Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Tragedies of War

Was, was your family liquidated at that time too? Who--how many members of your family were there?

Um, six brothers and sisters went away the same day or the same moment. The time when I was separated from them as, as a carpenter to be left behind the uh, in the city. As the SS men took, took me away I was walking behind him and two were up in the front. I could hear clearly one SS men take--says to the other that there is still left a lot of good working people in this community. That's the only thing he said, and it's the only thing I could hear. I didn't know the meaning of it, we didn't know where the people were going. Although we were the last, almost the last city in the Protektorat to be liquidated, but we were so isolated from the world that we didn't know a thing what happened to the people at that time. I would say at that time, close to three mill--three million people were already liquidated and we didn't know what happened to people due to the fact that we were isolated completely. Radios were not available, papers weren't available, electricity was cut off for us, water was cut off for us, so it was just a madhouse.

[Unknown voice] Now why didn't you say about your family? Your family just um, vanished. Tell her...

I just mentioned that.

Go ahead, you're doing terrific.


You're doing terrific.

Uh, Thursday--the night--the first night on my own uh, the first experience to sleep in a, in a strange bed. As I was laying on the bed, I could hear behind the window outside, maybe ten feet away, a heavy column walking. Heavy German boots walking toward the Jewish cemetery. We knew--the city was so small we could understand every stone. We knew every stone. A young Jewish lady in a clear voice plead with the German, "Please, your honor, save my life!" At the time we didn't know what it meant, but we could think of it what was supposed, what was gonna happen. The following, the following day early in the morning we were called up to get up and go to the cemetery and bury people. This was the fact, those people for some reason they tried to hide in a basement the day of liquidation. It was a, a group of forty some people with neat families, close families, they hide in the basement. By the end of the day it's unknown to us what happened. They--either the SS either were tipped off by some Polish fella or they just gave up because they couldn't, they couldn't hold out any longer in that base...in that basement. And those were the group of people we heard through the windows, we heard plead and beg the German to save her life. The picture was horrible when I arrived on the cemetery. The people were lined up, apparently half and half against the wall, against the south wall and the north wall and they were cut down--what the German called dumdum bullets. And we call it uh, dum uh, [pause] it's uh, an explosive bullet and I guess it's called in English dum--dum uh, dum bullets. It explodes and it massacres a face and a person is beyond recognition. A good friend of mine, by the name Abraham ???, he was one person laying in the aisle by himself with no trace of blood, only a little trace of blood was in his left ear, which was highly noticeable. I can imagine what actually happened. I'm probably the only person which could figure out what happened that night and why he was killed in a different way or, or showed a little respect. Abe ??? was an invalid, a war invalid. He was injured just hours before the Polish army surrendered in Warsaw, just hours before. And thereafter the Germans honored people like that because they were good soldiers. They fought 'til the last minute and he always had some privileges because he was a good Ger...a good, a good Polish soldier in foot. So apparently on that day, in that moment he walked up to this German and probably showed him his papers, who he was, and identified himself as the good fighter, and they did him a favor and just fired a tiny bullet in his ear and that was the end of this heroic person.[pause]

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