Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Biegun - August 10, 1983

Life in the Ghetto

Do you remember when the Germans came?

Yeah, I remember slightly the shooting and the fires and, you know, the bombing and all these things.


It's like blurry in front of me.

Like a fog.

Yeah, yes.

Tell me a little bit about what happened after the Germans came?

First came to us the Russians in--you know, and then came the Germans.

All right, so you were in Poland...

Yeah, the Russian took over, they came in '39, '40s. Then the German came to our hometown in 1941. And when they came in, they took wealthy people, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, druggists, you know, all these very educated power people, 120 people, and they took, and they said it's to taking them to work. But they took them out a couple of miles away from the city and they shot them all. And within the 120 people was my father and a brother of his. Uncle. And then some farmers came back, you know, from the villages there, and they reported it to us that they massacred all the 120 people. They didn't take them to work. See, a couple miles from home, there was places for work, but they didn't take them there, and the farmers buried them in two big graves like about sixty people in a grave. And they put little sticks, you know, just to put like, to memorize, you know, that that's the big graves there. And, then they made a ghetto in our hometown. Our house was out of the ghetto so my mother, she was expecting a baby then. My sister, my aunt and my brother and myself, we had to moving. Leave the house and all the belongings and moving. Some of us moved to our uncle's house.

This is a ghetto with barbed wire, right?

Barbed wires. I mean, most of the people wore Star of Davids, but I was too young and didn't bother, your know. With small children there. It wasn't like in other ghettos. And, and we stayed uh, like uh, fourteen months in this ghetto.

Fourteen months in the ghetto.

Yes. No schooling. No nothing.

How many were you in a room?

Let's see. Mine uncle and her husband and son. There was mine auntie, that's the husband, the uncle that got killed together with mine m...father. She was there, and two children, mine grandfather was still alive. And we were all there, I suppose about ten, twelve people, more, about fifteen people almost.

All in the same room?

In the house. Yeah.

Do you have any memories of what it was like? How you felt?

You know, I remember them grandfather, like, you know, exactly not. I just remember his white beard, you know, stuff like that, and I remember, we had a attic, and once in a while we used to hide there because there was a double wall. You know, they used to make sometimes the German used to come searching from house to house to take belongings, stuff like that. So we used to hide us some stuff, so we would have food or something, you know. It was like a wall like this, but a double wall, you know. And then they made a massacre, you know, to kill the, all people, women and children. So they took us out one by one from the ghetto.

You were marched out?

Yes, we marched out of the ghetto. You know, if you see the movies, like left, left, right, right, left.


Something like that, yes. And they took us to a cemetery. And right to living, left to death, you know, and there were big graves already. And my mother was ready. She didn't know what's going on because, you know, she had the baby--because in ghetto, she had the baby, so she had the baby on the arm. And she was like, didn't say too much. We stayed close to the uncle, and there was more people to move ???, I mean a small town, you know. So, we stayed all together. But, they put families, you know, like husbands, wives and children, and we didn't have no family. We stayed beside the mother, but some of the mother pushed us. So when she went left, she pushed us, and the German didn't pay attention, so we, we went the right way, and she went left.

Then what happened?

I mean, they shot them, and we were on a little hill, and she was holding the baby. She fell down in the grave. And then they told the Jews, you know, to bury them.

You were standing with your sister?

Yeah, my sister, my brother and beside a uncle and an aunt, and her son, but was more Jews, they didn't have children. I don't know who they were. I mean, I don't remember. But I remember there was surrounding more Jews, so like the German didn't know to who we belong, you know because there was couples that didn't have children, so I suppose they thought that we belonged to them or something, and we crossed fast to go right, so they run away first time, right, you know and because the mother said go with them, so we followed.

What--do you have any recollection of what you were, what as a four--year old child, you were feeling about that?

I don't know. I didn't talk too much. I didn't ask. I thought that's the way it's suppose to be, you know. They told me, don't ask questions. I didn't ask questions. When you're four or five years old, you don't ask questions. You go on, and you don't know what's gonna happen.

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