Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Louis Kaye - May 9, 1983

Outbreak of War 1

What were you going to do uh, if the war hadn't come?

What would we do if war wouldn't come?

Yeah, what were your plans?

Eh, I would be happy. I—if war wouldn't come I'd be finished school, I would be business, I would have my family, I have my brothers, and ev... everything.

But then the war came...

I mean, but not looking good because before the war come, we have trouble with the Polacks' anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism start in '35, '36. Start maybe before me, too. The same thing, like her father come from Russia, he don't come for pleasure, he come, he could not stay there. Ukraine. What he come, 1900?

Where were you when the war began?

I was in my town. The war began 1939, I think it come on a Friday night. I was in my town.

How'd you hear about it?

Oh, you, you can hear it. I was outside in this, like little city, you can see what's going on. The war broke out like in '39 Friday, by Sunday there was already, we were not far away from the border, from the German border.

So, in two days they were in town already.

Two days was in town.

What did your family do?

What we do? We didn't do nothing. We just worked, lived day by day, see what happened. So, beginning it was not so bad, later on just start killing people and everything when the war come in. They, they made certain things and we hided, they took you out and kill you and show you, everybody what's going on. And then a month later, the war was on, two months later when I was fourteen they make like uh, by the border a ??? By the border you have holes—you know what I'm talking.

Like a check

The water go through.

Oh, a check post, a checkpoint.

A checkpoint, the water go through and everything, we were... I was working there. They took us out to work every time, day by day.

You were working at the check post?

I was working there. They dig out dir... uh, dirt. You know what I'm talking?


You don't know.

Wife: What's this?

You know when, like when they took us... They dig holes. The water go through the city.

Oh, oh, the sewer.

The sewers and stuff like that. It near the border, there was, we was working there everyday and took us everyday to work and every time.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn