Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Witnessing Violence

Had you seen anyone shot yet at this point? You heard it, right? You heard gunshots.

The only person that I saw shot was the one, the one man, you know, his name was Perlmutter. He is related to Perlmutter in Detroit. You know Jack Perlmutter? Jack's cousin, because the Perlmutters all come from Nasielsk. The Raimi's come from Nasielsk. Yeah, all the Raimi's. Their name was ??? and became Raimi. A lot of Nasielsk's families live in Detroit. You know, the Mondrys come from a city right near by us...

You saw this man shot in the street?

Yeah, he was riding a motorcycle. He was the only one that had a motorcycle. A Jew had an--a Jew had a motorcycle, and a German gave an order for him to stop, and he didn't understand it, you know. He said, "Halt." He said it once, and then he kept riding, and he shot him dead. And that was the only thing--the only time I saw somebody shot.

Was this before or after they would come into your store?

It was, uh, I think it was after, and I will never forget another thing. I remember we had Rosh Hashanah, and they could not forego the services. Imagine. Rosh Hashanah, and there was no--there were to be no congregations, you know, nobody could congregate. The Nazis were ruling the cities, and the Jews snuck into our, you know, people from our shtiebl come to our house on Rosh Hashanah. It was a life taleysm daven pray services. I can't believe it. I look back now, we could have all been shot right there on the spot. And I remember on, uh...

Do you remember bombs going off that night?

Uh, in Nasielsk?

Well, you said earlier, you heard the bombing of Warsaw.

Well, not exactly. It must have--because Warsaw was too distant for us to have heard bombs, but maybe they--I know they bombed the rail station which was like seven kilometers away, you know.

Because on Rosh Hashanah, they bombed the hell out of the Jewish quarter in Warsaw.

Yes, but we didn't...

You didn't hear that.

Yeah. Warsaw was not taken yet. But I remember on Yom Kippur, I remember my father and my two uncles were taken to the rail station to unload the boxcars with ammunition, and they marched them the seven kilometers there. They worked all day, and they marched them back home at night, and they offered them food, and they didn't eat. I remember my father I mean, when you--when I look back, what kind of people these were. They came back, I mean, they just--like my father related, related the story how they worked them all day non-stop carrying fifty pounds, a hundred pounds of shells in the crates, you know, and the Germans kept saying, "Jude, you there, you drop one of these, and you all go to see Moses." And all day, these people passed them and came back home.

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