Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Krystal - September 19, 1996

Separation of Family

So what, what, what did your family decide to do? Were they just going to wait?

Well, at that time we couldn't do very much because we uh, we didn't have the capital, you know. But uh, eh, just a, a short time afterwards, a matter of weeks uh, they round, they, they, they called up something like 500 young men and they were going to send them somewhere to a camp for labor in the east. And my brother was one of those that received a notice. And uh, so my parents decided that they were not going to wait for him to, to be taken there, so they got him ready and he went and went across to the Russ...the side that has been just occupied by the Soviet Union. So he was in the area of Ukraine. And uh, since it was certain that this area was going to be part of the Reich, my parents then packed some things that I could take. And there was a Pole from my mother's home town who was working at the Post Office and he was going to go back to Bodzentyn. So I went with him on the train taking all of, that my parents could bundle up and send even, even a bed. And we took it back and, and I was sent back to Bodzentyn. And then again while the border was still not that solid, my father uh, decided to go across and join my brother. So he came to Bodzentyn to say goodbye to me. And somehow they felt that I was just a boy so I would be alright, but that the men would be in the greatest peril. And, and I just, not, I, not, I don't recall if I ever even asked them, "Take me with you." Although being in Bodzentyn was not my favorite place to be. So he went over too and then, so we were divided. My mother was still in the apartment guarding our property and lived through a terrible winter there. Uh, and then in the spring uh, in order to come to join me she had to smuggle herself through a frontier, like a border, because that area was all part of the Reich and I was in the central general government, Generalgouvernement. And she came in, in the early spring and she joined me. She was in, in bad condition, emaciated, looking terrible. And I was not in very good shape myself.

Was it a problem with getting food is that...even in Bodzentyn?

Well, it uh, it was mostly very hard for her there. For me at, at this time food not, was not yet an acute problem uh, because there was, things were not yet tightened up in the small towns and villages, but it was getting there.

Now was that the last time you saw your father?


And, and your mother then came to you.


What happened next?

Well uh, my mother and I took a room, my, my parents uh, my grandparents, in a, a, a store, in a kind of an apartment behind it and then they had another apart...apartment upstairs. Uh, my mother felt bad, I probably contributed to it by telling her what happened to me during the winter, which wasn't very nice. And uh, so we, we took a room and we moved upstairs. Just the two of us.

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