Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Brother Drafted into Russian Army

Fear, of course.

Naturally, he says--I asked him I says whats, whats happening now? And so he explained to me and I mean, at this point, I mean, I understood naturally more. And maybe I, I dont know, maybe I thought out to a certain you know, maybe fifteen, twenty percent and, and uh, he explained to me that the front is still going on and the Germans are trying to ease back in. And uh, we were there for about four weeks I would say. And then we took a train back--we heard that its all clear. And we went back. And then--is when the Russians and the Russian uh, the, the over there it was called the ??? uh, draft board or whatever, they came and they said uh, Anszel Gun, he says uh, you have to report to the ser--to service tomorrow morning. So he says look, he says I got a 10 year old brother, not quite 10 yet. He says I--we just survived the Nazis, he says and I hate to leave him alone. He says well well make sure hes taken care of.

So he went?

So, no he didnt go. So he says give me, he says a day. He says give me one day to arrange things for him. I wanna talk to him, and he says Ill report tomorrow, day after. He says give me 24 hours--they wanted to take him immediately, there was no monkey business, I mean, the war was still going on. So uh, he came home, this must have been around--I remember, you know, there was uh, I heard it was Rosh Hashanah, must have been a month already, around Septemberish of '44.


Im pretty sure--my brother doesnt even recall, but I remember being in uh, in this little shul praying. And he came in and called me out and he says look, he says they wanna take me into the army and Im not going. He says Im going--Im running away.

[pause] Was about to be drafted and he came in?

He came in and told me, he says look, he says Im not going into the army. He says Im taking off. He says I will let you know where I am, and he took off. And I was living there in the house. There was an older woman that survived the war, and lived there also in our house, you know, the lady must have been another time maybe 60. So she sort of looked after me. And uh, I was uh, 1, I know one time I went with another fella, there was a big shortage of yeast in our city. And I got dressed I was quite--I was skinny, but I was quite tall for my age. So I got dressed with a Russian uniform with another guy about 17 years old. I dont even know who the guy was to be honest with you. Also a Jewish boy but I dont recall exactly who he was. But he approached me if I would go with him, I dont know, maybe if my brother would of been in there he wouldnt of let me but we both went on a train to Rovno to buy yeast as, as Russian soldiers. [laughs]


And we went on the train, and got to Rovno, bought the yeast, came back. And we sold it in our town and we made some--a few rubles and, uh...

So you were in the black market?

I was in the black market selling yeast. And uh, the train, you know, they used to--I think even the lady who used to take care of me, she used to bake these little bulkes, you know, like little rolls. And as the trains were going by people would stop and buy 'em, you know. Soldiers and non-soldiers and--you know it was still a war time. And uh, I just stuck around the house. I remember I used to, I used to go out and look at the, they used to have parades at the times. And a lot of times the Russian soldiers, and I would look and--then you know, all of a sudden one night, oh about a week after my brother was gone they called me, they came in the middle of the night--and the KGB.

Looking for Anszel.

They knew he was gone; they took me to question me. Were--they say you must know where he is. He says you better tell us where he is or else we send you away to a orphanage, to Russia. I think the first time they questioned me I really didnt know. But later somebody--a lady came and told me that he was, he was in that town that I showed you that my sister-in-law comes from. Its called, uh...


No, Włodzimierz. In, in Russian it was Vladimir-Volynsk. In Polish it was Włodzim... Włodzimierz. Uh, must be about, maybe 100 kilometers, maybe 150 kilometers from our town; closer towards Poland. He went over there. He registered un... under a different name. Called himself ???, got a job workin for the Russian government. See it was war times, so. And after, I dont know, a couple of months went by, maybe three, no, I dont really--can tell you exactly the time. And I was--I remember I was standing outside once and looking at the parade or something or was amazed with the Russian soldiers. And uh, a lady came on and tapped me on the shoulder and I turned. She says are you Yankiel? Well my name was Yankiel. Yankiel Gun? I says yes. She says uh, I came here my brother--your brother send after you. My name is so and so and uh, I came to take you to where he is. But what I forgot previously is they bothered me about three, four times. The Russian, the KGB. Always the same bologna. They always used to wake me up in the middle of the night and, you know, asking me questions. Now we heard that you know, we know that you know, and I--you better tell us where your brother is. And uh, as young as I was I knew not to tell, and I already knew. The first time probably I didnt, but the other times they took me I knew already, but I wouldnt, I wouldnt dare say. And the other thing that I forgot was uh, right after the war, before this happened as, as I mentioned to Sid we both had typhus.

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