Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mala Weintraub Dorfman - September 15, 2005

Kozienice Ghetto

So, when you went to Kozienice, what was it like in the ghetto there?

We had one room for the four of us. And uh, the ghetto was okay. I met people, we went out, we walked, we, you know, we were free... like free in the ghetto. But we were in a ghetto and we couldn't go out of the ghetto.

Barbed wire?

Beg your pardon?

Was it barbed wire? Was it surrounded by...

Yeah, sure.

And were there Jewish police?

Jewish police were there too, yeah.

And did you work?

When I got to the... When I first... When my brothers, my brothers and my sister, my uncle came to take him to a smaller town, smaller than Kozienice. He said, "No one will touch me." He was a very wealthy man, he had a, a mill, a mill that he was making flour. And he was a wealthy man. He said, "I have everything for them, I have food and everything. Don't worry about... I'll take him." And took him away from them. So I went to, I went and I started to work in a hospital. And uh, I worked there until I went out from the camp, from the ghetto.

What did you do in the hospital?

I was a nurse. First I took some courses there just to know what to do. And uh, what we did, what we did what everything. We had to cha... change the linens, we had to take care of them, and there was the medication to give to them, they gave it to us and I gave the medication. And that's what I did. And sometime I worked during the night and sometime I worked during the day. And that's what I... They paid me. They, the hospital yeah, they paid. What am I going to live from? I was there all the time. So, but not much, but I could get by, you know.

Was there rationing at this point?

Yes, it was, yeah, yeah.

And, and an armband or yellow star? Was everybody wearing?

No, I didn't wear yellow star. Not yet, no.

Um, did you save anybody's life at the hospital?

Yes, I did. I... Now I didn't save, but I took care of them, our men. And I'll never forget, as long as I'm going to live. I walked in at the nightshift and I walked by the bed and he said, help me, help me. So, I went over and I saw the mess he was laying there. I took him off and I cleaned him up and I changed his bed. And he said to me, one thing I want to tell you, you're going to live through the war and you're going to be okay. And that, it's rings in my ears all the time what he said to me, because no one want to go near him to take care of him. He was a old man. What they did with him later on, I don't know, because, uh...

You never saw him again.

No, I never saw him again, no, no.

So, these were all Jews in the hospital.

Jews yes. In the ghetto, yeah.

Including the nurses and the doctors...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

When you, when you went to work, you had to walk through the streets.

Yeah, the ghetto you walked through the streets.

So, what were the streets like?

People walked, people walked through the streets.

Were people starving in the ghetto at this point?

I don't know if they were starving or there wasn't much to eat. But you got bread, you got... My mother, my grandmother had a bakery.


So, I had bread and I had what I wanted, you know. But other people went in to buy it too, they were buying it.

Was anybody beaten or killed on the streets that you remember?

Oh yes, yes.

By the Germans?


Any particular memories of any of that?

I had no witness it, but I knew about it, I heard about it. That, that's what they did. An old man was walking and they didn't like it. They were in the, in the ghetto, the Germans.

They were not.

They were.

They were, yeah.

Yeah. Sure they were in the ghetto.

Was this Wehrmacht? They were...

The Wehrmacht, right, Wehrmacht, yeah.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn