Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Biegun - August 10, 1983

Remembering German Soldiers

What do you remember about them, what do you remember most about the Germans? What would you...

Most, you know, like they were shooting and killing, all this stuff, I mean, could I mention Oak Park?


Okay. Now, take, let's see, I say after I left the war and stuff like that, I seen the movies, right? I seen the movies, all the fighting and shooting and the Germans. But here, was it last year, when I live, I live in Oak Park, and I walk from mine house to Oak Park to the park. It's five, ten minutes walk. So I walked there. Except when I came there, and I saw the Nazis on the hill. I mean, here they were, exactly in their uniforms with the swastikas, really big sticks. I mean, I say--we walked, and I say, "Sam," to my husband, I say, "I think this Nazis." And he says, "It cannot be, I mean, if the Jewish people are celebrating in Oak Park, I don't think it would be the Nazis in Oak Park." So, we got closer and closer and exactly on the hill, you know how all the memories snap back. They were standing in front of me, and I said to my husband, "You know, it's exactly like in the war. They stand on the hill and I'm in the bottom hiding myself?" And all the memories came back exactly like it was in the war. So, even if you want to forget, here they are, you can't forget, and I mean most of the people, the Jewish people, the survivor, they were always struggling because America was something like a legend, to come to America, something special. So here I am in a free country and I have to see the Nazis in front of my backyard. So here are the--even if I want to forget some things, I can't, no matter what. And we get the publicity. I mean, the media on television is more, more about the Nazis. They show what they did in the park, then they showed about the celebration of the Jews getting together. So, you know, I come home, and I have to open the television, and I mean--if they would give less publicity for them and ignore them like they telled us to ignore. But we cannot ignore them. It would be a little better than to tell us to ignore, to close the houses and let them demonstrate. I mean, they shouldn't be--they should change the law here in the United States and give them a little bit, not so much power.

It was the uniforms and the swastika?

Sure, the swastikas, the sticks--they were holding sticks too you know. It's exactly like in ghetto when they made the ghetto, you know, and they gave us with the sticks over the head. Go left, go right, move faster. Don't be so slow. I mean children remember things, I mean, you know.

You remember the uniforms?

Sure. I wish I wouldn't.

Did, did you ever have an incident, a specific incident with uh, any one individual SS man or, or German guard that you remember?

There was one I remember very slightly, but mine auntie said it. I mean, I don't blame all the Germans because you know, you never know in the background--it could be one apple and not, a tree of apples, not all the apples are rotten, I mean. Okay, so I cannot say all the Germans because I don't know. But there was, when we went right and left, and you know, like uh, what the expressway in Europe, it's not like here on the expressway. Beside the expressway, ditches, so 'til they used to take, you know, twenty, and they, you know, they used to we sit in the ditches, and they came, they took twenty people, and they split who to live and who to death, okay. So we were sitting in the ditches, and one German said, "I'm sorry," he says, "But it's not mine fault. I have to follow orders." Okay, and I was ready to follow my mother, but he pushed me back in the ditch.

The soldier pushed you back?

Pushed me back in the ditch, and then my mother stood, and they took us out, like twenty, right? And then the soldier pushed me aside. My sister says, maybe the people--was 20 together, was pulling together, pushing each other, right? So maybe, the German pushed me to go beside, left, right, or the people pushed me to go right. I don't know who pushed me.

Do you remember his face? Do you remember anything about him?

No. I don't remember faces.

Just stick and the uniform.

Yeah, I don't, you know, if I wouldn't have the pictures, I still have the pictures from the time I got it, some family here in United States had, and I still can remember my mother and father.

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