Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Harry Praw - June 30, 1982

Being Taken by the Germans

We tried to hide all we could so we don't get caught in the web. So this was September. Finally for next couple of days--every city had a market place. Whether it was a big city or a small town, had its own market place so the next day you knew, you saw, you went around, you went to a market place, the first thing you saw was Jews hanging on the gallows. They picked sides, of course the first ones were Jew, and as they were traitors they were hung during the night. Around September, I mean, around December the 15th, 19...1939, same thing after 5 o'clock they sealed up and I uh, I would probably say about a square mile or maybe two miles, I don't know exactly. And uh, after 5 o'clock officially it was the same, it was in the wintertime, it was pretty dark. All of a sudden--we were in the house, all--my whole family, all eleven people--and we heard a knock on the door. We heard a lot of noises outside so you had to open the door, if not, they broke the door in. The Germans came in and we had to pack. They told us--they gave us five minutes, "Grab whatever you can and go outside." But before they did that, they took all of my sisters, my mother and they had undressed, they had to strip ???. They were looking for diamonds. It was a rich house that they saw we lived and so they were looking for diamonds. The women had to strip, that was of course in front of everybody, and the grandfather eighty-two years old. Then they took us all outside in the yards. They rounded up the--we lived in a place that must have had at least about a hundred families living in our--in the buildings there and they took us out. We had streetcars. They took us probably about a block to the streetcars, they loaded us in the streetcars and they took us to a factory about a couple miles away. It was a vacant factory and they kept us there probably for about a week. Of course, we had to sleep on the floors; these were the best hotel accommodations.

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