Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982


What year?

Nineteen uh, forty...the beginning 1942. Then they made the ghetto. The uh, people used to live in the outskirts of the center of the city, they uh, they had to move in...into inside the city. And uh, uh, uh, that's the way the--of course, uh, this, this I didn't tell you. Many people escaped uh, to, to Russia. At the time when I told you that our family was ready to the escape and they--so they got--they didn't escape. Uh, on the other hand, some more people came from other towns where they, they managed to kill all--the Germans managed to kill already. That was 1941 uh, from Rokitno, the city I told you the--where my mother is coming from?


So we had uh, uh, our own family we had refugees. We had children and women. They let them go. They chased them out of the city. The, the men they killed then. Uh, also from a dif...from other cities, from ??? no it's not ???, other city ???. There was a, a rabbi from ??? was uh, there. He was hiding in our city. They wanted to get him and he escaped. Uh, one time it happened uh, when the--we were already in the ghetto. Uh, my--I don't remember whether my older brother or my father met somebody. Uh, it was, it was a Jewish uh, uh, soldier from--he didn't wear these uh, soldier clothes anymore but uh, he was in the Russian army and uh, he got uh, he, he escaped uh, he, he was lucky to escape, not to fall into prison from the Germans. And he was killed just walking uh, little by little, he was trying to get home. He was from Galicia somewhere, there around uh, Lemberg, L'viv, the southern province. So met him and brought him to our house and uh, we kept him hidden overnight. They gave him food. And uh, and we gave him, we gave him some uh, clean clothes. He wanted to leave the dirty clothes. We told him to take it. Take it uh, you wash it on the way in the river somewhere, you will, you will be able to change it. And the--this--the, the people who escaped--I, I told you 'cause of that the Jewish people escaped. And then we had the other refugees coming in. There were--we were about the same--same amount of Jewish people were there as before the war, about three and a half thousand. And uh, we are a little better off than others because we, we had already some food and everything. But life was very hard for Jewish people in the ghetto and starvation was all over.

Who was in charge of the ghetto?

In charge of uh, you mean, uh, from the German side?

From both sides.

You mean the Jewish--the Judenrat, uh, it's uh, uh, it was a self-governing--so called self-governing, uh...

Do you remember any names from the Judenrat?

Yeah, I remember names. Uh, one, this is--I don't know if he still--he might be still alive uh, ???. Uh, he is--had his own business there, the drug store, patent drugs. Uh, he escaped. And uh, there's another one uh, Schlomo uh, he was from a village, from ???, near Dombrowitza. His last name I don't remember. He's still alive. But he, he was just uh, uh, from the enforcement--from law enforcement. Uh, the ones, the, he was among the ones some, some Jewish people didn't go to work, he used to go and pick them up. That's what he did. There were some uh, in the, in the Judenrat uh, they did it--of course, they did it uh, everything to go orderly to prevent from uh, from some calamity from the Germans. But the--it o...it once happened that the Judenrat did a list of fifty Jewish men who didn't go to work, they didn't attend uh, forced labor. Uh, among them was my father and uh, the Germans told them to, to give them a list on the pe...from the people who don't go to work. So they gave them the list, the fifty men, and uh, they took in the first ten men uh, and right away the Judenrat already bribed them. They gave them all, all kinds of goodies, the Germans uh, they shouldn't uh, they shouldn't kill them. So what did they do? They beat them up real bad. They came uh, they could hardly breathe when they came back.

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