Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Silver - June 21, 1982

Barracks Life

Would you describe what the barracks looked like?

In, uh?

In Russia.

Oh, it was a small little room we got uh, one little bed. Where they send us, they didn't give us any mattresses or anything und I, they--I didn't have anything because they uh, caught me in Brest-Litovsk und uh, mein stuff was by uncle of mine in Pruzany und everything uh, in my husband--they want us to go farther from uh, from the uh, sides, where it was close to Russia they want us to go farther so my husband went away to Brest-Litovsk to look for a place to live und I went to see my, my father was in another little town with the family so they caught me on the road already without a passport I didn't have a Russian passport so they want, so I came to uh, to my uncle back and they told me my husband is gone already; he didn't come back so I knew they had put him in, they, they uh, caught him on the streets in Brest-Litovsk and they put him in jail for not having a Russian passport so when I came back to see my uncle uh, I came back and said my husband was gone already a week so right away I turned back, took a bus I didn't, when I went for the train already they, they harassed me they, they didn't leave me alone they wanted uh, uh, put me already in jail because I was uh, not a Russian citizen so then I heard my husband came up a week already back to my uncle in Pruzany so I said I betcha they, they uh, put him in jail so I ran back with a bus to Brest-Litovsk und uh, I came there in a Friday night this was the, the Friday night for the Russian organized to send away all Polish citizen deep in Russia as prisoners of war und they kept me in a place because I went to sleep there because I knew my husband's brother was there. I came to this place my husband's brother was already in jail too. So then they kept me three nights and three days I, I--they kept, they want to put me right in the, in the wagons and send me away deep in Russia und I didn't have my husband and I was pregnant again with the baby because I lost my first child then so, so I was crying so hard, I was crying so hard and I told them uh, you took uh, let me come together with my husband because I left all my things in, in Pruzany by my uncle and then you could send me wherever you wanted. They didn't listen to me they just grabbed me, and wanted to put me in, on the train--wagons stank on the station already packed with people like, like, like uh, animals packed. Und and I was crying so hard I didn't have any money--I didn't have, I had just a little, I just had a pair of sandals and a little summer dress--und nothing, nothing I left everything behind in by my uncle. I thought I were gonna come back. So I started to cry so hard and I told them, "Let me go." They told me to, to sit--the people they, they would grab their men but uh, on the streets in Brest-Litovsk uh, so they sitting by the jail and waiting for the, for the Nachalnik, them big macher, Nachalnik to come out and every woman that they knew your husband was sitting in jail they was crying and begging; some, some of them managed to take them out. But uh, I, I didn't manage it to come in the morning to go to the jail because they, the same night they came into, into this place when I was uh, I begged this man to let me sleep over it was in Brest-Litovsk so they locked me in a, in a room with another woman and it was the night with the Russian organized and they caught me in this room they came in with guns and I was so scared I ran behind the bed and I was laying behind the bed and I thought the last minute they leave maybe I would have the opportunity and the money to go to the jail and maybe I could take out my husband. So the last minute this, this, this ???, I like to say, they were uh, like a soldier from the Red Army took a flashlight and he looked behind the bed and he eased out a scream and I was ran from behind the bed and I was shaking like a leaf and I started talk of old Polish and of old Russian--I couldn't speak Russian then when I said, I just came from Pruzany my husband they caught him in the street in Brest-Litovsk let him go then we'll send me you do with me what you want just let me be together with my husband I have nothing, I have no money, I have nothing. So as they said to me good, good, good we'll do everything we'll, we'll do it they put me in a, in a wagon, not in a wagon in a bus and right to the station. And I come to the station und I was pregnant and I had no money nothing I was crying so hard so I was screaming to this soldier, "Shoot me, shoot me, because if you don't let me go take out my husband so what am I going to do by myself with no money with nothing?" So I was screaming so hard. Finally there was a lot of women already in the wagonen, in the wagons crying und begging they should let them come together with their husbands. They were already on the streets they were grabbing them and putting them in the jail because they didn't accept the Russian passports. This was the miracle that we survived.

The Polish passports?

We have to have the Russian passports. We were Polish citizens we didn't want to accept Russian passports.

Oh, Okay.

So they didn't let us stay.


They put us away as prisoners of war and away from, from uh, everything--they didn't let us, uh free.

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