Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Steve Collins - May 10, 1982

Life in the Ghetto

But eventually you were moved into the ghetto?

Later on was uh, later on and later went to ???, they took me away, yes. They send me away to Prussia.

So did you ever live in the ghetto?

Uh, I lived a short time, yes. They took me out and back, later I came back when they send me to Auschwitz.


When they liquidate over there, when they liquidate all the Jews.


Came on over to liquidate the camp over there and send everybody home. The whole area liquidated, Judenrein.

Let me ask you something, um uh they formed, who formed the Judenrat?

The Germans came in to the representation, the German formed. The German formed, representation for the Judenrat and they want some worker to be the Judenrat. I once saw so many people in one place and they got the police, everything the Jews, we'll do for them the job. What they want done.

Uh-huh. Was the Jewish police separate organization from the Judenrat or...


Was it the same organization?

The same, same, yes.

The same and...

They got police, like here a city, city got police. Police on the mayor's orders so all the same thing, to run the ghetto, yes.

Same thing.

They give you that bakery, bake flour for the Jews, especially in the ghetto. It was a, it was a few ??? stores like ??? store, a little, little stores that got all together made...


They cooperate stores, that's the only thing you can get. Your one store for all the Jews, yes. Bakery, one bakery to get your, so much flour in and the less you, you smuggled...

How, how did you live in the ghetto? Where did you get food from?

The Germans, did smuggle uh, was no shortage, was no, no shortage. I mean, was in Warsaw, I mean, the Jews died over there in street ??? from Warsaw came in but was plenty of food. Why you smuggled, must've had uh could get you anything you wanted, you know.

In other words, you go in and out of the fence?

I mean, you risked, oh sure. Yeah, oh sure we did go out and walk ??? now, oh yeah. Jump through open up the gate, oh sure. When...

Was there any police at the...

Oh sure, they can ??? you there ??? police. You can never police enough, oh sure. You open up the ??? close it and you jump out and you go behind... you risk your life like in the war time. Ton of soldiers a day would cross the line.

And, and you went to...

Other villages in the village and you buy, yeah. You go and you pay...

Bought food or you...


Pay money?

No, you exchange. Like they need, like the, the peasants need clothing. Shoe, you take yourself and your cloth.


You know, from the ghetto, cloth, and you exchanged. They need cloth, they need shoes, leather.


You exchange what we got.

But where did you get the leather and cloth from?

Was some in the ghetto. You hide over there what, that time was little store, business men, they got shoes, got leather still and clothing ??? hide in the ghetto.

I see.

There you hide or you take out and you sell it. And you sell it exchange for your cloth. For the, you know, clothes, ???.

Who were these um, men who were the head of the Judenrat? Do you remember any of their names?

Uh yeah, uh one was Gritz, like I told you he was vice president. And in the police was Levine ???, was a ???, Ramick. I got it...


Yeah, she told you? Ramick. I got it, yeah.

Tell me...

Yeah, he was going with his sister, in fact Bela, her brother was going with Ramick's sister.

Who was the cousin to her family?

Yeah, she told you? Yeah. He was the c... yeah, Ramick ???. Yeah it's true.

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