Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Fate of Family

Did you start to wonder about the rest of your family now?

Yes, but it was too early in the game because there was no communication. There was no mail, there was nothing going on.


No transportation, nothing was going. So we were just s...sitting around and uh, tried to get back to you know, some strength, life together. Then we were still uh, hope that somebody will survive. That we're going to have somebody survived.

When did you find out that your brother didn't survive?

Well, I had--my older brother, I found that out right after the war. There was a guy uh, he was with him. And uh, it was one day in the morning, there came an order from, from England, I understand, that they should kill all the Jewish underground. The ones, the underground. They was together with Poles, together.

This was the Armia Krajowa

Huh? Yeah. And they killed and this guy escaped. One guy escaped and he told me my brother was shot. Also from our city.

By the Poles.


By the Poles.

Yes. That's right. By the Poles. And he was a soldier himself, my brother. He was a good shooter. He was in Pilsudski's he was number one division, Pilsudski's Division, they call it. They were number one. He was a head taller than me. He was four and a half years older than me.

Did you go back to Zwoleń?

No. I wanted to go back and I went as far as Berlin. It was also hard with transportation. I wanted to go back. And I went--first you had to go through the border. The Russian--German, I was in--and, and then in Berlin, there was another little border to go in, there was closed up. In the beginning it wasn't so hard because the Russians were on good terms with the, with the Americans, with the British, they were on good terms. So it wasn't so hard, the border wasn't so closed. So I came to the Russian border and I--there was a, a major and I told him in Russian, I says, "We are, we were,"--there were five of us--"we are Jews from Poland and we would like to go back home." So he says, "Go." And we went through there and we went as, but to Berlin. It was a long ride to Berlin, uh. We went with the, some of 'em with the, there were trucks, there were, R...Russian soldiers. And then uh, in Berlin, I went in there, there was a, a Jewish community council that was in East Berlin. And I went to--that time you could go--no, there was four sectors. There was French, American, British and Russian. So we went to all this. And we went in Jewish places to look. So we went to, in a, a Jewish place that was a Altesheim, like a old folks home, a Jewish--went there, walk, and then--and there was a place where you could uh, sleep over there, and so we slept over there. A guy came from our city, from Zwoleń, she--he not, but she was actually, his niece was from Zwoleń and they came together. And they told me, there was a ??? which he survived with me. He was with me in Skarzysk together. In Czenstochova he wasn't--he went somewhere. He, he survived. And the, he was killed by the AK, by the Armia Krajowa. In Zwoleń. Not only this, he told me there was a guy, the name he was Abraham ??? he was hidden with his son. He was a wheat dealer, so he dealed with some farmers. And he was hidden by them during the war. So he came back to Zwoleń and he went to his house. By the way, one day they killed him, they killed his son, and they killed this boy, the one who was with, with me in Skarzysko and the rest of 'em escaped. So when--I, what the hell am I going to go back there. What I'm going to go there for. So--and there was nobody else, so I went back. I came back and I went back to uh, that time I went back, we were already back in Bergen-Belsen because they already had cleared out most of the--there was typhus going on there, there was, everything was already in pretty good shape. So we went back there in Bergen-Belsen. And I didn't go to Zwoleń.

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