Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Attempting to Leave Hiding Place

When I and my brother once uh, it was, we were in the forest already a few weeks. Uh, Avi, Avi escaped to the forest, that's a diff...that's another story altogether. Uh, this uh, we were in the forest a few weeks, we, we went to get some potatoes from the field. There were some potatoes in the field. Uh, when we were going back to the--to where we were in the forest, to, to the place where we were hiding. We saw there is somebody uh, it was a fire--somebody sitting off a fire inside, but it was right in the front, the forest and uh, this was not a place to, to, to be hiding anyway. So we knew, who, who will be at night, it must be a Jewi...a Jewish person. We came where we go...we got near it. He saw us coming, he escaped. So we start to talk to him in Yiddish he came back. And he told us about it, what happened there.

And ???

He did not survive either. He was killed by the Ukrainians in the forest uh, five months later. Our family, we, we went uh, into the hole which we had prepared. Uh, and then there were some uh, we had uh, three or four cousins from ??? I had told you about. They were with us too. Also, yeah uh, two, two of them were--one was taken away. He had uh, he was sick with dysentery. Before they, before they killed the Jews from Dombrowitza there, there was an epide...uh, epidemic of dysentery. So he was in the hospital. But it--those--the Jewish people in the hospital they took in uh, horse and wagon and that's--they throw them, they throw them and they took them away to kill on the way there. So those two were with us. And then uh, some other Jewish people joined us, which they were a couple houses away and they happened to be from the Polish refugees who escaped 1939 to came, came to our city. It was a father with two daughters. And uh, we were there in the hole. We could not leave right away the city because my father and my--and one of my sisters had dysentery. They were very weak. They wouldn't manage to walk, you know. So we, we were there nine days. On the ninth day, they were feeling better already. It was uh, it just happened uh, the, the night before uh, I said uh, "If you're a little better," I said, "let's go out. I am worried they might catch us." Because we had to go out. Sometimes we had to get out uh, go out to get some water. Used to go out at night to get the, from, there was mainly a pump for water. We used to get out and uh, get some water. Food uh, in the houses we still found some food, a little. Uh, there was a neighbor of ours where uh, it was hid...hidden in thi...in this place uh, and he had a, he had a little food and we--this way we managed there. And that eighth night I said, "Let's--we ha...we have to leave the town because I'm afraid something might happen, they might catch us. You feel better? Do you feel a little better?" And I told my brother--I had only one brother and five sisters--so I told my brother, if uh, if he would be, if uh, father couldn't be able to walk, to carry him part of the way and then he walk a little and carry part of the way and we go to the forest. And it happened to be that uh, my brother and my father they knew very well the, the area. They could have hide--if my father would have survived we could have been in a, in a, such a forest where it was the east part, the east of Dombrowitza. There were very deep forest. He said, "Nobody would find us over there." And there were uh, it happened to be the uh, very good Ukrainian people. And that's--it sounds a little bit uh, contradictory. But those people they were very, very poor. Poorer than the other Ukrainians. And being separated, living in, in those forested areas they did not get infected with such anti-Semitism as the rest of them. And the fact is in that place, the--most of the Jewish people who were hiding in those forests survived. It just happened that uh, uh, I was the younger one and uh, they didn't take my advice then. Uh, they, they did not uh, they didn't believe. And the next day it happened uh, one of my cousins went out uh, went off--we were not all the time in the hole. Some were on the top of the attic, we were on top of the barn there--the attic or the barn. Uh, and uh, that cousin went on--he had, you know, we had to go out, sometimes uh, toilet something. So there was a little boy--a five, a five-year-old boy--Ukrainian boy whose brother was a policeman. He came--we had a garden there on the back of the house. He came there and he picked tomatoes. So he saw him, he went home and he t...he told them. The police came and they found us on the top of the barn there--the attic of the barn.

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