Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Being Taken for Work Details

So I remember they grabbed me to work to clean up the river because the, the bridge was bombed, so we had to pull out the dead horses, we had to pull out the dead people and the dead cows and that was very--it was rotten because the posts--it was standing from the bridge and when the water still so the, the horse was reeling around like a tire around. I remember I had to cut a horse in half, I had to sit on the horse and take a hatchet, cut it through the half and tied up the rope on the legs and drown him and pull him out from the water. And they--that was the first when they, they came. Then they claimed that a German officer got killed with--the Jews killed the German officer and it took us the whole city--mostly men and boys, and, and married men--they, they ??? and they took us. And we marched Polish soldiers they captured the prisoners and us civilian, and we marched about forty-five kilometer. Dusty roads, it was hot. I remember that was in September before the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holiday. The dust in the roads was not paved and we walked to this place and then they, they--we, we had to march and who couldn't catch up with the--with this marching, they had the, the bayonets on their, on the rifles and they, and they poked us and we came into one place by half way called ???. Over there they manufacture sugar. And we stayed over there and right away I opposed--officers spoke fluently German and he came out and we hollered "Water, water, water." It wa...but we marched, we--on the, on the--on marching, we're out of water. So the farmers run out with pails of water, they were shooting on those farmers. They didn't let them reach to us with the water. So finally when we came on the place--so he--they promised us when we reach the place when we get water, we get water. And they didn't give us no water. So one--his name was uh, a young fellow, a nice fellow. He stood up, he said, "I want water." And he was shot. His name will come to me. He was shot. And they said, "We can't help him with nothing." He was bleed...he was bleeding all night to death and we couldn't help him--we couldn't put out even a piece of rag on him to stop the blood--the, the bleeding. Finally in the morning we had--oh, I'll always remember his name. Finally in the morning we had to get up and to come to this destiny in the place called Zochcin that had about ten, fifteen--one city was Opatow and from Opatow we had to reach to this place Zochcin. When we came to this Zochcin, over there they--we stayed--there was a big huge farm and we stayed over there over a week. And the--lotta got killed over there. Then they--we had to take off the hats and burn--make a, a fire, and dancing around this fire. It was like a dead, a dead dance or something. And at nighttime they used to take out young fellows digging holes and then morning they shot the people and they throw them in the holes. It was--that was something scary. And I was a young fellow--I was eighteen years old. It was very scary.

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