Ernst’s last Sabbath with his family

EXCERPT FROM THE LONG NIGHT

“From the beginning of 1941 there was talk that the Jewish youths from neighbouring towns were to be conscripted as a continuous source of new labour. Since insufficient young people volunteered for work, the Gestapo and the Jewish police under their command raided the Jewish community, seizing people by force from their beds at night and deporting them to the labour camps. We were convinced that sooner or later we would be subjected to these raids as well.

One Friday during these days filled with dread we sanctified Shabbat for the last time. The ceremony was conducted in great haste. With two small candles which flickered restlessly and our room barely lit, my father sanctified Shabbat by silently reciting the prayers which were normally so happily said but were now filled with fear. We four children, trembling and with fearful faces, sat at prayer. I could not get out of my mind the following thought “Who knows if this is the last Shabbat during which I will hear my father’s prayers at our table?”

After this short service my mother quickly gave me a parcel containing my supper and, with a tear-stained face, accompanied me from our home. I had to conceal myself in my hiding place to avoid being picked up by the Gestapo during the night.”

jews-prayer-shawls-zawiercie

Jews in Zawiercie ghetto wearing prayer shawls

Forced labourJudenratSabbath and festivalsZawiercie
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