Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Adele Sandel - [n.d.]

Finding Shelter in Brdšrka

We came to another village, Brdšrka was the name. We never heard about the village. We never heard about uh, about the people. We were just knocking on the door and we said, "Listen, we are running away from the Germans. Please save us." They let us in. There was uh, uh, a widow--a woman, and a young boy. His name was Andre. They opened the door. They just let us in. All these people went to, to knock on the doors. Every family to another door and they all let you in. They were like partisans. They were--they hate them so much those Germans that they were cooperating with, with, you know, they didn't know that we are Jewish--those, those people, they didn't know that we are Jewish. They thought that we are those big shots, big shots from the city that we ran away and uh, and that we are looking for shelters. So, they were like unbelievable. They made a dinner. She made uh, uh a chicken dinner. And, they--she let--she gave us her bed and the boy gave us his bed. My father slept with my brother and I slept with my mother in a bed. And, we were there 'til about uh, that was like Sunday in the evening like 'til about Tuesday morning. You had to hide for every village. So, that's how long you could stay in a village, you know, because the Germans weren't there. When the Germans came, they were mean. You had to leave the village because if not poof, poof you went. But, my brother was smart. He, he, he took with Andre--that young boy, he was about seventeen or eighteen--and they went up in the woods and they built a bunker, a good one already, a good one. They took--I said paper, you know, what they put on the, on the roofs that heavy paper, um...


Not shingles but uh, black tar paper.

Tar paper, yeah.

[coughs] They took a little oven which you could heat with coal. They took a whole bag of apples, a whole bag of potatoes, I don't know what else, and they went up into the woods in case we need a bunker because we knew that we will need one for sure, it was obvious. And he went and they worked about for four or five hours and they built a bunker. And, when this bunker was ready that's how they came to say you have to leave because they are coming. So, we were running up in the woods. So we met a few people. "Where are you going?" So, "We going in the woods, you have where to go?" So, I said, "Yes, we have a bunker." "Could we come with you? Could we come with you?" So, could you say no? So, that was a bunker for four people and on the way we, we collected uh, how many? We were thirteen people there. And, we were there from November, December uh, Oct...we were there three-and-a-half months in that bunker. We were liberated uh, January.

And this is snow. Right, snow is there?

There was so much snow. Like, you remember last year, the snow in Detroit?


That's how much snow there was in, you know, in the woods. And those people brought us food. This woman and that boy, they killed pigs, they brought food. We didn't eat it. We were the only kosher ones, the four of us, so they brought us bread and cheese and butter and apples. The rest ate.

You didn't even eat pig when you were there?

Never, ever, did I touch. Never.

Not even in these uh, crazy times?

God forbid--never. We would rather die. That's how--no, my father said only under the circumstances when your life is in, in such danger that you should save your life that's when you can eat but otherwise no. If you have an apple...


...a day you cannot have a piece of uh, not only pig but not even chicken. You know who was the only one who ate the chicken dinner was my father. My mother was so fanatically religious and so was I and so was my brother. We all said we had spoilt stomachs. They should know that, you know, we are Jews so he took off his hat and he made a thing over himself--uh, my father--they should think we are goyim and he ate the chicken dinner. That's what Jew my father was. You see how smart he was? And, he saved the situation because if he would say that he doesn't eat it either so it was--be very...

Strange, yeah.

Right. So, about a couple times a week those people brought up the food in the woods. I don't know how it happened that they didn't see the, the, the, the, the--in the, in the snow the...


Yes. I have no idea. That was also the miracle.

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