Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Pauline Kleinberg - October 28, 1982

Attempting to Hide

Husband: Right, yeah.

A village, village. A small village, yeah, right. I, I, I should ha...know this. But I--we didn't know. So we winded up but I--there, you see, in Poland it's different. Here you get--have all nationalities, all different races. So you can't tell who's Jewish, who's not Jewish. You know, he's an Italian, he was working all these years here, uh, they thought he's Italian. From--but in Poland, you know it's either a, a Pollack or a Jew--a dirty Jew. So I was a dirty Jew because I had a very Semitic look. My sister was blonde and was like this. Uh, she, she could get away as uh, Aryan, you know. So we got into a forest and it started off as slight, slight snow, which, you know, if you walk, you make, uh...

Husband: Footsteps.

...footstep--foot prints. So she said, "You stay here and I'm going to go out and see what's going on and I will organize some food." She got into one place and she said that she is uh, like a smuggler--she's trying to support her parents. Uh, she's goyish and she's trying to support her parents and, and uh, and she was caught and they took everything away, can she get some food. And she wanted to see what sort of uh, people they are--if she can trust them to come over and to sleep over night or to run further. So she said, "Oh, here it's going on a lot--the, the Jews, they come--they all running and they shot and some people come--the Polacks, they were giving them out too." And some, I said, they, they--and some are caught and some other and non-Jewish are telling on them and, and it's very dangerous. She said, "But I'm not Jewish, so come on, I'll give you a little bread and I'll give you some eggs and all this." And then she said, she said, "I feel so sorry for those Jews." So my sister said, "Me too." You know, she pretend she's not Jewish. And finally she said, "I'm here with a sister," but she didn't tell that we are Jewish. She said, "Bring her in," she said, "when it's going to get dark." When it got dark, we got in there. They were poor people there. Those villages--I've never seen--I've never been in a village before in my life until this time. Very poor and she said, "I can keep you at night, but not very long." So my sister said, "We had some valuables." But my father--if he was living--he said, "Everyone should have something there is on, on you." So we had, you know, sewing in, a pair of earrings, uh, a coin--a gold coin or something. For some reason he must have had some probably more idea something is real that, that we might be scattered. So my sister had some of these, she said, "You know what, if you give us a little bit more food, I have a golden coin, I'll pay for it. And if you let us stay here for a little while," she said. So she had a barn and, and across the--like across the backyard, it was her living quarters. She said, "If you go in there"--'cause they were very poor--"so, you'll stay because--for this gold piece." So there we met--we walked in there, we met a little boy. He said, he's there already three days, but the peoples don't know. I don't have anything to give 'em. During--when it starts off daylight, he said, "I'm going to the, to the forest and at night I'm cold--I'm coming in, but she doe...they don't know." And then...

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn