Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leon Salomon - June 18, 1990

Life Under Occupation

When did life really, when did you notice it, a drastic change, because of the invasion?

We had a few small, well, a city not far from us called Przasnysz, was forced to be taking out, and they took those people away on the Russian side. As you know, Poland was divided, divided into two and they took those people to the Russian side. In other words, all of the Jews, they took away. Later on, the same thing was done to a city, Pultusk, which was 25 kilometers away from us and we heard about it too. So we were expecting the same fate, although this happened to us a few weeks later the Bürgermeister of this city has ordered to have horse and buggies, one horse and buggy to a family, you could take whatever you want, whatever you can put on horse and buggy, and we were supposed to be taking out on the Russian side. The day we were supposed to be taken out, there was, the market was full of horse and buggies, and I can remember only one thing, my father that's all he was taking, is his talit and teffilin and that's all he needs, nothing else, like, you know, my mother said, we have five kids, we got to live, and this and that, but that's all he was concerned, as long as he's got his religious things and the rest will come, you know. But it was annulled because the Jewish Judenrat or Gemeinde, went to this Bürgermeister and appealed to him, maybe we can stay where we are. And I'll never forget, this was where the worst, this Bürgermeister said, it was a German person, he says if you wish to stay, you can stay, but I cannot be responsible for your lives. Nobody knew in those days what he meant by that. And so, the city was temporarily saved of being taken out on the Russian side. Had they taken out on the Russian side, most of them probably would have survived the war.

Who's decision was it to stay?

You know, each city had Gemeinde, Jewish Gemeinde, which is a Jewish council, right. And that council was still in existence, and so automatically, they became like Judenrat, of course there was no Judenrat then, because just in the beginning. And one of them, or a couple of them, they decided to go and beg for the people to stay, nobody in those days the fate of the people what's going to happen. So, this was the reply.

So, your family stayed, there were no ghettos or anything like that?

No, no ghettos, no.

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