Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Life in the Ghetto

And what was it like?

Crowded. People slept on the floor, we used to sleep you know two on this side and two on that side, so their feet were facing your face and your feet were facing their face. But, you know, made the best of it. At least we were together.

And was there running water? Was...

No, not running water. There was no running water in Balut. We didn't have any running water when we lived out here. You have to carry water. In fact, they, you know one of those uh, wells that you pump water? Uh, ours was always broken, so we had to go across the street, which was probably about 300-400 yards, carry two buckets and bring it in. And outhouses.


Yeah. There was no plumbing, no uh, sewer system.

Uh, now was there any disease because of all this?

Yes, a lot of disease.

What sorts?

Typhus. A lot of typhus, yeah. But the worst, well, later on the worst one was uh, your uh, lungs, what is it? Uh, TB. From lack of uh, nourishment.

What kinds of rations did you have when you were in the ghetto?

Probably, well, it depends. You know, at first it wasn't too bad. But then it, as it, as it uh, progressed it got worse with the food. The food situation was terrible after about two years.

And how did you get food?

Rations. If you worked, you got, you got uh, some kind of card and you had to go and get your bread and I think like uh, maybe 200 grams of bread at first. Butter and stuff was nonexistent. Some maybe uh, uh, ten grams of margarine for a week.


No, wait. Meat? At first we did get some horse meat. But uh, like maybe two, three ounces a week.

Could, show me where you, where you, where your um, here you were, were living, where your apartment was.

In the ghetto?

In the ghetto.

Uh, let's see if I can find it. I did find it, I think. Didn't I find it once before? Let's see. Brzezinśka, Franciszkanśka, Łagiewnicka, Pieprzowa, right here. Pieprzowa and Młynarska, right here. See, this is Młynarska and this is Pieprzowa. Right this corn...this corner was the, the, the apartment building. My grandfather also had a, a, a feed store in that corner downstairs and he lived behind the store. So...

And where would you go to get rations?

I don't remember.

But you had, did you have to go someplace else?

Sure, sure, oh yeah.

And stand in line?


How would...

Then when you worked during the day you'd get uh, uh, uh, some soup, you know like at lunchtime.

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