David P. Boder Interviews Hadassah Marcus; September 13, 1946; Hénonville, France

  • David Boder: [In English] France. September the 13th, 1946, at Henonville, fifty kilometers from Paris, in a home for displaced Jews which consists of a large Kibbutz and also of a Lithuanian Yeshiva which is here temporarily. And the person to be interviewed is Mrs. Hadassah Marcus, tattoo number 48543 and a triangle.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] And so, Mrs. Marcus, tell us again your name and where you are from.
  • Hadassah Marcus: My name is Hadassah Marcus, born in Warsaw and all my years [I] have spent in Warsaw.
  • David Boder: Now, Mrs. Marcus, how old are you now?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I am thirty-two years old.
  • David Boder: Thirty-two years.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Do you have a family?
  • Hadassah Marcus: [With emphasis] I have no family.
  • David Boder: Your husband is not with you?
  • Hadassah Marcus: My husband isn't with me for a long time.
  • David Boder: And you are alone here in the Kibbutz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I [am] alone in the Kibbutz.
  • David Boder: And so. Nu, Mrs. Marcus, would you tell me where you were and what happened to you when the war began?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The war started by us in the first minute [at first] in the year 1939.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was at that time with five small children and with my husband, and with a very large family. Our family consisted of over five hundred persons.
  • David Boder: How is that?
  • Hadassah Marcus: My children still had six grandfathers and six grandmothers.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: All alive.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: There was little mortality with us.
  • David Boder: How can children have six grandfathers?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Four great grandmothers and four great grandfathers.
  • David Boder: Oh, Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: From both sides they were sll still alive.
  • David Boder: Yes. Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: [In] 1942 when the edict came out [the doom was proclaimed] on the 22nd [of] the seventh month.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . a great panic gripped Warsaw.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And people began to look for places in industrial plants. By us they were called 'shops' [from the German Shuppen].
  • David Boder: In '42? That late?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. Yes.
  • David Boder: Did you live in the Ghetto already before?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Before, in the Ghetto.
  • David Boder: And so let us begin this way. What happened when the Germans entered Warsaw? What happened then?
  • Hadassah Marcus: When the Germans entered there was a great panic. Right away we began to feel his strong hand. Right away he began strongly to exterminate us. And right away he began . . . at first with the great Jewith savants, and with our clergymen as well as with other men of learning. Right away he . . . all of our . . . the whole intelligentsia he took away from us. And later, when we had already lost the whole intelligentsia and all those who could show us a way [lead us], they started on us, the average people.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They began to take people into lagers. In the beginning we had words [regards] from the people.
  • David Boder: And so when did they take you into the Ghetto?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Into the Ghetto they took us in the year 1941.
  • David Boder: Yes? And you went into the Ghetto with the others?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Into the Ghetto with everything [everybody].
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because we were living in the region which was to become the Ghetto.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: So we just remained there. People who . . . if they were living outside the Ghetto were greatly broken up.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They weren't able by any means to find living quarters.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because during all the time . . . during the entire war [the Jews of] the entire district of Poland . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . were pushed into Warsaw.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: So that it was very crowded . . .
  • David Boder: Christians as well, or just Jews?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Only Jews.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Christians he left in peace entirely. He gave them all the rights that they demanded in order that the gentiles should be able to help, entirely in the open, with all the perpetrations that he wanted.
  • David Boder: The German?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The German.
  • David Boder: Nu? And so you were living in the Ghetto. On what street in Warsaw did you live?
  • Hadassah Marcus: On Nowolipki 66.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: There I lived.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everyone of us took in many of his relatives. We shared with everything, with what we were able to. But in the year 1942 on the 22nd of the seventh month, when the edict came out that the Jews should be resetlled, we didn't know what he wants [us] to do. He hung out placards that we are being sent to Lublin. And everyone of us can take along fifteen kilos. The finest people, the strongest, the . . . the entire youth took along baggage and went there, but alas, we had no more word from them.
  • David Boder: Hm. That was still before the Ghetto was annihilated?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes, that was all still before.
  • David Boder: They hung placards that you should come to Lublin.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes, yes.
  • David Boder: Tell me, what was the occupation of your family in Warsaw?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We were diamond dealers.
  • David Boder: Oh. Where did you buy the diamonds? Where did you sell them?
  • Hadassah Marcus: One from another.
  • David Boder: Hm. In . . . in peace time you . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: In peace time and during the war.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because this had been for generations . . . dealers in silver and gold [and] diamonds.
  • David Boder: Do you understand diamonds?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I? No. I, myself, no.
  • David Boder: Nu. And so? What did you do with the merchandise that you had?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Nu, that . . . when the war started I had four factories of my own, and when the Germans entered.
  • David Boder: Factories?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: What sort of factories did you have?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Chemical. We manufactured argentum nitricum [silver nitrate].
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: That is needed for photographic [work], for lithography [words not clear].
  • David Boder: So you had another occupation besides diamonds.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everything.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: There was everything. I was a great enterprising power.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: My husband was a . . . a . . . a . . . he had everything under his hand.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And the basic thing . . . our occupation was gold, silver, and diamonds. This was so from generation to generation.
  • David Boder: Hm. Yes? So what do you say was done, you did with your merchandise, with all that you had?
  • Hadassah Marcus: My merchandise . . . when there had come out the edicts that we should be resettled . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . we hid it.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: But after a few months . . . someone had informed on us.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because even then we were doing business. And they took my husband away. He sat [was imprisoned] for three months.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was left alone then with the five children.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: He was murderously beaten. One day he received seventy five strokes.
  • David Boder: Who?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The husband.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Only because they knew that he can hold out and that he has money.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: He was merderously tortured, but [words not clear] . . .
  • David Boder: What did they want?
  • Hadassah Marcus: They didn't want anything. They just tortured him.
  • David Boder: Yes, did they ask anything?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Did they demand anything?
  • Hadassah Marcus: They demanded that we should give out to them the wealthy Jew [Jewish N'giddim] who were still around.
  • David Boder: What does N'giddim mean?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Where there are still the very wealthy . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . those who have money.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: When he will betray them, then they will set him free.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But one was acting like one ought to act. And we succeeded in getting him out after three months of imprisonment.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We thought then that it was a piece of luck. But a few months later there began to erupt in the Ghetto strong blockades, as we called them.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Every day they took away ten . . . over ten thousand persons from Warsaw. They were sent away.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Where were they sent? That varied. From no one did we receive word any more. I lost my husband [in] the year [one] thousand nine hundred [forty] three . . . in the year '42 in the eight month.
  • David Boder: Hm. In August.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: What does it mean?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Then I remained alone with all the children.
  • David Boder: What does it mean? Was he arrested, or was he . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: He went out accidentally.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And there was going on a very strong blockade [raid].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: All people were taken away.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: At that time they took away the entire 'shop'. At that time he was going to a 'shop'.
  • David Boder: What? Oh. A german 'shop'?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: He was working there?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And he was taken away, the entire 'shop', everybody. The entire 'shop' was liquidated at that time.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And I did not have any more . . . I was left with all the children alone . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . in very hard circumstances, because ten times a day such blockades were going on.
  • David Boder: Hm. During the blockades they did what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: During the blockades they shot, searched, and exterminated, in all the cellars, in all the offices.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . in all the places where one might be able . . . where it just looked that one might be hidden.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And he who was found was either shot on the spot, because he had hidden himself, or he was taken to the distribution depot and [from] there sent away to Treblinka. At that time Warsaw was going mostly to Treblinka.
  • David Boder: Treblinka is what, where? Near Katowice? Near Sosnowice?
  • Hadassah Marcus: No.
  • David Boder: Where is Treblinka?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Treblinka is not far from Warsaw. I don't . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . know exactly.
  • David Boder: Yes, yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . where.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu, go on.
  • Hadassah Marcus: During all that time all the transports went to Treblinka.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the year 1943, the 18th, the first [month] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . there was a great holocaust. They took all the shops away. Everything [was] liquidated.
  • David Boder: What does it mean, a holocaust?
  • Hadassah Marcus: That there was . . . nobody could save himself . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . but one shop. It was then on the Nowolipie Street. Shultz's
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: That shop was left unharmed at that time. And the entire Ghetto was emptied out. And at that time, in my absence, on the 18th, first [month], they took all my children away.
  • David Boder: Just took them away?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: [Words not clear.]
  • Hadassah Marcus: In my absence.
  • David Boder: [Words not clear.]
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was not at home . . . home then [words not clear] . . .
  • David Boder: In your absence . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . your children were taken away? How old were they?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The oldest child was ten and a half years old.
  • David Boder: Hm
  • Hadassah Marcus: The next one [was] seven years, and twins of four years.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: One had died . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . a short time before, a handicapped[?].
  • David Boder: And there they permitted . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: There . . . Yes. There people worked at furriery, at furs, at shoemaking, at various trades.
  • David Boder: Oh, it was a large shop.
  • Hadassah Marcus: [With emphasis] A large shop. One of the largest shops.
  • David Boder: And did people live there like in lagers or in . . . or people lived at home?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Variously. In homes.
  • David Boder: And where did you live?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was also living . . . at that time I still had an uncle . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . a brother, and a sister.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: So we were [living] together.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In 1943 after the Ghetto purge . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . we perceived that the time was coming for Shultz's terrain [factory] as well.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: During the second Seder night [the second night of Passover] we went down into the bunker.
  • David Boder: During the second Seder?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: And where did you have a bunker?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The bunker was entirely under the ground, very deep underground.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Without windows, without air, and without anything.
  • David Boder: And who had made the bunker?
  • Hadassah Marcus: It was made by a few people . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Thirty-odd people were living in that bunker. [Words not clear. A few words might be missing due to a break in the wire. She apparently tells about camouflaging doors] . . . which were leading from the house. And they [pieces of furniture] were put back in the same place where they were before so that nobody in no way could find a trace, that something is to be found there.
  • David Boder: And so wait . . . wait a moment. The bunker was in a cellar or in a . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Underground.
  • David Boder: Underground.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: And how did one enter there? Through . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Through the . . . through rooms of the house.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And through there corridors were made.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everything [was] underground.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And that is how we entered that cellar.
  • David Boder: Yes. Nu? Who was it that had built . . . built such things?
  • Hadassah Marcus: One's own people, alone with our [own] hands.
  • David Boder: Nu? And where did one discard the earth, everything?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The earth was thrown out, because we had been preparing already [for] months in advance. We knew that a moment will arrive when they will make Warsaw completely Jew-clean [Juden-rein].
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: That which one could never imagine before, that such a thing could happen.
  • David Boder: Nu? And then?
  • Hadassah Marcus: On the 13th of April, on the 13th of the fourth [month]—this was after having been in a bunker a few weeks . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . we were discovered.
  • David Boder: How?
  • Hadassah Marcus: They let in to us . . . another bunker had been discovered and there was found someone who reported us [?]. He had no way out any more, and we had to start going out.
  • David Boder: How many people were you in the bunker?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Thirty-odd people we were then, one's own [people].
  • David Boder: How did people sleep there? Eat?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everything below..We had made makeshift beds.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: As far as eating, we lived on whatever we could.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because food did not have any place with us [did not enter one's mind].
  • David Boder: And when one had to go? How did one . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Oh, everything [everybody] together, because we had no other possibilities. We couldn't get to the surface.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu
  • Hadassah Marcus: They took us out on a Friday at one o'clock.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Up to twelve o'clock of the same day the people who were discovered in bunkers were taken into the Ghetto—there were no more people there [ or: they did not appear human any more]—into the [house of the] Jewish Community Council.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And they gave everyone one shot, no more. That shot, wherever it hit . . . so that people were . . . from one shot can still live 'quite well.'
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: One of those caught had to take all those people . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . who had received the shot [ not clear, possible a break in the wire]. And he who did that had to lie down last on top.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: This was until twelve o'clock of the same Friday.
  • David Boder: Who told you that?
  • Hadassah Marcus: That was told to me by people who had . . . had been present.
  • David Boder: Did [words not clear]?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Such . . . Yes. Who had . . . There were people who had masqueraded as Germans. There was an apparatus [organization] for . . . people knew everything. All that was reported.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Fate wanted it that we should remain alive, and we were taken out an hour later. Because this edict [doom] lasted until twelve on the same day.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: At one o'clock we were taken out and searched as big as we were. We couldn't take anything along with us, and besides that, we didn't want to, because we knew where we were going, that we were going to Treblinka.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Or else we thought that we were going to be burned by them like our previous people, But they led us to the distribution depot. There was the assembly place for all the people whom they had gathered together, and we were, on the same day, Friday afternoon, put into the RR-cars. In the wagon in which I was, were over a hundred people. The RR-car couldn't take in any more than fifty-odd [persons].
  • David Boder: Men and women?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Men, women, and children. It is [was] without exception. Thirty-nine people were suffocated.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: From the heat.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because there were no windows. A very small window far up. Many people jumped out, not because they wanted to save themselves. They wanted to perish in the [open] air.
  • David Boder: One moment, please.
  • David Boder: [In English] This concludes Spool number 128, a report by Mrs. Hadassah Marcus. She is in a . . . and we continue on spool number 129. Henonville, fifty kilometers from Paris, in an Agudah Israel home, supported by the Agudah, and the educational part maintained by the ORT organization. We go over to Spool 129. Illinois Institute of Technology Wire Recording.
  • David Boder: [In English] France. September 13th, 1946. Henonville near Paris. A home for displaced Jews mainly maintained by . . . by a Kibbutz and supported by the Agudah Israel, and also having another organization, a Yeshiva from Lithuania. Mrs. Hadassah Marcus is continuing her report which had started on [Spool] 128.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] And so, Mrs. Marcus, they took you there to the distribution depot.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. On the same day, Friday, in the evening I was taken to the RR-cars. We were in the RR-cars over a hundred people where there could be only about fifty. Thirty-nine persons had suffocated, because we were completely without air. There was a small window. People were fighting to get out, to get out not for the sake of living, but at least to perish in the air.
  • David Boder: You mean to jump out?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu, go on.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And in the . . . When dawn came we saw that we were being led not to Treblinka, but we were being led in the direction of Lublin, that means to Majdanek. We arrived in Lublin, and from there, guarded each fifth row by two soldiers with large dogs, with rifles ready, we were led to Majdanek, which is a few kilometers from Lublin. When we arrived in Majdanek we were the first transport of Jews, of Jewish women. Men were already there, Slovakian Jews.
  • David Boder: Who was there before?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The Germans. At that time this was a completely new lager.
  • David Boder: Oh, it was a new lager.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. We were among the first Jews in Majdanek.
  • David Boder: In '43 it was?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the year '43 on the first of May we arrived in Majdanek.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We lived under very hazardous conditions. As Jews . . . They took away our shoes, and we had to stand all night on a field barefoot. Majdanek has a climate which has strong winds, unheard of, or great heats. Throughout the night a frost [snow?] of ten centimeters [ thick ] lay on the ground. They examined our feet, if we didn't put a piece of paper underneath. Afterwards, in the morning, we had to run, not walk, to work, chased after by a young female SS man with a giant dog. Her name was Brigida.
  • David Boder: Brigida?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Birgida.
  • David Boder: She was an SS woman.
  • Hadassah Marcus: An SS woman.
  • David Boder: But you had said a female SS man [SS-manke].
  • Hadassah Marcus: A female SS.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: She was . . . it is possible that we didn't find in all that time another such woman as she was. Her badness exceeded all human understanding. Running barefoot . . . The Kommando [contingent of prisoners] numbered around fifteen hundred people.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Whether in rain or in snow at that time, we had to stand and work. She carried on a lot. When she noticed anything, she released a dog. We were bitten, our clothes torn off. And when one returned to the lager bitten, the next day he was taken to the crematory, because people who weren't completely well, or if one had the smallest rash on himself, one didn't have the right to live.
  • David Boder: Scabs—what they call it..
  • Hadassah Marcus: An itch, or a wind burn, or a blister from rubbing.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Immediately she had no right to live, and she was immediately taken to the crematory. We were given absolutely no medical help. Whoever gave us the least bit of help was punished.
  • David Boder: And what did you work at?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We worked then in the field.
  • David Boder: Hm
  • Hadassah Marcus: Later on we worked by bricks. We were helping, alas, to build a new crematory on that field which was in Auschwitz near the bath. At that time people were . . . they were burning, gassing the people in the bath where we bathed.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In another part. And they were burned in a pit.
  • David Boder: What do you mean, in a pit? In an open ditch?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In an open ditch.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We ourselves were present when we took out still unburned pieces, parts of people, and took them on the trucks and threw them in the water. The ashes [were] either thrown in the water or they were strewn in the gardens.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And so this crematory [the ditch?] was not enough for them, and we ourselves had to help carry bricks at night to build the crematory. Three months I was in Majdanek, After three months I was sent to Auschwitz.
  • David Boder: Why? What . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: There were transports from Majdanek. We were told that we were being sent to factories to work.
  • David Boder: Where were you tattooed?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We were tattooed in Auschwitz.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu, and so?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Only Auschwitz gave tattooes, no other lager.[??].
  • David Boder: Hm. Bergen-Belsen neither?
  • Hadassah Marcus: No.
  • David Boder: No. And so.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Auschwitz I arrived . . .
  • David Boder: How many people were traveling with you to Auschwitz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: To Auschwitz we traveled in parties.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: With my transport traveled over a thousand people.
  • David Boder: Only women, or men also?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Women and men.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: The . . . A night before, before we went to Auschwitz . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . we had already been selected. We were at twelve at night . . . This was still in Majdanek.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We were already asleep. So they ordered [us] to dress quickly.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We didn't know where we were being taken. The men of . . . of that field knew that now we were being led into the crematory. There was a case that one man had a wife among us, who still remained in Majdanek. He was a doctor, and he knew exactly where we were being led. So he poisoned himself.
  • David Boder: The doctor?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: A Jew?
  • Hadassah Marcus: A Jew. But the same night, as we were being led on the road to the crematory, there arrived someone riding a white horse, and . . . and he . . . and he gave some kind of an order, and we were led back again [Note on p. 48-(2743)].
  • David Boder: Where to? To . . . to where were you led back?
  • Hadassah Marcus: To . . . into the field.
  • David Boder: Into the field?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. While on the road.
  • David Boder: From Auschwitz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Majdanek.
  • David Boder: In Majdanek.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because it had been the road to the crematory, but the one on the white horse had arrived . . .
  • David Boder: Who was he?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . in the midst of the road. An SS man, and with an order that we should be led back. When we returned we didn't find that doctor any more, because he know that the wife had been led to the crematory. And he was found poisoned.
  • David Boder: So you were . . . you were then taken back to Majdanek.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu? What did you . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: But the next morning they led us to Auschwitz.
  • David Boder: Again you were led to Auschwitz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. When we arrived in Auschwitz we were assured that we had arrived in a lucky moment, that there are no more crematories.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: That means there are, but Jews are not being burned any more.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We calmed down a little, but immediately on arrival they made a selection. At that time I was still with a sister, with a very young sister. She we fifteen years old. I was put to the side, to go to the crematory. And . . .
  • David Boder: You had been told that they were not burning any more.
  • Hadassah Marcus: But so was the case. When we arrived it was so.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We were comforted with that, that they are not burning any more, but I myself was put to the side.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We sat a few hours and waited till we should be taken away, but an order came again that we should be taken into the lager together with the rest of the transport.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: After that I worked for three months in Auschwitz, in water.
  • David Boder: When were you tattooed?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Immediately on arrival.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And so.
  • David Boder: Was your hair cut off?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I [?] . . . entirely cut off the hair. In Majdanek we had our hair.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Auschwitz wherever a hair was found it was . . .
  • David Boder: Who did the cutting?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Women.
  • David Boder: Women.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Were there any cases that men did it?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In my time there were no [such] cases, but in any case men were standing by.
  • David Boder: Men were standing by?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: They watched it?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Who were the men?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Various ones.
  • David Boder: [Word not clear.]
  • Hadassah Marcus: There were SS men . . . SS men. There were capos, and there were people who were working there in the bath.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because in the bath men were working, men, too.
  • David Boder: Men [worked] in the bath.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Men and women.
  • David Boder: Yes. Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: After three months of work in the water--that means that in the morning we went in the water and stood up to the neck . . .
  • David Boder: What was the work in the water?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Gathered the leaves.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And gathered the . . . such long . . .
  • David Boder: The grass?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. It was taken out on the field.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: It was dried.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Afterwards it was gathered and . . . I don't know what they used it for. [They were possible cutting peat or processing flax.]
  • David Boder: But they wanted to use it for something?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Possibly. This I don't know.
  • David Boder: How many people were working in the water?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In my time, when I was working at this work, this Kommando numbered two hundred fifty people. Two hundred people were in the water at a time, and fifty people were working outside.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: When there was no [work in the] water, we were carrying barrows, but barrows heaped up to capacity, that from seven till twelve we weren't permitted to rest or to put down the barrow to load in the sand for us.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We had to carry it in the hand and go around, and ten Christians stood with shovels, and everyone threw in a shovel, so that, God forbid, we shouldn't be able to rest, not at the loading and not at the unloading.
  • David Boder: Tell me about the water. How did one work in there? People went in with the clothes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: With the clothes we went in the water. Only the shoes were taken off.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: If it happened that someone said that he isn't feeling well, he cannot go into the water, [then] he couldn't even take off the shoes. He was thrown in, the way he was standing and walking [just as he was], into the water.
  • David Boder: He was thrown into the water. Nu, what did one work? When one took out the grass . . . the grass, did one have to dive, or what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We went . . . the water reached up to our neck.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And thus with the hands we gathered it and carried it to the shore.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . and went again, constantly farther . . . in summer . . . whatever could be found.
  • David Boder: All that happened already in Auschwitz.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But in Auschwitz I had the opportunity, having been a year and a half in Auschwitz . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . around two years.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . that I had my block vis-a-vis the crematory.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Perhaps thirty meters separated the crematory from me [my place].
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I had the occassion to witness everything. We are all living witnesses to what they have done.
  • David Boder: How did you . . . you could see it through the windows, or what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: It was entirely open.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They didn't even have the understanding that they should cover it up. Quite late they covered [it] with small trees so that we shouldn't be able to see everything and hear everything.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: The transports arrived there, huge transports. In ten minutes on the clock we already saw the fire coming from the chimneys. We recognized the transports, whether they were fat or lean [people].
  • David Boder: By what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because the smoke . . . if a black smoke was coming from the chimney it was a lean transport.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: When [they were] fat, there was a huge fire going that could be seen from distances of tens of kilometers. In Auschwitz there were five ovens. Not far from Auschwitz there was Brzezinki with four ovens, but there were seasons when the nine ovens weren't able . . . to work this out, to burn this . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . as many transport as there were, [so] they made . . . dug out ditches and almost as if entirely . . .
  • David Boder: Pits.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Pits . . . almost as if people entirely alive were burned.
  • David Boder: How . . . how . . . without having the people gassed?
  • Hadassah Marcus: At the end they were giving very little gas. The people were only like they would have lost their equilibrium [consciousness].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They even begrudged [them] a little gas.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We had the occassion to hear all the cries of Shema Yisroeil [the prayer of distress and profession of faith] and sometimes the singing of the Hatikvah [national anthem of Israel].
  • David Boder: What?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And sometimes the singing of the Hatikvah.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We had . . . I myself saw how the oven was being opened and the people were being pushed in. At each time I also had the occassion to see how the gassed people were lying completely outside, a whole heap. Because in the beginning we thought that maybe it is just the people's clothing, only when we came closer we saw [they were] all gassed people.
  • David Boder: You happened to pass by, yourself? You . . . how did you . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: No. Our Kommando [detail] had passed through that time . . .
  • David Boder: Hm, yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . through that road.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: So we had observed quite well. If we were brought . . .
  • David Boder: Your . . . your kommando had passed by.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: It could be seen. Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: If we were brought to the Nurenberg Trials, they would definitely have no defense whatsoever. They would absolutely be unable to disclaim anything against us. Because it couldn't be imagined that we will be let out at liberty, and what such living witnesses could give the world. There were also cases that out of giant transports nobody, nobody was let in alive into the lager. Children were altogether out of the question. If they want to claim that they were burning only weak people, the living witnesses can tell that they took away from us the most beautiful, the youngest, the healthiest people, who were still sufficiently capable and strong for work. There was a time when they installed a children's block. The children were given of the finest and the best, but it was only when they had to present proof for an inspection or such. During one nice, bright morning the children were taken away and all burned.
  • David Boder: What? The entire children's block?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Hm .
  • Hadassah Marcus: The children's block lasted only for a short time.
  • David Boder: Hm. How many do you estimate were there?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Children there were in untold numbers.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because this we can't . . . we can't fix the statistics, how many children there had been. We only know how many children we have missing. And as many as there are missing, that many had gone into the oven. Cases of [natural] death, there were very few. People didn't die at all. They didn't allow them to die. They didn't permit us to get sick and die like human beings. There were times when we were given bread and we didn't even have time to eat the bread, because directly from work they were leading [people] into the crematory. [Pause.]
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the year 1945 . . . it was also on the 18th, 1st month, i.e., the 18th of January, when the Russians were already standing behind our backs. We were aroused from sleep in the middle of the night, and we had to march on foot. In that night we covered thirty kilometers, without any rest, running, not walking. We weren't give anything for the road. We were told to take along our Kotzen, but we had to throw it away in the middle of the road, because the [our] strength had given out.
  • David Boder: What were you told to take along?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Kotzen, nothing else.
  • David Boder: The . . . what is Kotzen?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Blankets.
  • David Boder: Blankets. Yes.
  • David Boder: You threw it away, and . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the middle of the road, because we had no strength to carry it along. We were too exhausted.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: If one wanted to rest a moment on the road, if he only gave a bow with the head, he was taken out and immediately shot. Very many men fell at that time, more than women. After covering that night thirty kilometers, we were given in the morning fifteen minutes to rest. After that we walked a whole day, again a whole night, and were loaded into RR-cars. He who couldn't make it so fast into the RR-cars was also taken away and shot. In RR-cars we traveled five days, in entirely open RR-cars. Then . . .
  • David Boder: In what month was it?
  • Hadassah Marcus: It was in the year '45 in the first month.
  • David Boder: In January.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In January.
  • David Boder: You traveled in open RR-cars. Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We nourished ourselves [lived on] during the entire five days with a little snow. One from another stole a little snow, because even that we weren't given the possibility of having. We were packed in very many, so that there was no place to sit down. We had to stand.
  • David Boder: Were there SS in each RR-car?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes, each RR-car was guarded by SS men.
  • David Boder: And where did they ride? Did they stand, too?
  • Hadassah Marcus: They had a place for themselves already where they could lie down quietly.
  • David Boder: In the same wagon?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the same wagon, yes. Each wagon had to have guards.
  • David Boder: Nu? Did they mark off a place for themselves, or what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: How did they do it?
  • Hadassah Marcus: They had already their bench . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . already arranged.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: After five days of travel, we were standing more than traveling. Whether it was raining or snowing we traveled uncovered. When one needed . . . the human need . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: There wasn't any [toilet] either. We were also not given the possibility for that. We had to . . . if one had a little container . . .
  • David Boder: A what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: If one had a can . . .
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . to do what one had to . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: After five days of dragging us around in such a way we arrived in Ravensbruck.
  • David Boder: Oh, you were in Ravensbruck?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Ravensbruck we lived under threatening conditions—dirty, not [having] eaten, again beaten.
  • David Boder: Beaten? Who?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everything, SS men and capos.
  • David Boder: Were the capos men or women?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Men and women, various . . .
  • David Boder: And who were those capos?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Prisoners.
  • David Boder: Jews or what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Various ones. Germans, gentiles, and Jews.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Auschwitz we were beaten with clubs that could have fifteen centimeters in thickness [circumference?] .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: There were cases sometimes . . .
  • David Boder: What do you mean, thick?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Thick.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: There were cases when we were sitting in the bath in the nude.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We were beaten with such sticks without any why or wherefore.
  • David Boder: Did men enter the bath?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Women.
  • David Boder: Women. What did they beat you for?
  • Hadassah Marcus: For nothing. [Pause.] It is quite clearly written up in various books who did that and how they . . . what all their names were.
  • David Boder: Yes? nu.
  • Hadassah Marcus: But in Ravensbruck the same things met us. But with this still worse, that we didn't even have anywhere to sleep, because there was no good reason. After four weeks of being in Ravensbruck, we were again sent to Neustadt. This is seventy kilometers past Berlin. There was an entirely new lager, an entirely new lager where we didn't have any conveniences, the most necessary that a man has to have. And we again met up with blows and with beatings.
  • David Boder: Did you work there?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Not at the beginning. There was a commandant whose greatest pleasure was—he was a great sadist—if he could, without any reason, passing by beat up someone completely so that he couldn't get up any more. Later on work began. People were assigned to ammunition factories.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . and to dig trenches.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: I worked at the trenches . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . in such difficult . . . in such difficult conditions. Lately we received eight dekas of bread a day. We walked to work seven to eight kilometers.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And on the second of May we were liberated from there.
  • David Boder: Who entered?
  • Hadassah Marcus: First the Americans entered to us, later the Russians.
  • David Boder: And so tell me about the last few days. How was it? Did you notice that you are going to be liberated? How was it?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Rumors reached us . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . that the liberation is at hand. But we were already so resigned from everything, because we didn't imagine that some day will come the happy moment, possibly the unhappy [moment], because we had not lived to see any happiness anyway. Every one of us remained entirely alone.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But the moment of liberation did come. It could be noticed. A few minutes before, before the Americans entered to us, all the SS men disappeared, and we remained alone.
  • David Boder: They didn't tell you anything?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Didn't say anything. They didn't tell us anything. Still, it was lucky for us that they didn't take us out of the lager so that we should have to walk farther, that we weren't chased . . .
  • David Boder: [Word not clear.]
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . so that we were liberated at the place.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because if they would move us at that time, not even ten per cent of us would have remained.
  • David Boder: Why?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because the people were so much exhausted. People were sitting and eating grass from hunger. We didn't even have the strength to get up.
  • David Boder: So how . . . who . . . in the morning the Americans came in? Who had come in?
  • Hadassah Marcus: First the Americans. They drove through and calmed us.
  • David Boder: Hm. Did they come . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: And afterwards.
  • David Boder: . . . in automobiles or tanks?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In automobiles.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And later on the Russians arrived. And the Russians remained.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Eight kilometers from us the Americans remained . . .
  • David Boder: [Words not clear.]
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . standing in Ludwigs [Ludwigslust].
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And by us the Russians.
  • David Boder: Didn't you see? Did they catch any of the SS?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Nothing. We didn't see anything. All the Germans women were released half an hour before.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: All the German prisoners.
  • David Boder: Oh, the prisoners were released.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. The German [ones] only.
  • David Boder: Did you see them do it?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • David Boder: Did you know why?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. The entire day we knew that they were already quite near.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They broke open the magazines then. They still had time to shoot one gentile girl.
  • David Boder: Why?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because she had come close to the magazine.
  • David Boder: The SS?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The SS men.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: That was perhaps half an hour before the liberation.
  • David Boder: Yes? Did you see airplanes first? Was the lager bombed?
  • Hadassah Marcus: No, not on that day. That day was entirely quiet.
  • David Boder: But before?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Before, yes. Before we had great bombings, but the lager it didn't damage.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In our lager there was . . . how large was the lager? It wasn't a large one.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And under the entire underground was hidden gasoline.
  • David Boder: Oh. Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We ourselves had to make . . . to build tunnels in order to hide the gasoline.
  • David Boder: In what was it kept? In cans?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In cans.
  • David Boder: Yes? Nu? Did the Americans take it afterwards?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I don't know.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because immediately after, we moved some place else.
  • David Boder: Where did they take you to?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Nu, everyone separetely.
  • David Boder: How long did you still remain in the lager?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was still in the lager two days, but right outside the lager in the house where the SS men had lived . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . we lived for another few weeks, because we simply had to come to ourselves so that we might have the strength to go on.
  • David Boder: Hm. And that was under the Russians.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu, and where did you go to from the lager?
  • Hadassah Marcus: From the lager we went then . . . traveled on foot, everyone with a little cart.
  • David Boder: How is that? Where did you find a little cart?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We procured some . . . we organized [appropriated] from the Germans, that which we had taken away from the Germans
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because there were living many . . .
  • David Boder: Hand carts.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. There were many German civilians. We walked for about ten kilometers, and later we met a cart . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . on which were riding people, and they took us one.
  • David Boder: Hm. What does it mean . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: And we traveled together with them.
  • David Boder: . . . 'us'? Who was with you?
  • Hadassah Marcus: with me there were a few more girls. The sister, too, was there.
  • David Boder: Your sister?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And a few more young girls who I had to keep under my protection.
  • David Boder: Hm. And . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everyone was traveling separately to one's home.
  • David Boder: Yes. What did the Germans say when you took their little carts? Or . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Many were still so shameless [insolent] that they didn't permit it.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But they were at that time full of fear.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And they were simply afraid of us. They had to let us do whatever we wanted.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Later they created for themsleves a militia [an organization for selfprotection].
  • David Boder: The Germans?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: And?
  • Hadassah Marcus: That must have come from the government that existed at that time so that nothing should be taken away from them any more.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu? And then you took a cart and went where?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Then we traveled towards Stargard, and from there we traveled by train to Lodz.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because to Warsaw I had no reason to go. I was given reports that Warsaw was, as it is in fact, an empty, desolate field.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And unfortunately I knew that I won't find anyone of the family any more.
  • David Boder: So you . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: So I settled in Lodz.
  • David Boder: Who: You.
  • Hadassah Marcus: In Lo . . .
  • David Boder: . . . and your sister.
  • Hadassah Marcus: I and the sister.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And the few girls that I had with me. But they right away found some relatives and some friends from their towns, and they got settled.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Not finding anyone even in Lodz, we joined, I being a comrade [member] of Agudah Yisroeil . . . a member of Agudah yisroeil . . .
  • David Boder: Were you always with them?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. From before the war.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We began to search for our people. And we found, although it was very hard for us, and we began to do our work. Because we saw that we have to create a home for those people who are returning now from the lagers, who were greatly broken up, everyone by himself [alone].
  • David Boder: Hm. And so?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We created the first Kibbutz in Lodz of Agudah Yisroeil. I was [one] of the first who opened the Kibbutz. Since that time . . .
  • David Boder: How many people joined that Kibbutz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: When I opened the Kibbutz I was with four people.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: I was the fifth.
  • David Boder: What did you live on?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In the Kibbutz at the beginning we lived on that which was collected for us.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And later we began to find means from various sources.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Nu, there had arrived more people, and by joint work we were able to create a home for all those who were completely alone after returning from the lagers. And that is how we were living in the Kibbutz.
  • David Boder: Hm. Already in Lodz.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Already in Lodz.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We saw to it that as far as possible we should be able to send people out of Poland, there where our air is, to Eretz Yisroeil. Because in spite of all we didn't have a peaceful life in Poland. A Jew couldn't go peacefully out in the street. There had begun again carnages and again slaughters.
  • David Boder: How do you explain it? The Poles wanted to be free of the Germans. They knew that the German was attacking the Jews. How does it come that a Pole should do the same thing?
  • Hadassah Marcus: That's hopeless. He [the German] has left a legacy which, it seems like, will remain in Poland, in spite of the government being strongly against it. But it isn't strong enough to stand up against the dark masses which still reign and maintain themselves in Poland. And before Pesach [Passover] we succeeded in tearing ourselves through and coming to France.
  • David Boder: With whom did you . . . where did you meet the rabbi, the Rabbi Hochman, or what is his name? The rabbi who is here.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Rabbi Horowitz?
  • David Boder: Rabbi Horowitz, yes. [See Chapter 42, Rabbi Horowitz].
  • Hadassah Marcus: Rabbi Horowitz came from Russia, from the partisans . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . to Lodz.
  • David Boder: Oh, and?
  • Hadassah Marcus: And at that time we began working together. Later he was taken as Rabbi of Warsaw.
  • David Boder: Yes?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But in Warsaw a Jew with a beard could not go out in peace. When he would leave his house he had to have police with him . . .
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . that he should be guarded.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And we simply spirited him away from Warsaw when the possibility arose to leave for France . . .
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . on the way to Eretz Yisroeil.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And that was the objective of the Agudah.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And now we sit in Henonville and wait for an Alliyah, not caring which way we go to Eretz Yisroeil. The troubles don't scare us that are happening there.
  • David Boder: Is your sister here with you?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The sister is still in Poland. She does not have the possibility of coming yet. Probably she will come.
  • David Boder: Why did she remain there?
  • Hadassah Marcus: She go married.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Hadassah Marcus: She is still quite a young child. She is eighteen years old.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: And she couldn't travel together with me. After us more people were supposed to arrive, but it had been upset. We were informed on.
  • David Boder: So?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes. Nu, possibly she will come now.
  • David Boder: Why were you informed on? Why can't people travel?
  • Hadassah Marcus: There are found already . . . because they don't want to let us out of Poland.
  • David Boder: Why not?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Because they understand that Jews are still quite useful to them. Because all that is ill in Poland, all that, is being reconstructed. Jewish hands are doing the reconstruction. Without us they know they won't accomplish anything. And again there exists the Jewish Committee in Poland
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: . . . which had been founded. It stands on guard so as not to let out a single Jew from Poland [apparently a government council on Jewish affairs].
  • David Boder: Why? The Jewish Committee is . . . doesn't want that Jews should . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: I don't know what kind of ideas they have. They say that one lives entirely peacefully and well in Poland, [that] one doesn't have to go to Ereta Yisroei.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: We didn't become legalized either, because they hindered us.
  • David Boder: The Jewish Committee?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We had to be on guard against the Jewish Committee with each and every transport that we smuggled out of Poland.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: They stand [against] us all the time and hinder us in that work. Now we sit in Henonvilleand wait again for an Alliyah, not caring what the road will be. At the first opportunity we go on.
  • David Boder: How did you travel from the Polish border to here? You were first in Czechoslovakia?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes, in Czechoslovakia. In Prague.
  • David Boder: How long were you in Czechoslovakia?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Two weeks
  • David Boder: Two weeks? And then you . . . how did you travel?
  • Hadassah Marcus: To France.
  • David Boder: By busses?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We traveled second class [good accommodations], thanks to the efforts of the Agudah [possibly by train].
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Very fine.
  • David Boder: Who, the entire group?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Not the entire group.
  • David Boder: Who?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Most of the group.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: First went the [members of the] Kibbutzim.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: With us were also private people.
  • David Boder: You belong to a Kibbutz?
  • Hadassah Marcus: But first . . . I am in a Kibbutz now?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: And the private people were who?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Also people of the Agudah, and various one. If there comes . . . but in first place the Kibbutzim people were taken.
  • David Boder: Hm. And you had traveled through where? Through Germany?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We traveled through Germany, too.
  • David Boder: Did you stop . . . stayed there [word not clear]?
  • Hadassah Marcus: No. We only passed through.
  • David Boder: What?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We only passed through.
  • David Boder: Passed through, and then you came into France?
  • Hadassah Marcus: To France, yes.
  • David Boder: And how long do you think you will have to wait?
  • Hadassah Marcus: We don't know. These are things which we don't know, how long . . . We have sent away already three transports to Eretz Yisroeil.
  • David Boder: And did they arrive [reach their destination]?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: Nu? [Words not clear.] And what do you do here?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Here we work. It differs. Tailoring.
  • David Boder: [Words not clear.] And you?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I am the technical manager.
  • David Boder: What . . . in what? In what?
  • Hadassah Marcus: In . . . in the kitchen.
  • David Boder: In the . . . the . . . in the kitchen
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes.
  • David Boder: And the . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: No. Over the general order.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Simply that everything should be in good order.
  • David Boder: Over the women or everybody?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Everybody.
  • David Boder: Hm. Nu, is there anything more that you would want to tell us?
  • Hadassah Marcus: [Pause.] What I have told are not the protim. It is . . .
  • David Boder: What are protim?
  • Hadassah Marcus: There are no protim, det- . . . details.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Hadassah Marcus: If one should want to relate the details, say about what one had lived through in one minute, one can sit and write a whole year. I figure that from the collected materials the world should know, and she can already form a picture [of] what had happened with us. And now the whole world should stand open for us with all . . . with all the forces with which they can help . . . help us so that we could arrive in Eretz Yisroeil. So that there we should be able to live our life fully and at least feel at home. Because no matter where it should be, we won't be able to find peace. America is not for us. Belgium is not for us. The whole world is not for us, because there . . . there we won't feel secure. We don't demand much happiness from life any more, because we had too much unhappiness. We already have given too much of our share to the world. But still, now we want a peaceful life and for once to feel what it means to be in one's home [homeland].
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Maybe, because of that, we should be able to carry the responsibility for the generations which will come, that to them shouldn't happen any more what has happened to us.
  • David Boder: Nu, what do you think to . . . for instance, in . . . nu, yes. And what would you want that one should do for you?
  • Hadassah Marcus: The world should see to fight that for us should be opened the gates of Eretz Yisroeil. We demand nothing more. We still are quite capable people. The world shouldn't think that that we are crippled, backward [?]. There is yet much energy in us, because there is the will for revenge in us, which we cannot use up, because we are not able to. We have to do too much and work too much and shed too much blood, so that our Jewish consciecce and our Jewish heart should be able to carry that out. Or led the world carry that out. Let the world take revenge on those who have ruined us completely.
  • David Boder: Do you have relatives in America?
  • Hadassah Marcus: I have relatives in America.
  • David Boder: Where are they?
  • Hadassah Marcus: One is in San Francisco, [and] one is in New York.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Hadassah Marcus: But till now I couldn't get their address, because when we arrived in Majdanek they took everything away from us. We went in naked, and we were given already their clothing so that I don't have their address. I would want very much to know their address.
  • David Boder: Did you try to look for them through the HIAS?
  • Hadassah Marcus: Through the HIAS? Not yet.
  • David Boder: That is the best organization through which you can look for them.
  • Hadassah Marcus: [Word not clear.]
  • David Boder: The HIAS knows how to look for people.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Where is the HIAS? Here is Paris?
  • David Boder: Oh, yes. The HIAS.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes?
  • David Boder: . . . is in Paris. And they . . . and they search out . . . they understand from a few words . . . from a few names . . .
  • Hadassah Marcus: Yes?
  • David Boder: . . . to ask around. They ask around. They ask around, and they find out.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Hm.
  • David Boder: That would be a good thing if you could find them. Nu, Mrs. Marcus, you have . . . it was a very important and interesting report that you have given me, and I thank you very much for your cooperation.
  • Hadassah Marcus: Adieu.
  • David Boder: Adieu. This . . . [words not clear] . . . one moment [word not clear].
  • David Boder: [In English] This concludes Spool number 129. We are concluding it at thirty minutes. Madame Hadassah Marcus, a continuation of part of the Spool number 128. Henonville, fifty kilometers from Paris. September 3rd, 1946. Recording of the Illinois Institute of Technology. [After a stretch of silence there follows a fragment of a song by an unidentified male voice.]
  • Contributors to this text:
  • English Translation : David P. Boder