Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Decision to Escape to Russia

Now did anyone talk about--maybe you're too young for this, but--the division of Poland between the Germans and the Russians?


Nobody mentioned that.

No one mentioned or, I mean, I wasn't aware of it. I became aware of it when I was in the Soviet Union.

When you ran, yeah.

When we were in Soviet Union. Before that I wasn't uh, aware of that. Uh, I recall their, their preparations of what they would take and selecting. And my aunt who had a--who was the wealthiest in the family with a large furnit...shoe stores, equipped my sister and me and the whole family with a new pair of shoes to take along. And she bought us uh, winter coats. And we packed, everyone had a package. But the question apparently was how do you leave, how do you go to the border. They hired--and this must have been a practice or something that was going on--they hired a Polish peasant who was supposed to be a expert in smuggling people through the border, through the Russian border. I remember traveling on trains in a corner and trying--and fearing and my mother told me not to talk. And my father looked very Aryan. He had uh, reddish blonde hair and a, very light blue eyes and a complexion with little freckles.

Why would they tell you not to talk?

[interruption in interview]

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