Scrapbookpages Blog

November 14, 2014

Lviv ghetto in Ukraine, where Jews hid in sewers, is back in the news

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:13 am
Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler in Lviv, Nov. 7, 2014. (Courtesy of Limmud FSU)

Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler in Lviv, Nov. 7, 2014. (Courtesy of Limmud FSU)

The photo above is from a newspaper article, which you can read in full here.  It shows one of the manhole covers, that can be lifted up, to enter the sewer in Lviv.

The news story is about the sewer system in the city of Lviv, where Jews hid for 14 months, during World War II, to escape the Genocide perpetrated by the Nazis.  Strangely, there is no Holocaust memorial to mark this historic spot, nor any of the other manhole covers where the Jews entered the sewer.

A few years ago, there was a movie, entitled In Darkness, about Jewish children hiding in the sewers.  I blogged about the movie here.

Scene from the movie "In Darkness, shows children hiding the sewer

Scene from the movie “In Darkness,” shows children emerging from the sewer

In the movie scene, shown in the photo above, notice that the little girl is wearing a ribbon in her hair.  One must keep up appearances, even while living in a sewer.

I didn’t actually go to see the movie because I thought that it would be too upsetting.  Personally, I would not live in a sewer for 14 months to escape death.  I would have just said, “Kill me now.”

Near the end of the war, the survivors of the Lviv ghetto were sent to Dachau.  I wrote about one of the survivors of the ghetto on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/WilliamWeiss.html

This quote is from my website:

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, including the entire family of William Weiss, who was among the prisoners at Dachau when it was liberated by the US Seventh Army on April 29, 1945. Before the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Weiss family had lived in peace and prosperity in Lwow, which at that time was a Polish city, also known by the English name Lvov. The city was originally called L’viv when it was founded in 1256 as the capital of Galicia; today the city of L’viv is in the Ukraine. From 1772 until 1919, the city was called Lemberg, after it became part of the Austrian Empire in the first partition of Poland.

According to his own account, as told to newspaper reporter Marsha Low in 2001, Weiss was a studious child who earned good grades and he expected to one day take over his father’s military supply business in Lvov. When World War II started in 1939 with the invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union captured the city of Lvov on September 17, 1939, the first day that the Russians entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany. After Poland was conquered, Lvov was in the section that was occupied by the Soviet Union, as part of the pact made with the Germans prior to the joint invasion. The original population of Lvov was one third Jewish and there were an additional 100,000 Jewish refugees in the city, who had fled to the east, escaping from the Germans when they invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

The area occupied by the Soviet Union, after September 1939, had formerly belonged to the Russians from 1795 until after World War I when the Poles finally regained their independence. After the Russians took back their lost Polish territory in September 1939, they set up a Communist government and the Soviet secret police, known as the NKVD, was put in charge of arresting any resistance fighters.

On July 2, 1941, the life of the Weiss family changed drastically, according to his account, as told to Marsha Low. On June 22, 1941, the German Army had invaded the Soviet Union and by July 2nd, they had captured the city of Lvov. The name of the city was changed back to Lemberg, the name that had been given to it by the Austrians. According to Weiss’s account, the Nazis began rounding up the Jews in the city within the first month, taking them to the Brygidki and Loncki prisons on the edge of town.

Weiss told Ms. Low that by August 1941, the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police began forcing the Jews into a ghetto in Lvov, allowing them to take with them only what they could carry. Lvov became one of the five major ghettos in Poland; the other four were Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow and Lublin. Altogether, there were 356 ghettos established by the Nazis in Poland after September 1939.

The evacuation of the Lvov Jews began on March 19, 1942 and continued for one month until 15,000 Jews had been sent to the gas chambers at Belzec, one of the three Operation Reinhard extermination camps, which had been set up specifically to kill the Jews as part of the Final Solution. Between August 10 and August 23, 1942, 50,000 more Jews from the Lvov ghetto were sent to Belzec, which is north of Lvov, on the west side of the Bug river, the border between the part of Poland occupied by the Germans and the former Soviet occupied zone. Between March and December 1942, a total of 600,000 Jews were murdered in the gas chamber at Belzec.

Weiss told reporter Marsha Low that, in August 1942, his father had found a hiding place in Lvov and had planned an escape for the entire family on the evening of a day when the Lvov Jews were rounded up, but it was too late. Weiss and his mother and two sisters had already been put into the group that was assembled, ready to be sent to either Belzec or the concentration camp at Janowska. Weiss was 19 years old at that time. He told Ms. Low that his mother and two sisters were sent to Belzec, but he managed to escape certain death because, on the day that the Jews were assembled for transport, his mother told him to sneak over to the other side where able-bodied people were being sent to work at Janowska, not to be killed at Belzec.

As quoted in the newspaper article, Weiss said, “I listened to her. Now I know she knew she’d be killed. They put me on a truck and took me to the Janowska camp.” Weiss said that he managed to escape from the Janowska camp that same night, running to the place where his father was hiding in Lvov, ready to escape with the whole family. When he told his father that their escape plan was too late because his mother and sisters were already on their way to Belzec, his father cried, the first time that Weiss had ever seen his father cry. After a week in hiding in Lvov, Weiss said that he and his father were captured and sent to Loncki prison. Another 5,000 Jews from Lvov were evacuated in November 1942, and sent to either Belzec or Janowska, but Weiss and his father remained for a year in the Loncki prison until the Soviet Army arrived in 1943.

Weiss and his father were among 30 prisoners who were evacuated from the Loncki prison before Russian troops captured Lvov; they were sent to the Auschwitz death camp, where both managed to survive. In his interview with Marsha Low, Weiss said that he still dreams of naked bodies being herded into the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

As the Soviet Army advanced further into Poland, Auschwitz was evacuated in January 1945. In the dead of winter, through knee-deep snow, the starving prisoners were forced to march 50 kilometers to Gleiwitz near the border of Germany. Weiss said that his 42-year-old father died of starvation on the forced march. After a few weeks in Gleiwitz, Weiss was transported by train to the Dachau concentration camp. When Dachau was liberated by American troops, 22-year-old William Weiss, who was 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighed only 75 pounds and he was suffering from typhus. He had survived nearly three years of imprisonment by the Nazis. He said that he was sent to a hospital in Munich, where he met his future wife, Regina, who was also a survivor. They were married on March 13, 1946 in the city hall in Munich.

William Weiss and Regina emigrated to America where they settled near Detroit in West Bloomfield, Michigan. In 2001, Weiss was retired from the clothing business, and was working as a volunteer at least once a week at the Holocaust Memorial Center in West Bloomfield, telling his story to a new generation, so that the horrors of the Nazi regime will never be forgotten.

11 Comments »

  1. the world has forgotten.. How many murderous regimes are in the world today, yet we do nothing about them? We are predisposed in today’s politically correct climate to stay out of other people’s business, while that climate was created, and perpetuated, by those who have an interest in keeping status quo.

    We have means to end many of the crises in this world, and we do nothing. We see the suffering of others on the evening news, many times no different than the pictures of Auschwitz and Dachau, and the public response is to mind our own business.

    Unless I never understood the message that was supposed to have been retained, I can attest that it “has” been forgotten.

    Comment by darby — November 14, 2014 @ 9:33 am

    • The Holocaust has NOT been forgotten. It is impossible to go, even one day, without several stories of Holocaust survivors, who continue to preach hatred of the German people. You are commenting on a post, which is about the Jews complaining that there are not enough Holocaust Memorials. You can’t walk even one block in a city in Germany without stumbling over a Holocaust memorial stone.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 14, 2014 @ 10:03 am

      • First, you missed the point of my post in relation to the article. If you really think that the holocaust statement “never forget” is limited to stories and memorials, I would say your understanding of its meaning is extremely one dimensional.

        Why should we “never forget”? Because innocent lives were taken, while the rest of the world stood by and did nothing. “Never forget” because this is had happened many times throughout history, before the holocaust, and will continue to happen again lest we forget. I’ve seen hundreds of memorials and they don’t mean a damn thing unless we choose not to repeat history.

        Lastly, I have met many holocaust survivors who do “not” preach hatred against “German people”, but against the Nazi’s who killed their families and the Germans (and non-Germans) who supported the Nazi’s cause. Your statement was racist and does not express the opinion of all holocaust survivors.

        Comment by darby — November 14, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    • The Holohoax has been used to perpetrate real holocausts (formerly meaning “wars”), darby. Every time Israël’s American vassal state wants to go to war, that’s to stop new alleged Hitlers. Always the same warmongering bullshits under a disguise of hypocritical fakely-humanitarian concerns…

      What greater source of deaths and sufferings in the world since the 1910s than the Anglo-American Zionist endless wars?

      The “never forget not to repeat history” thing is hilarious. U.S. propagandists have spent decades using their WW2-style atrocity propaganda in order to sell their wars. That worked so well during WW2 that they have never stopped using the same warmongering propagandistic tricks until today.

      “Liberty bombs” and wars to stop alleged mass murderers have paradoxically been the greatest sources of deaths and wars during the past decades.

      Comment by hermie — November 14, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

      • hermie, you are an idiot.

        Comment by darby — November 14, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

        • Nice refutation, Darby. Is that all what you’ve got, genius?😉

          Comment by hermie — November 15, 2014 @ 9:29 am

          • It is obvious that you troll the internet stirring up trouble with your copy/paste statements, hoping to get attention.

            Trying to speak common sense to you would be like trying to teach a two year old calculus. ..not worth the trouble.

            Comment by darby — November 15, 2014 @ 9:36 am

            • The internet is full of know-nothing idiots like you, Darby. Always the same method: after the failure of your laughable emotional little speech “The world has forgotten”, you spread baseless allegations such as “it’s obvious that you are [this or that]” systematically followed by something like “I won’t waste my time debating with you because that would be useless” exempting you from having to prove any of your previous allegations. The regular readers of this blog will probably have a good laugh at your allegation about me. The other ones will stay in the fog and never know the source of your utter condemnation…

              Comment by hermie — November 15, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

              • If there is a common theme to the responses you receive on the internet, it’s because your statements lack any basis of reality from which to debate. ..that was a polite way of me saying that you are either a complete moron, or you have psychological issues. And since there is no purpose my having a long, thoughtful debate with halfwits or whack jobs, I have blocked notifications from this site. Good luck, I hope you find the help you desperately need.

                Comment by darby — November 15, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

                • If there is a common theme to the responses I receive on the Internet, that’s because people always defend their religious faith (and the H-myth has all the features of a religious faith) like furious wild cats and I often contradict dogmas such as the Holohoax. But I guess that’s a human reaction to act that way and reject any information disturbing one’s ideological-religious ground.

                  You don’t need to tell me that you have blocked notifications from this site. The fanatics of the sacred Holo-faith always flee like panicked rabbits as soon as they realize that their moral terrorism has failed.

                  Non-debate closed…

                  Comment by hermie — November 16, 2014 @ 8:38 am

    • You are either an idiot or arrived here with an agenda to propagate.

      Anyone reasonable and truthful individual who cares to look can see the U.S. and its Jewish masters all across the West are the greatest perpetrators of evil and misery in this world.

      Comment by Sendejo — December 19, 2014 @ 5:42 pm


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