Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Meeting with Russian Army

...and uh, within about two hours that day--artillery--we heard artillery and tank fire in the field, go

[whistling], you know, an explosions and suddenly somebody yells in Russian to us, ???, you know, "Hands in the air!" And we look out and saw Russian woman, I remember, with long hair in a shmate coat, you know they had those, you know, Bolshevik coats, you know, with the hats with these little, you know, tips and they had coats without lining and a rope around her and a rifle on a rope--she's holding a rifle. She says, "Get out of here or I'll shoot." She says, "Who are you?" and we came out. We said, "Me Poloki, we're Polacks." She says, "What the hell are you doing here in the field?" She says, "There is gonna be a big battle." She says, "Right now." She says, "Get the hell out of here." So, we said, "Where, where should we go?" She says, "You see that forest line?" She says, "That's where--our troops are there. The Germans are already on this side. You are in no man's land right now." She says "Run to the forest." I mean she was like a tough, tough woman. And we started running and as we ran, you know, the Germans already were shooting overhead--over us. So you hear a shell fly and you don't know where it's going to land, but they say, if you hear it fly, it's not going to hit you. The one that you don't hear, that's gonna kill you. Anyway, we were falling and running and falling and running. We made it to the forest. And we got into the forest and as we started walking back, I have to confess I had my greatest joy of my whole life that was made the whole war worthwhile. You've never seen anything like it. Did you ever see tanks pressing human beings into the ground?


In--flush with the ground--German soldiers and officers with the medals, you know, flush it was like carpeting. When we walked, we were dancing on them. It was--I've never seen a sight like that. I couldn't believe it that this could happen because they drove right over the bodies and the soil was still soft, you know, from rain, whatever it was. They were all pressed in. This was the first sight--the greatest sight that I ever experienced, you know, from the revenge--from the pent-up hate that I had in me. And anyway, anyway, we made our way back. This was a village--the village was about 70, 80 miles, you know hitchhiking with--on that side was already Russian soldiers in the army and they were very friendly, you know. A lot of Jewish officers in the army and I remember we came back and uh, there were uh, soldiers staying in the village, you know, next door to us.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn