Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Held Hostage

And you told him Yerushkas name.

That guy was lookin for us. He wanted to play a trick on us because we left him without even saying goodbye and, you know, just abandoned him actually. So he got a hold of the sheriff, a Ukrainian sheriff of the town. And somehow, somewhere, maybe my brother mentioned to somebody where he was staying the previous winter, he might have mentioned Primas name. And this guy found where we were staying. And he came with the sheriff of the town one night to Primas. We heard the sleigh or whatever, with the horses comin so he naturally put us down in the basement. And the sheriff knocked on the door and he came in and he says, look Im the sheriff of this and this town. He says I know you got two Jewish boys living here. He says, Jewish boys. He says what? He says, dont give me no bull, he says you got two Jewish boys, one is 19, one is 9. He says this is their names, we know theyre here. So if you want to live, he says you bring him out. So what did he do? What could he do?

So he turned you over?

Turned us over.

Did they arrest him?

No, wait, they didnt arrest him. This guy was also--he didnt care so much about killing us, luckily. He wanted stuff.

The sheriff?

The sheriff. He knew the story that we have a lot of goods at Yerushkas from his friend that we stayed at the winter before. So he told him, he says look, he told my brother, the sheriff, and, and with the sheriff was the other guy. He says, he says I know that you have this and this and this over there and over there. And he says, now, he says you, the sheriff told him, youll go with my friend to Osawa and bring me this and this and this otherwise he says I kill your brother here. He says Ill stay here and wait for you and youll go with this guy with the horses and get me.

S... so he...

You follow me?

Yeah, so he left you as a hostage?

Yes so the sheriff kept me as a hostage, stayed in that house with Primas and my brother went with the other guy to Osawa. And he told Yerushka what happened and Yerushka was a saint actually. He says okay what does he need? What does he want? Thats all I have if he wants it, take it. So he got him whatever he wanted, came back, and you know what the sheriff said? He says look, he says thatll teach you a lesson. He says youre a young fella, he says you have to learn. He says you dont blabble, you dont talk he says you keep your mouth shut. He says and Ill tell you another thing, he says I will not bother you, nobody will bother you. You can stay here he says youll be as safe here now as you were before I got here and he left. Now you would think that Primas would be scared and want to let us go, right? Primas became better, and thats when his wife really started to bitch. She says you gonna take a chance and keeping them now? He says yeah, and he says if you dont like it, he says you leave. He says, and you know what else, he says to A... he says to Anszel, Anszel? He says I dont want anything from you anymore. He says I dont want Yerushka to give me anymore, he says I dont think he, he has much left. He says I dont want any payments from Yerushka for keeping you. He says I will keep you.

He was just angry that he had, um...

Pardon me?

Do you think that he was just angry, embarrassed, ashamed?


This Primas, at this point?

Angry, no, I mean--ashamed of what?

For his fellow Ukrainians?

I dont know, I dont think he was ashamed. I think he was a very nice man and he felt that, hey just because all this happened. He says I, Im not gonna let you go now, or uh, ab... leave you or uh, you know? He says now, he says I feel I really want to save you.

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