Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Water - 1982


The Judenrat, on the other hand, I didn't know anybody--yes, I did know one man. His name was ???. In the beginning of the ghetto, he was in charge of the food distribution, from the eh, eh, stores. Very intelligent man. Played chess with him; I discussed business with him, business. Just eh, politics, events. And then later when he became also a big man, in the labor department--as far as I was concerned, he was a good man. Some--just because he had, he had a, a, a title, probably people thought that he's supposed to be condemned. What happened to me? There was an incident. I hope I have time to tell it. There was an incident in the ghetto--in the factory. I came in the morning. You made--those days, you made shoes with, uh, with wooden soles. And it was very cold and the lady who used to cook and boil coffee for us wasn't there yet. So I took a sh...a sole, with a hole in it--a knothole--and I made fire. And another kid took a good one--a good sole, and threw it in to make ho...eh, uh, it was became very hot in the room. And then we had--we ma...we boiled eh, coffee. ??? comes in and he starts whistling how hot it is, and with his foot--with his beautiful, polished boot, he opened up the, the, the cover from that little oven and looked in. And, and when wood is burning, if you don't mix it up, you can see the, the contours of it. And he took out his watch, like this. He said, "In five minutes, if the culprit who did it won't come to my office, the whole room will stop the whole day." So--and then he left. So I stood up, and I said, "I'm gonna go." So then--and there was this man, his name was David Cooper--he worked with my father together. He said--he stood up, he says, "If you go, I'll give you such a zets. I'll slap your face so hard that you'll fall down. You sit here. You are with all of us." So I sat down, because I was very obedient, he was older than I. But the minute he turned around, I sneaked out and I came to his room. And I said, "I did it." And he said, "Well, I, I know that, that you did it," because I had plenty of incidents with him, in the, in the factory. I was a rebel. "I knew you did it." So the same day, Jakubowicz, who was the real charge of the labor department, Arbeitseinsatz, in the ghetto, came with--to select people to go to camps. And I was a young man, I was single, so I was sure I was gonna go to camp. So when they released us, I went to this ??? that lived in a different house--in a different apartment building. So when I came in there, his wife was home but he was not. And she says, "Don't worry about it. Go home. Nothing gonna happen to you." Nothing did happen to me. Whether he was instrumental or not, I don't know. But nothing happened to me. Thank you.

Thank you.

See, these incidents are worth mentioning, you know. This is part of our folklore.

Well, we'll continue this then.

Okay. 1

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