Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Life Under German Occupation

How did they, how did they get you?

Just from the street.

They just found you?

From the street, from the--they walk in from the, from the houses. So happened that uh, and they--and then they--it was an order. If--my brother was hiding in the basement by a relative. So it was an order if we don't come out on the--on this marked place, called some--a marked place by the, by the city hall--and in ten minutes later they will go in and house by house, basement by basement they will search. And who they going to find hidden, they going to kill it on the spot. So people where they were hiding--they all came out from the hiding places and everybody--they didn't take my father, or they took me with my brother, and we marched to this place to Zochcin.

Just the Jews?

Jew, just the Jews. Only the front was the soldiers--the prisoner--soldiers--was, was Jewish, Jewish prisoners, it was uh, Gentiles. They marched first and we had to follow them.

What about your younger brothers?

They were too young to be taken to this first march.

And the, the women they left alone?

The women they left alone by the first, by the first march. And we came over there and we stayed over a week. Before the holidays--before the Rosh Hashanah holiday they released us. Somebody, somebody said that the, the archbishop from our hometown was of German descent and the Jewish people went to this archbishop--the fathers, the mothers went to him and he had something to do with it that they released us for the holidays.

And so uh, then you went home.

Yeah, we went home. So we--I remember that there was a, a highway about forty-five miles or forty mi...kilometer and the highway was from both side. The fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers came from this side and we came from this side and all the, the merging was on, on the highway. The whole highway was full of people. The, the, the simcha was so excited we were, you know, because they didn't know what they going to do with us. They--rumors was that they going to shoot us out and they going to send us off to Germany. They going to do all kind of thing. But finally we got release. But we got released. So, it was starting, start the trouble.

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