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Marian (Mordechai) Netel

Nationality: Polish
Location: Austria • Ebensee • Feldafing • France • Germany • Hallein • Israel • Łaszczów • Majdanek Concentration Camp • Missouri • Munich • Poland • St. Louis • Tomaszow • United States of America • Vienna • Włodzimierz
Experience During Holocaust: Liberated • Lived in a Displaced Persons camp • Sent to Concentration Camp • Sent to Ghetto

Mapping Marian's Life

Click on the location markers to learn more about Marian. Use the timeline below the map or the left and right keys on your keyboard to explore chronologically. In some cases the dates below were estimated based on the oral histories.

“We were assigned a 'Final Solution.' This is a fact of such cruelty and brutality that could not exist. This is why I express, if the whole world were a writer, they could not describe what happened.” - Marian (Mordechai) Netel

Read Marian's Oral History Transcripts

Read the transcripts by clicking the red plus signs below.

Tape 1 - Side 1

BERNSTEIN: Mr. Netel, what is your Jewish name?
NETEL: My Jewish name is Mordechai Netel. After the war I changed it not to some Jewish because was very big antisemitic in Poland and it was just nw, L-A-S-Z-C-Z-O-W. This is near Tomoszczow, T-O-M-O-S-Z-C-Z-O-W, and the state is Lublin.
BERNSTEIN: I see. And were your parents born in that city also?
NETEL: My father is born in this city, but my mother is born in another place called Uscilog, U-S-C-I-L-O-G. This is near W-L-O-D-Z-I-M-I-E-R-Z, and the state, Wolinsk (Wolin). This is where my mother is born and she got married and we was living in Laszczow.
BERNSTEIN: Did you have grandparents that lived in that city with you –?
NETEL: No, my grandparents – no, I didn’t remember, but I got a lot of relatives in both towns, from my mother’s side and from my father’s side, lot of relatives. In fact, I was living in Lasczcow, we got a big house what used to be from my great, great grandfather. And this was like a dynasty, very, very Orthodox family and the whole family was living over there. It was mine family and uncles, aunts and all kind of family, all generations was living in this house. Not in one family – was six or eight apartments. Do you want the names from these?
BERNSTEIN: How many children were in your family?
NETEL: My family was seven children, was three sisters and four brothers. We was seven children at home.
BERNSTEIN: And what were their names?
NETEL: The name of the oldest sister, name was Elka. She died here in St. Louis. The next one was Esther. She got married and she was living with a very – she was married to a very Orthodox person. And, in fact, the Rabbi from his town, he was the matchmaker. She was living in Galitzia and the town was Umanuk. It’s near Raveluska in Poland. Then the next one was Hirsch. He got married and he was living in — this sister, Esther, she was somewhere in a concentration camp with her husband. And I don’t know what place because was tooken away from this area probably to Belzec or maybe to Maijdanek somewhere. But I believe, probably in Belzec. Now, the second one was — I mean the third was name Hirsch Leib, and he was married. He was living in a village, and he got a store in a village — I mean in a — yes. The village was named — was near Jarczow. The village was in Polish “Wiecznia Village”, W-I-E-S-Z-W-R-Z-E, I think, S-Z-E-N. And this was near a town called Jarczow. Jarczow was much Jewish too and got all exterminated. Jarczow is J-A-R-C-Z-O-W, and is the State of Lublin.
BERNSTEIN: Were you the –
NETEL: Now, next was a sister. Her name was Ita, I-T-A, and she got married before the World War II around in, probably 1937. And she was living in Uscilog, the same town where my mother was born. It’s U-S-C-I-L-O-G. It’s near Wlodzineielz. Wlodzineielz is W-L-O-D-Z-I-N-E-I-E-L-Z, and this is Wolinsk,W=O=L-I-N-S-K. This is west Ukraine. And she got married to a family — to a cousin. His name was Hirsch Leib and last name Hudin. And she got a child. And she got exterminate too in somewhere I don’t know. Now the next was a brother, Moishe. He die of a heart attack in ’62 in Israel, and he was a survivor from the Warsaw ghetto. After the Warsaw ghetto was liquidate, he was in Treblinka. And he was in Israel. He got married, he got two children. And he died in Israel at the age of 62. After him, I was. My name is Mordechai in Hebrew, Mordechai Netel, and past me, the youngest is Abraham. Abraham now is in Israel and he’s married, and he got two children and he got some grandchildren. He live in Petach Tikva in Israel.
BERNSTEIN: What was the year you were born?
NETEL: I’m born in July 22, l922.
BERNSTEIN: And what did your father do for a living in Poland when you were a young child?
NETEL: My father was — he used to have a store in a village we called Grodek, G-R-O-D-E-K. This is near a town called Jarczow, J-A-R-C-Z-O-W, and this the county of Tomaszow, T-O-M-A-S-Z-O-W, the State of Lublin, L-U-B-L-I-N, Poland.
BERNSTEIN: And what kind of store did your father have?
NETEL: It was a grocery. Mostly it was just in the village what the peasants need, like textile, clothing, shoes, some kinds things like this.
BERNSTEIN: And your mother stayed at home and took care of the children?
NETEL: Yeah. And then later it happened we even got a home over there and a store. And somehow happened — and we was living over there. And later somehow happened, got a fire, and the home, the store, everything burn up and then we moved back to Laszczow, Lasczczow. And Laszczow — this is L-A-C-Z-C-Z-O-W, I’m sorry, it’s L-A-S-Z-C-Z-O-W. We move back to Laszczow, and over there we was living — we used to have a ten — a big house which used to belong to my great grandfather, was like a dynasty. The whole generation, with children and grandchildren, uncles, aunts, all was living in this house. Was no rented to nobody, only family. And they give us some place — a place, I mean a room, and we was living over here. And later on, when I was four year old, my father died.
BERNSTEIN: When you were how old?
NETEL: Four years.
BERNSTEIN: Four years old?
NETEL: Yeah. And my youngest brother, he was two years old. Now, and the fire happened, and my mother was holding this child, Moishe, and was some kind of explosion from a lamp, and all of her hands was burn up and the face of mine brother, but he was young and it was going away. But my mother, I remember all the hands was burn up, was not at this time — we couldn’t have medical attention like you got now in United States or all over the world, and nothing was done. And later on, my mother, she was very beloved in this village by the peasants, and she start to be a mother and father for the children. She starts to support the children because we all are young children and she was carrying merchandise like scarves and clothing, winter clothing, summer clothing for peasants. And she was going with my oldest sister to this village. This was nine kilometers from Laszczow. And she was selling over there, and in exchange they either give her money or they give her eggs, chickens, all that kind of merchandise what the peasants got. And she sold it in the town and this way she was cooperate, you know, the business and to support the children. We also got many help. We used to have a family in New York. There was uncle, was — my town was a sister of my mother’s mother. Her name was Esther and the last name Halperin, H-A-L-P-E-R-I-N, and the husband was named Adam. Adam Halperin, he’s dead already and mine aunt is dead, but we used to have a cousin “Mordecai” and also he’s buried in Israel. He was a civil engineer. He make one time an affidavit to go over to Israel. I don’t want to go to the United States because I feel obligation for the future generation to fight for the country because I believe it the country will not give it to us in a silver plate. So I left with this affidavit and I was going to Israel. Anyway, then my mother was supporting this children, all of the seven children, also from the help from the family from the United States. And she was very beloved in this village. Everybody used to call her — her name was Chawa. Chawa is C-H-A-W-A, Chawa. And everybody used to call her “Chawunia”, “Our Chawunia” because she was very beloved by those peasants because they now have situation and they treat her very, very nice. I remember many times when I got vacations from school and I used to go with her in the village and they used to beg her to eat. And she used to come to the village when it was still dark, maybe around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. And she was going in and the first place was already light. She was walking nine kilometer from my town. When she’d come in, the first place was light. They were sitting already, the peasants, in heat in the summertime because they was prepared to go in the field to work. And I remember in all this, they was very, very orthodox, those Catholics. Those Catholics used to have those old saints around the whole house, like Mary Magdelena, Jesus and St. Anna, all kind of saints, they used to have it. And they proposed my mother, sister, me, to eat. And my mother refused. She say “Is trefa , and when trefa is, there is nothing to eat. But when you got something to eat is not trefa.” Anyway, she was so heart broke, she only –she was a very sick woman. She used to suffer asthma and finally she only accept from them to take mild and with bread, “trocken” bread. And so she was support the children. In summer time she used to rent trees from fruit and take care of this, and then rented a wagon that rolls and go to a town called Lubacz. Lubacz was some kind factory from fruit. This is in Galitzia. Lubacz is L-U-B-, I think, A-C-Z or Rawa-Ruska. Rawa-Ruska is R-A-W-A – RUSKA. And she used to sell. Over there was fruit and so, to support the children. In many other ones, Jews used to have the same things, trees we used to rent it, but in the night used to come a band of Pollacks and Ukranians, and used to clean out all trees and take away, steal fruit. But in our, where we got a place, never somebody come and steal something. On the contrary, used to pass by, used to even talk to my mother. Never we was harmed from those Pollacks over there, from those peasants, because they know the situation, she is a widow, and she supports seven children. They got high respect for her.
BERNSTEIN: How did your father die?
NETEL: My father died — he was going to the village and somehow happened like a big blow from a tree to his foot, and he got — he come home. He got infection and the doctors – it was no doctors. Then he go to one doctor in our town of Pelcher. It was a Jew. His name was Binder, B-I-N-D-E-R, Binder. And he recommend him to go to a hospital to cut off the leg. And the hospital was in Tomaszow, T-O-M-A-S-Z-O-W, Tomaszow, in the State of Lublin. But my father didn’t want cut off and was, looked like was infection. One day he was in the synagogue where — he used to belong to a synagogue. They call it Husiatin. In Jewish is Shatin. In Polish is Husiatin, H-U-S-I-A-T-I-N. He used to be very Orthodox Jew. Anyway, he used to wear two t’fillin. One, we call them “Rashi,” and the second the “Rabeynu Tam.” And when he laid down the t’fillin, he fell in the synagogue, and he couldn’t move. And somebody – when he want to lay down the first one and put the second one, he fell. And the people took it away from him the t’fillin and the tallis, and they call my mother. And I remember when he die. It was not taking too long since he got from the synagogue to home, in a short, in a short – maybe hour or something like this, he was dead.
BERNSTEIN: Did he die from the infection?
NETEL: He die some kind, some kind, of infection..Sometimes the trouble was the leg.
BERNSTEIN: What kind of schooling, what kind of education did you have?
NETEL: I was going — when I was three year old — my mother send me to a Cheder, a Jewish school. And then when I was six year ole, I was going to Polish public school. They call them “Szcola Powszechna.” “Powszechna” is mean “public.” The spelling is P-O-W-C-Z-E- no, I mean S-Z-, then C-H-N-A, Powszechna, this is a public school. And I finished seven grades, but I was a very good student and the teacher recommend my mother to send me to a higher school. But my mother was unable because she was financial in a bad situation to hardly support seven children
In those times was no Social Security like we got now, no welfare. You have to support on your own. She couldn’t, and she send me to a rabbinical college.
BERNSTEIN: At what age?
NETEL: Did you want to know the name of the director from the school? I still remember.
NETEL: Yeah. The director from the school was in Polish you say “Kierownik,” K-I-E-R-O-W-N-I-K, Kierownik. And his name was Bronislaw, B-R-O-N-N-I-S-L-A-W. Last name was Czarnecki, C-Z-A-R-N-E-C-K-I. He was the principal from the school, and his wife was named Jadwiga, J-A-D-W-I-G-A, Jadwiga, Czarnecki. And she was mine major teacher since I started from the first grade till the last. But between were some other teachers like she was giving mathematic, history, geography and Polish language and also German language. Now was another one but his name was Dragan, D-R-A-G-A-N. This was the last name. The first name was Jan, J-A-N. Dragan, Jan. He was teaching other kind of lesson, gymnastic and also singing. He was a very good singer. Then was another teacher. I don’t remember her name, but she used to teach some other kinds subjects too. Anyway, mostly this was teach. The subject was Jadwiga. She was very nice lady, very decent lady, but hardest discipline. She was keeping a very hard discipline. She used to have a line, a yardstick, and beat on the hand or tilt the ear or she used to have a ring, a gold ring, and put it on the edge of the ear and hit it on the head. She was very disciplined. She say, “I don’t want to know any excuse. You have to be on time at this school! You have to obey this school! This is most important!”
BERNSTEIN: So what age were you at this school?
NETEL: I was till age of — I start at six, I believe it till around ’33, or something like this, 1933, in 1933.
BERNSTEIN: So that would have been — you were eleven?
NETEL: No, more, because I studied six years. Six and seven is be fifteen, something like this. Right?
NETEL: O.K. Then, after I finish this school, my mother send me to a rabbinical college in the same town, not far from the town where she was born, in Wlodzimierz. This is now West Ukraine. The spelling is W-L-O-D-Z-I-M-I-E-R-Z, Wlodzimierz. And the state is Wolynsk, W-O-L-Y-N-S-K. Wlodzimierz, Wolynsk. This is West Ukraine. This belong now to the Soviet Union. And I was over there in a rabbinical college.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. How many years?
NETEL: The rabbinical college, the name was Yeshiva Hakdosha, mean Rabbinical College, Holy Rabbinical College. Beth Yosef, in the town, Ludmir. I still even got a picture from this rabbinical college — two – one of mine group and one of the whole college.
BERNSTEIN: So how many years were you at the rabbinical college?
NETEL: In the rabbinical college I was till the war break out in 1939. Then everybody was going away.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. So you were in rabbinical college when the war broke out?
NETEL: When the war broke out, yes sir.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. And how did that affect you, when the war broke out?
NETEL: Terrible, terrible, because I was young and I want to go home, and I couldn’t. And after somehow it was divided, divided — Poland was — Poland got a fight with the Germans and they couldn’t stand it more like two weeks, ‘cause the other side was approaching the Red Army and we was in between. The Red Army was going up to my town, before of my town. And then, after two weeks, they started to go, they say, “Here is go be the Germans, and we have to go back to the river of Bug.” And I want to go to my sister, but over there they don’t let us in because my sister was living on the borderline. She look and was not permitted for stranger people out beyond this town to live in this town by the borderline.
BERNSTEIN: So all the students at the rabbinical college dispersed?
NETEL: Dispersed. We left everybody to his home.
BERNSTEIN: And so where exactly did you end up going?
NETEL: I was in this town. I got over there family because I was always by this family I was living and I was eating. And one of them was a tailor. And I used to, when I was in the rabbinical college in the evening on the free time, I used to help in tailoring. He teach me how to do it and then later I was working with him as tailor. And then I don’t remember exactly when this happened, is I was — I got home. He helped me. Mine uncle helped me to pay somebody and they take me to home. In those times, when I left the home, was still not so tight security by the borders, and I left home. Now, in my home, I didn’t find it nobody over there. Was already the Germans. But what I found out was this way — in my town, was a fronteir line, was fighting the Pollacks with the Russians — I’m sorry. I mean, the Pollacks with the Germans was fighting. In fact, and the Germans were so intelligent –
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
NETEL: The Germans are so intelligent and so cruel. People told me that they be arrived in the night with tanks. And they start strip off the stores and rob from the stores, but they didn’t touch the Jews, nothing. In the morning started going the Polish and they left the town. They was in the town and they left also the town around in the country. And then, in the morning, start going marching Polish Army, but the Polish Army didn’t know where they are going. They was very confused and in every, in every home, even in our home, they was knocking in the window and ask directions how to go to a town, Jarczow — was a Jewish town too. The spelling is J-A-R-C-Z-O-W, Jarczow. And this was the State of Lublin too. L-U-B-L-I-N, Lublin. And they want to go over there, and they asked directions, and they don’t know what’s go on. They was so confused — officers, high ranking officers — we don’t know. They was terible confused. Now, the Germans, they didn’t ask nobody nothing. They just took it out, maps, and they looked where they go. The people told me was over there, like tanks. They call them “Sherman Tanks.” Was tanks with a cross, white cross painted not pure white cross, but only on certain like a cross. And the whole tank was with camouflage and painted in black. And they was very cruel. And anyway, early in the morning, they start fighting, the Pollacks were all around and got in the town and the Germans was out of town. And even, they told me, we was — our house was next to the Catholic church and over there was living the priest too. And they was already in the yard what belonged to the priest. The Germans was over there and they were shooting. And later mine brother told me a bullet struck in, my mother, my sister and a brother — they was on the floor. A bullet struck in from mine aunt’s apartment and through the wall. My mother with the children was over there and it was struck in through the wall and in a closet we used to have – a wardrobe, in a wardrobe. And all — my mother and everybody — they was on the floor. Now, in the same time when this bullet struck in, the Germans was already in the yard from the priest, Catholic priest. And here comes in a Polish corporal — a corporal, and he start writing notes something, and he open up the window and he want to shoot the Germans. My mother didn’t let him.
BERNSTEIN: Your mother wouldn’t let him shoot?
NETEL: No. He wanted to shoot out. If he go shoot out, they gonna shoot in and then he discharged the rifle. He used to have a machine gun, a automatic machine weapon —

Tape 1 - Side 2

BERNSTEIN: Rabbinical college, and the Germans and the Polish were fighting — go ahead and continue.
NETEL: No, I was back later. I just find out later what happened in mine town. When I come back to mine home town, I didn’t find a family, nobody. Was very late, was approximate in 19 — somehow before the war started, in 1941. But this is what they told me, mine brother and the older people families, they told me what happened in the town.
NETEL: How my mother helped survive the children, and she — if she don’t push away this corporal, then the Germans will fight — I mean shoot in the house and the whole house was (would be) destroyed. But she beg him and she don’t let him, and he laid down — he got a machine, an automatic machine, weapon, and she begged him. She start crying and she don’t let him. And he got so pity, and he lay down the floor and he start writing notes. And he didn’t shoot out. And they left to mine aunt’s house. The name was Itzhak Zuberman. He lived over there in this house and we was — I mean my mother, with the children, they left in the other house and they stay like this. Now, in the meantime, the Germans —
BERNSTEIN: What was happening to you after the war broke out and you left the rabbinical college?
NETEL: After I left the rabbinical college I was by mine family in Wlodzineielz, Wolinsk over there. And I helped mine uncle to sew, to be tailoring. O.K. And then, somehow, before the war started in 1941, I got to mine town, back home. Is this everything what I hear what were happen in mine town, mine home town.
BERNSTEIN: I see. O.K. And then what was the next thing that happened to you?
NETEL: The next thing what happened with me is I escaped. Mine town was a very unusual situation. This is what I want to explain you. In mine town, when there was the fighting between the Germans and the Pollacks, then the Germans — the Polish army ran them out and we escaped up to a town they call Krasnobrod, K-R-A-S-N-O-B-R-O-D, Krasnobrod. And we escaped up to over there. And when we escaped, they put, they spilled gasoline on the whole roofs and they set up a fire, and the whole town was burn up. Only our house was next to the Catholic Church, and it didn’t touch it, and some other ones. But the whole town was burn up, and we escape. Now, what will happen in my town was a very unusual thing. This is what I want to pay attention. Later on, after that frontier line was over, the Red Army approached. I think, according to what the people told me, my family was like two weeks, nothing. Then approached the Red Army. When the Red Army approached, there was over there much communists, Jewish communists in the town, and they put up red bandages, and they start arresting all the Polish what we claim we was, antisemites, police. They arrest them and they keep them in a jail. And then, after this, and the town was in a very confused situation, a very panic. But we know what’s go on, what’s gonna be with the Jews. Then, in two weeks, people told me, was a “Politruk,” a commissar from the Russian Army. He was a Jew. And we get him – they used to be squares — they call them “Taboretka,” squares, in the town. I forgot to tell you. One of the leaders of this, the communists party, was named Yankel Erlich. He was in a jail, in one of the severe jails in Poland called Kartoz-Bereza, K-A-R-T-O-Z – B-E-R-E-Z-A-, Kartoz-Bereza. He was over there in a jail. And that jail was severe punishment for the communists. And he later took over as a leader, and he, what he done, when the communists was over there, here’s what he did. He took it in jail all those was against Jews, all those police what they used to arrest people. I remember on one occasion, used to be before was a very big antisemitism, and used to be they sended police to our town, to Laszczow, stranger police. We used to call them “Karner,” Police,
Strap Police. And they used to — we know already the addresses from all the Jewish communists, was one, a lady, what she – Faige Yerucham’s, they used to call her. She used to have a bakery. They destroyed the oven, clothing. They say they look for communist some kind of documents, and they arrest every one what was over there. And those of us, other kind, was two brothers, used to be shoemakers, Schmiel, and the other one was Moishe Hammer, H-A-M-M-E-R, and they was communists. And the other one was some more, and even one girl was a communist. And they arrest them. This was short before the breaking out of was in Czechoslovakia. And later on, for this reason, the communist was taken advantage, and the Pollacks, whoever was against them in those times, because all of them were sended to severe punishment in Kartoz-Bereza, in a jail. They take advantage, they arrest all those Pollacks who was against the Jews for antisemites. Anyway, was a big mess in this town. Now this leader from the communist, Yankel Erlich, he is now in Israel. I saw him in Haifa, and he open up a store. I still remember the name. Was a Jewish store, was name Chana Minkus, and the husband was name Bentsche Berger, and he got a shoe store he open up, and he gathered the people, was people surrounded, Jewish people. And he got everybody because I think this was before winter come in, maybe November or Septembe, and he gave it to all the people shoes. Now, later on, as I explain you, one commissar from this town, he was a Jew from the American Army. He was a “Politruk” and he stand up in a chair, a taboretka, and he got a speech. And he told, “Listen, Jewish people. I am Jewish too. My name is so-and-so” — I don’t remember what his name, but I see he used to wear a band with a star, a Russian star with those — how you call this? — the hammer and —
NETEL: Yeah, sickle. And he say, “I am a Politruk and you know what the Germans are doing for the Jews. Germans already we know be here is very bad, and all over will be occupied. They mistreat the Jews and was starting shooting, killing.” He say, “According to our agreement between Germany and Soviet Union, we have to move the border. It will not be here.” We was thinking it going to be here, this town. He say, “It will not be here. We move the border to a river they call it Bug, B-U-G. To the river, Bug, we go move the border, and here is gonna be the Germans. And over there is gonna be the Soviet Union. If you are willing to escape those punishment and everything what the Germans gonna do to you, go to the other side of the river. That will be the Soviet Union.”
BERNSTEIN: Now when was this, in what year?
NETEL: It was, I believe, around 1940. And he, this gentleman, Yankel Erlich, he took it away horses and wagons and he put a rifle on him, and gathered the people, the Jewish people. He say, “Take your belongings and go.” And he was the leader and we was driving to a town in Poland, Sokal, S-O-K-A-L, Sokal. This is on the other side of the river, Bug. And all over, when he was passing through the peasants, he was — every house which was big, he took another one, he left this. And although he took it food, he was going with a rifle, but he demand food, and he gave everybody food. He treat the Jews excellent till the town over there, Sokal. And what’s happened with those people, I never got somebody to tell me what happened with people. If he was going back home because was a big confusion. People was going home. They was not believing the Germans going to be so cruel because many of them remember the Germans and the Austrians during the World War I. And nobody was believing what can be to pass. Anyway, I never got ahold of somebody who knows from Sokal, or from mine town. I was looking around all of Poland. I was looking around in Israel, all over. In Israel is maybe few splinter families left — a husband, a daughter with a mother, and I never got ahold to find whatever happened. But, according people, some people told me after this situation was very bad — was anti-Semitism in Poland was greater and more effective. In my town was over-caretaker and he did very bad to Jews. I don’t remember his name, but he used to go in another class when I was going. He was almost mine age and he — his father used to dig graves and also he used to have a free house on the cemetery, the Jewish cemetery. And he used to come and light candles on Friday night – I mean, turn off the lights in the synagogues Friday and Yom Kippur when the candles to watch it not to get a fire. And the Jews used to give him money. And every Friday he used to go and collect money, or they used to give him challah, bread. And his son was a really, something what I don’t want to express. And he was working with the Germans as a informer on who the Jews was ‘cause he knew everyone. Anyway, this was somehow when the war was already over, in 1941. O.K. Now what will happen with me. I escaped, I escaped with the help of my family from the other side where I was in Wlodzineielz, Wolinsk and then I come to my — somehow I came to my hometown.
BERNSTEIN: So you went back to your hometown where your mother lived.
NETEL: I went to my hometown to look for the family.
BERNSTEIN: And what year are we talking about?
NETEL: This was around — I believe somehow after the war. When the was was over in 1941.
BERNSTEIN: So in 1941 you went back to your hometown to look for your family.
NETEL: Yeah.
BERNSTEIN: And what did you find?
NETEL: This was — when I come back, it was already — I had to cross to the border and it was already the Russians, you know.
BERNSTEIN: Now was your town occupied by the Russians or the Germans?
NETEL: No, by the Germans.
BERNSTEIN: By the Germans.
NETEL: By the Germans, 1941. Mine town was occupied in 1941 by the Germans.
NETEL: O.K. Now I don’t remember exactly what date was, but I believe, I believe that somehow, the end of ’41. And I want to go to my town but I hear those stories and I was shocking and I couldn’t go.
BERNSTEIN: What stories did you hear?
NETEL: About this informer what he was doing to the Jews. He knows all of us and was a Judenrat working over there too. He used to take out and get the Jews over to the Germans. And the head of the Judenrat was a name, Czaje Faier, C-Z-A-J-E F-A-I-E-R. He was a very orthodox person. He was the head of the Judenrat.
BERNSTEIN: So did you make it back to your hometown?
NETEL: I make it back, but I heared so many stories what’s go on over there, what will happened. They took many Jews and took them away to work. They say “work.” Nobody know nothing, even this head of the Judenrat. He gave away his wife and five children, and he left the one brother and the one daughter. He took it, the Germans too. He got beautiful — maybe five daughters — beautiful children, beautiful children. And he was related to this Yankel Erlich, to the head of the communist party. But he was Yankel Erlich. Yankel Erlich, I met him in Haifa. He is now in Haifa. I don’t know if he’s still alive, but I met him in Haifa before I left Israel in 1950, December 1950. And he explain about what happen. He say, he told me — “Faier, if he’s still alive, I tear him up pieces by pieces till he die, mine own uncle.” This was his own uncle. He was the chief of the Judenrat. Now what would happen with him, over there was a headquarters. In this town was the head of the town, like the richest person in town was named Starowieski.
BERNSTEIN: Are you talking about your home town?
NETEL: Mine home town, Starowieski. I want to point you out a very important fact. Starowieski, S-T-A-R-O-W-I-E-S-K-I, Starowieski. He was very good to Jewish people. I fact, I remember my mother would come before Passover. She used to go over there. He gave her a receipt to go and get meal, You know what make flour. And they used to make it kosher. One store what used to make it kosher flour for matzah. And he used to get everyone, the poor people what they requested from him — he used to get them — he used to call them a “qvit,” a receipt to go and get those kosher flour to bake matzahs. He also used to get it for poor people wood in the wintertime. We used to have very much forest. He was a very, very rich man, the richest from the town. I remember when I used to see him every Sunday, used to go to the Catholic church, because our home was next to the Catholic church. I remember his children and now, what would happen? This gentleman, the Yankel Erlich, they didn’t touch him. He was in his home. They search for some maybe document, antisemitic deals. Nothing was they finding, but we took it away from him the coat. He was a tall man and Yankel was a short one, and I remember a gray coat with a fur collar. He took it away from him. He took it some horses and some food, but he didn’t touch him, he didn’t touch the family. Well, the richest from the town, he didn’t put a hand on him because he was very, very good to the Jewish people. Now, over there he used to have a lake with fish. Over there was now the headquarters for — the German headquarters. And this Czaje Faier, the head from the Judenrat, he used to go over there every day for orders. One day is what the people told me, even gentiles told me this what happened. He passed through the lakes and was Austrian guard with a machine gun, automatic machine gun. They call them Schmeisers. You can put them like this and break them like pieces. This guy was Austrian. And he asked him, “Jude, where you go, Jew where you go?” He say, “I’m going to headquarters. I’m with the Jundenrat.” And he want to kill him, and he said, “Don’t kill me.” Some people hear about it and they remember the story. They told me. He say, “Don’t kill me. I give away already so many Jews for the Germans.” He say, “If you give away so many Jews, is now the time for you.” And he kill him and he throw him — he fell in the water.
BERNSTEIN: So he died also.
NETEL: He died in the water with the fish. The fish probably got him.
BERNSTEIN: You came back to your town.
NETEL: I came back to mine town short before something around 1942, And I want to be in mine town but I didn’t find nobody from my family! I didn’t find nobody form some kind — you know, some kind of relative! But still was people over there. I assume was maybe 350 people, Jews was still in this town. This town was pur Jewish town, was synagogues — I remember was a Shul, a Bes Hamidrash and then was Hassidic. Was a Schaten, Belzer, Rozina, Triska, Zurkova and was a Polish and was also a Mizrachi.
BERNSTEIN: How many Jews lived in the town before the war?
NETEL: This town — I don’t know exactly, but when I come back — I don’t know. I assume maybe — I assume maybe close to a thousand or over. The whole town was nothing but Jews. And was I remember several families gentile what was living in this town what he was one, was a doctor, M.D. His name was Sergeiucz Zielinsky. He was a Ukrainian. You want I spell the name?
BERNSTEIN: If you like.
NETEL: S-E-R-G-E-I-U-C-Z. And the last name was Zielinsky, Z-I-E-L-I-N-S-K-Y. I remember him very well because my mother used to have all, she was asthma, and she used to be all the time sick. Come wintertime, summertime, because she was walking nine kilometers to this village. She was all the time catch the cold and she was very, very sick. I remember, Dr. Binder used to come to our home, and he didn’t charge nothing for the visit. And he even give her money to buy medecine. And he, many times when she was severely sick, he used to come with this doctor. This is why I remember his name, Dr. Zielinsky. He used to come with him because Binder was only a “feldscher” and he was not too much authorized for some kind of medical treatment. But he got D. degree, Zielinsky. But Zielinsky was a very good man, very honest person, a Ukrainian, and he didn’t touch nobody. But this is why I remember his name because he used to be in mine home many, many times to treat my mother. Anyway, besides him I remember one Pollack. His name was Wirostkiewicz. Do you want I write you down?
BERNSTEIN: I f you would like.
NETEL: Wirostkiewicz is W-I-R-O-S-T-K-I-E-W-I-C-Z. His name was Wirostkiewicz. He was in this town. He used to have a store. There was three brothers. The name was Tzajkowski. I was in school with one of those sons. Tzajkowski, the spelling is T-Z-A-J-K-O-W-S-K-I, Tzajkowski. And those three brothers we used to have it butchers. They used to kill pigs and have butcher stores. I mean meat stores. Now, while the caretaker, he was a Gentile and the principal from the school, some teachers — one of those teachers what I told you his name was Dragan, Jan, he was married to one very rich family named Kowalsky, K-O-W-A-L-S-K-Y, and this family, Kowalsky, they was a little bit out of town. And then this is all that I remember in the town. The rest, the whole town was nothing but Jews. I assume over a thousand people. Now, the Pollacks was — around the town was a little village they call Domanirz. The Domanirz. Then was another one, a little village around the town called Podhaice, P-O-D-H-A-I-C-E., Podhaice. This all what I remember was around the town. All this was Pollacks. Now what was happen in this village, Domanirz was many Ukrainians, and one of them was a Communist. And I remember, when I was coming from the Rabbinical College for the holidays, one day was over there somehow the Communists was prepare for some kind of a holiday. They was making speeches over there. And the police find out from this. And they run over there with bicycles and I remember still the policeman was named Warszat, W-A-R-S-Z-A-T, Warszat. And one looks like he was a leader or something fro Tomaszov, and he won’t surrender the house where he was and they didn’t let him. And they shoot this policeman and he was paralyzed. I still remember him. He was paralyzed, but he was arrested, the Yankel was arrested at this time, the Yankel from my town, Yankel Erlich. He was arrested at this time. Anyway, what I want to bring you out is this, this Communist from this Domanirz, he hided many Jews, many Jews. He got — he make it a tunnel from the home, from his house was some middle of the field. Over there was all sand. He maked a tunnel and he hided many, many Jews over there and even was some Communist girls. I remember one of them was — she was a tailor girl. Her name was Pia. And what happen, the leader from this Judenrat, Czaje Faier, he took the Germans, with machine guns, and he was going over there. And he clapped the hands (claps his hand) and “Oh, thank God, the Reds are here!” When they heard “the Reds are here,” they were thinking the Red Army, the Communists. They run out.
BERNSTEIN: Of the tunnel?
NETEL: Of the tunnel and the Germans shoot them instantly in those place, and I believe he got shot too, the man what was hiding there. He paid a price. But, according to what people told me, and he was treated very good those people. In the night he was going in the house through this tunnel. In the day he was in his bunker. He gave them food. He was going all the towns all over, doing like a good deed to help those Jews, but finally they end up killing him. Anyway, now what would happen with me? When I come to this town, I was scared to death. My town, I will say – I couldn’t say was antisemitic. I would say not. The only — I remember before the war, before the breakout of war in 1938 in Czechoslovakia, was big — you know – competition against the Germans. In fact, I remember was in Poland was a Jew named Schiff. They stopped buying those Schiff and they produce another brand with a Yellin, they call them. Yellin is a “Livsch,” a deer. I remember was called “Yellin” instead of “Schiff.” In other words, they was boycotting with the Germans. And also I remember beer, what they call now “Busch,” was “Habberbusch (?),” German beer. They used to stop buying beer and they produce –

Tape 2 - Side 1

BERNSTEIN: You were telling me that when the war broke out in the Russian section in 1941, panic set in and —
NETEL: Panic was — was a big panic and the Germans start running with motorcycles. This is what they did it. They started running with motorcycles and was panic and also people start running — didn’t know what to do, from one place to another. In special was a panic between them — between those people what was from the other side but now was occupied by the Germans, and didn’t know what to do. There was over there one of mine — a cousin and some other people from mine area and we decided to run home because if we stay here, maybe the Germans will question, “Why you run away from home? You Communists!” Was a big confusion. You understand? It’s — we didn’t know what to do. Stay over here, the Germans come in because was starting the frontier line, then we are in trouble. Why we escape? We are Communists. And also like we saw it’s going to be here Germany, too. And anyway, we in big trouble. We decided — a bunch of people — we decide — we was in a synagogue and we decided to run back home. We run, I remember, to a place where was not too much water and this place was named Krylow, K-R-Y-L-O-W, and over there was like a bridge — not made it as a bridge, but you pull with strings. The string was already broke off but we was able to go on this bridge and push ourselves a little bit until we got to the dry. And then while we was in different direction, all those people, one over here, one over there, I get mine cousin. We decided to go to mine town. When I come to mine town, I hear what will happen, all those things, is I was afraid, you know.
BERNSTEIN: What exactly did you hear happenend?
NETEL: I hear what will happen, that the Germans took away Jews to work and disappeared. And I hear what the Germans was sended suppose for work to other places — disappear, many of them. Around this town was a forest and they took it in the forest. People was hearing shots over there — was shooting. Who knows what was going on?
BERNSTEIN: At that time what did you think happened to the Jews?
NETEL: I was thinking that it happened very unusual — is killing. The Germans kill all of them because in this town was not too much Jews. I assume was still left maybe around 350 or 400 Jews in this town. But from mine family was nobody and I was just afraid from what those people told me. The participation from those informers, Gentile informers. With the Germans, Judenrat and other kind, other kind deal was happen over there when the German was coming all over, they used to take it to work this. And anyway, I believed that I am in danger.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. So your mother was not in the town?
NETEL: No, my mother was not there. Nobody was there.
BERNSTEIN: And not your brothers or sisters?
NETEL: Not in mine — what name – not in mine, not even from the family. Mine cousin, she was by mine sister. Mine sister was in a town I think I spell already, Hunow. That’s near Aworuska. Over there was the Russian side, but this was now occupied by the Germans. Anyway, she was over there, mine cousen. And she died over here in St. Louis. Her name was Sarah Flumenbaum. From home she was Zugerman. Anyway, all those what I hear is I was just afraid and I don’t know what to do. I was willing to escape to mine sister in Hunow, but I was afraid too. Maybe over there will be the Germans. The Germans do the same things. In my town, I was afraid to be over there because the informer he was with me in school, and that caretaker’s son, and he can give me over to the Germans. Is what I did, the best way I think is be better for me, I escape to this town where my mother used to go peddling — I mean to this village. This village is named Grodek — I think I spell it already. It is G-R-O-D-E-K. I escaped to this town – I mean to this village, and I got many, many over there what they know me because I used to go with my mother when I got vacation in school or suppose in summertime we used to rent trees, fruit trees. I was over there and the people know me. I am the son of Chawa. Anyway, is they hide me over there.
BERNSTEIN: They hid you.
NETEL: The hide me. But later on —
BERNSTEIN: For how long did they hide you?
NETEL: They hide me maybe six, eight months. And then they was afraid. They was afraid because the Germans start going around in this village. Around this village was other kind villages with Jews. Was even over there a minyan every Sabbath. One man, his name was Barel Kruger. They used to call him Berel Waller, and he used to have a mill what he maked flour and he in his home was every Saturday, was a minyan, was prayed. And also other kind Jews was over there around and it appears everybody was hided. But the Germans was running all over there because they didn’t find no Jews over there, they probably assume where is hide the Jews.
BERNSTEIN: So when you were being hid, where were they hiding you?
NETEL: They was hiding me in a basement.
BERNSTEIN: And did you stay in the basement all the time?
NETEL: They used to have — you see, the Germans, I mean the Pollacks, was not basement like we got over here now, but we used to have own basements where used to be hided potatoes. Just a grave and a top cover with some potatoes, other kind things, like was camouflage. Was not even if you see it, your mind will not come is something over there goes on. In the night they used to get us to give food. In the night they used to bring us in where the horses was, in the hay we used to sleep.
BERNSTEIN: So you stayed in this basement all during the day?
NETEL: I was over there hided with mine uncle. My uncle’s name was Veluel, my father’s brother. In Polish they call him Wolko, W-O-L-K-O, Wolko, and the same name, Netel. He used to have it, he used to make it oil for the Gentiles and he used to have a store too, over there in the village.
BERNSTEIN: It was you and your uncle that they were hiding?
NETEL: Me and mine uncle. And he got six children. Do you want to know the names of the children?
NETEL: His wife was named Sarah and the older son was Eli, and was a daughter Etta, then was a daughter, Masha, and was a Moishe, and was a Mendel, and the last one Bayla. He got six children and these six children, she was the oldest daughter and the son, he was in a town they call it Hrubieczow. He was engaged with some family, was working over there. Hrubieczow is H-R-U-B-I-E-C-Z-O-W. Those two they was somewhere working over there in this Hrubieczow. And this Hrubieczow, I got over there an uncle. His name was Itsche Mendel Engelsberg, E-N-G-E-L-S-B-E-R-G. And he got two sons. One son died in Israel and the other one, the other son and a daughter, his name was Chaim Hirsch, and he die in Israel. He was a survivor. Then another son, Mottel. I don’t know what happen with them, and a daughter, Chaye. And my two — those cousins, he was slept over there and he was working some place.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. you were with your uncle and his family?
NETEL: Children, no. Not all — children was in another place. But me and mine uncle and uncle’s wife, we was hiding.
BERNSTEIN: Now during the day you were in the basement, and at night you were in the horses’ stall?
NETEL: Over there in the hay where the horses was.
BERNSTEIN: And how did they — they provided you with enough food?
NETEL; Yes, they provide us. We was treated nice because, like I say, my mother was very respected with them. My uncle was respected too by them, and also they owed my uncle big payment, very much because he used to give them merchandise in credit. They never paid. This was on account from the back payment.
BERNSTEIN: So what did you do during the day when you were there?
NETEL: Nothing. We was hiding. Now what will happen later on, I believe, was before 19 — somehow I believe was already in 1942. It was very big search all around and they catched some there. They catched already Jews in the neighboring villages. And now those Gentiles, they was afraid to hide us, to keep us anymore because was too risky. And we decided we go to this home. And then we was –
BERNSTEIN: Which home, which — ?
NETEL: No, to this, in this village, to mine uncle, Wolko Netel, Veluel Netel. This was my father’s brother. We decided to go to him. And we was afraid to stay there. Then we was going it was over there in this village where I told you was every Saturday a minyan, was the name of this village was Wola, Wola Grodetska, W-O-L-A. And “Grodetska” is mean it is not far from this town, from this village, Grodek, and the spelling is G-R-O-D-E-K. We was going over there, and we say, “We give our destiny to God. There’s nothing we can do anymore.” The Gentiles, they want to hide us because they owed my uncle money. They owed maybe my mother money – I don’t know. My mother used to give them credit too. They was very good to us. But they was afraid. They told all over, where they hide Jews, they kill them too. It was like nothing we can do anymore. We say, “We give our destiny to God. Whatever God want to do with us, let him do it.” And we was going in the synagogue. And the synagogue was already coming — my uncle’s children was still over there, Masha, Annabella, Mendel and Moishe, four children. And the two children what I told you about were in another town, Hrubieczow. Anyway, and also was other kind of Jews around what was over there. We were in the synagogue and one day, maybe after three, four days, the Germans got us, got us. And they sent us — this was, I believe, around 1942, in June or July or something like this. I believe it was July, 1942. They sent us to Majdanek.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. They found you in the synagogue —
NETEL: In the synagogue over ther in the village.
NETEL: And they take all of us and we was marching. They took us marching.
BERNSTEIN: For how long?
NETEL: How long? We was marching two — wait a minute. (Looks at some papers) This was from my town was 27 kilometers we was from my town, maybe from here was around 20 kilometers.
BERNSTEIN: So you marched 40 –
NETEL: To a town they called Tomaszow, T-O-M-A-S-Z-O-W, Tomaszow, and this is near Lublin, L-U-B-L-I-N. Tomaszow was a county town, a big town. Over there was many, many Jews. From all this town, I met one fellow. He was in a refugee camp in Germany. In this town we was like in a ghetto. To have some help from outside was impossible, like suppose later on I was in Israeli underground and I was Israeli army, is a form of resistance, as I believe, according to my knowledge, from the point of view I believe was impossible because to have a form of resistance is, you have to have help from outside. Now the Pollacks was maybe the will to do this because it was so — they used to call in Polish, Armie Krayova. Army, Polish, they may be willing to help but many from them was antisemitic too and was also Ukrainians in this area and they was complete with the Germans because the Germans promise them to help their own country, Ukrainya. As I believe from this point of view, form of resistance in this Tomaszow was impossible because only what can be for the history, like we got in the Tannach, Samson, he say: “Tamut Nafshi P’lishtim” — “Let me die, God give me back the strength, let me die with the Philistines.” This can’t be happen. We Jewish people, we can resist and maybe we die with another few Germans. But we was afraid probably to doin’ this because is not a point for the meantime because every was thinking, “Maybe we can still survive, maybe somebody from the family.” You understand what I’m saying?
BERNSTEIN: I understand. Because the tape did stop, let’s just go back and — I’m not sure exactly when the tape got stuck, but you were being hidden by a Gentile family?
NETEL: Yeah.
BERNSTEIN: And you had to leave there because the Gentile family were afraid they were going to be caught by the Germans.
NETEL: Right.
BERNSTEIN: And then — tell me again. You went to a synagogue.
NETEL: Yeah.
BERNSTEIN: And why did you go to the synagogue?
NETEL: For God to help. There’s nothing, no place to be. In home they going to catch us and in synagogue they going catch us — all over — maybe over there God will have pity for us and lets us survive, somebody maybe.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. So a group were in the synagogue for several days.
NETEL: Seven days. And then the Germans caught us.
BERNSTEIN: They caught you and then you marched for several days.
NETEL: Yes, to Tomaszow, Lubelski.
BERNSTEIN: At which you were put in a ghetto.
NETEL: A ghetto, yeah.
BERNSTEIN: How many Jews were in the ghetto, do you know?
NETEL: Oh, was very much, vey much.
BERNSTEIN: Thousands?
NETEL: Oh, more. I assume more. I don’t remember exactly because I was a child but I assume more.
BERNSTEIN: How old were you at this time?
NETEL: This time — if I was born in 1922 and this was happen I believe around the end of ’41 or maybe in ’42. I was very young.
BERNSTEIN: You were in the ghetto for about four months?
NETEL: Maybe four or six months. You see, I couldn’t remember exactly how long because nobody was thinking even we go stay alive, not only for the future to have a record.
BERNSTEIN: What kept you going in the ghetto?
NETEL: Nothing, only I was praying to God. “God help me.” Nothing else, nothing else. The food was bad. The clothing was bad, frozen and the life was so terrible. Between the people by self. One couldn’t taked another one.
BERNSTEIN: Could you see some people giving up and some people deciding not to give up when they were in the ghetto?
NETEL: Some people was discouraged and they say, “God, I want to die.” And some was with the courage. They say, “Maaybe we can survive. We don’t know what the end is, what is the place.” And right in the beginning everybody was thinking, “Maybe they go kill, but not all. Maybe they go take the world, but not all.” We were still with the hope; we don’t know what later on the future was bringing to the Jews. Like, we got in history the “Final Solution.” Nobody know in the beginning of the “Final Solution.” Everybody was thinking, “Maybe the was goes to an end today, tomorrow. The war will not go forever because in ’39 we got a war in Poland was only two weeks, maybe this will not last for long.”
BERNSTEIN: So there was some hope.
NETEL: Well some kind of hope of survive. You understand?
BERNSTEIN: Yes, yes. And —
NETEL: And also everybody was struggle for some kind of survive. This was the point from not to follow the resistance group because, first of all, for resistance group, like I point out, have to have help from the outside and this was impossible, outside help. Inside, with what are you going fight? Nothing you can fight with against army what they got weapons, they got dogs. Is to form resistance inside is only was like I point out, a matter like Samson. “God, Tamut Nashi P’lishim — Let me die with the Philistines.” In the action, some Germans fell but we all go be dead. In this way, was some kind of a hope somewhere or the war goin’ be to an end, or they goin’ send us to work some place in a safe place what we can survive, or this what was sick, maybe they goin’ die or something like this. But some kind of hope of surviving.
BERNSTEIN: Was there any organized activities in the ghetto where people got together and did anything? What was daily like in the ghetto like?
NETEL: I was too young to put me in some kind of organization. I believe for them it would be dangerous, for the resistance group myself, because I was too young. They couldn’t put me — suppose like even if was form of resistance or something like this kind, they will not put youngsters because we can cry, we can panic and scream, holler. This was dangerous. And if was some kind of resistance activities, I couldn’t remember.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. What happened when they moved you to Majdanek?
NETEL: In Majdanek they put me to work.
BERNSTEIN: Well, you were in the ghetto and then they put you on a train?
NETEL: No, marching.
BERNSTEIN: You marched to Majdanek?
NETEL: Yeah.
BERNSTEIN: How far was that?
NETEL: I believe was not too far, because Tomaszow — I assume not too far, maybe around three days walking.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. What’s the first thing you remember when you arrived at Majdanek? What did you see?
NETEL: I saw many, many of them building barracks. This what I saw.
BERNSTEIN: You saw Germans building barracks, or you saw –
NETEL: No, it was not the Germans. The barracks was building prisoners of war from the Russian Army.
BERNSTEIN: Building barracks.
NETEL: Building barracks over there.
BERNSTEIN: And when you arrived, what did they do to you? What did they do? What happened to you when you arrived?
NETEL: Well, first of all, they start kick and beat everybody and they put us outside by the barracks and then they form everyone in a barrack.
BERNSTEIN: How many — were you just with men?
NETEL: With men, right.
BERNSTEIN: And how many men were in a barracks?
NETEL: Oh, was lot of, maybe I assume maybe 50 or maybe even over.
BERNSTEIN: And what did you do?
NETEL: There was boards, you know, and we sleep on the boards. And then later, we assigned for different works.
BERNSTEIN: What did kind of work did you do?
NETEL: I was working a long time to cut wood for them and then I got acquainted with the, with those workers what were prisoners because in this town where I was, rabbinical college, I used to — I forgot to tell you — where I was sleep. Where I was sleep by mine relative, and he was a teacher, and he teach me Russian language and Ukraine language he teach me. Over there I used to sleep over there by mine family in this town where I was rabbinical college. And so I learned Russian language and I start talking to them and they start treat me a little bit nice. In the beginning they sent me in the forest to bring them wood for very long time. Then I help them building the barracks.
BERNSTEIN: Are you talking about the Russian prisoners fo war?
NETEL: Yeah, yeah, Russian prisoners of war. They help me a lot. Sometime they give me food a little bit. They got pity for me. I told them what area I am and I was not looking like Jew too. They always was wonder. They say, “Why didn’t you hide yourself? Why you come over here? You don’t look like a Jew. You can be figured like a Gentile.” I say, “But I been circumsized. In case this happen, they pull down the pants. What going be then? Then the Germans know I am Jewish because nobody in Poland except the Jews was circumsized.”
BERNSTEIN: How were the Russian prisoners treated as opposed to how the Jews were treated at Majdanek?
NETEL: I was treating very bad. They was treating a little better because they was prisoners of was.
BERNSTEIN: They stayed in different barracks?
NETEL: They stayed in different barracks and they got different kind of food. But the Jews, they was mistreated, beating — not the prisoners, but the guards, Ukrainian guards. Was all Ukrainian guards.
BERNSTEIN: So there weren’t German guards, they were Ukrainian guards?
NETEL: Ukrainian guards. In fact, the main leader from Lublin, his name was Glubovnik. He was appointed by the top, by Himmler he was appointed over there. And he get very, very cruel orders over there. But nobody was thinking to survive, was just “death camp.” I was working a long time with those carpenters and then I was working as a tailor, and then I was working cleaning latrine, called “Scheisskommando.” Anyway, I try to — first of all, I try — I give in, I try not to be against them. In other words, it was follow directions, I follow orders. You nothing can do. You are “in.” I could have done nothing. So I try as much as possible to follow their actions. Besides this, I got beating many times.
BERNSTEIN: Even though you did what they said?
NETEL: Yeah. And many what didn’t follow directions, was terrible. They used to put them in a bench and give them lashes ‘til they die or kill with a shovel. And I try to avoid those punishment, but I still got punishment. Whenever it’s possible to obey the time to work, I was doing work.
BBERNSTEIN: And the people that were punishing you were Ukrainian guards?
NETEL: Ukraine guards, yeah.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. How long were you in Majdanek?
NETEL: I was until approaching the frontier line what would happen. This was in July 23, 1944. Now happened to me, by approaching the Red Army, happened to me a very, very bad situation. You see, I saw from far a German when this army was already almost at Majdanek, he threw a grenade. Was a group of people was panic. We know something goes on now. Was a big panic. In a group of people, he threw a grenade and I got injured over here. You see here? (Apparently showing scars to interviewer}
NETEL: You see here?
NETEL: Do you see here? And also in my foot, on a toe. I got injured. You see this one?
NETEL: You see the fingers?
NETEL: Do you see here?
BERNSTEIN: That’s from the grenade?
NETEL: I got injured from the grenade and —
BERNSTEIN: Now who threw the grenade?
NETEL: A German. I saw, like a officer, a German officer. Uniform like a officer. He threw a grenade to a group of people. Many of them got even die. And this was the last minute, was a big panic over there, terrible! Because the frontier line is collapse. The Russian Army start approaching. And I fell, unconscious. When I fell unconscious and I couldn’t remember nothing what had happened. I just remember one of those from the Russian Army, looked like a — I call him a “medic” give me some first aid and he took me to a hospital in Lublin. He took me in a hospital and I was in a hospital.
BERNSTEIN: Now, Majdanek, the concentration camp, was freed by the Russians?
NETEL: Yeah. Was freed by the Russians in July, 1942, July 23.
BERNSTEIN: 194 — ?
NETEL: 1944, I mean ’44. 1944. July 23, 1944, it was by approaching the Red Army, Majdanek was collapsed. And he took me to a hospital.

Tape 2 - Side 2

NETEL: And he threw the grenades in majdanek territory.
BERNSTEIN: O.K., and you were saying that you were taken — Who took you to the hospital?
NETEL: The Russians.
BERNSTEIN: The hospital was where?
NETEL: In Lublin, in Lublin. You want me to spell “Lublin?”
BERNSTEIN: That’s O.K. You’ve already spelled that.
NETEL: I was in the hospital, Lublin, maybe six ormaybe seven or eight months, something like this.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. And the main injuries you had were —
NETEL: These injuries was very severe and later on, later on , I was suffering epilepsy.
BERNSTEIN: Epilepsy?
NETEL: Yeah, I was suffering epilepsy.
NETEL: The doctors told me this cause you from this injury.
BERNSTEIN: The doctors told you what?
NETEL: The doctors later told me, from this injury — not today, you see, I got — this what they told me right away, the doctors, “This can cause you the injury epilepsy.”
NETEL: Yeah. And because the brains was damaged. You know, today, you see, I —
BERNSTEIN: You take a lot of different medecines.
NETEL: A lot different medications, Dilantin, Phenobarbitol. Then I got a heart condition. I take it Isobide, nitroglycerine, and I got a back pain. I take it Darvocet.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. How long were you in the hospital?
NETEL: I was in hospital maybe six, seven or eight months or something like this. I don’t remember exactly, but maybe six, maybe over six months.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. And when you got out of the hospital, what did you do?
NETEL: When I got out from the hospital, first of all, I was going back to this village, Grodek. I think I spell you already, because to my town, I was afraid. And over there, I believe it I going to survive because I don’t know — the war maybe goes on still.
BERNSTEIN: Now were the Germans still occupying Grodek or was that or –the Russians —
NETEL: No, no. It was the Russians over there.
BERNSTEIN: They liberated —
NETEL: Yeah, the Russians was liberate the whole area, the frontier line was approaching. The Germans was no more over there. As I was going back to Grodek, and I was afraid maybe something can happen, and I was again in hiding!
NETEL: In Grodek.
BERNSTEIN: Who were you hiding from?
NETEL; Maybe from some informers because some kind – you see, antisemitism was — people was – the Jews what was left from Majdanek, we was afraid to go home because was already people — when we were — when I was at hospital, people told me. People told me is already a big — the was is not over for the Jews.
BERNSTEIN: So you were afraid of the Poles?
NETEL: The Poles, the Ukraine still can get rid of me. I was again in hiding over there for another maybe six months.
BERNSTEIN: Who hid you?
NETEL: Pollacks.
BERNSTEIN: People you knew before the war?
NETEL: Before the war. This is what I told you. My mother used to peddling over there in this village. And then I start working for them, legally, to get me farm work.
NETEL: And I know very good farm work, to dig potatoes or get hay to the horses or to the cows, you know. Some kind of work, clean the barns. I started working for them for money because I want to have a little bit money to save up to go and look for my family. Now, in February or March, 1947 — I mean ’46.
BERNSTEIN: ’46 or ’45?
NETEL: Now we, I went – almost by 1940 — when the war was over, I was still in this village, in this village.
BERNSTEIN: And you had not had any communication with any of your family at this point?
NETEL: No, nobody left, nobody left. O.K. now what happen, I believe was in 1946, in 1946 — I, no, not in 1946, I believe was in 1945, some day after the war, maybe six or eight months after the war, in 1945. I want to go and — I decided now is time to take revenge for what happen. I want to go into mine town and take revenge whoever is over there. Is over there maybe I can find those caretaker’s son or maybe was another one. His name was Shutkowski. He was a orphan child but he was by a pharmacist. The pharmacist adopt him. He and this caretaker’s son, they was informers for the German people, very cruel things for the people in mine town. And I decided to take revenge on those two. Is what I did in my town was I saw was one family. The name is Sporer, S-P-O-R-E-R, Sporer. O.K. The first name was Pinchus, P-I-N-C-H-U-S, Pinchus Sporer.
BERNSTEIN: A Jewish family or Gentile?
NETEL: This was Jews. He was with me. He was with me in Cheder and he was with me in the public school.
BERNSTEIN: And he was still — he survived.
NETEL: I saw him later. One minute. He was with his mother over there. His mother is now in Israel, his mother and a sister. And the father and another brother, they got killed somewhere in Majdanek. Anyway, this guy he was during the war, he was in the Polish Army fighting against the Germans. And he was officer. In Polish they call them “Politchen.” In English would be “Lieutenant.” And he got a gun. I say, “Pinchus, we have to take revenge on this caretakers. He eat our bread. We Jewish people support all his family. Look what he did to the Jews in the end. We have to take care of him.” He was still alive. He was still over there. Is what we did — mean he could not doing this because he was in uniform. And I told him, “Listen, you going not far from this town, Lasczczow.” This was in Lasczczow. I think you got already tape the spelling, Lasczczow. I told him, “You go in the forest.” We used to have a first forest, number one, then a number two and a third one. The third one was very, very, very thick with trees.
BERNSTEIN: There were three separate forests around this town?
NETEL: Yeah. The third one was a very thick forest, much, much trees. Over there you can shoot nobody here. There are so many trees. Look like over there Germans used to kill Jews. And I told him, “You go over there.” And this guy, I get him over there. If I have to die, but I have to get him over there. And he got a gun, this guy, Pinchus, because he was in a uniform. He was in a army uniform, Polish Army uniform. He was very proud. He was fighting against Germans. He was not in the concentration camps. He was like a free man. He eat good, they treat him good and give orders in fighting. He kill Germans. He was very proud for his job what he did in the army. And he was from a very Orthodox family. I was with him in Cheder and also I was with him in public school. Anyway, what I did, I told him, “You go be over there and you count maybe to 23 from the beginning and stay over there and don’t move away. Since you got a gun, you not afraid somebody could touch you. You got a uniform. People would think you had a post in the Polish Army.” I say, “You stay over there and I going bring him over there.” Is what I did. I was going tohis house.
BERNSTEIN: Are you talking about the caretaker’s son?
NETEL: Caretaker’s son. Yeah this what I want get rid of him. And he was still over —
BERNSTEIN: What about the caretaker himself?
NETEL: The caretaker, I don’t know. He was not there. But only he was over there, the caretaker — I mean the caretaker’s son with two sisters. He was over there still living in the same house. He what got the house by the cemetary, by the entrance by the gate from the cemetary, the Jewish cemetary. And I was going over there and I fool him. I say, “Listen, you know what, over there some place is hided so many gold and jewelry and clothing from the Jews. Come on, we go and get it. Take a shovel with you and we go get it.” He don’t know all my past where I was because I try to escape, you know, not be in this town because I going to end up dead, because he was — first of all, he know me from the school. And the other one, the pharmacist’s son, he know me from the school. We was old school comrades. Anyway, he was thinking I talk to him serious and he listened to me and we was going over there. When we come over there in the forest is the guy —
NETEL: Pinchus Sporer. He approached him and he hit him with a bayonet, one time in the face and another time in the face. He say, “You son of a gun, what you did to the Jews?” He didn’t say nothing. Then later he start crying. He say, “But the Germans convinced me.” And then he hit him again and he kill him instantly.
BERNSTEIN: He did kill him?
NETEL: He kill him. When he kill him, we run — we was going away from over there. Now what will happen, somehow smebody probably passed. We was afraid to dig a grave and hide him. We was run away. Since I know that area, I take him another area, the opposite way, not the same way what we was coming. I know the area very good because this werer I used to go with my mother to the village, Grodek. I take him to another was and then after three days, we come back to this town. And to this town we come back after three days is I told him, “Listen, you come with me. Bury the uniform with the gun some place, or the gun hide it with you and you come with me. We have to run away from here complete.” And this was, I think, almost the beginning of 1946.
BERNSTEIN: You did not feel the same way about the pharmacist’s son?
NETEL: The pharmacist — I couldn’t find him.
BERNSTEIN: You were looking for him too?
NETEL: I was looking for him. I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t find him. But him I find. Somebody told me even somebody kill him too. He got killed, the pharmacist’s son — by Jews. Anyway is I told him, “Listen, come, we go away.” And he won’t listen to me. He was a good guy. He say, “I got here my family.” And later on, his family escape. His family run away to Nieder Silesia.
BERNSTEIN: This was where?
NETEL: Nieder Silesia was Poland occupied — I mean Germany occupied by Poland. You see, Poland, later on, after the war, World War II, Poland took it away. Silesia before was Germany and they give away to the Soviet Union they gave away West Ukraine. They call them Russians “Zapodna Ukraina,” West Ukraine. They give away to the Russians. O.K. His family run away to the occupied territory by the Pollacks and it was before Germany and later was Poland. And I told him to run with me over there. And he doesn’t want it.
BERNSTEIN: You felt you had to run away because of the situation —
NETEL: Yes, because of this fact, yeah. Of this fact. I could not stay over there even in this neighborhood because of — and he don’t want it. He don’t want it. He stay over there and what will happen, he was proud he was officer in the Polish Army. He was proud. He got a gun. What happened with him, he was going for — was a ball. How you call this — a ball, for dancing? How you call this in English?
NETEL: Into a dancing place in — in a town what named Zamosc, Z-A-M-O-S-C, Zamosc. He was going over there. Zamosc was a big town, a Jewish town. Mine grandfather’s brother, he got over there a restaurant. He was over there. And I got some other kind uncle was a Shochet, you know, a ritual slaughter. And I got a cousin, a Rabbi over there in Zamosc. And over there was a big town and over there nobody was left (slowly and sadly spoken). I never –maybe in Israel I find it one or two like this. All town was gone. We was going over there for a German dancing place. Somebody know what he did with his gun! And they didn’t say nothing, or maybe they don’t know, but I believe this was the reason because they know what he did to the caretaker’s guy. Some Pollack took him outside, they say to come in the hallway and they shoot him right over there.
BERNSTEIN: How did you find out about this?
NETEL: I find out from his mother. His mother is now in Israel.
NETEL: His mother and two daughters, they are in Israel. I find out from his mother that they got revenge on him because he kill te caretaker’s son.
BERNSTEIN: How long after killing the caretaker’s son was he killed?
NETEL: Was he killed? Was maybe, I assume maybe about two months.
BERNSTEIN: And that’s all.
NETEL: That’s all. O.K. Now, what will happen with me, and I was going to — what name? — to Neider Silesia. I got a little bit money from those people, what I was working for them, the farmers, you know. And I put on me clothing like a Gentile. I wore officer boots with green pants and a hat — I used to have it a hat with plastic — how you call this?
NETEL: A rim, with a plastic rim. And I put this on sideway. I was looking — in a leather jacket, looked like this, and I was looking complete like a Gentile. Not only like a Gentile, like a really aryan.
BERNSTEIN: It was still dangerous for Jews?
NETEL: Yeah. Because they used to throw out Jews from the trains and the Jews what was even in those little towns, they was even afraid to go there because many of them, they dig holes and they hided some valuable things. They was afraid to go even over there in the surrounding towns all over because was all over was dangerous.
BERNSTEIN: And was it mainly from the Polish?
NETEL: Yeah, mainly from the Polish and from the Ukrainians. After the war it was “Holocaust Number Two,” all over. For the Jews was no place to be in those towns. It was why the reason I escaped to Nieder Silesia. Even in the train, they was talking against Jews, and I hear they used to throw out people from the trains. If, in my eyes, somebody throw out, people will throw out too. But I don’t have it experience like this, in my face people do something like this. They was talking against Jews like this. In my face somebody do like this. Only what they was talking against Jews. “Hitler didn’t kill everyone. It’s still left Jews.” In a conversation like this, I don’t want to go in.
BERNSTEIN: Well why did you think Neider Silesia would be safe?
NETEL: In Silesia because over there, first of all, because this was not pure Poland. Was before Germany got it we go over there. And so the Russians get over to Poland was not a pure communism because the Russians give over to Poland Neider Silesia and they took it, in exchange they took it best Ukrainian. As I believe over there will be a good place, and also I hear, when I start traveling, I saw in the trains Jews. But I don’t want to tell them I’m Jew because those Pollacks was too much talking against Jews. If they saw two Jews inside. And I was waiting for some occasion to take revenge. I got with me knives and everything. And this is why I didn’t talk to the Jews in the train, because in case something happened, then I know what to do. I could take revenge.
BERNSTEIN: Were you prepared to protect yourself or to protect other Jews?
NETEL: No, myself I was not prepared to protect myself because I was not afraid. I was so not looking like a Jew, complete. I was not afraid. I was not over there only to protect myself from the Pollacks, I was not afraid. Pollack will not tell me I am a Jew. Nobody can tell me because I was not looking like a Jew. Is what I want now in this case is to protect those Jews what was in the train. And I was waiting for occasion — one raise their hand and hit a Jew. Then I get right away and hit him, get rid of him. Or I throw him out of the window or I put him a knife, something I could do right away, instantly. But they was not — you only see Jews, they start talking. “Oh Hitler didn’t exterminate all. There are still Jews alive. The Jew’s no good,” so, so, so, all kind baloney against Jews. Anyway, they was talking too. I hear what they was talking in Yiddish, “Is too much dangerous to stay in this occupied Poland. Is better, safer to go over there to what was before Germany because over there is more safer.” Anyway, and I come over there I believe was in February or in March, 1946. I come to Lower Silesia in a town what name in Polish is J-E-L-E-N-I-A – G-O (with a point)-R-A, Jelenia-Gora. In Germany this is “Hirszberg,” H-I-R-S-Z-B-E-R-G. This is in German “Hirszberg,” in Polish “Jelenia-Gora.” O.K., I be here in Jelenia-Gora. Now what I did, I tried to take — I make a commitment to take some revenge. This what I want. See, I got one. Revenge is good but we pay a price when this guy got killed. But he don’t listen to me what I can do. I told him we had to escape. He don’t want it. O.K., the beginning was O.K., but a little bit sad. It was sad with a little happiness. Happiness was I got revenge. Sad I lost this good friend from the school – school, cheder.
BERNSTEIN: Who were you specifically thinking of getting revenge against?
NETEL: Against the Germans, all Germans, Poland, anyone what was against Jews.
NETEL: Anyone! Ukraina, anyone! Or it’s a German or Pollack or a Ukraina — those three whoever was against Jews. I suppose in some cases Jews was helping them, but was not willingly. Do you understand? They was not willingly doing, because it’s a matter maybe somebody was thinking maybe they can stay alive or maybe I can save some Jews. See, like Judenrat. They wasn’t really not willing to do this cooperative with the Nazis, but we was made thinking, “Maybe we can save some Jews.” Or, “Maybe I can save myself.” Or, “Maybe I can save mine family.” I understand their point of view. I got a heart. They couldn’t take revenge on those ones.
NETEL: The bigger Jews too.
BERNSTEIN: Yeah. Were you by yourself?
NETEL: I was by myself. O.K. What will happen? I come to this Jelenia-Gora and what I did — was over there an office where you get apartments. They call them in Polish “Urzad Mieszkanowy.” You want spell you?
NETEL: Urzad means “office” what we get some apartments. Be spelling like this: U-R-Z-A-D, Urzad Mieszkanowy, this is M-I-E-S-Z-K-A-N-O-W-I. No, W-Y, Mieszkanowy. O.K. and they was Polish office and over there was Polish government in Jelenia-Gora. And I took it to get me an apartment, and when they gave me apartment, I was stunned! I start looking in the drawers and the Germans were still over there. Was a husband and a wife. And they start putting them — it was in Poland they evacuate the Germans, evacuation. I don’t know where they send them. Maybe they send them to the German what got occupied by the United States or somewhere they send them out from this territory, from lower part of Silesia. The Polish government evacuate, was evacuation. They send out the Germans. I was stunned.
BERNSTEIN: I’m not following this last word – “stoned.”
NETEL: Stunned, I was like “out of my mind” when I come to this apartment. What will happen? I find it in the drawers whole soap of Jews.
BERNSTEIN: You found what?
NETEL: Soap.
NETEL: Soap, made of Jewish fat. Little pieces of soap.
BERNSTEIN: How could you tell?
NETEL: Because was a “R” and a “I” and a “F.” This is in German, Rein Juden
Fat, clear Jewish fat. And I asked this — I hear already about it. This was from the Jewish fat, and I hit it, this guy. I said, “You was in SS or not?” “You was in SS or not?” Three times I ask him. He say, “No,” and his wife started to cry and I don’t let him out. I locked the door and I call the police, was Polish police. And this time was coming one guy. He was a Jew — I don’t know he was a Jew. And he took both of them — it was two or three policemen with an automatic — they got, they call them “Pepesz.”
This is automatic Russian, automatic pistol. The magazine is rounded. It goes in 72 bullets. You can cut a tree with this. It’s a short round disk, big as this, a little bit (demonstrating for interviewer) bullets. And this guy was — was one guy in civil uniform. He was a Jew but he was not looking like a Jew. And also three guys was Polish. They got like army uniforms. They wasn’t police. And I told them — I show them the soap. They won’t take away the soap. They took away a bar and I say, “This have to be buried because this is from Jews, from Jewish people. I would take this to some cemetary, something like this. I would take this away.” And they arrested those two to investigate them. What will happen with them, I don’t know, but this was my first experience. Now, I tell them –
BERNSTEIN: This was in the same apartment where —
NETEL: Same apartment what they give to me. Now, this guy what he was in civil clothes, I say, “Listen, I want to talk to you. Stay for a minute.” I say, “I’m Jewish. My name is Marian, in Hebrew is Mordechai. What is your name?” He say, “I couldn’t tell you your name. I work for the police. I am Jewish. My name, call me Janek.” I say, “I want to get acquainted with you and maybe I going need you for some help.” “any time.” And he tell me his name, “Janek.” He don’t want to tell me the really name. He don’t want to his last name. And he was working in the police like criminal investigator. Ubespieka Spoleczna. You want me to write you down? It mean like FBI.
BERNSTEIN: He was in the Polish Police.
NETEL: The Polish Police.
BERNSTEIN: Did the Polish Police know he was Jewish?
NETEL: No. Wait, I explain you everything.
NETEL: He was Ubespieka, U-B-E-S-P-I-E-K-A, Ubespieka. And Spoleczna, is S-P-O-L-E-C-Z-N-A, Spoleczna.
BERNSTEIN: Now what is this?
NETEL: “Ubespieka” mean in German means Schutz. “Schutz,” it mean security. “Spoleczna,” is mean like “me and you, everybody,” “public.”
NETEL: This is the translation. It mean Public, like “Public Defense,” something like this.
NETEL: O.K., he was working for them and I told him, “I want your name. Maybe in the future, maybe I go get killed or something. Remember me. And I remember you, you remember me. My name is “Mordechai Netel” but I change my name to “Marain” not to sound Jewish.” O.K., he say, “Call me Janek. I couldn’t give you my name, but if you need me, I been to your disposition. I go help you.” O.K. What will happen? O.K., since I got this soap, I was afraid to stay in this apartment.
BERNSTEIN: Why were you afraid to stay in the apartment?
NETEL: Not only for — I was shaking like I been in a cemetary.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Seeing the soap just really —
NETEL: Seeing the soap – this Jewish soap, I was shaking. So what I did, everything what was valuable things in this apartment, I took it away and I was going – it was a market, sell everything. I clean up the apartment complete, not to let only the furniture. I sell everything and I got money. O.K. now, after a couple days I was going to the Urzad Mieszzkanowa, to the same office for an apartment. And we find out — they give me an apartment. I say, “You give me a apartment what even don’t have nothing over there. Look, I be in concentration camp. I no have nothing. No sheets, nothing. You say you help. You want to go put back Germans over there and I should — ,” I don’t tell them I’m Jewish. I tell them I’m a Pollack. “And I should not have nothing over there? Give me another apartment. The Hell with you!” And he gave me another apartment. Another apartment was still locked. One of the officials was going with me and open up the

Tape 3 - Side 1

This is Rick Bernstein interviewing Marion Netel at his hime, 5-12-1988.
BERNSTEIN:: Mr. Netel, we talked last and you were telling me how after you were hidden by the Gentiles and then it wasn’t safe for them to hide you, that you and a bunch of other Jews went to a synagogue and basically knew you were going to be captured by the Germans. What was it like, being in that synagogue?
NETEL: Well I was very depressed. I was waiting for death, nothing else, because we know what — we know what was going on all around and it was — and the Pollacks told us, “We couldn’t hide you anymore because it is impossible. We are afraid we can get killed too.” And was in depression from everybody was — we are waiting for death, nothing else. If something — if God go save us, in this synagogue is gone be just a great miracle.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. And how many people were with you at the time?
NETEL: It was me, mine uncle and my aunt, and them came his children, mine uncle’s children and then was other people from around those areas — was many like colonies, Jewish settlements what was living over there in those villages. And all those villages around, they was over there in the synagogue.
BERNSTEIN: How did the Germans capture you?
NETEL: They just broke in the door and with machine guns, and chase everyone out with dogs and take us to march.
BERNSTEIN: And you marched to —
NETEL: We marched to Tomaszow, Lubelski, to a town — it is around — from my town was around 27 and take away around 9, was around 19 something miles from this place. I mean kilometers, excuse me. Nineteen kilometers from this place.
BERNSTEIN: And how long after that did you go to Majdanek?
NETEL: And then we was over there — I don’t know exactly, but it was — and we captured Majdanek in 1942. This was — they started over here to build a camp for the war prisoners from the Soviet army.
BERNSTEIN: Could you tell me what a typical day at Majdanek was like?
NETEL: Majdanek actually was like considered day by day we are waiting for death, nothing else. Was no, no, — any hope. Depressed, everybody was depressed over there. We was — one couldn’t look on the other one. The Germans made it everyone hate each other. You can see your own brother, your own mother fell. You could not — you are like, you are like the tied hand and you could nothing do anything.
BERNSTEIN: You couldn’t help one another?
NETEL: You couldn’t save nobody, you couldn’t do nothing.
BERNSTEIN: Could you talk to one another?
NETEL: Only hiding places. At time for work, you couldn’t talk to somebody. No communication with nobody. You not even know what date it is.
BERNSTEIN: What time would you wake up in the morning?
NETEL: You wake up the time when they wanted, usually around 5 o’clock. They chased out from the bed, but the bed was bunk beds, even one on top of the other. Nothing but a little bit straw and something like this. The people was living like worse, was treated like animals, worse like animals. And they wake up early in morning when they wanted to chase out. If somebody is still not done put his clothes, right away fell. They beat him. There was an Appelplatz. They count everyone and then they took him to work.
BERNSTEIN: What kind of work was it?
NETEL: I was working helping building barracks. I was working in a forest to cut trees, prepare wood, and I was working as tailor. If you do not obey something, they don’t like it — I got beated many times in the face and even I lost many tooths which later on the doctor told me, “This is maltreatment, beating.” I lost many, many tooths from mine mouth. Now I use a denture, upper and lower.
BERNSTEIN: During the day, would they give you anything to eat at all?
NETEL: They give a small amount of bread, a piece of bread, and they give a soup what was — maybe you can find one potato, lot of water. And mostly it was — the soup was maded — sometimes you even find needles in the soup, sometimes tails from the rats or from mouses. The food was just to keep you a little bit alive.
BERNSTEIN: And what time during the day would they give you this food?
NETEL: In the morning they give some a little bit like coffee. It is so black things, and at noon time they give it those soup with a piece of bread.
BERNSTEIN: How many hours during the day would you work?
NETEL: Sixteen hours, even more, whatever they need.
BERNSTEIN: And then you would come back to your barracks?
NETEL: Back to the barrack and be count again if everybody’s over there and in the morning again. Every day the same story. No hope, nothing.
BERNSTEIN: Did you go to sleep immediately when you came back to the barracks?
NETEL: The time when they say you have to go sleep.
BERNSTEIN: You have to go to sleep. And very little communication even —
NETEL: You cannot communicate with nobody. You even, like I say, you see your own brother, your own sister fell, took away, you could not say a word. Everyone was like animal. The minds from the people was like nothing but animals. No consideration for others, no pity for others. It’s — the atmosphere was such in a shape like is nothing — is very hard to describe this everything. The name of the game was “to exterminate, extermination.” And what mattered, they don’t care. If somebody did something wrong, they say was order shoot and then ask questions.
BERNSTEIN: So the were constantly new prisoners being brought?
NETEL: Yeah. Constantly new because they was, according to statistic, Majdanek was exterminate a million and a half Jews. Besides it was war prisoners from the Soviet army and some other kinds.
BERNSTEIN: So who lived and who died? How were those decisions made?
NETEL: It’s just — this was God. God’s decision, nobody else. We all was left the fate to God. God had to help somehow. This was only thing.
BERNSTEIN: You were there for two years.
NETEL: Yes, for two years, yes sir.
BERNSTEIN: Was it unusual for someone to last for two years in Majdanek?
NETEL: I got a strong will to stay alive because, after all, I didn’t commit nothing. I was took as a young boy over there and I just prayed day by day to God. And I tried to obey whatever they wanted, not to get involved with some kind harsh, some kind, you know, madness from the side from the Gestapo, from the Ukrainian, from the Ukrainian police because I am young and I couldn’t doing anything. Is no way to escape, was no way to form some kind of resistance because everybody was like tied up to form a resistance or to escape was impossible. Even, yes escape, where you go? All around was the Pollacks was against Jews, every one. And in those areas was Pollacks and Ukraine. And even somebody escape, would not be alive or they get him right back to the Germans,
BERNSTEIN: Do you know of anyone who made plans to escape?
NETEL: No, no. If somebody did, it was in very tight security. But was, to my knowledge, impossible to escape because it was — the guard was so tight over there. And even if somebody escape, where he go? There was no way to go. All around us around the area is all was antisemites.
BERNSTEIN: What was liberation like?
NETEL: Liberation was like something happened from the sky, something unusual, unusual. A God — a destiny from God, nothing else.
BERNSTEIN: What was the first sign that something was going on?
NETEL: Very happy, but I, like I mentioned, I was right away unconscious because I got hit with grenades, over here, this side, over here, and the fingers and the toes. I fell like unconscious and they took me to the hospital. But the word “liberation” is nothing to describe after so many going through torture and everything. You know, depressing. You couldn’t even say a word, never. The treatment, maltreatment — it wa seems like only this was something what happened — it mean “Miracle from God,” nothing else.
BERNSTEIN: So right after liberation, as you describe earlier, you had to spend some time in the hospital.
NETEL: In the hospital, yeah, in Lublin.
BERNSTEIN: And then you described how you went back to your home town.
NETEL: Yes sir.
BERNSTEIN: And then you ended up going to a part of Germany where you got an apartment.
NETEL: Yeah, a new apartment, Silesia.
BERNSTEIN: And you got an apartment there.
NETEL: Yes sir.
BERNSTEIN: O.K., why don’t we begin there in describing what occurred next?
NETEL: What occurred next. O.K., when I was this apartment and when I found those soap which was marked “R-J-F,” Rein Judenfat, Jewish fat, then I think I mentioned, I took this over to the Jewish Committee and the cemetary because this is from the bodies from the Jews. And also I called right away the police because this was a German couple is were pretty young, and if they got this in home, they was using it and I want to know from where they got it. When I call the police, then come over there one who he was like a detective from the police. He was working, was like a criminal department, special for such affairs, political affairs. He was a Jew and he arrest those people, those two, the German man and woman. Even they put two coats on top of them, many clothing he took away. He left them just one coat, nothing else. And then I was, I didn’t want to stay in this apartment, I was going to the housing authorities and get another apartment. And then, when I got other apartment, I settle down a little bit and I start looking for a job. I found a job as to repair automobiles. And then was over there a market. A market what the Germans did got to be known, was order they be evacuated. I believe was in the Russian sector somewhere, but they was evacuate from Nieder Silesia. Knowing they gone be evacuated, they start to take merchandise from home and say it was a market. Jewish people was over there and buying from them, and also was from the area what Poland was already under the Polish government, like from Lublin or Warsaw or Lodz and other kind areas was coming merchant to buy merchandise and bring them over there, sell them over there because was more expensive. And here you can buy by the Germans very cheap. Anyway, when I start working over there as — because I want to be a little bit covered because I got a feeling something I go find it more because I was in many towns and all over was SS still going around. All over, SS and Gestapo, all over was — Was in those days a good organization like a Holocaust Center, the Jews was able to put and, you know, to the authorities, to the policemen, many, many of them. And later on, they was hiding, they ran away. Anyway, when I was working as the automobile mechanic and then I was going in this market and I observed the Chief of Police “dancing” to me. And according I saw those Gestapos and everything his manner. He’s walking and he’s talking. He was with a nice pair of boots, officers’ boots and a nice uniform, Polish uniform, Polish hat and belt this way to is shoulder and a gun, a big nice looking gun and he was the Chief of Police and he got a stick in the hand. And he always, when he saw some Jewish face, he tell to his adjutant –he was going with adjutant — “Check his papers.” Or he sometimes say, “Arrest him.” He gives some orders to adjutant of some kind against Jews. And I always, when I was finished my work, I was going to this market and observe him. Then I got acquainted with one fellow, but he was selling ice cream and he was working in ice cream place and he told me — he was from Rumania, a Jew — and he told me, “Something is suspicious with his boss.” He couldn’t understand. He is such a nice — and, but sometimes he’s shaking and sometimes he’s scared somebody talk. Can be he was something involved with like a leader from concentration camp or something. I told him this way. I say, “Look, I got already one fellow in the police department. If something happen, I will protect you, but what I want to doing, you try to sell ice cream.” He was driving with a tricycle, he was with a white uniform with a — like the doctors, a white like a robe. And with a belt over here. He was driving with a tricycle. In the back he got a nice painted and white ice cream, two cans and cones, and was selling ice cream. So I told him, “You try to get profit as much as possible because not to fire you. You give him a good profit, he will keep you. And also try to find out what time they go away. If somebody come, it they got children — is somebody come in the house, what time they go away from the house.”
BERNSTEIN: What time who goes away?
NETEL: The man — the ice cream boss, the man from the factory and his wife. What time they leave the house. And I told him, “And also try to sometime during the day, pretend like your tricycle is broken and go voer there behind over there, able to see you are here. To not to — is something later happen, to know — the neighbors to know you and even you greet them. Tell them ‘Gruss Gott’, (good morning) to the neighbors and they able to know you here and you working over here. Not to get any suspicion.” O.K. Why I tell him this? Because I tell him, “Open up the window, one window, leave open. And as soon as they leave, both of them, I will be over there through the window and I go check the room. Something must be over there hiding what — this would be like evidence.” And I did like this, one day I went over there and open up his room with gloves. I use leather gloves, and I saw uniform, pictures from the SS, and a pistol, I think was a Luger, a German Luger, and a little — they used to have it guns, they call them “Damme pistol.” Very small, they used to wear them here in the sleeve.
BERNSTEIN: They were tied in their sleeve?
NETEL: Yeah. In case somebody take them away the gun, he can pull out from the sleeve — they call them a Damme pistol. All this I saw it, and what I did, I left and I told him, the guy, “O.K., I know now what go on and you continue to get him profit.” I will put in my money what I make over there by the car repairs, and I say, “Here, some day if you don’t have enough profit from the ice cream, eat the ice cream, give away somebody if you can save, but give him money. Give him money not to get you involved in firing. If you give him good profit, you go stay there at work.” O.K., one day, what happen, I don’t remember exactly but I was in the market and approach one lady, a Jewish lady, and she fell on the footstep from this Chief of Police and she starts crying, screaming, “He’s a Gestapo, he’s a SS from this and this lager.” And she was like unconscious, and I got line up with this Jewish policeman. He was in a restaurant drinking beer all the time. And when I need him, I just go over there and I got him. It was not far from this market. And I was going in and I say, “Look what will happen now.” We walk out right away and he called right away two policemen and they arrest him on the spot.
BERNSTEIN: They arrested —
NETEL: The Chief of Police. They took it away the belt and pistol from here and the gun. And they come and took it the lady to the police station because this lady was like a witness. And I found out later, he was SS. They was going to his house and they find it all the evidence, pictures and documents and everything. And they arrest him. He was arrested. Now, when he was arrested, I told my friend, the policeman, “Listen, now is a case, another case hee because the other ne, if he find out he’s arrested, he go hide himself. Go and get other one.” He leaves and he take two policemen and he was going inside the house and they arrest him, the owner from the ice cream factory. They arrest him and they arrest his wife because they find it pictures. He and his wife they was in SS some way, and they confiscate the factory. Everything they confiscate. And this fellow what he was working over there, I believe he left this town. O.K., now when those two was arrested, I start looking for some more like this cases.
BERNSTEIN: And so you were trying to uncover former Gestapo agents, former SS that were in the city that you were in.
NETEL: O.K. I was like — I give it evidence to the police. The police was Polish police. To these Polish policemen, I give them some kind of evidence if I find some kind like SS, Gestapo, this what was against Jews.
BERNSTEIN: What would happen to these SS and Gestapo heads?
NETEL: I don’t know. They arrest them. They arrest them. What they did with them, I don’t know. But they arrest them and they put them in the police department. What they did later with them, I don’t know. Maybe they put them on trial in Nuremberg, maybe they get them over their trial. I don’t know what the end was with them because the time was very short. Now, I believe was this before the pogrom in Kielce. The pogrom in Kielce then shocked after this was, I thnk in 17 of, I think, in July, July 17, if I don’t got a mistake. Was a pogrom in a town in Poland, they call them “Kielce.” It was a great panic, a great panic was and after this, Jews was afraid just what we pass concentration camps all over in Germany, in Poland and in Austria, all over the Europe was concentration camp extermination of Jews. And here started again some kind trouble. It was a great panic and Jews start escaping.
BERNSTEIN: What was the date of it?
NETEL: This was the, I think July 17.
NETEL: In 1946.
NETEL: 1946, July 17 or maybe July 17 or September 17, something like this.
BERNSTEIN: So the pogrom was in —
NETEL: In Kielce. They kill Jews, the Polish, the Pollacks, they kill Jews. O.K., it was after a couple of — I believe it was on July 17, 1946. A few days after this was a great panic. It was organized, a Jewish organization, they call them “Bricha.” “Bricha” mean “run” or “come” or something like this. It’s a Jewish organization to help to escape from Poland. I believed this was put up three days after this happened. I brought with me some because they say to “destroy all kinds document because we have to not — nobody should know from where we came, because we have to close the Russian section too. Take with you, if you can, dollars.”
BERNSTEIN: So you decided you were going to leave?
NETEL: Yeah, I decided immediately to leave.
BERNSTEIN: Where were you gonna go?
NETEL: Go away from Poland, away from Poland. They say to take with us, like cigarette. Was over there they used to say in the market, Polish cigarette and Hungarian cigarette. Polish cigarette was name “Wolnoszcz,” the Baltic, then was Hungarian cigarette was “Magyari.” They used to call them “Magyari.” And also was American cigarette, like Chesterfield, Lucky Strike cigarette. Was Philip Morris, this kind cigarettes was in Poland too. You can buy this in market. Is anyway is we cross it. Many people crossed it. Many people escaped from this Jelenia-Gora. We escaped from Jelenia-Gora to Czechoslovakia. The town exactly I couldn’t remember because it was only the border to Czechoslovakia. When we come, was Polish Police, was border police and they start searching and take away from the people. And what I did, I take it away from me the hat and I make a collection from the people. “Give money, I go bribe them and then the deal is over.” I collect money from the people. I say, “Better you put a couple zloty, and if you got something valuable, things like rings, watches or something like this, it is going to cost you more.” Everybody put it something, you know, and I was going — because they started to already search the people, and when I saw that this was go on, is I bribe them. I say, “Here.” And he asked me if I’m Jew. I said, “No, I am a Pollack. And I bribe them. I give away those money and he lets the people go. And when we cross to the Czechoslovak, they didn’t ask a word. They was not search nobody. The even got pity for us because they saw we go with everybody got a little sack with something what put in some clothing, something like this. No suitcases. Like poor, poor refugees. They got pity for us and even the children they give it candies and they right away they order to bring some Jews bread. They give it food, the Czech, the Czech border police. They was treated very, very good, the people and they don’t say a word. They don’t search, nothing. And the Polish was brutal. If I don’t bribe them, I believe it many people was losing many good valuable things because they was searching all over.
BERNSTEIN: How many people?
NETEL: Oh, was many people, was many people. I estimate maybe a couple of — maybe a hundred or something like this. And now we was going over to — from Czechoslovakia they took us — in Czechoslovakia was more people already what come it looks like really a couple days. Was more people over there and we was united with them and they took us to Vienna. Now we have to cross the river, they call them Danube.
BERNSTEIN: How were you traveling?
NETEL: No, they was giving trucks.
BERNSTEIN: By truck.
NETEL: Yeah. This was organized by the Bricha, by the Jewish organization.
NETEL: They gave us trucks and we was going over there. You know, now we come to the river Dunai. Before we got to the river Dunai, they told us to mention some words from the Bible, something like this because we were going now across the Russian border and can be something wrong, something bad. And to say, if they ask us, to say “Ashrei Yashvei Vesecho” some words from T’Hillim, Psalm or David, or some from Chumash.
NETEL: Because not to mention we know, we understand what we say. To get them out of track, we are not from Poland. And they ask over there from where we are, we say we are Greek Jews from Greece. In Greek is those kind words we say words from the Bible (laughing). We didn’t know Polish, they was asking us –
BERNSTEIN: What would be the difference to the Russians if you were Greek Jews or Polish Jews?
NETEL: We was afraid but actually was nothing because we even didn’t say a word. They didn’t say a word. It was a — we cross and walking through a big bridge. The bridge it was on top of the river, Dunai, Danube. The bridge goes from Czechoslovakia to Austria, to Austria. And I know Russian language and I remember the fellow who open up — he open up like a big piece of wood what is painted red and white where the border. I don’t know how they call this in English. He open up to let through the people.
NETEL: Like you got in the parking places here.
BERNSTEIN: A barrier.
NETEL: A barrier, yeah. He open up. He asked — I remember the word what he say, “Kuda Idut vsy Eri Ludi.” “Where are going so many people?” One say “Ashrei Yoshvei Vesecho,” the other one say “Hallelujah,” the third man say “Shma Yisrael,” (laughing) and everybody say some words from the Bible, and then he say, “Khovosho, Usie mogut eti kuda khotyat,” “Nothing. Go, everyone go where you want.” “Pryriapodzimosti muyposledyum Zavamy.” “We are — if necessary, we can go after you.” This was his word, and he open up his barricade and he lets everybody through. He didn’t ask nothing anymore and he didn’t search, nothing.
BERNATEIN: This was going from Czechoslovakia to Austria.
NETEL: Yeah. We had to cross the Russian — the river was patrolled by the Soviet Army. O.K. now from over there, from this river, we was going to Vienna, Austria. Was over there a refugee organization and they call them Rothschild Hospital. And over there they register everyone what’s coming in and they give us food over there. Many people they give them blankets. Suppose was children, they give them blankets, clothing, and they took us from

Tape 3 - Side 2

NETEL: organization, displaced person organization. And they send us to — it was before a concentration camp and –
BERNBSTEIN: Do you recall the name of the —
NETEL: The name is Ebensee, E-B-E-N-S-E-E, Ebenssee. This is near Gmunden, G-M-U-N-D-E-N, Gmunden, Austria. They took us over there to this camp and in this camp they give us the register and they give us card. It was like yellow, light yellow. They call them “D.P. Cards,” “Displaced Person Cards.” They give us over there in this camp in this Ebensee. Ebensee was a transit camp. Ebensee was before, was, during the time of the Nazis war, was a Jewish concentration camp and this, the whole concentration camp, was on the top of a hill. It was cut at the top and on the top they put up a concentration camp. Down below was the town, Gmunden. When we was coming over there the second day, it was a little Jewish girl approaching somewhere by the fence and was still high voltage and she burn up. They call the Union Electric to cut off the power. Was still power over there. Was a crematorium, was barracks where the Jews was over there and furthermore was a great, great tragedy over there. In the last minute, Ebensee was liberated by the American Army. When the American Army was down below in the town, Gmunden, is in the last minute, the SS took it out all inmates, Jews and non-Jews, everyone and they dig out a mass grave and they put everyone around the grave and they kill them with machine guns and they throw them all inside in the mass grave. Is when I was over there — is too bad I gave those pictures to the Holocaust Center — then I can show you. I still got a picture from over there. In this mass grave is already a cross, and the second day we arrived over there, was coming Rabbis and officials from the American Joint Distribution Committee, this AJDC, to see and I remember one was from a Jewish agency, Mr. Fisher. He was in an American Army uniform and then was coming one leader, a Zionist leader. His name was Aaron Propis and we put up and I joined at this time, to the organization they call them “Revisionist,” “Betar” under the leadership from Jabotinsky. We put up a big — we make a gate, white and blue, Jewish flags, and the top was a sign — I still got it, this sign, in a picture, but I gave it to the Holocaust Center, “Baruch Atah B’voecha katzin hashilton Aaron Propis, high officer, Aaron Propis, lessed are you, you welcome high officer, Aaron Propis.” He was a Zionist leader from the organization, from the Zionist organization what I joined. And he was — he told me he’s from New York. Anyway, when he come in, was all from the Beitar organization salute him. And he make it a speech and then in maybe an hour, two hours, all the officials together with American officials, American was from American Army, they took over like supervision over this camp, over the Jewish camp. And also was from the D.P., Displaced Person Organization, and they make it a great speech and they cover the cross with a block. It was already set up a monument for those who die here in this concentration, for the Jews who die in this concentration camp. They make a speech and they say T’’Hillim, and they say a Kaddish and El Moleh Rachamim. O.K., so I was in this camp not too long. From this camp they sent us like this was a transit camp, they send it from here, they send it some refugees they sended to Germany and I met over there mine cousin. I think he was some kind of survivor from somewhere I son’t know. He just was with me a few hours and they send him to Bamberg, Germany in another camp. And he, if he’s still alive, he’s a Rabbi and not far from Herzliah in a Shikkun. And I met him over there. He was over there. Then later he sent me a letter and I find out from other members of my family. One was in Israel, my cousin, he was survivor from concentration camp from Auschwitz and his daughter was Birkenau as I find out from them. And I find out from other members from mine family. Mine sisters, mine brothers — they was — I got mine brother was — two brothers was survive. One was in Warsaw ghetto and then he was in Treblinka, he survive. And he die in Israel. And then another brother, he’s now in Israel.
BERNSTEIN: Were you surprised?
NETEL: Oh sure I was, very surprised. And a sister with her child.
BERNSTEIN: You were surprised that anyone was still alive?
NETEL: Sure. And there was a sister with her child and then mine sister and her husband was over there in Bamberg in the same refugee camp. She was later united with him. Anyway, what will happen later is I make, when I was by this ceremony of death of all those Jews what was in this, and I got a feeling is “We have to do something to get a country.” Only one solution is to the problem and I make a commitment to God to — and I say those kind words. I close mine eyes and I reminds me of verses from the — from a Midrash. Should I say this which say “Acharei Hachurbar Bes Hamikdash” – (After the destruction of the Holy Temple), Yotzei Rabbi Akiva, (Rabbi Akiva, the main Rabbi from Jerusalem, walk out) — Mistakel B’rokiah (and he’s look in the sky) — U-Bacho (And he was crying.) His scholars ask him, “Why this Midrash started (with the word) “Acharein?” “Acharein” means “after.” Why Rabbi Akiva, such a great Rabbi, though he was in the time or before to make peace with the enemy. Why he show up after? The Midrash say later: “O’mar.” Rabbi Akiva said: “Rabbi Akiva Portzu Ha’ir (they broke in the town, Jerusalem.) Chorvu et Hamikdash (They destroy the Holy Temple) — Sorfu et Hatorah (They burn the torahs) — Aval Hotiot (The words from the Torah — Kovtzu B’rokiah (They jumped in the sky.) In other words, Rabbi Akivah is saying, “Those words from there, from the Torah, the Holy Scripture, they are in the sky and they asking for something.” In those times, I remind me those verses and I say, “In the sky now is the word of the six million Jews.” They always every holiday, the biggest prayer after fasting on Yom Kippur what was the wish from every one Jew? They shaked the hand from one with the other to the sounding the Shofar. “L’Shana Haba’a B’yerushalayim (Next year we be in Jerusalem.) I say: “Now is the time I go to sacrifice my life. I go do everything’s possible to help create a state. We need a country. What’s going to be with those people what they are in those camps? It’s some kind of a solution. Yesterday they destroy millions and now the whole world remains silent. They don’t take those people. Why don’t they give those people some nice houses where the SS was living, for the Germans. They take them in a camp what yesterday was destruction of so many Jews over here. A camp that break the heart. This is going to be a solution from our survivors, solution for the problem?” You understand what I’m saying?
NETEL: It was not a solution to this problem. The sorld is still doesn’t look on us with pity or with regret or some kind to save it, some kind to find a solution to this what were happen. We passed through a final solution of destruction of all Jews. And now doesn’t seems nothing. And like later on we find out what will happen with Exodus ’47. Was captured to a concentration camp. Is in those times when I was by this monument is — but this mass grave what so many got killed in the last minu=te. This was a cruel barbarism because in the last minute the army is already to liberate it, lets this people alive alone. The last minute, they kill them. It’s something was on me unusual impression. I say, “God, you have to do something to give us a country, nothing else.” Is I join a Zionist organization and I — many pictures, if is necessary, you can get it from the Holocaust Center. I give it to the Holocaust Center from this organization. They call them Revisionist or Betar. The founder was Joseph Trumpeldor. He was kill in Rel Hai from the Arabs. Anyway, and the founder from this organization was Zev Jabotinsky. This was extreme right organization, a Zionist organization, and I joined with them after — and this was and I told them “I want to do everything possible to help — we need a country, nothing else.”
BERNSTEIN: What did you know of Jabotinsky at the time?
NETEL: Oh, Jabotinsky — I hear about him. Mine background was I was in Rabbinical college. But what I know about Jabotinsky was officer in the Russian Army and he was a Zionist and he say even, his words — “Yiddishe kinder — lerent eich schissen!” (Jewish children, teach yourself to shoot,) because in Poland when you get somebody a gun, he don’t know how to use it.” Nobody know what this mean. And he say, another word he say, “Yidden, liquidate dem Golus, otherwise the Goluss veren liquidaten eich.” This mean in English, “Liquidate the diaspora. If not, then the diaspora will liquidate you.” This was the word of Jabotinsky. And he wants to try to get rid of the British Mandate. He want to try to get pioneers to go to Israel, not to be involved like in German they say “This is our fatherland” the Jews. In Poland, we was waiting was so much. We was very religious and I couldn’t say this in Vilna, was a Gaon. The greatest scholars was in Vilna, Bialystok, Rovno, and this town where I was in Rabbinical college, Ludmir. In all every one town was nothing but Rabbinical colleges. We was very, very Orthodox but people was considered we have to wait for Messiah to come and liberate us. And to me this was false, a false alarm. They should not wait because according when the Jews was by the river, when Moses took us out from the bondage and it was by the Red Sea and we was take a rest by the sea. And here Moses saw a whole bundh of Egyptians, the best army what was, the Pharoah took it to the Red Sea. Now, here is the river, and here come the army and he start screaming to God, “Lomo Harioti I’am hazeh, lo mizeh shel’achtonim” which means “Why you did wrong to this people, why you send me to liberate them from Pharoah?” God, he was didn’t like it. Moses disagree with God and he say, “Daber el b’nai Israel v’yisu.” Which means, “Tell the children of Israel go, don’t wait for a miracle. Don’t depend on a miracle. Go, the miracle will become later. You have to try do something, then the miracle will come.” Like we got — and this was happen Joshua ben Nun and Caleb ben Yephuneh, they jump in the watrer and then was the miracle. The water was going like a wall on both sides and the Jews passed through. In other words, “The miracle, we have to start it.” Now we got in another place two what by Chanukah is the same things. When was left a little amount of oil. This can only burn one night. And because all the oil was unpure, olive oil. To take tomake it more oil takes eight days in order to get new oil. And it was not left, this little bit oil, they divided according to some Midrash, it was eight days, eight miracles. Every night was another miracle because they took it one little bit from this pure oil and they light it in the Menorah. Was a miracle it burn for 24 hours. The following day, the same thing, till the eight days. Then they got no oil. In other words, was eight miracles. It was not this little bit oil. To perform the first step will not be happen a miracle. It is, I understood, from the word of Jabotinsky and from those verses from the Bible, we could not depend on a miracle. God will not take us and gowith it. We have to start it, then God help us. From this reason I join in this organization and this was shortly after this memorial service — maybe two, three days. The sent us to Hallein near Salzburg. Shall I spell Hallein? They sent us to a camp. This camp was before SS camp.
BERNSTEIN: Is this still in Austria?
NETEL: Yeah. This is Hellein, H-E-L-L-E-I-N By (this mean “by”) Salzburg, S-A-L-Z-B-U-R-G, Hellein by Salzburg, Austria. And I asked later on some Germans, I mean Austrians, what was this camp and they told me this was SS camp. And I ask them what they was teaching over here. “Brutality.” In this camp, they put again Jews. But this camp was not like in Ebensee, like a concentration camp. Is no ovens over there, no those barracks where the Jews was and no those place was using for selections for the Jews, the Appel platz place, nothing. Was a pure camp like a army camp and was wven a theater. Later on we performed some memorial service for Warsaw ghetto, for other ones and was from time to time we show some concerts, Jewish concerts. Anyway, we was in this barrack. I mean, I was living in Barrack #3. I was already in this organization.
BERNSTEIN: and what was the name of the organization again?
NETEL: Betar, Bet Yosef Trumpeldor, or you can say Revisionists. The founder was Zev Jabotinsky. O.K. this organization was formedover there underground organization, Irgun Zvai Leumi. Should I spell it?
NETEL: Irgun Zvai Leumi, I-R-G-U-N Z-V-A-I L-E-U-M-I. Zvai mean “army” and Leumi mean “people.” Irgun mean “unity.” It mean “armed folk,” this mean “people.”
NETEL: This was under the leadership of Menachem Begin. And I start be very, very active because this organization, first of all, was very, very good to me in working and everything because I was not looking like a Jew and I still got even — I bought me a coat, a leather coat from a German over there.
BERNSTEIN: What is a leather coat?
NETEL: An overcoat.
BERNSTEIN: Oh, a leather coat.
NETEL: O.K. And I would dress up exact like a German. Nobody can say I’m Jewish. And this time was, I believe this was already, this was the end of 1946, I believe so. The end of 1946. And I was in this camp. Then started some proclamation for the Jewish State, I believe was in 1947 when they proclaim the Jews have to have a State. Anyway, started some kind trouble in Israel and was a need for weapon because the whole world refused to help with weapons. And I start look around for weapon. I got acquainted with one. His name was Herbert Schneider. He was a German tall guy and it was some kind of suspicion he was an SS. He was working in the department to issue passports for the refugees. Because every refugee in Austria they got a passport. It was like a document. Was written in German, English, French and in Russian. And it was over there the nationality was a refugee. O.K.
NETEL: As he was working over thee and I got him very big confidence and I asked him —
BERNSTEIN: He was German?
NETEL: He was Austrian.
BERNSTEIN: He was Austrian.
NETEL: He was living in a little area not far from the camp. We call the “Grisrichen,” G-R-I-S-R-I-C-H-E-N, Grisrichen. This in Hellein by Salzburg. It was a little area, like you got here University City, Clayton, a little area. Anyway, and I got acquainted with him and I asked him where I can get some weapon. And he recommend me to one what I can maybe get it.
BERNSTEIN: Now was this assigned as your job to get weaponbs?
NETEL: I got assigned from the Irgun Zvai Leumi to look for weapons because we need weapons to send to Israel. I was dress up exactly like a German, not to get — because we was living in a Jewish refugee camp and over there was competition, was all kind of organizations. Was left wing organization, was even members from Palmach, was all kinds organizations. One which was — I give — you have to be careful of one against other. We was not a unity.
BERNSTEIN: They were Jewish organizations.
NETEL: Organizations, one against other. Was not united. This was — I belong to a right wing organization, was left organizations, was compete one with another. Anyway, is very, very hard to do this job because I had to be careful of the German police and have to be careful in the camp for our own Jews. But anyway, I got acquainted — yeah, what will happen, he recommend me to one fella. He say, “He probably can have it weapon.” And I was going to tell him and introduce myself, “I’m from Salzburg.” He ask me if I am a Jew. I say, “No, I been a Pollack, but I’m a refugee over there work because my accent is not too good German.” As I say, “I’m working over there in Salzburg, you know, some kind of a job, auto mechanic, and I must neec for mine own protection.” He was such afraid to start with me with weapon, but what he did, he pull out a cup. He pull out a cup, a Kiddush cup, what they maked Kiddush, and this was silver, pur silver. And was written in Hebrew and he want to sell me this. I say, “How much you want?” He say, “Oh maybe a couple cigarettes.” I say, “What is here written over here?” He say, “I don’t know.” “This is in German language?” I ask him. He say, and he was — and I look on him and he was like pale, like something is on his conscience, and he want to take away from me. And I say, “No, no, I ask you what — I’m just curious what is written.” I never say, and I turned this way, the other way, and I say, “I don’t know.” Anyway, I gave him two cartons American cigarettes and I took this away. What were written on this was written this way in Hebrew, “L’ot charutzot L’bochur Boruch goldshtupt mimachvite Torah We’ir Biala-Vielec.” He was somebody or he was commit to create Torah or he was a Bar Mitzvah, some kind of thing. Can be this person was committed to like support Torah, support the holiness, support Rabbinical college, or something like this. Or maybe a young fellow got this as a sign for his Bar Mitzvah. Something got this to do, but anyway, this is still in Israel. I can get this from Israel. So I took this away and I give him those two cartons cigarettes and I asked him if I can come again to him and he say, it was not the answer a clear “yes,” and I got a feeling something is fishy with this person.
BERNSTEIN: What was his name?
NETEL: I couldn’t remember his name. What I did, I reported to the Irgun Zvai Leumi and I told them, “We have to go get rid of him.” And they told me, “We need you for some more maybe.”
BERNSTEIN: Why did you tell them that —
NETEL: I got suspicion he must be an SS. I got suspicion. The way like he was when I was talking to him, I — first of all, he don’t know I’m Jewish. I told him I’m a Pollack, I be from Salzburg and I’m working, a city worker. O.K. And I son’t know what is writing. It is Germany, it is what kind language it is, and by looking, and I look at this and I look on him, and I saw his eyes changed, his face changed like some kind of guilt. Is I think some kind of suspicion. He probably is SS. And then what I did, I was going to the camp and I report to the Irgun Zvai Leumi. I knew there was coming two guys from Salzburg, head guys. And I say, “Maybe should I go with you?” And he say, “No, we need you some more.” And after a few days, they told me, “We got rid of him.” They took him in a forest and they strip him of the clothes. They hit him with a pistol and he admit and he got here hackenkreuz. You know, the Germans used to have it here.
BERNSTEIN: Did you say a cross?
NETEL: A hackenkreuz. A hackenkreuz is like this: All the Germans, the Nazis, was like this (demonstrating to interviewer).
BERNSTEIN: And that would indicate that he was — oh, of course.
NETEL: Yeah, a hackenkreuz. This is indicated he was a Nazi.
NETEL: The two guys told me, “We got rid of him. He was a Nazi, an SS.”
BERNSTEIN: Every Nazi had that underneath his clothes?
NETEL: Yeah, every one. This was a symbol from the SS.
BERNSTEIN: If you’re a member of the SS?
NETEL: Yeah. This was like secure for them. Suppose many was surprised. It was a Russian soldier, Russian officers, dress up like the SS. How the Germans know the SS, they stamped all the SS. They stamp it to know he’s SS.
BERNSTEIN: But it also lets everyone else know that he’s an SS.
NETEL: Yeah, if somebody sees him strip of the clothes, can see he’s SS. You don’t have to worry nothing. If he got this, he is SS. This was the same like the Jews in Auschwitz, they got the numbers. This is in the skin. I Auschwitz, was the number for the Jews and also was some nice looking girls what used to have it sign of “fur officers.” They was separated for sex for officers, for German officers.
BERNSTEIN: That was stamped on?
NETEL: This was in Birkenau, in Birkenau. I find out from mine cousin; she was in Birkenau. She say many of them girls in Czechoslovakia was very beautiful girls, because she was from Czechoslovakia. She say they used to have it signs for F-U-R, Fur Officers. It was strict for sex for German officers. Anyway, those guys told me they got rid of them. They got rid of them. Should I continue?
NETEL: They got rid of them. O.K., I was happy. I didn’t ask them any information, anything. I say, “I don’t know nothing and I don’t want to know nothing.” And they say, “This is the end. Don’t talk to nobody about this. We will not talk. This is finished.” O.K., now this was, I believe was in 1946, 1946. Yeah, I was acquainted with — later on I start going in restaurants, German restaurants to catch some kind people. Many time I used to use like, pretend I’m a little bit drunk, and if I see some Germans, I used to buy them beer.

Tape 4 - Side 1

BERNSTEIN: This is Richard Bernstein interviewing Marian Netel at his home May 12, 1988.
NETEL: Now I was going in this restaurant and this reataurant was located in the town in a basement. Used to call them “rathskellar.” It was coming all kind people over there. Mostly was not so high class, and I pretend many time I’m a little bit drunk and if I see some German, I used to treat them, buy for them beer to get some — most important I was dress up in such a manner nobody can tell I’m some kind of a refugee.
BERNSTEIN: Were you still trying to acquire arms?
NETEL: Yeah. I still – I want to find somebody what to get some kind arms for Israel. Is I start to get acquainted with many of them, buying beer, and the name I didn’t tell them. All the time I tell them some different name. And I told them — if they ask me where I live, I told them I live in Salzburg and I just come over here visit. And I didn’t tell them I am Jewish. Finally, one day I met one fellow. He was — he told me he was in the Wehrmacht. Wehrmacht is the regular German army, was nothing to do with SS. And he was injured fellow. And I start talking to him — the way I was talking to him. He was very serious and I think I go try if I can have confidence in him. And I tell him open, “I’m a Jew, but I don’t want nobody to know I’m Jewish, and I will no more come over here because somebody told me he got weapon, this guy.” I said, “But I want you be sure to stay let me meeting you.” He give me the hand and we shake hand and I go in with him, we drink out for good luck. And he told me he got hided very, vert much weapon somewhere in the mountains, very much weapons. I start buying by him. I report this to the fellows from Irgun Zvai Leumi and they came. And I start buy by him, little by little. I remember I bought couple pistols and I remember I boughted a automatic pistol. This was a Russian with a round disk, is goes in 72 bullets. You can cut a tree, if you’re a good shooter, you can cut a treee at once with those 72 bullets as goes straight, one after another. And then I bought from him, they call them a schmeisser. It is automatic weapon what you can lay them down in pieces and when you pull them out, you put them on the shoulder and shoot. This is a German automatic weapon. Anyway, this I think was in 1947, was after, I believe, was starting the was already in Israel. And this time I produce here to Mr. Bernstein an affidavit which I was issued in June 19, 1947, from mine cousin, Max Alpen, from New York. And this was coming to here, Salzburg. And also a letter what HIAS — HIAS is “Hebrew Immigration Aid Society,” and this was located and numbered 2, Kapital Platz, Salzburg. And the telephone was 1046 and telegram address here, Salzburg. The number was: 2084 and this letter is issued 8th July, 1947, to me, Marian Netel and Netel, Mordechai. Anyway, and I was able to immigrate to United States in 1947 and also mine brother got the same kind of affidavit. But since I was involved with the Irgun Zvai Leumi and also I did a commitment to help Israel and this camp, Ebensee, where I was, I just ignored this. I put away on the side. I didn’t go to the HIAS and I didn’t register. I put this on aside.
BERNSTEIN: Was that a difficult decision for you? Or was your decision already made?
NETEL: No, it was made when I saw the mass grave and before this happen. In 1946, when I came to Ebensee and I saw the mass grave at the last minute what the Germans done with the Jews and other kind of inmates, whatever inmates there was in this camp, is I make a commitment, “We need the solution to our problem, is only to have a state.” And since now, and since now is I was involved in the Irgun Zvei Leumi and those of us started a war in Israel and I say, “Is now the right time to be proud to go and help Israel, to be proud to stay arm in arm with the Israeli soldiers to fight for our country and this got to doin’ with the whole past for 2000 years. We are waiting. Now is coming the time and I am proud I can do something for our Jewish people and from the country, and this is a deal, is like — for me was a very, very great things, after 2000 years, I be able to stay with the Israeli army and fight for a state, a Jewish State.” I just ignored this affidavit and I was continuing in this camp but I believe in 1948, right at the beginning, I believe this was in March, was I give over to Rabbi Bernstein, Director of the Holocaust Center, a picture what say, “People prepare yourselves for the registration what will be in near days to Israel.” Is I was the first one what volunteer to this registration and even I was in the Presidium that they put on me a white and blue ribbon on arm, but we was five together. From those five, only three we was going to Israel and the rest was many, many from Rumania, Czechoslovakia, but from Poland very few. And this was, I believe it, around March, 1947, beginning of March, 1947. And they took us, organize us — they give us a going away party in the camp because was a very great things in the history. We volunteered to go to the Israeli Army and here we can stay in the camp and got food and drinks and everything. We left this life over here and we go to fight for a Jewish State. They make us a going away party and later on, they took us with the GMC trucks to the train station. There was already couple wagons organized for our people and they took us to Salzburg. In Salzburg we meet the other ones, other one people what was waiting for all much people to go some place. Is I remember was leaders from already, leaders from the Israeli army but in civil clothes. They make it a appeal. They put us all in a appeal place and they say we are leaders from the Israeli army. We are not anything. We are not Irgun. We are not Haganah. We are pure leaders from the Israeli army, high ranking officers. And here, from here we have to go in a direction, in a destination unknown. Is go be the night. Everyone should not be panic. Here is — .” And he talked this in Hebrew, then was translated, they tell in every language, in Jewish and in Polish and in Russian and French and Rumanian, Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, all kind languages because was people from all over. All youngsters age between 20, 25 or even maybe 18, young. All males, no females. In our group was one female. She was — Ilona was her name and she was engaged with one fellow from Hungaria. And only this one girl and the rest was all males. And now, and he told us, “If somebody got some like clothing what’s shiny, light, to throw this away and go in the magazine and take other ones. If somebody got buttons what shining, it somebody got glasses, to hide the glasses. If somebody got any kind optical, anything what can be shining in the night, destroy it. Any buttons, any shoes what shining — everything should be in dark.”” And they give us food over there and now in the night they took us in walking to Bad Reichenhal. We had to cross the border from Austria to Germany. In Bad Reichenhal was a Jewish camp, a refugee camp. In the night when we was going, one was holding each other like goose, one hand in the front, the other hand back, and we was going one after the other. And the leader say, “If I make it a sign, “Down,” everybody should lay down.” If I “Stand up,” everybody should stand up. No talking, no smoking and no laughing and no panic and no lighting cigarette or lighting with a flashlight because we have to cross borders.” Where we go, we don’t know. Anyway, they took us over there to Bad Reichenhal. Bad Reichenhal, this was German and a German camp — I mean in a Jewish camp.
BERNSTEIN: What was the name of it again?
NETEL: Bad Reichenhal, B-A-D R-E-I-C-H-E-N-H-A-L, Bad Reichenhal. This is in Germany. This is Bavarian. Not far over there was a place what they call Berchtesgarten where Hitler used to make speeches.
NETEL: You want I spell Berchtesgarten?
NETEL: O.K. The Jewish people was over there in this refugee camp what they took us over there, and over there they unite us with more and then they took us to Saufelden, back to near, somewhere near Italy. Innsbruck or Saufelden, something like this. I believe was Innsbruck near Italy somewhere. And the plan was to get a boat from Italy going to Israel. But something was happened we could not. The plane was broke down. Then from over there they took us by train to France. The name of the place was Bandol, B-A-N-D-O-L, Bandol, near Marseilles. Should I spell Marseilles?
NETEL: Near Marseilles. This was a villa, one villa, and all around was surrounded with trees, palm trees, fruit trees and was on the one side was the ocean. We was over there, I believe, maybe a month, something like this. From March, I believe — no, no — the whole trip from March up to here in this Bandol took us up till May, up till the middle of May.
NETEL: In 1948, up till the middle of May. Now in the middle of May, probably before the 15th, because we hear the news from Israel and the boat already. Was something maybe around the 13th and 14th, or maybe it was the 15th. I believe it was between the 15th and 14th. Yah. They wake us, yah, and in this Bandol was a leader from the Haganah. He didn’t say the name, he just say, “I am from the Israeli army,” a high ranking officer and he used to train us fighting with knives, karate, judo, some kind like this. Everyday he used to take us to “appel platz,” big gym and later on we was going eat. Food was very good, very good food. They was treating us very nicely. But he say, “Nobody can go from here, nobody should escape. You are all under military discipline. If somebody go away from here, is considered a deserter. A deserter is, it is a court martial.” Anyway, and we was over there I believe till the 13th or 14th of May. And then one day, they wake us up real early in the morning because summer early in the morning is already light. I believe it was maybe around 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock, something like this. “Everybody take — not take the baggage, but leave the baggage.” This was the order. “Pack everything what you got, all your possessions, and leave them. Put this down.” They give us a tag the name, we got sacks like army what was green sacks, all green or like bluejean color. I don’t remember exactly between those two colors. Can be like bluejean colors or can be green, pure green. Anyway, all possessions should be put in those sacks and we have to dress up and just put a tag the name and this is it. First and last name and this is it, nothing else. And just be follow us. And we was going out on an order.
BERNSTEIN: How many men were in your group?
NETEL: Was very mush. Was, at least, I assume thousand minimum or maybe over.
BERNSTEIN: Over a thousand men?
NETEL: Yeah. But all was boys in age, mine age. Was an age of 23 up to 25 and maybe 19. One girl was. Her name was Ilona. She was from Hungaria and she was engaged with one fella and he took her with him. And O.K. Now on this day, like I say, on the 13th or 14th of May in the morning they took us to the ocean and we was going and the side was in a place like this was palm, this side palm trees, this side — nobody can see us from outside. Like Moses passed with the Jews. O.K. now we saw a boat — a boat is near to the dry. O.K. and we start approaching. Then come, I remember three policemen, French policemen. One was with a black uniform, one was with a green uniform and the other one I don’t remember exactly, but I remember one was a black uniform and ne a green uniform. And one more — was three. And they start talking in French, “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” “What go on?” And then now approach a leader from our group, from the Israeli government. Yah, I forgot to mention, when we was already took from us picture and I produce even this picture got even a seal, a red seal. The government they say this had to be for documents. And everyone got the leaders from this camp, they got from everyone a picture and they got ready documents. And the leader comes over and by the picture he give everyone a document. What the name, I don’’ know what my name was, but according to picture, he give a document. Now, when the French police tell the men, “What go on?” and I saw him like, God help me, like today, he took the envelope, a heavy envelope, a white envelope and he put it to the officer, the police officer, and he put it between a shirt. He open up his coat and inside to the breast he put in. And I just saw like a heavy envelope, white envelope. I assumed this was bribery, some kind of money. Anyway, the leader got some papers, some all kind bunch of papers like the American Army got those official papers and the color was light brown, those official papers. And everyone got a document and we was going in the boat. We was going in the boat and the police, the French police was looking on the picture. He looked me and looked on the picture. He don’t ask any name, nothing. He just look the picture. If it’s “Uh-huh,” this picture, this man is O.K. And let us in. Where they let us in was standing over there oddicial, Israeli official and he tear off the picture from the document. He give me back the picture and I asked him. “What is with the document?” He said, “The document we need for somebody else.” In other words, this document it looks like they gonna use for other kind people. What the name, I don’t remember. And this picture, I give it to Rabbi Sternberg got this in this album what I give him. It’s still with a magnifying glass probably is a half of a seal in light red, like orange is printed in French probably some kind — I didn’t got a chance to get even to see with a big magnifying glass. Maybe you can see this.
BERNSTEIN: Do you know what the document said?
NETEL: No. The document was a document, not only a picture. What they say over there, because we got the document only on the steps from the boat and inside right away, he took it away. I got no chance even to look at the document. Only he tore it off the picture and I was curious, I say, “Where is the document? What you do with document?” He say, “You give me back the picture was on the document. I need the document.” He say, “No, the document we need for somebody else.”
NETEL: O.K. this was from the Israeli army, official from Israeli army, but everyone was in civil clothes, civil clothes. But I assume was high ranking officer. Now, the boat start going. We go away from the international water. When we come into international water, the boat stop and “Come out,” it was a signal everyone go to the deck, to the top. This was a barge. The boat is from Italy. A barge which used to carry wine and the tanks. And since we was after the international water, there comes out the captain from the boat. He anchor the boat and he turn off complete the engine, to be quiet. And he say, “Mine name is Captain Willy. I am a very severe person. We are going to Israel. We don’t want it to happen us this what happen with Exodus 1947. We will not let us go through (or to) Cypress. We got plenty weapons to defend ourselves against the British Army. We go fight to the last minute and you are under strict military discipline. Obey orders. Not to ask any questions. I don’t want to listen to any kind questions. It’s go be people what work with me. Don’t ask them either. No answers. Don’t ask any questions, just follow directions. This is your duty. And we hope to come to Israel safe. Now food, we don’t have any cooking facilities over here. You can have it crackers and you can have it conserves.” Conserves was a kosher meat like beef and everyone was, I still remember, a white etiquette was written in Jewish, a “mattanal” from the American Joint Distribution Committee for the Israeli soldiers. It was a gift from AJDC, American Joint Distribution Committee, for the Israeli soldiers.
BERNSTEIN: For the Israeli soldiers?
NETEL: Israeli — I’m sorry, for the Israeli soldiers. This was printed in Jewish and in English. This was very good conserve, also was oil sardines, crackers and he told us we be go on to rations. And they give us little bottles, the size of a small Coca Cola. Used to be small Coca Cola. This was the size. Was aluminum bottle and the water was still reddish from the wine because it look like they didn’t wash out good the tanks. Was still smelling a little bit wine. But anyway, the captain told us not to shave, not to wash, not to use the water from the ocean because this salt water. In other words, not to shave and not to wash until we get to Israel. And this to use only emergency when you really thirsty. We will not receive any more like this bottle for 24 hours. And we can have maybe two boxes of crackers and maybe one or two of those what name thos beef, kosher beef, and maybe one or two fish, sardines. This is all what we get. O.K., now and everyday in the morning he call us all up. We get rifles to shoot in the water, to learn to defend ourselves.
BERNSTEIN: Now you’re in the barge and you’re on your way to Israel.
NETEL: The way to Israel. Now – and the barge was going very slow. It took us two weeks to come to Israel. Now, May 30, I believe early in the morning, maybe 3 o’clock, we are in Israel. We are in Caesaria. Caesaria, this is a town what goes from the bible. Should I spell Caesaria?
BERNSTEIN: Where is it located on the map?
NETEL: Located near Chadera in Israel. Caesaria, should I spell you?
NETEL: K-E, I think, S-A-R-I-A, Kesaria. This is near a refugee camp, they call them Chadera, C-H-A-D-E-R-A. Chadera, Israel. O.K., we come to Caesaria on May 30, 1948.
BERNSTEIN: What were your feelings when you were approaching?
NETEL: When we appraoch, yah, in middle of the road, we put up Italian flags. Italian flag. And the Captain say, “We go pretend like we are from Italy. We are coming not from France, but we coming from Italy.” The barge is Italian and he is Italian, the flag is Italian. This Italian barge what they carry some kind merchandise nobody see, nobody. We was all in the dark. But when we arrived to Israel and this was early in the morning, and they blocked the barge in the water. They could not go to the dry and then he say, “Now we are in Israel.” Everybody start saying, “Shehechiyanu” prayer, we are happy, dancing! Everybody is very happy and now comes some people, Israelis, with little ships — I mean to the barge. And we jump into the little boats.
BERNSTEIN: How far off land were you?
NETEL: Off land was quite a big distance. But the water over there is not too deep to go to the dry.
BERNSTEIN: Were you ten miles off shore?
NETEL: No, not ten miles. I would say not ten miles. Maybe off shore I will say several blocks, maybe ten, twenty, thirty blocks, something like this.
BERNSTEIN: The British still did not know?
NETEL: No, nobody know nothing, nobody know nothing. We jumped from the deck, from the barge to the little boat. And I told him — I remember the words what I told him. I told him, “Chauer, anj kasheh,” “I am heavy.” He say, “Out of the head, don’t worry, don’t be scared.” “Atal lo harishon — Atah lo ha’acharon” — “You’re not the first, you’re not the last.” And we jumped on him, on this gentleman what he got at the barge, we jumped on him and he put up in the little boat. And whn it’s full, he took it to the dry. There was three, maybe four like this boat. They took us to the dry. When the barge is unloaded, we don’t care about our possessions, nothing — just out ourselves.
BERNSTEIN: Were you carrying guns?
NETEL: Nothing, no. We don’t carry nothing. Ourselves, nothing. We just — they embark us, we go from the boat to the dry. When we come to the dry, was line up one after another and the leader say, “When I start going, you have to go after me. When I fall down, you fall down. When I stand up, you stand up. When I kneel, you should kneel. Everything what I’m doing, you have to repeat.” But I remember was in boat we was going through a pardes with trees from oranges. And on both sides was a distance I believe, maybe, a block or so was riflemen from the Haganah with a carbine, a rifle, I don’t know. They told us not even to look. And we was not to hold a rifle like this, to be ready. Was on both sides and this was like we was going through an alley, through. Here we see nothing but trees and on the side nothing but trees and like a soldier on each side with a loaded rifle. And they took us to Betolim. Betolim is like a refugee camp, Chadera. When we come to Chadera, it was real early in the morning, May 30. Maybe was maybe around 3 o’clock or maybe 1 o’clock, something after midnight because is 30. Something after midnight. After midnight they started the 30. Maybe 1o’clock, maybe 2 o’clock, I don’t remember exactly. And they took us to Chadera and over there in Chadera was set up tables. First of all, they gave us lemons. They say because we was starving from thirst. Lemon is good after thirst. And the lemons was so big that I was wondered the first fruit what I saw in Israel was a lemon! (Laughing) A lemon like a balloon, so big. Big lemons. And I took and cut the lemon and I eat it complete cause I was suffering from thirst. And was prepared tables with flowers, white and blue and also ribbons, white and blue, flags, white and blue. Not this kind like what they got now. This flagecomes later. Before was other kind flag. It had white and it had blue.
BERNSTEIN: White stripes and blue stripes?
NETEL: No, not stripes, was like this (demonstrating to interviewer).
BERNSTEIN: Could you describe it?
NETEL: Of course, was a half. The top was white and the bottom was blue. It was two like points.
BERNSTEIN: On the end.
NETEL: On the end, points on the end and with a stick. The top was white and the bottom blue. This was the Jewish flag. And was decorated the table.

Tape 4 - Side 2

BERNSTEIN: At this time when you first arrived in Israel, how was your health?
NETEL: My health was not so much good because I was all the time under medication. I used to take lominol, but I feel like a patriot duty, I’m going do something for ourselves. And this why it make me stronger like I was. I was ready, you know, to tear down a whole building, not to get to the point.
NETEL: Courage, yah, the courage was such great even if I see I have to die, but I will go to the destiny, I will put myself in the frontier line. I will go!! Even have to be the worst, I’m going! I’m doing because I feel like I got a “Z’chut.” “Z’chut” means like I arrive with something what I have to be proud. For two thousand years, I am now a soldier in our own army!! When so many since Moses — it was not Moses, but Jacob, he put it first his children, his seventy people what he was going to Egypt in exile. It was the first exile. And up from the first exile, what will happen with Jacob and his children is up till now we was striving to have a country. We was pressing through so many tribulations, pogroms and was, and Soviet Union was pogroms, was in Spain and all over the part of the world the Jews was fighting to have the Torah, the education. If we give up, many of them will say, “O.K., we want all of this.” It was Maccabees and other kinds what was fighting for — was heroes and this now, mine now when I been with my foot on own ground, in Israel, I was feeling like I’m — something, “God bless me to be now here.” Maybe I got some kind, I deserve something and I have to doing the best what I can doing to create a State for those what are in refugee camps, for those was in Poland under the antisemitism, for those all over, because if we don’t have it, a country, we are lost. We are lost all over, And now is the time when I been a part of this what I’m going to have to liberate them, to have a country for all the future history. Is was for me a great, a great experience, a great proud. I’m going now hand by hand with other kind, with other Jewish soldiers and fighting for our country. It’s something was unusual.
BERNSTEIN: And this is what gave you your strength?
NETEL: Yah, it gave me much courage, and if I have to die in the frontier line right away, I don’t care, I con’t care. But I want to fulfill mine obligation, mine patriotic duty. And my patriotic duty is connected with the whole past from the whole country. Two thousand years! Zmine father, maybe, he wants to be in Israeli army. He couldn’t. Or mine grandfather or many, many generations for 2000 years, and now I been one of them what I can be and in our own army and to fight for our own country and help later country free complete where the gates will be open. But no more British mandate, no more other kind mandate, no more the Syrians, no more nobody. It go be our own country!!! Is for me was a great proud to step in in the Israeli soil.
BERNSTEIN: It’s interesting that you realized the important time in history that it was.
NETEL: Yah. Time in the history what is a reflection from the future because, like I mentioned before, all over what we — even after the war, they put us in camps to break again the hearts and the only solution to our problem is only to have a country.
BERNSTEIN: Did most of the other men that were with you —
NETEL: All of them was Israelis. I arrived with this — maybe I didn’t mention, was a thousand youngsters in this barge, a thousand. Complete a thousand. The name from the barge was Fabian. The captain, like I mentioned, was Willy. Everyone was proud he’s on the Israeli soil, everyone was proud and nobody was asking questions or even play game sick or something like this. Nobody even want to have it a medical examination. Everybody’s ready to go, go and fight, help those what they are now on the frontier line, those Israelis what they are now on the frontier line, to help them.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Was this after the United Nations —
NETEL: Yes, this was after. This was already, like I mentioned, I’d been — the United Nations, I think they declare in 1947, but in 1950, on May 15th, was established a Jewish State, was already recognized Israel as a Jewish State. In May 15. In May 15, I was in the water.
BERNSTEIN: In the water.
NETEL: In the water, going to Israel. O.K. And when I arrived was May 30, early in the morning.
First interview probably ended here since the remainder of the tape was inaudible.

Tape 5 - Side 1

BERNSTEIN: This is Rick Bernstein interviewing Marian Netel at his home on May 19, 1988, Tape #5. Marian, after our last session, you were telling me that when you were in Austria after liberation, you were working with the Irgun, and you told me that you had some missions that you performed for them. Could you tell me about that?
NETEL: Yes sir. To recollect all memories like was day by day, day by day, is a little bit hard for me because after all those passing through, and I forgot one mission what I did for the Irgun. This was approximately in March, I believe, because it was cold and I was with overcoat.
BERNSTEIN: In March of what year?
NETEL: March, 1947 and this was in a refugee camp. We call them “Hellein” near Salzburg, Austria. The spelling I think you got already. Anyway, one of the top leaders frim the Irgun Zvei Leumi, I don’t know his name, but his code name was “Mattes.” I believe he was from Hungaria or from Czechoslovakia. He was not from Poland because his accent was some kind Hungarian. And his code name was Mattes and he, since I was not looking like a Jew and I was not dress up the way like those refugees, very hard me to recognize I am a Jew or I am a refugee. And I got a leather coat which I bought it from a German. It’s look like SS coat. And I put on nice hat and a nice suit with a tie, and he brought it to me to this train station two suitcases. They was very heavy, big suitcases, and also a document in four languages. Issue it was my picture, the name was Kurt Schultz, born in Salzburg and Staatsangehörigkeit, this means “citizenship” Austrian. And with this passport and those suitcases, I have to — and he took it away mine document.
BERNSTEIN: Did they tell you what was in the suitcases?
BERNSTEIN: Or anything about what you were —
NETEL: No, they just say, “You go to Germany and somebody give you a code number. You just give him the suitcases. It’s go be a cab driver, a taxicab driver.” And I took it those suitcases and he got already prepared for me a ticket, and I approached to the police, the Austrian police by the train and I produce mine document and the ticket, and he lets me through. Then I produce the same things to the German police border, the ticket and the document and they lets me through. I was going in in the train. When I come in the train, I took it the suitcase and I put them this on the top shelf, not on the bottom, but the top. In case they look, then be not suspicion if it’s on the top. Always somebody, I believe, if he got something illegal, is go be the bottom. I put on the top. And I was going into the — and the trains they got cafeterias. I was going over there and order me something to eat and order me a beer. Then after this beer, another beer and I was sitting around till the train got into Germany. In the meantime, they was coming check it the I.D. cards and the tickets and I produce them in the cafeteria, mine ticket, mine I.D. card. They stamped it and then we come to Bad Reichenhal. I was going out with attention somebody go wait for me. And I took it the ticket with those two suitcases and I passed through police again — I think was only the German police, to the German police. And they checked my ticket, they take it away a half and half they give me back,
and they checked the document. And over there was waiting for me a cab driver.
BERNSTEIN: Outside of the train station?
NETEL: Outside of the train station. Outside from the train station was waiting for me a cab driver with a uniform, a German uniform. A black hat with those from plastic over here. The whole uniform with a cab, a black cab marked “Taxicab,” exact like a German cab. And I saw over there inside was another fellow. He told me a code number and he took away from me the suitcases and he left immediately. Then come another one and he gave me a code number and he took me in the cab and he didn’t ask me no questions, nothing. Just he say, “You probably hungry. I take you some place to eat.” And he took me in a German restaurant and he order for me a nice meal with a beer. They drink over there most beer. They’re big beer. I took a big beer and he say, “In a few minutes I come back, I bring you a ticket.” And I was sitting and eat and drinking beer. In the meantime I start talking over there with people and he come back and he gave me a ticket, but he say, “You will not go in the same way. You have to swing around, make a turn, not to be suspicion from where you came.”
BERNSTEIN: So to go back to Austria, they were going to take you a different route?
NETEL: To Austria in a different direction. As I passed in a different direction, then I saw the train comes back in the same direction what I was embarked. I was going over there and then I circle back. And when I come back to Austria, the Mr. Malle, was his code name, was waiting for me. He took away back my document and he gave me — he took away this document and he gave me my document and he check in with me. And I left to the refugee camp.
BERNSTEIN: Mission accomplished.
NETEL: Mission was accomplished. He say, “No problem?” I say, “No, nothing.” He say, “Todah Rabah, shalom” and this is it. Now this was one deal what I passed through it. Now was another one was involved with my brother. As you see over here in 1947, mine brother got a affidavit. He was able to go to United States of America, issued by a cousin from New York, Mr. Max Alpen. He was a civil engineer. O.K. and because I was already in Israel, he decided to follow me to Israel. O.K. Now I was involved with one fellow what I start buying weapon for Israel and this fellow, he was in the Wehrmacht.
BERNSTEIN: You were working for the Irgun —
NETEL: For the Irgun Zvai Leumi.
BERNSTEIN: And they wanted you to purchase weapons to be transferred to Israel?
NETEL: Yah, yah.
BERNSTEIN: O.K., Israel.
NETEL: Now, when I was already in Israel, is this fellow what I started with him buying weapon. He approached to my brother and he say, “Your brother is Marian?” And he say, “Yes.” He say, “Where is your brother?” He say, “He is in Israel.” My brother show him a picture with a rifle what I sent from Israel. The rifle was a Carbine Mauser made in Czechoslovakia. O.K. And he say, “If this is your brother, I recognize him.” He say, “I started with him and I got somewhere in the mountains very much weapon.” He call somebody, and “I have to get rid of this.” And mine brother got in contact with some members from Irgun Zvai Leumi because he know them I was involved. Is he called them and we took it away from over there, maybe one or maybe two trucks and everything was going to Israel. It was in 1947. Mine brother die in Israel and I think he was born in 1921, and he die in March 2, 1983. This is Chof Vav Shevat Toy Shin Mem Gimmel. He died from severe heart attack they call acute myocardial, I think, infection.
BERNSTEIN: Acute myocardial infarction?
NETEL: Infarction, yah. And he was unconscious maybe a week or so, and he die in Tiberias. He was a survivor from the Warsaw ghetto and later, after the resistance, the Germans took him to Treblinka. And he was suffering a very bad heart condition and he got asthma. And this town what he was in, Tiberias, was very hot and maybe this cause him. When he die, I believe (age of) 62.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. When we ended our tape last, you were talking about how you had been taken on a barge to Israel and you were with a thousand other young men and how you got off the barge and you were taken to a refugee camp where you said you had a celebration of sorts. O.K., could you continue your story from there?
NETEL: Yes sir. After we got the celebration, they told us we can go out a little bit, but not too far. A round circle over here and pretty soon we have to go away. In the meantime they prepare us. They give us refugee cards like they got in the United States, green cards, and which I got them here now. And the letters — and then they told us not to go away. If we wanted, we can sleep over here. We can sleep a little bit. They gave us blankets, green blankets, like the army. And they give us pillows with mattress, we can sleep. This was a refugeee camp. The boat was named “Fabian” and we arrive in May 3, 1948, and the name is Netel. This is from the refugee camp. O.K., and then, after several hours, on the same date. This was at night. After several hours, they got already lined up big trucks, was covered with camouflage, army trucks with camouflage and they told us we go to a destiny unknown, and they took us to a camp, an army camp. They call them “Tel Litvinsky.” This is not far from Tel Aviv. And when we arrive over there the same day, on May 3, 1948. When we arrive over there, they give us — they register us and they assigned everybody in different army units. Some Palmach, some was assigned to Totchanim. This mean the “heavy tanks” or “cannons,” some kind like this, depends what they need.
BERNSTEIN: What kind of responsibilities did the Palmach have?
NETEL: Palmach, this is combat, combat. This is they go the first line. And the other one was they assigned some for Air Force, some they assigned for Navy. Some they assigned for Totchani. This mean “cannons.” Depends what they need. And everybody was spread out all over. O.K., and this was in May 3, 1948.
BERNSTEIN: And what were you assigned to?
NETEL: I was assigned to the — over there, in the meantime, to in this camp, and from this camp to some kind of a battalion, and from here they took me right away, the same night, to a frontier line. And then I was coming back to the same camp. Then they assigned me to another place in different part of the country. And then the last one I was by Gaza, not far from Bet Chanun, not far from Gaza. This was Bet Chanun, and over there I got severe injured. I suffer a contusion and mine friend was severe injured too, and I give him the first aid and I took him to the hospital.
BERNSTEIN: How did you suffer your injury? What happened?
NETEL: A contusion was a heavy shelling and I got brain shock, and this cause me very, very severe damage to mine head.
BERNSTEIN: Did something strike you in the head?
NETEL: Yah, something strike me and strike me something in the shoulder and since then I was suffering terrible. But I was not giving up. I still was fighting to stay in the army and I didn’t go even to the hospital.
BERNSTEIN: Now you were talking about helping a friend?
NETEL: Yah, I was talking about helping a friend. He was, his name was Millet Eliyahu. I got here a whole letter what I sended to the Mizrachi Bitachon, to the home of the Israeli Defense Ministry which I show you right now. I was helping a friend to get him to the hospital because he was severe injured. (Takes out the letter) Should I read this? O.K. I helping a friend. His name was Millet Eliyahu. He was severe injured from a heavy shelling what was happen across from Gaza in Misular Miureshet Ber Chanun. And later on I returned back. After I took him to the hospital, I took him back and I was staying with a machine gun and shooting. The whole way when I was running with another fellow to the hospital, the Arabs, the Egyptians were throwing grenades to us till we was out of sight. But we got –I aslo put on bandages because he don’t have enough. I give him mine too and it was not enough either because he was all, the whole body was with grenades, with splinters. And I tore down my undershirt and I bandage him in order to get the blood not to — in order to hold up a little bit, the blood. And me and another one, we took him with a stretcher to the hospital and from over there I don’t know what will happen with him, but I returned with my friend and I was operate a machine gun close from Gaza.
BERNSTEIN: Now how could you continue to fight after suffering — ?
NETEL: I was fighting till I die. I was such a great idealist and I was not pay attention what the future was going to happen. I just want to accomplish this what I started. Mine mission was to help create a State of Israel, no matter what. I want to die the way like Joseph Trumpeldor. I was not cared what’s going to happen with me, just to the end to accomplish this what we need. We need a country and this what my mission is. Now, and when I return later, then later on after this was over, we were taken again to Tel Litvinsky, the same camp. Then I was assigned to a Officers’ School. Was in Kfar Shmariyahu, not far from Herzliya and they want me, because I was a good soldier and they picked out the best soldier to get them like officers and instructors for the army. And I was over there. Then this was — this couldn’t continue too long and — because they was needed us for another mission. And they send us — they send me with another — with a whole group to — back to Yaffa Tel Aviv, to the Military Police. And we was assigned for the Military Police. And the Military Police was a severe — every day they wake us up early in the morning. They got some problems with those — it was a whole bunch of invalids from the war, without legs, without hands. And they occupied Yaffa with very nice houses. And the government don’t want it. They want to get them “Shikunim” (other houses) and here should be they was some kind of deal they have to put in officers from the army over there, to live over there in those houses. And they just put me in this mission and we have to take them out from these houses here early in the morning around maybe 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and I couldn’t do this. The Military Police they throw out the old belongings through windows. Camera people come. You know, reporters and they break them the cameras. I was just not direct Military Police. They call them “Plugar Neshparim,” an attachment to the Military Police, Plugar Neshparim. But for me this was against my conscience to —
BERNSTEIN: Where were they taking these invalids?
NETEL: The invalids they just want them to get out and to get out and get them other apartments.
BERNSTEIN: And they want these apartments for officers?
NETEL: These apartments they want to have for officers from the army. This was order from Ben Gurion. And I just couldn’t take this, this mission. Every day in the morning, they took us outside and we was marched back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and I was just — it was hot, this was on a very hot day, and I collapse. I fell unconscious. When I fell unconscious, they were not knowing what go on with me, and I got it look like a seizure, epileptic seizure, one after another, one after another. And they took me in a room and then I was unconscious or fell asleep, either one. Then around 12 o’clock, they wake me up. When they wake me up, they brought me in lunch. I say, “What the hell goes on over here? Am I in jail or something? Where I am?” They say, “No, but just eat your lunch.” I say, “No, you take me to a doctor.” And they took me with a Jeep to a doctor from the Military Police and the doctor just look on me and he say, “How in the hell are you in the army? You should not be in the army.” And right away he send me to a discharge place. They don’t send me to a hospital, they don’t send me nowhere, not to a medical treatment, nothing. They don’t give me any medicine, nothing, and I was just so confused, depressed, I don’t know because for me it was to deal with our own people, to trod on invalids what I was fighting with them to get, was something unusual for me. How I can do this after mine parents be in concentration camp, be in a Irgun Zvai Leumi? Now I have to deal against our own soldiers what I was arm by arm with them fighting for a victory. I something was — I couldn’t take this, and I felt just —
BERNSTEIN: The thing that bothered you was taking these invalids out of these apartments?
NETEL: Yeah. O.K. And when I come in this refugee camp, they just discharge me. They discharge me and then I start going to doctors. And the doctors just recommend me to leave Israel. I even got somewhere a medical report. I don’t know where it is now. I can mail it to you if you give me your address. A medical report from the Israeli Health Department. This was in English. I got translated in Tel Aviv. I mean this was in Hebrew. I got translated in Tel Aviv by a translator in English. I got lost this because I was starting to get compensation from Germany from my lawyer in Los Angeles. I give him all those papers but he die and everything is lost, all those papers. Is I just got copies of those originals, not in Hebrew, but in English.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. When — what was the time period involved here from when you had your seizure to when you were discharged from the army?
NETEL: I got discharged from the army around I suppose in 1949. But I still was considered I was in army till 1950. Those seizures I got in 1949, but I still was attached to the army, still was going to the army, like reserve duty, something like this. I was still attached to the army. Complete discharge was, I think, in November, 1950. That’s a complete discharge. The discharge book (?) I give it to the Director of the Holocaust Center.
BERNSTEIN: So all the time between when you suffered your injury, you were going to doctors. Where were you living?
NETEL: I was living with my brothers, in Tiberias.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. How many brothers did you have?
NETEL: In those time I got two. Now is left only one because one died. And I was attached all time with the army, and then the army discharged me complete in 1950.
BERNSTEIN: And they told you because of the climate in Israel, they thought it best to — ?
NETEL: Yeah. The Health Department. I got a recommendation letter signed by Dr. Mayer, Dr. Humlitzer and Dr. Frankel. They are doctors from the Health Department from Tel Aviv. And also they were sent me to a medical hospital in Bat Yam. This was a psychiatric hospital. They sent me over there and they recommend the same thing. I have to — the climate for me too severe and I have to leave Israel.
BERNSTEIN: And what did you do?
NETEL: And then they issue me a passport and I left Israel in December, 1950.
BERNSTEIN: Where did you go?
NETEL: I left to Austria and from Austria, since I know over there the police — because my passport was a citizenship passport, Israeli citizenship passport, and they was stamped over there (inaudible), “I can go to every country, not to Germany.” But since mine sister was in Germany, and also mine — I was going over there to a clinic which I got the papers if you need. In the clinic, the doctor recommended me to go to Nervous States Clinic in Munich. He was a Primer Arzt, was a professor from a hospital in Hallein near Salzburg. As he recommend me, I have to go for some kind medical treatment, Nervous States Clinic in Munich. And since my passport was not available for Germany, I drive with a train to Vienna, Austria and crossed. The police was border police there, the Russian border police. And when I come to the consulate, I produce them mine passport, Israeli passport and also a recommendation letter the Professor from the clinic, from the hospital in Hallein by Salzburg, and he make me this passport available for Germany. Then I was going to the Alien Commission and they give me a visa to Germany. And then I left. I was going to Germany. I was going over there to the — for treatment to this Nervous States Clinic in Munich. But mine sister was over there in a refugee camp in Felderfing. Felderfing near, I think this is near Munich — near Munich. She was refugee and I was over there by her because there was a big problem, was many over there was returned from Israel and didn’t want to put them legally in the refugee camps because they considered they are like they say in Hebrew, “Vhoxtim.” They “return” from Israel and the Jewish Committee, they got a, some kind of agreement with the Germans not sign them up legally in the refugee camp. I was, in the meantime, by mine sister because we don’t want to get eligibility to stay in the refugee camp, and especially in my case. I got a passport as Israeli citizen. If I’m a citizen, I can not be a refugee. This is a contradiction, one with another.
NETEL: Or citizen, or refugee? Is — I was by my sister and then I was going to look for job. And I try to find some job like automobile mechanic but they told me I have to have some kind of license and I was going to learn auto mechanic private. Then I was going — there was over there a school, they call them “ORT,” vocational. Was belong to a Jewish organization, ORT, O-R-T. And I was over there for several months and then they give me diploma and I was think that with the diploma I be able to emigrate somewhere or Canada or to United States. I want to go to United States because mine sister was willing to go to United States but I couldn’t because they told me since I was already overseas, is I couldn’t go like a refugee. I have to wait for mine quota, as I was registered for the quota. And I asked the consulate how long can be waiting for quota. He told me around approximately around eight years. I said, “What I goin’ do in the meantime?” And he said, “I don’t know.” I say, “In the camp, they won’t register me.” Now, my sister was in process already to go to United States, under the refugee law and she could not wait too long either. Is I was left like “on the water.” I got no place to go, nothing to do. Is what I did, I sign application to the — I send a letter to Heidelberg, to the U>S> Army. Oh you see, this is from ORT, ORT Vocational School. Is I sign it — I send a letter to Heidelberg, to the American Headquarters, to the Army Headquarters. I want to join as volunteer in the army.
BERNSTEIN: You want to be a volunteer in the United States Army?
NETEL: Yeah. I want to volunteer in the United States Army. And they send me army ticket, free ticket with a order to come to Heidelberg. When I come to Heidelberg, they treat me very nice, was very good food and they gave me a place to sleep, you know, a nice bed with a army mattress, two blankets with two pillows, and they say they going let me know what’s going on. In the meantime, they told over there to let me in, to give me permission to go inm two three times a day —

Tape 5 - Side 2

BERNSTEIN: What kind of treatment were you getting?
NETEL: I got only Dilantin — I mean Luminol.
BERNSTEIN: You were being treated for the seizures?
NETEL: Yah. I got Luminol all the time.
BERNSTEIN: Did you continue to have any seizures?
NETEL: Yah. I was contuing to have. I was, I got Luminol. Anyway what will happen in the army, they call me — I was over there maybe a week, maybe two weeks, something like this. And they call me all the time for interview and the last was they sent me to a doctor. And the doctor find out what’s go on with me and he say, “I regret you could not be a volunteer in the American Army because on account of your medical condition.” This were one thing and also my finger is damaged.
BERNSTEIN: How were your fingers damaged?
NETEL: This was in concentration camp, in Majdanek, away from the grenade what I explain you, here and here and here was a piece of grenade. And here and here and I got a toe. You want to see?
BERNSTEIN: No, you already showed me that.
NETEL: And a toe. Anyway, as the doctor told me, “I’m sorry to tell you you could not be in the American Army as a volunteer, but I am going try to send you for a psychiatric examination.” When he sent me for psychiatric examination, they show some kind checkers. Checkers have to build from this checkers something like a house, which way to go and is very difficult, this examination. The psychiatric examination in the American Army is very, very difficult. You have to be with clear good brains to figure out how this goes, and I failed this test too. O.K. They called me and they say, “I’m sorry, we appreciate your kindness.” And they give me a ticket to go back to mine camp, but we could not, on account of the medical, for medical reasons, for that reason, they could not take you as a volunteer in the American Army. I said, “What I should do?” I’m registered in Munich by the American Consulate and I was registered in 1951 by American Consulate to go to United States, but according the law from the United States Government, I was already overseas and I could not go like a refugee. The refugee act was in 1953. I have to just emigrate to United States under quota, the Polish quota. And the Polish quota is so many is already going to United States, the quota is complete bad. Or you can do another thing. Marry with a German woman and then you can get the German quota, but I say, “With a German woman to marry, this is impossible. I will not do it because my past what will happen and my background is a Rabbinical college and I could not do this. Is better I go wait.” And he say, “O.K. I just can recommend you since you have no place, nothing to do, you is like in the water, I can give you a recommendation letter to the Polish — we got like they call them “Polish Labor Service.” Polish gur=ard has got company labor service unit attached to the American Army and we was doing guard duty with a rifle, with American rifle, got bullets and a rifle. Was we doing guard duty on PX’s — see they had quotas — or ammunition depot, all kinds what was occupied by the American Army.
BERNSTEIN: When was this? What year?
NETEL: I joined in 1953 and this is a letter what I — and I was over there since 1953 till August 15, 1958 and discharged for purpose of emigration to United States.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Go ahead.
NETEL: O.K. This is the letter what I produced. This is what was my service and later on — I was in this unit, I think, until 1955 or 1954, and then they transfer me to France in same unit and over there was even better because in Germany we used to wear those black uniforms like the Nazis — black uniforms. And here in France, we wear same uniforms like the Americans, green uniforms and also we got the right to enter in PX, American PX and the money was in dollars, was also better in France than in Germany. And here I met a woman —
BERNSTEIN: And where was this now?
NETEL: This was in France.
NETEL: In France, the same unit. Then later on, I met a girl in Bordeaux. I was stationed in Camps Soeur near Bordeaux. I was going in Bordeaux for a ball of Keren Kagemer. And I met over there — no, the first was I was going to in the high holiday I get permission because they know over there I was a Jew. On the high holiday they give me permission to go to Bordeaux for the services, Jewish services. And when I was in the synagogue, I was with American uniform. I was corporal and as a corporal I got the right to wear officer uniform. I was dressed up with officer uniform and the raNK SORPORAL. And I was going in a synagogue in Bordeaux’s main synagogue what is mostly over there Sephardic Jews, Jew from Morocco, Spain, Tunisian, Algerian. And I was over there in those synagogue for Rosh Hashonah. Then approached to me one fellow. His name was Elias Levi, and he was talking English. And he say, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions.” I say, “Yes Sir.” He say, “I apologize to tell you I’d like to invite you to mine house for Rosh Hashonah.” I say, “It’s very kind of you and I accept your invitation.” It’s better to go back to the camp. At least I will be with a Jewish family in the high holiday and Rosh Hashonah is such a holy day. O.K. I was over there. This was in the evening. He was living not far from the synagogue and then was a walking distance. We was walking to over there. Then in the morning I was going back to the synagogue and was over there another little synagogue from the Ashkenazim. And they was make prayer too. But they was not too — in the main synagogue occupied by the Sephardim, and the little one by the Ashkenazim. I got acquainted with one fellow. He was named Shipman, Mr. Shipman. He was from — he was living in France but he used to have a brother in the same town what I was in Rabbinical College, Wlodzineielz, Wolinsk and he start asking me what my background and I say, “I was in Wlodzineielz, Wolinsk in the Rabbinical College.” He say, “You don’t know a Shipman?” I say, “Yes, Mayer Wolf Fichman.” I say, “Mine friend from my town was over there sleep. They accept him like their own child. He was stationed over there.” And he asked me if I want to conduct services. He’s davening Musaf for me, Shacharis. I say, “yes.” And I was davening Musaf and I even blow shofar over there. And after the services, the same man what he invite me conducting services, and he invite me again to his home. When he invite me again, over there I met a girl. She was — he was her uncle, and I fell in love with her. Was a nice looking girl and I invite her for a ball was in a few days. I received invitation for a ball from Keren Kayemer. We were dancing over there and then we start — I ask her — not her, but the uncle, “I want to get engaged.” He said, “We have to just talk to the parents before because the Moroccan is not like the Ashkenazim. She could not make a decision. The parents have to make a decision.”
BERNSTEIN: She was Moroccan?
NETEL: Moroccan, yeah. And finally he talked to the parents and they make a decision. I start to be engaged, and I’m married with her in 1957.
NETEL: In France, in Bordeaux. I was in another camp in Orleans, not far from Paris, and I asked for transfer over here to be not far from her. And I’m married and friends over there. . I was married in a big synagogue, in the same synagogue what I met her. I married over there. Then, a year later, my son was born. His name is Charley and we are now — my son now is married and we live now — and I got another daughter which she born here in 1963 in Los Angeles. And we lived — I was in Los Angeles. I was working in many places. I even was belonged the last, I —
BERNSTEIN: Now wait a minute, you’re jumping — O.K. You were married and you had a son, Charley, in France.
NETEL: Oh yeah. I married over there in France, yeah. I forgot to tell you.
BERNSTEIN: When did you come to this country?
NETEL: In 1958, mine child was born in 1958. O.K. In 1958 I received a letter from the consulate, I can go to United States. The term is over. My quota number is now, in fact I can go. As I was going to make all preparations to go to United States, and I emigrate to United States. I came away in United States. I discharged from this unit on August 15, 1958 for the purpose of emigration to the United States. And I was going through the HIAS to the United States in 1958. And I come ove here in St. Louis in December, 1958, because my sister was over here.
BERNSTEIN: Your sister was over here.
NETEL: Yeah.
BERNSTEIN: And when did she come over here?
NETEL: She come over here, I think, in 1950 — no, I suppose or ’50 or ’51, something like this. I don’t remember exactly. Between ’50 and ’52, something like this, she come over here. And I emigrate in December, December 8, right here to St. Louis in 1958. O.K. right away, the following day, I was going to work. And if you need, I got some place I have to look for it — a recommendation letter from the factory. I was working in a chemical company over here and —
BERNSTEIN: Chemical company?
NETEL: On South Broadway, deKalb Street on South Broadway. Then I left from over there because I was not making enough money. And I was working on North Broadway in Atlas Enameling Company. This is a sheet metal company. I got even a recommendation letter from over there. If it is necessary, I can produce you. And then, in the same time when I was working over there three and one-half years. In the same time I was working another place was a easy job and this was a night job. And I was working another place where they used to make — electric type company. This was not far what the FBI is in doentown, I think between Market over there and Seventh Street or Sixth Street was a little place, Electrotype Company. I was working over there at the same time, two jobs. I was making big money, and then the climate was over here not good for me and the doctors recommend me — I even got a recommendation letter from a doctor — here from the Sutton Clinic in downtown.
BERNSTEIN: The climate in St. Louis —
NETEL: This was not good for me either.
NETEL: It was too hot. And he recommend me to go to California.
BERNSTEIN: Now you had a daughter that was born in St. Louis?
NETEL: No, the daughter was born in 1963 in Los Angeles, and I left to Los Angeles. And when I left to Los Angeles, I was working in a place, in Muscatel. They got flower shop and then I was working in the union, carpenters’ union. And this is the book from the carpenters’ union. Is I was working. And then I sustain a heart condition.
BERNSTEIN: When you were in Los Angeles?
NETEL: When I was in Los Angeles. And I got divorce and I got worse and I got heart condition and this epilepsy go together. The doctor recommend me to quit, not to work at all.
BERNSTEIN: When was this?
NETEL: This was in 19 — I been on disability since 1969.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Your divorce was when?
NETEL: Was divorce in 1966 but I still was working after my divorce and then in 1966 I was in a hospital and they recommend me not to work anymore.
BERNSTEIN: Because of your epilepsy?
NETEL: Because of epilepsy and heart condition. I got about a three time heart condition.
BERNSTEIN: Three heart attacks?
NETEL: Yeah. Three heart attacks, minor. And they told me not to work anymore. Since 1969 I been on disability, I draw disability. But what was happened to me a very bad deal too over there in Los Angeles. When I was drawing Social Security and was going to the Welfare to get some assistance from the Welfare too like food stamps or medical assistance. And they sent me to a doctor. And the doctor was named Howard Mark. He was in Wilshire. I still even got the — he make me EKG, electrocardiograph. And he say, “You got a heart attack right now.” He recommend me to a hospital. The hospital was named “Memorial Hospital.” I still got. I got a copy of the EKG and his visit card and the name of the hospital, everything. When he lined me up with this hospital, somebody was waiting already for me, and they make me over there some test and with needles in the head. I think they call this EEG or something like this, a brain test. (EEG – electroencephalogram)
NETEL: O.K. later on he comes in another day or two days. This hospital I can say was a very vicious hospital. If mine expression is not too rough, it was experimental deal.
BERNSTEIN: They were experimenting?
NETEL: Yeah, they were experimenting because over there was one fellow next to me and they cut him all the time the legs. And his legs was almost in bleeding. There was another Jewish fellow what they drive overnight nuts, and they took him away some place, like in a mental institution. To me, what they did to me, they come, the same doctor, Dr. Mark, with another doctor and a surgeon. A surgeon was a toe surgeon. And he put me a big needle right here in a bone, right here. And it still up till today hurt me. And he took it out some liquid over here. I’d say this liquid was more like marrow, white liquid. And he left. And after this, I was — I couldn’t breathe. They gave me oxygen and they gave me sleeping pills. And I feel something they did to me wrong. And after a day or two, they release me from the hospital but they told me to go back to this doctor. I was going back and he make me another EKG and the needle was jumping too far. And he said to me, started to confuse me, “What they did to you in the hospital?” I say, “Doctor, you ask me what they did? You the one.” He say, “What the surgeon did to you in the hospital?” I say, “You the one what come with the surgeon with another doctor and you ask me what they did to me in the hospital? You know what they did to me in the hospital.” And he say, “I got an idea.” And he was going in another room, and he brought in a shot, like a needle. Was dark liquid, dark brown like dark blood, and he put me the same place. He squeeze it good in. And I feel something he did to me wrong, and I told him, “Thank you, doctor.” He say, “Don’t tell me thank you. I’m a bad medical, I’m a Nazi.” This is the word I still remember and I son’t tell you any joke. This is the words that he told me.
BERNSTEIN: What did he say to you?
NETEL: “Don’t tell me thank you.” I told him, “Doctor, don’t do to me wrong because I got two children to visit him.” He say, “Uh-huh, you got children.” And I say to him, “Thank you, doctor,” like in a madness. And he say, “Don’t tell me thank you, I’m a bad medical. I’m a Nazi.”
BERNSTEIN: “I’m a bad medical?”
NETEL: “…a bad medical and I’m a Nazi.”
BERNSTEIN: “I’m a Nazi.”
NETEL: Yeah. This what he told me. Now what — and I left and I was in shock of scare. I still even got, if you want to review this case, I still got the medicine what he prescribed me from this Memorial Hospital and the X-ray what he make to me. I make it a copy and I make it in library a copy, the copy what he sent me to the hospital. I got all, everything. If you want to review this case, I’m willing to give you because I talked one doctor and he was mad on me. And I tell another doctor. He said this case had to be in Los Angeles and I was afraid to go to Los Angeles back and I come to this. I lost even compensation to get from Germany. Now what will happen later. I was going to another doctor. This doctor is in Wilshire Boulevard. I still got his visit card. His name was Otto Louterback and he was a Jewish doctor, a cardiac. And I was going to him and I explain to him what they did to me. And he say to me — I think he gave me some medicine, I don’t know exactly, but I got still his visit card, and the date, everything. And he told me, “I know what he did to you but I couldn’t tell you.” And I got a letter from the welfare, a social worker, Mrs. Vine. She recommend me to this doctor, to Dr. Mark. And I got this letter that she recommend me to him. I got still this letter. Anyway, and then I was going to a lawyer. I was going to my friend. He was a tax consultant and he was — I told him the story what they did to me. And he recommend me to some friend, a lawyer. And the lawyer was named Mr. Prince and I explain him what this. I said, “Please help me something. Maybe you need sue them. Something what they did to me what — “
BERNSTEIN: In Los Angeles?
NETEL: In Los Angeles, yeah, in 19 — I think was in 1969 or beginning of ’70. It was Los Angeles, right, in ’69, I think. And I was very scared, very scared. I don’t know what happened with me like goofy, like out of my mind. And I was — I took the children and I couldn’t carry the children. Mine little girl was a little one. I used to go every Sunday to the beach and I carry her on the shoulder. I couldn’t carry her anymore. And mine boy was visit me over there, my son was visit me. They took me with a wheel chair. Mine ex-wife was visit me in this hospital and with her husband.
BERNSTEIN: Your ex-wife?
NETEL: Ex-wife, yeah. She’s remarried, with her husband. And what will happen? I was very scared and I love the children very much. I did the best for them. I was not eating by myself. I was living in a room, maybe half of this. Was no window complete. From a closet, made it as a room just to have a little bit more to pay the children. I was living from three doughnuts over there. Was not far from a doughnut shop. I was drinking — it was 12 cents, a coffee and a doughnut in the morning, 12 cents, a coffee and a doughnut in the noon time, 12 cents a coffee and a doughnut in the evening. No more money what I got even from unemployment, I used to send for the children because the children —
BERNSTEIN: The children were living with your ex-wife?
NETEL: With mine ex-wife. I even got a home. I sign up the home for them. I bought it the home. From this money what I make it over here, I forgot to tell you, I bought right away a home in Sun Valley, California. The home later I sign up for my ex-wife for the children and later they sold it and they got another home. But anyway, the situation was very, very critical. I was caring and I loved my children and I couldn’t, couldn’t just — one minute, I show you picture mine wedding. Yeah, and I was just in such a shock, I don’t know what to do.
BERNSTEIN: This first doctor, this Dr. Mark —
NETEL: Yeah, Howard Mark. I got still his visit card.
BERNSTEIN: Was he Jewish?
NETEL: No — I don’t know. I think he must be German. If you want to review this case, I give you all the evidence. I going tell you some story. I got evidence. I got the X-ray, I got his name and I got the name of — a letter what the Welfare sent me to him. The name of the Social Worker was Miss Vine. I got still the letter, the official letter. And the name of the hospital and everything. I got all the evidence to review if you want to, if somebody want to review it.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Let’s continue.
NETEL: O.K. I will continue. Now, I was living in such a bad situation, and I was still even — I was drawing unemployment — no, I was drawing already Social Security and I mail it to the children all the time checks to the Court Trustee, I think, to the Court. Through the Superior Court I got all the time from them an envelope with a card and I have to mail it. The Court mail it to mine ex-wife, child support. Anyway, the situation was terrible. I couldn’t continue no more. Then I left mine friend and mine friend was a Polish guy. He got a little like a farm in Riverside — Robidowt. This is near Riverside in California. And I ws over there like unconscious. I don’t know what go on with me. One time I was shaking. I was laying down and I got terrible like a nervous breakdown. I was shaking complete. I couldn’t resist. And then I don’t know what to do anymore. I couldn’t stay over there and I was scared to death to go back to Los Angeles. I don’t know what will happen with me and I left over here to St. Louis back. This was in 1970. I come back to St. Louis because to get some help from mine sister and then I rent me an apartment. In the beginning I was living by a preacher because I met a preacher in the road. He was living in Hazelwood. He was a colored guy, a black guy, but he was a very nice preacher. He was a Baptist. He used to make services in the churches. He used to take me for services and I was over there considered like own son.
BERNSTEIN: You were staying with him?
NETEL: Staying with him. I met him on the road because I saw he got a license plate, Missouri, and I ask him, “Are you from Missouri?” He say, “Yes.” I say, “What town?” He say, “From St. Louis.” He say, “I am going to St. Louis.” I say, “O.K., if you don’t have a place to stay, come to St. Louis, come to me.” When I was coming over here, I was by mine sister but I think a week, but I couldn’t. The husband, you know, want too much from me, and also was not convenient for me, was no room for me, and since I got this friend, I left to him. I left to him. I was considered as his own child. And I did for him many work. One time he left to the South for a funeral for his family. And I paint him out the whole apartment and I fix him the plumbing, and I make him a porch with very strong. And I make it also — he got a sunroom. I build for him a sunroom like a room. And I was sleeping in the meantime in the basement. And when I fix in the basement, I saw a rat like this, and I was scared. Then when I fix up those sunroom, he put me a bed over there and I sleep over there in the bed.
BERNSTEIN: How long did you stay with him?
NETEL: I don’t know exactly how long, but I think maybe some kind like over half a year, over. And then I rent me an apartment on Waterman Boulevard here in St. Louis. Was a very cheap apartment and then I file application to the housing authorities for assistance in housing. Then when the process was going through, then I move into University City and in University City I stay over there till two years ago. But the landlord, he wants increase the rent and I don’t have a shower over there. I asked him to put me a shower because I couldn’t make every day a bathtub and he refused, didn’t want to do. And his name, Mr.Danislowsky. He’s a Jew. And then he want 20 dollars more and the hous authorities refused. They say, “This apartment, no shower” and was all was leaves on the window from the paint peel off. He don’t want paint. He won’t do nothing. It was a big fight. Before was another real estate was Robert Realty and they requested to put in another sink in the bathroom. They don’t want to do this. Anyway, they got too much property they hold them up the rent, but they told me my rent to pay. It was just a shame for me why they don’t cooperate with the American government so they are so nice and they pay the rent for me. But what I can do? I just pay mine own rent. Then when Mr. Lasky he took it over over there and I ask for a shower. He don’t want to put me a shower and he didn’t — he paid once and this is when I move in, and then later on when they come to inspect, to renew the lease, was terrible. No painting. The water was bad. The faucets was bad. Was like leaves on top of the window. The sink was broke but he put it another sink. And they told me to move out. And I am here in this place over a year. This is the second year.
BERNSTEIN: Who pays the rent?
NETEL: I pay here 68 dollars and the rest pay the Housing Authorities.
BERNSTEIN: And you receive Social Security?
NETEL: Now I receive with increase Social Security, $200 and — no, $369.00 and plus I receive from the Welfare medical assistance on basis of spend-down. All the time have to reapply, reapply because, I ask them why. They told me because if I receive $350.00, they send me a Medicaid card, but since I receive over the budget what is required by the State law, they I have to reapply all the time. I got very hardship all time have to reapply, reapply. By the time I can buy one time medicine, then I have to reapply again. Is one in three months maybe I can buy from the card, and the rest I pay $50.00 every month for medicine.

Tape 6 - Side 1

BERNSTEIN: Marian, let’s just summarize a few things.
NETEL: Yes sir.
BERNSTEIN: Could you tell me and just go over with me again, the brothers and sisters that survived the war and where they went and if they’re still living and what’s occurred to them. How many brothers and sisters survived the war?
NETEL: We was in home. My father pass away when I was age of four. This what I told you already. I lived with the mother during the war. And my mother’s name was Chava, or Jelen, J-E-L-E-N. And the older sister was Elka. She survived. She die over here in St. Louis. She die in December, 1981. Now her husband survived too and he die in September 10, 1975, St. Louis. Now was next to this sister, she was the oldest, Elka. Now next to this sister was a sister, Esther.
BERNSTEIN: Now your sister, Elka, what happened to her?
NETEL: She was a survivor from Nazi concentration camp and she die over here in St. Louis.
NETEL: O.K. She’s dead, St. Louis. And now next to her was a sister was named Esther. She got married. Since we were a poor family, she was working by a Rabbi in Ugonov. This was near Rawa Roskwa Galitzia in Poland. And this was like a border line when the Russians took it over half of Poland. Germans got half of Poland and she was in the sector what was the Soviet Union, but when start the was in ’41, 1941, she was in the first fire. She was married to one very religious person. In fact, the Rabbi himself, he was the matchmaker. His name was Oizer Leiter. She got a home. He was, I think he was a soldier in the time from the World War I. He was in Austrian Army by Franz Joseph. I remember he used to have a medal, Franz Joseph, and he used to have a pension.
BERNSTEIN: So what happened to this sister?
NETEL: This sister, I don’t know.
BERNSTEIN: You don’t know.
NETEL: Because by the first fire she was by the borderline in 1941 when started war between Germany and Soviet Union. I don’t know what happened with her. No sign at all. Appears, people told me from over there, they took people to Belzek or Treblinka. I think most to Belzek from this town. O.K. Now was another brother. His name was Hirsch, Hirsch Leib. He was mattied to a very rich woman. He got a store in a village not far from our town, maybe around 10, 12 kilometer. This was the village — I mean a country which was named Verezhin and was Geminna Torchow and the state was lublin, the same state what we was. I don’t know. No sign of him, no sign of his wife, nothing. And was several Jews was living in this village — no sign. Then was a sister, Ita. She was married to mine cousin and she was living in the same town where my mother was born. And her husband’s name was Hersh Leib Fudem. And she got a child. She got married in 19 — I believe, before the war was broke out in Czechoslovakia, around in 1937. She got a small child. No sign. And this was children was the whole family from mine mother. My mother’s’brother and very, very big family. Almost half a town all was family from mother’s side. Nobody, no signs. Now this was the sister, Ita. Then was a brother , Moshe. He die in Israel. He die of severe heart condition in Israel. He die in March 2, 1983. This is Kof Shevar Tof Mem Gimmel. He die in Tiberias. O.K. now then, I was next. I’m still alive, thanks God. And I got another brother named Abraham. He’s in Petach Tikvah, in Israel. This all what left now, me and mine brother. Now I lost in Lasczczow, in the same town what we was living, I lost a whole family from father’s side. Uncles and aunts, we was living in a big house, apartment, eight families, nothing but family. Is for all of them is gone. Then in another town I got an uncle. He was a shochet, a ritual slaughter, from Rubieszow. All his family is gone. Then I got another uncle. He was s Sofer. He was writing Torahs, Holy Scriptures. His was name, I think Shmuel. I don’t remember exactly. He was in Tiszovtze. He is gone. Nobody over there. Then I got an uncle in Zamoszzcz — gone, noe sign. Then I got a family in — what name? — Tomaszow-Lubelski and he was — one uncle die completely — one, Shmuel Yosef Hakohen Einglesberg, he survived. He is now, I believe, a Rabbi in Israel. He left his daughter and he got five children. All the children in gone. Now, mine father’s brother, with five children, gone everybody. All family is gone. Now in another town I got, I believe, I don’t know if I tell you — Zamoszcz I tell you. Whatever — yeah — now Wlodzineielz, Wolinsk where I was in Rabbinical College, it was over there family from my mother’s side — gone, nobody left, no sign because all this they was living in the border area and was hitted by the first fire. Everything is gone.
BERNSTEIN: O.K. Tell me about your son and your daughter. Are they both living in Los Angeles?
NETEL: My son is living — he is in Los Angeles. He got married.
BERNSTEIN: His name is Charlie?
NETEL: Charlie, and in Hebrew “Shalom,” the name of mine father. Charlie Shalom Netel. And he’s in Los Angeles and he is a CPA. He finished four years college and he works as a CPA. He’s got his own office.
BERNSTEIN: Does he have any children?
NETEL: Not now. He just got married. And now the daughter, she finish college four years.
BERNSTEIN: What’s her name?
NETEL: Mine son was one of the best. I even got a newspaper. He was a chairman when was the graduation day. He was the chairman and he was the best student in college and also when he was in high school. And he graduate Bachelor of Science and I think — Bachelor of Science, I think, he graduate and go to second I don’t know. And he works as a CPA. He’s got his own office. Now mine daughter, she works in a restaurant.
BERNSTEIN: What’s her name?
NETEL: Eva. In Hebrew, “Chava.” She named to my mother, Chava. And she works in a restaurant as a bookkeeper. She worked a long time, even when she was going to college. She was working part-time, now she’s graduate from college with a degree, Bachelor of Art and Psychology. And she go for volunteer practice to Cedars of Lebanon in a Jewish Hospital. And because she wants to get involved with children. And when she told me, she wants to have Master Degree.
BERNSTEIN: I see. Is there anything else that you would like to tell me in this oral history?
NETEL: This thing what I got to tell is only one thing, I appreciate very much the kindness of the Holocaust Center to take time and effort for those interviewing people, also lighting candles for the six million. What I like very much from them is they got a unity with churches, with Gentiles. Lets the whole world know what will happen. This is very nice of them, and I express my deepest thanks to the former director which is, thank G-d, out now the former chairman. She was Lois Raphaeli, “Sister” Prince. She did very, very much. She’s one of the best from all, “Sister” Prince. She do so much, it’s unusual. Now I like to thank Rabbi Sternberg. He’s now the Director and the Secretary, Lisa. And the new chairman, I don’t know her name. And “Sister” Prince again, and again and again because she’s the best. And I like to thank you, Dr. Bernstein, for the interview. And what the most important is not to forget Yezkor. We got a word “Yizkor.” Yizkor means not to forget the “Al Tishkach – not to forget” – this what will happen because this what happened was unusual because the people was so depressed, was a group of people what used to call “Musselmans.” They couldn’t even care — raise up their legs. They was going and dragging their legs. They die like the flies because they was discouraged and even many of them commit suicide and the whole system what the Germans done, we approach now to a holiday which we call the Shavuot, is the day when God delivered the Torah to the Jews which is going to be the 22nd of May, which is going to be the first day on Sunday and the second day, the second day of Shavuot is be on Monday. We got over there a very, very important hymn, a song to God which was composed by a cantor which we call him Mayer, Cantor Mayer. And he express the livingness, the greatness from God alphabetically, which say, they say, “B’yo hi l’harokiah” — if all the skies are ink — , “Im klay kol harishuto” — and all the forests are from feathers — , “Im dare d’are safroh” — and all the inhabitants from the whole world be sriters, they could not describe the greatness of God.” And I say this in the difference of the Nazis. “If all the skies are as ink, and all the people of the world as writers, journalists, they could not describe this what they done.” We was assigned for a crime what we not commit. And men, women and children, they was killed — they took from the homes with starvation, they take them walking suppose miles and miles with no food and the machine guns and the dogs. They was driving with those motorcycles. One column was a column of 100 people and the next one was maybe a kilometer or maybe more. Another column, they took to the concentration camp or to ghettos, take off the clothes, naked. People was decent in those times. The people was very decent, was living with religion. The whole life was nothing but the religion and they take people like this and take them off the clothes, young girls, virgins, and then the SS, drunken SS was searching the body to look for some gold or something hiding. And then they selected whatever is nice looking girls to use them for a — for sex for the officers. This is such a cruel things which could not happen in the history of life. If we was not good, if we was assigned for a “final solution,” why they want to have sex with our girls? Our girls no good. We are assigned for a “final solution.” This a fact of such cruelty and brutality which could not exist. This why I express, “The whole world be a writer, they could not describe this what happen.” And our goal is not nothing else, only to have the country. We have to not pay attention to what’s go on. The whole world say now, “It is wrong.” We, our army, is named I.D.F., is Israel Defense Force, “Tzavah Haganah h’Israel.” This mean, “We don’t attack, we defend ourselves.” Israeli Defense Force. We defend ourselves fromattack. In 1947 the whole world recognized they have to give us a country. I think in 1947 or was in May 15, “48, either one. The whole world. Gromyko was the first what sign it, that the Jews belong a State, was the American government and other governments give us a State. They started the war, and the British Army, when they left the camps like Kastina was a camp from the British Army. They gave over the weapons to the Arabs. We’ve got nothing. And also in 1947, after all those civilisations was passing, the whole world was shocking. What will happen? Six million would die, six million got killed, was in such a manner of death and now they capture a boat what was going to Israel, Exodus, 94 they put them in a concentration camp. Now the Pollacks, what they did, they organized a pogrom in a town of Kielce. The war, when started, the world was divided in two. Hitler was fighting a war with the Soviet Union to destroy the communism and here was a war against the Jews. And those war here, when he started opposing Czachoslovakia, he fooled Poland — he fooled Poland. He going give them away Sudetenland to not attack, to go together with Czechoslovakia. And he took it away, and Czechoslovakia was the best weapon in those days. He took away all the tanks, weapons and he took away Czechoslovakia from nothing. And Poland was not going to help because we are stupid. We think they give him back Sudetenland. O.K. Then later he attack Poland, 1939. The Soviet Union want to make a agreement with Poland to go together against Germany. Poland say, “Wedon’t want the communist boot step on the whole of Polish ground, all Polish soil.” They refuse. O.K. Then later on, probably they got some kind of agreement with Soviet Union. Soviet Union gave them away the best, the best grain and everything they prepared themselves. Then in 1941, in June, June 22, they attack Soviet Union from the — I want to remind you something. When I was in the camp, I talked to many prisoners of war and they told me, “Germany, since we was fighting undeclared war, World War I, they was under control from Entente, England, France and Japan. They was control it. The Germans should not have heavy military industry, heavy machinery, nothing. They was controlled. But what will happen? According to them, they was — they got some kind secret deals with Stalin. They was produce tanks and everything in Soviet Union. But they was very sharp, the Germans. This you can give them credit. They was very sharp, very intelligent people, the most intelligent people in those times. And they builded all kind of machinery and ship it to Germany. And every machine what they builded this, was a student from Soviet Union to learn what they doing. And they builded the same things somewhere in Siberia. But now some kind deal was — a spy deal. And Soviet Union was prepared to attack Germany in 1940 in December, but some kind spies they get over, and they put it — you see, in those days, the airplanes was not enough powerful to cross suppose from Siberia to Germany. They have to have a place to land to get gasoline. Is what will happen — they shipped all the airplanes, all the heavy industry to Ukraine and White Russia in order to attack them in December — was in December of ’41 they got a plane to attack them, in December, 1941, they got a plane to attack Germany to destroy Germany in 1941, December. But it was some kind of a spies and the spies tell the German government, “Russian Soviet Union is prepare to put everything to the border line, prepare to attack Germany in December, 1941.” And what Germany did? They attack them in 1941, June 22. They attack Soviet Union without decalring a war, and later they declare a war. And by the first things what they did, they were so sharp, they was going like a wedge. They left White Russia. They left Ukraine. They was going like a wedge and they hit them from the back, and everything they took it in like prison. And was over there a big general, Vlasav, he give over the whole army.
BERNSTEIN: The Russian Army?
NETEL: The Russian Army to the Germans. Anyway, what I want point you out is that the Germans was fighting two wars, one with the Soviet Union and one with the Jews. O.K. And this war with the Soviet Union, it was able to confuse everyone. He promised to Poland to give them away those Sudetenland. He promised to the Unkraine to give them free Ukraine and White Russia, complete give them free. And that’s why later on, these two men they were the biggest bandits, guards in the concentration camps, the Ukraine, because he promise them, Hitler, that when he win the war, he give them back the country. And they was nothing but a bunch of Hoosiers, peasants and the believed this. Anyway, the point is in this case, when we was running army against army, they got help, help from Ukraine and help from everybody. Now they was formed in every town, and every country was formed SS. Yugoslavia was, I believe, was Draja Mihailovich, and Poland is nothing to say because all Poland was antisemites. The most concentration camps was organized in Poland because this was the place — because he know this is the place where he can have it “final Solution.”
BERNSTEIN: In Poland, in the concentration camps, were they run by — were the guards Polish, or were the guards Germans?
NETEL: No, mostly Ukraine was running. The majority was Ukrainians.
BERNSTEIN: In all the concentration camps?
NETEL: No, not in all. Was SS, was Polish, but mostly was Ukrainians. Over there where I was, Majdanek Belzec, this was runned by the Ukraines because this area is larger Ukrainian. It’s Galitzia, you know. All is Ukraine. Anyway, what I want to point you out is this, to fighting this war, against army against army, they got tricks, they got weapons, they can doing everything. And they got help from all the European countries. They was with them now, fighting against Jews. We was alone. Nobody help us. Even a minor resistance, and they were such a smart and educated, they know the circumstances from the Jews. They know how to handle them. When they took them out, suppose from the homes, starvation and they don’t care nothing. Was a sign, “Shoot and then ask questions.” A shoot man, what kind question he can ask? They did to the people, one another could not stand it. If you see somebody from your own friend or your own family die or something like this, should not pay attention. And they got some tricks. They use tricks. People would commit suicide. They asked somebody to run to the fence. The fence was nothing but high voltage. Or commit suicide in another way or for no reason at all, they beat him for so long till he die, to show other people. They hating people, the Jews. Is unbelievable to describe the method what they did. Now, we could nothing do. Inside was the situation like this — to form resistance, according I was in the Israeli underground in the army, one army, the other army. Is, I believe, impossible. Even somebody run away. Where he go run away? The Pollacks, if they hide somebody, they burn down the whole village. They don’t care nothing. They can shoot the whole village for hide some Jew. Even when we was marching, suppose marching to the forest or some place else on the field, some people was throwing — some Pollacks was throwing a potato. You just bend down, you take the potato, they kill you instantly. Or they see a woman, a stranger, they kill her too. So severe was the whole situation was only what was — only God can help us. Now what mine opinion is to come to the point is, the big blame is on two things. First of all. Jews in Palestine should form some kind of a brigade. Even, you see, England was against Jews. Even you see the end what was. They captured a whole boat in 1947 and took them in a concentration camp in Cypress. But still we should use some kind of a force, organize a brigade and bomb them. Even though we kill some Jews, doesn’t make difference. Bomb the crematoriums, bomb the road what goes to the crematoriums and also, if you don’t mind to tell you, I believe the Jews in the American Army, they was fighting. And every cemetary over here is monuments from Jews what was fighting in the war. I even notice one of them in Olive Street Road, Chesed Sher Emes Cemetary, die. He was a flyer. He was just mine age and he was a pilot, and he got killed in the last day, 1945 when was finished the war. Jews was in the American Army. Jews was fighting against the Nazis but this was not — this what they should done — they should, to mine opinion, should use some kind of a force of their own. From the American Army, have a separate unit since the Germans are divided into the fighting against Jews and against the communists, to have a unit, to fight against Nazis and against concentration camps. This what mine opinion. If was a force like this in United States from the Jewish soldiers, and was from Israel what was occupied — from Palestine, I mean, what was occupied by the British Army, byt the British Mandate. Is from both of them, then maybe if there’s a force from here over there, is then first of all, the Germans have to use, take down forces from the frontier line and put over here. Is no trust anymore on the guards, on the Ukraines, on the Pollacks guards or something else and can be, maybe will be also organize a resistance unit in the concentration camps among the Jews. Even they was so depressed, and like I mentioned, people was dragging their legs, “Mussulmans” they used to call them. No desire, no patience to live. I many times, I told them, “Remember our Hatikvah. Our hope is not lost, the was is not going forever. Hold yourselves.” This what my opinion is, this what been missed. We miss it, like they say, “We miss the boat.” And in fact, in Soviet Union was organized army. Stalin say he give the Pollacks, he get them to organize army and he was fighting against the German frontier line. But they was not fighting too. They should do the same things, not to the German frontier line. Is plenty soldiers, they should fight against, since this was, the Germans was divided in two, the Jews should go in this wing against the concentration camp to fight, not with the army. The army, the hell with them! We go, as army, open army in Soviet Union. Maybe they can get by, but we should, Jews, we should — Jews should be in the army from the Soviet Union. They was army, like I say in Soviet Union, a Polish complete army what we was many Jews over there. And I met many of them in Israel too. They was in the Polish army, you know, but I think they should fighting in this direction on the “final solution,” because with the army — there’s plenty army, plenty military men without the Jews, Soviet Union. They should all, United States, they got army too. They was, the United States was in trouble too because they got right away the trouble with Pearl Harbor right in December. But anyway, G-d say, is this what we missed. Should organize it a group, I mean a unit from this direction, on direction from this “final solution.” Now, I also like to bless United States since President Truman till President Reagan for recognition of Palestine as the State of Israel and for support up to now Israel. And also the entire Jewish population. It fell a big loss, a big load on the American Jews after the World War II, and they, I believe, suffer very much for this. It cost them a lot of money because it’s very kind of them that they support the broken very much refugees and they put them with housing, with food, with medicine and with other kind things. It’s very kind of them and may God bless all the Jews over here in the United States, may God bless America and may God bless the idea from President Nixon that Gorbechev that he maked peace on the whole world. And we have to pray, “May God give peace on the whole world and our country, Israel. Amen.”

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