Truth – Legends / Jewish Agents of the Gestapo
The Gestapo used every means in its power to find the escapees from the Ninth Fort. The fact that the head of the Gestapo, Dr. Fuchs, demanded that the mechanic be handed over proved that some of the escapees caught outside the ghetto knew that I had led a group to the ghetto. I was also certain that the Gestapo was demanding from its Jews – their informers in the ghetto – that they find me and the rest of the prisoners from the fort who had infiltrated into the ghetto.
Information about these informers reached Chaim Yellin’s ears from his contact with the Jewish Council circles and the ghetto police. He told me about this secretly and added that he did not fear the known informers but was very worried about those who were not known, those who the Gestapo official who was responsible for Jewish Affairs in Kovno, SS Scharführer Bruno Kitel, recruited in the ghetto.
The Gestapo had its own Jews in the ghetto; agents who would supply information about the internal affairs of the ghetto. But the Gestapo was not satisfied with news of only a commercial nature. It demanded of its agents to come up with information of a social or political complexion: on underground activities, partisans, “malinas” in the ghetto, and so forth.
Tanchum Arnstam, a highly placed officer of the ghetto police, who was stationed at the ghetto gate and later became one of the heads of the constabulary in the ghetto, testified in the protocols of his investigation on August 16, 1944: “I saw the Gestapo man Rauca call Baider and have a lengthy conversation with him. When I asked [Tzfania] Baider what they had talked about, he told me that Rauca was very displeased that there had been witnesses to their meeting. When, together with Verbovski, we pressed Baider as to what the conversation with Rauca was about, he replied that Rauca wanted him to tell him about the situation in the ghetto, and that if he would do so, he would be given the chance to move to the town, to the The Gestapo had its own Jews in the ghetto; agents who would supply information about the internal affairs of the ghetto. But the Gestapo was not satisfied with news of only a commercial nature. It demanded of its agents to come up with information of a social or political complexion: on underground activities, partisans, “malinas” in the ghetto, and so forth.
Tanchum Arnstam, a highly placed officer of the ghetto police, who was stationed at the ghetto gate and later became one of the heads of the constabulary in the ghetto, testified in the protocols of his investigation on August 16, 1944: “I saw the Gestapo man Rauca call Baider and have a lengthy conversation with him. When I asked [Tzfania] Baider what they had talked about, he told me that Rauca was very displeased that there had been witnesses to their meeting. When, together with Verbovski, we pressed Baider as to what the conversation with Rauca was about, he replied that Rauca wanted him to tell him about the situation in the ghetto, and that if he would do so, he would be given the chance to move to the town, to the Aryan section. Baider added that he would not do so and that one need not have qualms about him.”  During those days when the search was going on in the ghetto for the escapees from the Ninth Fort, Tzfania Baider met the writer Meir Yellin, Chaim Yellin’s brother, who told him: “The Gestapo is aware that the escapees from the fort have slipped into the ghetto. I was promised that I would be permitted to leave with the whole family and live freely in the city if I would reveal where they were hiding...you should know, Yellin, that I would never in my life do such a thing!” He evidently knew the fate of his former patron, Kaspi-Serebovitch, and knew enough to secure his future with the “Leftists."
The Jews in the ghetto suspected that a certain person by the name of Ahron Yeglin had connections with the Gestapo. Before the war, he had worked for the International Red Cross, whose headquarters were in Switzerland. During the Nazi occupation, the Jews saw that he would leave the ghetto, take off his yellow patch, and walk along the sidewalks of the town, an act which was strictly forbidden to Jews. Although there were Jews, functionaries of the ghetto, who received permission to go to town with an escort to deal with supplies or other ghetto matters, they always had the yellow patch on their clothing and walked along the ditches bordering the roads.
Yeglin was the deputy-head of the social department of the ghetto. He had a special permit from the Gestapo to go to the city unescorted at any time of the day and without the yellow patch.
Chaim Yellin told me what he had heard from Hirsh Levin, the permanent and only liaison between Matzok and AKO. Yeglin told Hirsh Levin, who was a member of the Jewish Council, that Yeglin was present when head of the Gestapo, Dr. Fuchs, mentioned that the escape from the Ninth Fort was for him the greatest blow since the defeat at Stalingrad. When the ghetto was evacuated, Yeglin was expelled to Dachau and freed from there.
The situation in AKO was very strained. Cars were unavailable to take us to the forest. The Gestapo was demanding from the German rulers of the ghetto that they do everything possible to find out where the escapees from the fort were hiding. The senior German clerks in the ghetto had lost their composure and began to ask the Jewish leaders of the ghetto at every opportunity what they knew of the incident at the Ninth Fort.
In the interval between the December 26 and 31, 1943, Dr. Elkes, chairman of the Jewish Council in the ghetto, was frequently “invited” to the commander of the camp, SS Sturmbannführer Goecke. Dr. Elkes told his close friend, Hirsh Levin, that Goecke had interrogated him. He stared at him with his cold, sharp eyes and demanded that he tell him what was going on in the ghetto, if there were any unusual happenings, or if new people had arrived there.
Meishe Segalson, director of the large workshops in the ghetto, told Hirsh Levin, that the supervisor of the workshops, SS Hauptsturmführer Rink, had asked him if he knew of the incident which occurred in the Ninth Fort and if people who had escaped had infiltrated into the ghetto area. Gestapo officers were now visiting the ghetto every day, among them SS Scharführer Bruno Kitel. Everyone was interested in the escape from the Ninth Fort. All this information was repeated by Levin to Chaim Yellin, and Chaim would pass it on to me.