Memory Book

Węgrów Memory Book

p. 62-63 R. Mandelbaum (Buenos Aires) In A Hideout [fragments] I, our 65 year-old father and my older sister, we were hiding for one year and a half at a peasants farm, not far from Węgrów. In the summer and in the winter, ee were laying in the attic of a barn, suffering horrible hunger and freezing cold. During the first three months the peasant managed to squeeze out all our money and when we had nothing more left – he ordered us out. Each day they pressured us: “Get out of here! How long to you want to stay here? So many Jews have been finished off, but you still want to live?!”. No day went by without them telling us about some Jews getting killed, about their hideouts being detected. “How long do you want to stay here? Go away, to the forest!”. That’s how they tortured us all the time; they gave us no food. The only reason they didn’t kick us out was that we still had a house which we promised to sign over to them, as soon as it will be possible. We promised them, that they would lack nothing, as long as they continued to give us shelter. When the Germans started to look with renewed urgency for the Jewish hideouts, the peasant told us to leave for a few days, and to go to the forest, until the situation calms down. My father begged him to let us stay at least until May, but to no avail. Having no choice we had to leave – without clothes, without shoes – in freezing cold. On January 25, 1944, in the middle of a dark and freezing night, we left, dragging our feet behind us. We were physically exhausted – literally skin and bones….