Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Start of War II

Let me follow this for a second. You said that there's some families that moved into your neighborhood, or into your community. They were refugees from other towns.

Yeah from uh, from uh, Western Poland. That's uh, where the Germans uh, occupied.

They came in to live with their relatives?

The, they--there was no--they didn't have any relatives. We didn't...

How did...

They just came as refugees. Just came with uh, a little uh, packages on their back and that's all. Whatever they could uh, grab to take to leave home.

Where did they live?

Uh, we, the Jewish people are al...they're always helpful in such a case. Uh, you know, Jews like to give ???


They used to accommodate them. People used to let them in. Uh, when they, and when they made, started to work and make a living, they used to pay a little rent as much as they could.

How many uh, how many refugees would you say came into your town?

It's hard to say, but uh, I would estimate uh, about three hundred. Two-fifty, three hundred.

Let's take the chain of events as they go on from there.


All right, the war started. You know, most of the people, you said, in your community just kind of stayed put 'cause there wasn't any place to go...


...and they didn't know what to do. Refugees came into the town from other parts of the country.


What happened after that?

Uh, June the 21st...

The year?

Uh, 1941...


...when Germany attacked Poland ???. And uh, right away--at that time I was uh, I was--I took on a job as a bookkeeper in a village near Dombrowitza. I did not, I didn't even know that war broke out at that time. I found it out uh, a few days--days, mind you--later when I, when I saw some, the Russian soldiers who ran away. They were uh, barefoot, dirty, did not washed. And uh, most of them without weapons were running away. So I, then we sta...we knew what's going on. I was still there in the village. Uh, and that Sunday I decided--Sunday I don't remember which date. It would have been--I think it was the Sunday next to the, to ???. Uh, I decided I, I'm going to go home, see what's uh, what's doing because I don't know anything what's going on. When I was going home uh, I met my father. He took the--he took a horse and they--he came on horseback riding, he was going to pick me up. And I found out that uh, the many Jewish families were trying to escape. Uh, even our family already put everything on the, on the wagon--put whatever we could on the wagon they put there and they, they were ready to leave. So what happened? One of my sisters said, "What's going to happen with ???" That's the way I was called uh, there. They used to call me ???. And uh, any little excuse--my mother heard that, she said, "We're not leaving," because uh, it was hard to part with the house. It was very hard. Uh, so at that time my older brother, my older sister, they got up and they escaped. And they reached uh, about seventy kilometers from Dombrowitza uh, in a city Rokitno, it was a small town. Uh...

[interruption in interview]

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