Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Knowledge of Treblinka

You had heard of Treblinka.

We heard already. There were some people escaped. Very few, I figure. But maybe we didn't knew it the name exactly, we knew they were taking and they're killing the people there.

Camp on the Bug River, right.

Yeah. But no, and it was, this was the closest place from our. Like from, when ??? they took 'em to Auschwitz. You know, they already, they had figured out everything. Everything was figured out for them. So I started looking where I can--I wasn't going to escape just then to have 'em shoot me when they see me and they kill me. So I was looking, looking for an occasion where I can--so I tried one place and one of the gendarmes in the back saw me, I was trying to walk away like that I have to make or something. So he pulled out this machine gun and he says, ???. He says, "Go in the, in the line. Fast!" I went back. So what do I do, I moved myself up so he wouldn't see me. Because he saw me once, I'm trying to escape.

This was a German, a German guard.

Oh yeah. I moved myself up, I moved myself up. In the meantime, on the way, while we were walking, it was hot that time. Usually in Poland the end September uh, yeah, it's cold. This time it was hot. Must have been eighty, the temperature. And we were walking not with the main road. We're walking in the side because the main road was for the Germans army. There was a war going on with Russia. So the army, the German ar...were going back and forth. The road was for the Germans. We were walking on the side. And the side was sand. So it was dusty. People were still carrying stuff with them. They thought they were just gonna res...uh, moving somewhere else like. Nobody believed it. So I went and I went and then I went as far about eight miles, nine miles. Almost maybe a mile and a half from there, from the railroad station. And I knew the area very well. Because the--where the railroad station was in summertime, when we were small, my mother used to take us out there in like in July and August by us, the business was dead. Because the farmers were busy at the time. There wasn't too much business. My father stayed home and on the weekend he used to come out there. It was only ten miles from there. The air was fantastic there. And there were some cottages there and stuff like this. And we, and we, we went out there in summertime. So I knew the area very well. And uh, when I was about a mile and a half from there, well, I said, this is it. If I don't go here, then that's it. They had--in the railroad station they made barbed wire around there all the way around. And they let in all these people inside. See this was all prepared before, like two days before, who knows when. Because there was a few Jews lived there. They wer...the, the name was Garbatka, the place. And then, what they did, they took out all the Jews from the villages and they send 'em in, near our village and they send 'em into our city so they don't have to make a separate transport. Like if there was twenty Jews in a village, or ten or twent...before they send 'em in here. So...

So this is not Zwoleń now.

No. This was already out.

Was there no railroad in Zwoleń?


Was there no railroad station in Zwoleń?

No, this was ten miles...

Oh okay.

...from there. This was the closest one.


Ten miles. There was no railroad. It's--like in Radom, there was a railroad station, but not it in--there was no need for it.

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