Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leon Salomon - June 18, 1990

End of the War

And then you were sent to a hospital?

Yeah, I was sent to a hospital back to Kovno and on the way to the hospital I heard the news that General Chernyakhovsky was killed. At the same time I was wounded, he was killed.

And when the war ended, where were you?

When the war ended I was in Vilna.

So you went from Kovno to Vilna?

From Kovno I went to Vilna and from Vilna I went as a Polish subject back to Poland.

You didn't go home though?

Yeah, as a Polish subject. I registered myself that I want to go back to Poland because I actually am from Poland.

But, Maków?

No, instead of Maków I went to Łódź. I didn't go to Maków for several reasons because first, I knew that nobody is going to be in Maków, secondly, we heard about incidents already in Poland that the Jewish people were not so safe. So I went to Łódź which was a major town, a major city and that's where I stayed, I registered myself down there. And, of course, they had a list of survivors. And, of course, I was hoping somebody is there. And, of course, nobody was there.

Was there a time when this was all over that you stopped to reflect on it all and it sank in what had happened, that your family was lost, that your community was lost, at any time say during this period or after you were in the hospital, after you were wounded, when did you realize what the extent of the disaster was?

The thing is this, when you were in the underground or in the partisans, you never thought of those things. You didn't want to think of those things. We knew one thing at those days that I hardly thought that any Jews are left anyway, the only thing we know, that those Jews are left, probably are those who went to the partisans which were in major cities like around Russia, Minsk and so on in cities like we were, maybe around Bialystok in that area. Anybody who had, oh, Polosho which is the swamps, in the Arovnov and so on, but we didn't know of such a thing like Jews surviving in concentration camps. I heard of the first time I heard of a concentration camp was 1944 when I was in Kovno in the army and we heard about Majdanek, because at that time Majdanek was liberated, but, of course, we also heard that no Jews were left there alive. So, anyway, I didn't think there's any Jews except for those who were in the underground or those who were in the Russian armies, that did survive.

And when did you hear about your parents?

About my parents, well I heard later on from people from Maków, that what happened to them that the whole town was actually liquidated. There's only a few here and there who survived in the concentration camps.

And you heard about this in what, 1945, 46?

I heard about it in 1945, yes.

Were you shocked?

No, I wasn't shocked. I expected it. It would have been unusual if they'd been alive. I expected that. You were hoping against hope that somebody was alive. You asked my question if I was shocked, I said no.

Was there a time when you mourned for them, did you say Kaddish at any time?

Sure, yeah.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn