Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Taking Brother Back to Poland

And, you're in school?

I'm in school, you know, we're learning Russian, and we're ??? whatever Yiddish literature, because they had these Yiddishistin--the Bund was sympathetic, you know, it was like the new era coming on. It was that type of political stuff, you know, in Białystok. They're organize a lot of Jews at the Communist Party. This is what its starting there. But, I'm unaware--I didn't understand the political party. And my brother, every night, after school, would go to the soup kitchen and eat, and he tells me, "Moshe, I can't do this life." He says, "It's getting to me." He says, "I cannot survive, in these circumstances." I said, "What do you want me to do? What are we going to do?" He says, "Let's go back to Pol...the German side." In the meantime, you know, travelers would come, you know, late travelers would come across and they were telling stories that Nasielsk was taken out already--they had evacuated all the Nasielsk, where they kept them in box cars for seven days and they dumped them in a city called Miendzyrzec and Lukow. Somebody said that our parents uh, dispersed and came to Warsaw and now have an apartment in Warsaw. So, when he heard that, he says, "Moshe," he says, "do me a favor." He says, "I know," he says, "you're going to make out here, whatever it is, you'll survive." He says, "I can't live in this," and he showed me he's walking around, he's constantly--he's scratching himself. There's no place to bathe, there's no place to wash. He says, "All we're doing is existing." He says, "This is not a life." He says, "Take me back to the other side," and he says, "whatever it is, and then you can turn around and go back."

How old was your brother?

He was three years older.

And he was asking you to take him back?

Yeah, because he was--I don't know, he was sort of--he was not a go-getter, you know, a fighter. So, I remember on uh, Christmas or New Years of 1940, we met at Helen's house, you know, ??? bakery, you know, in that place under the attic. And, I remember she sewed up some stuff in our pockets and we found a guide--and to take us over to the Małkinia, the Małkinia side. A Polish guide that was going to take us for so much, he was going to take us across the river. By that time, the river was frozen with some big heavy snow. So, I remember we got down and we said our goodbyes and I told her, I told Helen, "I'm going to take him to Warsaw, take him home, and then I'm coming back."

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