There is one matter which haunts Avraham Tracy to this day. It is what happened to those in his hometown, Skala, in part because of the Judenrat.
From To Speak for the Silenced:
"The Judenrat was at least, at first, comprised of the finest, most intelligent, honest, and respected members of our community. Initially, no one knew what the task of the Judenrat was going to be. We were told that they would act as a liaison between the Jews and the Germans, and everyone thought that they would be able to serve the interests of the Jewish community. Much of the Judenrat’s decisions and actions were performed under duress, and they were threatened with execution if the orders were not carried out.
At first the Judenrat was given tasks such as procuring items that were difficult to obtain. They tried to get these items from us with good will, but eventually were forced to resort to other means. This caused a conflict between them and the remainder of the Jews in the shtetl.
The Judenrat did the best they could to stop the decrees. They bribed officials with money from their own pockets. They sent representatives to various cities to meet with officers in charge. Many times, they were successful in obtaining someone’s release, but the Gestapo demanded so many more prisoners that they could not possibly free them as quickly as they were captured.
As the demands became more difficult, many men withdrew from the Judenrat, or chose to remain an inactive member. Those that remained hoped to use their status to at least save their families, if not others. By this time, the community had completely lost faith in the Judenrat and had no confidence that its members could or would assist anyone.
The Judenrat members were well aware that they were no longer respected or liked by the community, but by that time they had been painted into a corner and there was no way out.
The fact remains that out of the seventy-six Jews that survived, a large number of them had at one point been members of the Judenrat or the Ordnung-Dienst. This was largely due to the fact that until the great raid in 1942, these men were completely insured against any harm."
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