Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Underground Activity

So it didn't take long at all to be...

No, they put in just pile uh, mesh wire. And they--and every couple hundred feet a German soldier was staying. And if you wanted to go out they shoot, kill you.

Do you remember the faces of the Germans? Do you remember the feelings every time you walked by them?

I was scared to walk by them. I was so scared that they--I saw them uh, in the Łódź ghetto I passed by and sure, when you see a German walking on the street you know one thing, he wants to kill you. He going to take away in a camp to work or something. You was not afraid for work, we was afraid they going to kill you there, because we know what happened.

Were you aware of underground activities?


Did you have any idea that...

Not in Łódź ghetto.

But did you have any idea afterwards, things going on in Auschwitz of some of the underground?

When I was in Łódź ghetto we didn't hear nothing.

You didn't hear anything.

Nothing. The Łódź ghetto...

So what was your source of information? Any? Nothing?

Nothing, no information. No, just for--we had some, people was hearing this and this nobody believe in it because we didn't--really don't know. The Łódź ghetto was not like uh, like the Warsaw ghetto. Warsaw they had underground connection with the other side. We was not--no place we had a--we had some help from the other side. Łódź ghetto was very bad.

But you had no outside communication.

No, we didn't have.

Nobody came in to tell you things or...

No, we didn't, not what I know about it. I didn't hear about it because we couldn't. It was very--it was closed in and we couldn't do it. In Warsaw, the ghetto, they came in and they make business and went out and they could do it. Not in our--it was very, very bad. Our ghetto was--in 1939 when the ghetto start, and just in one year about a hundred thousand people died just for starvation. We didn't get nothing to eat. Nothing. And then when, then came uh, uh, Rumkowski. If you heard about the name Rumkowski, he was running the Łódź ghetto and he start to--he brought in some potatoes and, and flour something. And he, and he start to give rations. This every months this and this and a little bit of that. And we were staying in the line. It was--main thing was very, very bad. You see all your friends dying day by day. Everyday, you see a lot of this.

What was your feeling towards leaders in the ghetto? What did you think of them? Did people have mixed feelings? Did they think they were fair? Did they...

It was--you couldn't think about it, everybody was just for themself, just--was not enough food. That was the whole problem. Was not enough to eat and--we had a couple people who was working in these food stores, they had enough. They were stealing. They want to help their family. It was not enough. It was a very bad thing. It was a very bad time and people starving day by day.

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