Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Ghetto Life

So, so there was a ghetto, there was a ghetto in Rozhishche?

Yes, Rozhishche had a ghetto. And they put everybody in, into that one street where there was all, all--you know, the p... which Im sure they did in every city in the poorer part of town.

Did you have to go in--you went into the ghetto with your family?


What was that like? Did you...

They marched us; I recall that, being marched. Like they took everybody out in the street and they marched us into, into that part of town.

And you were carrying, what bundles?

A bundle whatever, I dont know, maybe a pillow, I dont know whatever, whatever a 7 year old could carry.

Who were you with?

With my mother.

With your mother.

Yeah, she was holding my hand, and my brother and sister, and my father; the five of us.

Did anybody talk? Any discussion about it?

I dont think there was any discussions while we were walking.

I mean on the brink of having to leave?

Oh, having to leave the city?

To leave the, your house.

Im sure there were a lot of discussions that I wasnt participating in.

Do you remember what you thought about, how you felt? Confused?

Naturally I felt confused and uh, with fear, I mean the fear was uh, put upon you, I guess, by their actions and by their looks and by their ways. And uh, Im sure I asked my parents why, why is, why are we doing this, and uh, the answer was you cant ask too many questions were Jews and this is whats happening to Jews right now. And uh, thats about the only answers they could give you, uh...

When you marched through the street, were there non-Jews in the streets as well?

Im sure there was non-Jews--I really dont recall seeing them, I think when I, when I walked or marched or whatever, I was uh, walking with my head down or not, not looking around too much. Im sure that they were standing on the sides and looking and having fun out of it because the most of the Ukrainians were not too sympathetic to Jews.

And where did you wind up? The other part of town?

We wound up in the other part of town; I mean our town wasnt that large where, where there was such a long march.

What were your quarters like?

The quarters was uh, I think there was five of us, the five of us in one little room.

In one room.

One room and another family in another room. There was three, four rooms there was--as many rooms there was thats how many families there was. And uh, naturally uh, there was a shortage of food, uh...

Was there a bathroom?

There was bathrooms outside, there was no bathroom inside.

What happened then?

Uh, my father used to go out to work. My father and my brother went out to work every day to uh, it was called a baza and there was a place where uh, the gentiles would bring their taxes to the German government. And the taxes consisted of if you had a farm of uh, cattle he would bring a cow, if he had pigs he would bring a pig, if he was raising corn he would have to bring so much corn into that baza. And uh, over there they had Jews working, from the ghetto. And uh, they used to take care of the, the animals, the, the, the--whatever there was to do they did it. And my mother used to go out also somewheres, but I really dont remember where but she did go out on work, I dont know, to a farm or somewheres. And then at night they used to uh, come back. Uh, I was home with my sister and we used to--I really dont--you know I have no memories of what I actually used to do there. Uh, not much of anything Im sure. Used to stay in the room um, being frightened of, you know, to go out, and then whats gonna to happen if you go out. Uh, I also dont recall if there was any more children in our, or Im sure there was but I dont recall the children in there, in the, were stayin in that house.

Was there any food in the house?

Was there food? Uh, when my father or mother used to come back they used to bring somethin with them.

But during the day...

During the day I dont believe there was much there. Now uh, my father as he was, naturally as he was doing business there before the war or, and uh, whatever he had just before the Germans came in he, he gave--we used to, he used to deal with a gentile, a Czech, near our city there was a Czech colony about maybe ten, twelve farmers. They were quite uh, prosperous farmers and they used to deal with my father buying linen material for clothing and all that. And he got very friendly with one of 'em, his name was Yerushka and whatever he had, just before the Germans came in, I guess they knew already that the Germans were close. He gave it to him, whatever clothing or material or what--I really dont know, but he gave him an awful lot of stuff and he told him he said, look, he says you probably heard also that the Germans are about ready to come into our part of the country, I dont know whats gonna to happen, whats gonna be. He says here, he says I want you to take all this stuff, and he says there might be a day we gonna need help from you so I hope that you will help us. And thats where he left it. And uh, this Yerushka came to the ghetto, I believe at certain times and they sneaked some food into us. And they also--my sister was very uh, blonde, blue eyes, she really could pass very easily for gentile. So they came and sneaked her out one day and they took her to their farm, you know. And she stayed with them for quite a few months.

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