Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

After the War

They wanted to settle this area with people from central Poland, you know, and they were coming every day, it's just like, you know, by- by hundreds, by thousands later, you know, lots of them. And making, trying to make, make a life. But when you went over there, you had to uh, give, uh, give them all data about you, you know, where you come from, and also your picture. So one picture, three pictures. One picture uh, went to the files of uh, secret police at that time, you know, uh, which was in, not secret police, only uh, you know, the political police, we call them "Bezpieczeństwa," you know, and uh, you know, in that area. Another one went to, to Gdansk, because this, this area where we live was in the district of Gdansk. And another one was shipped to the place where we said that we came from. Now we didn't know that this is what they going to do, and as long as there was nobody to, to replace us, you know, they knew about us probably very, very soon. They just allowed us to, to stay over there. But then I was the only one who had uh, who had the real papers. And the rest, some of our, our unit, they, they were in the same area, and they were, they had different name, my husband had a different name at that time. He was, he was Yusef ??? And uh, he had papers of somebody, somebody from that area where he came from. So this was really stupid because uh, if he had from another area maybe they wouldn't find out so quickly, but it was a death sentence on his head, you know. And those papers were from Bochnia, Bochnia district, and they found out right away, you know. But they still allowed him to, to exist and work uh, the way he was working, quite officially and everything. And when people, maybe they, they wanted to find out uh, you know, with whom he was in a contact, things like this. And eventually, you know, when he was being able to be replaced by somebody who came from, from Poland, the order came for arrest. And then not only uh, him, but for his brother and other people. But we did one, one other I think smart uh, smart thing, you know, at that time. One, one of our men worked in that police, you know. And uh, he gave us warning and he escaped too, you know. So, this was in a matter of, of uh, hours, or one or two hours we decided that we have to, we have to leave. And we, this is when we left Poland. I, I didn't even bother to close the door behind me. I mean, I closed, but I didn't lock it, I knew was not coming back. And we had only uh, what, what we had, you know? Uh, we could carry just like little attaché case, you know, and that was about all. And I had two coats, one summer coat, one winter coat only, you know, and um, this was all and we went, instead of--I told this teacher where I was teaching uh, Mr. ??? he was the principal, and I said, "I am not coming to work tomorrow." And if anybody would ask, because if I did not show up next day, he had to immediately, through the milkman, give...who was going to Sztum, he had to let him know, our inspector, you know, of uh, that, I was not, not in school. So I ask him, "Tell him that I was asking for the, you know, for the trains, how they were going to Gdynia, at what time." Because I wanted, if they ever, anybody would uh, you know, okay, we were asking when this goes, you know, train to Gdynia from Tczew, you know, for example. Then uh, there, this is in the direction they will look for us. In fact we went down to south and then later to ??? and we uh, which is in our west and southern border, and it's half Polish, half Czech, this is where we cross...crossed the border, and then later went to Czechoslovakia. Such a funny, just Red Cross, Red Cross papers, but at that time this was possible, you know; no passport, nothing. I guess uh, foolish people are lucky. So...

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