Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Living with Cousin

In the meantime, this cousin--this lady that's here, you know, she lived in a neighboring city from Nasielsk. She was married into Pułtusk. And, theirs was the first city in Poland that was taken out, lock, stock and barrel. All the Jews were taken out on the third day when the Germans came in. They took every Jew, put them on trucks--they stood, and took them to the Russian side and dumped them there. And as a matter of fact, they saved their--a lot of their lives because that was the only city in Poland that it was done to, in that fashion. So we come to Białystok and we find out that Helen and her husband--she had just got married--and her baby, lived there. Where'd they live? They lived in a baker's house, you know, where there's like uh, uh steps leading to an attic, under the stairs, they set up house, housekeeping. With a baby and this and we visited that was, that was already a palace, you know, there was six people--her in-laws--more than six people--her in-laws, and her husband's sister and her husband--about six or eight people I think. So, she sort of advised, advised me what we can do in order to survive there and you know, Russians opened these stores--government stores--and they were selling goods. And it didn't matter what they were selling, there were--there was a line for them. Because, you know, that what they were selling only lasted for an hour or so, and everybody go around and sold it outside at the black market. So, she set us up--my brother and I--to buy um, baking soda. It used to come in brown packages--paper packages. Why it was a commodity to this day I don't understand, but she says, "Okay, just buy it. Go to the city, when you see a line, you know, smuggle into the front of the line and when they open the store, you go in, buy." She gave us the money--rubles, "Buy all there, they are only selling two to a customer." Says, "You come out, I'll take the packages, you get back in line, and buy it again." And she sold it, and whatever she gave us--some pocket money, you know. This was a business.

Her own little black market?

Yeah. Anyway, time went on, you know, like two months or so...

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