Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Missing Family

Sometimes when you have the holiday celebration at home, when the kids come does it remind you--do you have memories of...

I can tell you one fact, and uh, my, my girl was married and I...I'm the father what I give uh, give away my daughter to the son-in-law. I almost fainted and I was still--my heart was, "How come my parents wasn't--is not here?' Everybody told the--saw this, I almost fainted--not just fainted, I was almost falling apart. Uh, why not--why my mother and my father not here and my whole family? That always happens. Every time when you do--it's a family, it's a wedding, or it's a holiday or something, I always remember about the parents and things at home. Because they were--they died not in a normal thing in life. Something that's going to hurt all your life.

But you said that your--it's interesting that your father uh, left--came back because he didn't want to leave the mother.

That's right.

Why was it that he, he couldn't take your mother with him to Russia?

He--not we couldn't, you know, in Poland was we had a little home. When the German came you didn't want to leave every little things, you see. Your mo...and my mother had still her family and everybody. And the thing is what the whole story wasn't told in Poland was the German is not going to do to women and children. What they can do is just to men. They're going to hurt the men. But the main thing was just to save you, because we believe that we going to be alive. When we come back my mother and my children were still--and my brothers still going to be alive because they are children and my--a woman they not going to touch a woman. And when my mo...my father went to Russia and he saw what kind of life this is, he said, "What is good I going to save my life, I'm going to be without...' He said me, "Joe, let's go back to home and let's pick up mother and the two brothers and let's go. If we can we save--let's save the whole family. If not, what kind of life I going to have without mother?'

So his intent was to then try and run away, but he couldn't...

No, we couldn't. We would go if he would go...

His intent was he wanted to run. I mean, he didn't want to stay. He was a person who believed things were going to happen.

He--yeah, he believed. Very intelligent man. I mean, my father was very intelligent and very--he could understand what the German's going to do. He was both, in both ways. He knew that if he's not going to come back, he's not going to have a life because he loved my mother and he loved the, the children. He was a family man. And then when we came back we couldn't already--we came back, we was another week over there in, in Łódź, they make a ghetto and we couldn't go out no more.

How long did...

[interruption in interview]

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