Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Befriending a Polish Smuggler

On the Aryan side, not the Umschlagplatz?

No, that was outside. This was in the goyishe side to get out of Warsaw. And I remember the trains were coming up and there were thousands of Poles, you know, get--piling in and Germans pushing them in and beating them. I mean, this was already Germans to, to Poles and I was one of the people. I was squeezed into um, a, a, a rail car, you know, a passenger car.

A passenger car?

Passenger car. We were all traveling like this--packed--and as the train took off and started going, we passed a city called Wołomin, I remember. And people were saying that they killed the Jews of Wołomin yesterday in that village. You know, they were talking talk, you know, the Poles talking Wołomin Jews, as you know, driving by--they took them out yesterday and took them away and whatever they did. And as the train kept going east, people were getting off and getting off. There were less and less people left. I didn't know where I was going or really where my direction was. And as the people left, there was an older lady sitting, you know, she was left in that compartment--her and myself. So, I sort of sat down near her and I started a conversation with her and she's telling me that she's a widow and she says she's trying to make a living. She smuggles stuff to the villages and brings back uh, food, you know, she brings back ??? and chickens and so on. So, I said, you know, I said, "In your travels," I said, "I'm an orphan and..." you know, told her a story that, "I was raised by an aunt and I'm looking for a job. I have no means to, you know, to support myself. I'd like a job on a farm." She says, "You know something? It so happens," she says, "last time when I was in that village," she says, "a man asked if I could find him a shepherd boy." I said, "A shepherd boy, are you kidding?" I says, "I'm a--this is what I've been doing for the last year and a half. I know all kinds of farm work." She says, "Okay." She says, "You come with me. We're getting off in this and this village," and we got off in a village about 10 kilometers from Treblinka.

You remember the village name?

No. It was--I know the city nearby is Zaręby Kościelne and Czyżew you know the same place where we escaped first on the Russian side. It brought me right back to that side. So, she took me into this farm. It was a wealthy farmer. He had a large, you know, he was a young guy, I remember. A big barn and she says, "This boy is a..." you know, "I know him from Warsaw and so on." And she hooked me in there and I became uh, a farm hand.

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