Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Start of War

Which is not far from Głowaczów. Was this a surprise?

What, the war?

The war starting?

I couldn't tell you that. I wouldn't know that. I don't know. I think it was eh, published already in the newspapers, that uh, it's on the way but uh, I wouldn't know.

What was it like in your, in your house when you realized your father was going to go off to the army?

Well, it was eh, everybody was eh, trying to--it was--of course, we were all sorry that he's going, and what we will do without him? And how will we market eh, pick the rest of the fruit? And how will we market it? And how will we go back to town? It was all eh, this but we had no option. Mother tried to fight in the town to, to manage, and so on and eh, he had to go. Of course, we were crying when he left.

Do you remember how you felt? Did you, did you talk to your brother at all about...

I don't think so. We talked about it--father's not there, of course, but eh, we took it as eh, was part of our life.

Were you frightened?

Yeah, we were. To live without father, we didn't know what's going to happen, what will happen to him in the war?

When you went back home to Głowaczów...

Yeah. It was eight or ten days. I don't remember exactly how long we stayed there. And there, we tried to re-organize our lives--mother especially, was. And, eh...

When did you get news of your father?

I think it was some time in 1940. Somehow she received eh, from somebody else--they were in a camp in Radom, and somebody informed my mother that my father is there also. So a day or two days later, my mother went to Radom, and eh, found my father and talked to him. It was eh, from distance. They wouldn't let them talk to each other--be near each other. And uh, after some time, we, we lost uh, contact with him, until one day he was released. It was eh, some time I think in 1940, exactly when I don't know.

He just showed up at home?


You had seen the Germans come in then?

Oh, yes. The first day of them coming in, we eh, the elder people wouldn't go out, but we, the children, went out and saw them driving in on their lorries and eh, they stopped, and eh, waiting for how to continue. In one case, one of the Polish eh, men that stood there, asked the Germans, "And what will happen to the Jews?" So he did--he made a sign like this, across, uh...

Slit his throat?

The throat. That's what would happen to the Jews.

What are--so you were what, eight years old? Seven-and-a-half?

Seven-and-a-half, yeah.

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