Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Being Scared in the Ghetto

What--when you were, when you were um, smuggling with your father back and forth, do you remember any sort of moments that were terrifying, where you were really frightened of what was happening?

Eh, when I went with my father, I relied on him more, but eh, I know of one case where after my father--my family was eh, exterminated from, from the ghetto. That night I was not in the ghetto. I came in next, next morning, when they were already at the station--train station. Eh, one--but I went into the ghetto at night because my cousin, the policeman--he was stayed with the police in the ghetto.

His name was Aharon?

Aharon, yeah. Aharon Rotbaum. Was my father's son, eh brother's son. And um, I--a few times, while they were--was while they were ??? still in the ghetto, a few times I went back to the village and came back there. And one of those trips, on the way back, a Polish eh, youngster--much bigger and older than I was--attacked me, and he succeeded, even to take part of the product that I was carrying. That's the only case of eh, that, that I encountered personally.

And he called you a Jew?

Oh, yes.

How do you suppose he knew you were a Jew?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. Maybe he was from one of the villages that eh, knew me, and wanted to know. Could be. I didn't recognize him, I know.

Do you remember what kind of--what was the atmosphere like when you were in the ghetto? Was it constant worry, or...

Oh, yes. Constant worry. Constant worry.

So there were no moments of...


...relative peace?

No. Was always frightening and always eh, eh, all the people were even afraid eh, to walk on the streets, that they shouldn't be caught and sent away to work. That's good.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn