Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw Ghetto

And they'd bury them in mass graves?

Just buried them in mass graves.

One day your grandfather was part of it?

Yes. I was--my grandfather--I remember we were all going yet to the cemetery. But, once we went there, we couldn't uh, we couldn't go out to see where they buried him. You know, he was just taken out from the chapel and uh, with a lot of people. I don't know. It was foolish of me. Even after the war--I was there in '73, and I went to the cemetery and this old Jewish man who was in charge of the cemetery. And I asked him if he knows if there's any records. I gave him my grandfather's name. He pinpointed where--what--he promised and I gave him some money and just then I heard that he promised everybody he was going to find, you know, their relatives' graves. It was no use.

So, you weren't allowed to go with the, with the body?

No, no. It wasn't like a funeral, you know, where people go to a uh, separate grave and so on. Obviously, for that reason, because it would have been a luxury that didn't exist at that time.

Was the wall--wasn't it around the cemetery?

Oh, yes.

That included the cemetery? So you wouldn't have been able to escape?

Yeah. The Gesia, the Gesia Cemetery was included in, in the Warsaw ghetto.

Were there two cemeteries in the ghetto or was there one?

No. Just the one, the Gesia. But, from there, you know, I read the Vladka Meed book, you know, who--she wrote how she got over the wall. From the cemetery there was a big smuggling going on. I just found out about it later. I was--I wasn't part of any underground. I didn't know. I was too young, you know. I just never knew if anything existed--any underground existed. See, my parents were not the type of people--like I said, they weren't--they couldn't hack anything, you know. I mean, they were Hasidic Jews that they knew one thing. They were running a textile business and selling and going to shul and this they were lost. It's just--it's those that made it, you know, families. I don't know had the smarts how to survive and weren't my parents. When I go back--when I think back, you know, trying to write a script, how it would have been different had they done this and I come to the conclusion that there was, there was no way. These people were doomed. No way they could have survived. Just no way.

But you did.

I'll tell you, it's still--I, you know, when I sometimes add it up and if somebody would have said that from this whole family--from this whole clan, one boy is gonna come out and I, myself, would have said it's crazy. I mean, don't even write it, because it's too uh, fantastic, so...

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