Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Horwitz - June 18, 2007

Start of the War

You remember where you were when the war started?

Do I ever. We supposed to go to school, start school September 3rd or 4th, I forgot. September, if I tell you, September 3rd the bomb fell on our heads. September 3rd I will never forget as long as I live. I was in my girlfriend's house, ??? 46:50, who's in Israel, thanks to me she tells me she survived. I'm pointing my finger, she's way out there.


Um, she comes from a family, she had uh, she one and about four or five little brothers, not one survived.


Uh, I was at her house and before the end of the school they told us they were getting ready for war in Poland, they were or, they were talking about it in school. So they taught us first aid, how to bandage a leg, how to what happens and oh we survived because we are like uh, oh what do you call those little animals with the, with the, with the needles.


Porcupines, we are like a porcupine we sit in the middle. The Russians on one side, Poles on the other, but we gonna survive and you have to learn blah, blah, blah to do this, to do that. So I was in her house and she lived on the second floor, I'll never forget it. I don't think she'll forget it. And I of course was the nurse and she was wounded. Where we found, where we found a band-aid from here to there I'll never know. So I said you're wounded you sit down and I'll take care of you. So I started from the thigh and I was past her knee and she had her leg completely stiff. All of a sudden her mother came running in, she was outside on the balcony. She says, "there's a--they're bombing the city, there's a fire get downstairs." ??? was, couldn't walk down the stairs because, I said don't worry, don't worry I'll take care of you, I won't leave you.[laughs] So I was holding the rest of the band-aid for ??? and the planes, I swear. Came down, the uncle lived downstairs, had a big window. You could look out the yard. We could see the planes they, they, their faces.

You could see the faces of the pilots?

Unbelievable, they were small planes, small planes. They just like that, we thought it were coming in through the window. Meanwhile they were throwing fire bombs and we didn't know what was happening out there. After they were through they, they went away but before it started. I remember we was home and I, we were looking up, there were two planes. We thought the English are coming to help Poland. And then we, we watched a fight all the way up there. So Poland must have one plane and before he turned around he went like this and we didn't see him go down because it was farther in the field. Okay, when I, we were, they stopped, you know, they flew away, it was quiet. So ??? mother says, "go look for your mom, she won't know where you were, or you are." I opened the door, I, I swear, I thought I'm walking into a hell, I'm walking into fire, it was that close. Uh, so I, I said to myself I better run across the street, because my uncle had a bakery right across the street. Uh, there was a brick house, a, a, you know uh, this was wood, no her house wasn't, it was also wooden. But most of the houses were wooden houses. But some of them were either brick or, or stucco or something like that. So I figured I'm gonna run across the street because I was afraid to go this way where our house was, because it was a, a, a block of fire. Like a wall of fire. So I went um, to my uncle's place and my mom was there and the rest of the family, they all runned from the house. Can you imagine that, they, they just saved about nothing, but nothing. How would this happen, I try to remember. She was able to get some stuff out and she brought it to a, a non-Jewish neighbor. I guess, you know, they had, they were ready. They were ready because she had um, made, you know, other little square uh, noodles, she put "em in the oven and had "em um, uh, like toasted, like ???. And she used to put it in like a sugar sack for a long time, because we were talking about war, I guess they knew what was happening. And sugar, pieces of sugar, she just hoard away. So she was able to get some stuff out of the house. Um, I think clothing or something, I, I don't remember too much about that but I remember she had some stuff there, someplace. Um, and my father wasn't around. So he, thank god he showed up. He was working someplace, at the firehouse or something. And then um, we were just in a shock. Um, how can I explain this to you? It was like a morbid fascination, I think. You are just a kid, I was 11 years old, you're just fascinated, I think, "what's going on," you know. You're scared at the same time you're curious, it's a terrible thing uh, when I think about it. Anyways um, bubby was with us. About 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the afternoon, those bombers came back. Going through like, like because there were Polish soldiers, our city was connecting, practically from west to east. They had a, a highway, highway, like a, a two lane highway. Um, it was going from--so they were running the Polish soldiers. There were a lot of Jews, you know there were 100,000 Jews in the Polish army. They were running towards Russia. Some went to England and that group went to Russia. And they were passing by um, our town. So they were following while they were bombing, the soldiers. They were going after the civilians and we were running to the forest. They saw, because they came down so close and they just with the machine guns they were going through everybody. There were Poles, Jews, old people, young people, they were just mowing us down, just like that. People were falling in all directions. And we were running, I mean, we, my mother was holding my little sister by the hand. My father was holding little brother and we, myself, my older sister were holding bubby. And, and, and, and were just running. Finally bubby says, "leave me alone, leave me alone, run, you're young, run." Except we couldn't leave her. "Save yourselves, run." But we wouldn't and there was a woman laying dead here, people saying go around us. And they didn't stop I don't know, people around with, with, with whatever they could carry to out until we got into the woods. And then they went away and they didn't bother us, they didn't come in uh, farther because they ruled the city.

Had you ever seen any dead people before?


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