Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998

German Occupation

But, but the Germans came in...


What kinds of uniforms? Do you know the uniforms? Were they the SS?

Yes, they...

They were SS?

I, I wouldn't be--I don't remember being able to differentiate between SS and the regular army. But they had regular uh, German uh, uniforms.

And, and the Germans who now ran the ghetto, who were in charge of the...

There were no--Germans were not in charge. Germans were not in charge of the ghetto in our--the Judenrat was in charge of the ghetto. They had to--they received the orders and they transmitted it to the general population of the ghetto. You understand?

Okay. But who gave them their orders?

The Germans.


The Gestapo gave them their orders.

Just from the SS, then.


Did you ever come...


...face-to-face with the...

With the Ge...I'll tell you what happened. Um, at one--at the beginning when they organized the Judenrat and they organized the work uh, force, there were some rich Jews who did not want to go to work, so they were hiring uh, people, they were paying them. And they themselves didn't go to work. It happened--and, and at one time that they were missing like about fifty workers. They didn't have enough and for all kind of reason--I was one of them, because I had very bad eyes. And that was in the summer. And I was working in the fields uh, at the threshold machine, you know, where the threshing the grains and the, the dust came into my eyes, I practically couldn't see. So I decided um, we didn't have any police coming in, not--everybody knew that if you're not going to work, you're going to be punished. So I didn't go to work that day. Well, they, they um, they asked the Judenrat to uh, um, give them a list of the people who didn't work that day. And the Judenrat had to do it, they had to have a list of the people who didn't show up to work this morning. So we were about uh, about thirty girls, women and twenty-two men. They all arrested us. They arrested us and they brought us to the uh, Gestapo. And it was--it, it was during the night that we stayed there and I saw horrible things were happening. They had gentiles that they, they arrested and they--I don't know whether they were communists or something. In front of us, they were beating them up so--two Germans were standing on, on each side with uh, rubber um, sticks. And they were beating him up, the man was bleeding from every part of his body. And then they took him out and they shot him. It was also showing us and example, you see what's going to happen. What happened, the whole, the whole ghetto got like sort of an uprising and they ran to the Judenrat and they were threatening to kill them, they should do something. Well, they, they did. They gave them some money or gold or I don't know what and they let us out af...after one night.

One night you were there?

One night, just one night.

And so that was your first encounter with the Gestapo?

First encounter, yeah.

All right. This is a good place to stop now.


© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn