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    Pabianice Landsmanshaft
    Melbourne, Australia

    Pabianice Annual Yizkor Service, 2018

    Dr Ian Light's speech at the 76th Pabianice Yizkor (27/5/2018)
    MCK Cemetery Springvale, Victoria, Australia

    Thank you for attending here today to honour the fallen of our ancestors from the town of Pabianice, a town inhabited by ten thousand thriving creative and committed Jewish people, one fifth of the total population of the town. They lived in a relative peace, though with hardship until the satanic Nazi forces invaded and began their plan of horrific inhumanity and Genocide.

    The first bombs fell on the first day of the war, September one, 1939 causing death, injury and destruction. After the injured were treated in the best possible way, those that died were carried away and prepared for burial and the fires extinguished, People began gathering in groups to discuss the situation. Dr Sasna-Lifszyc who later fled with her sister-in-law, to Russia relates: The opinion of all was that the dreaded Nazis would not get far.

    Because they trusted the Honour and Word of the large democracies of France and the United Kingdom, who had solemnly promised to go to war against Nazi Germany, if it attacked Poland.

    France had a standing army of one million men with thousands of artillery and tanks most on the border with Germany. France could call up 5 million men as reserves. Britain had the largest Navy in the world with massive destroyers and battleships, submarines and seven aircraft carriers. Both nations had over 2,000 aircraft with trained pilots long range bombers, and fighter pilots.

    Britain having 550 Hurricanes, and 306 Spitfires with 2000 on order by September 1, 1939.

    None of these airforces navies or armies entered into conflict with Nazi Germany as it pulverised Poland. The Jewish People and the Polish People had trusted these large democracies with their vast colonies, and had been betrayed with horrific consequences.

    The Jewish people have learnt since then, that their prime defence would depend on themselves, and with miraculous efforts have built a superbly advanced and elite airforce, an army with technologically advanced weapons, and courageous and skilled combat units, and navies with solid deterrent capacity, a harsh justice for the thousands and tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children killed in one day by the mass shootings and horrific gas chambers designed by medical and industrial scientists of the Nazi ideology who used their knowledge to organise Genocide.

    The Nazi army reached Pabianice on the 8th September 1939. Many civilians had fled, and the civilians that remained would be at the mercy of the Nazi army because the Polish army had retreated to Warsaw and South East Poland.

    The Nazis immediately began random shootings and murders, severe beatings, robberies and humiliations upon the Jewish People. And often with the help of the many Nazis of the Volks Deutsche, the Germans with Polish citizenship who had lived in Pabianice for generations. Some Poles pointed out Jews who the Nazis could not recognize as not all Jews were ultra-orthodox.

    After a few weeks as related by Jehojszua Birnbojm who miraculously survived the War, suffering in the Pabianice and Lodz ghettos and Auschwitz. In Lodz Ghetto, his wife and 3 children were deported in the first deportation from Lodz on September 1, 1942, and Jehojszua was filled with terrible anguish and anger for the rest of his life. But he survived to relate the events, to bear witness.

    Quoting the Witness to the ordeal Jehojszua Birnbojm "The Nazis ordered the Jews to form an Elstertendrat, a committee to coordinate their demands of the Jewish People. The Master Weavers Union together with 2 other groups expressed their faith in the honest and responsible.

    Jichak Alter, Wolf Jelenowicz and Jacob Lubraniecki. The above mentioned 3 representatives wanted to carry out responsibilities on behalf of the community, in an honest and moral manner. They had no desire to accept blindly the bestial demands of the Gestapo. Therefore, they were arrested and no one knows what sort of martyrs deaths they suffered.

    With their deaths, they proved their dedication to the Jewish Community of Pabianice. These 3 great Jews fell as defenders of justice and their memories will always be holy in the hearts of all Pabianice Jews. We remember their martyr deaths with respect and honour.

    A few years ago, I spoke of the late Romek Alter of blessed memory about Jichak Alter. He remembered him with great respect and told me he was a relative of his. During the war, Romek Alter was in the Polish Army fighting the Nazis in the Anti-Nazi Coalition and was wounded when his tank was hit late in the war, in a tank charge against the retreating Nazi forces.

    After their deaths, these 3 honest and courageous men were replaced by far less worthy amongst our people. But still another Resistor arose. The Nazis at first, appointed a Work Council made up of so called Rational Germans to organize the Jews to work for the German Industries. They were called Rational Germans because they were not ideologically fanatic Nazis but opportunistic wanting huge profits. They observed that their Jewish workers were working slowly and with little strength. An overseer of the council asked the Jews why their work was slow. One of the Jewish workers named Landsman said it was because they received so little food.

    When the Work Council investigated, it was realised that bad elements were not distributing the food equally. Landsman was then appointed to the Jewish administration but after a few weeks, the Gestapo found they could not do their cruel and exploitative business with him, so he was beaten and taken out to the street and shot dead. The hero Landsman fell another martyr.

    Mrs Rochi Alewieska in the Pabianice Yizkor book relates about other Resistors. Some Pabianice Jews had gone to Warsaw also under the Nazi occupation. They had formed a Pabianice collective in Warsaw organising kitchens and other help. It was found out by them, that the Germans were planning to close the Pabianice Ghetto because of a Typhus epidemic. A Bernard Faust and Baruch Lychtensztejn managed to raise funds in USA dollars, and paid for a large supply of anti-typhus injections. They sent these injections through secret couriers to Pabianice. The injections were given and the epidemic was alleviated.

    Rochi Alewieska mentions 2 doctors who acted with great courage. Dr Szwder and the Gentile Polish Surgeon Dr Majer who participated in much of the medical treatment of the Pabianice Ghetto. Dr Majer heroically defended the health of the Ghetto. Every day he smuggled himself into the Ghetto at great risk, and carried out operations without pay under primitive conditions. Dr Majer also helped financially and gave medicine and other equipment to foster health generally. This righteous gentile courageous and honourable, was hanged by the Nazi beasts. Amongst other accusations, the Gestapo accused him of befriending and helping Jews.

    From the Yizkor book, an eye witness report on the courage of Mordechai Chmura. Mordechai Chmura was the leader of the Zionist organisation of Pabianice for a decade before the war. In the terrible selection of the first and second of Sivan 1942, the Jewish People were divided into 2 groups. The weak, the ill, the elderly and children under 10 in one group, numbering 4,500. The more work able, in another group numbering 3,500.

    The young children were then placed separately. The Nazis in their cruel devious ways asked who would like to volunteer to accompany the children. Naturally the parents of the young children volunteered. The only non-parent who volunteered was Mordechai Chmura. He wanted to steady the spirits of the young families. He had 3 children who were over the age of 10, and were in the group to go to Lodz to work. He left his wife and children, and took himself over to the group of children in order to help them. As he entered the field at the head of the children, proud Jew that he was, he sang the Hatikva and the other parents joined in. This group was sent directly to Chelmo and the gas chambers.

    And as written by Rachael Aerbuch a prolific writer of the terror of the Shoah: "There was a concept of chivalrous knights of past years who fought to save the weak, the children, the vulnerable and the helpless, was now replaced by the Nazi barbarism that went to war to murder those people.

    After the war Pabianice Support Groups were set up in Israel, the leaders being Pabianice Jews who had made Aliyah to Israel before WW2. They reached out to Pabianice Survivors who had fled to Russia in late 1939 and early 1940, hundreds had survived the war. Approximately 300 had survived in hiding in Poland and some severely traumatised in the Ghettos, and the work and death camps. The Pabianice survivors sent food parcels, clothes and money to help their Landsmanshaft and worked to find them jobs and accommodation through the welfare networks.

    (Our 12th yizkor / memorial service in Melbourne) The 76th anniversary of the Liquidation of the Pabianice Ghetto / Pabianice Memorial Service was held on 27th May 2018 at the Pabianice Monument, MCK Cemetery, Browns Road, Springvale. See photos from the 2018 memorial service here...

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