Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Living in the Fields

So you walked off to Osawa?

We walked to Osawa. I also remember that I uh, I kept hollering to my brother that it, I cant walk anymore, so naturally he carried me on his shoulder little bit. And let me back down and picked me back up until we got there. And when we got there uh, the man, I dont know, must have been, I dont know, midnight, one oclock in the morning, two oclock in the morning because I know we didnt leave until you know, things were pretty quiet back in the city. And as we were--I also recall, you know, this I do recall the walking. You know, it was like uh, a quietness over the city, you know, you couldnt, you couldnt hear nothing, or you--and when you heard, you know, like any kind of movement--this I remember, like if theres any kind of uh, movement, you know, you kind of jumped. Like uh, a stillness in the night. And we finally got there and my brother knocked on the door and he looked at us. He also thought that we had just came back from uh, death because he knew what happened. And he says how, how did you guys survive, how did you get--and then uh, one of my brothers mistakes of being young, he asked my brother--he knew my brother was never there. He says how did you find my place? So my brother told him the truth. He says, you know, we were with this and this guy that used to, used to be a rider or he used to drive horses around. He says, he knew, he knew exactly where you lived. And that was the wrong thing to say I imagine, because he got--he figured if he knows he might want to come there, or somebody will find out. So he told my brother, he says look, he says Ill do anything I can for you, and he says but I cannot jeopardize my family to keep you in my house, or in my barn. He says because the Germans put up notice that if they find Jews, if they find any gentile that is hiding Jews theyll do the same thing to them as they do to the Jews. He says I cannot take the chance of my family. He says Ill give you food, he says Ill do anything I can. He says--and he told him right away, he says look, he says right now, he says the wheat, the, the crops are still up, he says what you can do during the daytime is just lay in the crops. I dont know if it was wheat, it was high. He says you lie in there, he says during the day and when it gets nighttime, he says to come on over or, he says Ill come to you and bring you some food and uh, this is what well, this is what well do for the time being. And this is what we were doing. We were laying in the fields and at some nights we would go over there and some nights he would bring us out some food. And uh, one thing which happened to me while laying in that summer in the wheat and uh, I was very fair and I guess I didnt think of wearing any kind of cap or didnt have no cap. And I was laying and I got like a sun stroke on one side of my head. And uh, I was just laying there my brother says I didnt respond uh, no movement. He would try to talk to me and there was no answer. And uh, so that night I guess he ran over there and he left me and he told him he says you know, he says my brother, he says something happened. So they figured out that thats probably from the sun and he gave him a little bit of honey and milk. And he says he opened my mouth and poured a little honey and a little milk and he says took a few minutes and I started to kind of like wake, wake up out of it. And he kept doing that, you know, for quite awhile and brought me back, brought me back to life. And uh, this was going on I guess 'til the fall. In the fall when they, when they cut the crops we had forests, also not too far from there.

Is this the ??? forest?

Pardon me?

Is it the ??? forest?

I really dont know their name but its quite a good size forest, right--maybe five, ten kilometers away from Osawa. Just had to cross a big road, and we went in there in the fall. And we stayed there uh, and while we were there, in fact, we met that same guy that was with us in the attic. And we--and there was about, I dont know, five, six other people there. There was no, no organized groups. There was no partisans there. But some people right from our town, I guess, and nearby towns. And uh, we were uh, sittin there and then my brother and I used to go at night, cross the road and go get some food from the guy and bring back for some of the people that were with us.

And he knew he was helping others as well?


The Czech. [pause] He was generous?

Yeah, the Czech was very generous and he was, he was a kind man uh, he was, he really was because he realized that my brother wasnt even quite 18, my brothers birthday is in November. He was born November 1924, so in August of '42 he was, he was only uh, 17. And he knew that--he was happy when he heard that we were with other people, older people. You know, he figured that they more it would be like, maybe like more of protectors, or maybe knew more about life than we did then. So he was happy that we were with other people. And...

Was there a time that you, you spent lots of time now along with your brother in the field and...


Did you begin to talk about, think about your parents, your sister--what had happened to them?

Well, you know, my brother I think realized what happened, I mean, you know, there was always that chance, you know, maybe they ran away, maybe they--you know, that stayed with us for many, many years in general. You know, even when we uh, first came to the United States we had that feeling maybe. But uh, myself, I think I was numb. I didnt uh, naturally I asked my brother. I said, what happened, what happened to our parents, what happened to our sister? And the answer he gave me, he says look, he says we dont know for sure. He says, I told you what happened, what the Germans are doing to the Jews, he says but maybe theyre safe, maybe theyre hiding someplace else. Uh, you know, I mean, he didnt want to come out and uh, and give me the good news right away. So and naturally Im sure that he, that he in his heart, also being 17 and uh, that he was had uh, hope of maybe they did run away. So maybe, you know, theres always the miracle, even though we realized--that he realized that all people--uh, from what people told him that uh, everybody out of the ghetto was taken out on trucks and taken over there to the ditches and, and that was it.

Earlier um, the, the previous November when the, the Rovno Jews were killed and there were others around the same time. Did you, did you or your family hear about those massacres then?

I really dont know.


Im sure I didnt. Im sure...

So they didnt talk to you...



No, no, if they knew they didnt tell it to me, being that young.

You were 6, yeah.

What they gonna tell me?

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