Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nancy Fordonski - May 29, 1982



Meant to be.

meant to be that I should still meet my husband. So I got married, we got married the same night. One before and one later. One afte...one before sundown, one after sundown. My sister and I. So we made a double wedding. It wasn't too much. But uh, with the best, what we could…

You shared your life up 'til then, you shared your marriage. What made you decide to come to the United States?

[pause] First of all, going back to your childhood you hear, America, America. It sounds so beautiful. It sounds so great and so rich. So after going through what we went through, so we were thinking if there is a possibility, maybe it would be the best thing if we could come to the States. One ways it wasn't easy for us because coming out from Łódź we had to go to Germany first to go further. And in Poland, after 1946 it started already with pogroms in many places. So we had decided to leave the coun...to leave Poland. Even if it was our birthplace. And my brother Srilek he had, he was already in Germany. He send a note with a Polish girl to Poland--to Zdunska Wola that he is alive and if somebody from the family is alive that we should try to get in touch with him. So we're writing to him and back and forth. We have decided that uh, best thing will be first to go to Germany to see what's--what we can do. But it wasn't the easiest thing even to go out from Poland to Germany. Because the borders were closed and the, the Jewish people--the Polish people were taking the, their soldiers or even private citizens, when you came on a train and they noticed that you are a Jew, they threw you off the train. Or they just kicked you with whatever and they killed you. So we had to have--there were smugglers that they were transporting people from Stettin into Germany into the camp to, to Berlin. Like, they had orders uh, let's say, to bring in coffee or different things from Stettin. This was the, the border from Poland to Germany. So there were smugglers there that they were doing this for, for money or for jewelry or whatever. That when they had a wagon full of uh, sacks--coffee beans and other--different other things. So with every truckload of their goods, they took a few people with them to smuggle over the border to take you to, to Berlin. So it was funny that one day--I had a watch, it wasn't a--I don't know, my husband got it from somebody. So I was pushed, we pay them, we pay the smugglers that both of us--they should take both of us that certain night to go cross to the border. And we had to stay in a special place. From that place we were taken there. So one night we were supposed to go, and while he was counting fifteen peoples or sixteen peoples to take along, when he came to me, he pushed me on the, on the truck and coming to my husband he says "No, I can just take fifteen people. You will stay on for the following day 'til we go with another load." So I got so frightened, I said, "For heaven's sake if they close the border even for them that they won't let them through with those wa...with those uh, trucks with the food."


So I took, pulled out my watch--I know, somehow it got into my mind to do something about it but fast, because the minute he pushed me off he was ready to close the door. So I pulled off my watch from my hand. It was already paid for my husband too, it was paid for both of us, but somehow he didn't have enough room. He said, "Tonight I'm taking fifteen. You be tomorrow from the first one," but we didn't know whether tomorrow will come.


So I pulled off my watch from my arm and I gave it to him so he pushed him in and he was just on the top of those uh, on those beans. And then while being there already, we were trying you know, to get in, in corners, because when we came to the border they opened up and they checked or that--what is in that truck.


So if those uh, those sacks of beans, of those uh you know, coffee beans were all you know, next to the other. We were just in the middle in the back, so they couldn't see us.

[interruption in interview]

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