Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kamenets-Podolsk Massacre and Horav Boruch Rabinovitch's Testimony in יד-ושם

Photo source

by Mark H. David

Hirshel: I was surprised by your article here. I have been studying off and on for years the Kamenets-Podolsk massacre of Jews in 1941, of which Horav Boruch Rabinovitch is thought to have been one of the few who were actually saved through somewhat official channels. This is documented briefly in a non-obscure book, Sefer Marmarosh, which is also online now I read your article somewhat superficially, so I apologize in advance if I missed anything. But I found some pretty major inaccuracies.Thought I should try sending you two examples, see if any response comes, and what could be done.If no response, I’ll just have to ignore it.If there’s interest, I could try to work with you to improve this. You say: He was rounded up with thousands of other Polish and Foreign Nationals and delivered over the border to Kamenetz-Podolsk in the Ukraine. Literally just dumped there. Only by a sheer miracle was he rescued from the massacres that the bastard Ukrainians carried out on would when the Nazis overran the Ukraine in the summer of '41. You say: Truth be told, there isn't much information out there about RBR's wartime activities. They say that he wrote a book and still saw it published right before his passing on Chanukah 5758. Before that time he wouldn't discuss what he did.

On (1), the Kamanets-Podolsk massacre of the Jews deported from Hungary is generally not very well known by the average man in the street, but there has been plenty of studies of it.  Every study says the same thing: these Jews were brought there as prisoners of joint German-Hungarian military teams. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website has one variant of the story, and I’m sure a very well researched one. I’m not aware of any account that has the Jews massacred directly or primarily by Ukrainians. At worst Ukrainians may have been aids and helpers of the killers, but not the killers themselves.Note that there are obviously numerous massacres by Ukrainians of Jews, both before and during the Holocaust. I’m not interested in making up new ones, and I am interested in having historical events conveyed in accord with facts as they are actually known, and that is the reason to bring this to your attention.Note, too, that there’s no account of Jews “literally” being dumped in this area.  They were under military guard the whole time.Also, this is generally considered to have been the first mass-killing of Jews by German milltary (SS), and is considered a precursor to the Babi-Yar massacre, which is much-better known and with many more estimated victims, which happened fairly soon afterwards in the same year (1941).

 Further on (1), the article in Sefer Marmarosh specifically states that the Rabbi was one person who was actually saved through “shtadlones” (intercession, mediation). It is surprising to simply refer to this as a “sheer miracle”. What justifies calling this a miracle There were people who crawled out of pits, from under dead bodies, missed by bullets in the mass killings that were the Kamenets-Podolsk massacre; I can see someone calling such cases of survival to be miraculous, and I wonder how a negotiated release through shtadlones rises to that level. Also, note that most of the people deported were actually born in the region from which they were being deported, not from Poland, but they just couldn’t find their papers: nobody had any papers. It was just arbitrary. I didn’t know the part about the rabbi being actually a Polish national, but in most cases the people deported were born there, with brothers, sisters, parents, etc., who were not deported. It was very random. Finally, on (2), the account in Sefer Marmarosh specifically states that the Rabbi gave testimony about the whole experience at Yad Vashem, and it was recorded and transcribed. I would really like to hear and read a transcript of this testimony. I hope to find it some day. In that testimony, according to Sefer Marmarosh, the Rabbi gives his opinion that the Nazis intentionally conducted the massacre openly as a way to test out the theory that the Allies would not react. I’ll put the Sefer Marmarosh account at the end. It’s in Yiddish.  Thanks for listening,

דער ערשטע און גרעסטער מאסן־מארד איז דורכגעפירט געװארן אין 27־סטן און 28-סטן אויגוסט 1941 - ד' באלול תש״א - נעבן קאמענעץ־פאדאלסק. אין יענע צוויי טעג זענען 23,600 אידן דארט דערמארדעט געווארן, מערהייט 14,000 - 16,000 אונגארישע, די אנדערע ארטיקע. ווי עם שטרייכן די שואה־פארשערס איז די קאמינעץ־פאדאלסקער שחיטה געווען די ערשטע פון נאצישער "ענטגילטיקער לעזונג" װעמנס קרבנות עס זענען דערגאנגען צו די זיבן ציפערן. ווי עם גיבן איבר עדות וואס האבן צוגעזען די דאזיקע מאסן־שחיטה, האבן די דורכפירער אירע זיך נישט געמיט צו באהאלטן זייערע מעשים פון דער־־ארטיקער באפעלקערונגדער. מונקאטשער רבי הרב ברוך ראבינאוויטש וואס אויך איז געווען צווישן די דעפארטירטע און דורך שטארקער שתדלנות האט מען אים צוריקגעברענגט קיין אונגארן, האט דערציילט פאר אן אינטערוויוער פון "יד ושם" זיין יסורים-וועג. זיינע רייד זענען רעקארדירט און פארשריבן געווארן ווערן אפגעהיט אין ארכיוו פון דער דאזיקער אינסטיטוציע .03/3822 הרב ראבינאוויטש דריקט אין זיי אויס זיין סברא, אז מיט כוונה האבען די נאצים נישט פארבארגן זייערע מעשים כדי אויסצופרואוון און זען ווי אזוי עם וועלן רעאגירן די פארבינדעטע מלוכות און אז קיין רעאגרוגג איז נישט געקומען - ווי מיר אלע ווייסן. האבן דערפון רוצחים־פירערס פארשטאנען - און ליידער מיט רעכט - אז אידיש בלוט איז הפקר. קיינער וועט זיך פאר דעם נישט אננעמען און קיינער וועט נישט מאנען דערפאר. די אמינירטע דורכצופירן שחיטה איבער אידן האבן מיט מוט און חשק פארגעזעצט דעם מארד לויט דעם סיסטעמאטישן פלאן פון דער ״ענדגילטיקער לייזונג״


Yehuda said...

The full story and the transcript of the testimony was printed in the מבוא of the new edition of בינת נבונים RBR sefer on the holocaust
btw as far as i remember he writes that his survival was miraculous and doesn't mention any shtadlunes
see also
for a summary of the events

שימעלע דז'יגאן said...

why where there hungarian jews in poland as refugees?
werent all hungarians safe and secure in hungary back in 1941?
היסטורי היא וללמוד אני צריך

Yelid Munkach said...

they were Polish citizens living in Hungary, and after 1939 all countries in that region deported all foreigners

Kamenetzer said...

Does anyone know which Chasidim lived in Kamenetz-Podolsk prior to WWI

Anonymous said...

Anyone attend the munkatch/dinover tishen for R' Burechels yurtzait? Would love to hear what gets said.

Anonymous said...

The baal shem tov held a debate against the frankistem
In kamentz

yom tov in der vochen said...

off topic
Heshy, saw you with senior in Bp Spink today, going in for a late mincha.
How did BP treat you?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

I'm sorry. If you saw me you should come and say hello! I don't like people telling me they saw me and me not knowing who they are!

יוסף הוא השליט said...

לפי ידיעתי הרב"י היה בפולין ולא באוקריינא ומשם הביאו בחזרה עם בנו בכורו, ע"י שהטמינם בתחתית כפולה מוסתרת בתוך רכב אחד.

Anonymous said...

יוסף הוא השליט
wrong he was in ukraine, and near Yagalnica (thats near cortkov) he got rescued, there is a whole story about it