Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Dangers of Hiding

Had you heard of any Jews that were discovered in hiding?

When I was the second time in the Dutch theater prison, I saw in the center, when I was on the balcony, I saw in the center were people standing and they told us, these are the uh, S cases. S...uh, Strafe--in German, punishment. Punishment cases. And they were made to stand for hours on end.

Uh. So you, you escaped at that time. A close call, you think.

Yes. Yes, it was very... You mean by the jumping out the window?

By jumping out the window.

Yes, it could have been uh, it could have been terrible. I've had more occasions like this. Uh, I tried as best as I could to keep a Jewish calendar to know when the holidays were. Uh, I might be one or two days off. But I believed it was Purim of 1945 when I was in the--sleeping in the hiding place and I woke up. I thought it was already morning. And in the morning, I believe it was a man coming to deliver bread, a baker or a person who would deliver a bread. And that was my first impression. But then I paid attention. And maybe it was even simultaneously I heard German plus that the roof, the entrance to the hiding place rose and someone came in. It was the farmer himself. What I know from my, from my own knowledge is that I got extremely scared. I was shaking. The adrenaline was obviously doing its job. My whole body was shaking. And uh, I'm fortunate that uh, they couldn't hear it. Because it was wood, it was less than half an inch thick. And uh, there were several other things that went very fortunate.

Were they looking?

A total of ten men from the Army, Navy and Air Force. They were looking for men and weapons, because Gentile men already had to work in Germany unless they had a special permit. They were critically needed or so. Uh, they fo...they entered, the farmer's wife kept them waiting until her husband had in her guesstimate safely arrived in the hiding place. Uh, so they asked her how come it takes you so long? She said, "Oh I had to get dressed and blah, blah, blah. Uh, then they saw my coat, which I had left hanging there, a man's coat in the entrance hall. They said, "Hey, you say that your husband is in Germany, that he works there now? How come there's a man's coat there?" And this farmer's wife, who usually was considered by us of being not too bright, she said, "I do this on purpose so that if any man will come here he will believe or think that there are me...that another man is in this house." They came in the living room and found an ashtray, the Germans asked "Hey, you're alone and you said," when they asked her about smoking, she said, "I don't smoke." "Why do you have an ashtray here?" Fortunately there were no ashes in it. And she again, very fortunately, she said that my baby is playing with it. They did not even check in the toilet. They did look in that part of the farm where uh, the slaughtering had taken place way before that. But more importantly uh, there were wooden shoes there, more than was indicated by our supposed absence. Now it was--it must have been around Purim because there was a full moon, shining through a relatively small window. So you've got there the contrast between a bright spot on the floor and the other shade. And they did not see those uh, wooden shoes. It was another time that we were lucky.

Now this was Purim 1945.

This was Purim 1945.

So it's almost liberation.

Yes. I have many more details that happened before. Do you want to, me to jump back?

Sure. Why don't... Let's see...

[interruption in interview]

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