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.”