Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

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The basement was one of three parts. Who was in the next?

In one part, the first part belonged to the tenant, the center belonged to Mrs. Orlewska and the third part also belonged to her, she had the two chambers, so we were in the center part with the entrance from the garden and from the house. Then when the front was coming closer and the Russians were moving in, some Germans occupied the first part, the tenant part of the basement, they were occupying it. And we were still in the center.

So, Germans were a walls width away from you?

Walls, we could hear their radio. And all conversation that was going, we knew the front was closed from what we heard through the wall.

These were Wehrmacht?

This was Wehrmacht.

Not SS?

Not SS. SS was still around, in fact, I don't know how, but somebody told on us. And it was just before the Russians came in, in fact the front was so close, that one day, one evening, Mrs. Orlewska's brother said to Momma, I am going to leave the garden door open, I'm not going to lock you in tonight. The front was coming very close, and in case there is bombing or the house catches fire, you'll be locked in. So, only the entrance from the hallway, from the stairs will be closed, here it is going to be open. Nobody will know it's like that. Alright. That same evening, I don't know what time, it was night already, we hear knocking on the other door. Juden öffnet. That was SS. Somebody told them that there were Jews. The Germans said, Jews, open up!! So in a split second we made the decision to get out, we went into the garden and hid in the bushes and within seconds there were flashlights in the basement and they were looking and they didn't find us. They found the place where we were sleeping and laying and they, we could hear them speak saying...oh, the old man is probably sleeping here when there is bombing or something, probably prepared himself a hiding place and they left. But, we weren't certain, so we went into the field, the corn was very high and we could hide in there. And the next morning, the same morning, a few hours later, the Russians came in and we were in the fields. So, can you imagine the Russians are on their back already and they still have in mind to pursue the Jews? Anyway, we were sitting in the fields when we heard that the Russians came in. You know, there were shrapnel all around because there was a lot of shooting going on. And Momma said to me, I'm going to go out, and we are going to join them. But we didn't all go out at the same time, she went to the house and told Mrs. Orlewska, the Russians are here, we are going to join them. Because, whatever happens, I don't want to take any chances. So she said, you know wait a day or two. Because, you know the neighbors will see you and who knows what what's gonna happen to me. You know, they were not, not all Polish people were like Mrs. Orlewska. They weren't out to help the Jews. So Momma said, okay. So, from the field we went up to the attic and we stayed, I don't know, maybe a couple of days, maybe not even that much...

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