Продолжаем разговор о мемуарах Бернарда Гольдштейнa (1889–1959), бундовца с довореволюционным стажем, командовавшего в межвоенной Польше бундовской милицией.
Описанная им история нападения на детский туберкулезный санаторий им. Медема, о которой мы писали в прошлом постинге, была одним из примеров неожиданного союза, сложившегося в межвоенной Польше: между польскими коммунистами (среди которых, естесственно, было много евреев, в том числе бывших бундистов и членов других еврейских партий) и многочисленным еврейским уголовным миром.
Этот союз был направлен, в первую очередь, против других социалистических партий, например, Бунда. Как писал Гольдштейн,
During the ceaseless attacks on our meetings and offices, we began to see, more and more often, well-known Warsaw underworld characters among their combatants. After a while, we noticed the same underworld characters appearing again and again, till it became clear that this was no coincidence, but rather that the Communists were turning to a new tactic: employing the underworld in their battle against other working-class parties.
Бернард Гольдштейн оставил красочные портреты нескольких наиболее запомнившихся ему борцов за дело мирового пролетариата:
A large number of these new Communist underworld associates occupied quite a “high position” in the Warsaw Jewish underworld. In the first rank were Hershl “Walczący,” Pinie Gadulnik, Mayer Czompl, and Dovid Milner.
Hershl “Walczący” (he got the nickname “Walczący”—fighter—because he used to work as a boxer in the Warsaw circus) was a strong, broad-shouldered, healthy young man. His chief profession was extorting protection money from shopkeepers, threatening them with “damages” if they didn’t pay. Later Hershl was promoted to the status of an “enforcer” on Świętojerska Street, a branch of the Nalewki, which extended the length of the Krasińskich Garden and where there were a lot of Jewish ready-made clothing stores. Every such store employed people to stand outside and persuade customers to come into the shop. Such employees were called “catchers” because they used to latch on to every passerby, pulling him by the sleeve, sometimes pulling him into the store by force. Some underworld characters insinuated themselves among the “catchers,” demanding a percentage of the receipts, even though they did not bring in any customers. They would stand outside a shop, once in a while casually grabbing a passerby, but mainly asserting their domination of the street. The shopkeepers had to pay them off weekly, and rather handsomely at that. These thugs were referred to as “The Strong-Arms,” an organized group. The money they extorted from the shopkeepers they divided amongst themselves. Hershl “Walczący” was their leader on Świętojerska Street.
Pinye Gadulnik “Plapler” (a reference to his propensity to babble: plapler,one who jabbers or babbles) came from Powązki and belonged to the Powązki underworld. For a time he belonged to Piłsudski’s Legions, but he was thrown out of their ranks for some underhanded doings. Pinye Gadulnik was another one of the strong-arms on Świętojerska Street.
A third one of these thugs, Maier Czompel, was also from Powązki. His whole family—his father, and several of his brothers—coal haulers—all belonged to the underworld. Maier Czompel looked like a refined young man, but sticking a knife into someone’s side was as small a thing to him as eating a slice of bread. Pinie Gadulnik brought Maier Czompel into the gang of strong-arms on Świętojerska Street, but they later dethroned Hershl from his leadership. This created a great impression in the underworld. A song was even composed about
this “accomplishment” that became popular in Warsaw beyond the borders of
But the wildest and the most dangerous among the Communist goons from the underworld was Dovid Milner. Upon first meeting him, you were favorably impressed. He was of middle height, big-boned, strong, with light brown hair—a good-looking fellow. He had many “trades.” He was an enforcer (a kneecapbreaking, bad-debt collector), a shill at auctions, and with many “brides” on the street. On top of all that, he was also “king” of several whorehouses on Ostrowska Street. As a cover for all these criminal activities, he was, ostensibly, a coal hauler.He was one of the biggest thugs and one of the most dangerous strong-arms
in the Warsaw underworld. Because of a dispute over bad-debt money, he shot Maier Czompel and ran away to Argentina, returning to Warsaw in the thirties. But up until the time he ran away, he was for many years the terror of our whole movement, leading some of the bloodiest Communist attacks on the Bund.
Also belonging to the standing “staff ” of Communist assailants against the Bund was Froyim “Bults.” He was a baker by trade and a big shot in the Bakers Union when the Communists took it over, but in fact he never worked at his trade. He lived off “brides,” that is, prostitutes—primarily maidservants. He chose his brides so that each one had a different wychodne (day off), so that they wouldn’t know that others were also working for him. He had these brides in addition to his wife. But brides were not his only trade. He also kept a whorehouse. When the union of housemaids was organized, he immediately became a constant visitor, with the purpose, of course, of finding some new brides for himself.They had to drive him out with sticks.
Как пишет Гольдштейн, еврейские уголовники выполняли самые разные партийные поручения: срывали собрания и другие мероприятия "социал-фашистов", нападали на демонстрации, избивали и терроризировали активистов и членов некоммунистических профсоюзов (вплоть до нескольких убийств) и т.д. Упомянутое нападение на санаторий, к примеру, было предпринято после того, как его персонал отказался поддержать объявленную коммунистами забастовку.
При этом, по словам Голдштейна,в результате этого причудливого союза некоторые бени крики стали не просто громилами, но вполне идейными коммунистами - не порывая, разумеется, с прежними занятиями.
Not all of these thugs were left unmoved by this partnership. It stands to reason that in time a part of the underworld toughs that the Communist Party used in its terrorist attacks against the Bund, became . . . convinced Communists. In other words, they now administered their beatings because of “ideology,” because of “revolution,” because of “communism.” To convert a simple thug, empty of any ideas, into a Communist, was not very hard. He needed only to join the party, which in any case preached and justified violence against all its opponents, especially against the party of Socialists, “traitors to the working class,” who may be fought with by any and all means.
Ну и в качестве вишенки на торте. Несмотря на разнообразный род занятий (воры, убийцы, сутенеры, рекетиры...), и даже коммунистические симпатие, еврейские уголовники оставались идеальными героями еврейских миссионеров. Ибо не только "оставались евреями" и хранили "еврейскую искру", но и нередко оставались достаточно традиционными. У них даже была своя синагога:
They were not particularly pious, the back porters, but during the Days of Awe—between Rosh-Hashone and Yom Kippur—many of them went to the synagogue to pray. Most of them went to the synagogue in the Gęsia cemetery. In this synagogue thieves, pimps, prostitutes, and other underworld characters had the right to pray during the Days of Awe.
Yankl Szczerba, because of my friendship with his brother, invited me to a family celebration in his house. His brother Noyekh was getting married. He was marrying into the Shvalbs (swallows). The Shvalbs were a well-known family of Praga thieves. It is worthwhile to describe this wedding celebration. First, in the synagogue, as is customary, came the call up to the bimah (raised platform) to read from the Torah, and then to partake of cakes and whiskey. But the real celebration was at Yankl Szczerba’s house.