Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Horwitz - June 18, 2007

Hiding From the Germans

Do you remember when the Germans marched into the town?

Yeah, it was in September.

But did you see them come, come in?

We went to the woods because they were bombing us to, to smithereens. When we came back home they were there.

They were there already.

They were there with the bombs, with the, they don't march in believe me. They were riding, they look France opened up the doors for them. Every country in Europe opened up their doors for them. They expected just to go in but Poland fought a little bit with their sabers, but they didn't have anything to fight with. They, you know uh, you have to fee...feel sorry for them, they had no time to breath those uh, the Poland. They had the, a war there, the First World War, they were occupied. They just became free in 1918 actually 1921when the really got rid of, of, by the time the, the, the, the nation's got together, you know, to get back some places. They, they started the war in "39. They didn't have twenty years to uh, you know, to get ready for anything, they didn't have anything. They didn't build up anything, no schools, no nothing. No industry, they didn't have a chance. Um, so we, we never saw them marching in, we never saw them marching, they didn't have to. They just, people were terrified. They come in and they terrify you, so what do you do you succumb. They couldn't even fight back. But the partisans were tough. Well as I said, our war started in 1939, not the "41, not the "40. They pestered the daylights out of us right, right from the beginning. Um, we're talking about the, when my dad uh, went in hiding. I cried, I, I wanted to see my dad. And I was pestering my mom, I want to go out to village, I want to see my dad. Meanwhile, a couple of our neighbors who were born in that village Timyenitsa uh, they moved back out there. And the person was very close to my grandma, who used to come every Thursday and they built a new house, so they moved in the house right next to us, a little farther, you know. Uh, they moved into the old house, their old house, the whole family, you know. There were one, two, three, three girls and three or four boys ??? the father was killed and there was a mother, wonderful people, wonderful, wonderful people. Um, so my mother says, "you go and stay with the uh, I'm going to find something out to see if I can get, get you out there." At night sometimes some guys would sneak out and walk to the village, to villages and to bring back food. Because at night they didn't, you know, watch us much. They, they didn't care, not that they didn't care, they didn't think that anybody would do something because everybody was scared. So one night I went with those guys, maybe, maybe two and I went to that village and I guess she must have told him that I'll be there, you know, the, the Jewish people there. So I stayed and they were very happy to have me there. And my dad found out, meanwhile, my dad wasn't there he was in another village, and I guess he did some work there. And one of the girls was teaching me how to knit. Certain things you don't forget, I don't forget anything. I, I can draw all those sceneries there. And I was very friendly with the Polish people and one of the girls was about my age, but her father wanted me to read this page, the newspaper, he got a newspaper. So I said, "why doesn't your daughter read it to you?" "Eh, she doesn't know how to read." In the village they had very little education. There was nothing there. And I was reading. So I used to read to him and I was also very comfortable with him. So, and they had a beautiful garden with flowers around the house. So I was sitting on a bench, it was a gorgeous day and ??? taught me how to knit. So I was very, very into it to make sure I knew what I was doing and she was in the house. All of a sudden I see a shadow. I said, so I picked up my head and I said, "who the hell is that," I said to myself, "who is that?" He looks at me and he says, "who are you, who do, who are you, where do you come from?" So I, I was startled, I was a kid. So I said, "I came," you know, "with the ???." He yelled at me, he says, "you, ??? you a Jew, you sit right here!" Just like that. Don't you move, just like this and here I am terrified. And he runs to the Jewish people, I hear him screaming his head off. I go in next door to the Polish women and I say, "who is that man, he scared me. He says I should wait here he's going to bring--get to the Germans." So she says, "oh my god, oh my god this is the ???, 1:19:54" the head of the village. "Go hide, go hide behind the..." oh what do you call it, it eludes me. Um, where they keep all the, the corn and, you know, what they bring from the fields, the, um...


Not a silo.

Corn silo.

First they bring it there. It's a big, big house uh, a oh my, whatever. So she says, and there was a garden uh, not a garden, it was a, a fruit trees were there, too. She says, "hide behind there this is the ??? he's gonna take you to the Germans, he says he's gonna take you to the Germans." And I said to myself, I don't what know I, somebody was always watching over me, I mean it, unbelievable. Um, for some reason I was afraid to be in the open. Even if I go behind I, I don't know why. So I run across the street and there was Helena, I played with her, about my age. So I told her, "Helena I'm scared the soldiers told me to wait and blah, blah, blah, blah." So she started to laugh, she thought it was funny, I'm playing hide and seek. So she say, "you want to hide in the garden?" I said, "no I'm scared." So she says, "come, come with me," and, and we went on the attic. They had to go through and there was ???, whatever uh, they make kasha out of it, I think. It's a very slippery grain, I came from the city I never saw it. And we had to crawl because they had had a little opening for it to dry. They were crawling up, I thought the woman. So she started to, lau...she thought it was funny. So she says, "come, I want to go to the front because we'll hear what will happen." Sure enough there were a lot a bunch of kids playing outside and he's screaming his head off, "where ???, where's the Jew, where's the Jew?" So they all, one of them who was uh, the daughter who couldn't read. So she yelled out, she was the leader, so she yelled out, "we didn't see any Jew here!" So all the kids started to scream the same thing, no we didn't see anybody. So her parents were at the house where I was in the house. They were sitting on the, they had a small porch like, and they were having lunch. And so they screaming at her, did you see a Jew uh, a Jew here? She says we just came back from the fields we didn't see anybody. They saw me go up there. Um, we--they just hated him more than they hated me. They didn't hate me, really. Uh, it just, they just, there are people who are screwed up. Let me tell you, I was my heart to stay there and hear, and she thought it was funny. And my heart was pounding, I thought they gonna hear me downstairs. And I said to myself, what do I do now. So he left screaming his head off. Once he was gone I went downstairs and the women who supposed to, who told me to get behind there. She went like this, ???, ???. Um, I said what happened, why, why are you so scared? He told her that woman "If you want to tell me where that Jew is I'll take you, I'll tell the Germans, they'll take your house away, they'll take your fields--??? They'll take your fields away and they'll kill your sons." So she says she's behind the, the, what was she to do. She's behind over there, go behind there, I wasn't there. I wasn't there, and then somehow my father found out and I was about to run to that other village. And I don't remember if I w...yes I went to the village and the people who were working in the field. I remember I was so embarrassed because they, "Hey ??? are you scared?" or something like it. But I was running and I was so scared and embarrassed. I was humiliated. I said to myself, what did I do? I was so humiliated I can't tell you. Uh, so I met my dad. So he says "Oh you don't have, you don't have to worry, you don't have to be scared. I will give him a bottle of vodka and he would let you go." I said, "I want to go back, I want to get out of here, I want to get out of here." So he found somebody who was going to the city. He puts me on the horse and wagon and uh, and they were going to the city, we came, you know, where the Jews were. And there were also some Jewish people who picked something up and food. They risked their lives, they don't want hungry kids, or hungry parents, or whatever. So we came and my mother saw me, she turned green, you know. She says "My god, why didn't you stay there? If you would be an hour earlier you would be dead." All of a sudden, they squealed that Jews are coming, you know, that, that going out. I would be mauled down with the rest of them. She, she was besides herself. Well anyway, not that it helped.

Did, did you hear the story when the Germans first came in they locked up, a group of Jews in a barn and, and set it on fire?

Uh, this wasn't, this wasn't in our town.

It wasn't in Zwolen

Not in Zwolen, no this was another place with uh, we, we were killed just the same.


And we were taken to camps right away. If not to camps they were digging ditches for, for, for, because Poland was under developed. So they needed more for uh, telephones. They had telephones, Poland, before they didn't have telephones. So we, they had to dig, the men, the women, they didn't care. I remember I, I was grabbed from the street. And I was, I was tall for my age, all the time I was always taller than my girlfriends and everybody else. We come from a tall family. My daughter's 5'7" and a half and the boys, you know, my, there all six feet. My sister her kid is 6'4". So he was scared he came home from college, "Aunt Sally, what, how tall your father was?" He was afraid he was going to go through the roof, so I say, "He was 6'4", that's what I know." He, he is 6"4" but the other is 6'2", 6' something. Um, uh, I remember digging and have to throw out the, the, the, the, the soil higher than I was, really deep ditches. And I didn't know what I was digging for. Uh, they put in wires, electric wires, telephone wires, who knows what. And this was, right away they were, they were catching people to clean uh, to clean up the places where they were staying, the, the potatoes all kinds of things, all kinds of things. I--it was, and you were always terrified.

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