Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Going into Hiding

Oh a robber, a thief.

A robber, yeah. "You're going to do--you're going to do that, they're going to kill us all. Don't do this." But anyway, at that time about five hundred Jews ran away. They ran back. Some of them were killed. Some escaped. Mostly they escaped in the, in the forest. But uh, the Ukrainians were catching and bringing them back to the police. They uh, some they killed, they killed themselves. And uh, as I told you before about this uh, the Na...the Ukrainian Nationalist band, the Banderovci, Bulbovcis used to kill, kill them. And out of all these five hundred Jews who escaped, there were about thirty-five left alive until the Germans were defeated. Only thirty-five, and the rest the Ukrainians killed. Uh, one of these uh, uh, o...it was our neighbor. We lived in, like in a duplex. Uh, he was a, a ???, this is a cattle slaughter.


And his wife uh, was--she came as a refugee from Slovechno, from Eastern Ukraine where there were many pogroms in the First World War against--after the First World War too, the time of the revolution. There were many pogroms against Jews over there. So there are a few who escaped and they were--they lived in Dombrowitza. So this woman said uh, af...yeah, it was after they let free the men from the market. You remember from the way--before I told you that.


Uh, we said, "We, we have to make a hiding place." So we dug a hole beneath uh, the barn, where they had the barn. They dug a hole beneath the slaughter house, where they used to slaughter the chickens and everything. So we made a hole and we made this uh, little bit uh, a little bit air to come in from the, in between the barns there. We put a, we put a little bit uh, make it look like uh, uh, like the drains where they make where there is no sewage, you know a sewage drain.


With the cover, we used--we covered it so it looked like a drain. Uh, so we would get uh, air into the hole. They dug the hole and they didn't, they didn't make this. And uh, she was outside and uh, the ??? was digging the hole and there was, you know, he almost fainted. She came out uh, screaming uh, "Help, help!" We came out, we helped, we helped to pull him out. Of course, we gave him water and everything and uh, he survived. Uh, so she said this, "We, we made up our mind. We are--if they are going to take us to kill, we are not going to escape. We are going to go as we are because I know who the Ukrainians are. They--if the Germans wouldn't kill us, the Ukrainians will." She knew. Now about this uh, they took this uh, all the Je...the rest of the Jewish people. Most of the--of course, was the majority. They took them to a neighboring city Sarny, which was a, a, a larger city than Dombrowitza. It was uh, uh, like a county-city uh, you could call it. It's a powiat, in Polish called. Uh, because over there, in the ghetto there from all the vicinity, from all the small towns around Sarny. Together, together there were about twenty-five thousand Jews. And they throw them in behind uh, barbed wire. And uh, at night they uh, yeah, they told everybody to, to get undressed--all, without all the clothes. And at night somebody uh, got some shears, cut the wire and they tried to escape. So at that time they started to shoot at them, to shoot everybody. They didn't manage to shoot them uh, all in the hole which are prepared. And uh, then they, they shoved them in into the, the holes. Uh, you know, they, they, they dug out holes. Uh, how do I know this? There was one boy who survived from there. Because the--he was beneath other people who were killed. He was not uh, shot. At night when it was quiet he escaped. He got into a farmer's house and uh, they gave him some clothes. Torn clothes, but uh, at least he got some clothes. And he escaped.

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