Hela Rufeisen – The Trial of Adolf Eichmann – Participants, Then & Now

Rufeisen, Hela

Witness to underground resistance in the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos, Poland

Hela Rufeisen - The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

1961 Quote: 5/3/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Towards morning you escaped?

HELA RUFEISEN: Towards morning I decided that I would have to escape. The ghetto was on the eve of the “action,” and I was afraid that when my comrades learned that I had been arrested (for these were comrades that had come with me), I was afraid that they would do something in order to rescue me, and I didn’t want that as a result the time of the “action” would be advanced. I decided that I had to escape, and at four o’clock in the morning I managed to run away, to penetrate into the ghetto. The place was very well illuminated by a large reflector. Four German and two Polish policemen pursued me and fired at me incessantly.

HAUSNER: You were wounded in your leg?

HELA RUFEISEN: Yes, I was wounded in the leg, but I managed to get into the ghetto and once again return to my comrades.

HAUSNER: Did you participate in the operations of the revolt?


HAUSNER: On 8 May 1943, together with an underground group you passed through the sewage canals and reached the Aryan side of Warsaw?


HAUSNER: You remained hidden for some time, and afterwards you were sent with a group of Jews of foreign nationality to Bergen-Belsen. What happened? How were you caught?

HELA RUFEISEN: I simply had no strength. I was crushed. After I had seen the Warsaw Ghetto in flames, and not one of my dear ones remained, there was no longer anything to fight for. At any rate I was broken. There was also little hope that I would be taken into the forest. Although this was what I wanted .


Hela Rufeisen - The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

1996 Quote: My first impression of Eichmann when I saw him in the glass cage, reminded me of a poem that had been written by the poet from Cracow, Mordehai Gebirtig.

In the poem, “my dream” he describes how he dreamt that the war was over, and suddenly he hears the sound of a chain, and he sees a glass cage, and inside it lies a naked man, like a corpse.

He doesn’t write Hitler, but everybody knows whom he refers to, and the people who pass in mass call out, “look at that scoundrel,” and everybody points at him, “he murdered my people, he murdered my people!”

That was Gebirtig’s dream, but of course he writes it much nicer, than I tell it here.