Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Goldman - June 6, 2003

Seeing a concentration camp

While you were on the farm, were you wondering about the rest of your family and what was happening?

All the time, all the time.

What did you think? Did you hear anything?

No, I hadn't heard anything from, from there for the rest, for the rest of the war.

And did you hear anything about what was happening to the Jews in general?

Oh yes, I used to--the Germans used to uh, well, what do you call it, they used to uh, they used to pick up some of the farmers now and then just to have 'em take the horses and the, and the wagons and haul lumber for the Germans, you know. It's just like uh, they had to do it. They had to do it--what do you call it?

Forced labor.

For the farmers it was not forced, but it was forced for them to once a month or once a so often to go and pick up lumber and deliver it to the Germans wherever they wanted it delivered. And I used to go. So one time I went--I used to go by, right Skar_ysko..,

Yeah, yeah.

...by the camp there and I was well, maybe within three or four hundred yards from the camp since I was going with the horses, you know, hauling the lumber.

So you saw what was happening.

Oh yeah, I know, I saw what happening. I knew what was happening too. They were, the boys were talking about it, what's going on.

What were they saying?

Well, they didn't say anything really, they didn't care much about us.

Do you remember what you saw there through the barbed wire?

No, you couldn't see much because I was in a distance, you know. But I, I knew what it was.

Did you have any idea that they were killing Jews all across Poland?

Oh yes, oh yeah. Because even, even the Polacks said, "Gee, the Jews are gone and we, we don't get the merchandise that we used to get," you know. When the Jews were there they used to deal and wheel with them, you know, and they, they, they were supplied by them. But uh, during the war, they... But they, they never said anything that they miss 'em or anything, they just missed their supplies.

Had you heard of Auschwitz or Treblinka?

No, at that time no. I didn't hear of any of that.

At any time during the war?

No, no. Not 'til after the war.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn