Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Horwitz - June 18, 2007

German Invasion

Did they destroy the city? Did, did the bombs destroy the city?

Oh god, more than a third of the city was, was completely, you know, destroyed.

And were they mostly Jewish neighborhoods?

Uh, there was no such a thing.


We lived in mixed neighborhoods there, I mean, there was no such a thing. People lived in the same houses for generations. The uh, especially where we lived, they were very friendly, very, very nice people, they're very helpful. Um, there was a women, I always talk about ??? because um, he was a teacher. He was my mother's very, very close friend. Very close then because they were brought up together. So he was over to my house when he went to visit his sister who lived almost next door to us. Um, as a matter of fact his brother-in-law died very young and his, his sister had to uh, he was uh, he had a barber shop. So he, she had to go with him, my mother took care of ???, the little boy. She says, "I'll take care of him, don't worry." And she did. And when she put up our Christmas tree we, we made, she took uh, we used to save goose eggs, used to make cakes for the goose eggs. Have you ever seen a goose egg? They're big! [laughs]


But she blew out the um, the insides, just, just made a little hole, I was fascinated. She, she first of all, she put wax, candle was on it, washed it, her put candle wax. Then she made a little hole, little hole and she blew it out and this was the shell. So she taught us how to make uh, a clown. A clown face with eyes, you know, painted. We painted in school a lot, we, you know, had art. Uh, and then she'd saved the wool, she was very handy. So we made hair, you know, and put a little hat like, and a little crinkly paper, like a collar. And she put it up, and put it up on her Christmas tree. [laughs]


Or little box matches, we had those little boxes you push up and, you know, like you have here the big ones but we had little ones. So when the matches, we needed matches constantly, my dad smoked and uh, so she had, she saved those little baskets like and she put them, green paper and she made a little handle. And put them, I don't know, little candies or something and she was hanging it on the Christmas tree. [laughs] Very inventive, my mom was unbelievable, what she could do. Uh, anyways, nice things. Um, so, so we were friendly, I mean, there was no problem but uh, with them. I'm bringing up the ??? because when uh, we were pushed in, "course then we had to, we moved. Somebody uh, had a room, they told us we could come in and they had, like a railroad type of a thing. So they had a room, so we had there the yard, my bubby was still with us. My mother, my, my dad uh, ??? to started to ??? man and saw a tall man, and he happened to be a short German. There was trouble, there was shooting, there was punching, they were invading, they had to stand still they couldn't do anything. Uh, so my mother said to my father, "take the little son and get out of here, go hide in a village." So, and we knew a lot of people because of my bubby. When they came Thursdays a lot of them used to stop at my bubby's--at our house and she had the tea for them, and you know, whatever. And they were chatting with uh, talking to her uh, they were nice. Until um, so my dad was at the village and uh, and I was very attached to my father, very attached. Even my sisters always reminded me, "you, you, you're father's little girl." I was curious like anything. And he would explain things to me so I liked him. My mom didn't have that much time. And he knew more, let's put it this way. Um, so they, right in "39 the Poles had problems, too. They surround, they got anybody who was a teacher, a lawyer uh, any, anybody who was educated, they killed. They actually just mowed them down. Uh, they hung a priest too, maybe because he talked too much and somebody told about him. Um, so the teacher ??? and some others, doctors who were educated, took it, took off to the woods. They fought back as partisans or, or something. And his wife had the two children, which my mom knew them very well too. Uh, the little, one little girl was my sister's age and the little, other little girl was my little brother's age, something like it. Somehow she sent in words, one time my mom came in with a bag of potatoes uh, at, at night she snuck out. She probably, they told her I have something coming for you, something like it. So she sent words because they were trying to get out. They knew exactly the people when, when nobodies around that this place need to get out. Um, so uh, she told somehow that, so my mother told, ??? said to us after she says, "send out a, two girls. If you can, if they can sneak out in the afternoon at a certain time. Uh, let them sneak out and I uh, you know, let them come to the house." So we knew where she lived. And it was probably farther away where, where we lived. I guess she gave "em direction. So we snuck out, I, my sister, the little sister and I. Uh, I was very blonde once upon a time until I came here with braids. So sometimes I would just go out and I want to walk like a, we weren't afraid of the girls we knew from school then the Germans. Because they went, "Jude, Jude." They were alert right away. Anyways, we got to the house and I will never forget the tables. She had two settings, two table settings and the food was right there. I still see it, mashed potatoes uh, peas, green peas, and pork chops.


We never ate traif in our life, ever. And to top it all a glass of milk. My sister looks at me and she crossed herself and she says, "God will forgive me, and God will forgive you please children eat." I'll never forget those words. I don't think you'll ever see a meal like this again, and you know what, she was right. My sister looks at me, she picks up food with a knife and she looks at me and I was afraid I'll choke. And she says, she looked at me, she says, "I'm eating." So I figured I, I'd wait for her to swallow and nothing happened, so I ate too. Of course we ate and then she took us, in Poland if you had land they, if the parents died they divided it, there were five kids, five kids got it. It was two acres, five acres so there was nothing. They just had little thing to take us from here to here. So she had a garden out of the city. We walked with her. She gave us little, like to put on a babushka, you know, and uh, we--she gave us little baskets, you know those little ???. And we walked to the, to the out of the city, you know, just like I'm walking with her, with her nothing happened. And she says, "pick, keep picking what you see." Carrots uh, parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, whatever you, you, she encouraged us to pull out of the ground sort of tunnel and uh, we did. But ever place had a right of way where other people could pass by. And we s...we saw a bunch of women walking and she says, "put your hats on just in case." And the...they had a habit of saying ???. Uh, "hail," you know, "Jesus Christians," and we all had ???, "forever and ever." So we said something, my sister says, ???," or something in Yiddish, [laughs] something about the, the ??? or something like it. I says, "are you crazy?!" Uh, but, but she says, "??? answer this." So okay whatever she did I felt like laughing. And uh, we got home with uh, some fruits and vegetables. After the war, having been jumping because my sister reminded me of something which I wasn't aware of. The, the li...two little girls went home when we were there. She says, "you know why, because we found out later after the war that they were squealing on one another." They knew us there. So she says, "do you remember something", I say, "what?" The two little girls went home, she was afraid, just in case somebody would see us go in and they, they're, they knew, we knew, I mean, they knew who was a Jew, who's not. That she send those two little girls out of the house so at least they won't be there. If something happens to her she didn't care as long as the children were out. Would you believe this? I, I can't forget it how brave she was. Well anyways, so...

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