Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Thoughts on Family's Survival

Did you ever have any contact with any Jewish Council members? Czerniaków?

No, I was a kid.

Your father? Anyone in your family?

No, my parents were, you know, while there were a lot of people that were able, you know, when I think back and trying to write different scripts--different scenarios, how could they have saved themselves? What could they have done? And I look at these people, a nechtiger tog. There's no way. These were people that were very, very gentle fine people. They just didn't have it in them. They were good to conduct business, they were fine business people, you know, they knew their, their materials, their goods--in business for generations but you come to being street smart, they were nothing. There was no way they could survive. I mean, they were just sheep led to slaughter. They didn't know how to improvise and how I got this in me, I, I, don't understand it, honestly, because I'm a product of that world. I look back now, how my father could have, you know, he was blond, he had a reddish beard, you know. I had an uncle that was so blond that he was almost white, you know, his eyebrows, you know, like an albino color, you know, that's--and his kids and his wife. And I sometimes thinking, how could, you know, I have uh, we have another cousin in the Nasielsk that had a, had a bar, you know, and the farmers in the market, they would, uh, would get through, they would sit there in this bar and have meals and drink, you know, this--and he looked like a typical goy from Goyville. When I looked back, he had long, you know, red beard and a long mustache, a long--tall, spoke in Polish and when I came home after the war I came back to Nasielsk, they told me his name was ???. And they were telling me--Poles--what a shame it was, you know that, he lived in the area--didn't have the seykhl to go away in a different area by himself--the wife and kids were already gone, who knows, I don't know what the story is but they told me the story that he was walking between the Nasielsk and another village or something--or towards Nasielsk where maybe there were acquaintances that helped them--whatever there was--but it was already 1944--towards the end of the war. And he--on his way when he was walking a, a barber drove by with a horse and wagon and looked around and said, "???" he says, "get on the, on the wagon." He says, "I'll give you a ride to the city." And, he was--he got on the wagon and he was so frightened. By the time he arrived in the city he had cut his uh, veins and died, from fear because he was recognized. There are little, you know, side vignettes.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn