Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Start of War

Okay, I'm sorry I interrupted. Do you want to continue talking about 1939, trying to go away?

Yeah, 1939, so first of all the Polacks, like I--they--their powers it didn't make sense to anybody. They try to be patriotic and to buy everything at the same time, until the war break, broke out. And as soon as the war broke out, everything collapsed in one single day. There's, no...nobody can tell, can--is able even to tell exactly how that happened. And how fast everything happened and how fast everything changed in one, one day. The Germans they had acquired a free ride. There was practically no resistance. And as soon as they come, came in, the first thing they did was to start to take advantage of the Jews.

How did they do that?

Well, they throwed us--let's say, they throwed a few bombs in our, in our town on Sunday morning uh, September the 3rd, I--Friday was the 1st, Saturday of the 3rd. So it had to be cleaned up. He could right--pick any Jewish boy or man they saw on the street walking, or if he didn't catch anybody walking on the street they come into the house he took out to forced labor. That happened right in, in the first few days they came in.

Where did they take them for forced labor?

Huh? Uh, to, to, to clean, clean up the, the, the, where, where the...

In the town.

In, in the town.

Oh, they weren't deported.

No, no, in the town. And they start with their program, with their anti-Semitic program, all kind. First we have to turn in the radios, then you have to turn in the, the, the food, and you have to turn in this. And every single day they made a curfew, you can't go out between, I don't know, between seven o'clock in the morning 'til five o'clock in the afternoon. If, and if you went out, they going, they going to shoot you and things like this. Very, very, a very dangerous situation developed. Practically right in the very, very beginning. Then uh, then they had the November the 11th. The Polacks used to--they--for them it was the day when they lost the First World War--the Germans, November the 11th. And Poland celebrated that day--Independence Day.

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