Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Living in a Bunker

Mm-hm, so ???

I imagine October when it gets cold, November. And uh, my brother made some contact with another man, right there in the forest. And he also had a li... uh, he was a man older than my brother. He probably was my fathers age. And he had a little girl with him. And somehow somewhere they went, and at night used to--they dug out, they were digging a bunker. I dont know who else helped him. And uh, they camouflaged it. And we started, you know, and I guess it had, you know, a little door to pick up and something over it. And we started to stay in that bunker, four of us. Dark...

All day, just...

All day. All day, dark, dirty--I think thats what made me claustrophobic Im sure. Im afraid of being in any kind of small sp... closed in places. And uh I, uh, being 8 years old, I remember the lice. We were full of lice. And uh, we told that Czech about it, the where we were. And he was dr... riding around in that area one day, with some farmer friends and he noticed it.

He saw the bunker?

Yes, and--because we told him approximately where it is. See because we were--we had all the confidence in the world in him, and he was like our second father in a way. So, so that following night when we came out to him for food. He told my brother, he says you know I was driving out there with the horses or whatever with my friends, he says and I dont like your bunker. He says its too noticeable. So my brother says so what, so what should we do? He says I dont know what you should do, he says but uh, we need to do something else. He says this is too visible. [pause] So I believe that man that was with us in the bunker knew uh, another farmer that he believed--that if we would, you know, give him some, some goods or whatever, he would hide us out. So, later on that winter we went to this farmer, which was an...

Ukrainian, Ukrainian?

He, I dont know if he was a Polish or Ukrainian, Im really not sure. He wasnt a Czech, I know that. He was a Ukraine--most likely a Ukrainian. I dont know when it was. Maybe January, maybe February, but like I said part of that winter we spent in that bunker. And uh, when this Czech, our friend told us that he didnt like the way that bunker looked. He said you should try to--we should try to figure out some, out something else. He says this is too easily; you can be picked out very easily. So this man that was with us knew this farmer and we--he started to keep us. But, he wanted uh, see my brother, same story again as earlier, my brother was young and he talked too much. So he told him that he has this friend, the Czech, Mr. Yerushka that has a lot of our goods. And this other farmer was an S.O.B and he wanted to get as much--no matter how much we gave him...


He wanted more. And uh, I also believe that my--the other mistake my brother made is that he knew that he, he told this farmer who the man is who has all our goods, too.

Told him his name?

I think so. And after awhile my brother noticed that this guy that we were staying at was just a, he was just a sucker. Trying to suck out whatever he could from us. And he knew, he says hey, I mean, you know, we--the guy doesnt have uh, millions of dollars worth of goods there, I mean, therell be, theres got to be an end to this. And no matter how much we brought there, he wanted more. So what my brother and I did--my brother one day left without--took me and we went one night to the, back to, to Yerushka Osawa. And we told him the story, except that, I guess my brother didnt tell him that he told them who, that, where all his goods is coming from, you understand? But he told him, he said look this guy, where were at, we gotta leave because this man is looking to get whatever he can, I mean, hes not reasonable at all. He says Im leaving there. So this Yerushka said look, he says uh, what you gonna do now? He says its the middle of the cold and--so my brother says well, he says I dont know. He says I hope you can figure something out. So this Yerushka had a guy, a Ukrainian who used to work for him during the summer months. He used to help him with his crops, and he used to help him--and he had a house, uh, probably--that was all alone on a field. I dont know if you ever--know how those houses are and, you know, there was nothin near, nothin close. But, there was a, you know, like a safe haven. You know, if anybody, if anybody comes you can see for miles and if uh, in the winter, in the snow if you hear any kind a movement you can hear that snow, the brittle sound. So he says let me talk to this guy, he says maybe he will keep you guys. And he talked to him and he told him, he says look--his name was Primas, and he says Primas, he says I want--I need a favor from you. He says I have these two Jewish boys, theyre good friends of my son, sons. I would like you to do me a favor and keep them only during the winter months. He says as soon as spring comes theyll--you dont have to keep 'em.

And he told, he told him you were Jews?

Oh yes. Yes, he told him we were Jews. And this man had a little house and two little girls and only one wife. And uh, he took us in. And he had a, a cellar, where he used to keep potatoes. And we used to lie in that cellar during the day and at night we would come up. And he had like--I remember when we used to sleep, he had a spot like over an oven, or it was something that they used to heat. And at night we would come up and we would sleep over there and eat a little bit. And he kept us. He was really, really nice. And uh, as soon as it got warm, we go back into the woods. We didnt go no more into the fields.

Youre at this point 8 years old?

Uh, I already, no I was over 8. This is already...


No, this is '43 already.


Almost 9, 9 1/2.

How do you think you had changed at this point? I mean you had moved on, you, you spent time in the, essentially, it looks like a grave.


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