Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Liquidation of the Ghetto


And just, I guess just before the liquidation of, of the ghetto she got very lonesome for her family. So she asked them, she says Id like to go back, Id like to see my parents and my brothers. So she came back into the ghetto. Uh, like I say I dont know if it was two months, three months, four months but uh, not a long period before the ghetto was liquidated she came back. And then, one day I guess there was a rumor. My father found out, I guess not only my father but there was, you know, there was always rumors around and most of them turned out to be true. There was a rumor that the ghetto was gonna get liquidated. They didnt know what they were gonna do, but they knew that somethings happening theyre gonna, theyre gonna ship them someplace, take them someplace--all of us, I dont mean them, us. So my father made a plan and he said, he said, he told my mother like this, he says you sneak out your daughter with you to work and Ill try to take Yankiel with us, and at the end of the day were gonna meet in Osawa, and this is where this gentile Czech lived. And maybe hell keep us, maybe hell hide us, maybe well run somewheres. So that was the master plan and they took me with 'em, my father and brother. And somehow they sneaked me out, where nobody said somethin. They took me with them to that baza and they put me somewheres in the, in uh, a barn where there was hay and uh, they went to do their regular routines and I guess during the day they used to come and check on me. And during that day somebody from the ghetto came by that baza and told my father, he says you know Shmuel, he says they didnt let your wife and your daughter out of the ghetto today, they stopped them, they didnt let her go out to work. So when he heard that, when it came the end of the day he brought my brother over to me and he told him he says you two stay here, sleep here in the, in the barn, dont go back to the ghetto. He says I have to go back because I will not leave your mother and your sister alone. He says if thats uh, if there is a tomorrow Ill be back and maybe we can do it, do the same--what I planned to do tomorrow. He says if not, he says I hope you two can survive, or somethin. And that was exactly the right rumor. That morning the ghetto was closed off nobody went to work. And that morning uh, the Germans came into our barn and they had bayonets and they were poking into the hay and say, "Juden, Juden, arouse, Juden," and naturally we were laying there, without moving. And this was the day that they were takin most of the people out, outside of town. Where they had the Ukrainians dug the ditches, they didnt even have the Jews dig the ditches because they were afraid that the rumor will spread. And they took approximately about uh, close to 4,000 Jews outside the city, including my parents and all my family, and shot 'em right then and there.

And this was August '42?

This was August the 22, 1942. And my brother and I laid in that hay 'til--that whole day I guess 'til late at night. Late at night he took me and we sn... snuck out of that barn. And next to that barn was a, a small house that my brother knew who lives there. And he like took me over the fence with him. And there was a ladder, and we climbed up to the attic. And we got on that attic--we came, we came up to that attic there were two other Jewish guys there also that used to work together with my brother. A little older people, they were probably my fathers age. And we laid there; it was uh, that night and during the day. I remember, you know--this I can recall, being hot with the burning sun hittin you know you were--we were laying, I dont know how much room we had. In the attic we couldnt sit up. And sometimes during that day, the guy overheard it, he heard a movement. I believe that was over uh, his barn, actually where he came into to take care of his cattle, and he heard us, he heard people moving, he heard movement on the attic. So when he heard a movement he came up the ladder, and when he saw us he saw, he couldnt believe it, he crossed himself and he says what are you guys doing here? He says you know what happened? He says you know they took everybody out of the ghetto and they killed all the Jews, he says Ill tell you what Ill do he says I will not, he says I will not tell on you. He says but, he says when nightfall comes, he says I want you to leave here because I will not be responsible in case somebody comes and find you here. But he also was quite a decent man yet he went down and brought us a bucket of water with a loaf of bread, and uh, naturally that was quite a feast after being without food and without water for I dont know, over a day I guess. And uh, we had the water and the bread, and that night uh, my brother, actually he wanted to go to this, to this uh, town, of Osawa. He knew about this Czech that uh, my--that my father gave all the goods to. But he was never there himself, being uh, only not quite 18.


So the man that was with us on that attic was an older man, he must have been at the time about forty or, so my brother asked him, he says do you know how to go to Osawa? So the man told him, he says yes, and I guess he told him which routes to take. And that night my brother and I started to go towards Osawa which was, I dont know, about 15 kilometers I would say. And uh, those other two guys remained on that attic.

Mm-hm. When you were alone in the barn they left you alone that one, that first day?


Do you remember anything about that day be... being there by yourself?

I really dont. I really dont. But I do--I can--I do remember of, of the uh, noise the next morning when they said, "Juden, heraus, Juden, heraus."

With the bayonets?

With the uh, bayonets going into the hay, that I do remember. But I dont recall anything much about--I dont know if it was numbness, I dont consider myself to be stupid, but uh, certain things I think, I just uh, I dont know if I didnt--I wanted to forget it or uh, I just have no memory of that.

And, and you knew enough to just lay still when you...

You bet yah. This, this I knew enough to lay still and not to come out. So that shows you that uh, I was plenty smart, for that. But uh, didnt have uh, but didnt have, dont have any recollections of that day, or what went through my mind, I really dont.

And when the, when the other man told you, when the farmer told you that they had shot everyone, did you and your brother react? What did you do?

What did we do, we didnt do--I think we were numb. There was no reactions. Um, my brother tells me now that uh, I asked him, you know, like I used to ask him questions of why, why did they do that or why do they do it to us. And uh, he did--I mean, being a young boy himself I guess he didnt have that much explanations to give me, except saying this is what theyre doing to Jews right now. Uh, myself, Im sure that I couldnt uh, I couldnt visualize, or imagine, or--I mean, you know, it was uh, unbelievable.

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