Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Fear of Being Caught

So, he came in and he's, you know, looking around, "Who sleeps here?" I said, "I sleep here." He said, "What do you do?" I says, "I'm a farmhand." Lifts up the pillow, takes out the papers, he says, "Where did you get these papers?" I said, "Oh, the German soldiers stopped by and they hide stuff." He said, "Do you read German?" I said, "No." He says, "What are you doing with the German newspapers?" I said, "I look at pictures." One night I remember waking up and a woman--this Mrs. Miskovsky standing over my bed and she's waking me, she's waking me. She says, ??? I said, "What?" "You were mumbling something in a language I couldn't understand. What is it? What is it?" I said, "I don't know." I didn't, you know, from that night on, I never slept a hard sleep, you know. It was always, you know, I would sleep and wake myself up in case if I say something in Yiddish.

Were you ever worried that someone would see that you were circumcised?

Well, it wasn't uh, you know, in that village, you never have that kind of occasion, you know, like uh, to urinate I would always, you know, turn away, you know, and uh, there's no swimming pools and nobody runs around in bathing suits. You know, it's not that type of a life where you, you know, have to take showers. There was no such thing. So...

But you did have occasion to live with Poles for a while?

Yes, yes but I managed to hide. I don't know.

Tell me about that. How did that come about?

Well, this girl, you know, she was like my age, you know, she was about 15 or 16 and she was a farmhand too, you know, and there was like the main room in the kitchen and then there was the servant's rooms and her room--in order for me to go to my room, I had to go through her room. Needless to say, every time I went through her room, I could never get out. You can imagine if you're 16 years old, I used to stay there until 5:00 in the morning. I'd say, "???, I gotta get out," you know, and it was constant and then she's the one that gave me the ultimatum, either I go to confession or else, or it all stops.

It would be okay if you went to confession?

Yeah, as long as I go to confession. She say, "If not," she says, "we're going to have to stop doing that."

So how did you go to confession?

So, I went to confession but then I didn't know how to confess. That's what got me to, uh, to uh, did I ever tell you that?

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn