Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

The Germans Invade Nasielsk

Did anyone suggest running east?

Well, at that time, it was vague what east meant, you know. We didn't know that the--you see, the Hitler and Stalin pact...

The Russians...

Yeah--didn't spell out to everybody who'd want to know what it involved. Later we found out. You know, until the war broke out, nobody knew what that pact had written into it. Later we found out it was a deal. "You take up to the Bug River. We'll take this way, and you'll keep the spoils for, for a while," you know, the Russians thought forever, but there was actually--Hitler made a deal with them. He said, "While I'm doing this, he would, you know, leave me alone and hold on to this." So when the Germans came in on Sunday morning, I remember the first patrol came in on motorcycles.

The same weekend?

The same weekend. We were just--we were only like sixty, seventy kilometers from the Prussian boarder. That's how close we were and--because our city was not even a battleground--it wasn't strategically important. Next to us about ten kilometers was a big fortress, and that was--they bypassed that on the way to Warsaw, so we were not strategic in that sense, and they just came in on Sunday morning. A patrol came in, and they rode through the city, and just checked it out and left. And the next morning, the tanks came in, but I remember that day, you know, when they came in and they left, we were--the Jewish people--a lot of Jews left for Warsaw, you know, because they felt the safety and security and some had relatives in Warsaw. They felt the safety and security of a big city, a big city, and to be there. But Warsaw was bombed, you know, destroyed a lot of it. But we stayed, and a few families stayed. Maybe, I don't know, like a hundred, a hundred and fifty families stayed, and we were among them. We were just going around like zombies. Nobody knew where to go, and I remember we went to the cemetery. We were hiding in the cemetery. And at first dawn, ??? what's this, and I looked up to my parents and said, "What's going on? Tell me something. What is this? What is this the beginning of?" And as kids, you don't realize. Started dawning on me.

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