Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Cymerath - June 8, 1982


And you had to register then with the community council?

With the, with the Jewish community because the Jewish community had to supply to the German headquarters how many they need. Today they need three hundred Jews, tomorrow five hundred. Whatever they needed, but we had to be registered in the Jewish community.

Who registered you?

It was officials uh, Jewish, uh...

Jewish officials.

Everything was Jews.

People who were already leaders of the community.

Leaders of the community from before, the same thing. They made them responsible, the Germans made them responsible. For every need, they're not going to look for uh, private, you know. The only time they looked for uh, they did it on their own when we started to uh, wear those uh, Star of David.

The armbands.

The armbands. Then they didn't need a Jewish community. When they saw us in the street, come on, come on. Los, up, you know, on the uh, on the truck and they took us.

You mean they were pick...you were picked up off the street?

A lot of times.

Tell me what happened after that...


when they picked you up.

when they picked me up, they took me to work uh, let's see, about five miles or four miles away on a truck. And I worked. I worked there whatever they gave me to do. Shining there all the shoes, you know, the boots. Uh, cleaning the rooms, the headquarters, you know, what they, the, the Germans were occupying. And uh, all kind of uh, dirty work, and in the evening about six o'clock they sent us home, walk, walking. So, we had to, you know, come running and walking home. No pay, no food, nothing.

Were you guarded when you went home, or they just sent you home on your own?

On, on our own. This was the first few months, nobody was guarded. Uh, three months later, they took us--everybody had to give up the house and they had already prepared three streets and they made like a little ghetto. So, one day, we couldn't take nothing. Just we got, you know, it was so fast, they gave us like ten, fifteen minutes and we had to go that destination, you know. They told us the streets and we went there and we had a room. One room like this was about three, four families. We all slept on the floors. There was no, there was one bath but the rest was not--it was a wooden floor; it wasn't carpeted. It was a wooden floor and we all lay there on that, at night, you know, on that floor. And they start to uh, they gave us uh, like a ration in the Jewish community like a little, like a book, card, rations, you know.

Ration book.

A ration book and so, so much for a family, like a pound of bread a day and uh, five gram of uh, sugar, you know, and a small piece of margarine. It wasn't enough to live. Very poor life. We couldn't get out no place. We were surrounded in those three blocks. Now. Then they gave an order. Who is going to uh, register in Hermann Göringwerke for work. The group age is from fifteen to uh, forty, for an example. Then the parents are going to be saved in the ghettos if he going to work in the factory. This is Zwangsarbeitslager, they called it. Forced labor camp. And uh, we got registered. And you, you want to save the family, and, and when you work they gave us an additional card in the factory for myself, but it was more than the whole family we had all together because this was a different setup already. It was like uh, you work for the government, for the German government. Okay, we worked there. And about two months later, they took us away from that factory...

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