Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Cymerath - June 8, 1982

Learning of Treblinka

Treblinka. This was 1941, right?

Yeah, in 1941.

Did they tell you Treblinka right then? Did they give you the name?

They told me that's under uh, between uh, the German-Ukrainian border, Treblinka. They knew exactly because they had connection, they had, they listened to radios, you know, and--they were free.

What did they tell you they were being taken for?

Nothing. Just--they didn't know what happened. Just every Jew they take, they took all the Jews as clean, Judenrein they called it, free from Jews.

What did you think was going to happen to them?

The uh, the goyim?

No, what did you think was going to happen to...

Oh.

your family and the other Jews?

We didn't know. We didn't know that they going to be--they were talking about when we were still home that the, Germany's going to take every Jew in different camps and they're going to stay in camps and work 'til the war is complete, built up again, you know. When the Germany's going to be built up, then they let 'em out free. But meanwhile, they all going to be in camps working for the uh, for the Germans. They're going to eat, they're going to have places where to sleep, but not free in houses and camps. But not mass uh, murder. This, this, nobody--but they, today we hear that, that, you know, that the transports, they go straight to Treblinka and Treblin...Treblinka's no factories, there's nothing there, there's camps, elimination camps. That's the reason that time we knew that the parents are not alive anymore.

You heard it even then in 1940?

Right then and there, because there's always somebo...somebody jumped from the trains. He was a shochet. Know what a shochet is?

A butcher, slaughterer.

A shochet, yeah, he, he, he cuts chickens. Okay. He jumped and he came to our camp in that uh, Starowicea [Starowice] from close by Treblinka. He lost his family and a daughter and--but he, he jumped and I don't know how and he got dressed like a farmer, you know, he was blonde. Uh, he didn't look like a Jew, you know, he was blonde and he came back and got into our camp and he told us that he was close. And he saw the camp almost, you know. And nobody, he says, is going to live because they all go to, to die in that Treblinka. That's exactly what happened. So, we got--now Starowicea [Starowice], I was in Starowicea [Starowice] 'til 19 uh, '43. In 1943, they eliminate the camps and they took us from Treblinka, from uh, Starowicea [Starowice] to Auschwitz. Buna.

Not back to Lublin, you went to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz.


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