Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Death of Grandfather

How did your brother make out? Avrum?

Well my brother--now that comes the next part: running away from the ghetto and...

Okay, he went with you?


Your father kept his beard in the ghetto?


He wasn't one of the people who were caught and...

No, no, no.

...shaved the beard in the street...

My grandfather had his beard cut off with a, with a bayonet in Nasielsk--the early days.

What happened when he came home? Your grandfather came home without his beard?

No, no, no. It wasn't--it was in our house.

They came into the house?

They came into the house. They cut his beard off.

In front of the family?

Yes, in front of the family.

What was the reaction of the family?

Nothing. Everybody--I remember my older brother, you know, wanted to jump them, jump them--jump these guys and we all held him back because the guy was going to pull his we...revolver out. My mother spoke excellent German. She pleaded with them, "???" you know, "Leave him alone. He's an old man." And, it was fortunate that everything worked out they just cut his beard. I remember looking at him today like this "Er ist ein alter man!" and here my grandfather was like 87 years old.

Did he die in the ghetto?

He died in the ghetto and I was still there. I went to the Warsaw ghetto to the uh, Gesia Cemetery but he was buried already in a mass grave. There were already--there were no individual graves anymore.

How did he die?

He died, he died on his bed. I remember...


Uh, I don't, well, not quite. He was still, you know, surviving, but he was 84. He probably--maybe if he had medical attention. I remember a doctor--a Jewish doctor came to the house and he--from what I look back now and it could've been prostate. He had a hard time going to the bathroom and things like that I didn't understand. But, the doctor was talking and I remember the word catheter was talked, you know, mentioned. And uh, but uh, he died, he died there...

And was put in a mass grave?

...at the age of 85. And I remember we all marched behind the, the wagon to the Gesia Cemetery where they took him out and there was a big grave or a big pit where they put all, you know, lots of bodies were being brought in. They were busy. They were carrying bodies all...

Was he covered with a sheet?

Yes, yes, I think he was, he was uh, you know, properly dressed.

How old were you? Fifteen?

Fifteen, yes. And uh, my grandmother--I remember my grandmother died while I was away already and my mother wrote to me ??? but uh, I kept contact probably 'till early '42, maybe mid '42 still ???...

[interruption in interview] Date: October 6, 1993

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