The selection process

"the Nazi arrived and started a selection"
Jack Kagan



Young boy in a ghetto

"Early morning, lorries arrived, the doors have opened, the Nazi arrived and started a selection. You came out, he asked you, the head of the family, your profession, how many children. To the left, it's to go out to the yard; to the right it's to stand in the corner of the entrance of the building. Came to our turn, my uncle went in front, he said, 'What is your profession?' He said a saddle maker. 'How many children?' Two children. To the left. Came to my father. 'Your profession?' Again, saddle maker, two children. To the right. That means it was no rhyme or reason whom to select to death and whom to life. Because he went in front, two children, saddle maker, the same profession. We were the lucky ones, he left us to remain alive, and them to death. So my uncle Moishke, Soshke, Berol, and Leizer went out to the yard. They sent out four and a half thousand, four thousand people on lorries, took them outside the town into graves, into prepared graves, and massacred them, they shot them. That was Einsatzkommando, that was Einsatzkommando. My mother was standing practically opposite the window, and suddenly out of nowhere police, SS, came, with the back of their rifles hitting everybody, and I knew that this is the end of the people which are standing on the yard. In this execution I lost my mother, I lost my sister Nachama, I lost my auntie, Surcharsky."


Jack Kagan

Born 1929, Novogrodek (Vilna), Lithuania. Novogrodek ghetto. Liberated by Russians, Displaced Persons camp, Poland 1945. Married, three children.