Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sigmund Rubin - January 12, 1982

Early Years

Walking about few hours a man stopped me and grabbed me by my arm and he told me, you are Jews, Jewish. I'm going to take you to the Germans and I'm going to get five pounds of sugar for your life. I start pleading with him. Finally I says look, I'll give you five pounds, you'll, you'll get five pounds of sugar for my life, I'll give you more than that. I says, take anything you want and just let me go. Finally he let...He let me go.

Ok, let's go back a little bit. Uh, describe your life, describe your life before the war. Well, what was your father's occupation?

My father had a hotel. You call it here a motel.


We had a wonderful life. There was, there was five of us in the family, my parents. We had a nice hotel; we had a good life. When I finished school I helped at home for about three years. And after three years I got a job in a textile retail store as a salesman. Lucky--you see in Europe kids like mine age when I got this jobs weren't, weren't so lucky. You know, when you got a job like this you had to sweep the floor, you know, and all kinds of stuff. I was lucky because, I don't know, we had a person who was doing those things and my boss liked me and uh, I had a nice wag...I had nice wages. I lived like a millionaire. In 1937, my older daughter got married; she married a young man. He was a manufacturer; she had a baby in 1939. My older brother went to the service in uh, 1939 in March. And uh, my younger brother took over my job at home. My parents were wonderful people.

So you had two brothers and...

I had two brothers and two sisters.

And two sisters.

I was the middle one.


A older brother and a younger brother and a older sister and a younger sister. She was the only one married.

Now how, how big was your uh, was you town?

The town. Łódź?


Łódź was the second city in Poland. It was a, a city with uh, as I said before, about 150,000 Jews. All concentrated mostly in the cent...center of the city.

A lot of synagogues?

Oh yes, we had--the fact is, you know, I met here a man who, our parents went to the same synagogue. Maybe you've heard of him uh, his name is uh, uh, Polack...I forgot his last name. Polack. Yeah, everybody knows him here. In fact, there was an article just recently in the news. Polack Birnbaum. Our parents went to the same synagogue.


It wasn't a synagogue like this, it was a, a small congregation. Some friends got together and they had a little synagogue like this. But in addition to that we had a, a uh, big synagogue. It was one of the nicest synagogues in the city. The Germans, most of the, the, the members were German Jews.

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