Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Start of War

Where were you when you first heard about the war?

Uh, when I first heard about the war was uh, when I was--after I graduated school I helped my father with the business and I was uh, near the railroad, there was um, railroads, the junkyard. Uh, so that's when I heard it. And uh, I came back home it was two kilometers from uh, from the city. And I came back home uh, I found out it was uh, uh, laying out uh, on the walls to--for a draft. It's called up to the army and the papers uh, there were big headlines uh, that the war broke out.

Do you remember your feelings at that time?

Very sad. Very sad.

How did your family respond to hearing about the war?

My family? Same, same as I. Same as I.

Were there any options they could have done? Was there any--did they have some choices at that time when they first heard about the war?

Uh, of course nobody knew what to do. They found out uh, the next day we found out that uh, Russia uh, made a treaty with uh, Germany. And uh, the--Poland, they divided uh, of course uh, Russia was going to go in one side to attack Poland uh, and uh, Germany from the other side. Uh, and they took divided, they took pa...the part of Poland where we lived, the Russians went in. There wasn't--it wasn't much time to think of what to do. First of all, the Russians uh, under the, under the--their system the--it's a system which is bad. Everybody has trouble uh, would have trouble there under dictatorship. We knew that. But uh, we knew that the Russians would not kill. They would not send uh, for, they would not send--if you're guilty according to their uh, they would not send you to jail or something, which, like Germany would do--a jail or concentration camp. Of course uh, the Russians uh, are known for that too. But uh, if you, if you followed uh, all the laws and you did not digress their laws, you, you would be safe. If you would not talk anything to, to anybody against the Russian government, you know you would be safe. So we felt a, a li...secure in the part of the Poland where uh, the Russians came. But uh, soon after the--we found, we found out that uh, we of course found out, we uh, the Jewish people from the Polish uh, from the other side of Poland where the Germans came uh, they were coming uh, refugees to our town. Some settled in our town, some in farther. And uh, they uh, established themselves there in our town. But uh, we didn't, we didn't know what's going to be the end. We, we knew we are secure now, but we didn't know what's going to happen yet until the war was over. Because we heard what's going on, the, the, Germany's conquering all over Western Europe and everything. And uh, I--I've--I had a hunch that they were still going to go against Russia too. But we couldn't do anything. Where could we go? Didn't have a place to go.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn