Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Biegun - February 13, 1983

Surviving Winter in Siberia

How did you survive that first winter in Siberia? Obviously when you came from Pinsk you didn't have the clothes.

Yeah, we were young and uh, I don't know.

Wife: Eating a lot of potatoes.

I, I kept thinking back--I don't know how, it was very, very tough. But at least we didn't have like my wife, you know, we didn't have the shooting--we didn't have the Germans there. So we were fortunate in one--people survived.

You didn't have any clothes. I mean, you--Pinsk is not like Siberia, you know...

No, no, no.

...you don't have the same winter--the same cold.

But uh, somehow we managed. You know, they had some uh, made boots out of sheep wool. But uh, and then used to wear 'em out and had to saw the saw, you know, dig a piece and cut it up. I remember in, in school we had some friends and uh, army train? The kids they had a school. They had a--we had a lieutenant, a Russian lieutenant and my uh, socks got wet or something and I had holes in them. So I was taking them up--he was watching me--and I turn them over and I flipped over the socks so the holes were right here. He said, "That's a smart Jew." He made the remark in Russian.

Wife: At least you had lots of potatoes.

All you can eat.

Wife: That's why he doesn't want potatoes now.

I was going to ask you, do you eat potatoes today?

Wife: Don't tell me this is on.

He can erase it.

I can erase it. Okay. I'll turn it off here, okay?

[interruption in interview]

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