Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985


Um, at what point did you hear, or had you already at this point heard about uh, labor camps?

Now, uh, we knew about this some time about...1940? But arrest start, you know, people were being arrested from the very, very beginning. And uh, I myself did...I don't know, maybe other people knew, and I, just like, if some... some people were near Oświęcim maybe they knew that this was being built, but it was being built a little bit later on...what's this, 1940 or '41?

Yeah, 1940.

Yes, 1940. But I'm saying about 1930 uh, '39, some people were...rather, in the beginning, uh, being arrested, and maybe executed even, on a, on a spot. Then in 1940, if somebody was arrested, what they, they ship them to Bochnia, and then uh, not, not to Bochnia, only to, to Kraków, and there was this terrible prison in Montelupich, you know, over there, and they were being tortured. And uh, they didn't die over there, they were shipped somewhere, you know? And in the beginning people didn't know. But after a little while they started knowing where this was lo...where they were being shipped, you know? And...lots of our friends, some of my, my professors, were uh, were being, you know, they were being arrested. Some of our friends, very close ones, you know, and some, some of my ex-colleagues from, from school.

They were arrested for political reasons, you think?

For...some for political reasons uh, some maybe said something wrong, and then...uh, who knows? Now, it looked to me just like Germans uh, had their spies before the war. Now shortly before the war, uh, this was, while this was going on, we had people who were working for Germans. And now, for example, we had in Bochnia, Wilk, you know, Mr. Wilk. Now, of uh, he became all of sudden Mr. Wolf, you know? So he was...he told folks that he was a spy. But we didn't know. There were some, some, some people of German uh, descent, you know, or something, and we were in the beginning, we were very much afraid of them, and then we found out, that they did not feel that they were Germans, that they were obligated to...towards Germany, and in fact, one, one of them lives over, over, here, in Dearborn, Mr. ??? And his father had a bookstore right in, in the market, you know, just like, there was the marketplace, there were shops around marketplace, and uh, his father owned a book...nice bookstore over there. And he and his brother, now they, they were, they were going to, to gymnasium before the war, and I remember they were, they were very, very handsome, two very handsome boys, everybody knew, knew them. And uh, during the war they were still going to occasionally playing tennis on uh, you know ??? there was just like a big park, you know, in Bochnia.

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