Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan, Bernard, and Samuel Offen - September 3, 1987


SO: We didnt--but of course at that time we didnt know where.

SO: And this is when Nat and I came home that night we found like hundreds of bodies in the streets and blood and corpses. And the first thing we went, we tried to find the rest of the family, you and mother and sister--our sister Miriam. And we checked in with some of our other relatives and...

BO: Hmm, thats interesting.

SO: Yeah.

BO: I dont remember that particular episode.

SO: Well, you were a lot younger, so you couldnt possibly remember...

BO: Yeah, yeah.

SO: ...'cause I remember when we got there unfortunately, we didnt, we didn't find them. Later we found out from some mutual friends that they were deported to supposedly a labor camp. At that time we were just hoping thats what it was. And uh, you know, Miriam, was--she wasn't barely 15. And uh, our mother was 46, and unfortunately after, after the war we found out that, that they were gassed like the rest of them.

Nat, what do you remember about that time?

NO: Well, I remember 1939 uh, the night before uh, the Germans marched in--I was, I was young boy. I was sitting guard. We had to--there were no lights. You heard, you heard gunfire and uh, you heard gunfire, and you knew that the Germans are coming very close, because you heard the--and I was very petrified. It must have been one oclock in the morning, a fellow came by with his trench coat and his--he was holding his hands in his pockets and he was asking me some questions. And I could tell that he wasnt Polish because by his accent that hes not from our, from our, from our uh, from our, uh...


NO: Area, yes. He wasnt from our area, I could tell. But I was very scared to say anything or to do anything. He was asking me about where is this and that. Uh, and he was holding, like I said, his hands in his pockets. And uh, then he walked away. But I remember I was very petrified. The following morning, I know they came some--people were running here and there. People didnt know--there were horses and cars and everybody--and one of the uh, one of the ref...refugees, I mean they were not refugees they were coming from uh, from Silesia, or that area, running away from the Germans. And I helped them something--fix an axle on a carriage--on a horse carriage, and I know he gave me a bundle of Polish money and I know this was thousands and thousands, I never saw in my life so much money. I was so happy, I was so happy with that money. Then they uh, then they opened up all the warehouses in, in Podgorze, Kraków, where we used to live. Podgorze was the other side of the Kraków--of the, of the river Vistula. They opened up all the warehouses, and they let the people take whatever they can before the German marched in. And me, Sam and Bernie, we grabbed a carriage, like a baby carriage, and we run to Jarno. There was Jarno--Jarno was a mill where they were baking bread and cookies and we grabbed a couple bags of flour and then we run to the, not far from us--a few blocks away from us was a factory where they were manufacturing cigarettes, we grabbed carton of cigarette, then we went to a chocolate factory, Suchard, and we grabbed chocolate and we brought a lot of stuff home.

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