Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989


And then what happened?

Well, one day the farmer came and he said that the Russians were near by and that they were close by the road and we did hear some shots at a distance and so we tried to go down the ladder, my father wanted to make sure that they really were the Russians, but I somehow he knew that they were, I don't know how, but any rate we could not go down the ladder...


Because muscles did not work. Uh, so at first I thought that my father took me down but then we were carried by the farmer one by one, carried down to the lower level of the barn and I remember, you know, when I think about it, I can feel it even yet, um, I remember trying to stand up and walk and um, you know, the muscles had, were not functioning any longer so the needles that were going through your body, you just couldn't move. They were like millions of rods going through the bottom of your feet to the top of your head and it just felt so excruciating, you know, to make a step uh, and I guess everybody in the family felt the same way, but whenwe came to the outside of the barn we just crawled, and it was winter time, and it was in the middle of the night when we left the barn and I knew there was this sense of you must hurry, you know, kind of thing, and the cold was so extreme so it must have been, I would assume winter '44 just before, I am trying to figure out the time limit, maybe it was February or something like that. The cold was so extreme and we did not have any clothing and there was snow on the ground. We had to crawl, and I don't know if it took a day or two or three or twelve hours to crawl to the road where the Russians were supposedly. I know that my, again I keep saying about me because I remember my body just being in contact with this extreme cold, I, my hands froze and I developed huge swellings within a couple of days and they burst open like because if snow comes in contact with the swelling, it creates a tension on your skin and it just cracks open. [Pause]Why didn't we freeze to death? Again, I don't know. You know, we did not have clothing, we were protected in the hay but I remember raw potatoes so, I do not know if my father went somewhere to field and got it or if the farmer gave us the food, the raw potatoes I don't know, but when we finally got to the road, we did not crawl during the day because we were afraid to. So it must have taken a couple of days. We were afraid that somebody would discover us maybe another farmer and shoot us.

What happened to the farmer?

I have no idea, since that day, I have never seen him.

Did he stay on the farm?

Yeah. He just made us go.

Then what?

You see the farmer wouldn't even tell the other farmers that there was sort of like a shame that you would do something like this. They were afraid they would be killed between each other. He wouldn't tell his neighbors or he would not tell his children the modest thing that he did, because I think he would have been petrified for his own life -- or ashamed to have done a nice thing like that? Ukrainian people were difficult. [Pause]

You were crawling on the road, for how long?

I don't know.

Then what happened after that?

When we got to the road to where there were Russians, I see some people walking, I see people on the road. Who they were, I don't know -- whether they were other Jews -- nobody, we did not talk to anybody. I remember one truck or two trucks going by and they did not bother us, but who could see the katusha's in the distance? The sound and the fire in the sky of the katusha and we could hear rifle shots. Um, so, but then a jeep, I remember a jeep going by, or something that looked like a jeep, and they threw us a piece of bread. And um, that was the first time then a truck came along and they picked us up and they bandaged my hands and arms and feet and um... [Pause]

Thesewere Russian soldiers?


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