Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Dorfman - August 11 & 25, 1989

Relocated to Ghetto

How long before they moved you to the big ghetto?

We moved into the big ghetto in 1941, at the end, in the middle of '41.

And your family, was, was your family still intact?

Yes, we were all, me, my father. They already picked out a lot of young--like a lot of my cousins went already forty, fifty kilometers away to, to build some bunkers which the Germans builded in our area. Like the Maginot Line, you understand? To protect from the Russians, if they come to the Vis...because we were right on the Vistula in the beginning on the big river. So they were picked. That's why I had a little privilege. My father knew the police and we used to give him meat before. So we had a little so, I got into that group. One of my friends, which was with me in that group lives in, lives here in uh, in New Jersey.

This is the sanitary commission.

Sanitary commission.

What about your brothers and sister, were they...

They were little.

They were still...

They were still kids. They were hanging around mother and, you know. And this was the problem, you see, my eh, when we, when we got into the big ghetto, then we already got tough. What means by tough? We started looking for ways not to be in the ghettoes. There where my father organized. There was a baron in our area, which we were doing business before the war with him. And even the war time. He was a German from, from, from, from Germany.


Volksdeutsche. But he was there before the war, before the war we didn't know that he's a Volksdeutsche. We knew it, my father because we spoke to him German.

What was his name?

Meyer. Heinrich Meyer. I mean, we were in touch with him. And he-- my father went out to him from the ghetto, told him said, "Listen, all the Jews"--this was about a couple days after they got all the little towns into the big town. Like, all, all the towns would be into, into Detroit, you know, to one...

How--did they take you by train, by truck?

There was no trains, no trucks. Horse and buggy. They took your little things uh, you know, the Poles. We had to pay the Poles. They didn't give their--I mean, we had to, the Poles, I mean, had, they had a, a, a picnic because we had to give them anything a piece of gold, I mean, to get us into the ghetto. Otherwise if you didn't get out on a particular day they kill you.

So you were, you were in Głowaczów?


Głowaczów. And then--was there a Judenrat there?


And so through the Judenrat they told you, you had to move.

Yeah, we got to move.

How much you take--what...

To Kozienice. Take whatever you want. Didn't have a--listen, moving from our houses into the ghetto we lost it. I mean, most of them--we gave it already away to the Poles. See everybody has his own--you, you, you were thinking he's a friend. He was not friend. You gave him your clothes, you gave him every--I mean. How could you, if you moved in four families to one room, what could you have? So the, the, the little belongings or anything, I--what are you talking about? We slept in the pens the same things or whatever we had, we just--I don't know. It just, it's just hard to describe how my mother, I mean, like eh, how she washed everything, how she, and what she was doing. And my father was running back and forth just to provide that we have food. A little food. And you were afraid to have too much. Because if they come around to a house and they saw too much food, where did you get it? Then there could be a whole string of, of, of, of Jews and Poles, everybody could have gotten killed. Because where did you get it?

Did you know people in the Judenrat?

Yes, I did.

What, what, what did, what did the rest of the community think about them?

Listen, that's like anyplace else. You have your politicians, Jews. And you have non-Jews. And you take a Jewish politician, some of them here they could care a less about Jews and he's a Jew. [pause] Everybody had his interest to live. Here if you have an interest to live here, if they--if those kind would know what Judaism means and understanding, they would be different. But a lot of them like here don't care. You had over there the same thing. You had people that they give away their lives. Most of the Judenrat. I'll tell you a lot of 'em were killed and hanged because they didn't--like Czerniakowsky in Warsaw. He took his own life. We had a guy Gubov, he took his own life in Kozienice. Because why? This was just before when they told him, he was the only one to know that they're going to--that Treblinka's ready for a 10,000 Jews. There was 10,000 Jews in that ghetto in Kozienice. I was on that train. Let me finish with this. What is it my father went out and we created--my father told him because he was a good friend of my father's. He didn't believe in Hitler but he, but he, but you know for him, his name, and he was a Volksdeutsch so he played, played the game. He played a good game, he played both sides.

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