Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Attitudes in Poland

What was the treatment of the Jewish police in your city? The treatment--how did they treat other Jewish people, and what was their function?

I can't speak--I can't say anything wrong uh, I can't say anything against the Jewish uh, leaders. If anything, I think they helped us quite a bit for the simple reason it was bad enough to live under the boot of the German Gestapo. The Jewish Gemeinde--or the Judenrat called in Germany--in German--they organized a better living. They had kitchens, soup kitchens going where they fed the people as much as they could and they did a terrific job as far as it's concerned. To go back and review the whole thing--what we did and what we could have done uh, that's quite a different story. That would mean to revolt against the Germans and of course to do so--by doing so, the Jewish police would have to be the first victims to be get rid of them first. But that, even now seems very impossible the way we were trapped. I do not have a regret against the Polish people. The Polish farmer acted pretty normal, it was the city dwellers which were very bad and not helpful. Another thing it got to be remembered is the psychology of Hitler and his helpers. They made up a society of different classes. For instance, the Polish people, the Russian people, the gypsies, the Jews were almost in the same class, so that means there was a decree from the General Gouvernment. Dr. Frank--any Polack ad...aiding a Jew, if caught was cut down on the spot. Not only the Polack himself, but his--him, his children, his wife, the house burned down for hiding--for trying to hide a Jew. Things were quite different in the west, like--the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, France. I would imagine things a little different.

[interruption in interview] Don't be against us.

One second--ok, now you can go.

We plead with the Polish people, if you don't want to help us just be ???, don't be against us, but we felt like a trapped rat against the wall. Things would have been much easier on us if the city dwellers--the Polacks--would have let us go and not trap us, and uh, in many occasions if, if they caught a Jew out of the ghetto, either they would uh, either they would bound them in ropes and take them to the Gendarmerie or the German SS, alive, and they would get a reward, something like a bottle of vodka or a few ki...kilos of sugar. That was the prize what they were getting' for bringing a Jew to their places to be killed. Or they would call the SS and the Jew would be killed out of the ghetto somewhere on their areas.

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