Monday, 10 February 2014

Bodies of Children for the Animals in the Circus

Regina Landau
Bodies of Children for the Animals in the Circus

Translated from the Yiddish by Moshe Spiegel

In September of 1939 the Germans ordered us to leave Lanzut across the San, under threat of death. We were to gather in the square at 6 A.M. and to leave the city by 1 P.M. 
Some went toward the San, but others went to nearby villages to wait for the danger to pass, as I did. When I returned to Lanzut I found my home had been plundered.
The Gestapo came from Jaroslav to "capture" Jews on the streets. Some twenty-four men and women were seized. They were imprisoned for several months, then taken to the cemetery and shot. After the execution a man and a woman, both wounded, feigned death and managed to escape. The man was able to elude the Gestapo, but the woman was caught in a Szezchow hospital and shot.
I managed to leave Lanzut before the massacre. I hid in corn-fields and potato patches during the day, or with a friendly peasant. I also was able to hide my sister's two children, a girl of seven and a boy of nine, in the stable of their former home. They were half-starved, so I stole vegetables for them from the fields. But in a few days someone denounced them to the Gestapo. They were seized and interrogated, in hopes they would reveal hideouts of other Jews. But the children endured their tormenting and betrayed no one. 
As the children were led to the cemetery they were urged not to cry, for they would "go to heaven, and meet their mother, father and aunts." After the children had been shot the Gestapo took their bodies to the circus performing in Lanzut, to be eaten by the beasts. 

Jacob Glatstein et al., Anthology of Holocaust Literature, NY: Atheneum, 1968, p. 117.

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