Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Adele Sandel - [n.d.]

Hiding in the Forest

And, we, few Jews, remained in the woods. In the middle of the woods at night in the fall it was freezing cold, raining, without absolutely nothing. No um, raincoat or no shelter or, or nothing uh, shovel or something to make anything. And, all these Jews, like I told you about, twelve or thirteen families started to run whichev...wherever they could.

You didn't stick together?

No, because they said if they find you in bunches,,,


...they right away kill. So, if you are just three, four or five maybe you can hide behind a tree so maybe you have a chance to, to escape. So, we remained with another family, the four of us, and there was another family, Diller is the name, they lived in Netenya in Israel. They had two children; one was like about a four-year-old girl and one was like about a three-year-old little boy. And so they all left and we were standing there and we were just looking at each other. What now? We couldn't afford to go back down in the city because we would have been, you know, like I told you.

When you were in the woods...


...were you traveling to a destination or were you just...

Traveling? What should we travel? We didn't have anything. We were just standing there in the middle of the woods. Whenever I go now, we travel a lot, and I look in the woods and always think to myself those, those very um, um, dark woods, you know, pine and all that um, it's like the Alps. Czechoslovakia is a very--like here then, in Colorado, it has those woods like, you know, like Switzerland.

So, you didn't have a destination in mind like we have to keep going 'til we get somewhere? You just wanted to...

No, no destination at all. You had one, one-track mind to save your life ho...wherever, however. We were standing there, the eight of us and we heard German-speaking people who were, you know, that high German ???. We look up from behind the tree and we saw three soldiers. They came patrolling the, the, the woods and that was a patrol in the woods. So, that little girl started to like uh, scream so the mother put her, her hand on her, on her mouth and the father on, on the little boy--because if a child would--if you would sneeze or you would um, make one like this, like this. We were standing like soldiers behind the trees and those three soldiers like, like it wasn't more than uh, I don't know, twenty inches they were like walking by us, talking in German, and if they would hear a child and us like say, like, they would look around to the left. They would see us and we would be dead on that spot! So, that was the first miracle that we saved--we were saved. They just went! They talked, you know, in a loud voice the three of them and they didn't notice us so there we were standing in the middle of the woods, the eight people. What do we know--do now, we cannot sit down. It was um, mud and uh, those leaves they fell from the trees, you know, we cannot sit down. We were, we were uh, wet already to the bone, frozen. The children were crying.

What did you eat?

We were hungry.

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