Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Wearing an Armband

Did you wear an armband?


When did the armbands--do you remember how you found out you had to wear them?

Oh, it was an announcement. You know, from the Jewish--the Judenrat, announced it.

Judenrat posted it...

I remember we used to have some yellow--some cards that the Judenrat issued with different shades of colors. They were pink, they were yellow, they were orange, and each one had a different connotation. I don't know if it's related to the status, whether it was age, or something, because it uh, it applied to how much work you were supposed to get, how many days and so on. I don't remember.

You said you used to work for somebody else?

Yes, and the days where we didn't work on our own, we used to uh, I remember my dad--my father, and myself, we would rent out--we would stand in line and ask people to come up and say, "Okay, here's my card." I don't know, eight or ten złotys whatever, it was, "Go for me and put in my day's work."

When you had to wear the armbands, what did people think about it? Was it upsetting?

At first, you know uh, it was everybody in the ghetto. It was everybody wore an arm band. So, it wasn't, it wasn't upsetting. We didn't, we didn't even understand it. It only, it only made a difference when we worked outside the ghetto. You see, then you walked around and everybody knew, there they go, you know. The Poles would stand there and watch and the whole battalions of Jews walking with the, with the armband on the right side. See, normally in Western civilization, when you wear an armband, you wear it on the left side, you know. This is the normal. Jews were supposed to wear it on the right arm to differentiate, you know, to add a shame on top of it that they are not people like anybody else. I don't know if you were aware of that.

No, I didn't know that.

Yes, this was definite. There was uh, if you look at the pictures, all the armbands are on the right side. And if you see an armband worn by anybody in Europe or at any place, you know black armbands for, you know, for mourning, or whatever, the Nazi's wore--everybody wears it on the left arm.

Okay. Yeah, you're right.

See, you learned something.

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