Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

The Importance of Landsmen

I remember I was working in the, in the ammunition factory in Skarżysko. So the Ukrainian they wanted, let's not--so they, they, they divert you. They saw you're wearing nice boots, they want the--your boots or they want your coat, they came in to rob you. And it was not allowed or they did it on their own. I remember, I mentioned to you, I used to work at this machine at the ???, the, the--with the big sword, it was--they--those, those guards used to go in the toilet and grab some Jews and bring them behind this machine and search him and take away everything. So what they had? They had some money or they had uh, or they brought from outside a bread or they brought from outside a piece of salami because we had always connection something with the outside. How we got the connection with the outside--those people what they used to empty that--those toilets they used to pump this, this uh, from the toilets, and when they used to take out outside on the field. So outside they had already Polacks what they were watch--waiting for them. They sold 'em--used to sell 'em bread or, or cigarettes or something. And they used to put in this barrel--it was a barrel. And they had a double barrel or something and they--with a horse and they used to bring it in--selling. Always where Jewish are--they always some, some handle, some just have to go on. So happened that uh, that he was from my hometown--his name is ???--he should rest in peace, he died--and they caught him in the toilet and he had something. And they brought him over on the--to the machine. Under the machine was like a big wall. What did they used to--they used to beat him up and they take away the mo...the thing. So if we all are close to each other--only if you see your own fellow from your own hometown it bothered me a little bit. Because I, I was nobody. I only--they saw me, they saw me on this place working and I--and they--and I saw them coming in. It was not legal for them to do this. So when they brought him over I stopped in and I walked by the wall I said, "You leave this guy alone," I said, "He's from my home town." And they didn't touch him. And they took off. He said, uh, Chaim, his name was Chaim, he said to me, "Berek how could you do it?" I said, "I see 'em bringing in everyday two, three people behind this wall. You know, I, I, I'm here just working, I'm like you and like everybody else. Only if I saw you bringing ba...bringing in it was hurting me." One time it happened too I'm just bringing out the thing, which comes to my mind. It was on a Sunday, and I--and we lived in this--in Skarżysko in this barracks what I told you from Ekonomia--we went to this barrack and we tried to be together--the landsmen from the same home town together to be in barrack.

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