Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981

Violence in Ghetto

Your brother, two brothers and your father and you, you're still living with your uncle now...


...in the ghetto. Was this the first you'd seen people shot or had you...

This was the first that I'd seen people shot en masse. I had seen occasional shooting here and there uh, not close up. But I've heard of, of, of executions, I heard shots, I have seen some from some--a distance, but I have, this was the first time I ever seen mass executions like I've never seen before. I remember that evening we saw cars full of bodies, thrown one on top of the other. Some of these people might not have even been dead. They might have been just unconscious, but they were shot. They were just loaded one on top of the other, not even covered up. And that's where I saw what I thought was the body of my, one of my uncles. And they were carted off to be buried in a m...mass grave. Uh, my--some of my friends were working at the burial details, later on they told me who they saw being buried. I personally didn't have to do it, but my friends told me who they, they told me, you know, "This, this was shot, this man was shot and this one was shot." They told me names of the people that we didn't know what happened to them. Eventually they told us that they, they saw them being put into a ditch in a mass grave. Children were being--small children were being tossed up in the air and shot while in the air to drop dead on the ground.

Did you see this?

This--I've seen it myself. This is, was the eh, this was one of the games that the Gestapo played with some of the children. I'll never forget it. For no reason why, those--the selection for the executions was, it wasn't like it was a planned thing that young people are going to go to work, older people are going to be executed, because a lot of young people, a lot of my friends were executed. So we couldn't say that that was because he was, they were executing only, only older people. They just, they did it just at will. It was just a game with the Gestapo.

You were still working in the, in the ghetto.

I was working outside of the ghetto.

They would come each day.

That particular day--that, that fateful day in November of '42, which I'll never forget, that particular day nobody worked. They all, we all had to assemble on the Plac Zgody and that was--that's where they're taking people away for deportation to extermination camps and for executions. And there were, like there were, well, I would say they were just thinning out the ghetto.

Did you, did you hear of a, of a factory on Lwoska street? A lamp factory owned by a man named Fox?

I don't remember that, uh. I remember on the Lwowska street there was a factory called Madrid. They were making uniforms for the Nazi Army and that's where my mother and my sister worked. I didn't, I don't, I don't...

Were there suicides, do you know ??? poison?

I personally don't remember that.

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