Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Getting in Trouble II

And we didn't take no coal at all. And when the Gendarme with the motorcycle--they stopped us and they told us to get off from the truck. And we got off from the truck and they went in the truck and they didn't find not a drop of coal because we didn't take it. So the squealer--the musul like we say in Jewish--he was a, he--he didn't tell the truth. So anyway, if you steal--if you get away once or twice or you gotta be caught. And we got caught. When we got caught they put us, they put us in a little jail--in a city jail. And then they mar...they put us out in, in five in a lane with the rifles and bayonet and they took us--we had a big jail. And then we marched down to the jail. And the mothers and the fathers were standing crying, "Oh who knows what's going to happen to our children." And we marched down to the jail. And they start interrogating us. So we made up one slogan, that uh, we asked the guard for a piece of coal and he refused. Or one time he said he will ask the officer if we can take home a piece of coal and the patience went out--we didn't have no more patience to, to wait 'til he will give us the answer--it was too cold, and we took it without, without his okay. And because we didn't want involved him--the soldier--because right away it was a threat they're going to send him away to the Russian front. So we, we tried to pro...like protect him. So, so this Gudel Edelman, he went to this officer--to this SS-man who he knows is going to interrogate us and he bribed him. I already give him some fur coat, he give him some boots, he give him some uh, diamonds. And he made a one sentence for us, one sentence. He say, "If you do it again, then you're going to be shot." And put us on the truck, and send us back to the work, to the same job, only with a different guard or we couldn't touch this time. Not because we couldn't touch--we could bribe this guard or, or talk him into it too, only the thing it was that, that we were afraid already. If we would get second time it was no excuse, not by the Germans. So we were luckily, we got off the first time.

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