Chapter 33: Moses
During his interrogation by the Gestapo, Moses told them that he simply wanted to escape from the ghetto with his family and that he had obtained false documents to implement his goal. The interrogator was very courteous and even offered him a cigarette and a cup of tea. The conversation was conducted in a civilized manner, in German, a language in which Moses was fluent.
Moses told the interrogator all that had happened to him and about the wealth that he had amassed. He hinted about his relationship with Count Sosnowski of Maluszyn and his treasure that he was holding as collateral. He presented himself as a man of great financial means and the interrogator was very impressed.
After the interrogation he was transferred to a cell. The investigator apologized that the cell was not what he was used to, but he did not have the authority to take him to a hotel. After several days of not being interrogated, he was once again taken to the interrogation room. The investigator gave him sheet of paper and asked him to write down where he had hidden the money and jewelry. Moses asked the interrogator to promise him that he would release him if he gave him the information he requested.
Interrogator: “Mr. Moses Wolowelsky, we are not brutes, but rather a very civilized people. As you can see, we have not touched even one hair of you head.”
Moses: “I see and therefore I am collaborating with you.”
Interrogator: “Are you willing to show us where the jewels are hidden?”
Moses: “Absolutely, but first I must talk to my wife, because I am not sure where she hid them after I was arrested.”
Interrogator: “If we take you to your house, will you show us where they are hidden?”
A Gestapo officer accompanied Moses back to his cell, where he was imprisoned for another week. The food was edible and sufficient, but the room was very cold and he slept on a bed full of bed-bugs which bit him and caused him to scratch himself.
Two weeks after he was arrested, Moses was transported to the ghetto in a Gestapo car accompanied by the interrogator and another officer.
When they reached Ogrodowa Street, Moses could not help but notice that the ghetto had shrunken and that the streets were deserted. He and the interrogator went up to the apartment while the officer remained in the car.
When they entered, he saw that the door was not locked but that nothing was missing; everything was in its place. Since the apartment building stood between the old and new walls it was difficult for anybody to have access to it.
Moses went up to the hiding place he knew, but there was not a sign of any jewelry.
The SS interrogator became annoyed and said,” You want to buy time, so you are telling me stories.”
Moses insisted that he must meet his wife to find out where she had hidden the jewelry.
“As I told you during your questioning, I have not been home since I was arrested and my wife has obviously changed the hiding place,” Moses said.
Moses and the interrogator went downstairs and they drove straight to the headquarters of the Judenrat.
“Wait in the car,” the interrogator said. “This is really beginning to irritate me.”
He slammed the car door shut as he got out. As soon as he stepped out of the car, as if by a miracle the street emptied.
When the interrogator came out of the building, he was holding a piece of paper with Cesia’s address on it. He ordered the driver to drive straight to the house. He did not exchange any words with Moses, who sat nervously in the back seat in anticipation of the meeting with his family.
When they reached the building, the driver was ordered to stop and let Moses and the interrogator out. They entered the building and climbed the steps to the apartment. When Cesia opened the door and saw Moses accompanied by an SS officer, she nearly fainted.
Moses came up to her and hugged her. Her entire body was trembling. When she told him that she had hidden the jewelry inside the doors in their apartment on Ogrodowa Street, he was sure that the jewels would be his ticket to freedom.
“Let’s go” the interrogator said to Moses, as they rushed down the stairs. Cesia stood in disbelief at what she thought was a miracle in the making. “He will be home shortly,” the interrogator yelled.
As soon as they arrived at the apartment on Ogrodowa, they dismantled the doors where they had been told the jewelry was hidden. Indeed, there it was, and it all tumbled out onto the floor. The interrogator collected all the jewels and put them in the briefcase that he had brought along.
He then turned to Moses, pulled out his gun and shot him at point blank range in the heart. Moses fell dead on the spot as blood flowed from the wound and was absorbed in the thick carpet of the magnificent living room.
Moses died Sunday, December 1, 1941 at the age of 59.