Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eugene Feldman - July 15, 1991


But you built this home.

We built a real, real sturdy one. We, we had to have larger, we cut down some trees large one so it would hold the, the frame of that shack. Then we used moss you know what m...moss it. Because that's what it is, all kinds of moss. And that's a good insulator providing it's dried out. So we dried it all out and we used it and covered it up with some uh, straw or something so that it would rain down. The, the, the rain would fall down. It was very, very nice and warm. Well, let's say livable. We could survive the winter. We didn't freeze to death. And then we spread out hay for, for mattresses like. And we were all lined up in one uh, in one room. There was no--you don't wash yourself there. It's nothing, it just room to stay in. We ate outside. We cooked outside in a small fire. And of course in the bathroom we go anywhere.

And there were four of you.

Uh, a...after awhile there were one, two, three, four, five, eight.

Now how did these other people find you?

Through that connection, that--the one that told us that the Germans coming for us.

Tell me...

There's a farmhouse about a mile from our, to where we--in the woods. There's farmhouses spread out.

Do you think this is where your father got the food originally from the first night you were in the marsh?

No. He got it originally from somebody that would stay day and night. Every night he was in our house, eating challa and things like that. He was really supposedly the best friend anybody can ever ask for. That's why I don't trust him. I mean, I would have trusted him with my life. I mean--he was really that. Every day. So what happens one da...one time? We were in the woods already for a long time. And my dad--oh yeah, he saved the coat. Right before he got himself a new coat. That was the biggest thing he ever done for himself or for anybody. That coat was real nice. It had fur, sheep, sheepskin under bottom, 'cause that's all we could have is sheeps. They had plenty you know, that. Then on top was regular cloth. Whi...which was a very, very nice warm coat. So my dad went to this--his house before we were going to go. We were going someplace else, to the partisans already or something, I don't know exactly what happened. But he says, "I'm going to stop." They--he called him Ignat. That name still, still I remember. And he says, "I'll go get some food, so ma...he'll you know, so we have enough food to go where we're going." So he went into the house and we were waiting outside. He went by himself. And they were surprised, naturally, to see him. So they gave him some food. Oh, and then he says to my dad, "What do you need the coat for? They're going to catch you anyway. It's a waste of," you know, "it's a waste." So my dad was going to give him the coat because they were so you know. Then he says, "Why, why should I? I need the coat uh, maybe they won't catch," you know. Whatever, he would--he changed his mind and he didn't give him the coat. When he was leaving, I guess he was hanging around there for awhile, whatever, he could hear him say, "I guess Pincus,"--my dad was, they called him Pe...Penuch--that's in their language--"wants to live another few days." They were trying to turn him in right there, his sons. And that's supposed to be his best friend. That's how you can trust 'em. So, there might have been a few good ones, but ninety-nine percent are no good. That's the way I feel about 'em.

Okay let's go back. You said you were, you had built this house.

That shack, you mean. In the woods?

Yeah, in the woods. The shack. And um, you were living in the shack and your father got food from...

We had plenty food. Something, we had always food.

'Cause he went out and took potatoes from fields.

Potatoes. Well, I still like potatoes. I used to--I remember I used to bake 'em. Probably twenty hours a day and eat twenty hours a day. For some reason I would never get filled up with those potatoes. Baking. We used to build a little fire and under, you stick 'em in under the ashes and they come out the best in the world.

Were you afraid the fire would um, be seen by anybody?

In the daytime you, you--we built small fires. We knew exactly how to do it already you know. A fire--at night you don't see the smoke. You see flames, so you gotta be careful. In the daytime you don't see a little fire. It's not that much smoke. And most of the time we would make the fire inside the house. Everybody would go out, it was choking. And as long as we tried to keep the fire low. I mean the smoke so it would go low, so it wouldn't go way up in the air.

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