Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Black Market

And I had another one. I had a fellow I met who from... I knew from hometown. He was serving, a Jewish boy, he was serving as apprentice in a bakery store there. And he looked like a ??? his look was ??? And somehow he got requested from the German officers by the local baker to work for him. But the local can't tell baker to work for him. And he was working there. And his boss, the baker, he made a tremendous business from these Jewish people. What he did, he sold them bread for gold. Now most, remember now, we came from Budapest and we still wasn't in concentration camp and people had worldly goods. Wa... gold watches, golden teeth. ??? Over there the bridges was made from completely gold. And people to save their life, they took out their crowns and sold it for bread and for bacon. And I was the middleman. I didn't have anything, but people in my group, they had uh, money. And he told me that I could be the middleman and I think it was a pound of, for, for one gram of gold you got a kilo bread and half a kilo bacon or something like that. And I was the middleman and I used to sneak in... What happened is as I told you, in front was--in the main street--the front were the homes and a long backyard, all his, the barns and thing like that. In the rear was the field. So, in the rear, I used to sneak out and go through the city to the bakery and get the goodies, bring them back. And I had a little, the rucksack which I had my goodies on it, a pack of bread and everything. And I wasn't starving. So, one day, one afternoon, I used to do it in the afternoon or in the morning before we went to, in the afternoon we came home. One day I'm coming and doing my, my, my business, my black business. And I'm carrying, I had a short winter coat and I'm carrying two big five-kilo brown bread under my jacket, holding it like this. And a damn German soldier spotted me coming. But I was close to my home already. And I, and, and, and I started to take off, because if he catches me with the bread under my arm, question, asked where you went. You know, I'm afraid that it make trouble. So, I run, run, run and I run into my quarters and I dropped the bread under the straw and he catches me. And he, he, and he comes after me, said, "Why did you run?" Said, "I was afraid of you." Said, "Why are you afraid of me?" "I don't know, I just afraid of you. Afraid that I cannot stay in there." Said, "What were you doing there?" I said, "I was visiting a friend." "Why were you visiting a friend for?" So, I knew they were, I knew, sometimes, it sometimes so fast things in your head that you don't even think of it, knew that Germans were very cautious about cleanliness. Not for our sake, but they were afraid that typhus they catch it from us. Said that I wanted to borrow a, a piece of, uh... [interruption in interview]

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