Carry the Torch (traduction française à venir)
To the Other Side
All the Jews were being deported and no Jews could remain in Wolbrom. If any were found, they would be shot on sight. My father told him where we were, and Geller then made an arrangement with one of the SS officers at the station. On the condition that we would be brought to the station unharmed, an SS soldier would accompany him the couple of kilometres to our hiding place and we would be brought to the railway station.
Geller and the soldier set the ladder against the building so we could climb down into the courtyard and we were marched in sets of two to the station, with Geller leading us and the SS soldier walking behind us. When we had walked for about a kilometre, it became apparent that the frail older couple were having difficulties keeping up and started trailing farther and farther behind, despite the soldier’s cries of “Los, los!” (Get going!) I occasionally looked back and saw the old man stumbling, but my mother told me to keep looking straight ahead. A few minutes later, we heard two shots. The frail old couple had been killed because they could not keep up.
When we got to the railroad station, we were relieved to be reunited with my father and Uncle Yechiel. This relief did not last long, however, as the SS soon gave orders to segregate the men from the women, children and older people. The men were made to stand close to the railroad tracks while the women, children and elderly stood closer to the station.
At one point, my mother realized that those men who were less fit were being taken from the men’s side and put into our group, and she concluded that we were on the “wrong” side. Without consulting anyone, she left the queue we were standing in and approached a passing SS soldier. Pointing to me, she told him in perfect German, “This fellow over here came across from the other side.”
This was a very risky thing to do. We never addressed Germans directly without first being spoken to. But my mother assumed, because of her perfect German, that she could get away with it, and she did. The SS soldier, with a whip in his hand, immediately started screaming at me, “Geh nach da drüben!” (Get over there!) As he whipped me, I ran over to my father and uncle.
It must have broken my mother’s heart to see me whipped. I can only imagine how she must have felt causing me pain in order to save me. But her instincts told her that the side she had sent me to, with my father and uncle, was the side destined for a better outcome.