Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peppy Rosenthal - July 1, 2009

The Ghetto

Oh. And it has a map there, because I was trying to find my street where I lived before um, I went to Russia, before...

So what was the street name? You remember?

Mm-mm. I know, I know it was not far from the river.

The River Styr? Is that the name of the river?

I think so.

Um, and you lived in a house.


How many bedrooms, how many, how many rooms was the house?

It had uh, two bedrooms, had a living room, and a dining room, and a lar...large kitchen, and a bathroom which was really like um, it was like an inside room, you know, so it was safe to hide there.

Oh. You mean during, during air raids, or...

During when Germans were coming through and...

During ???

Yeah, and we would hide in there. And um, during air raids.

So life was more or less proceeding normally, even though the, the Soviets are there?

Mm-hm. Yeah.

And, and what about when the, the Germans invaded? Do you remember where you were when that happened, or what, what occurred?

I remember us being in shul--now there, you see, I never even thought of that. I...uh, we were in shul, it was like Yom Kippur, or Rosh, or Rosh Hashanah, maybe it was Yom Kippur. And the word got around that the Germans are coming. And we went home, and we hid in the bathroom.

What had you heard about the, the Germans?

Well, that they were not very nice. I, I don't think that I knew a lot what they were doing, because I think my parents tried to protect me, not to scare me.

Do you think anyone knew what would, what they were doing to the Jews, at, at that point?

I think there was a lot of whispering going around. They didn't seem to react this way to the Russians.

But, so no one, no one seemed terribly upset when the Russians came?


But, but when the Germans came, do you remember when they marched into the town? Into Rozhishche?

It was at night.

They came at night. And you were hiding?

Mm-hm, in the bathroom, in the bathtub. I was sleeping.

So what...when was the first time you recall seeing German soldiers?

Um, basically I recall when we um, when they were marching us to the ghetto. Before that, uh, we all had to wear the yellow star and a yellow armband. And then uh, I remember them marching us to the ghetto.

How did you find out that you had to wear the yellow star? Did you, your parents just said, "We have to wear the yellow star"?


So whenever you were on the streets, you had to have the star on you?


And where was the ghetto relative to where you lived?

It was um, well, we used to call that section ??? You know what that means? On the, on the...

On the mountain.

On the mountain. And um, there was also a very narrow river, going through like, like the Jordan is, you know, it was narrow and it wasn't very deep.

So you had to go across the bridge?

Mm-hm. And that's where we...about forty people in a, in a room.

Forty in a room?

Thirty, for...I mean, they were just...


Yes. And there were a lot of older people who were mentally ill, and they cried at night a lot. There were a lot of children. My dad and his partner worked outside the, the ghetto, and they found out that the ghetto was going to be liquidated, and we couldn't tell any of his relatives, my dad couldn't. So he came back with his partner, and he must have paid off the guards. They let us cross the river, and my dad was carrying me on his shoulders, and the six of us escaped. And we went to stay with one of the people that worked for my dad's bus company. Was a, was a Sunday.

A non-Jew?

Yes. And um, they went to church, and we were looking out like um, in the attic outside, and my dad tried to keep, my mother tried to keep me away from the windows, so I wouldn't see--because...and then they threw like a baby out the window, and I happened. I mean, not out the window, out of the truck, and I happened to see that. And uh, I was very upset, to say the least. And then we stayed there till the...they came back from church, and they wanted us to leave, because they were afraid, you know, that somebody's gonna find out that they're hiding us. So uh, my father and his partner went to the country to see if he can find the, one of the conductors, and see if they'd let us stay there. And then um, my mother and my father's partner's wife and their son, the four of us, stayed there. And we went and we stayed with the...where the pigs were staying. So if somebody came, then he can say that he didn't know we were there. So we stayed there, and he insisted that we leave. And my mother said she'll leave, and go and see if she can find my father, but would he just keep me safe, you know, hide...for them to hide me some place. So she left, and I never saw her again. And that's why basically I went back to Rozhishche, to see if anyone knew what happened to her.

I see. Did you find out?

They said, you know, that some people recognized her and she was killed, but I don't know if they just said it or...but I never really found anybody that could say, "Yeah, I remember, blah, blah, blah."

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