Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Getting Help from Poles II

The la...woman opened, and I told her that eh, she saw a youngster. I told her that I am eh, Srul--my father was called Srul--I am Srul's son, and can I come in? She got a shock of course, called her husband down from the eh, where he was asleep, and eh, and after he came down, I told him also that I am Srul's son. He knew my father. They took me in, and put me next to the fire, she gave me a cup of tea--a hot cup of tea, and eh, of course they asked questions. I told them how I came, how I came there, and what happened to my parents, and so on. And eh, then came down the--her two sons and one daughter, and they had breakfast, and, of course, she invited me to join them for breakfast, and her--one of her sons said that, "There are--at the Pionki camp, there are hundreds of Jews working there, would you like to join them?" I said, "Yes, I would like to go." So, the, the mother said, "Well, take and see what they work--the Polacks in that camp--in that factory." And they went every morning, by foot, to Pionki--wasn't far. So, eh, he said--she said, "Take, take him with you." He said, "No, it's too dangerous," and he wouldn't. So she said, "You know what? Later I'm going eh, to some other place. On the way, I will show you how to go to Pionki." I remembered Pionki from eh, when the war started, my mother took a load, cartload of eh, apples and pears to sell in the market in Pionki. So I remembered the square at least, and the--where the church stood, and so and, eh, that's what we did. After an hour or so, she took me--we came to the road, and she told me, there's a path on the other side of the road, you go straight, you'll reach Pionki and so I did. I reached Pionki, and I got into the--she told also, that eh, her son told me, "When you come to Pionki, from the, from the marketplace, turn to the right, and when you go out from the town you will see a fence on your right, and inside, that's the camp, and maybe there are Jews working there also." So I came into Pionki, and I found the square, the church, and from there I turn to the right, and I walk--it's a small place--and really very soon I saw a fence, double fence, and in between the Ukrainian soldiers, soldiers walking, eh, patrolling. And I was with a bundle, a few things, had some bread in my pockets, and I don't know what else I had there. I was walking along the path on the outside of the fence, up and down, and at one stage I saw three Jews sitting not far away from there. So, I sat opposite them in the--outside the place, and make myself look, and eat something, a piece of bread. And eh, at a certain stage, when the guards were far away, one of the Jews neared the fence, and asked in Polish, "What do I have to sell?" because he think that Polish kid was sent by their parents to sell something to the Jews inside of--food, of course. So I told him, in Yiddish, that I'm Jewish and I want to get in. Of course he was in shock, and ran back to his friends.

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