1858: James Rodgers, lamented 1943: The Zalkind family

Themed Set: Meaghan Good

November 13th, 2012 Headsman

This blog’s most prolific guest poster by far — if “guest” is still the right word for it — is the intrepid Meaghan Good, proprietor of the staggeringly vast Charley Project database of missing persons.

I’d be hard-pressed to sing enough of Meaghan’s praises; a voracious reader, she graces these pages with excavated execution stories from unexpected sources. Absent those scores of posts (including scheduled posts already written a year or more in advance) she’s contributed to Executed Today, there’s every likelihood that the grind of the daily posting schedule would have caused this executioner to hang up the hood.

You’ll find Meaghan Good’s posts throughout the site and throughout the year, but these next three days are hers alone. Thank you for sharing the burden, Meaghan.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: Themed Sets

3 thoughts on “Themed Set: Meaghan Good”

  1. Jim Stockley says:

    I found a slightly different account at http://www.deathcamps.org/occupation/esterowicz.html

    “…After all the workers had been mustered out in the yard where the Jewish police had previously (upon the command of the Germans) built a gallows, the gate suddenly opened and three Gestapo men, led by Bruno Kittel, the liquidator of the ghetto, drove in in an open car. They brought with them two fugitives from our camp they had caught – a woman nicknamed “Pozhar” (Fire) and her common law husband, a man named David Zalkind. A deathly silence reigned as the Gestapo men moved towards the gallows with the condemned, broken by the piercing cry of “Mama!” which suddenly sounded from a window on the upper floor of one of the buildings, in which we saw a child’s head. Before the passing of even one minute a little girl, maybe eight or ten years old, ran out from the building and rushed with a joyous cry of “Mama” to embrace her mother (Pozhar).
    We witnessed a horrible, heartrending scene – the joy of the child who thought that she had found the mother she was longing for, and the distorted-by -suffering face of the mother who was passionately embracing her child, knowing that she was walking to her death. When the whole group arrived at the place of execution, Kittel motioned with his hand for Grisha Shneider, the camp’s blacksmith to step forward from our lines and ordered him to be the executioner. However, when the man (whom they were hanging first) fell twice because the noose tore, Kittel ordered him to kneel down and killed him by a shot in the back of his head. Afterwards, while he was killing the woman one of the other Gestapo men killed the child. “

  2. Meaghan says:

    @Jim: Hmmm. Yad Vashem’s database lists a Yaakov David Zalkind who did live in Vilna, but otherwise he’s not a good match: it says he died in Ponar in 1941, and he would have been in his sixties at the time. There’s a Davyd Zalkind and a Dovydas Zalkind on a “list of persecuted persons” from Vilna but the list is supposed to be for people who were killed between June 24, 1941 and July 13, 1944 — not a match either. The only other David Zalkind was a man in his fifties, from Germany, murdered in Latvia.

    Accounts such as these are quite a challenge for a historian. Usually lacking written records, we have to go by eyewitness testimony — notoriously unreliable — and all the eyewitnesses are severely traumatized and people are dying all over the place. In my mind, if some of the details are incorrect it doesn’t matter that much, provided the substance of the story is true.

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