The corporal that was assigned to us was from the other squad. He was not an idiot like Hans, the true believer, who wouldn’t let the men in his detail take the bribe money at first. He personally shot a Polish guard who took offense at his refusal to accept a bribe. Not so good for his men, but it was good for us as it increased traffic at the gates that flanked him, and we were one of them. It didn’t take Hans very long to realize the error of his ways. The same SS captain that visited us daily for local administrations share, took him aside and spoke to him. Hans never told me what was said, but I always traced the decline in his belief in National Socialism from whatever had transpired that day.
We had stood a few joint watches with the guys from Police Battalion 67 before they turned it over to us for real. They were the ones who had clued us in on the reality of guard duty. Basically anything could go out of the Ghetto except for Jews. For the right amount of money we would overlook small quantities of food or medicine. Anything else we seized, and if we found weapons we shot the smugglers on the spot. Any Poles or Jewish guards who tried to screw us on our share of the collections was reported to the same SS Captain who talked to Hans. They then disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.
The city itself was like an anthill that had been kicked over. Poles were carting their old furniture to their new residences as they were still being relocated from a number of neighborhoods in the area. New arrivals of Jews were coming in daily on their way to their new homes. Columns of them arrived, young and the old, dragging their little carts, carrying suitcases, and balancing bundles on their heads. The women were all tight lipped and pissed off while the men walked small and tried not to look like they still had their balls. The children for the most part thought it was a big adventure. Added to all this was the troops either passing through or wandering around on leave gawking at the big city. It looked like chaos but there was an order and rhythm to it, and woe to those whose papers weren’t in order. Especially if they weren’t German.