Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Moving into the Ghetto

What happened when you came home from being jailed?

Nothing really happened. It was--just lasted for eight days. But another reason, they got to collect so many, many pounds of gold.

Oh, so there was a ransom.

Yeah, a ransom.

Was there um, a ghetto?

And then it lasted a few months, then we, we, we, we had to move out from the houses to practically three streets. They compacted the whole population in three streets. That, that, that con...consisted of a ghe...a ghetto. You could go in through three, three gates. And every few days they got new regulations. Every two days, new orders. Just, it, it get so--it's, it's very--it's difficult to, to--people who didn't went through this will never understand what happened. Regardless how many books or how many films, whatever, they will never understand what happened. The next summer they started to take people to camps, to labor camps, young people...

You're talking about in 1941?

No, 1940.

Nineteen forty?

Yeah. They organized a Jewish committee, and they, they supposed to be in touch with the Germans.

Was this the Judenrat?

The Judenrat. In our city it was called the Jewish Committee.

The Jewish Committee?

Yeah. They...

Was that separate from the police? Was there a Jewish police and a Jewish Committee?

Oh, the, the Jewish Committee they were like a, like they, that was a committee a few people were active in the community and they wanted to get involved. And they had one uh, who is their, their leader and he was in touch with the Germans. Germans from their side got a committee to, to--their responsibility is to watch over the Jewish population. And the German police came into that ghetto, they patrolled it all the time, and then they had Jewish police who helped them with all those, with all those things what they--what they didn't want to do themselves, they, they felt they can't depend on.

Did the Jewish police cooperate with them?

They didn't, they didn't have much, you just have to do what they told' em to do. They were not an independent organization.

Were they cruel to the Jews?

Some of 'em, that depends on the character of the person. If he was a cruel person, he was cruel. Same as--and if somebody will happen to be or was not a, a cruel person, he was not cruel. Some took advantage of the situation.

Well, I understand some towns though they were particularly brutal.

They were brutal, there was in our town some who were brutal too.

Do you remember any of them?

Oh, I can remember, but it, it, it went out. I don't remember no names. There were some who were very brutal. Like I, like I'm telling you, it depends, it depended on the character of the person.

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