Postcard from Mieczyslaw Najman's neighbor

Postcard from Mieczyslaw Najman's neighbor
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  • Photo taken in:
    Drohobycz
    Year when photo was taken:
    1944
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Ukraine

Drohobycz, 3rd September
Mr. Fischer, instead of my husband I?m writing back, because my husband was buried three years ago already, and Julek is serving in the army. What concerns your family - there is no one alive and what they did to them you already know. I won't write any more, because I'm very sorry. Your house is demolished, just as many houses (...) They wanted do demolish my house as well, but I didn't let them. Greetings, Wiechowicz?

This is a postcard I received from my former neighbor in Drohobycz. There was already talk about the killing of Jews. But what happened to my family I learned only towards the end of the war when I wrote to a neighbor of ours. I asked the neighbors whether my mother and brother had received my letters. I later met the neighbors' sons, they joined the army, told me everything, from A to Z what happened to my family. It was 1944. And officially the Holocaust didn't take place, everything was kept secret. No one knew what was going on.

It was the Ukrainians who denounced my brother when we went to the front. The Germans had put him to work. He was returning from work in the night, after curfew, a German went by, the neighbor got to the fence in a leap and says, 'A Jew, he's a Jew!' My brother tried to negotiate the fence and that's where they shot him, Filip, my younger brother. I had documents that my family had been murdered, end of story, that I was left alone in the world, that's what the paper said, the family murdered, the house burned down?.

When the Germans came, my brother-in-law, Friedman, went into hiding, poor guy. Someone informed them that there, in the hay, a Jew was hiding. He had his wife and kids with himself. The gendarme stabbed the hay with a bayonet to see whether there was anyone inside, and the child didn't cry, afraid not to betray its father. And they didn't find him. But a time came when his wife and children were shot on the street for being Jews.

The second sister also hid, somewhere else. And my mother, with one more sister, went, as they called in Drohobycz, 'for the oil' - to steal from the pipe. That's how they earned money. Some Ukrainians saw it but there was no problem. But one day one of those Ukrainians got drunk and told the Germans. They came, killed them outright, all of them. I was told all of that when I was in the military. All my people, sisters, brothers, cousins, all killed. The whole family wasted away, exterminated, to the root, eradicated.

Interview details

Interviewee: Mieczyslaw Najman
Interviewer:
Tomasz Kluz
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2005
Swinoujscie, Poland

KEY PERSON

Mieczyslaw Najman
Year of birth:
1916
Decade of birth:
1910
City of birth:
Drohobycz
Country name at time of birth:
Austria
Occupation
before WW II:
Accountant
after WW II:
Executive in socialist firms
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Fischer
    Reason for changing: 
    Hiding Jewish Identity/Nationality
    Decade of changing: 
    1940
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