Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984


The following is a recording of Mr. Aaron Salzburg conducted at his home in West Bloomfield on July 23, 1984. The interviewer is Eva Lipton.

My name is Aaron Salzburg. I was born in 19 uh, April the second 1919 in a small city, by the name Opatów, Poland. It's, it's uh, in Congress Poland in the middle of nowhere. The population, the total population of the city was about 11,000 and there were about 7,000 Jews living practical in po...poverty. Uh, the relationship between Polacks and Jews uh, weren't worse. We get--we got along well. Uh, mostly uh, the Jewish people who were uh, small business people and uh, and uh, about seventy-five percent of, of the Jewish people were tailors, carpenters uh, all kind of uh, wo...uh, all kind of, uh...


Of manual work and uh, in 19 uh, 40--1939 when the wa...the war broke out, September the first when the war broke out, which was on a Friday. The Germans, the spearheads, arrived in Opatów on a Tuesday, sometimes the middle of the day. And a matter of fact some of our boys exchanged cigarette with the Wehrmacht. On the corner of our, of our house, not to--it was--the house was located on the main road, coming from the west going east. And, uh, just, just, just, uh, the entrance to the city, it was kinda called the ???. I noticed a little blackboard written on the, on the blackboard by some of these uh, approaching Germans, or the spearheads. It was written the Stadt is ruhig and versichert, which means uh, it's safe and secured. By the nightfall, the Germans, for no reason burned down one third of the city. That was the beginning. A few days later they gathered all the men of the city--Jews and Gentile alike. And they pressed in maybe four or five thousand people in a small public home where they could be called uh, some public house. And cramped in everybody for overnight in terrible conditions. In the morning, by the middle of the day they released one by one for a ransom.

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