Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mark Webber - December 13, 2004

Life in Uzbekistan

Hm. So you were--you spent the next, what, two years...

Well, we stayed in, in that area in Uzbekistan actually until the end of '45.

And what was the circumstances under which you...

Well, we did not stay in one place. Uh, our um, occupations varied there a great deal. Uh, we were also black-marketeering. That was the easiest thing to do if you had a few rubles and we got paid um, handsomely when we were leaving this uh, because uh, our family uh, distinguished itself by producing a lot--by cheating, and uh, and, and the amount of production that we had in the woods. So um, uh, they uh, they had this system in Russia that if you exceeded a certain norm of production, then your, your, your, your earnings would double, or triple, or something like this. And several months before our--free...freeing us, we devised a system of how to um, uh, show the, the, the overseers that our production is increased a great deal. And um, so...

So what, what was the work you were producing?

Well uh, they decided that it's impossible to make a norm. No matter how much you work, and no matter how many hours you could put in, to attain the norm was just physically impossible to do. So somebody came up with the idea, since the, the--these overseers--the managers--and they came down to measure how much production it was. They measured and they put a, a stamp on the end of each log, okay? So they knew that they paid you based on this here. So somebody went and took a saw, and sawed off just a half-an-inch where the, the stamp was from the previous day's work, and they moved it over to another place, and thus it increased suddenly the production. And not all the families were doing this here because of course it was an illegal thing to do. So our family, being we had five people in the, in the woods there--so they became very famous and they um, they have a name for this uh, ???.


Stakhanov was the man that started the system, because he must have been the biggest cheater of all and he attained a certain norm that nobody was able to attain. So at any rate--so when we were leaving, they even gave us the privilege of giving us transportation, to go to that place where we boarded the ship. Most of the other people had to walk by foot.

So you, so you seemed to do all right in, in...

You have to find ways of um, getting by. You know, we were all waiting for that day that will come that will uh, free us--that we will come back out of there--not to go back to Poland to live there. We had given up on wanting to live in Poland and establishing a community there. We didn't know if there is Jewish people there or not, but we assumed by then--when the war ended, we knew already of ma...major atrocities, 'cause by then Auschwitz was of, of course liberated already, and things started to infiltrate. There were coming soldiers from the front um, coming in--passing by our town, stopping off at the station. There was certain communication by mouth, not so much in the media and on the newspapers or on the radio. So we knew that some, some terrible things happened over there. But to the, the extent of it, we couldn't possibly comprehend and visualize.

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