Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Living with Russian Army

And in our house where we--I lived, I remember a Jewish lieutenant, Levin, and I wanted to tell him who I was and I, I was dying. I would look at him constantly, you know. And they addressed him as, you know, Lt. Levin, and I said, "My God, I want to tell him that I'm alive, I survived," but I, you know, I kept my impulses in control. And, of course, you know, we were making already, you know, the vodka I heard two of the Russian Jewish soldiers talking Yiddish, you know, "??? wos der goyim hobn ???" it was interesting. And uh, I remember, you know, the Russians had a, like a--what is--what do you call the uh, the group that entertain the soldiers? An OS...


USO troupe, it's called. They call it a ??? ensemble. You know, a front ensemble and I used to go with them to different villages and I loved the songs that they used to perform. They had like makeshift stages to entertain the troops and I became like a mascot with them. That's where I picked up the Russian. I still remember all the songs. I learned a lot of Russian songs to sing. And anyway, uh, settled on in the village...

Did you ever sing any of those songs to your kids?

Yes, oh, my kids know a lot of the songs.

The Russian songs?

Yes, yes. Some very, very, beautiful songs. I can never forget them. Very pretty songs, you know. I remember how they opened up. The uh, first--the performance, you know, they used to stand like this, with the boots. The woman and the uniform was--I guess--and I had no place to go because there was no place--Warsaw wasn't freed yet. Berlin wasn't freed yet. They had all the tanks--the tank troops were stationed, you know, where we were and they were preparing for the big attack on Berlin.

But you went back to the woman's house?

Yes, there was no place to go.

What's her name?

No, not the woman's house. This was already here, way, way later, you know, to this Miskovsky's.

Miskovksy, right.

I lived there because I had no place to go. And then I became the sort of uh, the unofficial teacher in the village. I was teaching Polish grammar. I had several kids, you know. It was set up like a private uh, tutoring, you know because there were no schools all during the war. I taught them uh, you know, elementary arithmetic, or whatever I knew. I did Polish grammar, can you imagine that? Hasidic Jew uh, kid teaching them Polish grammar.

Did you teach them catechism too?

No, catechism I didn't teach them but uh, and uh, let's see what else did I do. I uh, they wanted me to get involved in local politics, you know. All of sudden I became like the uh, the sort of the intellectual of the village and my friend, you know, that lives in Warsaw now--the one I just discovered--he always looked up to me.

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