Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Attempting Escape from Skarżysko

Did people talk about trying to escape from here?

Yes, they were talking about escaping--where they got to escape. There was no--I had a fellow--he lives now in Montreal--his name is Yudel Teitelbaum. And he said to me, "Berek, let's run away." The hair was cut off. The clothes--we were wearing our civilian clothes--clothes was torn, dirty, filthy. And the Polacks were walking around and looking for a Jew like we're looking out for Messiah should come. If they found a, a Jew--so they right away they turn you into the police or to the Gendarmes or the Germans and they received a carton of cigarettes or a liter of kerosene or a pound of sugar--so they walked around looking for a Jew. And it was wires--about three, four electric wires. Go make through, through those wires. It was dark. Only the way to escape was between--to go to work between the camp and the factory was about two, three miles. You could escape this way if somebody would wait with something to, to pick you up. Or the otherwise, to go through those wires. People made it. It was very hard. And if they caught 'em on the other side, they brought 'em back and they shot 'em.

Was there just uh, Jewish men in this camp?

In Skarżysko was only Jewish men. Was Polacks too, only they came in to work, because that's ammunition factory before the war, and they were working over there before the war. They were the, the uh, the, the foremans, they were the mechanics, you know. They came in during the morning and they went in the evening. They went home in evening. Only, which shift they work, so--or they were--they, they could go home. They got paid. That was their regular job. And this Teitelbaum--what I mentioned what is in Montreal--he managed to escape. Or he went in, because he comes from a village not far from my hometown, and he went in and he knew a girl what he went with her to school. And she hide him in the, in the stall with the, with the cows and the--about two, three years. Finally, when he--and the--her parents didn't know it. If the parents would knew it that he's hidden over there--because if he would get caught, she would get shot and her whole family.

She was Jewish or Gentile?

No, Gentile. Polack. So then after the war he married her and she converted to Judaism. They got two girls, they're living in Montreal. And when I go to Canada, Montreal, we are like two brothers. We, we see each other, we hug each other. And we always talk about--we never forget what we went through together. Only he didn't--he said, "No, I'm not going to stay here. You want to go with me?" I said, "You got where to go. Where I will go?" She will accept him, or where I could go?

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