Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Contracting Typhus after the War


I had typhus, I believe my brother had it first, I believe and...

Right, right after...

Yes, and they took him into a Russian hospital. And uh, he wasnt uh, he wasnt too fat to begin with after the war. And here when I, when I came to see him in the hospital he was just like a stick.


And while he was in the hospital, it was an army hospital; they wanted to take him to the army. And I tol... and I went up there crying. I used to tell them thats the only one I have left and you gonna--hes like my father and you gonna take him away to the army and, and they didnt. They let him out from the hospital. And right after he got out I think I got sick. And but, and I remember a Russian uh, doctor coming right to the house to give me shots or medication. And they wanted to take me to the hospital, and I wouldnt go. And I kicked, I kicked and so hard I remember. I was kicking the doctor. And they never took me, never took me to the hospital. I guess I had the fear of going, of going somewheres or, I dont know. After going through what I did--and they didnt take me to the hospital. I somehow got better with medication.

It must have been very hard to be separated from Anszel at that point?

Well sure.

I mean...

He was like my uh, protector.

So when he told you he was going, what did you...

I didnt cry.

You didnt say anything, you just...

I says okay if thats what you have to do. I, I know I didnt cry. I, I uh, I grew up by then and knew that uh, if thats what he says he has to do theres a reason for it. I mean, he explained it to me.

Le... let me ask you, the, theres a, a number of people talk about how--because of their experience they lost their childhood, that they were, overnight became adults.

Very true.

Is that--do you think that happened to you?

Definitely. Uh, no question about it, I didnt have no childhood. I mean, I dont remember of uh, playing with uh, any kind of toys. Uh, I dont remember riding a bicycle. I had no childhood definitely. And things that I understood at the, at the age of 10--I mean an average kid wouldnt even think of in todays age. I looked at my son when he was 10, I mean uh, he was a baby, he was a baby. I mean, I couldnt even imagine of him having to go through what I did and uh, but I guess thats uh, when you, when you have circumstances like that this is what it does to you. It uh, hardens you, matures you uh, you know thats it. And you do things differently. I always used to, I know, I know I always used to like to listen to older peoples conversations and uh, maybe thats the reason Ive always looked older than my age. When I was uh, when I was 17, I had no problem to go into a bar. While I used to go with guys who were 21, 22, they used to ask 'em for an ID. So uh, I definitely grew up too fast, at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.

When this woman took you to your brother, you just went, of course?

I just went. I, I was a good soldier, I took uh, command well and listened well, and I knew if somebody says somethin you gotta do it and theres no questions asked.

So you were reunited?

Yes, we were reunited.

What was that like?

I dont recall. I really dont recall, I mean, we werent separated that long, only, like I said was maybe, two months, three months the mo... I dont even think it was three months.

Did you hug each other?

Yes, definitely. Probably gave him a kiss, but uh, that was it. And he used to get uh,--I remember going into, he used to work uh, something like a helper, to a book keeper or something, somewheres and he used to get these little coupons to go to restaurants to eat. And uh, we used to split whatever he used to get, we used to split. Wasnt a hell of a lot either, some kind of soup, some kind of mush. And what happened there though, he was walking down the street one day and he met somebody from our town that recognized him and he got very frightened.

A Jew?

No, a Ukrainian. And he, you know, he was actually a deserter.


And you know, I mean, especially during war time, youre a deserter you know what they do to you when they catch you. And what happened then was, you see, that theyre formed uh, in Włodzimierz where he was at. Formed a, a committee of repatriation. In other words, we were actually Polish citizens. So we were allowed to go back to Poland. But you had to go through a process, you know, to apply for papers and that. So uh,--but it was also, they said it takes awhile, you know. I dont know, in here he was scared and--so what we tried to do is, we were trying--my brother tried to smuggle me over to get to Poland. With a Russian truck, you see, there was Russian convoy trucks going from Włodzimierz towards, I believe the border, if Im not mistaken was near Chelm. But anyway, it wasnt too far from there where you cross and it was Poland already. So what he--at that time the Russian soldier for uh, two bottles of vodka theyd do anything. They dont care. So he asked a soldier, he says look, he says why dont you take my brother across hes got an aunt there, whatever he wants to get and another girl with me, which was old, quite a bit older than me. And she also had a brother, but also older than my brother. So the plan was for us two to get over and then they--them two would do the same thing. But as fate had it uh, when we came to the border the Russians, you know, there was an armored truck, you know, with a covered uh, you know, those uh, green, what do you call 'em?

Transport trucks?

Yeah, but you know, covered...


Canvas. So they opened the canvas and heres Jack under one bench and this girl by the name of Marsha under the other bench. So here we go. They take us out and uh, they say well, what are you people--where are you going--what are you doing? So first of all they took us into uh, jail cell. They put me in one cell, her in a different cell. Here I am, a 10 year old in jail. Thats all I needed after going through uh, uh, the hiding, here Im in jail. So they call me up--also they do everything at night. They figure they can get the most out of you at night. They call me upstairs. Why, why, why are, why are you doing this for what reason? I says look, he says, I says I just survived the Nazis and I found out I have a aunt living, I forgot what I told him, in Chelm orŁódź, or wherever. And Im trying to get to her. Why are you doing it this way? I didnt know other way, I says I saw trucks they told me they were going to--cant believe that, back. I dont know they held us probably three days. Well, they werent going to shoot me, and uh, but they bothered to try, you know, to try and find out the motive. Why are you doing this? And I stuck to my story, they couldnt, they couldnt do anything to change my, you know, what I said. And they saw they had no choice, so they let me out. And went back to Włodzimierz, and somehow somewhere, I dont know, my brother found out that we got held up. But he couldnt do nothing about it.

But he knew you were there at least.

Yeah, he knew we were there. And then when I came back he was, naturally he was, he was thrilled to death that I--at least they didnt do nothing and uh, and then he stop--so then he went to that committee, and luckily he met a man. Its a small, you know, they say its a small world. He met a man on that committee that was a Polish man that used to live in our town. You know thats a miracle too. And knew my family, and then, you know, he moved to Poland, I dont know when. But anyway, this thing was that he was truthful to this man. He says look, this is what happened, he says Im, Im Sam Guns son. He says I just went through the war and got saved with a little brother. The Russians wanted to take me into the army; I didnt wanna go I didnt want to leave him. You have to help me to get me quicker into the Polish side, and he did. And it didnt take too long, and we got into Poland. And there was already he wasnt scared of that anymore.

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