Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

Hiding in Ukrainian Farm

Tell me about the hiding place. It was in the Ukraine?

Yeah. Near one of the camps. I wish I could remember the names. I'm so sorry I never asked my father. (Sigh)

How do you think...This was a farmer?


How do you think your parents knew or met the farmer?

I don't know. I don't know, I think we didn't have anything, I don't know.

So you had gone into the countryside?

No. No. No. We were in that camp and I think what happened is that at night we went out somehow, the camp I don't remember going through barbed wire. But I have the sense that we went out of the camp. How we did it I don't remember. And I remember it being at night. And the next thing I remember is, is, is, standing in front of the barn with a farmer and his wife and he was hushing us and he was opening up the barn, sort of pushing us in there. Do you want me to tell you...

Tell me about his family first of all.

Well, he had several children, whether it was two or three or more I don't know but there were children and because I used to hear them play outside but they didn't know that we were hidden in the barn only he and his wife. So um, as you can see we had to be totally silent because I know when we came in he closed the barn he put a lock on it and it was locked. The children only a year later or maybe whatever came in once or twice. So the barn was always under lock and key.

You were locked in?


Was his wife pleased about this?

No. Oh no. She, matter of fact, she - I think that he's the one that decided to hide people. You know I've thought it, why would a man risk his life like this because he was risking his life and his children's life and maybe my father - a thought occurred to me that maybe being my father had a sister in the United States, maybe he promised him something from the United States or to go to the United States even in those days it's possible I don't know that he decided to hide us but I know that the farmer's wife was terribly upset. She always, the whole period, was constantly a struggle for my parents begging the farmer and his wife to keep us another day another week, another day another week. I see this so clearly in my mind. I see my parents on their knees begging um, the farmer because he wanted us to leave, but you know he probably had no idea that it would take that period of time he probably figured a few days a week whatever but who would have thought such a long time and he knew that his life was at stake and he knew that his children would die and everything so I can...this was a marvelous human being. He was deeply religious I know that.

Do you think that may have had something to do with it?

Absolutely. That and the promise of something. I don't know what.

Did he ever talk to you?


Just to your father then?

You know, I've tried to look at myself as I was then you know and all I see is a always silence out of me. I don't see myself talking or even crying when I had pain because I knew I shouldn't. It's true. I'm not trying to make something up and I asked my sister that and she says that we couldn't -- we would have died you know. Throughout the whole ordeal you didn't cry no matter what -- whether it was hunger or pain you didn't cry. Cause there was -- the pillow.

Huh? Because there was the pillow?

Yeah. There still is this pillow. At any rate.

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