Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Reasons for Escape

Layers of clothes?

Yeah, just some shmates with--that's all. We didn't even have a plan. Where we gonna go? What are we gonna do once you're out? It just--it shows you that only people that were a little bit insane had these ideas to get out. If you sat down, you know, it's like you go into a business and people tell you, open a pizza joint, they tell you, "There's 40 pizza joints around you, and you only have limited funds, and you still persist in opening another joint. You're crazy." And the only people that could have that kind of mentality would pick to do this. Or, kids that have no idea what their next step is going to be. This is how we picked--we decided. It was too hard to be inside, we're gonna try out. We're gonna try it--get out--and it worked--or get shot, or something. And getting shot we didn't even understand what it means to be dead, you know, in five seconds. Somebody takes a gun and machine-guns you. So, it was all--when I look back it was more or less a dare. We didn't really feel the, the ramifications of it--what we're getting ourselves into.

Of course, there was no Auschwitz there.


You didn't suspect anything like that.

No, we didn't really--I didn't hear about Auschwitz.

It was too soon?

Yeah, it was early. I didn't hear. And uh, I'll tell you, when I heard about Treblinka later--but Auschwitz, no. I--there was so limited. There was a Jewish--a Yiddish newspaper that was printed in the ghetto, believe it or not, from the Judenrat. But everything was controlled. They wrote about Sholem Aleichem, about everything except what's happening. Nothing--never a word about they're doing to the Jews, nothing. It was a nothing paper--a paper that pretended to be a newspaper. Yeah, announcements, "All Jews from Nowolipki or from ??? have to report to such and such that they, you know, official announcements by the order of the Judenrat," you know, things like that. The rest is just articles just to fill out a paper. And a streetcar, with a Star of David, you know, and everything was like a make believe world--a streetcar that went no place. Just went around in circles in the ghetto.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn