Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leon Salomon - June 18, 1990

Leaving Maków

Did anybody think about running east from Maków?

Well, yeah, many of them. We were one of those too.

When did you leave?

We left Maków about a month or two after the occupation. The border was closed already, I mentioned before.

Whose decision was it to leave?

My mother's. I left, and my two sisters. The youngest sister remained, they were supposed to follow us afterwards, but it never materialized. My brother left a month before, just as the war ended with Poland. He went on the Russian side. And he landed in this town Kolbylnik, where he was teaching, he was assistant director of the school.

Where did you and your sisters go?

Me and my sisters went, we came on the Russian side, and we were in Lomza for a couple of days, from Lomza we went to Bialystok, and from Bialystok we stayed a short time in Grodno. In Grodno, we came back to Bialystok and this is somehow my brother had connection with our parents. So it looks like they were writing to each other, we wrote them but they never received our mail. And so through them he found out we are in Bialystok. He looked us up through a friend, schoolmate of his who found us out. And he came for us, this was May, I believe, May the 1st. It was a Russian big holiday. He came for us and we came to this town. Two days later, all of those refugees, which includes us, who registered, who wanted to go back or who wanted to go to America, who wanted to go to South America, any Western countries, and those who didn't want to take a Russian passport, in other words, Russian citizenship, all of them were sent either to Siberia or Tashkent. And so, had our brother came for us two days later, as fate is we probably would have wound up in Russia, although many people died from starvation there and so on, but 90 percent, 95 percent survived. And so that's how fate is. Eventually, my brother was supposed to go to continue his education in Russia, either Moscow or Leningrad, I don't remember exactly, and had he had not have the responsibility of feeding us and being he was the total responsibility around his head, chances are all of us would have survived, I mean not all of us, but my two sisters, myself and my brother.

He came back for you, he had left and then he came back?

Yes, he came back in Russia, in other words in Bialystok, which was under the occupation of Russia, which was only 100 miles or something. We were both under the Russian occupation, which is Poland. He happened to be 100 miles north; we were 100 miles south in other words. He came for us, yes.

To take care of you?

Yeah. That's exactly it.

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