David P. Boder Interviews Baruch Friedman; September 2, 1946; Tradate, Italy

  • David Boder: [In English] This is Spool 9-107B. The interviwee is Mr. Abram Perl. 'P' like in 'Peter', 'E' like in 'Edward', 'R' like in 'Rabbit', 'L' like in 'Love'. It is Spool 9-107B.
  • David Boder: September 2nd, 1946. Locality: Tradate, Italy. Between— located in a . . . between Milano and Como. A castle given over to displaced persons' community of the self-government of the Kibbutzim, the so-called groups of young men, both . . . of men and women, married and single, which [who] are . . . [have the] intention by means, legal or illegal, to enter Palestine. The eh, interview . . . This is Spool 107, starting at the twenty-first minute. The interviewee is Mr. Abram Perl, twenty-seven years old, who has a number of aliases: Perl, Baruch, and he intends to call himself in Palestine Abram Shlomi, which is a translation of his former name, Friedman.
  • David Boder: [In German] And so, Mr. Perl, would you come a little closer. Yes. And talk into here or here, right?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Either here or here.
  • David Boder: [In German] Yes, not quite so . . . but so that the light should go on now and then. It shows . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . that you are talking properly [that the volume is all right]. Come on here. Mr. Perl, would you tell us again your name, how old you are and from where . . . where you were when the war began.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In German] It was . . . [in Yiddish] it was . . .
  • David Boder: Your name?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] My name is Friedman, Baruch.
  • David Boder: Yes, Baruch Friedman, yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. It is . . . Born on Slovakia, in Kurima.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: During the war I was . . . .In the year '42, when there had begun the Slovakian transports [deportations] against the Jews . . .
  • David Boder: [In German] But . . . .Wait a moment. When did war with Slovakia begin?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Slovakia experienced no war at all.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Because she was under German occupation.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Only the Slovakian government was so influenced by the German . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . that in the year '42 began the large transports [deportations] of Jews. It was still in the beginning of April.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: And there began the transportation of Jews, around seventy thousand. This lasted the entire . . . entire summer until about September.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Tell me, how were the Jews gathered together, how were they transported, what did your family do, and what happened to your family?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes. And so, it was about in . . . about July. Even before I knew that the transports will start going, I hid with my brother in the forest.
  • David Boder: How old were you?
  • Baruch Friedman: I was then . . . that is with four . . .
  • David Boder: What was it?
  • Baruch Friedman: It was in the year '42.
  • David Boder: Yes, nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: How old were you?
  • Baruch Friedman: It is four . . . four years. That means twenty-three.
  • David Boder: You were twenty-three.
  • Baruch Friedman: Twenty-three years old.
  • David Boder: Your brother was older or younger?
  • Baruch Friedman: The other one was a younger brother by two years.
  • David Boder: [In German] What was the occupation of your parents?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] A merchant in agriculture, in a . . . in . . . in a small village.
  • David Boder: In a small village.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Aha. Nu, and so, so you had hidden with your brother in the forest . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: In the forest.
  • David Boder: . . . before transports.
  • Baruch Friedman: Even before the transports began.
  • David Boder: So you did do it. And how did you hide yourself?
  • Baruch Friedman: I had a premonition that the . . . the plan . . . Hitler's plan was so strong that . . . I knew that something bad will come unto the Jews. I wanted that at least a part of the family should save itself. Because of that I said, although my parents were not too much for it, that I should hide, because they wanted . . . that what will happen to everybody will happen to me. But I said, 'No. A part of the family must remain so that . . . at least somebody should remain [survive].' And so I went with the brother and hid in the forest.
  • David Boder: Tell me, from a philosophical standpoint . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . I am [not] talking about somebody else [in general] . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: What does it mean, 'a part of the family should remain'?
  • Baruch Friedman: There should remain, so to speak, a memory [a living seed] of the family.
  • David Boder: What should remain?
  • Baruch Friedman: What [astonished]? What does that mean?
  • David Boder: [In German] Well yes [why?].
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes, it is. That there should remain at least a . . . a . . . .Every family wants that there should remain a descendant of the family.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Also from that point, I wanted it. And so at least someone should remain from our family.
  • David Boder: Didn't you think that if you remain with your parents you perhaps could save them?
  • Baruch Friedman: I begged them to come. They . . .
  • David Boder: Aha. You did . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: I did not ask them once, many times I have asked them. But they could not conceive that all those people are led simply into . . . into . . . into the crematories. And they did not want to know it. And I have foreseen . . .
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . that it can happen.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And so first you asked your parents that all should go.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] All should go.
  • David Boder: Nu, but the parents did not want to.
  • Baruch Friedman: The parents did not want to.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] So then you said that . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] So I said, 'At least one should go.' So I myself . . . at first I went by myself. Then I dragged along the brother. I was so persistent that the brother also came.
  • David Boder: How old was he?
  • Baruch Friedman: He was two years younger.
  • David Boder: So your brother was twenty-one years old?
  • Baruch Friedman: Twenty-one years.
  • David Boder: And so how does one go away into the forest? Tell all the details. I will tell you, Mr . . . .Mr. Perl . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German]. . . about generalities [In Yiddish] enough books had been written.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes, yes.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish/English] We want to know what happened to you personally.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes.
  • David Boder: From day to day . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes
  • David Boder: . . . as one may report it [?].
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so this is how it was exactly. The . . . the . . . also at the beginning of . . .
  • David Boder: The dates you don't have to give.
  • Baruch Friedman: Not the dates.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: In an hour of night I decided with the brother, we are going to the forest, simply to the forest. Transports were going continuously. And so we had been hiding for a while at home. And so we are going.
  • David Boder: [In German] And so, what does it mean, 'transports were going'?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Transports were going. They took . . . from the whole region they took Jews, masses of Jews, loaded into RR-cars, eighty to a RR-car, and sent them right away to Poland, to Majdanek, Treblinka, there in . . .
  • David Boder: What happened to them there?
  • Baruch Friedman: There, naturally, into crematories.
  • David Boder: And so.
  • Baruch Friedman: All.
  • David Boder: [In English] Eh, I want to state that since Spool about number 100 we have replaced the 'absolutely' non-directive interview by slightly directive [methods]. That is, we are suggesting that they are talking [should talk] about the high points of their, eh . . . experiences. This is, of course, not exactly the best method because it has shown that if one gives them perfectly free reign, the . . . certain experiences come out very freely. It's kind of a mixture [of methods], and we are experimenting with it.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And so tell me, how did you leave for the forest?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] I gathered the rucksack which I had ready, which every Jew had ready, and went to the forest.
  • David Boder: Where was the forest? Where . . . where . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: At first we were hidden in kind of a cellar [cave]. We had taken along a tent.
  • David Boder: A tent. Who was along?
  • Baruch Friedman: The brother and I.
  • David Boder: Yes. Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: A tent. We put up a tent in the forest, and there under the free sky we lived. We took along food for a week's time.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Bread and various . . . canned milk and so forth. And thus we lived there temporarily, for a week.
  • David Boder: Were there other people with you?
  • Baruch Friedman: No. Just I and the brother.
  • David Boder: How far was the forest from your home?
  • Baruch Friedman: It was around five kilometers.
  • David Boder: Five kilometers. Did you go in at night?
  • Baruch Friedman: At night, into the forest. And there we were alone for about a week. Entirely alone without communication, without anything.
  • David Boder: Where did you find [something] to drink?
  • Baruch Friedman: It is . . . in the forest there are various brooks. There are little springs there.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And that is what we had.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: And also for washing. Later we began making connection there . . . with a Gentile of our acquaintance, with whom we came in closer contact . . . with whom . . . And we began making a closer connection with him. Quite close, since we began to realize that alone one cannot exist in the forest. The thing might drag on for very long, so we decided to come together a little closer with him. He took us in. He gave us there, at the beginning with difficulties, but we promised that we will give him money and various articles which were still in the house.
  • David Boder: The mother promised him?
  • Baruch Friedman: No, we promised him.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: We promised him.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: And thus . . . .Then we sent a note to . . . there . . . to the parents that they should give him some things from the house, and in return he should hide us there.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: With this arrangement we asked that the parents, too, come there, to that Gentile, that they should come there, too, because now we had already some sort of place for them to hide.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: But they did not want to come. They said what will happen to all Jews shall happen to them, too.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: And thus the Gentile began to hi- . . . he hid us. And for a time it was . . . was quite comfortable.
  • David Boder: What did you do the whole day?
  • Baruch Friedman: The whole day we spent with Hebrew. We studied. we had taken along books and we were studying Hebrew. Even though the nerves were very tense, we knew that today we have to live like cattle. We make up our minds to think [about] nothing, even though the situation was difficult, to think nothing. Only to live. We know we have a task to live through the war here, and . . . and in order . . . I mean, so it will come to an end.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Nu, when one studies Hebrew one does think, one studies. What did you study [?]?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] [Words not clear.] What did we study? And so we studied Hebrew. Well, like I said, Hebrew. Tanach [abridged designation for the Old Testament].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Just to pass the time and not to think about the present.
  • David Boder: Aha. Tell me, how much Yiddish, how much Hebrew had you learned while you were a young man? Did you . . . .How much did you know?
  • Baruch Friedman: I knew little. I knew just what I had learned in Cheder, but there I learned the real Sephardic.
  • David Boder: [In German] What does that mean?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] That means the real . . . I mean, the modern Hebrew, not the Jewish [word not clear] . . .
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . Loshon Hakodesh [the holy language] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . but Sephardic.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] What is spoken as Yiddish?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] No.
  • David Boder: No? Modern Hebrew?
  • Baruch Friedman: Modern Hebrew, yes.
  • David Boder: [In German] One speaks . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes, yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: We had for that a certain [amount of] preparation. Now we continued.
  • David Boder: Were you Zionists?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes, we were all Zionists.
  • David Boder: All were. The father, too?
  • Baruch Friedman: The father was an old . . . I mean, from a Hassidic viewpoint . . . .He was not for and he was not against.
  • David Boder: [In English] He was a Hassid, your father.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Half a Hassid. Not a whole Hassid, but half a Hassid.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so then the time had come so far that . . . .We had received information that the parents were gone.
  • David Boder: Oh, they were taken away.
  • Baruch Friedman: They were taken away with a transport. And now we had a still harder task. We remained helpless, because by now they were not sending from home any more gifts for that Gentile. And after that we had no more . . .
  • David Boder: Who went along with the parents?
  • Baruch Friedman: The whole town. [Words not clear.]
  • David Boder: Yes, but you had still another brother?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. I had there still two more sisters and two more brothers.
  • David Boder: And you know anything more about your parents?
  • Baruch Friedman: Nothing. Not a . . . .I know that much, that they had arrived at Majdanek. Afterwards I still had a certain contact, not with them, but through a Rabbi Freeder [?], the chairman of the Slovak . . . Slovakian Rabbinat [ College of Rabbis], and he informed me that they perished, in fact [in] about September, October, in Majdanek.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And the brothers?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Too. Everybody, everybody, also.
  • David Boder: Hm. And so?
  • Baruch Friedman: After that . . . so far . . . it was already . . . .Thus I sat there by that Gentile till around February, '43. For material and financial reasons I had to get away from there. I could not pay him any more, so I had reported voluntarily to a Slovakian labor lager . . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . because the Slovakian labor lagers were not being transported any more. They remained . . . .That means, in the year '43 Jews from Slovakia were not being transported any more.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: But Slovakian Jews remained in Slovakian labor lagers.
  • David Boder: So in which year were they transporting?
  • Baruch Friedman: In the year '42.
  • David Boder: How do you explain it that they stopped?
  • Baruch Friedman: They stopped it . . . .First of all, there were no more Jews. There were only . . . .Seventy thousand Jews had left and the rest had remained because of protection [graft], because it was possible to buy off with money the Slovakian government.
  • David Boder: How many do you estimate did remain?
  • Baruch Friedman: There had remained about fifteen thousand Jews.
  • David Boder: You mean to say that . . . you mean to say that Czechoslovakia did not have more than a hundred thousand Jews?
  • Baruch Friedman: No. It is just the Slovakian government, just Slovakia. Because Slov- . . . Czechia was a protectorate.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: This was Slovakia only.
  • David Boder: Aha. Not the Sudeten.
  • Baruch Friedman: No, no, no, no.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: This was not Sudeten[?].
  • David Boder: And so?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. So I came, together with the brother . . .
  • David Boder: [In English] One moment. This concludes Spool 107. We really should have started a new spool. We are going over now to the new one, and we will splice the ten minutes of Spool 107 to 108 eventually. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording taken at Tradate, bewteen Como and Milano in Italy on September 2nd, 1946. Abram [ends abruptly] . . .
  • David Boder: Italy, September the 2nd, 1946. Tradate, a community place for the Kibbutzim, displaced young persons, men and women, who strive by all means, legal or illegal, to achieve their goal, and that is to locate themselves in Palestine. The, eh . . . person reporting is Abram Perl, [age] twenty-seven, from Czechoslovakia, who eh . . . is here in one of the Kibbutzim.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Later on I arrived . . .
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And so, Mr. Perl, you told me that you had reported to that voluntary, Czechoslovakian labor lager. What was that Slovakian labor lager. because around '43 they stopped sending transports . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Transports.
  • David Boder: . . . that is, [they stopped] sending people to Treblinka, to Majdanek, from Slovakia . . . from Slovakia . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Slovakia.
  • David Boder: And you told that there had remained altogether about fifteen, twenty thousand Jews . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . out of the hundred thousand in Slovakia, and these were mostly rich people who had connections and money. And in another sense they were who? People who had hidden themselves.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German] Yes. Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] And so I arrived on the 3rd of February, '44 . . . '43. I arrived in Lager Vyhne. This is in Slovakia. Together with the brother with whom I had been hidden.
  • David Boder: And the family was already deported?
  • Baruch Friedman: And the family had . . . had already been exterminated a long time ago.
  • David Boder: And that was our father, your mother, and . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: And the siblings. All the siblings.
  • David Boder: How many?
  • Baruch Friedman: We had been about fifteen. The brother . . . one brother was already married and with children. And so out of a family of fifteen persons we two had remained.
  • David Boder: Did you later return . . . Have you tried to look for them later?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. As I have mentioned, through a certain Rabbi Freeder, the chairman of . . . of [the community or Rabbinat of] Slovakia at that time, and he tried much. Someone said they are in Sobibor, but all had already been exterminated. Almost all. All.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And so . . .
  • David Boder: You said 'almost' all. Have you found anybody?
  • Baruch Friedman: Some were still looking . . . not now, but . . . some had died there afterwards.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: It is . . . it is . . .
  • David Boder: [In German] Nu, yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] It is . . . it is . . . .This is now immaterial [?]. And so now I have . . . we arrived there in Lager Vyhne.
  • David Boder: Who is we?
  • Baruch Friedman: I and the brother.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: We lived there pretty well in the beginning. We worked a little, And . . . and the Slovakian Jews who were on the outside [of the lager] supported us, so that living was quite good.
  • David Boder: Was it a Jewish lager?
  • Baruch Friedman: A purely Jewish lager but under Gentile management.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Under Slovakian management.
  • David Boder: How many people, Jews, were there?
  • Baruch Friedman: About three hundred.
  • David Boder: How did you live there?
  • Baruch Friedman: We, boys, lived five boys in one room. Then . . .
  • David Boder: Where [how come] did you get a room? What was that?
  • Baruch Friedman: It was a former hotel, a . . . a . . . spa . . . a watering place it is . . .
  • David Boder: [In English] Yes. [In German/Yiddish] A health resort.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Health resort Vyhne, yes.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: And out of that lager was made, and we lived there rather well. There were beds . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . and decent . . . blankets still. Not like a lager in Auschwitz, no.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: I only want to bring out this. Seeing that that whole area is surrounded by tall mountains, the entire area is mountainous . . . with . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . so we began looking for a contact with the partisans. And we talked over the possibilities in case some day the transports will start moving again, so we should be sure of not going to Auschwitz or Treblinka.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Now tell me a little about the partisans. Did you . . . did you later go over to them?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Later we . . .
  • David Boder: Well, we will come to it later. We will come to it.
  • Baruch Friedman: At the beginning we made our own plans. We went into the woods, made undergraound bunkers with . . . [we] procured weapons.
  • David Boder: How could you go into the woods? Were you allowed to leave the lager?
  • Baruch Friedman: We would go . . . it was not far from the forest. And sometimes on a Sunday, when we did not work, we would tear ourselves away. We tried various possibilities . . . employed . . . in order to save our lives because it will [could] come again to a transportation!
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Now it was . . .
  • David Boder: What did you work at there?
  • Baruch Friedman: People worked there mostly at trades.
  • David Boder: What did you do?
  • Baruch Friedman: I am by trade a letter painter and sign painter. So I worked at painting. There was a production of toys.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Toy production.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. So I worked there at it. It was not bad. I cannot say that it was bad all the time.
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: This happend [?] . . .
  • David Boder: This was under the Slovaks.
  • Baruch Friedman: Under the Slovaks, yes.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: The Germans had absolutely no access there. They were only . . . the Slovaks were only influenced by the Germans, but they were not that bad.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: Now we . . . yes, and so, this . . . .Thus we had been living till the 25th of August, '44.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Then had . . . yes, then we already had a contact with the partisans, and we already had our own weapons, pistols. So that if it should come to a transport we were organized to offer resistance.
  • David Boder: Aha. And those partisans were Jews or Christians?
  • Baruch Friedman: No, the partisans were mostly Russians.
  • David Boder: Oh. Russian partisans?
  • Baruch Friedman: Russian partisans who had crossed over to Slovakia.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: And with them we came into contact, with the one who had the main contact through Bratislava. And with him we were in contact. And so there came the 25th of August. The Slovakian uprising was organized. There came a host of partisans and liberated us, the whole lager, that is in connection with the uprising.
  • David Boder: In '44.
  • Baruch Friedman: In the year '44, in August. And they took us right away . . . everyone free, that means everyone was released. One could go wherever one wanted. And many of our youngsters voluntarily joined the fight against the Germans. The Germans put up many divisions against that. He made . . . that brought about the occupation of Slovakia by the Germans.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: And, yes, and after the . . . the . . . the Jews have . . . large contingents of Jews who had come together, not only from our lager, also from Lager Novaki . . .
  • David Boder: Hm
  • Baruch Friedman: There were hundreds of Jews, four, five hundreds of Jews got together, and we went against the thrust of the Germans, and also of the Slovaks who were . . . sided with . . . Tisa . . .
  • David Boder: The Germans.
  • Baruch Friedman: With the Tisa and Tuka government.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so . . .
  • David Boder: One moment.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] That happened on the 25th of August?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] August. At that time came the . . . the thrust.
  • David Boder: And so . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Would you describe to me, from the 24th to the 26th of August, everything that happened there in all the details, from the [word not clear].
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: The . . . that means from the crucial [?] moment when [words not clear].
  • David Boder: Everything, everything, everything.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: What did you do on that morning? What happened there?
  • Baruch Friedman: Happened. Well, so I will begin with a day earlier. On the 23rd of August I was in Bratislava. I was to bring various pistols and munitions from Bratislava.
  • David Boder: Were you there legally?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. I had received a permit from . . . from the leader of the lager . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . but for a different reason. He did not know what the reason was.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Yes. What reason did you give him?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] I declared [the purpose of] shopping, to shop for caps and so forth. For commercial reasons.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so far we could receive permits.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Where was I?
  • David Boder: And so you were in Bratislava . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . on the 23rd of August.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. During my journey home [back], I had heard in the meantime that the German is occupying Slovakia. Now I did not know whether I should return to the lager, or not to return. What if I return to the lager [and] the German arrives there too? I was in an undecided 'mood' of mind. I did not know what to do. I came to the conclusion, I have there a brother and I must go to him. And what will happen further I do not know. And on the train still I had heard that the Slovaks were rendering resistance. And coming as far as the lager at night, it was around twelve o'clock, the whole lager is awake. No one sleeps, and there is a stirring mood.
  • David Boder: [In German] An excitement.
  • Baruch Friedman: Excitement.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And we were waiting. What was to happen? Some said, 'Kaput. It is already kaput [the bitter end]. Our lives are already lost.' Some still had a little hope because we thought that we shall offer resistance, or that we will decide to join the partisans. But something different was happening here. The uprising which had been organized so that the whole of Slovakia should be liberated had partly succeeded. That means in the region of Banska-Bystrica. There came all the partisans who had been organized from before, together with Russians, and they have disarmed the troops of the surrounding region, and . . . and . . . and after, generally there surrendered one garrison after another, of the towns. In Banska-Bystrica they captured the radio station and announced that there is a free Czechoslovakia. This was on about the 24th. On the 25th again there came partisans from all those groups to our lager, Vyhne, and liberated us, too. And they took immediately a part of the entire youth on a forced march. That means for occupation and for the forward push against the other part of Slovakia who sided with the Germans. To fight against them. [Pause.]
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. Now there was the . . . the . . . .We again have . . . the brother and I did not join at first. We thought there is still time. We do not know yet. Maybe there will come a more difficult moment.
  • David Boder: Where did you remain?
  • Baruch Friedman: We left then for Zwolen, to live there in the town.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Hundreds of youths fell as burned offering for the reason that they threw themselves straight into the fire in the fight against the . . . against the . . . against the Germans, and against the Hlinkawites who were also fighting . . .
  • David Boder: What do you call the, Glinkvites?
  • Baruch Friedman: Hlinkavites. It was the Hlinka party which fought against Czechoslovakia.
  • David Boder: Linka?
  • Baruch Friedman: Hlinka. Andrei Hlinka.
  • David Boder: Linka. How do you spell it?
  • Baruch Friedman: H-L-I-N-K-A.
  • David Boder: That Hlinka was, so to say, a . . . a traitor?
  • Baruch Friedman: He was the traitor to Czechoslovakia, yes.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And later they went in his spirit. That means an independent Slovakian government [the statement is, of course, somewhat confused. D.P.B.]
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: And the youngsters were killed because they were on his, on Hlinka's, side?
  • Baruch Friedman: No. They were on our side. They fought against them. They were not trained.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: They just received a weapon in the hand and nothing . . . They were hardly shown how to shoot. They were not trained. So they all fell like flies. A very great number.
  • David Boder: And so you think they fell like flies because they had had no training.
  • Baruch Friedman: No training, real training. While they were in the lager there were no possibilities for proper training. And the Slovaks themselves, a part [of them] did a lot of betraying in that uprising. In Pressburg, for instance, the bridge was supposed to have been blown up and because of that [failure to do so] the uprising did not succeed. In . . . in Preskow again, in eastern Slovakia, the uprising did not succeed either, also because of the treachery of the Slovaks. So that the center remained just in . . . in the area of Banska-Bystrica. And the terrain [he uses the Hebrew term] was a small one, and it was difficult to keep in the open.
  • David Boder: What is a small one?
  • Baruch Friedman: The terrain . . . the space.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: A small terrain.
  • David Boder: The land was . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: The land . . . the land in which we could . . . in which the rebels could operate.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: So that there . . . there was again a painful situation. And with every week . . .
  • David Boder: By 'space' you mean the piece [In English] of land.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes, yes, yes, that is what I mean.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: The piece of the land. Yes. And now the Germans drew away troops from the east, from the far east in order to crush the uprising, because the uprising as a whole lasted about two months. And now is . . . We still did not know what to do. And so anyway, I and the brother decided to join the army and . . . and we enter . . . in Zwolen we, too, joined the 20th regiment. Now we fought simply the way we could fight. The . . . the brother really fell there, one of them.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Which one?
  • Baruch Friedman: That . . . that . . . my younger brother who . . .
  • David Boder: Who was with you in the forest.
  • Baruch Friedman: With me together. He fell. Yes. And I did not know what to do. And so I saw the . . . the Slovaks do not fight for themselves. They just want to send them, so that Jewish blood is spilled. And they themselves . . . .And the great anti-Semitism was present. So I was of the opinion [that] I should not fight. What shall I fight for. I see that the anti-Semitism is as it was. And so what did I do? I saw that more and more the uprising is failing and failing. Within two months the . . . the entire uprising went completely to naught. So that people, those Jews who had concentrated there from all the corners of Slovakia, who had wanted to save themselves there, remained helpless and did not know what to do. What everybody did I did too. I still had arms, so we went into the forest and began a . . . a partisan life.
  • David Boder: How many people?
  • Baruch Friedman: We went in . . . we went in around fifty Jews . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . and around thirty Gentiles.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And we formed a group of eighty persons, organized, with weapons.
  • David Boder: Yes. And who was the commander?
  • Baruch Friedman: The commander was a . . . a . . . not a Jew, a Gentile.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: A certain Mayer. Lieutenant Mayer.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: He was in command of us. [Pause.] Yes.
  • David Boder: Did you know that he was loyal, that he was honest?
  • Baruch Friedman: As long as he was going to hide with us we figured that we can trust him. Were he a traitor, I think he would not have gone to hide.
  • David Boder: And how did it show up later?
  • Baruch Friedman: That he really was, indeed straight.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. And so . . . I also want to mention here, after that come . . . again began large transports. The German had come and occupied . . . occupied the whole of Slovakia. And the transports which had . . . again started to go. Of that part, of the fifteen thousand Jews who had remained, he dragged out another ten and sent again . . . in the year '44, in . . . in Septem- . . . around the time of October . . .
  • David Boder: Another ten thousand?
  • Baruch Friedman: Another ten thousand. He sent these, too, to Auschwitz, who, too . . . .Of them a part did remain alive. Because at that time the crematories were already a little weaker.
  • David Boder: In what year was that?
  • Baruch Friedman: It was in the year '44.
  • David Boder: [In German] Towards the end.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Towards the end of the year '44, yes.
  • David Boder: Yes. [Testing the microphone by tapping.]
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And so in . . . in . . . this is . . . .We had come to that forest around the time of November. And it began to snow. At first it was little. We did not know what we should do. We began making preparations. We made holes for ourselves, underground. Bunkers guarded on all four sides . . . with weapons, and there we settled. [We] picked out a suitable point so that when the German comes we should be able to attack him and save our lives through . . . at least through arms. I mean to offer resistance. Thus we were living. Some . . . many times it happened [that] there had passed a German patrol . . . patrol which noticed us. What did we do? And so immediately alarm was sounded. [We] surrounded them and immediately shot them all. The German eventually knew that there are still partisans there. For many months after he constantly, constantly searched all the woods that were there. But he did not trust himself to go directly in. He knew that a lot of partisans can fall upon him suddenly and do a lot of damage to him.
  • David Boder: Then how did they search the woods?
  • Baruch Friedman: They search[ed] all over the woods. Patrols of Germans were passing through . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . and simply searched all over.
  • David Boder: And did you see it?
  • Baruch Friedman: We noticed it ourselves.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. But many times, as I said, a patrol would come close to us, too. So we had to surround them and shoot them all.
  • David Boder: Did they not try to beg you not to shoot them?
  • Baruch Friedman: We challenged them: 'Hands up.'
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And they did not want to surrender.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: They did not want to surrender. They began . . . then we . . . because we knew the type of the German. The German knew well that if he falls into the hands of a partisan, he is dead.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: So that they fought for life and death. They did not want to surrender because they knew that if they fell into our hands they are kaput [done for].
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And . . . yes. So . . . .We were living . . .
  • David Boder: Nu, if they would surrender, what would you have done?
  • Baruch Friedman: [Hesitating] I do not know.
  • David Boder: You do not know. It did not . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: I do not know.
  • David Boder: . . . happen?
  • Baruch Friedman: It did not happen.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: There were many cases [in which] they were . . . that . . . that Germans were captured. That, let us say, a group of ten people were captured, not by our group, by other groups.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: So nine were ex- . . . killed . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . but with a brutal death, and one was released so that he should see how brutally they had been killed, and he should be able to tell his remaining comrades how they . . . what ugly deaths they had died.
  • David Boder: What do you call a 'brutal death'?
  • Baruch Friedman: For instance, to take . . . a man was taken and a nail was driven between the two eyes while still alive.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And . . . or other ugly, brutal deaths.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: They were all tormented. Because of that they were very much afraid to get . . . to fall into partisan hands.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Eating. That means we lived on that, that, that every night, or every second night, we went around into the villages there, into the neighboring villages, which the Germ- . . . there, into those villages in which the Germans did not trust themselves to enter because they knew that there they may be attacked by the local partisans. And the population received us very well. They gave us [something] to eat and to drink, and meat, and to wash, and sometimes we would even risk staying overnight, too. And it is not . . . the population was not too bad because they knew that it is also in their interest, because there were many Gentiles, too, not only Jews. Thus we lived on a pretty long time, until there happened once an event. The Russians were approaching. The front was very close. This was already in the year '45, around January.
  • David Boder: Nu.
  • Baruch Friedman: And we were waiting for the Russians to come and liberate us. Finished. But now it happened [that] the Russians had stopped in Brezno-on-Rona [?], twenty kilometers from us, and did not move forward. We did not know what to do. The front there was a very difficult one. The German patrons were constantly passing and walking about. They sensed already that there are partisans. They knew it. Occasionally they used mortars [?] on us. And . . . and they did not know . . . .We were in a very difficult position.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] How many partisans were there now?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] About eighty.
  • David Boder: Eighty.
  • Baruch Friedman: Fifty Jews . . .
  • David Boder: Did you communicate with the Russians?
  • Baruch Friedman: Later.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Then we went . . . .It had happened that a German patrol, a strong patrol which was close to the front, had passed by and noticed us. And now it had happened that we had not surrounded them.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: But what then? We had shot at them, and the majority had run away.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Now then, would you describe it to me? You were eighty people. What armaments, what sort of weapons did you have?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes. The weapons were mostly automatics. The rest . . .
  • David Boder: Automatic pistols.?
  • Baruch Friedman: Automatic pistols. Russian ones.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Russian ones.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Those had been received from the Russians.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Yes. By the uprising. The Russians had supported the uprising . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . at that time. And gre- . . . handgrenades. And there were also about six machine guns, light machine guns. And one heavy . . . heavy machine gun which could not be used readily, because it was heavy to carry.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: Mostly we used just the light machine guns. Yes.
  • David Boder: And where did one get ammunition?
  • Baruch Friedman: Ammunition we still had from the uprising. Everything from the uprising.
  • David Boder: And so what did happen then? Let us go back to the uprising. Who had started the uprising? Did the Russians come in?
  • Baruch Friedman: No. Those were Russian partisans or they had supported it. Officially it was organized as a Slovakian uprising.
  • David Boder: Yes? Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: But it did not succeed.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: There had been a great betrayal. And afterwards it was crushed. The German arrived and crushed the uprising.
  • David Boder: But during the uprising you partisans, you were set free from the lager . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . and you took along weapons.
  • Baruch Friedman: Took along weapons. We joined the uprising. Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. I want to come now to how we went over to the Russians.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so it had happened when that patrol had come, that German patrol. And we had not been able to surround all of them, and many of them had escaped back. And there they told that here there is a great host of partisans and something has to be done to clear them out. So they began with mortars to . . . because they did not trust themselves to come close. They did not know how large a force there was. So they began to shoot at us with mortars in order to chase us away. Immediately our commander had a conference with the headquarters and . . . it was at eleven, forenoon . . . and at four in the afternoon we made a decision to cross the border. He worked out a plan . . . he worked out a plan, and . . . and at four in the afternoon we went and circled the entire front. There were Rumanians, too, who were fighting against . . . against the Germans. And we found them. And at about two at night we crossed the front line, together with the cables, with everything. But we were also prepared to . . .
  • David Boder: What does it mean, 'with the cables'?
  • Baruch Friedman: The . . . the cables which had been strung. The telephone wires from one front to the other front.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And . . . and . . . and at four in the morning we went over to the Russians.
  • David Boder: Did they Russians know that you were coming?
  • Baruch Friedman: They asked, 'Who is it?' So we said, 'Washy' [yours], our own.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Nu, they received us at once and we became free.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. To this I still want to . . . .We had been prepared for a battle. Had it come, naturally, we would have offered resistance.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Against whom?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Against the German who . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . in that crossing over.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: It was accompanied with great difficulties. The snow was deep, about two meters. And added to the high mountains to go up and down . . . .But in spite of that we did not pay attention, and we . . . .There were also many women among us who suffered greatly. But still we did cross over successfully.
  • David Boder: Oh, there were women among the partisans?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: How many women were there?
  • Baruch Friedman: There were about eight, ten women, too. Jewish women.
  • David Boder: Did they shoot . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: They took part in everything the same as the men. There was no difference. How the men, so the women, too.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: And so we had crossed. It was on the 12th of February, '45, we went over . . .
  • David Boder: To the Russians.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . to the Russians.
  • David Boder: Nu, what happened then?
  • Baruch Friedman: Everybody was set free.
  • David Boder: What does that mean? Were you brought before an officer? Were you brought . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes, we had come there . . .
  • David Boder: Tell about it.
  • Baruch Friedman: We arrived there at the chief commander, at headquarters. And we were questioned about where we came from. We gave some . . . .The officer gave a summary . . . a glance over the front, how . . . how the Germans were located. And everyone received a confirmation from the Russians that he is at liberty to go home. And everyone went home--free. Volunteers who wanted . . .
  • David Boder: Oh, the Russians already had your town, that you call home.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes, they already had my home [town].
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes, they had [it] already. Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And thus everybody was able to go home free. Volunteers who wanted had . . .
  • David Boder: Remained with the Russians?
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . remained with the Russians. They had voluntarily . . . or reported to the Czechoslovakian army.
  • David Boder: Oh, there was already a Czechoslovakian army.
  • Baruch Friedman: At that time it had come from Russia and one had to report in Kosice.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu, tell me this. In your partisan . . . partisan group how many were officers, how many . . . how was all that carried out?
  • Baruch Friedman: There was a . . . there were three officers.
  • David Boder: [In English] Yes? [In Yiddish] That means that Czech, Mayer?
  • Baruch Friedman: Mayer. Then there was one Byczanowski.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: Also a Slovak.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Then there was another one. I cannot remember exactly what his name was.
  • David Boder: A Jew or not a Jew?
  • Baruch Friedman: No, not a Jew.
  • David Boder: And so those three officers were . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Were Gentiles.
  • David Boder: . . . Gentiles.
  • Baruch Friedman: Why? Because they had the technique, the real training. Our . . . we, among ourselves, also had a leader. His name was . . .
  • David Boder: A Jew?
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . Greenbaum. Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: A Jewish leader, Greenbaum. We had a radio apparatus.
  • David Boder: Yes. For sending or for receiving.
  • Baruch Friedman: No, for receiving.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: That is how we knew all the news.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: And we also had a . . . a . . . what is it called, an apparatus for listening, an intercepting apparatus for listining, to listen in on telephone conversations.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: We had that.
  • David Boder: How did it work?
  • Baruch Friedman: That? We listened in on all the . . . the . . . the front communications between the Germans. And then the chief . . . the chief commander turned it over to higher authorities of the partisans, because higher up there, not far, was a high center, a place of a larger partisan group.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] There were other groups.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Other groups. Not just us. We were just a small section of that, a branch.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: But there were hundreds and hundreds of partisans, in the whole area.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: Sometimes there would be a task to blow up a bridge or . . . or to blow up a train.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Baruch Friedman: But all this was in this form. It was one's duty. A . . . a task. This one and this one have to go. And we went.
  • David Boder: Nu? How many partisans were killed?
  • Baruch Friedman: About four.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: In the whole time about four people were killed. Not more.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] How many Jews among them?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] There were no Jews. One was wounded. One died, died a normal death.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. [Pause.] Nu, what else?
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] So then you came home?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Home. But this is . . . yes. This is what happened. Coming home I found nothing. One alone of the family.
  • David Boder: No one?
  • Baruch Friedman: No one.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: From the whole family only myself. What does one do here?
  • David Boder: And who was in the house?
  • Baruch Friedman: Nobody. Everything was deserted. The windows broken, the house broken. Everything, everything in ruins.
  • David Boder: What does it mean? Had it been bombed?
  • Baruch Friedman: Not . . . .This was because . . . because the house had been standing empty, uninhabited.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Baruch Friedman: People had gone there and tossed everything around, broken up everything. So that the whole house had remained completely, totally empty.
  • David Boder: Whose house was it? Your own house?
  • Baruch Friedman: Our own house.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: We had fields there, too.
  • David Boder: [In German] Horses?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Fields. Fields.
  • David Boder: Yes. Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: All the time the Gentiles cultivated the fields. So we wanted some sort of a . . . .Coming home I thought that we will enjoy a little more consideration where we are. Coming home already liberated, we will have a little more consideration. In the meantime, I see nothing [of the sort]. I considered some [of the people] who I knew had committed misdeeds on transports against the Jews. I wanted to avenge myself on them. I had been . . . .I thought I had some right because of having been some sort of a partisan . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: So I was laughed at. Why? Because among the leaders of the Slovakian government were these same anti-Semites who were before, before that. So that I did not trust myself, and I decided on that: I leave everything. I leave the house. I leave the field, and I go to my goal. I am going Home. And so I decided. I go. I crossed over . . . .Later yet, after having been the whole time . . .
  • David Boder: Did you not sell the house?
  • Baruch Friedman: No. One cannot sell because they have not returned. The Slovaks have not returned to this day to the Jews their properties. And for everything is still as it used to be. So I decided what will I wait for. There may come some more evil, or . . . .And many times we heard about the pogroms against the jews. Here one was beaten, and there one was beaten. If one wanted to get some justice, people would pay many times with their lives, too. So I went and crossed into Germany and from there on to the goal, towards Eretz.
  • David Boder: Tell me, how did you go to Germany and how did you arrive in Italy?
  • Baruch Friedman: This was . . . with a transport I crossed. Arriving in Prague I received certain directions. At that and that time a transport is leaving. And at that and that time . . .
  • David Boder: A transport of what?
  • Baruch Friedman: Of Jews . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: . . . which is going over to Germany. And with this transport there and there I have to report to what place. And there I will cross over. And it really was so. Exactly. At the right time, at the exact place [?].
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Who gave those instructions, the . . . the Czechs or . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] No, everything the Jews. Everything by Jews.
  • David Boder: Did the transport go by train?
  • Baruch Friedman: No, on foot.
  • David Boder: Oh, so it was a group. Not that you travelled . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: No, no, no, no, no. As far as the border . . .
  • David Boder: So how did you travel?
  • Baruch Friedman: As far as the border by train.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: By train.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: And across the border . . . .There was an assembly point and there we crossed the border. Entirely on foot. We walked about twelve kilometers.
  • David Boder: Legally or illegally?
  • Baruch Friedman: Illegally.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] Nu, and how did you get the money to travel, and this and that? Did the Russians give you anything or what was done?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] No, not that. It was still so that the . . . the UNRRA was aiding. And we received help from the Joint.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: So that so far we still could go over.
  • David Boder: Nu? And so?
  • Baruch Friedman: And from there I have . . . In Germany I sat around for about three months, four months time.
  • David Boder: What sort of things did you have along with you?
  • Baruch Friedman: A rucksack with things which I had received. Some things I still had with me and some things which I had received from the UNRRA, from the Joint.
  • David Boder: What did you receive?
  • Baruch Friedman: Some pants, a jacket.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: And a shirt. And crossed the border. What does one need? Today one does not need any more.
  • David Boder: Nu? What does it mean 'one does not need any more'?
  • Baruch Friedman: One does not need any more. What one has here . . . .Today one does not need any more. The less one has the better . . .
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: It is easier to walk.
  • David Boder: Go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: And there in Germany I sat around three and a half months or . . . or about four. And on with a transport . . .
  • David Boder: Where did you sit around in Germany?
  • Baruch Friedman: In Fürth.
  • David Boder: And so do not call it a transport. They were groups which had decided to go. It was not officially, so to say, that the . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: It was . . .
  • David Boder: . . . UNRRA had given a transport.
  • Baruch Friedman: No, the UNRRA did not give. There were Jews who organized special transports which were going every day.
  • David Boder: Yes. And where did one go?
  • Baruch Friedman: Everyone went into a German lager.
  • David Boder: Yes. Into a German lager.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Into which did . . . .In the American Zone, in the English Zone, where . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: Some . . . .Coming over the German side everyone could go wherever he wanted.
  • David Boder: Yes? Nu?
  • Baruch Friedman: I went to Lager Fürth. There I had an acquaintance. And there . . .
  • David Boder: Did you know you had an acquaintance there?
  • Baruch Friedman: At first I was at Fürth for a visit.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Baruch Friedman: So I met there. I figured if I find an acquaintance there I will remain there. If not, I go to another lager.
  • David Boder: How does one walk around in Germany? Were you not stopped?
  • Baruch Friedman: No, no one was stopped. Everything was free. No one was ever asked for documents. Without . . . without papers.
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: I came and registered there. And there I was about three and a half months.
  • David Boder: [In German] In Wirt?
  • Baruch Friedman: In Fürth.
  • David Boder: Fürth. F.
  • Baruch Friedman: Fürth. F-U-R-T [spelling incorrect].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] It is near Nuernberg.
  • David Boder: And so go on.
  • Baruch Friedman: And from there I went again . . . oh, yes. Being an old Zionist, I was in a Kibbutzim.
  • David Boder: Fürth had a Kibbutz.
  • Baruch Friedman: Kibbutzim. Several Kibbutzim.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes. Zionist Kibbutzim. And then it came to personal distribution, who should go to Eretz. I was one among those. And I went across with the others, also with a transport, here to Italy.
  • David Boder: Aha. And you came directly to where? To Rome or . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: We came to Milan.
  • David Boder: To Milan.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And you went in where? To the Joint or where?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] Here we went in . . . to like a union. Like a Jew goes among Jews.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Baruch Friedman: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In German/Yiddish] And from here you are waiting to go . . .
  • Baruch Friedman: [In Yiddish] On to Eretz.
  • David Boder: [In English] This concludes Spool 108, Abram Perl, which we started at Spool 107, the last ten minutes. It is a story of a young man who was not in a German concentration camp but spent the time in Czechslovakia fighting for the . . . the liberation of Czechoslovakia or the cause of the Allies and mostly fighting . . . and also fighting for his life. September 2nd, 1946. Tradate, a community place for displaced Jews, specially young people, who live in Kibbutzim, what they call. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] Is there anything else that you want to say?
  • Baruch Friedman: [In English] No, no.
  • David Boder: [In German] Thank you.
  • Baruch Friedman: You're welcome.
  • Contributors to this text:
  • Transcription : Janina Wurbs
  • English Translation : David P. Boder