Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Jewish Employment Agency

How did the people uh, feel about this uh, this Jewish uh, employment agent?

Jewish employment agent helped a little bit and then became a business--then it became a business.

What did he do before the war?

He was, I think, a paper write...uh, a newspaper writer. His name was Edelman. So, then, then it became a business. For instance, like I mentioned, if you need five hundred people he sent out a thousand names. Two, three hundred people came, paid in, the five hundred people came to work and he got two, three hundred people to pay in. Well, right away it start to become a business.

Did they uh, did they pay the workers?

No, no, no. For instance, if you--for instance, the Germans want five hundred people for tomorrow. He went and he had his helpers and he sent a thousand names. The five hundred people came to, you know, they came voluntary to work. Well, the other five hundred uh, they paid--they didn't--we didn't know he sent out a thousand names. And the other five hundred or four hundred people came and, and they paid to this Edelman to put a person on his place. Only if he had already the five hundred people and the four hundred people paid in--there was, there was clear money. Oh he need always the money. Because if somebody was in the--I will say it happened to me that I realize he need the money. Because thank God that what we survived is because you could bribe the Germans. I mean, a German was easy to bribe. Or you bribed with him with a diamond ring or you bribed him with a watch, or you bribed him with good food, or you bribed him with a cognac, with good drinks or with cigarettes. Or you could bribe him with a good boots--they liked good leather boots, or with a fur coat. That was the, that was the--I happened to be there--I, I was almost to be shot and this Edelman saved our lives.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn