Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Asner - October 10, 1982

Polish Army

So, when you packed up and you were free, where did you go?

Well, in fact we wasn't free. Some guys, some uh, they took 'em to the army right away because they are trained. They took them to the army and they never come back. Uh, mostly got killed in the army, that time was the front. Myself, and one brother of mine, because two was, you know, been already dead uh, we was working for the Russians. And uh, I was working, one, one town, Orany. And my brother was working in one town, Orany, some my friends. Then they... And that used to belong to the uh, the Lithuanian SS Air. That belonged, that part of the place was, belonged to Lithuania. Then uh, one... And we used to borrow the main uh, place that we would belong was the town Alytus, called Alytus. One time we went down there. They call us to go down there and they want us to, put uh, in other places to work. My brother they give a, a place called Merge, and a friend of mine was in Orany. And he come to me and he said and you're going to this and this, like mostly a village, Runia... They call it Runia. And I said to him, "I'm not going down there." "What?" he said. "And the Russian said, "No, that's a crime." I said, "I'm not going down there." He asked me, "Why?" "Because if I'm go down there, the next day I'll be dead, that's why I'm not going down there." "Oh, it's such a thing, you're not going down there, you, you'll go on the front." I say, "I'll go on the front." I'm not scared to go on the front because I been on the front already. In 1939 I was in the Polish Army. We went on the front. "Okay," I say, "I'm going on the front." And then one uh, a friend of mine said to me, "Maybe you go." I said, "If you want it, you go. I'm not going." Because I know... because before when we run away from the ghetto, the Germans offer for our, our head a sum of money, doesn't matter dead or alive, for me and my brothers. And uh, then the Polish AK they want to catch us because we was a big bomb in his throat for them. I said, "I'm not going down there." "Then you go on the front." "Okay, I'm going on the front." I, I said on the front I'll survive better than I'll being down there. Then he come to me and he said to me, "I'll give you another chance." "What kind of chance?" "You go in this and this uh, uh, little town in Lithuania, Sergei." I said, "I'm not going down there either." Oh, he get mad at me and he start to swear at me. And he, this and this. I said, "I'm not going." And my, one friend of mine, he, he die already. He was in Israel. He said, "Maybe go." I said, "I'm not going." Right. I'm ready to go on the front. Finally, a couple hours later he come to me and he said, "I'll give you the last chance." You go, if you want to go under ??? to ??? was a part, a ??? town. It was before the war until 1939, it was on the border of Lithuania and Poland. It was a very nice place for, for summer vacation. Usually have some uh, mineral beds and everything. I said, "I'll go down there." I said, "Okay I'll go down there. Fine."

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn