JA/Glucksmann Letter

About the Russian Dominance in Rohatyn (Galicia)

(Original record from the “Jewish Archives" = "Judisches Archiv")

Letter from Mr. Rubin Glücksmann, at present on the battlefield. 30,5 cm Mortar Battery 2, 1. Corps Graf Bothmer, German Southern Army, to Dr. Heinrich Schiffmann, Vienna.

Rohatyn, Ju [ne] [ly] 5, 1915

Dear Friend,

When I last met you in Vienna I promised you a vivid letter exchange. The events triggered by the war don´t always allow keeping a promise. It is however war events which urge me to write to you at this time…. The tragedy, the Jewish people had to endure in Galicia in these recent days, exceeds even the kind of agony which could have sprung from Dante´s imagination. I drove here yesterday from Stryj passing by Zydaczow, Chodorow, and Knihinicze, south of Rohatyn. All is destroyed by fire and the sword. Bare chimneys rise from the rubble to the skies. Most residents of these small towns are Jews. Women and children lie in the streets between ruins and rubble. Most men have been deported to Russia. The residents of Knihinicze are trying to contain the fires laid by the Moskalen [cognomen for Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine] while the Cossacks shoot at them. I myself dressed several gunshot wounds and burns. The grounds are filled with the tears and laments of the despaired women and children. Their homes incinerated, their fathers and husbands deported to Russia towards an uncertain future.

It is only now in Rohatyn that I am able to conduct a more precise census as we are taking a more extensive rest. In this small, picturesque town, resembling South Tyrol with its scenery and layout, the rage of the Russian Beast has been at its worst. Here the Russians set fires twice. The first time when the Cossack patrols marched in, the second time in an even more thorough fashion, when the Moskalen [cognomen for Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine] were forced to flee. A Russian back area command which has been in charge over the past six month was lead by a Commander by the name Porebna whose atrocity can be described as on the verge to perversion. One example out of many more: Two women, Esther Schorr and Sure Botfeld, both beyond 50 years of age, allegedly sold soap for 2 Kopecks beyond the mandatory maximum price. For this reason the Commander ordered each of the women to be punished by 51 strokes carried out with a Nagaika [typical Cossack horsewhip]. One of the women died on the spot.

When the Russians sensed the end of their reign they tried to entice the Polish and Ruthenian population with promises and threats to move to Russia. But the latter replied that they would only bend to force. Finally the Russians let up. But all Jews were rounded up and nearly all men that were left, 570 in total were escorted to Russia. One day, when the Russian Beast will be held responsible for its atrocities it will be difficult for them to argue that they were displacing the future Austrian soldiers. Because amongst the abducted were many old people and children. A few examples:

Srul G o t t l i e b, age 85

Berl E i g e n, age 78

Meier S t e l z e r, age 94

Samuel B r u n n, age 90

Moses F a u s t, age 70

Wolf S c h w a r z, age 72

Mendl B l o c k s b e r g, age 12

Moses S t o c k, age 85

Leib Michael P o c z t e r, age 70

Srul P o c z t e r, age 13

Hersch H i r s c h e n h a u t, age 12

Juda H i r s c h e n h a u t, age 10

Isak S p i e g e l, age 65

Elias Aron K l a r i n e t a r, age 65

Aron B e r e n f e l d, age 70

Eisig S c h a r l e r, age 70

Osias Kalman F u c h s, age 65

Jeanette R o t r a u b (a woman who was deported to Russia in lieu of her hiding husband)

Simche Natan R o t r a u b, age over 50

Jonas R a p p a p o r t, age 75

Simche T o t f e l d, age 80

Salom. W e i l e r, age 73

If one wanted to precisely describe the tribulation of the Jews in Galicia during the Russian reign, one would have to expand the history of martyr of the Jewish people by many volumes. It is just as our unequaled Z u c k e r m a n n quoted. The blitheness of triumph mixes with the pain over the destroyed values, our desecrated land and our disgraced people. Those who are not on the battlefields first and foremost must take on the following duty: Vehemently stir up the public conscience and put all your strength and efforts to saving the people who have been stripped of all their possessions, so they will be spared from starvation and find at least provisional shelter. Our armies are constantly pressing ahead. Once we gained ground in Bessarabia and Volhynia, we will be able to do the same for Galicia as Hindenburg did for his East Prussia through imposition of contributions in conquered Lithuania. Until then the worst hardship must be alleviated. The rail connection is perfect. By means of public subscription rights, subsistence trains must be outfitted to provide the people with food. It might be possible through the intervention of a neutral government, by repressive measures to obtain the return of the abducted men. To engage in obtaining all this with energy and without any loss of time is now your duty.

Rubin Glucksmann


An Austrian, Reuben Glucksmann was arrested in London in May 1940 and interned as an enemy alien, although

MI5 suspected, based on information from WalterKrivitsky, that he was a Soviet GRU agent. Glucksmann’s firm, the Far

Eastern Trading Company, was raided, and Kate Rank, his British secretary of Polish origin, was served with a detention order. According to MI5’s files, the company had been founded by two well-known GRU staff officers who had been active in Germany and China, the brothers Aaron and Abraham Ehrenlieb.