Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

The Ghetto II

And uh, next...so this...we had to go, go home that day, you know, for after work. And I saw for quite, quite a few months, you know, those people who were walking over there, they were so very tired, some of them were sleeping. What we didn't know, why they were sleeping, you know, sometimes falling asleep, over machines or, or really not, not doing much of their work, because, uh, you know, at that time, they were, they were building bunkers, you know, even, even right under, under this, this building, you know, where we were working. And uh, so they did not have much time, or even maybe in the ghetto, they did not have, get much, much sleep. But this we guessed only much, much later. And during, during night, we had, we had shooting, we had screams, you know, things like this. And then early in the morning, I had to go, go back to work, because we started before the curfew hours, so when we are going to work, we had to keep our documents...I couldn't keep them in a, in a pocket, because if I reached for you know, a, the pocket, I would probably be shot by, by whoever, you know, by the patrols, something. So I went, I went to work, and just as I was coming to, to ghetto I saw, saw some people, you know, laying, laying down on the, on the ground, you know, and dead, of course, you know. And couldn't pay too much attention--now you see, this, this is what, what really, when I saw this, this, on, on, on this picture, you know...

The Warsaw Ghetto?

Of ghetto in Warsaw, and uh, some of our young people are asking, "Oh, look at this, those, those people are working," you know, and don't pay any attention or something. First of all, this was, they knew that somebody was making a picture, maybe this was even staged, you know, but I think this time--now, German was standing by, or Germans were standing by, by the wall of the ghetto, you know. And, just like maybe, every twenty steps, every thirty steps there was a group of Germans was, was gathering. Would you stop and look, you know? You, you are really, really afraid of some maybe, maybe they will do something. You are not allowed to even look, look in that direction. So I went, and then there were only very, very few of us over there. And uh, so first of all, this was, this uh, you know, our manager, the tailor, Polish tailor that I worked for, Mr. ???, and he told us, "Don't come close to the, to the window," because the Germans, few times, somebody, who looked, when they looked out the window because you could see the ghetto from over there, you know, very well, and uh, they, they were beginning to shoot, you know, so is, is dangerous. So I was standing, but I was curious, so I went to the back yard. This was just like...how to explain? Uh, after the back yard there was a little, you know, uh, way down, you know, and creek, and then a little uphill, and there was a Jewish, all Jewish cemetery, and on top of this located, and through the, through the gardens, you know, through some bushes, we went over there, so we could, we were in a situation that we could see a little better. And after a little while we heard uh, terrible, terrible commotion. Screaming, you know, and then Ger...Germans, Germans shouting, and they were gathering. Now, you know, just like looking from over there, you could see maybe a section of, of one street, you know, maybe of another, and then you couldn't see a little bit further, you know, because there was a, a roof, roof covering this up.

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