Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Traveling with Germans

But you got a ride with them?

We got a ride.

You hitchhiked.

Yeah. And one place eh, they--he found a, a car, in a ditch near the road, tucked away. He tried to--there were--the keys were inside he tried, it worked. So they collected from other--there were plenty of cars and trucks on the way already, not, not--people probably were killed or left, and ran away, 'cause they was all the times traffic, and bombing by the Allied forces, air forces. And eh, they took out from other cars eh, the engine, and fitted this one, and they started driving the car. And eh, was on the way, we already stopped in places where could eh, could register and get eh, food rations officially, and even eh, clothing. It was, it was all eh, reg...eh, eh, you had to--you needed some coupons to get it--to get those things. And I--we moved in--we got into Hamburg. And there in Hamburg there was still fighting in the streets between the Germans and the Allied forces. And somewhere we got a empty house eh, on the outskirts of eh, Hamburg, and after few days there, too, the fighting stopped. We went--we had to register with the police station, and we registered there, we got again eh, with that registration. We went to another place and got food rations, and eh, so on...

Who did you register with?

The Germans...


German police, yes. The Germans eh, distributed rations. They had--everything was rationed at that time. And um, we stayed another few days in eh, Hamburg and they wanted to go to their towns but there was no transport. And then one day they got hold of a truck that brought in agricultural products into Hamburg and eh, they make him an arrangement with him--pay him something. And he loaded--took us on his truck underneath eh, a case of eh, vegetable cases--got underneath, and that's how we got out of Hamburg, and continued eh, hijacking, eh...


Hitchhiking eh, until we came to his town.

Which was...

Which was--unfortunately I don't know. I don't remember neither his name, nor the town from which he was. I applied to many eh, even to eh, eh, radio station to advertise, but they wouldn't. And I tried to get a list of the Germans that were in Sachsenhausen eh, but I couldn't recognize it. Anyhow, I came to his parents' eh, house, and, of course, they accepted me as eh, I was. And his father told me that a Jewish doctor survived in that town, and he lives, and would I like to meet him? I said, "Yes." So they took me over to the doctor--to the Jewish doctor, and he again was very surprised to find a Jewish youngster from Poland there, alive in his town. And he told me that he already met a Jew from Poland, who worked in a, in a German farm eh, eh, as, as a Pole, not as a Jew, together with his Polish girlfriend, and that he intends to go back to Poland to look for family. I said, "I also want to do this." So he brought me together--he eh, brought me to that eh, Polish Jew eh, and eh, we--I--he said he wants to go back, and eh, some--we arranged--there was a lot of movement. People were on the Western side of Germany that were eh, Russians and Poles and Czechs were going to the Russian side, and many from the Russian side were moving to Poland, France, Belgium, and to the other side. So, we were, we were taken to a camp where there were many Russians and Poles waiting to be transported to the Russian side. And one day we joined a transport going to the Russian side.

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