Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Steve Collins - May 10, 1982

Return to Płońsk

But... and if the Germans would have seen you they would shoot you?

Shoot you, sure. I don't let myself down and with lots of strain, with lots of, was not so easy... it's a big river. I went through the other side the mud. And I have to crawl in the mud a few hundred yards away. But the guard, the SS over there. And I, and I crawled in... I didn't eat over there... must've been two days then. When uh, a carrots field was over there, you know, I crawled in, I was bent over, in the dirt...I looked like an animal, really. I lost lots of weight in the war I didn't have enough food. Didn't have any supplies. I lost what must have been thirty pounds, was skinny in the first place, I was maybe 150 pound--forty pounds.


I did, I was young then. And so with the mud, I ate myself a few carrots laying over there. Laid there... I crawled and crawled away there. Later I found myself at a farm uh, farm house. So a farm house, I went to the farm house. I knocked on the window; there was an woman there alone. She saw I'm a soldier in uniform still. So I asked, she got old clothes, she says "oh yes, my husband was in the war so take the clothes," and have no trouble with the clothes she give me. And I left the uniform over there and put on old clothes and I was a civilian already. A later bit not she gave me something to eat and left the place.

She didn't know you were a Jew?

No, she was not even interested, you know. She worked nice and ???, no she was not interested in Jewish, not anybody else.

Was it dangerous for her to take a soldier in to...

No, no, oh maybe for Germans she wouldn't know it, but still was a few days after the war, was nothing, she didn't know the danger, she's uh, farm, a little house...

I understand.

Yeah, she didn't know what's going on, the woman.


Harmless...know of the German tragedy yet, she didn't know about that.

I see.

Plus it was, it was still ending, just the war one day.


She didn't know even, she didn't saw a German yet.


??? didn't see it. And I start to walk to building, to town. To walking over there and some farmers tried to sell some fruit was in the fall there.


Sell some fruit and sell it to the Jews...they didn't want to sell it, you know, to Jews. In two minutes I load myself up in fruit. I didn't ask 'em, I didn't even pay it, nothing, I just ???, load myself up and keep going. I put my hand in... everyone was grabbing, you know, to get some the plums, the apples. I just load myself up. I don't think--I didn't have any money, I don't remember him. There was no value to money anyway, I don't remember. And load myself fruit, what you want.


But I didn't have any trouble. I'd been in the little town, the way home. I heard the German bring some Jews from our town.

From Płońsk?

From Płońsk, and they shot a few on the road, in a little town. I remember the town over there. Did you hear about this too? She told you they took out some ???, maybe she ??? they took out some Jews and send them away, not all of them. And told them to run and start to shoot, seven, eight, they shoot 'em. And they told me, the little town, they stopped overnight. I went in--a Jewish family, evening--poor family, very poor. So there I slept, slept on the floor. They didn't have even a wooden floor was just clay floor, very poor people. But I slept and gave me some fruit. I remember apple and bread. I stayed overnight, in the morning keeped going. Lay in the night and took me about three days to get home. It was kilometers, about seventy kilometer...


From Warsaw, I lived--kilometer, maybe four, maybe thirty-five miles.


Thirty miles. Two days in the night and I went sleep. I just went in the barn, open up I didn't go to the farmer I just opened up the barn and went to, to, to sleep in the hay, there was hay. Opened up and when I want something to eat it was fruit, I mean, was fruit. I helped myself. I been in, in the uh, in the garden, in the farm, fruit farm, I helped myself. I just loaded up, what I want and I kept going. And I came home the first one, home--I came home after the war. Came home and I saw the Jews was cleaned, ???, with yellow, with yellow stars. Very yellow and I, I didn't ??? over there. I didn't wear a star for months, I didn't wear no stars at all. It was, they didn't convince so easy that--the Gentile area later they tried to make, uh...

interruption in interview]

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