Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Life in the Warsaw Ghetto II

What kinds of talk went on in your house? Did your father discuss what was happening at all?

I remember it was a tremendous depression. Everybody was going--like people--nobody talked to anybody. People were just going around very, very depressed. And um, the mood was--I remember there was, there was a uh, what do you call it? A laundry press. In Europe they used to have those--here they have laundries, you know, iron the bedding and bedspreads and stuff like that by--I don't know how they do it. They have machines. In Europe they had a roller, a heavy roller and used to be with a big hand crank. And the roller they would put it up, put up all the bedding, you know, pillowcases and, and uh, bed sheets after washing. And they would roll that heavy roller over it back and forth and that would press it. It was called a mangle. You never heard of it. But, it used to make a noise. And I remember in the building where we lived there was a mangle like that. And it shows you the wishful thinking that during the night they would, they would run the mangle and everybody would say that this is anti-aircraft weapons going off against Russian planes because Russian planes are bombing the Germans. You can imagine, I mean, hoping against hope. I said, "Oh yeah, last night..." and people said, "Well, it could have been the mangle." "No, no it's not the mangle. It was the mangle that used to make that noise." But uh, the mood was very, very depressing. Everybody was walking around hungry. You could see that hunger in the faces. And uh, you know, you walked--we were, we were out in the streets looking--tensely looking for something. We don't know what we were looking for. Thousands of people were milling in the streets. Just like in a crazy uh, frenzy, you know. They were walking in all directions. Nobody knew where--there was no point in going anyplace because you had no place to go. And you could see people picking from garbage cans and eating. And, you know, bodies, people were--somebody, you know, beggars are all over, and I remember one beggar that I used to see everyday walked down on Zamenhofa Street. He was a blind man and he would stand up there begging. Nobody would give him anything. There was no way to give. And his voice, you know, it was like a--his begging, every time got weaker and weaker, you know, until one day, I saw him dead. Nobody even paid attention, he just dropped dead and people would walk over him. I mean the sights were--and then you see Germans driving around, you know, they were on leave and take pictures. Instantly they would stop their cars and sometimes we would have to pose, you know, like this--like that, you know, like kids and they would take pictures and go on. It was uh, it was awful.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn