Facing the back of the building, we were able to watch how
everything in the house was being systematically destroyed
under the supervision of the men of law and order -- the
police. At short intervals we could hear the crunching of
glass or the hammering against wood as windows and doors
were broken. Books, chairs, beds, tables, linen, chests,
parts of a piano, a
radiogram and maps were thrown through apertures in
the wall, which a short while ago had been windows or doors.
In the meantime the mob standing around the building had
grown to several hundred. Among these people I recognized
some familiar faces, suppliers of the orphanage or trades-people,
who only a day or a week earlier had been happy to deal
with us as customers. This time they were passive, watching
the destruction without much emotion.
At 10:15 AM we heard the wailing of sirens! We noticed a
heavy cloud of smoke billowing upward. It was obvious from
the direction it was coming from that the Nazis had set
the synagogue on fire. Very soon we saw smoke -- clouds
rising up, mixed with sparks of fire. Later I noticed that
some Jewish houses, close to the synagogue, had also been
set alight under the expert guidance of the fire-brigade.
Its presence was also a necessity, since the firemen had
to save the homes of the non-Jewish neighborhood.