Statement of Mandil Samuilo
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The interview is carried out in the Department for Internal Affairs on 11.08.1960. at 11 am
Mandil Samuilo, retired engineer, born 7.7.1888. in Pristina, from father Konti and mother Zumblok, permanent residence Gvozdiceva street number 2, gives the following
The Germans entered Belgrade 13.04.1941, and after two days they issued an order that all Jews, male and female, have to sign up on 19.april at Tasmajdan , noting that who doesn’t come would be shot. Recording and reporting took place on 19. and 20. April 1941. And we had to give informations about ourselves and about our family members. I was with my wife and I gave informations about my children Vera and Mile, which were 14 and 11 years old. They gave us yellow ribbons which we had to wear and I was sent to forced labor. Headquarters were located in Brankova street. We had to dug up buried corpses throughout Belgrade. The cruelty of Gestapo was shown in a case when we were forced to dig up the corpses in the churchyard of the Church of the Ascension, where used to be a shelter and where from bombs were killed more than 150 persons. The hole was deep about 3 meters and people from Gestapo pushed us into the hole. Some of us who were injured during the fall in the hole, from which was spreading the terrible smell from almost decayed bodies , never came out from the hole. Jewish community was located then in Dubrovacka street, where is now Israel legation. On 22.July Gestapo ordered hostages in Jewish community that on 28.July 1941.all male Jews have to sign up at 7 am at Tasmajdan, otherwise will be executed. Hostages had a duty to inform Jews of all orders relating to them. They got the order at 5 pm and curfew began at 6 pm, so hostages informed Gestapo that they could not do it in such short time because Jewish houses were scattered all around the town and Jews were forbidden to use any transport. Gestapo ignored their remarks and repeated that who doesn’t appear will be shot. I was informed and when I came to Tasmajdan I saw this: one Gestapo unit, in battle gear, seized the entrance and disposed soldiers in Tasmajdan. Who came in, couldn’t; come back. At one end was raised wooden platform and there were Gestapo officers . There was about 2.000 male Jews. From the platform came an order that we line up in groups according to our professions. After we did that we grouped in four. Everyone who was at the head of a group had to count his group and go to the platform to give a report. Every of them got one number for his group. My group got number six. During counting I was fifth and young engineer Davico who stood next to me was sixth and he was set aside. Gestapo officers from the platform controlled everything. Gestapo surrounded those who were separated so they could not talk to anyone. When from the group of merchants Mani Medina stepped out, his little 8 years old son jumped on the platform and told that his father is old and sick and that Germans take him instead of his father. Gestapo set aside both of them . All of them in that circle were shot, and me and others were sent to forced labor.
As time were passing by more strict measures were undertaken against grown up male Jews and every now and then some of them would disappear . At the beginning of Septembar 1941, Italian legation placed an ad in the newspapers where it was said that all citizens who were born in Yugoslav regions which are occupied by Italians may come back to their homeland , but it didn’t related to Jews. Despite everything I registered, because I had proof I was born in Pristina. I got pass for me, my wife and my children. At the beginning of October 1941, German started to take away more and more adult male Jews. On 15.October 1941. I was on forced labor with a group of 400 Jews in Dalmatinska street in Botanical garden. Seven or eight of us worked together when we sow , in Hilandarska street , a line of trucks full of Gestapo soldiers in full battle gear coming toward us. Me and others from my group made a hole in a fence and we managed to escape unnoticed to nearby little street. That day Gestapo took away all Jews who happened to be there.
I realized that I might not survive, so I agreed with my wife that I would leave to Pristina tomorrow early in the morning. The same day, on 16. October 1941, Gestapo gathered all male Jews who were find in Belgrade and took them to different camps. After many troubles I arriwed in Pristina on 11.Novembar 1941. At the beginning of 1942, I was deported in Berat – South Albania and there I was on forced labor. Liberation found me there.
We were facing difficult days and I worried for my children. I sent them to my friend Miodrag Stefanovic, dentist from Belgrade, who in those days lived with his family in Banja Koviljaca. Children were with him till 20.October 1941. I couldn’t take them with me to Pristina because there were great fights between partisans and Germans and Germans blocked that region. Children came in Belgrade around 20.October 1941, but at the time traffic to Pristina has been stopped, so my wife with children left for Pristina on 11.Novembar 1941, with documents from Italian legation. On the border in Grdelica they were taken from the train and deported with other Jews from Nis to Sajmiste in Belgrade where all of them were choked in gas chamber. Except my wife and children in the same way died my brother Avram with wife and two children and my sister Natika with husband and three children.
Regarding the issue I have nothing else to say because I no longer remember many things.
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