Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mark Webber - December 13, 2004

Fate of Parents

And um, again, no--all throughout, we did not hear a word about the rest of the groups that we left behind. Uh, after being in Vienna for at least a couple of weeks--of course, my sister and I were very much concerned and fearful that something uh, dreadful took place. You always think of the worst. You don't think of uh, something uh, great miracles are going to happen and all that. Uh, but yet no word at all leaked to us. But everybody around us was very considerate, and so overly-friendly, and uh, um, it threw some kind of suspicion that something is being covered up, and all that but there was no one to turn to. Um, we left Vienna, and the destination was to go to Germany proper--to Bavaria. We're in that region there, and uh, we came in to Germany and they--we stopped off in a uh, transit DP camp, called Pocking, and there uh, we, we were given the quarters to stay, but nobody stayed in that camp for more than maybe a week at the most. And I found out from some people that my grandmother, my father's mother, and my uncle, my uh, father's brother and uh, wife and son, are in that camp. I went to see them, and that's when I--first time in my life met my grandmother, and uh, um, my uncle I met because he came over once to visit us, in Uzbekistan. He found out--we let him know where we lived--we found out where he lived, so we invited him to come over to us. He lived in another--I think in Kazakhstan--and he came over to visit us. But um, it turned out that he had known about what happened to my parents, but he never said a word to me either--never said a word because he was over at the shiva when they were sitting shiva in Poland for my parents. But anyhow, while I was in Pocking, I once was having some tea or some water in a place, and there were some newspapers, Yiddish newspapers, that were published in DP camps--most of the DP camps had papers--and I was reading Yiddish very well, and I saw an account of, of some um, of something that was--that occurred on the second of May of 1946. And they mentioned the name Gordonia, and um, and then it had a list of all the people that perished on that day, and in there were the names of my mother and my father. And I was just completely shocked and motionless. I didn't know what to do. For so long--I don't know if it was two months or a month and a half this whole period between when I left but to me it seemed like it was an eternity. And nobody told me around--and then I came and I talked to the leader afterwards, and I says--he says, "Well, we were told not to tell you and that's why." "But I, but," I said, "I'm supposed to say kaddish." "Well, we checked with a rabbi, and the rabbi, when he found out that there is a brother left and he knows, and he'll be saying kaddish, so we don't need to tell you." And that was the, the answer that we got.

And how did they die?

Well, what happened was they took off on the next night after us, and um, they were stopped while they were still on the road before their destination at the mountains and a group of um, uniformed uh, Polish people um, from a Polish underground--they did not have--it was not the Polish um, uh, army for, for what they called Armia Krajowa, AK uh, AK--but this one was an anti-Semitic wing--military wing uh, that uh, that stopped them. And they identified that they were all Jews. They made 'em get off the um, the truck, and uh, robbed them of whatever valuables they had and then they gave an order, "Fire!" and they, they killed them. Um, my parents were um, were shot. My brother was sort of covered up under the uh, um, under the dead, and he, he was nearly um, bruised here--a bullet went by right--his uh, side, and--but it didn't touch him and he laid there for several hours, until he made sure that the Poles left. And it turned out that, of the group, thirteen of them died, and that included my parents and some other people that we knew very well that we were in Russia together, and of course we knew them all from the kibbutz. And um, the survivors--there was probably fifteen survivors um, including my brother. They did not know exactly where they are located but somebody--according to their accounts in different newspapers that I found out subsequently uh, my brother claims that he made it back to uh, Krakow, but his name did not appear in any of the other accounts. The name of somebody else did--they came in and they alerted uh, before that, that stopped off at some other police station in a town that they passed on the way to Krakow and told them about the massacre that took place and the authorities went out there. And then these people made it in to Krakow--the survivors--and they told the Jewish community people there, and the leaders of the kibbutz movements um, that--what happened. And uh, they went out with a truck, and they brought, brought the bodies into Krakow. And um, they, they buried them in a grave that had already five uh, dead that died three or four days earlier than that that were killed by anti-Semitic Polish people. And they opened up that uh, grave site, and uh, buried them, and they're all buried in that same um, place in the um, Krakow cemetery.

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