Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Horwitz - June 18, 2007

Shelter in the Woods

You remember what you...

It was horrible. Then I saw plenty dead in camp. But um, it was terrible, it was a nightmare, a nightmare, just I think of it as a nightmare. Um, we got to the woods and um, thank god we dragged bubby, we wouldn't leave our bubby was, bubby. Um, and I remember my dad ??? evening, no they started a few days later. We slept on the, on the ground, it was black, pitch black and uh, my father would break off branches and make sure that we were covered. Don't ask about why he put the branches over us, maybe animals, I don't know. Uh, somebody, one of the Polish guys who li...who worked for the um, ??? for the, for the uh, the government in the, in the, not the government, the city government. He tried to save some, some uh, documents I suppose, or whatever. And when they started to, one night they started to shoot the forest. They just, things were just flying, 'cause that's why my dad covered us. The, from the bullets was, whatever they shot the big uh, guns. And they were just mauling, I don't know if people died there because oy, it was horrible. Then we got out of there, of the forest. And we stayed, would you believe it of all people uh, Volksdeutschen, you know, there was the village of Volksdeutschen. And um, she, one of the women let us in, a whole bunch of us. And we slept on the floor, and I remember my mother, she was such a good woman, she helped everybody, even her neighbors, the Polish neighbors. Uh, she we made Christmas decorations for them, we, we helped the, the uh, my mother was teaching us some things, to make eggs uh, I'll tell you later this is very funny.

But this is the Volksdeutsch who took you in?



So they took us in. And my mother, and I remember she put up hay for us to sleep. Uh, we were sleeping on the floor and my mother noticed something and she had a little baby in her arms and she noticed that she wasn't, she must've been um, Mongolian, whatever you call it now. Uh, she wasn't, she noticed it. So she, my mother stretched out her arms because she was feeding it and she was trying to cook something for us, the women. So she stretched out her arms and she gave her the baby and she gave the baby the bottle. Why do I remember that stuff, I don't know, all the details. Isn't that weird? And then we had to leave because the Germans were about to come in. Uh, so we left to go back. What a disaster, my god. Dead horses, because they were mowing everything down, everything they could. We, we couldn't recognize anything mostly they, they, they, there holes and there all over the place. And farther down there were wires, they didn't, we didn't have too much electricity. Something was hanging and we were told later there was, insides of, of horses, the people they were, were, it was horrible. Uh, the first thing when we got out we came closer to the city, we were almost in the city. The first thing they ask, and we were scared we looked at them, they looked so menacing with those tanks uh, single, there was one person that would pop out, you know. They were small, they were small tanks, they weren't big tanks. The Russians came in with tanks like a house. They had small, little tanks with the guns pointing and nobody riding until the thing opened up and they popped out, two of them. So they jumped out and Bist hier Jude? "Jude, go this way," and non-Jude there, right away in "39.


Jude here, non-Jude there here. So right away they took the men and anybody who was able to clean, it was such a mess. To clean up the bodies, to clean up the, the, the horses, they were, they had to dig something, I don't know what they did it was just terrible. Then you come in and there's no place to go, everything is burned, every other house is burned. Um, they pushed us right away we had a ghetto. But it was split up because the, the city was, half of the city was burned and they couldn't get the Poles out of certain spaces, just to make it for Jews. So uh, they pushed us to a certain place and it was so crowded, it was unbelievable. Um, my mother's friend, she was a friend and uh, Radom. Uh, her sister-in-law, my, my, my uncle was married to her sister and she happened to be friends with her. And they had about six girls and a boy. The boy was in Warsaw at the time and uh, Hebrew uh, university. And somehow he got to Israel, he survived, all of them died. Um, so, and she had herself a large family but they had two rooms and one, they had always a little place to run outside, and something. They, they had like a little door that's all we can do was crawl through to run out in the yard. And it's connected to a uh, cupboard uh, stuff they used to keep there, little ??? we could run in the yard. They came in handy let me tell you. Uh, so we all stayed there. If you had to go to the bathroom too bad for you, so there was a pail. Because you couldn't get out, you couldn't get out that's it. At a certain time the Jews had to be locked up. So what happened, they were going around, there was somebody in my hometown and he was interviewed and he talked about it and I, I couldn't believe it, I mean, what he was telling, what he saw, with, when, when they said they "Ich bin Artz." They were banging on the doors, "I'm a doctor, I'm a doctor, I have to get in." For us thank god we had so many people. And somebody had diarrhea, can you imagine? So the smell wasn't to, to good there. Meanwhile, then they were banging at the door, they told all the women, girls, "get out." So we run through that hole, and we just run out. Um, they walked in and they didn't like the smell, I think, and, and they walked out.


They were yelling, screaming, I don't know what they were doing, and they walked out. Other places uh, weren't that lucky. If they were women mother's brother of that guy, was telling that story, we heard such stories, it was horrible. They uh, I, I can't talk about it because I wasn't there, but it was bedlam what they did. Uh, they were very vicious people, very uh, how cane...they liked to, they liked to make people, to give them, I, I don't know, pain, pain uh, mental pain and uh, physical pain. They were just unbelievable people. Either they let loose a bunch of, of, of criminals, I don't know, they, they weren't human beings.

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