71 results

Mico Alvo

Later we got ID cards that Evert [Angelos Evert, Athens City Police Chief] was giving out. Proper ID cards because, you see, the ID cards were done in relief then, so one couldn't just make fake ones. So what did they do? They were taking other people's birth certificates. In a very simple way: they would go to the Town Hall and get them. I was called Konstantinidis Kostas and my brother Konstantinidis Vassilis. They were taking these birth certificates and with two witnesses one would go to the police station, and there they would give you the proper ID card. The only difference was that they had someone else registered in the same name of an existing person.
See text in interview

Janina Duda

Why in Vawkavysk? Because they had no identity cards there. What I mean is that in 1939 Soviet officials issued identity cards, but only to people who were born in a given town. But they wouldn’t issue identity cards to refugees from central or western Poland. That was because they claimed they didn’t know them and they would have to be checked. If they wanted to live in the interior of Russia, they could do so, but they were afraid to have them near the border. They thought they might be spies or something. So if I said I was from Bialystok, they would say, ‘Dear child, but where’s your passport?
See text in interview
In Bielsk Podlaski we spent the night at a woman’s house, the notary’s wife. Her husband wasn’t home. She gave us a room, some straw, a sheet. There was a large orchard there. And because it was summertime we filled up on fruit. And, what’s interesting, I went to the mayor of the city, he was a senator [that is, the officials working there addressed him as ‘Mr. Senator’]. Erdman, I remember this name. So I asked him for an identity card and hid my Soviet one. He asked for my name, I gave my chosen last name, Zurek, and he asked them to put on my identity card ‘born in Vawkavysk’ [300 km east of Warsaw, today Belarus].
See text in interview
Grzegorz found some Soviet identification card of a Ukrainian, he corrected the date of birth, put in his photograph, this was amateur work, but somehow during the war it was enough. So he became Ivan Carycynski, born in Stanislavyv.
See text in interview

gabor paneth

I was drafted several times into different forced labor battalions. First I was sent to Felsohangoly, where I spent three months between July and October 1944. At the time I felt that I, and many others, were saved from deportation by being sent to forced labor there. We weren't too badly off there. Of course, there wasn't enough to eat, but sometimes after working at digging ditches, we had nothing to do, so we just hung around. In September I was taken to Kecskemet and soon after to Szolnok. On October 12, I went home to my parents but two days later I was drafted again and taken to Szekesfehervar, 60 kilometers from Budapest. On October 15, the news came that Hungary had broken away from the German alliance. Everybody was sent home from the camp. By the time I got to Budapest, I heard the newsboys shout that the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascists) had taken power. I crept home and found my mother and aunt there. My father had already been taken to a collection center in Budapest. I went to the Swiss embassy where I found a huge line. I was standing around looking at this queue when suddenly the door opened and an acquaintance of mine came out. When he saw me, he shoved me in through the door. I found myself inside at the head of the queue. The embassy gave me four false Schutzpasses, protection letters, and those enabled us to survive. I went and got my father out of the collection center with one pass, and we all moved from our house, which was then a yellow-star house, into a protected house. Later, in January, we had to move into the ghetto. We were there until the liberation.
See text in interview

Renée Molho

As for the Molho family, they were all deported to Germany: Solon's father and mother, Yvonne, his sister, and her husband and child. The same goes for all the rest of his relatives. The only one left was Victoria and her family.

The way they were saved is that one day they were at a drugstore and at this drugstore happened to be Doctor Kallinikides, and he was commenting about the dreadful things that were happening to the Jews. He also was saying that he would be willing to save a family of Jews. When they heard that statement, although they didn't know him, they approached him. Mrs. Kallinikides went to their place to take the children, to his own house. Later he managed to get in touch with the people who were occupied with transporting illegally the Jews to Athens, under the very nose of the Germans.

This way, very quietly, Mr. Kallinikieds saved first the children and then arranged for someone to pick up the adults, from another place, and arranged all the details for their safe journey to Athens. They left together with the youngsters, Niko and Nina who were five and two years old, respectively. They were very lucky and Mrs. Kallinikides remained a friend of the family forever.

When this happened, Solon was already in Athens. In Athens, when they found each other and in order to survive, they were manufacturing soaps: Solon assisting Victoria's husband, Youda, who had had a soap manufacturing factory in Thessaloniki and knew all about it. Selling them from house to house they were making a living. Later the Germans occupied Athens, so they were forced to go and hide themselves elsewhere.

They went to Glossa Skopelou. Giorgos Mitziliotis, the mayor of the village was one of the suppliers of Uncle Youda's factory, providing him with olive oil, which is a raw material for soap. All the Leon family, the grandfather and grandmother, Maurice, Jackos, Youda and his family and Victoria's brother, that is, Solon, etc. 14 persons were taken by him to Glossa. During the whole period of the occupation and until the liberation of Thessaloniki they all stayed there.

Giorgos took an immense risk, not only for himself and his family, but also for the whole village since he was the mayor and therefore the one in charge. The ones that could help did so. They were going out with Giorgos, cutting trees, assembling wood, looking after the animals, etc. They even had a mule. Once the mule refused to move and after various efforts that had angered Giorgos very, very much, in his desperation, he put his shoulders under the mule's belly and lifted her up and threw her over. The mule fell, got up and started walking back to the village.

The first period in Skopelos was a period with no Germans but when they arrived, the family was forced to move from place to place, so that the Germans would not notice them. What a life full of anxiety!

During that period, Solon, was also going to the local shipyard assisting in whichever job he could as he was young, full of strength and life. He also worked with the local ironsmith and on his false ID, his job is that of an ironsmith.

They also listened to a hidden radio so that they knew what was going on and what was happening in an effort to be in front of unfortunate happenings. When the war was over, they all came back to Thessaloniki.

Giorgos Mitziliotis and his brother Stephanis are on the list of the Righteous Among the Nations.
See text in interview
This Italian man, Neri, helped us greatly since when they finally came for us, he managed to put Eda, our younger sister, with our father on a train to Athens, and a few days later Matilde and myself.

The decision to leave for Athens was made when we realized that we couldn't take proper care of our father. This Italian guy, Neri, who was working in the Italian consulate, agreed to prepare the proper documents for us to travel to Athens. It was my sister Matilde who went to him, and took care of all the proper documents. Was it Neri who came to our place or Matilde who went to his office? I'm not sure, since I was fully occupied with our sick father. According to these documents, we were Italian citizens, and these documents were to be given directly to the train commander.

This is how our father and Eda left for Athens. Eda and our father left while Matilde and myself left the apartment, we were living in, and went to stay at the place of a girl that was a manicurist. She put us up in a bedroom and we were there all day and all night, with the shutters closed. You see, she was a Christian and her father, who was living in the same house, knew nothing about us. She was bringing us food and we were waiting for when our turn would come to leave for Athens. The girls' name was Angela, simply Angela, no last name. We stayed there more than a week.

Matilde and I were left to leave last. They told us to come to the railway station at a particular date and time. The Italians were in charge of the train, we were with the Italians and we embarked on our journey on it. We had no papers since they were all given to the train commander. The train was supposed to stop at Plati or some other station after it. It was stopped well before for the Germans to control it. It seems that they guessed that something was happening in that train and we knew nothing, not even our names on our false papers or birth dates or anything. The only thing we were taught to say in Italian was, 'The train commander has all the free passages.'

And the moment comes that the Germans get into the train. All the passengers, we were asleep, and it seems that the train commandant took care of the Germans, gave him the papers and finally they got off the train again.

This train left with at least a whole wagon of Jews. Among others there were Rosa, who lives in Athens, the one who remarried, Charliko Joseph, she was first married to Marcel Nagari. All her family was in this wagon.

There were also young Italian soldiers in that train. One of them seemed to like me particularly and he asked to meet me in Athens but with so much fear, no room was left for flirting.
See text in interview
This is how we witnessed the departure from Thessaloniki: The people who were gathered, were leaving with a small valise, or a small sack, walking without knowing where they were going. And, as we learned later, when they reached the railway station they were told to leave their money here, since it wouldn't be valid at their destination, and this is how they would take even their money. All this we learned from descriptions by others since we were staying at home and didn't experience any of this first-hand. We were living in an empty Jewish neighborhood. When they collected all the other Jews, we remained in this house.

The difference between the Germans and the Italians was that the Italians were human. They helped us at this point. It was them who provided us with the proper false papers, in order to travel to Athens, which was under Italian occupation at the time.

This is when Aunt Rachelle decided to go to Israel with Elio and the rest of her children and so she did, in two steps. First three of the children, Nadir, Silvia and Rene left, and later the rest of the family, that is, she and Elio.

All our relatives were Spanish subjects. The Germans had no right to take Spanish subjects to the concentration camps but, all the same, they were all gathered and sent to a concentration camp, with no forced labor. Later they were taken to a camp in Spain, then to a camp in North Africa, in Casablanca, Morocco, and later they were taken to Israel. All of them, with the exception of our father, my sisters and I, who had made an application to the German 'commandature' and asked for an exemption since our father was suffering from cancer, and somehow we were left alone.
See text in interview

danuta mniewska

Uncle Roman Markowicz was a very wise man. Before the war, he owned a textile factory in Bielsko [130 km south of Czestochowa] - very rich people. One day, at the camp, he told me that I had to change my job and join the column of those going to work on the Aryan side, so that I was in touch with the Poles. The point was to secure false papers for us [19]. There were groups of people at the camp that worked at the Hasag [20], the Rakow [steel plant], the Czestochowianka or the Peltzery [pre-war textile factories, working for the German military industry during the war]. And so I joined one such group, of some 15 people, who worked at a large square at the outskirts of Czestochowa where the rubbish from all over the city was being brought.
See text in interview
The Aryans came to us - some produced false documents, others brought food, still others bought dollars from the Jews. And indeed, I secured those false IDs - I still had one of those gold coins my father had given me.
See text in interview

henryk prajs

He issued a birth certificate for me. Later I got myself a kenkarta [28], in the name Feliks Zoladek. You had to do it with the help of friends and friends of friends. Because the priest gave me the certificate, but not the kenkarta, naturally. A friend took the certificate, went to one of those doing funny business [people who fabricated false IDs], and had them make me a kenkarta, that's how it was done. It wasn't legal.
See text in interview

Apolonia Starzec

He took care of us by securing genuine birth certificates of people who were dead, thanks to which I had a genuine kenkarta [33], which my sister didn't need because she never left her hiding place. [People in hiding didn't need fake papers]. And my name during the occupation was Zofia Dzioblowska.
See text in interview

Daniel Bertram

There were a lot of people who had had Aryan papers during the occupation and that's how they survived. They got these papers from a priest; I don't know if they had to convert, or pray, or if they had to kiss the cross. Or if they had to convert, or if they got the papers just like that. I think they must have had to learn prayers and play the role of a Catholic.
See text in interview

henryk lewandowski

Right after the arrival in Warsaw I got a birth certificate in the name Czeslaw Waclaw Lewandowski.
See text in interview
As the deportations began, everyone tried to figure something out. Aunt Rozia had a 'good' appearance. A schoolmate of her from Zamosc looked a bit alike and she gave her her ID [in the name Halina Nowosadowicz], and so Rozia left for Warsaw; she later assumed the name Halina Skalska and sent the ID back to her schoolmate. 'Halina' worked for Zegota, she was a runner there.
See text in interview
  • loading ...