Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Ghetto in Amsterdam

This is when they were creating a ghetto. Did they create a ghetto in Amsterdam?


What were the circumstances around that? Were you, were you in the area already designated to be...

We were inside--okay, they had a ghetto and a ghetto. There was the, the central ghetto where they uh, could raise the bridges over the cana...particular canal. And then anything inside that. People couldn't even try and get out because the water would be there. And we were a little bit outside of that, let's say um, maybe a mile or so outside of that.

There was a split.

Yes, it--we were in the periphery a little bit.

What were the conditions like when they started to bring people in from the neighboring towns and...

Everyone uh, pitched in uh, such as we uh, we accepted um, they asked for volunteers for people to, to uh, put these people up. So we became like a member of the family. Later on, that same Jewish couple, they were childless um, who got in, my father in contact with their Gentile business acquaintance. That same couple had gone underground. For some reasons they had to come back again. They asked my parents whether they could live with us. My parents agreed. Gave them their bedroom. So we had living at one time, in addition to our family--minus my older sister, was in Belgium--uh, that one man from Krooninen which was the town in the province of Holland, plus that couple. Uh, I believe the bachelor, he had to report first and he probably did it. I don't remember the details. When at one occasion the Germans came to pick up the couple that had been living in my parents' bedroom and I remember how they pleaded and begged to let them stay. But to no avail. Um, I felt pretty bad about that. These were people that just to mention a trivial detail. When I was a young teenager, even before that uh, since they were childless they in a particular way had adopted me. On uh, Shabbos afternoon, after Mincha prayer they had invited me to their house alone and they would feed me with all the goodies that anyone could imagine. Candy, fruit, what, you name it. So I definitely had some positive feelings towards them. So I felt pretty bad when, when uh, when I... I was practically witness to it when they were taken away.

They were taken pretty much by force then because they...

Right. What choice did they have? The men said you come with us. If they hadn't done it they were armed. Also on one occasion they came for us. And uh, I believe there was, there must have been a German-speaking person with them. There usually was some Dutch uh, either Dutch police or undercover agents, whatever who were cooperating with the Germans. But also with Germans. There was one German, he came in there and I remember that he asked my father what does that mean on the wall. And it was the ten commandments in Hebrew. And my father explained it to him. And the man uh, seemed surprised that Jews believed in such nice things. And then he volunteered that he had found out that one of his own ancestors at one time was a rabbi in Spain.


I remember that. We were, we were permitted to stay. I don't know why.

You think that's why?

I don't know. I don't know. Maybe.

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