Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Lived in Poland after the War

To where in Poland?

I dont know exactly where we st... where we--but I know we lived in Łódź for a short period of time and a short period of time in Lublin, and also a short period of time in Gdańsk. I guess my brother tried to uh, do a little business, I dont know, you know, the black market business and--I dont think he did very much and uh, and uh, somehow and somewhere we got involved with the, there was a organization then working uh, called the Briha.


Have you heard of them?


And they were pulling Jews out of Poland, illegally, towards Israel.

So, you, you got involved with them as workers?

No, we got involved with them to...

To go to Israel.

To get out of Poland. We were, we had enough of Russia and Ukraine and Poland. We wanted to go westward ho. So, uh...

The Briha was a clandestine orga... organization?

Right, right. And we were traveling as uh, I uh, what I forgot to bring in the mean time was that, uh, in the mean time my brother met his former wife while we were in her town in, in Włodzimierz. He met his present wife, Manya. Her maiden name was ??? And we got acquainted and uh, my brother used to ask my opinions, what I used to think when he used to--really, you know, its amazing. In fact, in fact he used--he met a girl before and uh, my present sister-in-law, Manya, was once, while we were still in Rozhishche, she came there for something--looking for somebody or something and we met her and she was a very nice girl, very nice. And she, you know, she sort a showed the, sort of uh, compassion for me or, you know, and I liked her from the first time I met her. And then, while we were still in Poland my brother met another girl, in fact, I remember she was a very pretty girl and uh, he asked me, he says uh, what do you think? In fact, her name happened to be the same as my mothers, Sonia. He says what do you think of Sonia? I says I dont know, he says, I says I dont like her too much. I says, I says if you could find a girl like Manya that we met in our town, I says thats something different. Isnt that so...--I think the main reason was that I didnt, I was afraid of him getting in love with somebody that, you know, take away from me. You know, like a...

Would separate you?

Pardon me?

Would separate you again?

No, no, not separate, its like taking love away, you know, from a child or uh, I figured that itll take uh, hell have, give all the attention to the girlfriend or uh, future wife, or whatever. So uh, uh, I liked her, anybody that I saw that he wasnt too interested in, that I liked her. So uh, eventually when he--then when we wound up in Włodzimierz and he, and he made contact again with my present sister-in-law, Manya, so I couldnt say much now, I told him a long time ago that I liked her. So she traveled on with us from then on. When we left to Poland, she went with us already and lived together with us, even though they didnt get married 'til a little later. So we, we started to--with the Briha to leave Poland. And uh, we traveled I remember as Greeks, we were supposed to be Greeks. We used to wear these barrettes and we couldnt speak on the trains or wherever we were, we were not allowed to speak, unless you knew Hebrew. Because the people over there, whoevers borders we crossed they didnt underst...--they didnt know anything about Hebrew, Hebrew sounded like Greek to them. So if you could speak Hebrew you could talk, if you couldnt speak Hebrew you had to keep your mouth shut. And uh, I remember we wound up for awhile, we were in Czechoslovakia and brought his love. And finally we wound up in V... in Vienna and stayed at the Rothschild hospital like complex for a few weeks. And then from there we got in--we were shipped to Linz, Austria. It was at the peak end on the American zone, because they were divided up there, everything in three zones, American, French, and Russian. Was it Russian?


Yeah. So we were on the American zone and under the American g... and we were in barracks, but over there we were already--it was great. We got quite a bit of food and they established a school, not a--it wasnt a school, but a regular public school with regular teachers. But uh, if one guy was an engineer he used to teach science, if a guy uh, used to be a book keeper he t... taught math. My sister-in-law knew Hebrew so she became a Hebrew teacher.

So it was staffed by the immigrants?

Exactly, and thats when I first learned my ABCs. Now we got there very early. We got there at the end of '45. Probably, end of October. We were one of the first ones there. And my brother was workin under uh, Simon Wiesenthal. Simon Wiesenthal had an office in Linz. And then my sister-in-law was teaching Hebrew there and uh...

Did you talked about what it meant to go to Israel?

Yes, and my uh, my sister-in-law was very much for going to Israel. She was very Zionistic minded and she really wanted to go to Israel. And by the way, my brother, thats where he got married, was in Linz, when we got to Linz, gots him a Rabbi and thats when he got married officially to his wife.

He was 18?



'Forty-five he, end of '45 he was 21.


He was born '24.

Hes 10 years older than you?

Mm-hm. Almost, his birthday is the end of the year, November, and mine is in July so 9 1/2 approximately. So she was very much for going to Israel and my brother was not. We had family, he knew we had family here and he felt, I dont know, maybe he wasnt as much--he was looking, in other words, to uh, he felt that he suffered long enough maybe, I dont know. He was looking for, to have a little betterment in life. And I guess he realized that in Israel its not an easy task.

So you knew...

Pardon me?

You knew what, what you were facing if you...

Sure, sure. Well I had nothing to say, I mean, it wasnt up to me. My brother was making the decisions. Cause in '45, I was, or '46 I was 12. I mean, I still uh, couldnt give, didnt know anything about it or, so he was very much to go to United States. And while we were in that DP camp he met a soldier, an American soldier that was from Pittsburgh. And we had an aunt, my uh, fathers sister that lived in a small town near Pittsburgh. We didnt know her address but we knew her town. And being such a small town, there was no problem of finding her. So when this soldier went back home, we gave him a letter to drop to Mr. B. Wikes, Breckenridge, Pennsylvania. And Breckenridge was almost as big as Rozhishche.


So they had no problem, they were a pro... prominent family, they had, the, a little super market there so they had no problem in making contact with them. And when they found out, naturally we got letters right back. And my sister-in-law had two uncles in Detroit, her fathers two brothers.

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