Sunday, February 29, 2004


I am going to print a section from THE HOLOCAUST AND THE REVOLT
IN PINSK 1941-1942
by Nahum Boneh (Mular)
From the book Pinsk , Volume II. I have the website both for the section where this is from(, as well as the whole book ( listed under the links section of the HOMEPAGE.

I was up all night again last night and I re-read the pages I had copied previously. I had written a little about this earlier this week and felt I wanted to finish the story. I thought I might print this today so you could read how all of this turned out.

I am working on the correspondences page(s). I’ll have them up in a few days. I hope reading this section will not be too hard on you. And no folks, I do not feel I am "going too far" in pointing out the stylistic similarities between how I was treated by the Polish courts, and how the Nazi’s handled their “issue”…

I’ll be back tomorrow

(From Chapters 6 and 7)
The Dilemma of the Underground

There were however more serious attempts to organize underground units, which on the day of extermination would put up resistance and help Jews to escape. About this organization we have evidence from two separate sources, delivered at different times and places (1955 in Tel Aviv and 1962 in New York).

The first testimony comes from one who was actively involved: “As news reached us regarding how the Jews in the neighboring ghettos had been exterminated, we had the growing feeling of being slowly strangled. In reaction to this, an underground organization sprang up, which planned resistance to the Germans in order to save as many Jewish lives as possible. Before our eyes was the example of the town of Lakhva. The group I knew within the organization consisted of two workers from Lourié's plywood factory and myself as representative of the tannery. Our contacts were with employees of the Judenrat: the engineer Tennenbaum (son-in-law of Zelig Kotok), Neiman (of the steamboat owners), and the head of the Jewish police, Goldberg. Secretly we began to enlist more members and to acquire arms. We were able to buy a number of revolvers from Poles, which we hid in various places outside the ghetto. I hid arms in Kaplan's gardens.

At our secret meetings we debated a number of proposals of how to organize resistance. Someone suggested that we should set fire to all the factories and workshops where we were employed simultaneously, and take advantage of the turmoil to escape. Someone else proposed killing the German Commissioner; others stressed the importance of joining the partisans. In the end, one proposal was agreed upon: to organize to set the town on fire at the crucial moment. All places of employment where Jews worked were supplied with combustible materials such as kerosene, rags and matches and everywhere there was someone who was responsible for carrying out the order upon receiving a secret code.

The problem was discussed at all our meetings but when to give the decisive word was never resolved. We knew that the resistance would be followed by bloody revenge, which the Germans would wreak upon the whole ghetto, that is, by wholesale destruction of all the Jews in the town. Therefore, with the help of the Judenrat and of the Chief of the Jewish police, we gathered every bit of information concerning German intentions, so as to act only at the decisive moment, before the final action. We did not want to take responsibility for triggering the destruction of thousands of Jews. Members of the Judenrat who learned of our underground organization warned us not to endanger the physical existence of the ghetto, through any ill-considered and irresponsible act. They also tried to persuade us not to try to escape, as one group of young people, who were employed in a workshop outside, had been planning such an escape and one day failed to return to the ghetto after work. Members of the Judenrat visited their families and threatened that they would have to hand them over to the Nazis, in place of the boys who had run away – unless they did everything in their power to bring them back. Because of this escape – they said – the Germans were threatening to exterminate the entire ghetto.

As a matter of fact, under pressure from their families and from the Judenrat, and unable to contact the partisans, the young men returned after two days out of town.

On October 22nd, rumors spread in the ghetto that on the airfield at Dobrovole (Now an open field located at the north most point of Pinsk Proper- just to the right of Piervamayskaya) long and deep ditches were being dug: and that only Gentile workmen were employed there under supervision of a German engineer. It was also known that a carload of lime had been unloaded there and water pipes had been laid.

These rumors caused alarm which also reached Ebner, who a few days later summoned Minsky and another member of the Judenrat and told them what was already well known, that the trenches on the airfield had been dug as storage for additional fuel tanks, the pipes were to siphon the fuel from the cars into the tanks and the whole thing had been done because it had been decided to close the airfield at Rzebczyc and to transfer it to Dobrovole. At the same time, Ebner warned against attempts to escape or resist.

To confirm what he had said, Ebner (The Nazi “Commisioner” of Pinsk.) phoned the engineer at Dobrovole and, in the presence of the two Judenrat members, asked him what the ditches were intended for. The Jews could hear the answer on the phone, and it confirmed what the Deputy Commissioner had told them.

“I give you my word as a German”, said Ebner, “that nothing will happen to the Jews of Pinsk. They are working for the German war effort.” As a gesture of goodwill, Ebner promised to stop the searches at the gates and to increase slightly the daily bread ration of the workers. He also allotted some more land for growing vegetables.

“The two members of the Judenrat returned and immediately called a meeting of all the inhabitants and related the comforting news. After this assembly in the ghetto, our underground group met for consultation. Some of us argued that the Germans could not be trusted and that we ought to act at once. But most of those present were swayed by the soothing words they had heard and proposed delay – until the situation became clearer. The next day another rumor, apparently spread by the German themselves, was the talk of the ghetto: according to this, 3000-4000 Jews who were not working would be removed from the ghetto, and all the others would remain, on the strength of lists of employed compiled by engineer Friedman.

“This rumor was grist to the mill of those members of the underground who opposed immediate action. They said we could not risk the total destruction of our people in the ghetto, when, upon reliable authority, there was a good chance that the majority would be spared. The majority resolved to be ready for action according to any steps the Germans might take: to secure secret information in time about their intentions. Thus, the Germans succeeded in deceiving us all until the very last moment.” [64]

And here is what the second witness had to say: “Inside the ghetto, there were a number of attempts to organize resistance. My friend, son of the teamster, Glauberman, told me that one day a Gentile forest guard had revealed to some Jews, who were working outside the ghetto, that in his forest 150 rifles were hidden, left by the retreating Russians. Among the young men in the ghetto this caused excitement, and several hundred prepared to find the rifles in the forest and to stay there. This organization was headed by Dr. Praeger. Preparations were protracted and the departure delayed again and again, until one day the Judenrat announced the solemn promise given by the German Commissioner that the working population of the Pinsk ghetto would be spared. This killed the whole project, and a second attempt by some young men to organize met the same fate.

“With more and more indications of the approaching doom there was a group of young Jews, headed by Lolek Slutski, who resolved to set the whole city on fire the moment it should be surrounded for the final destruction. For that purpose, the town was divided into districts, with a number of young men assigned to each one who, instead of returning to the ghetto after work, would have to stay in one of the empty houses, where petrol, kerosene, rags and matches were kept ready. The organization was top secret and the action planned to the last detail. The aim was to cause a big conflagration and, in the turmoil and confusion which would seize the Nazis, to break out and escape. This plan, too, was foiled by the calming announcement of the Germans, as made known by the Judenrat. [65]

“Thus, we lost our last opportunity to carry out our resistance plan. The Germans succeeded in deceiving the Jews of the ghetto till the very moment, when the total extermination was beginning. In the course of the action itself there were some attempts to escape and to resist.”

An eyewitness relates: “When it became clear that the ghetto was surrounded and everybody knew that this was the end, several hundred young men rushed to the fences in an attempt to break out and escape, but hidden machine guns mowed them down. This was repeated time and time again, and each time the young men were forced to retreat, leaving behind them dozens of dead.” [66]

We find an echo of these desperate attempts to resist in the report of the German officer in charge of the operation who speaks of the successful use of the cavalry, when 150 Jews who had tried to escape were caught to the last man, although some of them had managed to make it to a distance of several kilometers. This same report mentions one Jew who attacked a Nazi rider with his bare hands and managed to wrench from him his rifle and cudgel, but was cut down by the other riders before he could use the arms. The report also states that “innumerable people were hiding in well-camouflaged holes in the ground.”

These last desperate efforts do honor to our brothers who were facing a cruel and bloodthirsty foe. Very few Jews of Pinsk were able to fight the enemy with arms in hand and to take revenge. Those were the partisans and resistance fighters in other locations. A special chapter in this book is devoted to them.

Chapter 7

The Extermination

Calming Rumors

Wednesday, October 28th was a comparatively quiet day in the ghetto. Searches at the gates of those who returned from work were perfunctory and most of the food brought in was allowed to pass. There were less beatings by the Polish policemen than usual, but the returning workers had been stunned by a German proclamation posted outside the ghetto, warning the public upon pain of death not to touch Jewish property. [67]

That same night, a story ascribed to Bertha Schwartzman made the rounds of the ghetto. The German secretary of the District Commissioner, Bertha's friend, had shown her a telegram, signed by the Führer himself, with instructions not to touch the Jews of Pinsk, as they were working people. The two friends had embraced each other with joy....

There was new hope for survival and the Jews went to sleep somewhat comforted. That evening men who were supposed to work during the night had been sent back to the ghetto; only the plywood factory went on producing. But at midnight all the employees were called to a storeroom and were locked in there. [68] At two in the morning, the Christian inhabitants of the houses adjacent to the ghetto were removed and mortars and machineguns were installed there.

The Ghetto is Surrounded

Before daybreak a number of Jews realized that the ghetto was surrounded by German forces. One of them ran in the direction of the fence in an attempt to escape, but was shot dead on the spot. This shot, at four in the morning, startled the ghetto. People came pouring out of their homes and found themselves closed in on all sides.

The news spread like wildfire, and thousands of terrified Jews began to run around aimlessly. Some tried to proceed to the gaps in the fence they had prepared, but there they were met by German guns pointed at them. At six o'clock, by the light of dawn, hordes of Germans were seen advancing towards the fence in force.

The first cordon was posted at the fence. They were standing in units of three, at intervals of 10 meters, armed with automatic rifles and pistols. A second cordon, armed with machine guns, was installed at the windows and on the roofs of the houses near the ghetto. [69] At the gates there now stood no Jewish policemen (inside) or Poles (outside), only Gestapo. No one was allowed to leave.

“I approached the gate” – relates a witness – “and said that I must go to my job at the printing press. 'Today you shall work here', said the German, pointing to the ground.” [70]

Hundreds of people began to rush to the gates, for work as usual. Rumor had it that holders of work permits had best queue up ready to go to work: perhaps they might be spared. Within minutes, a long and orderly column of hundreds upon hundreds was standing along Glinishchanska Street.

At 6.30 am. soldiers of an S. S. detachment, with the S. S. symbols on their sleeves and death skulls on their helmets, poured into the ghetto, armed with clubs, double-headed axes and accompanied by dogs. They scattered through the streets, and shouting and hitting right and left, made the Jews hurry to the gathering place near the Karlin cemetery. Some of them marched the column of men ready to go to work – who appeared as if they had been anticipating this – in the same direction. In the general uproar, a number of Jews managed to vanish into the hiding places they had prepared.

Upon arrival at the place of concentration, the Jews were told to kneel down and wait for further orders. Skilled craftsmen, doctors and engineers, and those employed in factories and workshops, were taken out and brought to the square in front of the Judenrat.

The Skilled are Spared
Here Ebner turned up with prepared lists, which he handed to the foremen of the carpentry shops, the tailors, printers, farm workers and employees of the tannery, Lourié, Rekord and others.

Each foreman read aloud the names of the workers on his list and told them to stand in separate groups. The noise was unbearable.

The names of those who had not mustered were called again and again, but many were missing, as they had gone into hiding. No women or children were allowed to join these groups. [71]

The evidence of one witness was recorded at the Israel Police headquarters in Tel Aviv in 1962: “When the names of the remaining skilled people were called, the list included my father, my mother, brother and myself. I held my little sister, aged 5, by her hand and tried to pass with her to the group of skilled workers at the other side of the square. Ebner noticed this and shouted an order to one of the Germans to take the child away from me. He assaulted me, tore my little sister from my arms with brute force and sent her back.” [72]

Another piece of evidence recorded back in 1945 confirms this: “Among his other children, the tailor Sherman also had a little daughter, aged four. One of the Germans saw her and kicked her so that she fell down and rolled over several times.” [73]

Ebner ordered all these workers to be kept in a number of nearby empty houses, in which they had to wait for several hours before being assembled in a hospital close to the ghetto (Zemski Szpital), where they were guarded by Polish police. There they were kept for three days and from the windows they were able to see the proceedings of the action, the extermination, and the Jews that had been ferreted out of their hiding places, brought to the cemetery and murdered there.

One of the witnesses had this to tell to the presiding Judge of the Tel Aviv District Court, Dr. Nathan Ben-Zakkai:
“I remember the horrible scene. I saw from the hospital window two heaps of Jewish corpses, some of them with axes still stuck in their skulls – there were thirty to forty in each heap. During these three days Ebner gave orders to shoot anybody who tried to enter the hospital without the yellow armband inscribed 'useful Jew'.

Those who were left alive were told to go down into the courtyard and they were shot in one of the hospital wards. Many of the victims tried to climb out through the windows in order to escape death. 200 were shot there.” [74]
And here is more evidence given on the same occasion:
“When we were brought to the hospital building, the sick and the children who were there were taken into the courtyard and murdered before our eyes. One of the stray bullets hit a German in the eye and this maddened the murderers, so that they began to hit out right and left with axes, indiscriminately, killing also those who had been put aside as 'useful'. In panic we struggled to push our way into the building and whoever did not succeed was murdered with the rest.” [75]
The skilled workers, too, were sorted again: not all were to be spared.

At the Concentration Place
When the screening of the skilled was completed, the S.S. began to form groups and to lead them towards the death pits. The thousands of Jews gathered in the cemetery area were divided into groups of 200-300. The aforementioned witness gave this evidence in the magistrate's court, Haifa:
“The S. S. men took us out of the house, beat us with rifle butts and told us to march to the cemetery. I could see that we were going to our deaths. There were about thirty of us who tried to break out of the gate, but the soldiers fired, killing ten. I ran back and reached a shack near the hospital, which served as a woodshed. Together with one other man I climbed up and hid under the roof. There we found a doctor and his family, who had reached this hiding place earlier. Throughout the day I could look through the cracks and see the S. S. bring Jews to the cemetery area, divide them into groups, beat and torture them and kill some on the spot. I saw little children taken out of their parents' arms, held by their feet, heads down, and shot. [76]

“The members of the Judenrat, too, were brought to the concentration area and sent to the side of the skilled workers. Some of them tried to approach Ebner and to find out about their fate. Bertha Shwartzman was the first to approach him. His answer was: 'You, Bertha, will go to the pit first;' and with that he sent her and her husband to the front row of the group that were sent to Dobrovole. Such was also the lot of the other members of the Judenrat , who went to the pit first.

“Other Jews too, who were acquainted with Ebner, tried to beg for their lives, among them the furniture merchant Segalovich, a tall, old man. Ebner ordered him to kneel down with bent head and when he did so, Ebner shot him in the nape of the neck. One of the witnesses saw dead members of the Judenrat at the cemetery; some had been shot there, others had committed suicide by swallowing poison.” [77]

Search for Hiding Places
“During the next two days (October 30th and 31st ), the murderers continued to comb the ghetto area unceasingly and with the help of dogs. On Friday, at two in the afternoon, we heard German voices, near our hideout, calling 'Here are more Jews.' At the same moment a dog broke into our den and began to bark. The Germans followed and called us with their loud voices: 'Why don't you go to work? Don't you want to work? If you don't come out at once, you'll all die! We shall finish you off with grenades!'

“We sat perfectly still, holding our breath. The warning was repeated and then came the explosion of a hand grenade and another near the entrance. We were choking and began to creep out. When I reached the entrance, I saw the murderers glaring at us with fiendish bloodthirsty looks, their guns aimed at us. They beat us over the head with rubber truncheons and made us sit on the ground. An S.S. officer walked up and demanded delivery of anything we had, not only valuables but also outer garments. I showed the officer my work permit and he looked at it and shouted: 'You son of a bitch! What were you hiding for? All the printing workers have been brought to the hospital and they'll be allowed to live.' He tore up my permit.

“Other groups of Jews who had been detected were assembled and then we were told to get up and march to the Karlin cemetery. There we had to kneel again, together with thousands who had arrived before us. Suddenly we heard an order: 'Get up! March!'”

The Death March “We started marching away from the ghetto confines in the direction of Dobrovole – a distance of three kilometers. The day was warm and bright. The peasants of the neighboring villages were standing by the roadside watching us at their ease, maybe quite happy at what they saw. We approached the pits: before us were corpses of victims thrown by the roadside, torn apart by dum-dum bullets. Next to me walked a woman with her three little weeping boys; she was carrying a baby in her arms. The others were no longer able to walk. One German escort told me to take a child in my arms, which I did, while the little one was crying the whole time: 'I want my mommy!' When we approached the pits, I asked the German to let someone else carry the child, as I wanted to be with my wife in the last moments of our lives. He agreed and handed the child over to somebody else. We all walked in silence in the fields, bare after harvest. We saw the Germans scattered all over the area, some on horseback, some with dogs. In front of us, the piles of earth near the pits came closer. A few steps further came the order: 'Halt! Undress! Lay your clothes down in order by items. Hurry, hurry, you cursed dogs!' Before us were the gaping pits; I saw the corpses of Jews shot, face down, one upon the other, heads smashed. The murderers began to push the naked Jews into the pits, beating them cruelly, furious with hatred, forcing them to descend the steps cut out in the pits for that purpose, to lie down on top of the dead and the writhing wounded, face down, and wait for the bullet in their neck. From the depths came the agonized wails of those whom the bullets had failed to finish off at once.” [78]

“The son of the mason David Gitelman, of Brodna Street (who now lives in Cuba) told me the following: 'When we were near the pits, a detachment of S. S. arrived. They picked fifty Jews who were awaiting their fate, and used them for a murderous game: One Nazi would stand before the unfortunate Jew, while another pushed him towards the first, and a third, who had been waiting, hit the victim in the back with a pick-axe, then pulled it out as the man fell to the ground. He also saw a beautiful girl, who refused to undress, stripped savagely. Within minutes her black hair turned white, before our eyes.” [79]

In the Pits
A witness who was inside the pits has this to add: “On the second day of the action, I was sent to work in the pits of Dobrovole. All that day, they brought more Jews who were all forced to kneel down and to strip naked. One German led each naked Jew to the edge of the pit, where another shot him in the head. Later, we had to arrange in rows all those who had been shot. When the German had emptied his pistol, a second loaded one was handed to him, so that the satanic murder could continue without interruption.

“We also had to count and to record the number of the corpses. When they saw that we were not able to do this properly, one of the Germans took the paper and pencil out of our hands. Several times during the day, we were made to lie down on the ground and were told that we too would be shot; however, they ordered us to get up and go on with our work. We were a small group of Jews who had to do this for four days. At night, they took us to a merchant's house on Brzeska Street. To this day I do not understand how it happened that, at the end of this bloodcurdling work, we were brought to those in the hospital whose lives had been spared. [80] A Polish policeman, named Tchorny, told my friend and protector, who was hiding me at the time, that during the first night of the action he was standing guard at the pits. All that night the earth was heaving as in waves, a flow of blood and white foam was coming to the surface together with moans. This went on till morning, when the S. S. arrived and poured quicklime over the corpses.

“After this, the policeman was in a state of shock, unable to eat or sleep for a whole week.” [81]

Last Minute Wonders A miracle like that of the man who survived after four days in the pits happened to three other doomed people. “On the road towards the pits, Bertha Shwartzman's mother was walking next to me with her granddaughter. She asked me to tell the German officer that in her house she had left a vase full of gold. I told him, but the German didn't reply.
“When we were standing near the pit and had begun to undress, I saw that same officer running about as if he were looking for somebody. I approached him and he beckoned me. I seized my wife by the hand and pulled her with me. 'No, not her, I called only you', he shouted, brandishing his revolver. When he saw that I would not give in, he told us both to sit down at the side. He then went to consult his superior officer and came back without a word. From afar, I saw Schwartzman's daughter standing there, naked, and only she knew where the gold was. I found the courage, went up to the officer, and told him that only with the aid of that girl could the gold be found. He jumped up as though stung, shouted and blasphemed, but in the end said: 'Where is she?' I called her and she snatched some garment from the heap of clothes, put it on, and came to us running. We sat on the ground together while the German watched us. After a while, we were told to get in a car and under escort of some Germans with red, blood-spattered faces, we drove to Shwartzman's house on Alexandrowski Street, outside the ghetto.

“An S. S. officer entered the house and began to search, together with the girl, but in vain. We then drove to the ghetto, where we looked in the hideout under the pharmacy and found a wallet with banknotes, rings and a box of cigarettes. The officer took the rings and the box, but not the money.

“We went deeper down and found the vase, but decided not to mention this but to continue with our search till dark. We gave the German who was standing at the entrance some of the gold and told him that we were looking for more. At nightfall he ordered us to come out and follow him. He took us to his officer and gave him the gold, which he pocketed. I said, there must be more and that, early next morning, we would go on with our search and would certainly find it all. He had us taken to the S. S. The soldiers who were escorting us belonged to the special extermination unit and weren't familiar with the town. I told them to take us to the hospital, where the skilled workers were kept, and next morning they could bring us back for the search. To our surprise and good luck, they did not come back and we were left with the craftsmen.”

Among the Survivors at the Hospital
During the three days of the action, hundreds came to the hospital to join those who had been set aside as skilled or otherwise required workers, hoping to save their lives there. The place became overcrowded and squalid. No food was given and the only nourishment was raw beets and other roots, brought in from the nearby vegetable gardens. Even from the pits, twenty young men were brought back to the hospital. They had already undressed, when the Germans, observing their strong build, asked them whether they wanted to work. “If you work, you will live.”

The Last Selection On Sunday, November 1st, at nine o'clock in the morning, Ebner appeared at the hospital and ordered those responsible for the workers at Lourié's plywood factory to form a column and to leave for work. They hurried out, forming their column as ordered, glad to be gone. Suddenly, Ebner called the engineer Josselevich and the foreman Brezenbaum back to him into the building, while the S. S. troops, instead of leading the men to work, took them to the cemetery and shot them on the spot, a scene witnessed by hundreds of Jews watching from the hospital windows. At the sight, people began to run around like madmen, crying and wailing. “If that's how the Germans deal with the workers of a vitally important factory – there can be no doubt what is in store for the rest of us.” Some committed suicide with the poison they had on them. First of these was the town medical officer, Greenberg, followed by the daughter of the Rabbi of Karlin (but she didn't die right away). Many asked the doctors for a dose of poison, but they had none to spare. Some began destroying valuables, breaking their watches, tearing up banknotes etc.

Ebner returned, accompanied by Engineer Sieg. People retreated, trying to hide in corners. He produced a sheet of paper and announced that the craftsmen whose names he would call had to go down into the courtyard at once. He started with the tailors, and out of sixty called twenty names. From the city employees he chose half, and so on with the locksmiths, fencers, carpenters, shoemakers, saddlers, printers, etc. All the rest were told to remain inside the hospital. [82] Following is the testimony given before Judge A. Newman in the Magistrate's Court, Haifa: “After the workers of Lourié's factory had been murdered, more groups were sent down and all were slaughtered. Next came a group of dentists, general practitioners, tailors, shoemakers and printers, thirty all together, who were made to stand on the other side. At this moment, an S. S. man came running and asked aloud whether there were any carpenters among us. I thought I had nothing to lose, opened the window, jumped up and cried out “Yes, I am a carpenter.” At once others jumped up after me. An officer who was standing nearby shouted in brutal rage: 'No carpenters! Go back, cursed Jews.' I shall never forget the fiendish expression on his face. That very moment, shots were fired and some of those who had jumped after me were killed. I don't know how I managed to join the group of thirty.” [83]

143 Jews remaining after this selection were handed over to the Polish police, who conveyed them via Albrekhtowska and Zavalna streets to the city jail on Brzeska Road.

One witness recalls the following names out of the 143: Chayah Khrapunski; the tailor families Sherman and Chertok; the Geyer family of Kosciusko Street; Mrs Beckerman the dentist and her two brothers, Vevke and Mika; Avraham Perchik (now living in Haifa); Baruch Friedman (now in the U.S.); Dr. Jacobson and other doctors. [84]

Additional names were given by another witness: Bonya Vilkovitch; Sioma Yelinski (now in Germany); Liudwinitski, Kolomnitski the bookbinder; Liubashewski of the soap factory; David Gleibman (now in the U. S.); Yosef Bankowski (locksmith); Reuben Dolinko (furrier); Moshe Rozhanski (locksmith); David Federman; Yudl Furman; Yehiel Grushko (son
of the tailor of Honcharska Street); Brezenbaum (of Lourie's factory); the lame Feldstein (dental technician); Bankowski (the ironmonger who escaped from the slaughter at Sarny).

Among the women were: Naomi Kazh; Glauberson (of the featherbed shop), Kerman (daughter of the yeast merchant), the wives and children of the tailors Sherman, Geyer and Chertok; a young girl named Klotsman; Chayah Steinberg. Hannele, the Karliner Rabbi's daughter, who had swallowed poison, barely reached the prison and died there during the first night. Later it became known that those who had been left in the hospital were made to strip, were herded into the courtyard and shot there.