«Bund» of Poland - The case of Henryk Erlich and Victor Alter

who had come spccially from Moseow. At 12.30 on the nighl of the 3rd-4th Dcttmber. 1herc wcrc sea1ed al table in 1he hotel rcstaurantErlich. Alter. Cadet Natanson. a formcr Cambridge Readcr in Ma1hc- ~ qiatics, and the writer. One of the womcn clerks of the hotel called Alter IOthe telephone. After a while he rc1urned and said : ·· Hcnryk. le! us gel our coats. wc havc tOgo.•· Shortly afterwards thcy rcturned rcady IO go out. They almost forgot to say good-byc as thcy had promised 10 return very soon. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM SINCE. The following day. at noon, worried by their abs.cnceand Jack or news or them, I went with Leon Oler. another prominent mcmber of lht: Bund rcleascd some time ago from a lii6our camp, 10 thc Polish Embassy, where a formai affidavit was sworn as 10 1heir disappcarancc. The Polish Embassy started cnquirics and were finally informed thai Erlich and Alter were in prison. Thc rcasons for their dctention \'aried from time IOtime but had onc thing in common-thcy none ofthem made scnse. A rewdaysaflcr thc arresi. Dcttmber 121h. 1941. 1he N.K.W.D. agrccd 10 acccpt small parccls or undcrwcar for 1he prisoners. We took the parccls in company with one or the clerks or the Embassy. In front or 1he N.K.W.D. building Chasano\'lCh was wai1ing. Therc, in the s1rec1, lolling against a fencc. he made a pcrfunc1oryexamination or1he contcnts or the parce\s and signed in pencil the receipt forms which had becn prcparcd by us in advance. He would acccpt no roo<1parccls, declaring cynically. ··Thcyarc betterfed intherethanyouarc." On Decembcr 28th, 1941. I was summoned 10 the N.K.W.D. where a dccision of1he N.K.W.D. was read 10meaceording 10 which I had 10lc:wc Kuibishev within 24 hours under penalty of immediate arresi. Bctwcen the 4th and 29th Dc<:cmber, i.l'., from thc time ofthc rcarrest of Erlich and Alter, unti I the momcnt of my leaving our room in the Grand Hotel, lhe Soviet authoritics ne,-cr made any search for thc documcms and artic\es left 1herc by Alter and Erlich. Af1er se,·cral days everything that had belonged 10 1hcm was dcposited wi1h 1he Polish Embassy. LUCJAN BLIT. London, March, 1943. 14 Biblioteca Gino Bianco