Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Vine - July 5, 1983

Family Life

Well, let's talk a little bit more about your family. You say you--there were four, you had two brothers and a sister?

No, we had, we were four brothers.

Four brothers.

Yeah, all together.


Uh, we were--I was the youngest, from the four. Uh, two of them had uh, freak accidents. One brother uh, fell off--they were playing--kids were playing on a, on a, uh, wagon and somebody pushed him down and hit his head on the embankment. And uh, he died, he had a concussion and he died, and I think it was a great tragedy in the city, uh...

When, when was that?

Now must have been--I, I remember it very vaguely though. It had to be, maybe in 1930 or '31 and I think I couldn't be more than three or four years old at the time. And I just remember it very vaguely. And then there was another incident that um, uh, uh, one of my brothers got pneumonia and my father got him to a hospital, to Warsaw, but somehow he got complications or what have you and he died and that I think that was maybe three years later. So we were left, the youngest and the oldest. And uh, in 1939 when the Germans uh, came into, or attacked Poland a lot of young people were heading east towards the Ger... towards the Russian border because by that time although uh, I did not experience what was happening in the rest of the world but the adults knew pretty much that there's a great tragedy coming up and most of them were running towards the east and this was the very last time I saw my brother. Uh, I was told that he did make across the border to Russia, as most--as a lot of Jewish uh, young Jewish men and women did in those years and uh, many, many years later, as a matter of fact only about ten years ago. I was visiting Montreal and I bumped into a Landsmann of mine and he was also in Russia. And I was telling him that I never heard what happened to my brother, he says, you mean to tell me that no one told you what happened to your brother, he was with me. I was absolutely shocked, I says, My God, gee, could you tell me anything about him and he says, yes. He says, we were in uh, in the second in the, in the half that Russia uh, occupied. Poland was split up in 1939 between the Russians and the German armies. And uh, he was a foreman at a big factory and when the Germans finally attacked Russia, they were pulling out all their, all their uh, uh, uh, manufacturing plants deeper into Russia. And uh, my brother was together with him. And my brother was single and they had--they were married and had children and they were, and this uh, foreman uh, was a very big uh, Russian official and they were, they, they got a special train for the equipment, the heavy machinery. They were getting in deeper to Russia before the Germans uh, could uh, catch them. And they were for about two, three days uh, traveling east and there was no food. And the Russians were coming--the Germans were coming closer and closer. And the children were crying, this is the story he's telling me, you know. And my brother was the only one there that was single. So he says you know something, why don't you, while you're waiting here to take off, let me go see if I can get some food. And they waited, and they waited and finally they couldn't wait anymore and they took off and never seen him again. And they--he felt that the Germans must have captured him and uh, must have killed him. So this was the very last that I heard of my brother. So we were really left, my parents and myself. Uh, and of course, then the nightmare began, which was of course, 1939.

Uh, how much older was your brother?

Oh there was at least a uh, ten year span, between ten and twelve years span. There are certain elements that, that I can't recall clearly but I, but he was at least ten years older than I am.

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