Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981

Mother and Sister Deported

Do you remember what month that was, approximately what time of year?

No, but eh, I remember in November of '42 that one day all of us had to go to work. So my brothers, my father and I had to, we had to go to our, to our separate jobs, wherever we worked. And my mother and my sister, they was out working outside of the ghetto. And my mother and sister were told to st...they're not to go to their jobs, to stay in the ghetto. And we were af...very much afraid of what was going to happen. There was nothing we could do about it, because we were all under German guards, with their machine guns watching us. And we had to ma...somehow there were rumors that there was going to be another deportation. And we didn't know where we were going to be deported or who was going to be deported or where or when. We were expecting it any day now. So one day in November, we're told to assemble. To assemble at a certain place, like a uh, market place, to assemble in the street, to assemble.

Was it Plac Zgody, do you remember that?

It was the Plac, yeah, it was called Plac, it was called Plac Zgody, that's right. And all of us assembled there. And there, the Nazis were segregating people. Some they were segregating, go back to work, some they were segregating to go to deportation camps, to what camps we didn't know. And I'm sure you heard about it. It was just pointing. You go left or you go right. And we didn't know which line was good or bad or whatever it was. So we just marching right by them and the Germans say "Go this side, go this side, go this side." Just for whatever reason they pointed to go here, go there. And uh, we went to a certain line. And we didn't know what, what happened to anybody. And there was a lot of shooting going on all day long then. We saw a lot of shooting going on, there were people just right in front of us, being shot right mercilessly. All day long. There were a lot of bodies all around us. And we were not together that time, everyone was separate. I don't remember if I was with, with my brother together at that time or not, I can't remember. It was just a horrifying day. And I can't recall vividly what happened. But I remember one of my uncles' bodies was lying there. And at night they told us to go back or towards evening they told us to go back to your--where, where you live. Well, I remember going back to our uncle's place. And we just, we--anyway, by the time all of us assembled, my mother, my sister and my aunt were missing. And, of course, we just didn't know what to make out of it. But we had the worst fears. Of course, we were just hugging and kissing each other, we glad whoever was here that we're together. But we had the worst fears about what was going to happen to them. Later on, we were told from the rumors--not by the Germans but just uh, just the, the rumors, that they went to a concentration camp called Majdanek, Treblinka. And then we already surmised oh, that was one of the worst concentration camps in the country. In fact, it was like a liquidation camp. That's where they were liquidating people in gas chambers. And, of course, we feared the worst. I mean, we didn't have concrete evidence that that's where they went. But that's what happened to them. But there's nothing that we could do about it. Were never told by anybody what happened to them and, of course, we've never seen them again nor heard from them again. And that was the end of seeing my mother and my sister, never to be seen again.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn