Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Raab - June 28, 2002


So how long were you there in, uh...

We, we must have stayed there at least a year and a half. And then they took us. From there, they moved us out to a city in the name Bodaibo. Now Bodaibo was already a more uh, more city like.

Do you remember how large, how many people?

Oh, I, I couldn't tell.

Lots of--were there lots of Jews?

Jews, there were only those that from our, from our train. They were the Jews. And they put us in a, in a school building and this is where we, where we lived. And again, uh, like one classroom there must have been three, four, five families living in that one room. And also, no facilities--the facilities used to be outside and--But it was already more like, city like you know, and.

Did you speak Yiddish at home? Or Polish? Or German?

Well, we spoke Polish.


Uh, when the parents didn't want us to understand, they used to speak German among themselves.

But you know Yiddish.

And I learned Yiddish. At, at home the only one that was speaking Yiddish actually at home was my grandmother. But I learned Yiddish on the way you know, during, during all this ordeal. And I speak it very well even now.

So a year and a half--it's what, 1942? Is that when you...

Uh, yeah approximately--1942 we were already in that Bodaibo, this, this, this bigger city.

So the Germans had already invaded the Soviet Union.

Yes, yes, the war was, the war was going on. And uh, we stayed there in Bodaibo until--they came out, the Russians came out with a deal that we have to accept Russian citizenship, all the people that, that were there. And then, of course, people started to worry about it or say once you are Russian citizen, you belong there. Because we always had that, that strive to get out of there someday. Perhaps go back to, to Poland when all this thing is over. But once you are Russian citizen and in, in, in uh, in those communist days, in the wartime days-- you couldn't travel in Russia. You had to have a special permit from Stalin himself that you can go from one place to, to another.

Even in Siberia.

Even in Siberia. You couldn't travel you--and, and again, you couldn't own a radio. You could only listen to the head, like they have a park over there in that Bodaibo city and they had the loudspeakers and all you could hear is the Russian propaganda. Or you could plug your ears and don't listen to it. Or listen whatever they tell you. But...

So the relationship with the Russian authorities and the Jews were not particularly good.

They were not bad. And, and the Russian people as a, as a whole, the ones that we were there uh, they were, they were good peo...they, they didn't in, in particularly you know, work uh, against Jews--they knew that we are Jews you know, and...

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