Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Entering the Pionki Camp

Anyhow, then I continued to walk up and down, and eh, at certain stages, signs from inside and outside, and when the, the guards were far away, one of them run to the inside fence and lifted up the barbed wire, and I crawled underneath the barbed wire from the outside fence, and was--in minute I was sitting with them inside, with Jews. Of course they wanted to know everything: what happened, how do I manage, where am, am I from, so. And eh, the next question probably was how to get into the--where the Jews are, inside. They were working, repairing the fence, it seems so they were--they knew the place all over. And eh, at a certain stage a Polish worker--a Polish man passed by, and they asked him if he could take eh, me--there was eh, two Jewish families, by the name of Kaplan. One, they were eh, tailors, and they were living outside the Jewish camp in a building, and they were doing repair eh, repairing and eh, tailoring the--for, for the German soldiers and the Ger...Ukrainian soldiers--their uniforms. And they lived outside, with their wives and with their small kids. And they asked him, would he bring me to their house and that's what he did. Again, I came in eh, the wife of one of the--again got a shock, you know, but she took me in, and gave me something to eat, something to drink, and then eh, the husbands came home, from their work, and say what--how do I get there out of the camp? They called a Polish guy who was an electrician, and he has the right to go into the camp to repair electrical appliances and so on, and they asked him to take me to the camp eh, with him, as his assistant. So he gave me his eh, toolbox, and eh, took me with him into the guard eh, station, and just passed by one of the Ukrainians, uh, guards who knew him well, he even made a remark, "Look at him, he already needs an assistant, to get his box in!" That's how I got in, without any problem. And inside, I was eh, diverted to the Jewish eh, head of the police--there was a Jewish committee inside also, was a civilian one, and eh, police--Jewish police inside. And the head of the police, his whole name was Me...Mendel ???, a very stocky man, and eh, when I told him who I am, and he also was very surprised. But he found a place where I could eh, fill a bed in the barracks, and eh, showed me that I get food from the kitchen, and eh, I was illegally there for eh, about...

You were never officially registered in the camp?

I was later.


I will tell you how. And I was, for a few months, illegally there. I could go out from that barrack only if there were no German patrolling, or Ukrainian patrolling inside--from time to time they would come in and patrol inside. And um, the kitchen staff eh, would sell me food into the barrack. And sometimes I would even come out and take it myself from there. And eh, then one eh, day, they brought in a group of Jews from another camp, from near Radom somewhere, and amongst them were other eh, youngsters, more or less my age or a bit more. So the head of the police called me and moved me--takes me to that group, and says that I arrived with them. And then they registered me together with the rest of the group. And in that group also came my cousin Aharon, from near Radom camp and that's how I met him again. And eh, then already we were in the same eh, eh, what's the name? The same eh, barrack, and eh, I had somebody to rely on. At that time uh, also one of our eh, eh, men uh, in there from Głowaczów, he had some contact with Polish worker who knew that my uncle, Moshe Dorfman, and his son Henry are hiding with a Polish family and he told me this. I didn't know where the village is or what, but I knew that my uncle and my cousin, Moshe, are hiding, and it was a Polish family.

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