Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Planning to Escape the Ghetto II

Had you seen anyone get shot?


No, no...

From this uh, trip? No I didn't see anybody.

In the ghetto, nobody even witnessed any people getting beaten or shot?

Beatings, yes. Beatings were--every...everybody got beatings. A German would walk by and you, you didn't get off the sidewalk, he call you over and beat you, and slap you, and kick you, and threaten to kill you. I mean, these were--this is nothing. That was just--that was a toy. I mean, you got a beating, what else is new? When we used to go out on the, on the work battalions. If they didn't like you, they'd beat the hell out of you and uh, but that's the part you learn to accept it--that's--that you're suppose to get beat. But shot, I didn't see anybody at the time--in my, my time in the ghetto.

So, your parents were upset about it?

They were terribly upset. And my mother, you know, who was, was really a very, very saintly woman. She was a bright woman and she was--in our whole family, I told my kids that, my uh, oldest daughter takes after her. She was a very, very bright woman. People would come to her--the whole family. She was like the uh, like the matriarch, you know. People would come to her for advice. I don't know if you're familiar in every family, there is somebody that is sort of the leader and she was that type of a woman.


Zu Got und zu leicht, to everything. She was a tremendous sales uh, lady, you know, in our, in our store. Every Polish woman that came in to buy yarn goods, dresses, whatever, she wanted to see her because she had a way of advising what to buy and they'd have a long talk and a conversation. So my mother carried on, she says, "No, no." She says, "We just got you back here. Mesiach wird kommen and the Messiah and the, the Germans can never win a war and it's just a matter of time. Just stay with us and we'll all together live to see Hitler go," and so on.

It must have been very hard to leave them.

Oh, it was, it was terrible. But really, honestly, if you asked me when we left, did I ever expect never to see anybody again, I never thought that this was how it was going to work out.

Did you talk about taking your little brother with you?

No, not really, not really. Because uh, we, you know, it called for a little toughness, you know. Five gezunt boys--we're all teenagers, you know, and this was what basically it was called for. And I thought at the time, not knowing what uh, how the scenario is going to play itself out in the ghetto. So, how do you take a little boy out for a tough job? You know, after all, things--it's going to be easier with us going from the house--it will be easier for the rest. Why would you take a little boy with you and, you know, ex...expose him to such hardship? So, it wasn't--again when we left, we didn't leave with the idea that uh, they're doomed.

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