Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Raab - June 28, 2002

Conditions in Sinyuga

Um, what was the name of that last town you were living?

Well, that was called Sinyuga.

Sinyuga. So what did you do when you got there? They housed in barracks. Your father went to work for them in a labor gang?

Well, like I said, all the men, they used to take 'em out to the woods and they made out of them lumberjacks. And I remember there was even a, a M.D., a medical doctor, a Jewish guy that my family, my, my father knew him from, from our city, you know. And they made outta him a, a, a, a lumberjack. And, and there was a big need for a doctor. But yet he didn't have absolutely nothing. He didn't have even a, a, a Band-Aid.

What about your mother and your brother? What were they doing?

Well, we stayed usually at home.

In the barracks.

In the barrack, you know. Like, like I say, in the summer I remember I was so starved and hungry that I used to uh, go into the, to the woods and whatever I could find, whatever I, I touch it's good to eat.

How did you decide what was good to eat?

Just on my own, I, I seen, I mean, you, you could tell that--there were a lot of blueberries, you know. And I, I could tell blueberries are edible. And then I used to bring--I used to pick mushrooms, a lot of mushrooms and bring 'em home. Well, mushrooms, I used to bring 'em back and, and I guess either mother or grandmother, they used--or some other people, they used to sort it out and decide if it's good or, or they used to also, there were the local people over there. And I think they were--we started watching what they do and what they eat.

Was it cold? It was summer, must have been hot.

In the summer, was nice, it was, was fine. A lot of mosquitoes, terrible mosquitoes in the woods. And uh, it was not bad. But the winter was so terrible, I remember. In the barrack where we lived, we used to have a, a bucket of water and that was the drinking water, I mean, the, the water to use. And that water used to freeze in the bucket, inside the barrack. And that tells you how warm it was in there. And I was so starved that I found a, a bag with salt. So I used to lick the salt. I remember I used to go like this and dip it in the salt and lick the salt. And then, of course, and then of course I used to drink water after that. So the bottom line was I swell up, I had you know, I was swollen from, from the water and the salt.

Did they give you clothes to wear, any coats?

Yeah, they--it came, people round up some clothes. Like I said there were the local people over there and uh, things started, uh. There was, they started some kind of a relation between the local people. And, uh...

Was that better than in Jarosław? Were they friendlier than in Poland?

Uh, I'll tell you, those, those local--those Mongols, they, they didn't know, they didn't know much. They--we used to tell 'em that we are uh, uh, Jews, that we are uh, Polish from Poland and they, they, they didn't know what, uh...

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