Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - August 13, 1984


Did anyone at any time talk about uh, running? Fighting back?

There was no place to go. You know, we were, we were not prepared for this. I didn't know anything about uh, a concentration camps. We've heard that the Germans are persecuting Jews, so we thought maybe they put 'em in jail, they leave 'em in jail there for a month, and they leave 'em, let 'em go. The newspapers, the newspapers that we used to get were strictly censored, they were all censored, the only thing that you saw over there was the glorious German army with the way they're advancing and, and how they are capturing the one country after the other. We never knew about... I mean, the, the Voice of America? Uh, it was hard... Where did you have a radio to listen to Voice of America? There were a couple of radios, yeah, occasionally you were able to get it but you had to be very careful, if they catch, if they catch you listening to it, they, they, they, they kill you without any hesitation. It means you are a traitor. I'll never forget it while under the Hungarians, the German troops used to go by uh, my hometown and uh, one of the Gypsies, they tried to make themselves nice to the, to the gendarmes, so just, just like that, they said that there were so many Jewish kids over there watching the trains go, I mean, to the Eastern Front or, and, and we, we pointed to them, this is going to happen to you, this and this and this, they gonna chop your arms off and your legs off. Who would have the, the, the, the guts or, or, to, to do that, and besides, we didn't know, and this is exactly what the people tried to do it. Everybody tried, I mean, to turn in the Jews they thought they are maybe going to uh, get some money or, or, or, or uh, they're going to uh, be promoted for something or they're going to get a position of some kind. One day, I remember, uh-I'm mixing you up things but they come to me-I remember my brother came home from someplace, the older one, and my father, olevasholem, said to me, and to my other brother who lives in New York, go wait for him at the train so he shouldn't come home alone. And there was a gang of boys over there, boys that I have known, I went to school with, they got a hold of us, and they beated us and we couldn't even fight back. We walked into the house, my father looks at us uh, he was just saying, "What can I do, what can I do? I can't even help my own children. I can't take care of them. I, I can't go and fight back," or something like that. Now these were supposed to be the civilized Hungarians and the Romanians and they're not supposed to be as anti-Semitic as the Germans. Yet, they were just as nasty and they were just as nasty as the Germans as I found out later on, I mean, after I got into a concentration camp.

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