Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

Russian Retreat

She wasn't renting the attic?

No, there was nobody there anymore, because it was already a turmoil, there was nobody up there, it wasn't a room anymore it was the attic itself not the room. And wouldn't you know it...the Russians retreated, the Germans came back in and we were back where we started for the next six months. So then, she said, okay, you have to go back into the basement, can't keep you in the attic, you know, it's too open. So we went into the basement. The Germans were again occupying that one part, we were still in the second, in the center in our old place. Then they came and ordered to, they needed to evacuate. They needed to leave the house and the street was evacuated. So, Mr. Pietrzycki, Mrs. Orlewska's brother said, I don't know what to do with you, why don't you stay a day or two and I'll see, I'll come back in a day or two. Maybe it will quiet down, see what happens. So, we were there and then we heard noises, and we knew they were going to come and take the other part that we were in and we went to the third part of the basement. There were a lot of clothes and bedding and all the stuff from the upstairs and there was one door and a window, so we barricaded the door with the stuff and we went into this third part. We were in a crouching position for two days or three days, I don't know how long, we still had some bread that he left us and there was some water and after two days, I think, we heard a knock on the window, first he came to this basement, he saw the Germans are there and then he saw the door was locked, so he assumed that we went to this third part. So he knocked on the window, we looked out we saw who it was, we opened the window from the inside. First he threw in a loaf of bread and then says give me the pot. And then he had a conversation with Momma and he said we can't sit here, I mean how long can you sit stooped down, you know, you couldn't stand up, you couldn't sit, you couldn't lay down, nothing we were in a small corner the three of us. So he schlepped us out through the window, Nina and I had no problem, but Momma was a little larger, but we all got out and he told us, you know, it is such a turmoil, everybody is away, the street is empty, Germans are all over, why don't you go to a public shelter, they have a public shelter in the town square, it's against bombs, the air raid shelter. Stay there, there is a lot of people there. Nobody will know. Alright, we went there. There were a lot of people there and after a few minutes, Momma says to me, you know what, they recognized us. We can't be here. There was whispering already. They were whispering, Jews, Jews, you know...We had pale faces, we...maybe we didn't look very Jewish, and we didn't speak...our Polish language was very good...but we were very, very pale, from sitting inside so long. So, prior to our going into our shelter, Mr. Pietrzycki said to Momma, look, if you really, really in trouble, there is a house not far from my daughter, there is one single man, crazy professor, he occupies the whole house. He's crazy, but he is harmless. If you're really in trouble, take a chance go there. What else can you do? That's what we did. We went to the professor's house. And he was very sweet and very nice and he invited us in and he said, of course, you can stay as long as you want to and fine, we were out in the open. We had papers, but we were out in the open no more hiding. Um, there was only family living on his street. Part of the house was occupied by Germans, but actually they were from Vienna and they were very nice to us and they were always saying good morning, and hello and how are you and how are the children...some of them even felt sorry for the children being so pale and so thin and even brought some food to Momma.

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