Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998


So you were liber...what was liberation like. I mean, did...

It was very, it was very exciting. We all marching and we were so jubilant, you know. We helped the Russian Army win the war. We came into Pinsk, we marched in as partisans. And everybody cheered. But the population was, was terribly afraid, because they were uh, uh, helping the Germans. They were accomplices. So uh, I started working for the NKVD and then I s...I thought--I thought that's not for me. I'm going to die here on the job. So I got a--uh, I had, I always had bad eyes. I got a um, I got a paper from a doctor that I cannot be out and, and they, they let me go. And then we started planning not to stay in our area. I came back to my city. I found my cousin who was with my, my father, my brother and my sister. He came back from the Carpathian Mountains. That's when half of the uh, uh, Kovpak Otriad was destroyed.

You found...

My cousin.

Your cousin. When did you find out about the rest of the family?

At that, at that time, he said, they, they--no--we were--I was hoping maybe, maybe they'll come back. It took about a year. Nobody came back, so...

All three of them didn't survive?

No. They were killed in the--in--while they were fighting, they were killed. The Ukrainian population in the Carpathian area in the mountains were extremely uh, anti-Semitic and anti-Russian and anti-everything. So they helped, they helped the Germans kill--you know, out of the 5,000--1,500 survived from that area. He made a tremendous mistake. He shouldn't have got--gotten into the mountains. That's when they--that's when they lost them.

1,500 of them?

Of the partisans survived out of 5,000. And my cousin was one of them. He was left--at night he, he--they all fell asleep because they were exhausted from walking. And he, he woke up and the group was gone. So by himself he managed somehow to, to thread through the villages. And uh, they were united uh, not far from um, not far from uh, Warsaw. They were, you know, it's already by--when the, when the Russians were there. But then, then they dispersed the partisans. They took--eighty percent of them, they took into the army. Most of them were killed in the army, in the Russian army. That's the reward they had for saving the, the Russian Army. Well, but that's war.


Most of my J...Jewish--and I must tell you that, because whenever I go to shul and I say Kaddish for my family, I, I remember each and every one of them, how heroically they died. They, they, they died fighting. They died fighting. They attached themselves to trains with dynamite, with uh, uh, all kind of things. They were very brave soldiers. They were an asset to the Russian Army. Because they had nothing to lose, they really fought because they knew what they were fighting for. Although the Russians--the Russian soldiers too, because they saw what's happening to them in the um, prisoners of war camps.

You told me once that there were actually--you remembered some songs, that there was some Zionist feeling among the partisans as well?

The Jewish.


But the Jewish--sure.


They all came from the same, same type of Shtetl where I come from form.

I mean, what--I know this sounds foolish, maybe, but you, you actually told me that you remembered good times during this period.

Yes. When, when, when we, when we thought that we're not in danger, when the Germans were not--we were singing Jewish songs and dancing. And it was, it was lively in the forest with all this, with all what was going on.

Was there talk about going to Palestine?

Yes. That was the dream. That's how we reached uh, Germany. When we--when we were liberated and most of us saw that we have nothing to live there, we have nothing to stay there. All the--all our cities were one big uh, uh, cemetery. We are stepping on blood. We decided that we cannot stay there. So we heard about um, Jewish displaced persons camps in Germany.

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