Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Tuchklaper - March 2, 1983

Start of War

When the war actually began do you remember your thoughts when you first heard about it?

Yes, we were frightened. We didn't know what's gonna happen. When the Germans walked in, we were set in uh, in the house and we were waiting--we didn't know what to do. We was, you know, 'til something came up, we were sitting in the house.

Was your father at that time still trying to get the family to Israel?

We could not--oh, no. This was out of the question and...

Okay, then what kind of uh, changes began to take place?

He couldn't work no more, my father. Uh, we had to, you know, to sit in the house and wait day by day what's gonna be. They start to--the German, you know, start to take, you know, people to work already because after the bombing with the things, they, they grabbed the--came in the homes and they took all the men to help clean up the, the debris from the broken, you know, buildings with the whole thing. And some of the women too. So they're already like uh, tied up. We waited for, you know, day by day what's gonna be.

Were you able to uh, continue your school?


How about any religious activities at that time? Were you able to go to synagogue?

Yes, yes.

What type of work did your father then do for the Germans?

Nothing special except that they--whenever they came day by day--they took us out to go out to work, you know? They came in and uh, in the building, and they called all the men to come out to go to work. And sometimes they used to go over in the mornings and come home at night. We wouldn't see them the whole day. One day they took him away and I never saw him then. And I never saw him and until now I don't even know what happened to him.

When he was taken away at that point what were the options for your mother? Did you still remain in your apartment?

We remained in the apartment and we stayed there but we never heard a word from him. Until now, I never know what happened to my father.

What about the other men in the family? Your uncles, your grandfathers?

Not all at the same time, not all of them at the same time because uh, one day they come take a hundred people, next day could come take fifty people and the minute they went out in the morning we were waiting the whole day and to see if anyone comes back. Sometimes two or three were missing.

How long did you stay in the apartment?

I did not stay long, personal, because I went to work right away for the Germans. I happened to know how to sew and they ask for, for some people who know how to sew. So I volunteered. [clears throat] And I went to work and maybe this helped me survive because I went away in the morning and I came home at night 'til they moved permanent residence out of the city so, personal for me that I worked--let's see, from September the first they came in right away.

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