Rav Menashe Yaakov Levertov
רב מנשה יעקב לברטוב

...know from where you come....

The Miracle - Surviving the Guns of Amon Goeth

The story of Rabbi Levertov surviving the guns of Goeth as told by Yanus Turkov who interviewed Rabbi Levertov in 1957, from the Yiddish book After The Liberation. 

 

(Translated by the daughter of Rabbi Levertov).

 

Some time later, the Commander of Plaszow, Amon Goeth wanted to shoot Rav Levertov.  It happened in the following circumstances:  In the month of November 1943 (this would be about 8 months after his wife and children were killed) Amon Goeth deported Jews from the Plaszow concentration camp to an unknown destination.  No one knew where the people were being sent.  There were, however, conjectures that those who were deported were going to their death.  Only later, after the liberation, were many of the deported found alive. They had been in the Skazisker concentration camp, as well as some others.  When these people were taken away from Plaszow, every one trembled in fear that the selection should not fall upon him.

 

Rav Levertov, at that time, worked in the so called "metal company,"   where from old flattened metal they formed keys, nails, door hinges, shovels, etc.  They worked with a manual machine.  Rav Levertov happened to be standing by the press, when suddenly in the room where he was working, Amon Goeth came in.  Everyone was sure that he was preparing to gather people from there for the transport.   And provocatively he went straight to the Rabbi, stood by him and watched carefully how he was working.

 

Apparently not satisfied with the Rabbi’s daily production,  he took him by the collar and threw him to the small steps which led to the second room of the barracks. Then, he quite calmly took out a revolver from his pocket, put the barrel to the Rabbi’s head and pulled the trigger. The revolver got stuck and did not fire. He pulled the trigger again and again, and when the revolver still refused to fire, he put it back in his pocket and from a second pocket he took out a small revolver, with a pearl design, an automatic, put it to the Rabbi’s head and pulled the trigger.  Again, this time, the revolver did not fire. To this scene all the workers from the barracks were onlookers, standing without breathing, in dreadful fright.

 

Irritated, the Hangman Amon Goeth prepared himself to  take out a third revolver from his pants pocket (he always carried with him small automatics with pearl handles).  In that moment Rav Levertov cried out:  Today I worked at shoveling coal.  That is why I produced so little work…

 

Amon Goeth looked at him thoughtfully, asked him where the shovelfuls of coal were, and meanwhile put back the gun in his pocket.  The Rabbi showed him the place where a big pile of shoveled coal lay.  Goeth looked at him sharply, and with the words, "they want to be given food to eat(grossly) for nothing."  Then he punched him with his fist on his face, so that blood spurted from the Rabbi’s mouth, nose and eyes.  Then, Goeth wiped his hand and walked away, leaving the Rabbi on that spot.

 

Rav Levertov had not worked shoveling coal at all, but in the morning going to the barrack, he noticed  a big pile of coal lying there and just in that moment when his fate was dangling between life and death he had the thought to say that he had completed the shoveling of coal.

 

(It was after this event when everyone knew that Rav Levertov was a marked man, that others who wanted to keep him alive approached Oskar Schindler on his behalf and had him moved to the Emalie factory.  - Translator's note).