|"We were finally in the cattle train."|
|They told us the day before that we can pack one small suitcase and we should be ready to leave the ghetto. When we came to the, it was a, um, at one time a factory for, um, bricks, and there they started to search us again. The SS was there also, and every woman had to, and every girl had to undress, naked, and we were searched internally for valuables. My mother was a very religious person, and all I could think of was how terrible this is for my mother to go through something such, such a terrible ordeal. When we were finished my mother took the baby from my sister, she, because she was holding the little boy, Danny, and she had a bottle of milk for the child. And the SS grabbed the bottle of milk and said, "Let's see, you cow, what you have there." My mother pleaded, "Please, this is, the child needs the milk. Please don't take the milk from, from my grandson." He started to beat her with a horsewhip, and when I saw that she was being beaten, so I screamed, so at least I got away the attention from my mother. So my mother ran into the, because the trains were, were right there, we were just, you know, going into those, uh, cattle trains. So I took away the attention from my mother, and he started to beat me with that whip and finally, um, I was able to run away also, and we were finally in the cattle train.|
Henny Fletcher Aronsen
|I wasn't working at that time. I was off that day, and my brother-in-law, my husband's brother, was not, was also home. So the two of us were home with my husband's mother. And suddenly the loudspeaker started screaming, all the people and children out. And my mother-in-law, as I said was a semi-invalid, a wonderful woman, an exceptional lady, she used to teach me how to make gourmet dishes. She was a fabulous cook. She was a, um, pharmacist by education, intelligent, a wonderful lady. And, uh, we didn't know what to do. We knew she cannot walk, so I looked at my brother-in-law, and he looked at me, and I said, let's hide her someplace. But before we had a chance to do anything, they just broke into the room--as I told you, we were in one room, all of, all five us--and they said out to her from bed and I stood in front of her and I said, "She can't go, walk." So they gave me a slap. "She can't walk? So you carry her." So I said all right, I said to Misha, my brother-in-law, let's put something on her. She was wearing a nightgown, you know, whatever. Anyway, they wouldn't let us do anything. They made us, they made my brother-in-law grabbed her by the shoulders, and I had to grab her by the feet. I tried to pull down her dress--it would break my husband's heart--her, her, uh, nightgown, that was a.... And we carried her out, and the street was a nightmare because all you could see were young people carrying these old people like animals. And we carried her to the place where the buses were stationed, and he told my brother-in-law, one of these--yeah, I mean, they were so young, it's, it's unbelievable, such, the milk was still on their lips--to stay, and I'm the one who should carry her up. Now she was a frail woman, I must have picked her up, and I walked up on the bus, and I figured that's the end of me, too. But, and there was no seat, so I had to put her in the aisle, and I covered her up. And they looked around to find a seat for me, and there was no seat. So they pushed me down the stairs and said, "You get out of here." That was my memory of this particular day.|
Sokolow Podlaski, Poland
Chaim was raised in a Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish family in Sokolow Podlaski, a manufacturing town in central Poland with a large Jewish community of about 5,000. The economic activities of most of the townspeople were closely tied to those of nearby Warsaw and surrounding farming communities. As a young man, Chaim liked to play chess and was active in a local Zionist organization.
1933-39: Chaim made a living in the grain business. After settling down, he married a widow who was older than he and who had children. The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. German aircraft bombed Sokolow Podlaski's market and other civilian targets before German troops entered the town on September 20. Three days later, the Germans set fire to the town's main synagogue and looted the Jewish community.
1940-42: Over the next few months, the Germans imposed restrictions on the town's Jews. Chaim lost his business and was required to wear an identifying Jewish star on his clothing. In the summer of 1941 the Germans set up a ghetto and Chaim and his family were among the 4,000 Jews concentrated there. More than a year later, on the most solemn holiday of the Jewish religion, the Day of Atonement, the Germans began to round up the people in the ghetto. Chaim and his family were herded onto the boxcar of a train.
On September 22, 1942, Chaim and his family were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. He was 33 years old when he died.
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