Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Kalmas - May 25, 1982

Jewish Work Restrictions

September 1st of what?

September 1st of uh, 1939--since the first day of war. The war, the war in our place started about four hours before even the world knew that the Germans crossed the border already. We were only sixty-somewhat kilometers from the border--from the German border. And we had colonies of German uh, what they called Volksdeutschen. In other words they were Germans, but they lived in, in Poland. So the first day of war--the first hour of war they were in uniform. I believe there was approximately four million Germans in Poland--I mean those Volksdeutschen. And uh, we were surrounded by them because we were close to the border for one thing. And the first day they were in uniform. All of 'em. And harassment was plenty. I can say maybe because I had skill that I showed in my trade and those Germans respected that for some strange reason. Uh, when they closed Jewish shops--Jewish stores, and I went to the commissar and I told him that I am a tinsmith. And uh, he said, "All Jews are--have now trades. Everybody wants to work. No Jew who works, I don't--you're probably the same as the other."

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