Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bert Dan - November 17, 1982

Life At Home During Leave

When you, you went back to Cluj...

We went--I went back to Cluj.


And I was a free man over there. There was nothing. My, my mother was home, my sisters, everybody was home.

All the four sisters were still home?

All four sisters were still home. The families were all together before the 194... uh, December 1943. And we had to go back on the 15th of February 1944.

Were the conditions at home worse there than when you left before?

Well, the conditions--as far as the conditions were concerned you could--if you had money you could buy food and uh, it wasn't as bad as uh, in many other places what I did find out at a later point that uh, how it was in Poland and how it was in Czechoslovakia and so on. It wasn't as bad. As I told you before, you know, people are very funny when they get used to something terrible. You know, they get so used to it that they think that this is the best, you know, it is, it is very good. It was terrible but it was, it wasn't too bad. As long as the families were all together and--unfortunately, we were so misled by our own self. We didn't want to believe it when we heard stories what's going on in Poland, what's going on Czechoslovakia, what's going on in, in other countries that say they are actually taking Jews by the thousands--by the hundreds of thousands--and taking them into camps and kill them. We thought that it is just a, a, a lie like many other lies. We didn't, we didn't realize it, you know, we were--I don't know when I say uh, dumb or whatever you want to call it. But uh, it is, it was unbelievable what was going on. And uh, the majority of the Jews didn't, didn't believe it. So anyway--and at this point what I had know, what I know today--I had a chance not once or twice but many a times to cross the border because my hometown was right near at the Romanian border, and in Romania those people were free. You know...


...and all I would have to do is just cross the border and I'm in Romania and I'm a free man. But I feared, "How do I know that Romania is not going to be worse than what, what I got here. I know it is bad here, but how do I know what's going on over there?"


And uh, very, very few people had the, the, the foresight to make a move like that, you know.

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