Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Nearly Being Exposed as a Jew III

The guy is still holding my paper so he finally turns to the Ukrainian guard. He says, "What do you think?" and he says, "He's got the cross on his face," meaning, you know, he looks like a goy. But he says, "You know, you want to check? We can check." And at that moment, everybody--I let out a laugh and everybody laughed, "Ha ha ha, check, ha ha ha," you know, because it had to be a moment like that where you nullify this idea because if you let it hang in mid-air, then something had to happen. But, by letting out that laugh, you know, that's such a ridiculous idea that it ended there. He gave me back my papers. He says, "I'm still not happy," but he says, "I'll let it go," and we walked away. I buddied up with my friends and that day I decided I got to get out. I got to do something. So the next day, when we got out again to dig trenches, I remember we were in a village that was on fire and they were gonna organize us and bring us back to the jail. I took five people, you know, this boy and a couple of girls and I said, "If we keep going on, they'll drag us all the way to Berlin or we'll get killed by a Russian planes, we'll step on mines, we'll do something." I said, "Well, what do you say?" I said, "Let's get out of here. We've got to dig a hole in the field and we will let the front pass over us," and that's what we did. Q:???

Everybody went back, yeah, we dug a hole in the field--we had, we had the shovels. We didn't go back, which would have been treason, you know, by not going with the group. We dug a hole in the field and we covered it--we camouflaged it. By that time we knew already camouflage. You know, because we were digging trenches for the...

[interruption in interview]

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