Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Conditions in the Łódź ghetto

Was that two families that lived together, or was two, three families?

There was two families. Then what can I say about Łódź ghetto? All the time people were star...was starvation. People was dying, laying on the street. Everyday when you went out on the street you see people dead on the street. And it was very, very bad. I remember I was a little boy, the Germany came one day was a--they took away all of the children. And I had a brother this time, he was two year--he was about five years old this time. And I was afraid they going to take him away, and I was hiding him, after.

What year was this, do you remember?

That was 1941. After that every three months they had a--the German came in and picked up some people from the street and send away. One day I was with my two children playing and they came--the Gestapo--a German came and my little--my brother, I couldn't hide him no more. They took him away, from this time I couldn't find him no more. Nineteen--I was in the ghetto for, all, all the time. I left the ghetto almost the last from the people. I left with my uncle and my aunts and my cousins. It was...

You left? Where did--how did you leave?

How did I le...we leave? They said in Ger... in the last minute, they--the German came in, in the ghetto and they said they want to save us because the Russian is coming in and they want to take us off and they going to give us another homes and food and everything because the Russian is going to come in. A lot of people was hiding. I know about six hundred people who was in the, in the Łódź ghetto still alive because they didn't went out. It was about a hundred and thousand Jews living in the Łódź ghetto the last couple months. And they took--every, every day was going transportation--we didn't know where this is, but now we know this was Auschwitz. At--e...everyday was about five hundred thousand people--it was machine--all the trains was going from, from machine to Auschwitz. And I was one from the last, from the last people.

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