Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Near Deportation of Son

So you would have been deported if you hadn't had that paper.

If didn't have that. And then they came and they wanted to check the, the papers. And my son didn't have paper. So the officer said, took out, took away the papers, looked at it and said, you go to the right. Who didn't have paper, you go to the left. And to me he said, he said to the right and to my son said, to the left. And I, now I don't want to use again, but you can imagine. I'm still nervous when I speak about it.

What did you do?

And I told, told him that he's my son. And he said, shut up, if you say one more word you'll go to the left too. That was the answer. So some people were nice, some people were like that. Do you understand this?

Yes, but what, what did you do?

I shut up.

So your son went to the...

And my son was taken away. And I was, when they left the room, I remember, before they left the room all of a sudden I remember somebody screaming again, shut up. And my sister turned to me very whispering, Peroshka please be quiet. So I didn't realize that I was howling so much. I didn't realize it at all. My sister said, Peroshka please be quiet. Then I realized that I...

That you were the one who was yelling.

I, I didn't, I didn't realize it. Didn't hear anyone, not myself. And then when they left my sister, then I sat down... When they left my son left also. I was sitting there and they said, and then again my sister came and said Peroshka cry. Don't sit there like that, cry, do something. And I just, I was looking into air. I didn't see any... say any... do anything. And then they told me to go down, try to talk to the officer. Aren't you getting nervous?


I go to the officer and I went down and there was a long column of people who were, who were...


put together to be deported. And I went through the, the whole column and I didn't find my son. And I went to the officer and I told him that please I understood with a begging voice, I understood that boys, that people under fourteen may not be deported. He's not fourteen yet. Fourteen or fifteen, this 1944, '44... yeah, not fourteen yet. And he looked at me, and I said, he said, he said the most beautiful words in... involved in a very cursing, rough voice, “You son of a bitch, your boy, your son is back in the house already.” Do you understand this?

Yes. Who, he had sent your son back?

My son went and told him the same.


And he said, “You son of a bitch, you go back.” And he told me the same. Cursing words, beautiful words. So, I was running back and I found him on the staircase. And we were sitting there and without saying one word, clutching each other. This sounds very... Because this is how it happened, really happened. So, but we saw that we cannot stay there too long because it was dangerous. They were always coming and checking again if we didn't have paper. And, you know, in this house why was it so difficult, because there was thirty-nine people and they, we had gas, gas stove, that's how we cooked. But the, the gas was shut off, it was open only from eight to ten in the morning, and from six to eight in the evening. And you, you can imagine, that how can you do hot cooking for each family. There was a lot of arguments.

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