Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Life in Czepiec During the War

What was your family doing when the war began?

When the war break out a bomb fall in our house, but just happened that uh, bomb didn't, didn't explode.

A bomb fell--you mean from a plane?

From plane.

A Ger...a German...

A German plane. Were German--the plane threw bombs on our city. And one bomb threw it from the roof of the house through to the second floor and it doesn't explode.

Oy, oy, oy. That's amazing! It's a miracle.

As a matter of fact, I was not in home, but my brother sitting here--there, he was in the house. And right away, the second day, they run away. Where they run, they didn't know, they took whatever they could mit them. My mother, my father, my sister and the sister uh, was in marriage, had a little child and the younger kid--brother. They run away, where they run: to another village. They come to this village, they run toward second village. As a matter of fact, they tried to reach Czenstochow. On the way--of course they did it always in the night time to the--escaping, you know. I heard later from my younger brother, that the Poles on the way robbed him and they took him away their clothes.

The Poles?

The Poles. And they come up to Czenstochow in the night, nackt--prac...practical nackt, but after a while, they uh, could go home again in um, to the hometown in Czepiec. And they continued the bakery a little bit, but this wasn't going on for long, because the German uh, wasn't fooling around too much, you know. It was just for a while. And then uh, started um, uh, a group mit uh, offices. They form--they came to this city and they form the Jewish community, and they make them responsible for the whole Jews. And they said--the Germans said they didn't want to have to deal mit any single Jew. Whatever they wanna wa...gonna ask, they gonna talk through the community. I mean, through the, uh...

Was it the Judenrat?

Judenrat. Yes, Judenrat. So they formed this Judenrat, and one day uh, a couple from the Judenrat came to mein house and they said they had an order from the police to get 150 people--strong young people, to be sent away for three months of work. And after three months we gonna be released and other people gonna go 'cause it's a war and we need the people there in Germany. Course th...this was the beginning--the start. That was, that's the way they start fooling us and we believed, of course. Who else--what else could we do?

What city--what city was this in?

Still Czepiec. And of course, I was between the first group, which was sent away to this camp.

You did make it home with your family then, after you had the passports?


And this was before they left the town then? Okay so you, you joined them and they ???...

Yes. Yes that was coming back.

Okay, okay.

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