Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

The Judenrat

He was on the Judenrat.

Pardon me?

Was there a Juden...

He was not Judenrat. He was part of the O.D., he was a very, very good friend of the, of the, of the man in charge of the police department. The, the, of the, what would you call it, officer in charge. It was not just officer in charge, Spira. His name was Spira, Symcha Spira. And he was a close friend of my uh, of my uncle. So we had a little bit of pull.

What are your feelings about Spira?

I tell you, Spira. [pause] You see, my feelings about Spira, once upon a time, while I was in ghetto and I was still, I mean, very young uh, we were told he's uneducated,, uh. But, he was not really cooperating with Germans, but he had no choice. He was in charge of the Jewish police, you know. And the Germans had a way--if, if, if you wouldn't follow through, he would be killed. Eh, in comparison to the man in charge of the same police department in Płaszów concentration camp, he was good in comparison to the man in, in Płaszów. He was uh, the name in Płaszów, the fellow was Hirovitch. And he was...All of these people, when you put, when you give them power, that happens. That's something that we all, none, we should realize more in life. People, you give people a little bit of power, all of a sudden the power goes to their brain and they think they are better than anyone else in the world. And, and that's what happened to some of the Jewish policeman. Not to all of them, to some of them. And that's what happened to Spira. He thought he's going to survive the war eh, that. He thought he's, he's, he, that he's a king. And, of course, the Germans knew better. Eh, the Germans eh, wiped out the kings eh, always before they let them go. So the same thing with Hirovitch was in charge of the police department in uh, in Płaszów concentration camp. He and the closest people to him were all killed uh, before the camp was uh, uh, emptied, so to speak, before the camp was, uh...

Before Płaszów was liquidated.

Liquidated, right.

Um, from, from March 1941, when the ghetto was founded...


© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn