Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Moses Merin

Yeah, yeah. Do you ever remember hearing anything about Moses Merin, the leader of the Judenrat?

Oh yes.

Can you tell me what you know or what you remember?

Well, I happen to know quite a bit because I knew the people. Some of the people--I'll tell you a story about somebody who deserves to be mentioned and his name was ???. At one time, Morris Merin was the head of the Jewish Gemeinde. I never came in close contact with him. I only know what I heard. In the beginning he really did try to save the Jews. Maybe all the time he tried, I don't know. Uh, many of our once leaders from the Zionist organization were working in the Jewish Gemeinde. Uh, like Fanny uh, Lubelski Kavner, who was the right hand of Merin, she was once uh, a very active member of the Zionist movement. Uh, I can say that he sent us to gas chambers. I mean, the Germans wanted people and maybe they did have, I don't want to be the judge of them. Uh, but I can tell you about ???. When they started to take our boys to uh, concentration camps and you had just to pick names, he said, "Who am I to send somebody's children to camps?" And he endangered his life by quitting the Jewish Gemeinde. Later on I understand that he worked for some factory, if I am not mistaken it was ??? factory. And do you know that working from there he was sending some people to Israel, to Hungary. Unfortunately they killed him. But then I know about friends of mine who were together in my organization and their names should be mentioned too. And these are two brothers ??? and ??? . They were risking their lives by getting out of the ghetto and ??? was at that time married to a girl whose name was ???. And she looked just like a Gentile girl. She had blonde hair and was wearing her hair up, like. And she would, I know definitely from people who were with her that she used to go out of the ghetto and travel to Warsaw and she was wearing black clothes and a veil over her face. Like in Poland if somebody of the Christians lost a husband or a member of the family, they used to be in mourning and they used to wear black clothes and veils. And in that outfit she would go to Warsaw and she had connections there with someone who was making papers for the people uh, ??? papiere it used to be called. Uh, and these people--and I know someone, a friend of mine who unfortunately died a couple years ago uh, who is in, lived in Canada recently. Uh, he is one of these people who through them went to Israel. When he came to Hungary, they told him to go to Hungary, they, they exactly told him how, when, what. He sat there in Hungary not knowing who will come to him and when, but he got a half a pencil and he was told, "Somebody will come to you with the other half of the pencil and you will go with that person." And that's how he got to Israel during the war. And this was the doing of ??? and ??? was capped, they cut off his cap--hat in Katowice. And ??? was shot in front of the ghetto. And his wife got him somehow into ghetto and he was buried there. His parents were at that time in a different bunker and I don't know if they ever found out that he was killed. I know that they were told that he was retained by the Germans, but they did not know that he was shot in front of the ghetto. So there was some resistance, there was some doing. Uh, as far the--I, I, I, I can't say, people did say different things about Morris, uh...


Merin. But I, I don't know much about it. I shouldn't be able to say anything, really.

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