Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Start of the Warsaw Ghetto

Let me take you back to just before the ghetto. They're forming the ghetto and you were now...

In Warsaw...

...in Warsaw...


...and decided it was not feasible to get back to the Soviet side.

What do we do? Well, the uh, the hunger is just--the poverty is unbelievable. You know, there is no, no food, and we're getting rations that are limited to--I don't know, some bread that was like clay. We used to get so many per week, per person.

Did you stand in line for this?

Uh, no, the local grocer would collect it because it was--the cards were doled out to the Jewish community, you know, where Adam Czerniaków was in charge the Judenrat. And I remember what my mother used to cook, some kasha with some water and salt. In a loose kasha, course it was water, and a little salt, kasha sprinkles. We were always going around hungry--always hungry. And everyday we had to go out to--in work battalions. Every morning we had to...

You were conscripted into work battalions?


How did they do that?

Well, everybody was registered through the Jewish community--through the Judenrat everybody had a card and you had to work so many days a week. And I used to rent myself out, my father used to rent himself out, to work for the richer people in Warsaw. You see, Warsaw--we were already refugees and there were native Jews that lived in Warsaw and, you know, that were wealthy.

Wealthy--still even in the ghetto?

Yes, even in the ghettos. They would rent, rent us. We would take their card to report that we were them, and go to work, fulfill their work assignment and then get paid from them.

So those would be the days that you weren't called?

Right, right. But every morning we used to have to show up at the--right near the Jewish--the Judenrat, which was where the shul is in Warsaw today--Nozyk shul--that was the area.

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