Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Being Transported East

The Russians were.

Russians taking men to labor camps. So he stayed for a few days. Then apparently the rumors were very uh, alive that they are shi...and they knew that they were taking whole families and shipping out not knowing where to. My mother--I don't know how she got to Białystok to ask--to bring back my father. When they were both gone in the middle of the night, the Russian soldiers came. And they gave us, I don't know, a half an hour to pack and, and stay on the road.

They moved you East.

They told us to get all our belonging and wait on the road.

Okay, and it's you and your sister.

Yeah, and all families. And I was there with my sister, I was seven, she was fourteen. And I cried, "I'm not going, I am not going." And the neighbors helped us pack some things and we stood on the road. We stood next, the road was where the train was and I and all the people whom we knew were loaded on the train one by one and I am--I was screaming, "I'm not going!" hanging on to those bundles on the floor.

This was a cattle train?


This was a cattle train?

Yes, a cattle train. I don't know for how long we were standing, but it was sheer panic to see those people go and they wanting us to go. Then from a distance we saw, I saw a uh, car, not a car but a, a truck, a small truck, and on the truck were both my parents. And I felt such enormous relief. As soon as they came, they loaded us on the train. But I didn't care, I just. They were there. They didn't have time even to go back to see if there were some other belongings that we didn't take. Whatever we had--they put us in a cattle uh, car and uh, we were there for weeks not knowing where we are going. They would put those huge metal bars on the outside. The only thing we would have is like a small cut up, like a window, opening that people would peer through the cracks of the wood to see what's going on outside we were going.

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