Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Smuggling in the Warsaw Ghetto

...the Jews in this town--in Nasielsk, used to come to him to write a request, you know, when you wanted something--whatever you wanted from the government you had to write--there was no typewriters, you had to write long hand.

But you'd send this to Czerniakow?

No, no, no, I'm talking before the war.

Before the war, I see.

Before the war. So I'm just describing how he came about. You know, he spoke in excellent Polish and so on, and so on. And, so, but in, uh I can't remember say.

I asked--you said he was depressed.

Yes, yes, he was very depressed the whole time. I look back at--just wouldn't talk, talk about it. And we--as kids, you know, my brother and I were always out in the street looking to see maybe a miracle. I remember somebody was manufacturing tea you know from what--little cellophane envelopes--and they were selling tea. I remember they called it ??? tea. And we would--the kids--we were going out with these little envelopes to sell them--selling them in the streets and coming back with nickels and dimes, whatever we could do. We were trying to constantly--because we were selling off everything we had. You know, there was the flea market where the Poles came in and, and--to trade. So, they took everything out of the ghetto--shoes, coats, suits, rings, jewelry, anything and everything. So, we were just trading, constantly trading and, uh...

Got involved in smuggling, too?

Well, I was--that's another story, you know. One of the Raimis--as a matter of fact, the main coincidence in life--he lives in Detroit.

Who does? Saul?

Saul Raimi. Didn't I ever tell you? How do you know Saul Raimi?

Somebody did an interview with him.

Saul Raimi was dating my cousin who lived in Warsaw--in other words, in the ghetto. But Saul was in a ghetto in Mława. So, in Mława--in a small town in those days, it must have been--I don't know 1941 or 1940 going into '41. I remember it was winter. Saul came to the ghetto in Warsaw. He had a pass from his commandant to go to Warsaw. Over there you could bribe them whatever it is. In a small town you were able to do that. So, when he came to Warsaw and I found out that he was staying at my uncle's house, I took his pass--the pass was good for so many days--and I became Saul Raimi and I would go out, I would hustle. I remember for two days I would go out one gate like I'm leaving--Saul was leaving the ghetto to go back to Mława. I'd buy up potatoes, come back through another gate, "I'm just coming in from Mława to uh, to Warsaw." Back and forth.

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