Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

First Deportations

What happened next that was a major change?

Next, well not long after the Germans came in, they had out an order for everybody to register. And, a lot of people did and a lot of people didn't. My mother didn't my grandparents and my aunts and uncles didn't. We didn't know what the registration was for. But, they just didn't. And, after the registration, a day or two later was another order that all the people that registered had to come to the market place, the city square, with their belongings and they were told that at that time they will be taken somewhere else. They weren't taken, they were sent. They told them to go to the River San and cross it. Apparently, the Germans and the Russians had some kind of an agreement that they were letting the Jews out and they are letting the Jews in. And this is what happened, they were all walking, I remember staying in my grandparents' house at the time and we looked out the window and these people were walking with their pecklah and their bags and pushing the buggies and people with cane and old and young and in between and babies in their arms and they were all walking toward the river to cross the San. And I remember my aunt saying "look at those poor souls," you see, good thing we didn't register. So we can stay in our house. What we didn't know was they were going to life and we were staying with death, because once they crossed the river and were on the Russian side, they were treated as displaced persons, but they were not persecuted as Jews. Our persecution just started...there was wearing of the arm bands, with curfews, with forbidden prayer, you couldn't pray, in a minyan, in a group, all sorts of things they were taking men to hard labor, to pull stones, to pull rocks out of the river and build streets, there were orders to give up your furs, Jews were not allowed to have one piece of fur, I remember people standing in line, to give up the furs. God forbid if they caught you with a piece of fur. There was an incident that the woman forgot that she had a fur pompon on her slipper, and she still had the Polish maid at that time and she went and told on her, she was punished severely. That was this for what she was punished, for having a pompon that she did not turn in. All sorts of things, all sorts of things, but still we were in our houses. Still we had what to eat. Um, not a whole lot, a lot of people had to stand in line for bread which was very, very soft and wet. Our family was quite fortunate because my father saw to it before he left the house, he ordered 100 kilo of white flour and 100 kilo of bread flour and 100 kilo of salt and 50 kilo sugar to be in the house just in case. So I remember Momma taking flour and sending me to the baker and he would bake bread for us. So we were still having bread, where other people had to stand in line already.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn