Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Hiding with Cousin

But eh, I realize that eh, the Jewish police are still in the ghetto, and my cousin, Aharon, was probably with them. So when dusk came in, and when there, there was already less dark, and when I saw there was nobody looking around, I crawled underneath those wooden planks, eh, into the ghetto. There was an opening between the, eh, pavement and the street, to let the water out, and in one place it was big enough for me somewhat to crawl in. And eh, I, there, I went into one of the house--from one of the house to another, and I eh, reached the house where we lived. I was trying to find something, especially I wanted at least eh, picture of parents of mine 'cause I knew there was a picture of my parents when they got married, hanging on the wall but I didn't find it. So I crawled back into--nearer to the--where the police--the Jewish police were, and while looking out from one of the eh, house windows, to see where I can find him. At a certain stage there was one policeman was walking by out our way, and I made a noise for him, to hear me. He came nearer, and eh, I approached him, and I said, "I'm looking for my cousin, Aharon. Can you tell him that I'm here?" He got a shock, of course, to see a, a young eh, Jewish boy left behind. He asked all kinds of questions, and I told him what I could, and asked him to send my cousin over. It took some time; it was already dark and chilly when my cousin neared by, and eh, he was also shocked to see me--how I stayed behind, and where was I, and how were my parents, and so on. But he took me over into their quarters where they lived, that eh, night, and eh, I stayed with him. He gave me something to eat, I was that hungry, and uh, he put me together with him in his bed, but at a certain time at night eh, German SS were making a, a tour, and checking the--that everybody's in place. And my cousin, he lay on, on his side, and as high up on his side as he could, and I was hiding behind his back, they shouldn't see me. But he was afraid and eh, so, he sent me out into the latrine, which was outside, and he said, "Go stay there until they leave us--the, the Germans leave," and eh, I did this. I closed myself inside the latrine, and even the Germans that patrolled--that passed nearby with the dog, it was so eh, stinky there, that they probably couldn't discern that a Jewish boy inside. And eh, next--early next morning, my cousin gave me a few things, and I went out the same way that I came in and walked back to the village. And I came back to there twice again, because he was also--because by the last time I came he was already--he was also deported but not to Treblinka, but to a working eh, near Radom, to a working camp somewhere.

Did he survive?

No. He passed away--not again in the Pionki camp, in the eh, eh, when he was brought from wherever he was in the camp, to Pionki, there we met again, and when we were evacuated to Germany, he also came to Germany to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and there he died.

That summer?

That summer. It was a few weeks before the end of the war.

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