Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Impersonating an SS Officer

You went to the underground?

Myself, mit, mit uh, group.

Go on.

The people was doing--after the bombs in the villages the guard took a group of people, like twenty, thirty peoples and they start cleaning uh, make uh, clean up the streets there. I had to pass up the uh, the street over there and I couldn't pass by. I come, and I just saw a group of people working and a guard is there but I was in uniform. So I start yelling on this uh, on this uh, other guard. I said, "Say listen," in German, I said, "What kind of people you have there to do the work?" He said, "That's Jews." I say, "I got stuck here mit a truck on the other side. You just stay there and watch a couple of them, and send the rest of them uh, about twenty send to me. And I bring them back in a half an hour, because I got stuck mit the truck." So he starts screaming on the other people to go and give me hand. When uh, I got these people I start screaming on these people too. I said, "Schneller," I mean uh, "Quicker, quicker!" You know, "Faster, faster," to come to the uh, forest. When I got in forest mit these people I said, "No, I am Jewish." They don't want believe me, because they thought that I'm gonna say that I'm Jewish, and I--they gonna believe me, then they gonna start going away on sides and I'm gonna kill them like they did--Germans. But one from the group just happened to recognize my brother. And I, I start telling him, "This is my brother."They won't believe me. You know in a moment like this--so anyway, we got--the most of them went on their own. Two people got mit us. We was four people together. Now we was hiding in the forest for days. We eat uh, we chewed the, the, the, the roots from the, from the trees. And uh, from there out, they got killed, the other two too, because they didn't want to listen to me, but I give them instructions of how to, how to arrange these things. Anyway, I got to this lady's house where I just showed you, and I was hiding there. She helped me hiding. I told her--as a matter of fact we was couple days there, I went on a--just uh, mit my gun in hand dressed as a German. And one day she want to get rid of us. She was afraid because if the Germans would found out that she kept me she would be in trouble too. She wanted to get rid of us. And I asked--I asked her, that uh, I saw a sign to go to Weiden, it's thirty miles and I have this prisoner catched, and I have to bring to the group and he cannot walk. So she let me--I fooled her from day to day. She noticed that something is fishy, you know. One day in the morning--I am just shortening this story, you know--one day in the morning she called me and I--my name was Hans Miller, why Hans Miller? Because his name was Hans Miller and I got his identification--his ID card. This corporal took me away mit a gun, from New York. And...

[interruption in interview]

Josef Slaim, tape number two.

[interruption in interview]

Alright, she said to come with you?

"But please, be honest. And I want to ask you something. Please be honest and answer the right questions I'm going to ask you." She said, "Say listen, Mr. Miller. This young man inside--this prisoner. Isn't it you--he your brother?" I said to her, in German of course, "What? I'm a German! He's Jewish." She said, "Mr. Miller, please. Relax. Are you not brothers? Are you not brothers?" I couldn't help myself. I said, "Mrs. ???, Here is my gun. Please shoot me. I am Jewish and he is my brother." She said, "No, I don't wanna shoot you. I want to hide you. I want to help you." I said, "Help me? How can you help me? You'll put yourself in uh, danger--I mean in, in trouble." She gave me advice how to arrange going out. She made me a room in a barn in the hay. And every night she brought me some food. And I was hiding there for uh, almost two weeks.

Now she--now you were hiding for two weeks and she was German, right? She was German.

Oh German Lady, yeah.

She was a German lady.

She was uh, the way--after the war, I could--the way she always talked I could feel she was more Socialist or Communist or whatever, you know. She was, she was hating the Germans. She was a German woman.

She was German but she wasn't a Nazi.

She wasn't a Nazi. She was, she was hi...she was against them.

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