Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Life Under German Occupation

So we started, after a few weeks people started to organize. They were stealing our--some supplies uh, of--I was working over there with--in a little shop, we were make parts for shoes. Everybody still had some supplies and--people started to get back to work and try to continue to living as much as possible. So the way we heard about it that the, the, the Gestapo or whoever it was they made that provocation, and they wanted--it was supposed to have been a German communist in town, who was a, a Polish German, not, not a--so they provoked him to, to pass by someplace in the shopping.

A Jew.

No, no, a German.

A German.

A German. And that gave 'em an excuse to start to round up the Jews after that. They start to round up the Jews, whoever they could catch from the houses, from the streets, wherever it was. And they took us in to a courtyard and kept us--that was right in the beginning, in 19, uh, 1939--and they kept us in a courtyard for a whole day and a whole night and another day. Then they take about sixteen hundred people, they took me and my brother in, in--and boys under--over sixteen years old they let them go, the rest of 'em they took us to a, to a, to a uh, jail, which was a provincial jail in a city about fourteen, fifteen miles in ??? away from Zduńska Wola. And they hold us there for a week and then they released us. They beat up people, they shot people, they showed right what they, they can accomplish at that time. After that a very larger percentage of the people run away to, to, to Russia. You still can get on a train or whatever. Or if you couldn't get--in our cities you can get nearby city, because our city was dangerous from the beginning because of the very wide German population and they all started to cooperated, they all turned. They, they want to cooperate with the, the, the, with the--with Hitler's army, you know, and the occupation army.


So a lot of young people run away to, to Russia at that time. The borders were not established just yet. And a lot of those people survived in Russia. The--most of them who are in Israel are those people who came back in 1945 and run away at that time. And with all kind of Partisans over there survi...went through in Russia they survived and they returned ???. So it started from worse to worse.

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