Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irving Altus - June 2, 1982

Conditions Under Germans

How did your daily routine change after...

I was just a few months with the Germans and they, they took me and two of my friends. We were trying to sell something or just to make a living. I mean, it was no way that you could go out and do anything. They used to d...to take you everyday to work. No pay, no food, no nothing. I don't know now, I cannot imagine how we could survive in the thing. So and then they send us away and I wind up in jail.

Oh, you, you say, let me ask you...

Go ahead.

You were um, trying to make a living right after the, right after the Germans took over.

Germans came in, took over.

You were still working...


...as a tailor.


No? As soon as they took over what happened?

When they came in that was the end of Jewish tailors and stores and business of--the end of everything.

Is this even before they made the offer to you?

Before they made the offer. You couldn't go out. No place. There was a panic. We were so frightened. Everything was confiscated and give away to the Germans or they took it away with that--drove over with truckloads. If you had a clothing store, you had a, whatever. Nothing was yours anymore.

Right away--immediately.

The next day.

As soon as they took--the next day.

You had nothing. They came in, if you had a nice two, three room apartment, they throw you out and they gived it to a Polack or they gived it to a German, which they moved in families. So what did the family do? You just walk over next door and I moved into you without asking. I just opened your door and moved in. Because I saw you have three people in, in three rooms. So you had--I--three more. You couldn't pay, throw me out, you couldn't go no place. You were uh, you were thankful that I walked into you to help heat the, the place or whatever.

Did they put all the Jews in a, in a...

Not from the beginning, because--I don't know, there was no ghetto right away. No. Was no ghetto.

They just randomly...

They just randomly, whatever. They, they lied or they wanted to take it, they came in and they say, "You will--you--we will be back in an hour." You walk out and leave everything. But they didn't even say you'll be back in an hour. How many, two, three people what, they throw you out, they beat you up, they throw you out. You, you walked out you know, if you walked out alive you were lucky. You didn't ask for anything to take or whatever. You'd want to go, you don't want to go. Just out and that's it. And they moved right in other people and that's it.

And, and it was after this that they offered to send everyone.

Yes. Very--a few weeks after. It was right in the beginning.

And they still didn't want to go.

No, no, no. It was killing and beating. We saw everything and they refused to go. It was not the next day or so. It was quite a few weeks, two or three or four months, I don't--it's forty years more. I don't remember exactly how long it was, but we--they saw how bad everyday to work, no money, no food, no nothing. Killing.

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