche: Polish citizens of German descent who had now become a new aristocracy.

As soon as the Germans entered Warsaw, these people, who had been passing as true patriotic Poles, revealed themselves to be German zealots, consumed with hatred for anything Polish. It turned out that these Volksdeutsche had built up an entire army of spies who betrayed secrets to the Germans. Unfortunately, this included military information as well, since there were many such “patriots” in the higher ranks of the Polish armed forces.

The Volksdeutsche also removed Jews from their businesses. In other words, if one of these new dignitaries took a liking to a particular Jewish enterprise,he would throw the Jew out on the street with no compensation whatsoever, take his place behind the counter, and run the shop himself.

We know little about Stanislaw Sznapman apart from the fact that he escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and wrote a series of reflections on his experiences. He apparently died before the end of the war.

Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto also available from amazon.com and amazon.ca.

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