Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Preparing to Cross Border

...they were apparently very calm and very relaxed and I was very scared and I knew that something is going on, that we are running away. So the notion that we are running away--then...

They didn't explain to you why. They just...

They told us that we are running away from the Germans, that the Germans are bad people and that they're afraid that the Germans would hurt us and that we are running away from the Germans. But we--they needn't--they would not let us if they know that what we are doing. And we, I did know that being Jewish...

You did know that.

I did, that, that we being Jewish uh, that the Germans hated us. I knew that. And uh, and I recall part of the travel, going on a horse and buggy and being covered with all kinds of straw or other things on that kind of a large buggy. And the Germans stopped us. Uh, in particular they were my--the, the, my mother is the one whom they wanted to hide and apparently the guide and this--she had dark hair. And uh, black eyes with a kind of a little olive complexion looking a little Spanish but very Jewish. Even so they're Polish. Had no Jewish accent. My mother's definitely not. I don't know about my father's, but my mother's had absolutely no Jewish accent. And I remember the Germans stopping us and the guide was saying something, "We live on a farm, we are going this..." but they took my father off the buggy and I was so scared and we were sitting there. They'd taken--took him to interrogate him. And we were sitting there and my mother said, "Don't cry, don't cry." It seemed like for ages. Then my, my father came back. He came back. He bribed him, he gave them his watch, he gave them whatever money he had, they let him go. Then I remember being in that peasant's house one night.

Same peasant.

Same peasant. Being in his house, sleeping on the floor and they boiled this huge pot of potatoes sitting in the front with some, with pickles or something and everyone was eating out of that pot. Then at night drove us--he was supposed to take us across the border. He told my parents that if the Germans stop us, they would not search him, but they would search us. So he asked that we, so he said he should hold on to all the valuables. It was, it was pitch black. He took us there and he says, "Okay, you are right now--we crossed the border, you are on the Russian side, you just keep on going straight forward and you'll find yourself in one community, there is this township, you just keep on going, take, straight forwards. There'll be a little forest, go straight forward."

Did you know this farmer?

No, no.

This was all...

Some arranged--no, we didn't know it, a hired hand.

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