Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


NO: And then in the morning we were going back to the ghetto. We were searched if anybody had their--because they had--all the Germans, they had two, three watches, they had gold, silver, what they robbed from the people--from the Russians. They had a lot of money, gold, dollars, everything they had. But if they caught anyone of us--they searched us in the morning before we went back to the ghetto because we worked all night--they shot him right on the spot. I worked there for maybe a couple of months, I was going out from there.

Where was Sam and Bernie during this time?

NO: I dont know, they were different places.

SO: Bernie, it would be interesting to tell him your experience how when Nat and I were in Płaszów and you were in a different camp--that interesting story how--tell him how you practically--you had to for practical purposes, you had to smuggle yourself into a concentration camp to be with us. You see, at that time, our mother and sister were gone; our father and the three of us were still together. With the exception of Bernie, the two of us and our father were together working in Płaszów. Bernie was in a camp, like a subcamp of Płaszów, a mile or two out. Now Bernie--we found out through some channels that Bernie was still alive. In fact, he found out about us that we were alive in the camp because we were separated from the ghetto. So Bernie may tell you the story how interesting--how he sm...he made to smuggle himself into a concentration camp. I dont think there will be many who would smuggle themselves, yeah, interesting ???

NO: You were with uncle, with Uncle Meyer, Uncle Meyer.

SO: Yeah, why don't you tell them... ???

BO: Well uh, I was, the ghetto was closed up and we were taken to Płaszów actually, first. Uh, we marched to Płaszów and I was there with my father for a little while. And then one morning...

SO: He was too young to qualify. I really mean, he was too young to qualify to go to concentration camp in Płaszów. You know, of course if they want to kill him--they would have killed him, had he not used his--go ahead, Im sorry.

BO: Its all right. And so uh, uh, I ended up in Płaszów after the ghetto and one day they uh, they said that all ah, all young people must report to the center of the camp. Uh, and uh, so there was no choice but to report, you know. And uh, they took us--put us on horse-drawn wagons and they were uh, took us out of the camp. And I jumped from, from the horse-drawn uh, wagon when the soldier was not looking and hid myself in a ditch. I hid myself for a few days. And one, one day, one night, I was sheltered by this Polish family who were friends of, of uh, of my brothers.

SO: And Bernie was only twelve then.

BO: And uh, uh they uh, they hid me and gave me some food, but they couldnt keep me because they would have been shot, too, if I would have been caught there. So I didnt know what to do, and so I headed back to where I heard my uncle, my Uncle Meyer, was working on this construction site and he was in this other camp--this, this sub-camp.

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