Rose's Story

My mother, Rose Silberberg Skier, tells the miraculous story of how she survived the Holocaust

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Part X

Rose Silberberg-Skier: The others, some of them survived, and some of them were killed. And we went out from that bunker, to look for another bunker.

Since there was curfew, even for Christians, and this was at night, it was very hard, because they could shoot on sight, regardless of who you were. And here we were looking for somewhere to stay overnight. But my uncle, Sam Klapholz, knew someplace. He said, “Come, let’s go.”

We went from one to the other, and stayed one hour. And everywhere we went, the super would say, “Get out of here, because we’ll call the Germans!” and so on. Towards dawn, we finally found another place to stay. And there were a few other people there too. And this Polish woman said, “OK, you can stay here for a few days, and then you have to leave, because I have no room, and I’m scared…” etc. So we stayed there for a few days.

But my uncle went outside, and he met a man from his home town. His name was Baruch Kahane. He was impersonating an SS man. He was in SS uniform, he looked like an SS man, with a gun. And he said to my uncle, “I can get you false papers. Aryan, Christian papers. Tell me how many you need, and I’ll get it for you. But you’ll have to go to Germany on a train. There is a man there who is bought off by us, by the Underground. And he will channel you to go to work for the Germans. In Germany, but at least you’ll be able to survive.

“See me tomorrow, at the same spot. I’ll meet you at the railroad tracks later, and I’ll have a newspaper, and when I have this newspaper you’ll come and just take these.” And they were envelopes with the swastikas stamped on them and false names.

Debbi Portnoy: How did you know that he told this to your uncle?

RS: My uncle told me this. Just recently! He told me this at the time, but I didn’t remember. But recently he said to me, “Remember what happened with Baruch Kahane?”

So Baruch Kahane gave him the papers for himself, for my aunt, and for me. My aunt’s name was Maria Mazur, my name, I was supposed to be her daughter Rosalia Masur, and my uncle was George something.

This Baruch Kahane somehow was discovered. And as he was walking, another SS man shot him dead in the city of Katowice. For his good deed. He shot him dead.

We took the false papers, went on a train to Germany, and on the train, even though it was going from Poland to Germany, you did not need a passport. Once you had something with a swastika, because it was occupied territory, it was all belonging to Germany. But my aunt only had one for herself.

So she said, “You know what, I don’t have a name for you written out here. Go into the toilet because I see the SS are coming.” They were not looking for Jews, because there were no Jews around anymore. They were looking for just, all kinds of spies, this, that…who knows! They just liked to harass people.

And I went into the bathroom, and I hid there. When they passed, my aunt showed them the paper, and they saw the swastika, and they saluted, fine, good. And then she came to the bathroom and let me out.

We were on that train a whole night, and then we got into a city in Germany called Ottmachau.

DP: When did you arrive there?

RS: February 1944.

And we asked where this place was. It was an employment office, but run by the German state. And they told us (because now we were just fine, with the papers with the swastika)—

DP: What did you do about your clothing?

RS: We had the clothing with us. Some clothing, my aunt took like in a little suitcase.

She did something else yet, which is important that you ask. She was ready for escape, in case of escape. So she had a coat, and inside the coat she had the pictures, which you’ll see later, of Jews with beards, her father, my grandfather, with peyes and so on. These pictures were dangerous. Once you were out of the bunker, if you had these pictures, you gave yourself away. But she had these pictures because she knew these are pictures you cannot replace. So she took her coat with this.

And she had like a little suitcase, and she threw in everything that was like lying around, because you had to do that fast, get out of there. Because we figured the SS will come back. Which they normally would just to clean up the place, take everything away. 1-2-3 in a little suitcase. So we had that. So I had the suitcase, and she had the pictures, and that’s it.

We came to Ottmachau, and this German, his name was Nedza. He was an ethnic German but he was also speaking Polish. And he said to my aunt, “Look, I have a place for you on a farm.” Rattmansdorf was the name of the farm, and he sent us there.

At that time they used to send Polish workers to replace German workers. Especially German men, who were sent to the front. They were all in the army. Except for once in a while you saw a German man who was overseeing a few farms, let’s say. Overseeing the workers.

Now, this one German, I remember, took such a dislike to my aunt, that he started to beat her. And he broke her thumb. And she started to have an infection, and she was in such agony, that she went back to this Nedza, and said, “Look, can you find me another place? Because this man is going to kill me! He beats me every day.” So he said ok.

And he found us a place in a Convent.



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