Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Nothman - November 30, 1982

Cleaning up the Ghetto

So we were there--we're supposed to clean up the whole ghetto. Take the body that they shot and killed, put on the truck so they can tow it away. The first thing what happened to me--the first experience I saw a, a dead friend of mine laying there. I was supposed to put him on a horse and buggy. And some were alive and they took 'em to cemetery. There was a concentration camp--Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp. There was a Jewish cemetery. And they took me to kindergarten. The Jewish, in the ghetto was kindergarten. Maybe a block for--half a block from me, where I live. And the SS said to me, "Now go on, go on the second floor, take the children." They were in the pillows, they were not like we have thing in the pillows. So I want to take one. He said, "No, take more than one." So he piled one, two, three on the top, but I couldn't carry it. ??? So the bottom child, the bottom child, it couldn't breathe. So somehow, you know, it was so difficult that--because I don't see. I brought them down stairs. It was a beautiful day--sunny day. And by the building I supposed to lay them head to the building, all of them. There was three or four friends of mine. Young. I would say the age fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, sixteen. And then we went four, five times and I saw the German open a, a bottle of whiskey and drink the whiskey, everything by himself. And he went to the child and he shot everyone in his head, everyone in his head. I didn't know--I didn't know what was going on. "Is that real, is that real? Is that happen?" I said, "God, why? What happen? How can be--how can that be allowed? If you don't see it, fine. But I'm seeing it front of my eyes." Then he said, "Schmeißen Juden of the ???" Throw the Jews on that buggy--horse and buggy. So I want to take gently. No. I should take by the thing just like you throw in brick. But the blood was still running. I don't know how I done it. I don't know. So we throwed it and when the horse and buggy moved away we saw blood was still running from the horse and buggy. That's still in ghetto. Then they took us to the hospital. For the first time in my life I saw a woman doctor's head split in half. They were shooting with dum-dum bullets. The bullets go in and explode. And there were blood all over. They were killing all over. They were killing. And they were Ukraine. They were shooting left and right because a lot of people were hiding in the building. They were shooting--they were the vicious, murderous killer that--I tell--I said, "God, we need you, we need you. Why don't you come and help us?" Just to myself, "How can that happen?" And they kill everybody. So the German came to us. They said we should throw the body from the second floor on the platform--on the thing, so, you know, somebody had alive...

[interruption in interview]

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn