|"Believe it or not, the bullet had not really hurt me. It had gone through all of my clothing and stopped at my shoulder, leaving only a scratch." — Jankiel Wiernik|
|July 09, 1999|
Our objective was to reach the woods, but the closest patch was five miles away. We ran across swamps, meadows and ditches, with bullets pursuing us fast and furious. Every second counted. All that mattered was to reach the woods because the Germans would not want to follow us there.|
Just as I thought I was safe, running straight ahead as fast as I could, I suddenly heard the command "Halt!" right behind me. By then I was exhausted but I ran faster just the same. The woods were just ahead of me, only a few leaps away. I strained all my will power to keep going. The pursuer was gaining and I could hear him running close behind me.
Then I heard a shot; in the same instant I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I turned around and saw a guard from the Treblinka Penal Camp. He again aimed his pistol at me. I knew something about firearms and I noticed that the weapon had jammed. I took advantage of this and deliberately slowed down. I pulled the ax from my belt. My pursuer — a Ukrainian guard — ran up to me yelling in Ukrainian: "Stop or I'll shoot!" I came up close to him and struck him with my ax across the left side of his chest. Yelling: "Yob tvayu mat" [you motherfucker!] he collapsed at my feet.
I was free and ran into the woods. After penetrating a little deeper into the thicket, I sat down among the bushes. From the distance I heard a lot of shooting. Believe it or not, the bullet had not really hurt me. It had gone through all of my clothing and stopped at my shoulder, leaving only a scratch.
Jankiel Wiernik, One year in Treblinka, pp. 147-188 in Alexander Donat (ed.), The Death Camp Treblinka: A Documentary, Holocaust Library, New York, 1979, p. 188. Material within square brackets was in the original.