Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Dorfman - August 11 & 25, 1989

Conditions under Soviets

What, what was your immediate reaction the first time you saw it?

Oh, my reaction was, here I'm alive. And believe me, when we were running, I mean, they were pointing, you know, they were sitting with the machine guns, but they didn't know who, you know, who was running towards them. But when we got, when we got there, I mean, about uh, we didn't even care what he's going to do, you understand, we just run close to the tank. And they, and they really come out. And when that one officer came out, right in the minute he didn't tell me that he's a Jew. But, but he says, "Come up." And he took us up, you know, on the tank. Put us in the bank and we drove into the village. And he--and I say, "Do you know," he says, "I told you who," I mean, because we say we Jews. He say, "I didn't want to ask you too much, but says, but I right away knew who you are. Don't worry, I'll take care of you." He brought us anything under the sun, from canned food and, and things, and, and clothing and, and he, and he told, he told uh, right away me and my father, you know, so he says, "Don't say nothing because, you know, in our army they don't like Jews either." So he says, "I don't want you to say nothing, but I'm a Jew, I'm from Kiev." You know, whatever, he says, "My family got lost, the same thing that you lost yours. I went through already this." And then he, a day later--a coup...I think it was a couple days later we were called in from the NKVD. You know, this is like the KGB. Same thing.

Where did you stay...

Almost the...

...while the Russians...

Oh we stayed in that, in that place where we, we...

Were you still at the same farm?

Still, no, yeah, still. Not, not with them on the farm, no. We went already to a village, where that baron had uh, where, where, where the baron people lived, you know, where his top notch people lived and there where we moved in there with our--we moved in with the army, with the Russian Army. Whatever nice place it was, that's where they took, you understand. And if they took they give us the nicest place. They give us a nicer place than the officers had because they--and the NKVD, the same thing. What do you think they wanted to know? They wanted to know--first thing, they had lists, who, who cooperated with the Germans and everything else. They wanted to know from us if this is true or not. If there was people, what they--and they took away a lot of people. They knew who was who and what is what. They weren't come in dumb, you understand. And the same thing, the KGB. A lot of fine Jewish people, they, they talk Jewish. Nice people. Listen, and uh, and there--from there uh, we, we went into the big city, we went into, to Lublin. Because there was still the war going on and they said they don't know if the Germans can push 'em back ea...too, you know, you never know. So they said, "Listen, you're better safe, you better go to Lublin because all the concentration..." because that time there was no concentration camp people yet. You see, con...the concentration camp people were coming out, when they, then--they reached, when they got in about a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles into Poland, you understand. From the Vistu...when they got into Radom, to Czestochowa there, there where they, where the, the camps--because Majdanek and all of 'em, they were all wiped out, I mean, before, you understand.

So there was nothing in Lublin. Majdanek was already liquidated.

Maj...that's right. It wasn't liquidated, it's still there. Majdanek is intact because they couldn't, they, they didn't have time to liquidate it.

But there were no, no prisoners.

There was no prisoners there. So the thing is when, when, when we were in Lublin, that's all they were partisans. All people where they were hidden, you know, by, by Gentiles and the--you know, like I say, the concentration camp people were not there yet. It was in 1944. The concentration camp people showed up in 1945, a year later. My wife was liberated a year later.

This is your cousin? This picture? And the, and the woman who helped...

This is the woman that helped him, but he--she didn't, she didn't even recognize him. She didn't recognize him. But she was talking about, she asked me, she asked--me, she recognized--and she asked me, "What about the little boy that used to come around?" You understand? Uh, she says, "The little boy used to come around because..." She lived, she was here on this things--her, her daughter lived about probably thirty--forty kilometers away, you know, you understand. And he used to come to her daughter. She used to go to her daughter and she knew, she says, "Did you, did you ever knew that little boy what happened to him?" And here he is, you know, so it was, you know, we discussing, talking about. But you can see the way they live. It's a crime they way they live, you know. I just, I just sent them, sent them out a bunch of packages.

So you keep in touch with these people still.

Yes, absolutely. I'm, I'm gonna go back. I'm going to go back one time to them.

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