Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Living in the Ghetto

And then little by little other orders. Then all of a sudden there was an order that the Jewish people have to live in one section and everybody has to try to get an apartment or a room...

In the ghetto.

in the ghetto-like. Not, not fenced in, but a ghetto section. So we were looking. We went to my sister. We went to live luckily on that section because stipulized. Stipulated?

Stipulated? Stipulated section?

Yeah, the Jewish people. We moved in with her, but we were cramped people in her apartment because everybody, all the friends asked, can I move in, can I move in? So we know that already there is no other ???. We moved in and there twelve people.

How big was the apartment, would you say?

Two bedroom.

Two bedrooms?

Yeah. And then it became much worse. Once we lived in interrupted... Once we lived thirty-nine people in one-bedroom apartment. And that's what I said, it, it was so I would say gradually really. And I remember, we were, I, I didn't write about this, but I'm telling you now I didn't write about in my memoirs, I don't know why. We were, I was, we were sleeping, at one o'clock at night I heard knocking on the door. And I couldn't believe what it is at one o'clock at night. I went out, I looked out, there were eleven policemen standing with bayonets—you know what a bayonet is?—standing on, on the, in front of the door and they want, they want a house search, whether we have any jewelry or armery or something...


arms in the house And I remember I came, came, I looked at the door and I run back and woke up everybody, this is our end, that's what I said. And I didn't write about this in my memoirs, I don't know why. And I should, I should because I remember, so they came in and they wanted to search the house. And they did. And one of, one of the men pulled out a drawer on my, on my sister's table and there was my jewelry. And the man looked at me and he said, “What's that?” And I was so shocked I couldn't, didn't know what to answer. I just said, “Anybody who wants can take it.” You understand the inclination. And he looked at me and pushed back the drawer and he didn't take it.

Why, why didn't he take it?

Because he was a human being. He didn't take it, not nervous, not... And I should have mentioned him, but I didn't mention this in my memoir. And you know, my memoir, it always comes back that among all this rotten world, there are still are people who are good human persons. This, he could have taken it and I said anybody can take it, and he looked at me and he pushed back the drawer and he didn't take it. On the other hand, another one on my sister's night table found a piece of material for my son's cape which he wore on scouts, scouting. He had a cape and it was too long and I cut it and shortened it, I put the piece of material back to use for other thing. And one of the lower rank saw that, so went big proud to the officer because this was the uh, material which the army units, army was...


uniforms were made and he showed it to the, and that he found something, maybe I steal a army uniform. And this officer said nothing. So they left, and in fact, my sister's eleven, ten-years-old daughter was sleeping, and because he said everybody had to assemble in one room and they didn't wake her up. So it was, it was an awful shock, you can imagine. Again I...

That's all right.

That eleven soldiers at one o'clock and it went without any trouble. And my sister had a lot of uh, a lot of jewelry in maid's room, we had a maid's room. At that time every middle class apartment there was a room for the maid and she had it hidden in her maid's room, and they didn't find it, they were nothing. So in the end, when they left we were relaxed. So everything is relative. It's just a, a thing happened to you, even after forty years, I'm telling to you, I get nervous and still after they left and I... It was, had a happy ending, so forth.

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