Solomon was sent to Berlin. There he was interred for four days while it was decided whether to execute him or ship him off to a concentration camp.

12 min

Yaakov Bar Nahman

Posted on 09.01.11

Solomon’s Trains, Part 15

Solomon arrived at the print shop in Zurich.

“Viktor how are you? You’re looking well. How’s your family?”

“Yoah good thank you, and you?”
“I have need of some more of your fine print work. However this batch is smaller. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Soli, what a silly question, you know it is my pleasure to be a part of your project. I am happy that you merit me to do some good in this mad world, to be a candle in these dark times. Especially after you opened my eyes to the seven Noahhide laws.

“Yet along with my dear friend listen well to what I tell you now. They are looking for you. Even here in Switzerland the word has come. Anyone helping you is also in danger. I will print whatever you need this one more time and then I must destroy the printing plates, the special paper and the inks. You remember Hans Koenig in Berne who made some passports for you two years ago?”

“They got word somehow of it. They ripped his shop apart, found the plates in a hidden cache in the wall. They killed him on the spot by … oh I prefer not to tell, or for that matter even think about, what I heard they did to him. It was not an easy death.”

“Oh my God. Well in that case it’s a good thing I did not check in at a hotel or show up yet at any of the places I had been used to stay at. Let’s not waste a moment. Here is the list of what we need for which names. What can I do to help you with the work to speed things up?”
“No, it is best that you not be seen here. Don’t go to any of the places you had ever been before. Go rest at the home of Guillaume the green grocer. I’ll have Pieter show you a back-alley way to get there. Here, put on these over-clothes so you’ll look like a laborer. My-my, it does fit you quite well. Maybe you want to leave your dangerous trade and come work for me instead?
“Well joking aside, take this note to him from me so he will know to take good care of you and to keep his mouth shut. The papers will be ready in two or three days. I will come to bring them to you there. Do not step foot out of his house or look out a window until then.”

Pieter led Solomon through a series of alleyways and small side streets. Not a word was spoken along the way so that no hint could be had to any possible passersby as to his not being a local. Though he thought to himself, “Zurich is a bit less wintry than Berlin. Then again even though it is in mountains, it is considerably further south.”
Pieter knocked on the door using the decorative brass coo-coo bird knocker which adorned it. The man who answered was mid height and strong built, round faced with bushy gray eyebrows and handlebar mustache.
“Well good day Pieter, what is this, a new worker at Viktor’s shop? Though I haven’t ordered anything recently, and do not recall owing him money. Oh, a note? Hmmm, uh-hmmm. Ah yes I see. Do come in quickly. I’ll be happy for you to be my guest a few days. Pieter, do tell Viktor all is fine.” Guillaume ushered Solomon in, locked the door and threw the crumpled note into the fire.

Two days later Viktor looked over his masterpieces with satisfaction. “I dare say the originals by the government printers look no better.”

He broke the zinc plates into small pieces and dumped them into a vat of nitric acid. The well set passes of lead type were disassembled washed in ink solvent and placed back in their respective bins, as were the filler and holding strips. He destroyed every scrap of paper of the tryout sheets, and of the unused original special paper he had managed to acquire. Then he mixed the special inks into cans of regular printing inks. When he was finished there was no trace of the print job left except for the complete product which he now was to deliver to Solomon.
“I am happy to do what I can to help him save his people but I must take my cautions too. Now off to Guillaume’s to meet Solomon.”
Viktor carried the packet wrapped as a regular print job with a copy of an order and invoice for receipts and expenditures journals.

In Guillaume’s kitchen they opened the packet and perused its contents. “That is fine work Viktor. This will be my last group in any case.”

“Yes, I saw that you have you wife and her family in the group. There are papers for you as well. That is good. It’s about time you got yourself and them out. I remember that your daughters were in the previous set. Listen dear Soli, take these have a good meal and get going. Pay me nothing for this batch. It is my parting gift to you. You must not stay in any one place for more than a couple days at most. Even better if you just stop for a few hours to rest to regain strength and keep going. Switzerland claims to be neutral as usual, but it’s a sham. There is much covert governmental assistance to the evil Third Reich as well as public sympathy for them. Beware of most of France, Belgium and Spain as well. Especially of the French be extremely wary.
“I have destroyed any and all traces of the work I’ve done for you. Do you need any money for your travels? Oh, I should know not to ask. You wouldn’t say so even if you did. Here take this, it’s only a few hundred Swiss Francs but it may be useful for you. It’s worth more than the Duestche Marcs that’s for sure.”
With the precious packets of forged release certificates, emigration and travel permits, passports and visas in his coat pockets Solomon went off to his “underground railway.”
In three days time he was in Emden and had delivered the packets to the gabai of the synagogue. Now after a couple days of rest at a trusted congregant’s home he took off again. This time he was headed for his own sailing out from Aveiro, Portugal. Aveiro is an industrial city with an important seaport. While there for sure was no direct ship to his ultimate destination Palestine, it was much closer than Lisbon. He considered the fact of no direct ship to be an additional safety factor for him, since it would be less likely that any Nazi agents seeking him would consider Aveiro. Now all he had to do was to get there.

From Emden he took the shortest route possible, south through the Netherlands then through Belgium. In Belgium he passed through Turnhout, Antwerpen, Gent, Kortrijk, Mouscron and then Tournai. From there he went through country side to cross the border into France, finally arriving in Douai, a town adjoining the border.
He knew a fellow in Douai, who though a scion of an old French Royalist family, had chosen to live in a reclusive farm near France’s northwestern end. Sol sought a phone he could call from in the town.
Photo right, A Northern French Farm Building
“Solomon, is it really you? Of course come be my guest. Where have you been it is a year at least since you last visited me, come I will be happy to take you in.”
Sol arrived at Pierre’s farmhouse. Nothing seemed to have changed. Seemed …. There was one small change that Sol did not notice or did not recognize the significance of. On the mantelpiece stood a photograph of Marshal Philippe Pétain. Marshal Pétain was the treasonous army officer who would in July of 1940 head the Nazi controlled Vichy French government of occupied France. However Solomon had no way of knowing anything of the already cooking inner intrigues of French politics.

After a meal of fresh fruit and cheese with a warm cup of coffee, Pierre led Solomon to his accustomed hidden underground room in the back of the work shop of the farm. What he did not know was that after closing him in there, Pierre went into the main house to call the local Nazi espionage agent.
Pierre’s wife tried to stop him. “Pierre, don’t do it. You must keep your word, even to a Jew. There is a God and He will punish you for lying so severely, and yet just for money. Remember what happened to Andrei when did such a thing two months ago. Both his sons died of meningitis within four days.”
“Silence foolish superstitious woman!” and slapped her.
“Alo, Heinrich. The Jew you are looking for with the big price on his head…”
“He is in my place locked in a room.”

“Ah yah, good work Pierre. Tell me how much does he pay you for keeping him hidden? Never mind, you will get your reward. I personally will see to it when we collect him.”
Pierre was already counting in his mind the three million Swiss Francs he had been promised.
The following morning, the 25th of March 1938, the latch on the trap door was opened.
“Solomon, come up to breakfast, sunlight and some fresh air.”
As Solomon came up into the bright light of the workshop from the semi dark underground room, he gasped as the SS soldiers grabbed him. “Juden schwein, wir haben zie jetzt” (Jew pig, we got you now).”

Tied like a steer for slaughter Rabbi Solomon was unceremoniously tossed into the back of their truck which promptly drove off. The lieutenant went to his command car. Pierre ran over to him asking for his reward.
“You received a fine amount of money from the Jew to hide him didn’t you?”
“But the bounty, you promised to give me my reward.”
“Ah ja-jah, you are correct I did indeed promise. An officer must be a gentleman and keep his promises. Sergeant pay the treacherous French pig.”
Two 9 mm rounds from the sergeant’s Luger Parabellum ‘settled the account’.
While he was being interrogated, Solomon’s coat was taken apart to search for any documents in hidden pockets. The fact that Rebbeca “Rothschild” was really his wife and where she lived was discovered. Fortunately there was no hint at all of the transport of the children. They also did not manage to get him to tell anything other than “You are too late they have already gone. They sailed from Marseille yesterday. I was on my way back home to Germany when you caught me.” He also maintained that he worked alone, that the project was all his workings, thereby keeping Rabbanite Recha Freier and her project safe. Fortunately they believed him.

After his interrogation in Alsace, Solomon was sent to Berlin. There he was interred for four days while it was decided whether to execute him or ship him off to a concentration camp.

The decision was to send him to Auschwitz.
Musing to himself, “What irony. The very same train system our people built for Germany’s good is used against us. It is also the very same train system we used to help get thousands of our children out to safety. As old Rav Bentsion said, “Trains to life and trains to death. Trains cars conceal and reveal.”
“Ho, who outside can know what “baggage” is really inside these boxcars? Who outside cares?

A map of Auschwitz showing the rail lines to the camps

“When will it end? Centuries, millennia of our people being hunted, chased, our lives threatened, how many of us have been slaughtered, murdered in wars, pogroms, crusades?

“There is no other nation on earth which has been hunted, harassed and killed like us. But then again there is no other nation existing today on earth which is as ancient as us. All those great empires that slaughtered our people are gone. They are only archeological artifacts and paragraphs or pages in history books. Yet we, the hunted, the killed ones, are alive. We are the surviving nation that continues.
“What the Great Lord creator’s plan is in all this who can fathom? Nimrod’s kingdom is gone, the Medians, the Assyrians, the great Egyptian Dynasties with their sorcerer kings, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, Byzantines, Attila the Hun, the Crusaders and the empires who sent them, the Berber hordes. Today they all are dust blown in the wind. So too eventually will this empire of madness and death. But how many of us will die beforehand? Who knows, except for God?
“Continuing like an eteranal Hanukah sivivon, it spins standing on its point turning about, standing in its faith and trust in God. It falls and then someone picks it up and spins it again, to stand and spin till the next fall and the next standing up. The spin that keeps it standing and moving is the energy of faith and trust in the Lord God. Without that we would have long ago disappeared like all the others.”
A jolt of the train snapped him out of his reveries a moment and sent him into a different train of thought.
A mental ‘time trip’ back to two men in Lebanon watching trains of immense straight logs, trains of wagons carrying massive stones. “What are those?” “Haven’t you heard? King Hiram has made a pact with Solomon the King of the Sons of Israel. Those are King Solomon’s Trains. Cedars and quarried building blocks on their way south to Jerusalem for the Holy Temple he is building there.” Trains of cedars, trains of building blocks, for Solomon’s Holy Temple. Trains – trains – trains….
“The Holy Temple of Solomon … then the second one that stood in its glory until the Romans destroyed it. If only they had realized how beneficial it was for them as well…. What a horror, what a massacre they wrought…
“Then they took those of us who survived chained together. First to Rome to be paraded like captured animals. Then placed us on trains of wagons down to the port and shipped to Spain as by conditions of the deal made with the king of Spain for the use of his legions to help conquer Jerusalem.
The deal between Caesar and the king of Spain was that in payment for the use of his legions to help the exhausted Roman armies conquer Jerusalem all the captive cream of the Holy Capital city would be Spain's. Thus the members of the Sanhedrin, except for a few who where permitted to escape to Kerem Beyavne, the Cohanim, many Leviim, the aristocracy and all the descendants of King David where brought to Spain. That of course, after being paraded through Rome with the other captives and the vessels of the Holy Temple.”
His musings were halted by their arrival outside the gate to The Auschwitz “Train Station”
Solomon Dzubas’s being a talented clarinet player saved him from being worked and starved to death. With the lesser work load, the additional food, and occasionally fresher food, as well as the dichotomy of the cruel murderous Nazi fiends’ desiring “culture” of fine classical and Baroque music, he managed to survive for almost seven years.
However the crowded unhygienic conditions eventually took their toll. Solomon contracted tuberculosis. He was losing weight and strength, and coughing up blood. His condition had not yet been discovered by the guards thanks to the protection of some friends. Yet he was going downhill with no hope for recovery.
One of the peculiarities of the camps was a “job” called “musclemen”. These were strong men whose minds had broken, blanked out, and were used by the Nazis as human robots. They no longer carried on any conversations, barely spoke, never thought; apparently no longer felt any emotion. They were given the heaviest and most ghastly jobs to do.
As broken and blanked out as they were one day on of the Auschwitz “musclemen” came into the barracks where Sol was lying sick coughing, looked at him and spoke. “Sol … Solom – on … Solomon Dzubas?”
The ‘robot’ awakened a bit more yet. “This cannot be. This must not be. I know you. You saved so many children. You saved my brothers and sisters. I must get you out of here alive.” And he left.
Two days later, on Friday afternoon the 19th of January 1945, the muscleman returned and said to Soli, “Come with me I have arranged a way to help you escape. I have carefully, surreptitiously made holes in the double fences. We will go. If need be I will carry you.”
As they made their way to the hole, little did either know that they were being watched. “Look there is the young fool and the old sick one. Let us see what they will do and have our fun. Quick send the unit I prepared to intercept them to the forest edge nearest their “escape hole”.
The muscleman lovingly helped Solomon walk and then get through the holes in the fences. “You see Reb Solomon no one saw us. No one tried to stop us. We are free, we are out of the camp. Now I will help you get to safety. We will go hide in that forest and seek Partisans to get us to a safe place and to care for your health.”
As they plodded in the direction of the forest through the silent snow covered field with the Friday afternoon’s shadows growing long on the glistening white surface, a man in country clothes holding an old World War One rifle popped up out of the bushes at the forest’s edge. “Jude come quick before the camp guards see you. We partisans are here in the forest in a glade. We have a camp, we have a doctor. Come quick.”
Meanwhile, the Nazi camp commander was in the watchtower viewing the “show” through binoculars and hearing the misleading call via a walkie-talkie. “Akh, Diesisteine sehrangenehmekomischen Oper (Ah, This is a most enjoyable comic opera.)“
The muscleman picked up Solomon in his arms and stumbled through the snow with him. When he got only three meters from the bushes and they both felt that surely they were mere seconds from safety and freedom a second man popped up. This was wearing Nazi uniform and held a light machinegun.
Birds in the nearby trees flew off in panic as the quiet winter scene was suddenly, cruelly, violently rent assunder by a long burst of machinegun fire.
When the shooting was over the once pristine white snow had been marred by a large amorphous hole formed by the two bodies that had fallen into it, and was splattered all around with their blood.
Rabbi Solomon Dzubas and the muscleman who had endeavoured to save him, entered Shabbat in Gan Eden.
* * *
The ghoulish laughter of the two soldiers in the field was echoed by that of the commander and his aide in the watchtower. “Sehrschön, sehrschön. Stellen sie sicher, dass diese beiden einen bonus erhalten, um ihren sold und eine dreitägige lassen für den urlaub.“ (Very nice, very nice. See to it that those two get a bonus to their pay and a three day leave.)
* * *
Eight days later the Russian army liberated Auschwitz.
To be continued

Tell us what you think!

Thank you for your comment!

It will be published after approval by the Editor.

Of the site team

Add a Comment

next article

The Nazis raid the farm in search of the Jewish children, but the latter have already escaped trying to reach the Promised Land…

Featured Products