Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Leaving the Labor Camp

Let's just review a little bit. You were in Komi in Siberia.


And then last time we finished you had just gotten to the point where, um, the Polish government in exile, um, was recognized by the Soviet government and they told you that you could leave the labor camp.


Let's pick it up from that point.

Okay, from there we uh, traveled by train to the Asian part of the Soviet Union.

This is a passenger train.

This was not a passenger train either. I can't explain to you what was the reason, but this was not a passenger train. Passengers either were not available, or too expensive, again it was a cargo train with a lot of Jews--there was a exodus from Siberia with all the Jews to the southern part of the Soviet Union, to the warmer climate. And we were again in a freight train. We had, of course, the freedom to get up, to get off on every station that we went, that the train stopped. And my parents were buying some food because food was not provided. But the accommodation within the train were extremely poor. They were kind of like wooden shelves and each person would have a spot on that shelf and there were not enough for all people, and some were laying on the bags on the floor.

And was there a toilet facility?

Again there was a hole in the floor. A hole in the floor with some partition. And then when the train stopped we would go down either into the fields or whatever place was available. There were no toilet facilities.

Do you remember, you were what, eleven, twelve?

Uh, at that time I was about ten.

Do you remember the people in the car?

Let me think, in '42, yes, I was ten.

The people who were in the car. You said they were mostly Jews.

Yes, as far as I know they were all Jews.

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