Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Opatów Post-Liquidation

What was um, the ta...how long were you remaining behind after the people had left?

I would think uh, I'd been there anywhere from four to five weeks until the German got everything completed there, cleaned out the city. We had to--we had to take all the furnitures from the Jewish homes to certain places assigned to their warehouses. Maybe a week after, after sent--the people were sent away. All the stores were closed, and signs--German signs was--were put on every door, especially on the stores. "Property of the German SS"--their property. Houses were being sold to local Polish people for certain amounts of money--it was like an auction. A lot of people, local people from the, from the surrounding uh, [pause] farms came in and uh, bought up whatever is left, some belongings and some bought the houses, and Germans officials, they collected the money. I remember the fact that a young Polish fella tried to jump in a house and try to catch and steal something. This character by the name ???, a Czech--a Slovak rather, but he served in the German ???, run after him, caught up with him, brought him back a couple yards or so--it must have been a gathering of about four or five hundred Polish people. Right in the front of the people he took out his service revolver and killed him without anything. No court, no questions, nothing. Just cold blooded killed him because he tried to steal something from a Jewish home which was deserted. It was a pity to look at these cities after the people were gone. Everything looked wild. When I looked first in my house we had a cat--a big cat--it's unbelievable how animal can distinguish such a time. The cat looked wild, completely wild. She was missing the people. She couldn't answer. She couldn't understand what happened--so could I. We stayed in that city for about four or five weeks to take everything uh, put everything in order--whatever we were assigned to. And thereafter we were sent to a city by the name Sandomierz, on the Vistula, about thirty kilometers to the east of our city. By the way, it's worth to mention, Opatów was a city at least six or seven hundred years old. One of the oldest cities in Poland, and we can date back just about seven or eight hundred years of Jewish life in that city. With Jewish domination as far as the population, trades and uh, business dominated mostly by Jewish people. The stores were closed on Saturdays. The uh, the farmers were happy to come to us and deal with our people. Anytime they wanted something, they could buy it for less money and very convenient--any time at night, anytime on holidays. The Jewish uh, storekeeper was available. And life was--wasn't too bad until to the war.

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