Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Thoughts on Poles

No, its got ev...no, of course not, it's got a lot to do with. Let me just carry this a little further. You have no particular animosity toward Poles then do you?

I tell you, I don't really have a true animosity. I have some. You see during the war--I, I, I'll give you a little example. After the war, there was eh, there was a gathering of the Hidden Children in Israel. These are the children who were hidden during the war with Polish people, with eh, eh, in forests, in places where no one could find them and they survived. And during this particular gathering in Jerusalem, there was about 2,000 these hidden children, a lot from France and from Belgium, from different countries. And at that time we had the ambassadors in, to Israel from these, from these different countries spoke. And the ambassador from Belgium spoke and from France and they were given a question and answer period. And then came the ambassador from Poland. And he stated that it was very hard to hide a Jewish child, and he's right in that because one could be killed for hidden a Jewish child. But the problem in Poland wasn't question--wasn't a question of hiding a Jewish child. I was waiting for a question and answer period eh, and many other people probably too but we didn't get the chance because with this Polish ambassador they didn't have a question and answer period. The, the problem is, the problem was in Poland not of asking the Christians to help the Jews, or the Christians helping the Jews. The Jews didn't need any help or didn't want any help, even though they, they, they were happy to have some help. The question was for the Polish people not to point out a Jewish guy or a Jewish woman. The Germans couldn't tell the difference between Jew and not Jew. What--the Polish could smell it. How could they smell it? Because they knew that this is a new face in the neighborhood in time of ghetto or concentration camp. When there was a new face in the neighborhood and they suspected it to be Jewish guy, immediately they call, "Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude!" There was no place to run. In Poland when a Jewish guy was fortunate to run away, there was no place for him to run. Not only that no one wanted him, but most Polish people, like ninety-nine point some percent would point him out. That was the problem. So it wasn't a question of helping Jewish people, just don't destroy them. And these Polish people, they could not wait to point a Jew out. That's why so many people died in Poland. There was no place to run. No place to hide. If a Pole knew that ten homes down there another Pole is hiding a Jew, he could not resist go to the Germans and tell them, and tell them.

That's true, so they could get some sugar.

That was the, that, that was, that was eh, the problem in Poland. So they went over and beyond the call of duty to get rid of the Polish people, to get of, to get rid of the Jewish people in Poland. And eh, a lot of it eh, it's, it's hard to totally uh, forgive, but on the other hand you cannot hold a new generation eh, eh, guilty of that. You cannot hold them responsible for that, eh.

Well, in a sense you live with a Polish person.

You mean my wife.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn