Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mark Webber - December 13, 2004

Life in the Kibbutzim

Had you heard of the Kielce pogrom?

No. The Kielce pogrom took place in uh, I think...


...in August of 1946.

July 4th.

Uh, July the 4th, okay. Uh, this happened--at that time I was already in Germany, when the Kielce pogrom took place, because I left uh, Poland in um, the thirtieth of uh, May of 1946.

Tell me the story about, about the--what happened.

Well, the--as, as the kibbutz that we were organized in uh, was decided--was like, their, their turn came to move. It was not an object to stay in Łódź indefinitely. Uh, so they, they moved us all into uh, Krakow. And they placed us in a place--I don't know, some communal building and um, we spent several days there while they were trying to find, it seems, to--the right way to cross uh, the border, to Czechoslovakia from there. It's not far, but uh, the Carpathian Mountains uh, are right in between. So there, there must have been some great difficulties in finding uh, secure ways to cross the border, because it was breaking the law. The Polish government did not just open up the borders, whoever wants to go or come back, you had to smuggle your way through. So um, they decided on a certain road uh, to go, and for this reason they took and they split up our group--the kibbutz into three, so that we would all go on one truck, and the others would follow. So I was picked, with my sister from Israel, to be in the first group. And we went on the uh, bus--on the truck, and that took us to the mountains, and--in the middle of the night, it was all done in the dark--and we were dropped off, and then we had to climb the mountains. And most all of the group consisted of able-bodied people. There were no elderly people, maybe one or so uh, elderly person. Uh, and uh, we, we marched up to the top of the mountain, and we were on the first of um, on the first of uh, May--it must have been the end of Ap...April that we left, not May uh, when we left uh, Krakow. And uh, on the first of May we spent at a um, a farm on the mountains--a Polish-owned farm and then as uh, night, night came, we descended the mountain, which was already the Czechoslovakian side. And there also, when we got to the--to a road, so there was another truck waiting for us, and we boarded that truck, and uh, that took us to um, um, the--Bratislava--that was the capital of the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia; it's now the capital of the Slovakian Republic. And um, there they placed us in a school-like environment. And uh, the second group was supposed to come like the next day, and, and so forth. But the next day came, and no sign of them, and um, no sign of anybody. And so the days were going on, and we kept on asking, "What's going on?" and they, they didn't give us any answer. The answer was just like, "We don't know. There is no communication, there's no telephones wire. We'll just have to move on." And after a week or so, we decided to move on uh, to go towards um, a train station that would take us to the border of--with Austria. And they told us when they let us off at the border that if we are intercepted by, by any military uh, police, to tell them that we are Greeks, and to talk Yiddish, so they'll think that we're Greeks, and uh, and there we went uh, we, we, we were not asked. We just crossed over the border, there were no guards or anything, and there was a train waiting on the Austrian side. And we boarded that train and it took us to Vienna. We were dropped off in Vienna at the Rothschild Hospital--it was called Rothschild's hospital, and uh...

This is you and your sister?

Just I, my sister, and the others...

And the others, yeah.

...that were with us in that same group.

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