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Letter of dissertation do my research topics related to event management photojournalism ethics essay format And this interview is being conducted in English. You’ll get to remember me for the rest of your life. Today is November 4, 1997. We’re with Mr. David Abrams in Brooklyn, New York. This interview is being conducted in English. My name is Florence Shuster. Mr. Abrams’s birth name was “Abraham,” last name “Abraham.” - Could you tell me your name, please? - David Abrams. - And could you spell it? - A-B-R-A-M-S. And is that your name you were born with? No, I was born “Abraham,” A-B-R-A-H-A-M. - And where were you born? - In D-E-J, Dej, Romania. And when is your birthday? December 8, 1928. And how old does that make you now? Sixty-eight, going on 69 soon. May I make a brief statement at this time? I asked to make a brief statement at this time because I wanted to express in my own words what I’m about to do and the reason why I’m doing it. I was only a 15-year-old boy when the Nazis put me on a freight train with my family and over a thousand other human beings– men, women, children, babies still in their mothers’ arms– and they shipped us off to Auschwitz to be disposed of as if we were nothing more than some contaminated waste. By the grace of God and many fateful events that I’m going to speak about in detail during my testimony, I managed to survive the most brutal, the most cruel, the most inhumane treatment of human beings in the history of our planet. But I paid a very high and bitter price, because over 90% of my family– my mother, my three little brothers, ages 13, 12 and 11– the 13-year-old was bar mitzvahed in the ghetto– my grandparents, both paternal and maternal, my uncles, my aunts, my first cousins, second cousins– over a hundred innocent, beautiful human beings, men, women, and children, who never hurt anyone in their lives were brutally murdered in cold blood by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Hashem yikom damam. May God avenge their blood. Amen. Today, I’m going to participate in a program by the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, created by the film director Steven Spielberg, to get as many survivors together as they can to testify about their experiences in the Holocaust. Today, for the first time in over 50 years, I’ll be speaking up. I’ll be crying out for the whole world to hear and to know what the Nazis did to me and what I saw them do to others during the Holocaust. Oh, I tried to speak about my experiences before, but as soon as I got into details, it felt like I was going to reexperience all over again, and I just couldn’t go on, and who can blame me for that? But today, I have no choice. Today I must, because time is running out. As the years go by, the number of us survivors still surviving and around are getting fewer and fewer. In a few more years, we may become an endangered species. While the anti-Semites, the revisionists, who try to tell us there was no Holocaust– “At worst it was some camps that the Jews sit out the war– Sure, people died there, but people died everywhere. They died in England. They died in France. Millions died in Russia. So sure, some people died in the concentration camps. But all the stories that you hear are exaggerations. Nothing but Zionist propaganda to gain favor in the eyes of the world–” Their numbers are growing yearly, and the voices are getting louder and louder. All you have to do is browse on the Internet, and you’ll see what I mean. Thirty years from now, who of us is going to be around to stand up to these animals and tell them, “No. There was a Holocaust. I was there, I survived, and I’m here now to testify about it”? Probably no one because I’m one of the youngest survivors, and I’ll be 70 next year, God willing. But thanks to the Shoah Foundation, our voices, our faces, our stories, will be recorded on tape forever. So 100 years from now, 200 years from now, I’ll be there to tell the world that, yes, there was a Holocaust, and the stories that you hear, nothing is exaggerated. On the contrary, the true story cannot even be told because some of it is too cruel and too painful. Those pictures that you saw of the end of the war that the soldiers and everybody took of the thousands of dead bodies that had a resemblance of human beings, plus thousands more who looked just the same, the only difference that they were still breathing and still had life in them. That’s the only pictures they took. But how they got there, nobody has pictures. But I have the pictures in here, and today, thanks to what we’re doing today, I’ll share it with the whole world for generations to come that we should always be vigilant. Zachor. Always remember what happened. Never be complacent to say that it cannot happen here because that’s what they said in Germany, and our only protection is by remembering what happened. Al tishkach. Never forget. Thank you very much. Could you please tell me your father’s name? Joseph Abraham. - And your mother’s name? - Sarah Goldstein. What did your father do for a living? My father had a bakery. He was a baker by profession. And did your mother work? No, my mother was a “house maker.” Did you have brothers and sisters? Yes, I had four sisters and three brothers. Could you tell me their names? The oldest one was Olga, then Ethel, then Liebe Malke and Irene. And my younger brothers were Yehuda Aryeh, Ezekiel and Zev. And what were the age differences among you? At which time? During the– When you were born. Oh. About two years apart, except– Approximately around two years’ difference, except for my three little brothers, one year apart. What type of house did you live in? We lived in a small town, population of 16,000, of which 4,000 were Jewish, and even it doesn’t sound much, but we were nicely spread out. Everybody had a nice, big backyard. We had our own private house. In fact, it was two stories. We lived on the top floor, and on the bottom floor was the bakery where my father baked the bread. Could you describe what the living quarters looked like? Well, we had two bedrooms, large bedrooms, and a kitchen and a spice room where we kept all the spices. There was upstairs, and there was downstairs. There was a spice room in addition to the kitchen? Yes, where we kept the spices because we had no refrigeration, so we had a special room, dark room, where we kept all the things that we had for the wintertime, all the different things. Because you couldn’t buy everything every day. We had to put away in the summer for the winter. Could you please explain a little bit more about this spice room? I don’t quite understand. This was just a room where it was dark, where we kept everything stored, the food. Because the kitchen, we just had a stove and just a table and chairs where people sat and ate their meals. Do you remember how you used to sit at the table when you ate your meals? Well, I do. Everybody had their own place. Where was your place? I was sitting next to my father because I was the oldest son. And my mother sat on the other side of my father, and then the girls on one side and the boys on the other side. What types of things did you talk about at dinnertime? Usually we were– We were a very religious family, and our whole life revolved around the old tradition. As a matter of fact, we started on Tuesday to prepare for the Sabbath because Tuesday was market day. We went to shop for different foods. On Wednesday, we cleaned our clothes. On Thursday, we cleaned the house. We went on all fours to scrub the wooden floors. And then my mother baked khale, from fresh, and cakes. Everything had to be with yeast. And Friday afternoon was like a king was coming to the house. As a matter of fact, the Sabbath is referred to as “the queen.” Shabbat Hamalka, the queen. Everybody had to be busy whether you had something to do or not. We had to shine our shoes. Everybody had to look busy like the queen was coming. And then the Sabbath came, and then– And then all over– for 52 years– a year all over again. And what was your job? I was a student from– I was only 15 at the time we were sent to Auschwitz. I was a student, a very advanced student. I was busy from morning to night, very early in the morning to late at night, going to secular school and yeshiva, and going to pray twice a day. That kept me very busy from early in the morning till late at night. I’d like to go back to when you were even younger, when you were just a toddler. What is your earliest memory? My earliest memory is when I was about two years old. Actually, when I was born, I was the first boy after four girls. So you can imagine the joy, after four girls, a boy being born. But, unfortunately, the joy only lasted for five days because when I was six days old, my mother passed away in childbirth. On Friday, the seventh day, was the levaya, the funeral, and on the Sabbath, the next day, was my bris. When I was two years old, my father remarried, and that’s what I remember. That’s the only mother I really knew. I never knew– She was so wonderful. I never even knew she wasn’t my mother until I became nine, ten years old. I had to go to shul to say kaddish when they had the yahrzeit. And that’s what I remember now. The reason I remember is because my father went to a different town. That’s where my mother lived, and that’s where the wedding was, and somehow I got lost there, and I was only two years old. Everybody was telling me the story of I was crying, that I don’t know where to– I lost the town, the name of the town. So it’s a little bit ironic, funny, that I was crying that I lost the name– The town was– I don’t know where the town is, so that’s why– Maybe because the story was repeated so many times, so that’s my earliest memory. I was two years old. Did you go to the town with your father? Yeah, the whole family went. Everybody. What do you remember of the wedding? Well, that’s the only incident that I remember really. When you were very little, and your family was preparing for Shabbat, did you have a job? Oh, yeah. Everybody had a job. We had to clean up. We had to shine our shoes, get our clothes ready and get cleaned up. And everybody was very, very– You had to look busy even if you weren’t because you got in trouble if you weren’t. How old were you when you began school? When I began the cheder, I was three years old. But secular school, I was six years old when I went to first grade. What do you remember about cheder? I remember every little detail, the holidays. I remember my rabbi and the students that were with me. I was blessed with a very good memory. I remember a lot and very, very pleasant memories. Because our lives totally revolved around our beautiful traditions, like when we prepared for even– Just 52 times a year, preparing for the Sabbath would’ve been enough, but when it came to the High Holidays, the whole month of Elul, we were busy every day. We get ready with the fear, the days of awe are coming. Then the High Holidays last for a month. No sooner were the High Holidays over, two months later it’s Hanukkah. We prepared for– We had in town– The shohet was a music writer, and he prepared a chorus of all the boys that knew how to sing, to prepare “Hanerot Hallalu,”“Maoz Tzur,” new songs every year. We used to go to the rabbi of the town, when he lit the candles, to sing. So for two months, till Hanukkah, we were preparing for the songs to sing in the choir. When Hanukkah was over, only less than two months to Purim, and two weeks before Purim, mothers were busy every day, baking new kinds of cakes and cookies because we send shalack manos to each of the neighbors, and everybody was competing with one another how many more things they can bake. Needless to tell you, when Purim was over, it was a month to Pesach. That was like preparing for the World Series. Preparing for the matzo and all the preparations that have to be made for Pesach. Pesach lasted eight days, and the second day of Pesach, we already start counting 49 days, seven weeks, for Shabuoth. That’s the celebration of the giving of the Torah. And right after that, not too long, all over again, Rosh Hashanah. So you see, you don’t have to be rich. Richness buys you comfort and luxuries, but it can’t buy you happiness. When you’re so busy, have such a full life, beautiful traditions, our religion– No matter how little we had, we were very, very happy. We had a very happy life. Before we continue, I just would like– What was your birth mother’s name? Sarah Goldstein. And your stepmother’s name? Rachel Moskowitz. Thank you. You were talking about the songs you used to sing for Hanukkah. Yeah. - Do you remember any of them? - No, not really. No. Because every year they were different. Because there were new songs and new everything. It’s not like when you sing here, every year is the same. The same tune every year after year. There every year it was different, so it’s hard for me to remember. There were new songs, new choirs every year. It was a very big thing for us, for us kids. We were busy for two months, preparing for it. Explain to me how the preparations went. Usually like you rehearse for choir. They used to teach us the notes and go over and over and rehearse in harmony. It’s no different than choirs prepared for a concert here. That was our yearly concert, the Hanukkah concert. Excuse me. Who would attend these concerts? Everybody. The whole community would come to the rabbi for the candle lighting ceremony, especially his immediate followers. We’d light the Hanukkah candles, and right after the candles, we put on– It’s like a performance, like the year’s performance. Who was your rabbi? I had many rabbis, but the one when I was in the yeshiva, his name was Elisha Horowitz. He was with me in the concentration camp. Unfortunately, I saw him pass away there. What was your relationship with your rabbi? I’m glad you asked that because a rabbi– If you told me what was closer than my father– and nobody closer to me than my father– then my rabbi was equal to that. The love of the rabbi is hard to express. It’s like a real closeness that you have, that a son has with his father. You can imagine the closeness I had after four daughters. Even today, religious men favor boys. You can imagine what it was 70 years ago. So I had a very close relationship with my father, but my rabbi was equal. Tell me about the relationship you had with your father. What kinds of things did you do together? Since I explained that this involved– Our total lives are totally involved around our tradition and religion, mostly is study. As a matter of fact, I woke up one morning– It was the middle of the night. He was standing over me, and I got startled. I said, “What’s happening? What’s the matter, Father?” “I was standing over you, listening. You recited a whole page of the Talmud, and I was sitting here listening to you.” So that’s what we were doing. That was his biggest pleasure. At the end of the week, I would sit down Sabbath afternoon. He would give me like a test of what I’d accomplished all week, and he would get pride because, thank God, I was a wonderful student, and he took joy in that, and nothing else was needed when you live that kind of life. What was your relationship like with your sisters? My sisters, I had a very wonderful– They were really very wonderful, because they were very loving to me because I was their little brother. Especially the one who was closest to me, was two and a half years older, Irene, who passed away. She always took me everywhere with her, wherever she went. She was like a little mother and watched over me. So did the others. I had more than one mother. I had my mother and four more. I was very fortunate indeed, very lucky. Did you have any playmates that you remember? Yes, I had playmates in cheder, in school, sure. Like any normal child. What types of games did you play? With all the studies that I was doing, the only games I was able to play were during recess. In the secular school, I played a little soccer because any other time we were too busy, doing homework for the secular school and homework for the yeshivas, and we’ve been praying and going davening to shul twice a day. There wasn’t much room for playing. Toys we certainly didn’t have, couldn’t afford. The only toy I remember having was a little ball. Do you remember who gave you that ball? My father gave it to me. Could you describe what secular school was like? It was very nice because even the secular school was organized by the Jewish community, and it was only for Jewish boys, and the reason we had that because we shouldn’t have to go to the regular school because we have to stay in school without a yarmulke, and we have to even go once in a while on the Sabbath for certain programs. Thus we were able to observe our tradition. So it was a little financial burden on the community, but we had it. We had a special school just for boys. The girls went to regular school with the Gentiles. But the Jewish boys were separately taught by Gentile teachers, all the studies that everybody else learned, except that we were in our own school. As a matter of fact, it was called scoalã israelitã, the Jewish school. How did you attend school? In what garb? What clothing? My regular– We didn’t need no special clothing. Whatever I wore for the yeshiva, I wore it. In the morning, I went to secular, in the afternoon, to the yeshiva. The same clothes. We couldn’t afford too many clothes. Except for the Sabbath, we had special clothes to change, and for the holidays. Did you wear a skullcap, a kippah? Certainly that, yes. Did you have payos? Yes, I had payos because my father was modern. We weren’t really very modern. We wore modern clothes. What he did, he sent me to yeshivas very, very, very religious. You can compare them even higher than Williamsburg or Borough Park that’s known here in Brooklyn. I once asked him– If we were really modern, why did he send me to such a religious school? He says, “I figured if you let go of what you’re learning– If I sent you to a modern school and you let go, you’ll have nothing left. But if I send you to a very religious school and you let go, you’ll still have something left.” As a result, because I was there, I had very long curls, payos all the way to the shoulder length. - Did everyone else? - Everyone in my school, yes. What was your relationship with your Gentile teachers? I had a very good relationship because I was a good student, but if you’re not, it got pretty rough. If you didn’t know answers, you got, you know, beat up. I don’t understand. If you didn’t know an answer, teachers used to punish you with the rulers. You have to hold out your hands. They’d hit you over the hands. But I was very fortunate. I was a real good student, always top of the class, so I never had to be disciplined. - Did you– - So I had– Did I? I’m sorry. Did you see other children being beaten? Oh, certainly. If you were called on to answer and you didn’t know the answer, the first time you got warned. The second time you got two or three. It got worse as time went on if you didn’t know your answers when you were called upon to give an answer. That was common practice in the old days. Did you have any relationship with any Gentile children? Not a good one. As a matter of fact, on the way home from school, they were always pulling on my payos, and they were very anti-Semitic. I had to keep my eyes open all around to make sure that I got home safely every day. Please describe these incidents. These towns in Europe were very anti-Semitic, all over Eastern Europe, Poland. There was no interrelationship between the– Tell me what personally happened to you. If I couldn’t run fast enough, I got beat up a few times, and many times pulled– At best, just pulled by the payos a little bit, a little bit painful. But I had to make sure, look around. As much as I could, when I saw adults walking on the street, I used to walk next to them to make them think that I belonged to them, and this way I felt safe. Because I was all by myself. Our street was not where most of the Jewish people lived. Most of them didn’t have this problem because they lived in all-Jewish neighborhoods. But I lived about a mile away, and I had this little problem. I had to go through Gentile neighborhoods. So I had to be streetwise, and I survived. I survived worse than that. Did you walk alone all the time? Yes, because I was the only child from that street going to the yeshivas. Everybody else lived in a street where all the Jewish people lived together. Do you remember the birth of your younger brothers? I certainly do. Because I was only three years old when my first– when the first one was born. I remember my sister Olga, the oldest one, was eleven years older, I remember to this– Pick me up in her arm and take me to my mother’s bed with the baby and show me the new baby. I’ll never forget that. That’s why my oldest sister, Olga, I still refer to her as not only my sister, as my mother. She always carried me around all over. What about the birth of the next brother? Do you remember? Sure, even easier. I got older with each child. I remember very clearly because when a boy is born in Europe, every night, little boys come and say the prayer, the Shema, for the health of the mother and new child and to give them candies. I remember even after the first one– I was only three years old– I was hiding from them because there were a lot of strangers, marching into my house, and I was startled. And this was repeated with each child, and with the second or third, it got easier. Who were the people that came to visit? These are boys from the class, young kids, eight, nine, ten years old, they came. It was an opportunity for them to get a little candy every night when they said the Shema prayer for the new baby. It’s a custom still now in Borough Park and Williamsburg. They still maintain that custom. That when a boy is born, other boys come to the house to say the prayers. Do you know this prayer? Yeah, “Shema Yisrael,” the prayer that we say twice a day, in the prayer and before we go to bed. Could you say it for me? Shema Yisrael HashemElokeinu Hashem Echad. “Hear O Israel, God our God is a single God.” This is the prayer that people had on their lips many times, if they had the strength, before they even died in the concentration camps. This is the prayer they had on their lips. This is well-known, well-documented. Thank you. We’re going to change tapes. ...with Mr. David Abrams, in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Abrams, do you remember as a child ever getting sick? Yes, but not too seriously. As a matter of fact, especially in the wintertime, when I got sick, to me it was like a holiday because I got to stay home. No, I meant to say– I confused with something else. I was going to say when we had to fix our shoes. When something was wrong with our shoes, I’d go to the shoemaker to fix them. We only owned one pair of shoes. So we stayed home. It was a holiday. We stayed home from school for a day while our shoes are fixed. So that’s why I was confused about when I said that. That’s enough. Sorry about the confusion. No, that’s wonderful. How often did that happen? About twice a year. We only owned one pair of shoes, yes. We were looking forward for our shoes to be fixed, so we can stay home for the day. Could you now tell us what would happen on the occasion that you would have a childhood illness? We had a town doctor. We would call the doctor, and he would come over, and if necessary he’d prescribe medication. We got better, like anybody else. No different. Was it common for doctors to make house calls? That was the only way. He always came. We never went to a doctor. The doctor always came to our house. Do you remember his medical bag? Not really, no. What do you remember about the times that you were treated by a doctor? Only that I was sick and I had to get better. I never concentrated on it. Did you ever get an injection? Not that I remember. We usually got it when we were very small. When we were very tiny, we got the injections. So as a growing child, I don’t remember. Getting older, I don’t remember. Where would you buy medicine? We had several apothecaries, pharmacies, where we bought our medicine. I remember sometimes even going to buy it when somebody else was sick. They used to send me to get the medication. What did your father do to earn a living? He was a baker. He had a bakery. What was the store like? Actually, we didn’t have a store because he delivered. The bread was delivered from house to house after we baked it, to our customers. We had a horse and wagon, and we delivered all the bread to all our customers. - Did you ever help your father do it? - Many times, yes. He used to drive me sometimes on my way to school on the wagon, and then I used to get to school on time. That day I didn’t have to walk, when it was time for deliveries of the bread. How often would that happen? It happened a few times a week if the timing was right. If the delivery was ready when I had to go to school, I used to hop on the wagon and go with him, and he’d drop me off at school. Did anybody in your family ever have to go to a hospital? No, not that I remember. Do you remember going to visit relatives? Yes, every Shabbat, every Sabbath, I had an aunt and an uncle, my father’s sister, and they had five children, and we went to visit them every Shabbat afternoon. We used to get some fruit. I don’t know if I went to visit to see them or because I’d know I was going to get some fruit while I’m visiting there. But anyway, we went every Saturday afternoon to visit. - How far away did they live? - They lived about a mile away. They lived in the Jewish section, where all the Jewish people lived. So I had to do all the walking everywhere all the time. What were their names? Their name was Glück, Rebecca and Martin Glück. And their children’s names? The children’s names were Rachel, Yehezkel, Gita and Esther. Were there any other incidents of anti-Semitism that you experienced as a child growing up? Other than the incidents you told me about, going to and from school? Yes, a very serious one, but that came already when things started to get bad around 1942, 1943. There was a holiday, a national holiday, and we didn’t put out the flag fast enough. Soon a couple of people came, burst in, and beat up my father pretty badly for not putting on the flag. That’s the only thing that will never leave my mind. Could you describe that? What happened? They just came in and asked why the flag isn’t put out. It’s a holiday. So my father had just gotten home from the synagogue, and he was about to do it, but they didn’t give him a chance. They just started beating him up. - Who? - These two men. Two passersby from the street, who just passed by our house. But this was already when the time was getting bad, when all the restrictions for Jewish people started and everything. Could you please tell me about that, when things started to change? In 1941– Like I mentioned, when I was born, this area was under Romanian control. In 1941, Hitler gave half of this area to Hungary. They came over and took my town over. As a matter of fact, that’s how we wound up in Auschwitz. The Hungarians turned over the Jews to the Germans, while the Romanians did not. In the beginning, we were very happy to see the Hungarians because they were very friendly to the Jews. As a matter of fact, I’ll never forget the speech when they got there, when they celebrated taking over the area and proclaiming that they had liberated all the Hungarians in the area from persecution, from the Romanians. They even made a statement. “Let’s not forget another nation, the Jewish people, who were also persecuted by the Romanians. Let’s not forget they’re also being liberated today.” So naturally we took them at their word, and we were very happy and welcomed them. Who made this speech? This was the president. His name was Horthy, of Hungary. Over the radio. - Do you remember it? - I’ll never forget it because for days we were talking about it, and the Jewish people were full of hope that things are going to get better because the Hungarians took over, and they’re more civilized, more from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It turned out quite a different picture. Could you describe the circumstances where you heard this speech? First, I heard it from different people discussing it in the synagogue. They’d heard it over the radio. We ourselves didn’t have a radio. By then it was repeated over and over, so I heard it on many occasions. Please continue telling me what it was like when the Hungarians came in. Did they march into your town? Yeah, the soldiers marched in. We welcomed them. It was very, very– A lot of festivities going on, and everybody seemed to be very happy and joyous. It was like a new beginning. And then what happened? Then, around 1943, things started– Wait a second. You’ve just jumped two years. This continued where we had it pretty peaceful, pretty nice, for about a year or two. But I can’t remember the exact dates because I wasn’t even prepared to go into so much detail about– I was prepared to talk about my experience during the Holocaust and testify. So I’m really not– I’d just like to spend some time to get a flavor of what your life was like, the circumstances that led up to this. I can’t be any more helpful with the political aspect because I was still going on and doing whatever I had done before. Get up 5:00 in the morning. For an hour before I had to go to prayer, I studied and then went to morning prayer. I took breakfast with me, so I shouldn’t have to waste the time, walking the mile back to my home. Then I went to secular school and after secular school came home for lunch. That was our main meal, was lunchtime. Then I went back to the yeshiva till 8:00, 9:00, late at night. And that was my daily routine until I was taken out of my house and taken to the ghetto. Do you ever have summer vacations? Yes, we had summer vacations, but I wasn’t poor enough to go with the poor people, and not rich enough to afford one, so I really studied all year– I had no summer vacations. I was caught in the middle. Because the very poor, it was provided by the community to go away for at least a week, sometimes two weeks, to the country just for a rest a bit. Though you had to be very poor for that, and I wasn’t that poor. But I wasn’t rich enough to afford to go on my own, so I never did go on vacation. When did restrictions start for the Jewish people? As far as I can remember– - I just want what you remember. - Okay. It started around ’43. I’m not sure whether the Germans already got into our town or not, but they started serious Jewish laws. They called them zsidótörvények in Hungarian, meaning “Jewish laws.” First, the law was that Jews cannot have Gentiles work for them. Then there were laws that Jews could not go to the market before 10:00, so the Gentiles can have their pick of whatever is in the marketplace. Then at 10:00, when they had what they needed, then the Jewish people were allowed to come in. Then, towards the end, the final law came that the Jews had to wear yellow stars in order they should be recognized, identified everybody who’s Jewish. It was, like, ironic and funny to me, because I had long curls all the way down, wearing a yarmulke. I needed a yellow star to identify me that I was Jewish. But I soon realized that it was all just another harassment because, even at that time, things were so bad. Jewish people couldn’t own businesses. My father had to give up the bakery, and a Gentile baked the bread. We hardly had enough to eat, and everything– I’m sorry. I just want to slow down a little bit. Do you remember how you were told that your father’s bakery– he could no longer run it? Yeah. Everything came in steps, so– When they added one more restriction, it was nothing new. It was almost like expected. Who was giving these restrictions? The government. It was like a Nazi government already established, and the people, the police, whoever was in charge of things. Do you remember how your father was told that he couldn’t– No, I don’t think I was there personally, so I can’t give you any details of the conversation. Definitely not. Do you remember reading the rules? No, not at all. Were you allowed to continue to go to school? Yes, everything. We continued to go to the last day, till they took us out to the ghetto. I went to yeshiva, and I went to my studies. What type of star did you have to wear? A yellow star, made of yellow material, with a Star of David. It was sewed upon our clothing, no matter what we wear. If it was a jacket, on top of the jacket. If it was an overcoat, had to be on the overcoat. So wherever we went, we could be identified that we were Jewish. Do you remember sewing this or having– Yeah, my mother– I remember it, sure, very clearly. I remember my mother was busy sewing up these stars, yes. What was the atmosphere in the house? If you remember, please describe it. It’s hard to explain. Even on the day– I’ll just give you an example. Even on the day that they came to tell us, on a Friday, that we have 24 hours because the next day they’re going to come to take us to the ghetto– They told us we’re allowed to take two suitcases of clothing. It was on a Friday morning. When they left, my mother said to us, “We have some work to do because we have to prepare for the Shabbat. So everybody pack their stuff, whatever you’re allowed, into two suitcases or two bags.” As soon as we did that, we went on and prepared for the Sabbath. It’s hard to explain. To this day, I can’t comprehend how we reacted so normally. My only explanation would be the old adage– If somebody hits you with 40 lashes and you get the 41st, you’re already numb, you don’t feel anything. But it has to be something more than that because after we finished packing our two bags we were allowed to take with us the following day, my mother went on and prepared a Sabbath meal like any other Sabbath. We sat down Friday night. We went to shul, we went to prayers. When we came home, we had our regular Sabbath meal. We had our regular Sabbath songs. We sang the traditional shalom aleichem that we welcome angels to our house because you know tomorrow the devils are coming. And we ate our meal, the normal Sabbath meal. We sang our songs. We say the prayers after we went to sleep, just like tomorrow’s going to be a day like any other day. So if you want to know what happened during these years when these anti-Semitic edicts, I gave you a perfect example here, when the worst was coming, how we reacted. What did you pack? Mainly we were supposed to pack clothing, underwear, blankets and food for a few days. Mainly things that would be needed. We were told that we have to be separated from the Gentiles, that we were going to be taken to a town and have jobs where only Jews live, separate from the Gentiles. In an indirect way, subconsciously, I almost welcomed it, to be away from these anti-Semites, to be with Jews only. We would have jobs. We’d be together with our family. That’s what we were told. Do you remember what you chose to take with you? Was there anything special that you decided to take? The only thing special I took with me was my prayer book. Most of the things, my mother handed to me. She put in what I needed, and I packed it and put it in there. I forgot to ask you one thing that I want to know. - Did you have a best friend? - Yes, I did. Could you tell me about him? He was my age. He was a neighbor, not too far away. His name was Mendel Rosenfeld. We were very close. Every Sabbath we went on walks together. We went to the same schools. As a matter of fact, I was tutoring him because he wasn’t as– He was a bright student but needed help, and I was exceptional, and I was able to help him and tutor him. We were very close. He’s here today, in Brooklyn. Do you remember any special times that you spent together as children? We spent all our time together in yeshivas and schools. We even went to secular school together. Mostly leisure time we only had was Saturday afternoon walks after lunch, until it was time to go for prayers. That’s the only leisure time we really had. Did you have any outside interests besides the Torah as a child? No. Till after the war, I never even went to a cinema because I was not permitted to go where there’s men and women together. It was considered a waste of time to do anything but spend your time on the Torah and religious studies. Especially for boys. The girls, they were more liberal. My sisters went to cinemas, and they used to tell me about it. Tell me about that. I can’t remember anything. It would be absurd. Was that a special time when you got together? Oh, yeah. It was always a special time when I got together with my sisters. Do you remember your sisters having boyfriends? Yes. As a matter of fact, I was bribed not to tell my father because they’re weren’t allowed to. Please continue telling me about the anti-Semitism and the restrictions you were subjected to before they took you away. You mentioned that you weren’t allowed to hire Gentiles. Was there anything else that you were aware of? Also they were not allowed to go to the market. We were not allowed to– We didn’t own important businesses. Anything that had to do with food, grocery stores or bakeries, like my father, was all taken away and had to be given in the hand of Gentiles because everything was rationed. They didn’t want to have the Jewish people– access to anything– food that was being rationed. Things like that, yes. What was your relationship with the people who took over your bakery? In the beginning, it was okay. We had an arrangement that they provided us a little extra flour, especially on the Sabbath, so we can bake khale and have extra food. But as things got worse, and the laws got worse, he had to stop it because he had pressure from his Nazi Party that he belonged to not to do favors to Jews and not to be social with the Jews. So, as a result, this arrangement was discontinued. - I know you were a young boy– - Yes. but were you aware of what was happening in the rest of Europe? No, not at all. No. No. No. Did you read newspapers? No, not me. My father read, but I didn’t read newspapers, no. Describe to me the day after. You described beautifully that you continued with your Sabbath dinner. But the day you were taken away, could you describe that? Okay. You know? I’m sorry. Yes, could you describe that? And then describe what the ghetto looked like. Okay. They came for us on Saturday morning like they said they would, with some policemen with guns, with bayonets drawn. I don’t know why they needed the bayonets drawn. And they came to get us, asked us if we were ready, and everybody was ready. We had two bags, and we walked out of our house. The only thing I remember, which I’ll never forget– It really bothered me that I walked out of the house with the two bags, and I looked up to the sky, and I asked forgiveness from God that I’m carrying on the Sabbath. That’s what was bothering me because you’re not allowed to carry on the Sabbath. And then we went, everybody carrying their bags, but before we went to the ghetto, they assembled us in a big courtyard, where everybody else was assembled, and in that courtyard were tables set up with inspectors. Everybody had to open their valises to be inspected, to see what we have. Even the little thing they already allowed us, if they saw something very expensive, or something very nice, or something they liked themselves, they just took it out. Fortunately, they didn’t like anything they saw in my bag, so I was able to keep what I had. Then, when everybody went through the inspection, they marched us about two or three miles to this ghetto. Now I have to prepare you that when we talk about “ghetto,” usually most people think about a building or a street separated from the rest of the Gentile people. Just like, for instance, the Warsaw ghetto, with the whole area blocked off in Warsaw, buildings where only Jews lived. In many instances in Romania, that’s what it was like in the very big cities like Cluj. Kolozsvár was the city that everyone is familiar with. Certain few streets and buildings was set aside for Jews only, and the Gentiles were moved out. The Jews moved in there, and that was considered a ghetto. But in our case– and also the reason why we acted so normal when they told us to get us because for ten days before then, they got together all the Jews from the villages all around our town. They had to go through our town, and they marched to the same ghetto that we were about to march this Saturday. So we almost expected it because we saw them go every day. We knew one of these days our turn will come, and that Saturday was our turn. So finally we got to this ghetto that I just described. And there was a forest, a big wooded area full of trees, way out of town, three miles out of town. They showed us a piece of ground, about 10 by 12, the size of an average room, with four stakes on the corner, and they told us, “This is where you’re gonna live.” A piece of ground in a forest. “And in a few days, we’ll give you some boards, some two-by-fours, where you can build a shelter around you.” We said, “A few days?” We looked up in the sky– It was the end of May. It was still– It was the beginning of May really. The end of May we left. The beginning of May. It was still cold. It was dark. It looked like it was gonna rain any minute. And they give us a piece of ground. “This is what you’re gonna live.” But before long, some people who were there from before came and helped us. We cut off branches, poles from the trees, and we set them up. We put sheets all around, and we got more branches with leaves to put on top. We covered up and put blankets and sheets, whatever we could, on the floor. And that’s where we slept till a few days later, they did bring boards, but it was still just– It was like a sukkah. On Sukkoth, people go out of their houses, their beautiful homes, for seven days, and one of the reasons is to commemorate when the Jews went out of Egypt, they lived in sukkahs and huts. But the real reason is to show to God that everything we own, everything we have, is only ours on loan for the time we’re here, and nothing belongs to us. So we leave our home– we build these little huts we call sukkahs– to show that life is only temporary, and everything we own doesn’t belong to us, and everything belongs to God. So I guess you can call this– But that was just a ritual, the sukkah. But this was for real. Here we were supposed to live. Things were so bad that I heard, in the middle of the night, my mother thought we were already sleeping, and she said, “Thank God that my father is not here to see this.” Because he had passed away three months before, in January. He had passed away from illness. He had high blood pressure. I wouldn’t be surprised if the circumstances of anti-Semitism caused this, speeded up his death. But my mother was thanking God that he’s not here to see us. It was so bad, that the first night I got into Auschwitz, not knowing what Auschwitz is all about, all I know is I got to a place. I was separated from my family. I was told that I’d be able to see them every Sunday, that I had to be separated. And after being processed, I was led into a barracks– Wait. I– No, I just want to give you a comparison to how bad this ghetto was where they put me. When they put me into the barracks for the night, there was these wooden beds, even though they were six to a bed, at least it was a bed. To me, in comparison to what I had now, it was like being in a fancy hotel, like the Waldorf-Astoria. This was in Auschwitz. That’s how bad things were here. And this is where we lived for almost a month until they put us on trains to send us to Auschwitz. What did you eat for that month? At first we had only what we had brought with us. But, fortunately, I was– They had work details. I was able to go out on a work detail every morning, cleanup details on railroad tracks, whatever they needed. And during the day, I was able to gather with the neighbors, and people, whoever was around, to beg for food, to bring enough to keep us going till the next day. I was looking forward to get to this. I was volunteering for these details. What kinds of things did you talk about during this time? During this time we only talk about, to give each other support, that this can’t last forever, there’s got to be an end to this. During the ghetto, every day, every night, in the evening, another head of a household was– Came from the police, secret police, and whisked him away to interrogate him to see whether we have any jewelry or any valuables hidden anywhere, and people, whether they had or not, were beaten up to confess. What is there to talk about in a time like this? Not much, really. Only look around you to see what things have come to and just hope that it can’t last much longer, that something has to happen. Eternal hope is the secret, the weapon, of the Jewish people. We always hope that things will get better. Could you tell me who was with you in this small area? In this small area was my mother, two older sisters, and three little brothers because the older sister, Olga, was already emigrated to the United States, so she was in the United States in 1935. And sister Liebe Malke, she was brought up in a different town by an aunt and uncle who didn’t have any children. And they went to a different ghetto in their own town. So I only had two sisters with me, and myself, and my three little brothers, and my mother on the ground in this cold, small, wet area. We’re going to change tapes now. ...1997, with Mr. David Abrams in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Abrams, before we continue, I’d like to go back several months to the death of your father. How did you react to this very sudden– The death of my father was very, very, very traumatic to me. I never remember being in as much pain because I was very close to him. Only six months before, I had a very close friend of mine whose father passed away, and I said to myself, “If this ever happened to me, I don’t think I could survive.” As a matter of fact, I remember he died in the same month– the month of Kislev– the month of Tebet– that my mother passed away. My mother passed away on the first day of Tebet. He died 15 years later, the 15th day of Kislev. We have a month in the Jewish calendar, Heshvan, that is called “Mar,” that was given a nickname, Marheshvan, called bitter Heshvan because, for some reason, it has to do with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. I remember walking to the levaya, to the funeral of my father, I wanted to rename, give the same name to Tebet, call it “Martebet,” the bitter Tebet, because that’s the month that I lost both my mother and my father. It was a very, very bitter blow to me. But, like everything else, with human nature, you recover. Some people do and some don’t. I guess I was the lucky one. Were there new obligations you had to fulfill? Yes. I was the one to make sure that– I was the head of the family now because I was the oldest boy, oldest man. I was so crazy about my mother. I wanted to make sure that she can cope. I had three little brothers and two sisters. I constantly encouraged my two sisters and my brothers to be considerate to my mother because I loved my mother dearly because she was a wonderful person. And we did just fine. But of course, unfortunately, we only had three or four months before they took us away to the ghetto. At that point, had you already had your bar mitzvah? - I was 15. - You were 15. Yeah, 15 already. Yeah. Could we just go back a moment and could you describe your bar mitzvah? I’ll be very glad to because, like I said, we were of very modest means. My bar mitzvah consisted of a meal called shalashudes. The third meal of the Sabbath is done in shul. In the morning, we had a little kiddush at the davening, but my main event was this shalashudes. The whole family and friends got together. We had a little fish, a little whiskey to drink, and a little khale and everything else. That was– I made a big speech, the usual one, and that was my big affair. But it was a very happy one. I didn’t know any different. Do you remember what the speech was about? Something from the Talmud, but I couldn’t quote you the passages. But it was quite a performance. It was about an hour speech. I remember my father was in there, my grandfather, very impressed. Close to an hour anyway. Maybe it just seemed to me like an hour. When your father died, were you the only son that was bar mitzvahed? Yes, because one of my younger brothers, the oldest one, was just about getting ready to bar mitzvah. He was getting, like, training because in the ghetto, in May of 1944, he became bar mitzvahed, and my father died in January. Could you describe your brother’s bar mitzvah? There’s nothing to describe. The only thing, when he was bar mitzvahed, is he put on tefillin that day. We had tefillin prepared for him because during the training, we had bought tefillin for him, before we got into the ghetto. A month before, he starts training to put on the tefillin, the phylacteries. And that was his whole bar mitzvah. That he put on tefillin. No celebration, nothing. No extra food, no nothing, unfortunately. What articles of clothing did you still have with you in the ghetto? I had extra underwear, socks and one extra suit, besides the one that I was wearing. That’s about it. Did you have a tallith? Sure. A small one, of course. It was required to have it. A very small tallith, a tallith katan, yeah. What prayer books did you have? Just the one that we prayed morning and night, the siddur. That we prayed morning and night. Were there any other religious articles that you had with you? No. That’s all. Just the siddur and the tefillin, the phylactery. Was there any special way that you were able to celebrate the Sabbath in the ghetto? No. Not as far as– We didn’t even have candles available to put up for lighting, nothing. It was just another day, except for the prayers that we were still able to– special prayers that we said. So was there any other religious instruction going on? No. Not really. What hours of the day were you gone doing work detail? Probably about six, seven hours a day, from morning, like 10:00, maybe till 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, depending on each day how much work had to be done. Were the nationalities of the people in the ghetto– What were the nationalities of the people in the ghetto? In my town, we were all either Romanian, Hungarian or Jewish. There were no other nationalities. How long did you stay in this ghetto? Approximately a month. And then what happened? Then they transported everybody. They took everybody out of there in three different groups. I was in the second group. Before they put us on these trains that are for– I remarked before, we went through another inspection. They took everything. The little– We had the bare minimum. Even the little that we had, they took some more away. They took us to separate rooms. Males, separately, and females, and everybody had to get undressed, naked. Women and men were both examined, even their private parts, to see if anything was hidden, any jewels or anything. It was very humiliating. And then, after all that, after going through for four weeks, this is how the Hungarians put us on the train bound for Auschwitz. How many people were on the train with you? In the whole train there were– Each group had a little over a thousand, I would say. In each car, I don’t know exactly how many, but they were so filled to capacity, there was hardly enough room to stretch out for everybody. That’s how crowded we were in the car. It was very, very, very bad. How long was your journey? It seemed to me it was at least three days. It could be shorter. It could be longer. But this is the way I remember it, about three days. Because we had to go through Hungary, Czechoslovakia to Poland. And we stopped in many places for hours. Then we were able to get out of the train to stretch out, get a little fresh air. Then we stayed there for a little time and then back on the train to continue our journey. Did people get sick on the train? Yes, people got sick. There were instances where people even died on the train. What happened when they died? It didn’t happen in my car, but they just took them off the train. Whatever they did to them, I’m not aware of. How they disposed of the bodies, I’m not aware. How did you go to the bathroom? We just opened the crack of the door, and we just went. There is no bathroom in there. Were you given any food? No. Only what we had. I don’t remember if they gave us, or the community who– or whatever, whatever– When they loaded us, they gave us some, but not during the three-day journey. Whatever we had, whatever we were given, was supposed to last us for the journey. I think we got a loaf of bread for the trip. And a little water and that was it. Where did you believe you were going? They told us that they’re taking us to a different town away from the Gentiles, where we will be together with the family, have jobs. When did you arrive? Where did you arrive? We arrived at what’s known now as Auschwitz, where we were immediately separated like– What time of day was it? It was towards the evening. Yeah, late in the afternoon, we got to Auschwitz. And the people who lived– Workers came up and rushed us off the train, not giving us any chance to take anything with us. And we went through the procedure, to be lined up. Describe what you saw when you came off the train. We were all told to line up in files. There was an SS in front of us who was separating us. He told some people to go to the right, and some he told to go to his left. The people that go to his right were usually the women, the children and old people. As a matter of fact, I was next to my grandfather, holding hands, and when we came to him, he motioned him to go to his right, to our left. I wanted to tag along with him. He came and grabbed me, pulled me away, he says, “Du kannst noch arbeiten.” “You can still work,” and he put me on the other side, to his left, to our right, to where the younger people went, who they want to work still, supposed to go to labor camps. And then we were told during the separation that we would see each other every Sunday. We just had to be separated for work detail purposes. From the old people, the young people and the children had to be separated for work detail, but we’d be able to see each other every Sunday. What happened to your suitcases? They were all– They were left in the ghetto before they even put us on the train. They didn’t let us take hardly anything. All I had in my hands was a little bread and a little food and what I was wearing, that’s all. Anybody who could get a way, then they were left on the train when everybody was rushed off the train, to get off the train when we got to Auschwitz. I’m sorry. What did you– Everybody was rushed off the trains when we got to Auschwitz. Nobody was even allowed to take anything with them. It didn’t matter if you took anything with you because, once you started getting processed in Auschwitz, you were taken into a room where you had to undress naked completely. You go to another room where they gave you these famous, striped prisoner clothes that you put on. You were separated from your grandfather. What happened then? I went to where I was told to go, to the other side where the people that are supposed to go to work went. Were you with anybody you knew? Not at that moment. No. But some people from my town were there that I knew, sure, yes. A lot of people. And then what happened? Then, as I mentioned before, we were all led to a room where we were all told to undress, completely naked. Then we went to another room where they gave us haircuts and sheared off all the hair from our bodies and everything - and gave us something to wear. - Could you describe that? How much hair did they shave off of you? Everything. Wherever you had hair, everywhere. Private parts, under your arms, on your head. Everything was shaved off. We went through a shower. They even gave us a shower. And gave us these prison clothes, these striped clothes. We were taken to our barracks. What time of year was this again? Was it spring, summer? This was the beginning of June, in 1944. What did your barracks look like? Okay. The barracks were normal army barracks, like everybody is familiar with. Describe them to me anyway. Just in case everybody isn’t. I’m not familiar with it. I really don’t know how to describe them. Except they were like buildings made out of wood. They were quite long, maybe about a hundred feet long. I really don’t know how to describe a barrack. I know a bit of the army, too, but I still– I’m not good at describing things. I don’t know what you are trying to get out of me. What did it look like? There was nothing in there but bunks. Beds, triple-decker beds. Three on each side. The same bunk that you are familiar with, that people took movies and pictures after the war. Those are the barracks that you see. There’s hardly a person who hasn’t seen one in the movies. So those are the barracks that you saw in Auschwitz. Did you sleep on the top, middle or bottom? I happened to be on the bottom, yeah. Then what happened? We were there for a few days. Things were really rough there. They gave us very, very little food. Even when they did, we had one little dish, like, from out of metal, a platter. They get five, six people and gave them a dish and then filled it up with soup, and these five, six people had to share, without spoons, without anything, just take turns taking a sip of soup. This is how we lived for about three or four days. And during this time, every night before we went to sleep, they lined us up, and they made– they’re selecting people. It turned out later that they needed quotas to fill out for the crematorium. So they asked for people, “Anybody who is a jeweler, just step up.” So people stepped up. “Who knows how to ride a bicycle?” Anything just to get people to step up. When they didn’t get enough, they would go through row by row, look over people and tell individuals, “Step aside. Step aside.” Those people were never seen again. They were probably just used to fill up their quotas because they didn’t have enough for that evening for the gas chambers. How did you find that out? I found out very fast because, after the second day or the third day, I found somebody who was there a very long time. The Polish people were there for three or four years. So I asked him, “Is it true what they told us that you can see your relatives every Sunday? Do you see your relatives every Sunday?” So it was very nonchalantly he said, he pointed up, “Look up at the sky.” And I saw the sky. “See the smoke coming out of those chimneys?” I said, “Yes.” “Those are your relatives. Go look at them. You can see them now. Those are your relatives.” That’s how I found out. He kept me informed on what was going on there. I knew right away what was going on. At first I didn’t understand what he was talking about, but it took some time before he described to me in detail what was going on. That all those people that were sent to the left were all, their first night, gassed and burned in the crematorium. And we’ll never see our family again which, unfortunately, he was right. After three or four days of this, finally I was put on a train, shipped and given a set amount of rations that was supposed to last me for two or three days. They put us again on a freight train. But this time, we were only allowed to occupy one-half of the train because the other half was for two guards. Each train had two German guards with guns and bayonets drawn. They occupied one-half of the freight train while we were on the other half, filled to capacity, side by side, sitting down. This is how we were shipped. So I got out of Auschwitz and shipped to Mauthausen. What did you see when you arrived in Mauthausen? Hundreds and hundreds of more barracks, similar to what I saw in Auschwitz. We got out of the trains, lined up again, more processing. We were given some food, but no water. As a matter of fact, I remember being given some bread with some wurst. It was very salty, and they wouldn’t give us water. Their pretense was that it was contaminated. It was a hot day, and everybody was dying of thirst. We couldn’t even eat we were so thirsty. We went through processing. From there, they sent us all to the labor camp. Different labor camps, where I eventually wound up spending most of the year, till the end of the war. Let’s go back to Mauthausen. Where did you sleep in Mauthausen? I don’t think I was there long enough to sleep. I was there a few hours to be processed and assigned to Gusen. That’s where– my first night I slept was in Gusen. What did the processing consist of? They assigned us numbers. All the prisoners, their numbers, they were like tagged or sewn onto your uniform. Next to the numbers, there were triangles with colors. Everybody had different colors. The Jewish people had yellow painted next to their number. The political prisoners had red painted next to their number. The criminals and murderers that were there, they had green, different colors. It took time to sew these things on and everything, go through the processing. Do you remember other groups that were there beside these three that you’ve mentioned? No. These are mainly the three groups. The Jewish and the prisoners that were caught during the war, Russian prisoners. And also the Germans, Nazi political prisoners. The Germans that didn’t agree with the government who were also there as political prisoners and also German criminals, murderers and whatever. Instead of being in prison, they were kept there and used as overseers mostly of the Jewish people, the Jewish workers. Do you remember your number? Yes. 71,701. It’s amazing how these numbers, these numbers– The 107 has followed me all through life. 701, 107. Because even my payroll number was 107, and my first grandchild, which was one of the most important things that happened in my life, was born on October 7, 107, 10-7. All the numbers that I ever see is always these numbers. 107 somehow seems to always be in there. One way or another. It has nothing to do with what we’re doing today. I just felt I had to mention it because it’s almost unbelievable how these numbers– That you asked me what my number was. 71,701. Did they tattoo that number on you? No. It was just sewn on. The significance on this number is also that I was the first one in this transport. This was the first number of this group. It started, 701. As soon as you were processed, you were given a hot liquid that they called hot coffee. And I strongly believe that it saved my life because I don’t think I could have gone on– It was so hot. The hotness of the day, after that salty wurst that they gave us with a piece of bread, I don’t think I could have held out much longer without water. I would have passed out. This saved me, kept me going. I was able to have a little hot liquid to drink. Do you know why you went first? Yes, probably because my name started with A. It was in alphabetical order. Abraham. Because my name was also called with my number. Abraham, David. Einundsiebzig tausend siebenhundertund eins. That’s in German. 71,701. How were you transported from Mauthausen to Gusen? It was only about a few miles. We walked. We walked. - Marched. - How did you walk? In company form. We were lined up like in a company. Then we just followed the guards. Guards on our side and somebody leading us, and we just followed. Guards in the back, of course, so nobody should escape. This is how we marched through the street until we got to our camp. Describe Gusen for me. It’s really just another camp and barracks, and they were numbered, at that time, from one to about nine. And the Jewish people were put into number five. I remember the number. This was only the Jewish people who went into that number. So it’s very similar to Auschwitz. The beds were, instead of triple-decker, here, they were double-decker. Three in the bottom, three in the top. But the way they did it was two side by side and one facing the other way. Between the two legs of the other persons, instead of three side by side. Maybe it was more room that way or whatever. This is where we stayed, in these barracks for the next year, until a few weeks before the end of the war. - And what did you do? - Well. When we got there, we were assigned to different work details. Some of them– Well, I was on many of them, quite a few of them. Some of the details were just to torture people. They were torture. One I can really think of was called Kanal bauen, meaning to build a canal. And a Gypsy was in charge of this– very, very brutal. This was up the hill. The canal was built on a very, very steep hill just outside the camp. What we had to do is carry rocks from one place to another. The rocks were so heavy that it was impossible to carry. And this Gypsy was so brutal that he used to take people’s caps off, and he used to throw it out, towards the guard, past the guard, and tell the prisoner to go and get it, and the prisoner actually went to get his cap. But when he went to get it, the guard shot him in the back because he passed the limit where it’s as far as we were supposed to go. So the next day, when he tried to do this to somebody else, and he didn’t want to get his cap, he actually beat him to death right there for not obeying his order to go and get his cap. Fortunately, I was only there for a few days to that detail, but I don’t think I could have survived. Even though it wasn’t done to me, but just watching this done to others. So I was sent to a much easier detail, go to a tunnel. It was on the night shift where we dug a tunnel, and my job was to shovel the sand on the belts carrying it out of the tunnel, digging deeper and deeper the tunnel. I was there for a while. Then I got luckier. I got on even to an easier detail where we were also on another place where we were exploding rocky areas. We were always carrying rocks for some reason from one place to another. Before we started our work, there was this guy who looked everybody over to assign to different details, even in this one group. He took the young people like myself– I was skinny, young, 15– took us to a lighter detail to just clean up the area of one place. We went over just to clean up the dirt and everything. So this was a little bit much easier detail. I had a lot of lucky incidents and fateful events that I can really attribute that I was able to survive. Besides just God’s will, that God willed me to survive. Were you aware of what these tunnels were being built for? Not really. No. No. Could you describe what it looked like outside of the camp when you were able to look outside? Outside the camp, it was full of hills. Really very, very hilly area and rocks and hills all around. That’s all you could see. As a matter of fact, whenever we had air raids we had to go hide. We always went up to these hills to hide and in the caves in order to be protected from the bombs. It was a very, very hilly, rocky area all over. It was away from town, outside town. There was no civilian populations around. How often did you have air raids? During summertime we had quite often, maybe an average of once a week or twice a week we had air raids. I used to see the airplanes. Did you know whose airplanes they were? Well, I was hoping– I knew it was Allied airplanes because otherwise we wouldn’t have gone to hide in the caves, you know, from the bombs. We’re going to change tapes again. ...1997, with Mr. David Abrams. Mr. Abrams, could you give me an example of your daily routine at Gusen? I’ll be glad to. We woke up around 5:00 every morning. They woke us up. The first thing we did, they gave us some hot liquid that they called coffee in a little dish. And we drank it. After that, we went back to the barracks and waited. As soon as daylight came, depending on whether it was winter or summer, we all had to go out and line up in four files, company files, and they had what they called the appell. The SS came and counted all the prisoners to make sure that it was the same amount as yesterday. After that was done, we went back to the barracks and waited to go on our work details. Usually it would take about another half hour, an hour, before we went out to work. I used to look forward to this hour because I used to hide under the bed and catch up with my sleep because I never got enough sleep. Sometimes, when it was time to go to work, somebody had to pull me out and remind me it’s time to go to work. One time, they didn’t even wake me up, and I fell asleep, and I missed my work detail. But I was very lucky that I survived just with a little beating. For a concentration camp, not even worth mentioning. Because somebody else would have gotten killed just for missing a day in detail. But I happened to sleep under there, and nobody pulled me out in time to go to work, and I just got a beating. - Who beat you? - The guy in charge of the detail. - Who was that? - He was one of the prisoners. They were usually Polish prisoners. Most of the people in charge were Polish Gentiles– Polish Gentiles, German Gentiles– because they were there so many years ahead of us. So they were given all the– being in charge of– They were called the kapos, so they were in charge. So anyway, then we went to work and put in a day’s work. When we came from work we had an appell again, they called it, to count the people. After the appell was over, as we marched into our barracks, they gave us our daily rations. I’d like to slow down a little bit. Describe the appell. Everybody– We all lined up, like a company lines up. You know, four rows. We had to be separated in order for the– to line up one behind the other to be easy to be counted. So let’s say, five in a row, four rows, so you used to just go down and count one, two, three, four, and multiply it by five, go down all the way to the end of the line. This was on the front of each barrack. There was a different SS, different soldiers counting, and then they added up the total each day. This is what it consisted every day. Twice a day, every day. Were there any dogs? Dogs? Well, the– Yes, yes. Usually on our work detail. When we used to get off the train to go to work, we’d see SS people with dogs, a lot of dogs, yeah. Did you take a train to go to your work detail? Yes, they put us on– It was a short ride, about a 15-minute ride. And they took us by freight train, yes. To some of them, to the tunnels, not to all of them. Some of them were outside the camp. But this detail that we went by train, where we went to dig the tunnels, was about 15 to 20-minute train ride. Did they give you food during your workday? Besides the hot coffee in the morning, at lunchtime, we had a bowl of soup, depending how the time was. If times were good, in the summertime, they’d bring us potatoes. We had a little more potatoes in the soup. When things got bad, we had less potatoes. Once in a while, if we were very lucky, we got some rice that was very sweet with sugar. It gave us a little energy, but that was a rare occasion. In the evening, we got our ration of bread, which was a loaf of bread divided in three. With it we got a little jam, a little cheese. Once a week, if we were lucky, we got a piece of salami. As a matter of fact, there’s an interesting story. I almost risked my life for a piece of salami. I was usually first in line to get the rations. I got away with it because I was little and young. So they let me get away with it. I always pushed myself in front of the line. By the time the last person was getting his rations, I’d already finished mine. So I decided I had to have another piece of salami. If I would have gotten caught, I would have been killed right there. I don’t know what I was thinking to even try. I got back into the line, and when I got to the line, I was so honest. I just wanted the salami. I didn’t even want another piece of ration. I told him that I didn’t get salami. It was lucky that he didn’t understand what I was saying. He pushed another portion of bread and another piece of salami with me. I’ll never forget that. I was just lucky that I didn’t get caught because anybody doing that would have gotten killed. I was a 15-year-old little boy, but, you know, I took chances. Did you ever see anybody punished on the appell line? Well, not on the appell line. But during the end, towards the end, they had– I’d seen– We had a special barracks where all the Jewish people who were sick were put. They would sit there all day. They didn’t work. They were sick. I don’t know the exact number. I think it was number 30. Towards the end– This was strictly a barrack to exterminate people because nobody came out of there. Anybody that went in, reported sick, nobody came out. This particular night, it was the end, I remember, while we were standing in appell, this whole barrack was lined up like any other barracks, except they were naked. We had still our prison clothes on, but these people were naked. It was cold and rainy, and I could see from the distance how these people were huddled together and shivering in the rain. Luckily, this appell only lasted a half hour. They were there the whole time. But the next morning, we found out that this whole barracks, during the night, was sealed off, and they were all dead because they were all poisoned with gas. They were all exterminated during one night. Just about two weeks, three weeks, before the end of the war this happened. This is the only time that I saw somebody really being punished or suffering during the appell, special things during the appell. You mentioned before that you had a Gypsy overseer. Yeah. Did he have any special insignia? Yeah. This particular one had a green one. So he must have been a criminal also, besides being there for being Gypsy. He also had a green sign which signified that he was a convicted criminal. Were there any other Gypsies that you saw in Gusen? Most of them I saw in Auschwitz, but not in Gusen. In Gusen, my only experience was with this one Gypsy overseer. In Auschwitz, I saw many Gypsies. Could you tell me about that, please? They were usually the ones who were processing everybody and doing the selections, telling which people to go one side or go to the other. They would line us up. They distributed the food, the little food that we got, like I described. Five people, six people, one bowl of soup together. That’s about it. When you got food in Gusen, did you have your own bowl? I had my own bowl, yes. Yes, my own bowl. My own spoon, made out of tin. Everybody had their own. How did you mark time in Gusen? Well, it was really not– We had very little time because even when on Sunday morning we were off– we didn’t go on work details– very rarely did we just sit around and do nothing. Somebody always came around and find something for us to do. But we did sit around, amazingly enough. We had to have a sense of humor. On Friday night, used to sit around, a few boys– most of them thought we were crazy, but I was one of them– and we used to sit and eat our rations, used to kid around with each other, “Pass the khale. Pass the gefilte fish.” And people thought, “Are you nuts? Are you crazy?” We were hoping, maybe next Friday night, we would have the real thing and not just talk about it. But you had to have your sense of humor and we did. We even prayed whenever we had the chance. Like I explained, my father died that year in January, so, officially, I was still on my first year of mourning. We didn’t realize that our whole family was– that we were all mourners– but I, whenever I had a chance, I got people together to say a psalm or the prayers, so I can say Kaddish whenever I could. When it came Rosh Hashanah, people were looking around for people who could remember some of the special– The normal prayers most of them remembered a little bit. When it came Rosh Hashanah, we had to have special people who could remember some of the special prayers for Rosh Hashanah, like U’Netaneh Tokef and L’keil Orech Din, so they recited it for us. The ones that survived, we had to go on hoping and have a little sense of humor, otherwise– because people who didn’t, who looked at us like we were crazy, they didn’t last long. Because before you know it, they started not even eating those meager rations that we got. We asked them, “Why don’t you eat your food?” They wanted to save it for tomorrow in case they don’t get any tomorrow. But tomorrow, during the night, somebody stole it from them, so they didn’t have any, and they didn’t last long at all. Like I said before, when I got my rations, by the time the last person on the line got it, I’d already ate mine. So they couldn’t steal anything from me because people actually stole from their own friends during the night. They even stole hats and shoes to sell for food. Because in every group, no matter what, you have some who behave like human beings under any circumstances and some just turned into animals, like they were trying to make us to be. Like some people– very, very, very few, luckily– even cut off meat from dead people to eat. But, luckily, only a few of those. Could you tell me about that? I just told you. What is there to say? They cut off pieces of meat from dead people and put it on the fire and buried it in it. One of them I saw was caught by an SS, and he shot him right there. This was in the last weeks. We were in a special camp for the last two weeks of the war. When the Allies were advancing towards the camps, and the Nazis knew that we would be liberated soon, they took all the Jews out of Gusen and from all other camps around, and we went back to Mauthausen, where they put us all in groups and marched us for about three days towards this forest called Gunskirchen where we spent two weeks. That’s a story in itself. I don’t know if you want me to talk about it now. We got to this camp, also a forest, similar to the ghetto where I was originally put in Hungary, but only this time, there was a barracks. But the barracks were already so full of people that it was impossible for anybody to even move in, just hard for anybody to even sit down, stay down. There was people on the beams of the barracks lying there. When they had to go to the bathroom at night, they couldn’t. They were urinating on top of people from the top of the beams. And they just crowded more people in there. I had a friend, a friend of mine, my rabbi’s son, the one from the town, and, luckily, he went over to some people from our hometown, and he told them, “You know who I am? I am the son of the rabbi. Would you please make room for me, so I can at least stretch out?” So they made room for him, respectful. Then he said, “This is my friend who studied with him. Could you make room for him too?” They made room for me too. This place was really– We used to get– Ten people, instead of three people a loaf of bread, ten people a loaf of bread, and then it was moldy. This was like– When the Jews were put in, they had orders to exterminate all the Jews, but for some reason, they just didn’t do it, and we managed still to survive even under these conditions. I’d like to tell you about an incident that’s fate, that really saved my life, that has to do with going in sick hall. I had an infection on my right heel. It was really, really bad. But I was afraid to go every day to that sick hall. I was afraid to go because I’d never seen anybody come back. I was afraid that they just get rid of you. But it eventually got so bad that I figured– It got all yellow from the pus and everything, and I was afraid that I will get gangrene or whatever and won’t survive. It was also explained to me the reason I don’t see nobody come back because the only ones that are accepted for sick hall are the ones who are in bad shape. They’re in so bad shape, they don’t give you medicine. They just put you there, and you die. But I figured, “Maybe I have a chance” because I was still– only something wrong with my leg. I reported for sick hall, and they took us to Gusen I. There was two Gusens– Gusen I, Gusen II. In this Gusen I, there was a barrack called 31 that was especially set aside for Jewish sick people. They really did nothing there. You just were resting. They gave you the same amount of rations that everybody had. No medication, you were just resting. But before you were even able to get into this barrack, you were examined by an SS doctor. I saw people in front of me who were really sick. Some he put to the left, some put to the right. The ones to the left meant they were not accepted to go to the hospital, what they called a hospital. And they went to the other side. Sure enough, when I came in front of him, he looked at my leg. At my amazement, he put me to the side where I was admitted to the hospital. And this hospital– So I went in, and like I said, you just lied in bed all day, and you got your morning coffee and your bread. We were very fortunate that this person that gave out the food, whenever there was food left– and, unfortunately, there was a lot of rations left because a lot of people died or were too sick to eat their rations– he put it under the heads of the sleeping young people. The young people were put on beds separately and the older people separately. Every morning, I used to wake up, used to find a piece of bread, a piece of salami, whatever. Even during lunchtime and the soup, if there was any left over, he used to give it to us, which I feel gave me more strength when I go back to survive. But one thing leads to the other. Because I was there about ten days or two weeks, and while I was there, they accumulated– They got together all the young people, anybody 16 or younger in the camp, and put them in a detail in the kitchen to peel potatoes. That was their job. They assembled them– not realizing at the time, that this was just a way to exterminate the young kids. Because I later found out that they had to get up an hour earlier than anybody else to prepare the potatoes, and while they were peeling the potatoes, they were constantly beaten where they were to stop them from eating any. Whether they did or not, they were constantly beaten, and some of them fell and died right on the spot. The way I found out was that when I returned from the hospital– returned after ten days or two weeks or what time I was there– I was told that these young– I was asking where all the young people are and someone told me what happened. So I went to the person who’s in charge of giving out work. I said, “Look, I’m only 15. I want to do what they–” So without explaining, he says to me, “You’re better off where you are. You don’t want to go there.” Then I found out from others that was what happened to them. That is, in other words, by being in this hospital, by being accepted to go to sick hall, not only did it save my life because I had extra food and extra rest to give me strength to hold out for the duration of my incarceration, but it also saved me from this detail. It was certain death because nobody survived from these teenagers, from these kids. They all perished during this detail. I’d like to ask you to tell me if you witnessed anybody stealing that you had mentioned earlier. No, because the stealing took place during the night. We had so little sleep. Like I said, I always tried to catch up under the bed before work that I could never really see somebody stealing. But I would just know, somebody woke up, “Where’s my hat? Where’s my shoes? My rations are gone.” It was really terrible, terrible. All I know was I had this close friend of mine. - This was my rabbi’s son. - His name again? - What’s his name? - Yehezkel Horowitz. My rabbi’s name was Elisha Horowitz, who later became the dayan of Monsey, and he died a few years ago from cancer. Whenever we had food, we always shared. We always shared the food. Even after the war, we had this long– There’s something going between us that I owe him a half a Hershey bar. How do I owe him a Hershey bar? Because we had a pact that any food that we find, a bit potato or a peel of potato, we always shared. While we were in this camp, this extermination camp, in the last two weeks in Gunskirchen, we had this horrible situation where they all squeezed us into a barrack. We were there about– This happened about two days before the war ended. Some packages arrived from the Swiss Red Cross. They announced that all young people 16 and under are entitled to stand in line for these packages. So we knew there was going to be– Even to get near these packages you’d get killed, just to get there. So we flipped a coin, not a coin– Who should– One of us should go, take a chance, and whatever we get, we’ll split half and half. So I drew the lot, or some straw, whatever we picked, that I had to stay in line. Nearly got killed getting there. I got this package– - How did you nearly get killed? - What? - How did you– - From stampede, from crowds. Pushing one another, on top of another. Just to be in line, to get this food. Finally I got there and got this food, and I brought it back, and I shared 50-50 of everything. But one Hershey bar I ate before I even got there. I didn’t share with him. It bothered me through my whole life. I told him. I confessed that I owed him half of a Hershey bar. So for the rest of my life, until he dies, he says to me, “You know, you owe me half a Hershey bar.” But everything else I shared 50-50 with him. The only reason I’m telling you this is to show not everybody stole. There were some people that shared. And not everybody, very few, took from dead people. This is the place where I saw– we were in this terrible place– that I saw somebody take meat from a dead person and tried to light a fire and cook it, and an SS caught him and shot him right in front of my eyes with his pistol, took it out and shot him. Never got to eat it. Did he have a knife? How was he– He had a spoon. We had a spoon made out of tin. The other end was very sharp that you could use as a knife. How did you bathe? We had a place where we had running water, next to the latrine. There’d be running water where you could go and bathe. As a matter of fact, they were very, very particular. Once a week, we all had to be shaven and everything. And haircuts, clean haircuts, and wash every day. As a matter of fact, most people even had to stay up half the night in line just to be shaven. And the overseer used to come– anybody that went to sleep– used to feel your beard, and if you had whiskers, he used to beat you practically to death because you dared to go to bed. Many times I felt hands on my face. But, luckily, I was only 15. I didn’t have a beard yet. So, he left me. I survived, and I continued with my sleep. But every few minutes, I felt somebody feeling my face to see if I’m shaven. So, I benefited a lot for my being young in more ways than one. And sometimes being young, perished sooner, earlier, but in my case, I was fortunate– It worked for my benefit. But then again, it’s all God’s will. Every Rosh Hashanah we say, “Who shall live and who shall die?” I guess it was decided that, at Rosh Hashanah before, who shall live, who shall die. You mentioned receiving packages from the Red Cross. One. One time. It was a few days before the war ended. Was there ever an occasion when the Red Cross visited you? No. Not in my particular case. But I heard of cases where other barracks were visited, but not in our barracks. Did you hear of any other delegations visiting the camp? No. What did you believe to be going on around you? Well, you had to be an idiot not to see that you’re being slaughtered and being exterminated, and that all they want to do is work you to death, starve you to death. One or the other, whatever comes first. It was obvious to all of us by this time. Our only hope was that the war can end any minute, any day. Every morning, when I woke up, I said, “Thank you, God, that I woke up and survived.” I prayed that this should be the last day. I knew eventually that last day is going to come. Otherwise I could have never survived. Were there any times that you lost your faith? Never, never. Not for one moment. Because I knew if I do that, then I have no chance at all. That’s the only thing that kept me going. Only my faith. Because once you lose that, you have nothing. Then you might just as well go past the guard and let him shoot you in the back. Because I know I prayed every morning, and I know that God was there with me and he listened. I know that he answered my prayer every day. The only thing is his answer was, “No, not yet, not today.” But I knew eventually he was going to say, “Yes.” But I continued praying every day. Was there a commandant, a main person in charge? Yes, definitely so. He is the one who took the appell every day. He counted the prisoners. He walked around all day in the camps. He came to inspect the barracks. - Do you remember his name? - No. We were not named. We were just numbers. We were referred to as halflings and prisoners. They were just “sir.” That’s all, nothing else, just “sir.” Did you have trouble understanding German? I knew some from my Yiddish. So as much as I needed, there was no problem. Just to tell me to move or come here or come there or do this or do that. That’s all I heard of German. That’s easy to understand. You didn’t have to understand language. Just see by their motions what they want you to do. But I happened to know a little German, yes. What is your native language? My native language is really Hungarian, Romanian, Yiddish and Hebrew. Four. Because the population where I lived was Hungarian, but the government was Romanian– I had to go to a Romanian school. So in school, under the government officials, I spoke Romanian. With the population, I spoke Hungarian. My father would only speak to the boys Yiddish. But the girls were allowed to speak any other language but Yiddish. And in yeshiva, I spoke Hebrew, which was the holy language. When did Gusen end for you? That was about two or three weeks before the war was over. As I said before, the Allies were advancing towards the camp, to liberate the camps, and obviously they had orders not to let any Jews survive. So in order that we shouldn’t be liberated by the Allies, they got all the Jews out of the camp, out of Gusen, shipped us back to Mauthausen where we stayed a day or so, waiting for other Jews from other camps. They were all segregated from all the other prisoners, all brought to Mauthausen, and they formed one long transport. We marched daily to this, for about three days, and anybody that couldn’t make it– and it was quite a few because we were so weak, we had no food or anything– were put on wagons. Then, in the end of the day, we still go to sleep wherever we were. We camped out, wherever we were. They used to shoot everybody who was in a wagon. We used to hear the shots from the guards. They were all shot to death. I know many of them that were shot right there because they couldn’t make it. So you knew the next day, if you couldn’t walk, you better make sure that you can walk. You didn’t want to go on those wagons. We’re going to have to stop and change tapes. But I’d like to– Just a minute. ...with Mr. David Abrams. Mr. Abrams– Could you describe these three days and nights marching in the death march? Yeah. There was really, at that march– This march was men and women for the first time together. Because all the Jewish prisoners from the surrounding area were brought to Mauthausen, men and women, because this was the final solution– to kill everybody, every Jew, not to let anybody survive. We marched about 10 or 20 miles a day, maybe even more. It’s hard to tell when you’re in that condition how much you’re marching. And no food, and whatever we found on the side of the road– This is where I remember the incident I mentioned before with the potato. I found a potato. I was next to my friend. We peeled the potato, and we saved the peels for the next day. I shared the potato with him. The next day, we shared the peels, and we ate. But every night, at the end of the night, we stopped to rest for the night in the fields. Wherever we were, between towns, villages, big fields, we spread out and went to sleep. All those people that couldn’t make it during the day, and collapsed during the march, they put on wagons. They were carted with wagons, and at night, when we went to sleep, as it got dark, we heard shots, and we knew that one after the other, boom, boom, they were all shot right there. Next day, every day, it was the same. It just continued. Marched through towns. People were staring at us like we were animals. We looked like non-human, you know, just skin and bones and half-starved to death. We just continued. We all tried to do our best to make it to the next stop because we knew what our fate would be if we don’t. Nobody wanted on the wagons, but some people just couldn’t help it. They collapsed. They couldn’t march. The guard came along, “Get up and move.” If you couldn’t, they picked you up, put you in the wagon, and your fate on the other night was the same as the night before. And then we got to this horrible place called Gunskirchen, which I described in detail before. And what happened in Gunskirchen? In Gunskirchen, this was the place where they were supposed to just exterminate us all. First of all, we were in this barrack, like I described before. There was no place to move. There was no place to stand, to stretch out. People were on the beams, sleeping on top of beams of the barracks. People were everywhere, and it was raining and miserable out. At least if the weather was nice, who needed the barrack? We would have gone out. But it was mud up to the knee and raining and cold. We were very, very, very miserable. Everybody wanted a little warmth, so we tried pushing, squeeze into the barracks. Food, they would give us– ten people to one bread. One loaf of bread. But even that we didn’t get every day. But fortunately, we weren’t there too long. Only ten days or two weeks and then the war was over. This was May 8, when all of a sudden, the guards disappeared, and we knew that it was over, that we were all freed. Nobody came here to our camp. The guards just– Because we probably were so hidden away in a forest, the woods, that nobody knew where we were except the guards that disappeared as soon as the soldiers arrived. Only the day after, the soldiers came in, and they took us to the hospitals or whatever. - Soldiers of what nationality? - The American soldiers came in and liberated that area. What did you think when you first saw an American soldier? To be honest with you, I don’t even remember until after I got out of the hospital because I was so in a daze. I totally collapsed. I don’t think I could have lasted much longer. When they picked me up, I don’t know, they put me straight into a hospital. The only time I remember seeing a soldier after I got out was in the hospital. I have no idea for how long. But when I was well enough they let me out, and that’s when I saw American soldiers. Tell me what you– How did you communicate with them? I didn’t. To me, the sound of their language, English, was very strange. It sounded like somebody talking with a hot potato in their mouth. That’s the only way I could describe it. I couldn’t understand. Like somebody talking with a hot– It was very, very strange. I never heard English spoken before. And that’s the– They did give us some candy bars, food and everything. They were very, very nice. Nothing but nice things to say of them. Did your friends survive? Some, some. Very few, yes. Yes. They survived. Some of them are still– Thank God. They’re still around here. Did you find out what care was administered to you in the hospital? No, not really, because they didn’t tell you anything. I was just happy to be alive. Got some food and got fixed up a little bit. I was able to walk out, stand, and a different person, a new person. They just put me out on the world. This time I was already 16. I celebrated my 16th birthday in that hospital that saved my life in Gusen. Here I was already 16 and a half. I was a man. I was out on the world by myself. I was put out on the street. “Find your way home,” which I did. It took me a few weeks, but I did. What happened to you after the hospitalization? As I just finished saying, they just let me out on my own. I was seeing crowds, everybody. There was an airport nearby, so I went to the airport. But it’s an airport where only the French prisoners were permitted to board the planes because they were going to France. So I was of Romania. There was no organization. Nobody, no leaders. Nobody to tell you what to do. I was just on my own, trying to survive. The French seemed to be very organized because this airport, only French survivors were sent. So I went back to the camp. I was like in a barracks, but this time in a building. A building that used to be maybe a barrack for soldiers was converted for a DP camp, first DP camp I was in. Displaced persons camp. So I stayed there till the Americans marched us to another camp. Put us in a group, and put us in another camp, where they provided some food for us. Then the Russians took over this area, the Russian zone. This area near Linz became the Russian zone. So the Russians weren’t as pleasant as the Americans because they didn’t provide us any food. We were there for about two weeks, trying to survive, as well as we– When you say “we,” who is “we”? The survivors, whoever was left. I don’t know how much people of all ages. We were just waiting for somebody to guide us and lead us because our goal at this time was to go home to see who is left from our family, who we can see. But we had to wait. We were happy we were alive, so we weren’t pushing. We were just waiting for things to happen. The main thing was the war was over. We’re no longer in concentration camp. We’re free. We were able to go find our own food, whichever way we could. We just had to wait for opportunities. So one day, the Russians got us all together in the camp and put us in a long march for about– It lasted about three days. Again, it was very similar– during the night we camped in the fields– similar to that march, except this time nobody harmed us. Except during the night, the Russians had this habit of searching everybody under the pretense of looking for guns– “Give me your guns.” You say, “I have no gun.” So they search you. Whatever they find in your pocket, they take, anything. Because this is how they were. They were known to rape women. - They were no picnic. - Excuse me? They were also known to– always drinking and drunk, the Russian soldiers, raping women, all ages, from 16 to 60– They didn’t care. Did you speak to anyone that that happened to? Yes. Yes, I did. I heard personal stories, telling by people that– Some of them– There was only one thing. If you had a boyfriend or a husband, they leave you alone. So many girls that were alone, whenever they saw Russians coming, they begged anybody that passed by, “Please pretend to be my boyfriend or my husband so the Russians will leave me alone.” That’s the only thing they– So then they were protected. So they marched us for days and, finally, after three days, they just disappeared. The Russian guards disappeared, and we were on our own again. So we started marching. I don’t know where we’re walking. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m just walking. I don’t know even why I picked a certain direction. I was hungry. I passed by a house. I stopped in for some food, to ask for some food. There was nobody there. Then I saw a loaf of bread, half a loaf of bread on the table. I wait and called, nobody answered, so I picked up the piece of bread, and I walked out and continued on my journey. Only walked about a hundred yards or so, and obviously the owners came back, and they called the police. The Russian police came after me and stopped me, says, where am I going. “I don’t know where I’m going. I’m trying to get home.” I told them who I was. “I’m trying to get home.” So they put me on their jeep, and they took me to a railroad station. Then they told me– more prisoners, a lot of survivors were there– and he says to me, “Wait here. You’re going to sleep here tonight. Tomorrow morning, there’s a train going by here, going to Vienna. From there you can get a train to Budapest and from there you are”– And that’s exactly what I did. So I stayed in that railroad station. It took me about a week before I got to Budapest and from Budapest to my hometown. When did you find out for sure what had happened, learned the fate of your family? This was weird. I finally got home to my hometown in the middle of the night. It was about 2:00 in the morning at the railroad station. After weeks of really going from one train to another, from one city to another, that I found my way home. There was a welcoming committee from the town of people who were already there from– Every night a train pulled in, they came to welcome survivors. Sure enough, they came and sang, and happy– When they asked me to go on the wagon and to go back to town– Again, I’m a 16-year-old boy, a little over 16– I refused to go with them because I wanted to walk on my own. I wanted to go to my home, to my house. It was crazy. So I walked. It’s 2:00 in the morning. It was quite a distance in the dark. In the middle of the night, I get into my house, where I lived, on 9 Strada Mihai, street, or whatever the name was, and I start calling out names of my family like I expected an answer, “I’m home from school,” you know. It didn’t take me long to realize that there’s no answer, nobody there. So I woke up one of my neighbors, a Gentile, and asked him, “Do you know anything?” I told him, “I just arrived, and do you know what happened to my family?” So he was telling me that nobody came back, but one sister came back, and they told me where she stayed. So I went there and knocked on the door and yelled out my sister’s name. This was Irene Hershkowitz. This was my favorite sister that was three years older than me, that took me everywhere, that I adored. I called out, “Irene! Irene!” When she heard my voice, I heard screaming and crying. Came down to meet me and brought me upstairs for the night to stay there. It was really some reunion that I will never forget. The only one that– Then later on, I had another, two more sisters– The one that was brought up in another town– She was in her own town. She went back there. And an older sister, who is here in Borough Park, also came after that. After I arrived, she arrived too. So we were me and two sisters left in the whole family. And the one that was in a different town that I got to meet later, at a later date. Then my journey started all over again, which was no picnic, from 1945 to 1949, till the day I got here, from one DP camp to another. Six different countries, five different languages. Tell me briefly where you went after Dej. After Dej, for a brief period of time, I tried to visit and search for families. I found some family in a town of Romania, stayed a short time with them. Then while I was there, I heard that my favorite sister, Irene Hershkowitz– The reason I call her a favorite– they’re all real favorites– is because she was always with me. She was close to my age, and she was always watching over me. I really loved her. I loved all of my sisters. And she was getting married in this town, not far from my hometown, about 60 kilometers from the town where I was born. So I went to visit my new brother-in-law and my sister. I stayed there about a week or two. He was very well-to-do. He had a few businesses. After the few weeks were up, I wanted to go back to yeshiva to study. He tried to tell me that I’d learned enough. “It’s time to learn a trade. Stay here with me. There’s plenty of room here.” He had a big, big house, a mansion. “There’s plenty of room for you, and I’ll teach you a trade here.” So I stayed there for about a year. Then people started leaving, going to Israel, going to America, because there was no life for Jewish people there. So I decided, “This is not for me. I want to leave too.” I picked myself up, and I left. There was no papers. Everything had to be done clandestine, at night, illegally. So I had to cross from Romania to Hungary during the night, hoping not to get caught by the guards because I had no papers, and from Hungary to Austria. In Austria, I did get caught by the border guards. I was put in jail for seven days for crossing the border illegally. At the border, I was caught by the Austrian guard, and he asked me what am I doing here. So I was smart enough to say that I’m trying to go to Hungary to look for some survivors, for some relatives. So after they put me in jail, the Hungarians crossed me over to Austria, exactly where I wanted to go because they thought I came from crossing there. And as soon as I got to Austria, I found my way to Vienna. But I was still in the Russian zone. There was also a DP camp, and I stayed there a short while. The goal was to get to the American zone. And from there, you can work your way to emigrate, to get a visa to come to the United States. But nothing happens easily for me because, again, I had to cross at night, illegally, to the American zone. I get to the promised land, to the American zone, and there I’m put in a camp, but there’s nobody there in charge. Everybody is for themselves. Nobody to give you food or guidance. Everybody just got food from wherever they could go beg, from houses, from here, from there. Till I was fortunate to see a bunch of children in one of the barracks, learning. They were praying. So I go in there, and I want to join the prayer. After the prayer they got food. They were telling me that I came in a very opportune occasion. Like all of my life– I always go someplace at the right time. They were leaving this morning to a camp in Linz, a children’s religious camp where they’re going to be well provided for, and they are going to learn and study, and from there they’re going to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael. That’s exactly what happened. We went to this camp which was really wonderful. I was there for about six months to a year. There was plenty of food there. We were waiting to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael. But then I got letters from my sister, from America. She begged me to come to America because if I go to Eretz Yisrael, after all I’ve been through, I’ll go to the war there with the Arabs. I’ll get killed, and she had no family, nothing, she wanted to at least see me. Finally she was able to convince me to come to America, but only for a short time, to visit. Then I’ll go to Eretz Yisrael. That was my goal. But it wasn’t easy. You had to wait and wait. In the meantime, I found a friend. One of the friends had a brother who was taking people from Austria through Germany and into Paris. From Paris, it was easier to get to America. So through him, again, in the night, we’re smuggled through the borders from Austria to Germany. We stayed overnight there. From Germany, went through all the area near the French border and we got to Paris. There again, I was there for about a year still waiting, waiting. An eternity of waiting for a visa. Still my turn didn’t come. I’m being impatient. Finally my uncle was able to secure for me a visa to Cuba. There’s where I wound up, in Cuba. I was there about a year in Cuba. Which was a very, very important point of my life because in Cuba, I happened by luck to learn a trade which became my livelihood for the rest of my time, for my whole working career in the United States. I was able to earn a wonderful living here. While I was looking for work, a friend of mine came one day in Cuba and told me that he would have a very nice job if he knew Yiddish. I said, “I know Yiddish. Maybe I can get a job.” This was in a Jewish newspaper called Havaner Leben, in Havana. So there I learned the trade of setting type in Yiddish. Eventually, when I came to the United States, I fell in love with the whole idea of printing and this whole process. They had a new machine, a Linotype machine there, called Linotype– setting type instead of by hand, putting the letters, hand composition, that used to be before the Linotype was invented. The letters were put side by side until lines were formed. It was done by a machine. The machine dropped the letters. It had a typewriter keyboard. As you hit the letters, the mats fall in, fall in line. Then a hot graphite was cast in, into these letters, and formed lines. Then the lines were collated to galleys and pages where a newspaper was being printed– It was very fascinating. When I came to the United States, this is what I wanted to do. I wound up working for 35 years for the Daily News, and I was real lucky to get into the union, the Big Six, and I made a very nice living. I was able to retire. I bought this home, all paid for. Put my children through college and made weddings for them. To this day– So everything that happens in life, happens for a reason, and most of the time it’s for something good. Everything was meant to be. I’d like to ask you what happened to your sister that you reunited with in Dej while you were making this journey. This sister was married very well off to my brother-in-law. They stayed. I visited and stayed with them for almost a year. She had two children, a son and a daughter. - They are both here in America. - Their names? Joseph and Berta. The son is Joseph, and the daughter is Berta. Could you just name their parents again? Irene and Simon Hershkowitz. Simon, their father, is still alive. He’s traveling back and forth in Europe. He still likes to spend time. He has an apartment in Kolozsvár, in Cluj. He lives there and comes to visit here. He could never get used to life in the United States because he was too used to the life in Europe. Like many of them did. She stayed there until, eventually, it got tough there. So about 15 years, when I was in this country, they decided to emigrate here, too, to the United States. And my other sister who was brought up by an aunt, she went straight to Eretz Yisrael with her husband. She had two sons there too– Menachem and Yohanan. You mentioned you had children, but you didn’t tell me when you got married. When did you get married and to whom? Even that was an act of God and fate. First, I must tell you, I’m married to a wonderful woman for 42 years. We’ve been together for 44, since the day I met her. The most wonderful thing that ever happened to me, not only because she is so wonderful, because as I met her, she is my good luck charm. Nothing but good things happened to me from the day that I met her. How did I meet her? I got out of the army. As soon as I got to this country, I registered for the draft, and six months later, I was drafted and sent to Korea. When did you arrive in this country? In October. Yeah, from Cuba. I was there for about a year, working on this newspaper. Finally, I’m coming to the paradise, to the United States. October 18, 1949, my oldest sister Olga’s birthday. As a matter of fact, my uncle, when I come in, he introduced me to my sister here. He says, “Here’s your birthday present.” I was her birthday present for that year in 1949. Six months later, I registered for the draft, and I was drafted. Right after, two months after basic training, I was shipped to Korea. I became a demolition sergeant. I was blowing up minefields and anything connected with demolition, with explosives. After I got out of the army in 1954, it was May. - You were actually shipped to Korea? - I was in Korea. I was in combat. I have battle stars, citations from the army. I have pictures from the army if you’re interested to look at them. When I got out of the army in 1954, it was May. I’m ready to go back to work, you know, my profession. I had a friend of mine, he says, “Look, summertime is coming up. Why go back to work? You’ve been through a lot and in the army. You’ve been in combat Come with me. I was there last year.” He says, “Come with me to the country. You’re going to be a waiter. It’s a small place. It’s in Kerhonkson, outside Ellenville. It’s called Woodland Farm. It’s only, maximum, 100 guests show up. You work an hour for breakfast, an hour for lunch, an hour for supper. The rest of the day you can relax in the swimming pool and have a little fun. You earned it. You deserve it.” He didn’t have to twist my arm. I accepted. I went there. I made very good money there. In the meantime, this was a place where only old people went. There were no young people. And my present wife’s parents used to go there. Came Labor Day, it was end of the summer, my wife, she was 17 years old then, going on 18, decided to come. She was an artist, an art student in college, first year of college. She figured this was a beautiful place to come to paint because it was a field and a farm. Nobody to bother her, only old people there. As a matter of fact, she had a fight with her mother, with her parents. “Why do you want to go to a place like that? There are no young people, only old people.” She said, “That’s exactly why I want to go there. There are only old people. I want to paint. I’ll have the farm. I’m going to have quiet and peace for myself.” I had a fight with my uncle. My uncle didn’t want me to go here because he wanted me to go in– he had a cleaning business– to go into cleaning business. “Certainly, if you go back to printing, you’ll be a worker. Once a worker, always a worker. You’ll never amount to anything. Come with me.” He was very successful. He had a chain of cleaning stores. So he wanted me to join, but something told me not to, and I didn’t. He didn’t speak to me for a year for it. And I went to this place. Labor Day, here comes this young lady. I told all the other waiters, “Hands off. This one belongs to me.” And I became friends right away and never let her out of my sight. Like I said before, nothing but good. She’s the most wonderful person in the world. She taught me what true loves means, what it means to care for someone. Not what I get out of something, it’s what I can do. She can never do enough. She called me ten times today to see how I am, if I’m okay. “Is this okay? That’s okay. Are you going to be all right?” After, as soon as I met her, she was my good luck charm. I got into the union, which was a very important thing because soon as I got into the union, for the same work– for less work– my salary doubled and my benefits and everything, and the working conditions. As much as you can say about unions, crooked unions, everything, the Typographic Union is one of the first unions in this country, is 150 years old. There’s nothing but good things I can say because it really made a wonderful life for me. I was able to get in as soon as I met my wife. Then my beautiful two daughters came. My first one arrived after the first year. She was only second year in college. It was unexpected. But things happen when you get married, and you love one another. As soon as she was three years old, I took a night job, so she can go back to college and finish her college. She finished, got her bachelor’s degree, continued for a master’s degree. Then, eight years later, we had– we actually planned. She wanted to have a baby in the summer because she was off in the summer from school. She was a teacher. Sure enough, July 17, my second daughter, Rachel, was born. She is the one with five children now, the oldest six, and Leah has two. A beautiful daughter, Ariela, she’s going to be 14. And Zev is 11. He is going to be 11. Could you just tell me what is your wife’s name? My wife’s name is Sheila and Shulamit in Hebrew. In English, they call her Sheila. The way she got her name, because when she went to public school, instead of saying Shulamit, her mother was afraid everybody was going to call her “Salami Shulamit,” especially the Gentile kids. So she was called Sheila. So she ended up with that name. - And her maiden name? - Cohen. C-O-H-E-N. What is your first daughter’s name? Leah Sarah, named after my birth mother, my biological mother. And my second daughter is Chaia Rachel, Rachel, named after the only mother I knew, my stepmother, that brought me up. - My wonderful mother. - Okay. We’re going to change tapes now. ...Mr. David Abrams. Mr. Abrams, how has the war affected the way you’ve brought up your children? It affected me personally in many, many ways. It still affects me today in innumerable ways. But as far as I brought up my daughters– This is very strange because through the whole time– This is the first time in over 50 years that I– They knew I was in a concentration camp, but I never brought it up. I never discussed it. I never talked about it, especially when they were little. I completely blocked it out of my mind, which was wrong of me, I know. But this is the way I was able to fight it and go on and survive, by completely blocking it out of my mind and just go on every day and feeling that there’s a reason why God saved me. I have to, instead of just harping on what happened, there’s something I have to do. I have to go on and bring up my children in a normal way as much as I possibly can. This is exactly what I did and tried to do with them. So today, they are both married. They’re very wonderful. They’re observant. They’re both Orthodox. As a matter of fact, my younger one is very frum, has five babies. The oldest one is six, who’s going to be seven in January. They’re very, very observant and very good daughters, good children. You couldn’t ask for anything more, anything really. Are there other ways that the war has affected you? Are there any ways that you think are noteworthy? It affected me in everything I do and every day. There isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t affect me. If I walk on the street and I see a piece of candy or a piece of food on the ground, I calculate how nutritious this is and how many people for how many days could have survived in a concentration camp. If I see bread, if I pass by a bakery– One time I almost passed out when I saw a garbage can full of bread. Which wasn’t even moldy, they were just old, loafs of bread, full. I stood there, trying to figure out how many thousands this could have saved. I do this to this day. I could tear up a $20 bill and throw it, and it wouldn’t bother me. But to save a piece of lettuce and throw it in the garbage hurts me terrible. I’m affected daily. This will be for the rest of my life. To this date. - Is there– - Although, I never spoke about it and blocked it out of my mind only towards others. But inside my head, it was always there. It never left me, never a night goes by. Especially when stories of the Holocaust are in the news. I always dream about my experiences. You can never get away from it, never, can’t block it out. I only blocked it out outwardly, towards others, the way I treated others. I never spoke about it. Some people, that’s all they like to talk about to whoever wants to listen to them, tell them the horror stories. I never did, never could. Even when I tried, I couldn’t. This is my first time, my first opportunity. I want to thank you for that, for giving me this opportunity. Is there anything you would like to add that I’ve neglected to ask you? - About experiences in the– - In any respect. Well, on the more favorable side, I’d like to tell you about an experience that happened to me in the concentration camp. I consider this one of the fateful events that happened to me. While I was working in this tunnel, I saw that people were trading water for bread. They were so thirsty. It was hot in there. So I saw people actually giving bread for water. So I got an idea, “It’s easy. All I have to do is go find some water.” So I inquired to somebody where to find water to sell to these people. So he told me, “Go this way and that way.” And I got lost. I went to search for water. So I got lost. I went miles past where the guards were, where you were permitted to go, where you were shot. I couldn’t find my way back, and the shift was over. They were having the appell. They were counting the prisoners. There was one missing and nobody could go back to the camp until everybody was accounted for, and that one was me. When I came back, I was passing guards. They were yelling, Germans with their guns. Normally they would shoot you just when you go to get your cap that the guy threw away, they shoot you. Here I am past, and they’re just yelling at me to go back to where– I guess God was with me, or angels, I don’t know what it was. When I got back, and when they found me, all the prisoners said they’re going to tear me to pieces because here they’re ready to go back to camp, and they were held back because of me. I figured if I wasn’t killed by the Germans, I’m going to be killed by them. But, obviously, I’m still here. Nothing happened to me. Another occasion, one morning after work, when we were lined up, I was in the back of the line, and a Russian prisoner comes over to me. He wants to sell me a sugar beet. I said, “I have nothing to give you.” So he says, “In the end of the day, when you get your rations, you give me a slice of bread.” I said, “Good.” So I took the sugar beet, and I tied it around on the bottom of my pants. While this was going on– that’s why this guy sold me the sugar beet, which I wasn’t aware– in the front, the SS were searching people for sugar beets because it seemed like a sugar beet field was raided during the night. The owners complained, and the SS came and searched, and anybody they found with sugar beets, they shot right on the spot. That’s why this Russian sold it to me because he didn’t want to have it on him. But while they were searching in the front, here another angel came, dressed up in the clothes of a kapo. He looked and says, “What have you got there?” “I have a beet.” “Where did you get it?” So I told him what happened. He says, “Get rid of it soon because in another few minutes, you’ll be dead.” And I got rid of it. He saved my life. So these are proof– How can you not have faith in God when things like this happen to you? Is there a message that you would like to leave to your children? Yes. All the things that I learned about life from my experience would most likely fill the pages of a decent-size book, but I’m only going to mention two things, two qualities of life. One that sustained me during my experience in the concentration camp, and the other that sustained me the years from 1945 to 1949, that I got to the United States, and continued on to this day to sustain me. The first one is hope. Never, never give up hope. No matter how bad things are. If it rains for 40 days, the sunshine will come eventually, and things get better. Because believe me, it doesn’t get any worse than in a concentration camp. But 50% of my survival, I am sure and I am certain, was only because I never gave up hope. I saw with my own eyes what happens to people when they gave up hope. They become depressed. They don’t eat even the little rations that they got. And they never survived. So never give up hope, no matter how bad things are. The second thing is very interesting, which I call is gratitude. This is a very interesting quality, because not only is it necessary to be happy, but if you have this quality of being grateful, you’re guaranteed happiness. It comes together. Just like no matter how rich you are, how wealthy you are, if you don’t know how to be grateful, don’t do anything with gratitude, you’ll never be happy. A perfect example. A few years ago, I read there was a rash of teenage suicides. I read in the newspaper about a young, rich boy who went into high school and was promised by his father a brand-new car if he graduates and does well. The kid worked hard, very wealthy, and did very well and graduated, and his father presented him with a brand-new Cadillac. But he had his mind set on an expensive sports car, a Porsche, who knows what, I don’t even know the names. He became so depressed that he didn’t get what he wanted that he started drinking and took a ride with this Cadillac while under the influence, and eventually got killed. It was never established whether it was a suicide or an accident, but it doesn’t matter whether it was a suicide or an accident. He died because he didn’t know about gratitude. He wasn’t grateful he got a brand-new Cadillac when a high school kid graduates. He wanted a sports car, and he became depressed and started to drink and lost his life. There isn’t a person in the world, no matter how bad off you are, that you don’t have something to be grateful for. Look at me. 1947, I was on my way to DP camps. No family, no trade, no way to– Don’t know where my next meal is coming from. But I was grateful. What was I grateful for? I was alive. I was given another chance, and I knew that God willed that I should live. He had some good things in store for me. And, sure, good things sure came. I explained to you. I told you before all the good things that happened to me to this day. So the trick is, without gratitude, it’s not possible to be happy. With gratitude, you cannot help be happy. You have to be happy. Now, if we have a few more minutes, I would like to take this opportunity to answer a question that was asked by almost everyone at one time or another, including myself. Where was God during the Holocaust? My answer is God was where he always was, where he always is and always will be, he is everywhere. He is every place, he was in the concentration camps, and I have proof that he was there with me. He is in every person. The only person he is not in is where he is totally rejected. Every baby, when it’s first conceived, God takes over the embryo and watches it to grow that everything should go all right. Once in a while, things go wrong, not because God isn’t perfect, because he is trying to teach us that no man should think that anybody can be perfect, because even he makes mistakes once in a while. But he is inside every human being for the rest of his life unless he is rejected– Then he leaves them. If you reject God, he leaves you. And look what happens, just watch. God gave a beautiful gift to the human being to distinguish him from the animal. The animal eats, sleeps, works, procreates and does everything, everything we do. So what’s the difference? God gave the human being the gift of speech and knowledge that the animal doesn’t have. This is what distinguishes us from the animals. If you remember your Bible, in the beginning, in Genesis, when Adam and Eve first ate from the apple, from the tree of the fruit of knowledge– What’s the first thing that happened? They looked at each other, and they noticed they were naked. Before they never noticed. Now they became knowledgeable. They noticed. So what did they do? They took some leaves, and they made themselves clothes. At the end of the chapter it says that God made them leather shirts. Shirts made out of leather. He dressed them. But what happens when you reject God, you reject this beautiful gift he gives you. Just like an engaged couple. When they break up and they reject each other, the diamond ring has to go. When the girl refuses, the boy has the right to demand it and take it to court to get it back. So you reject God, you’re giving him back the gift that he gave you. Of course, you don’t become mute that you can’t speak. But, morally, you’re giving him back the gift of speech, the gift of knowledge. And what happens? You revert to an animal. All of a sudden, you don’t need any clothes anymore. Walk around half naked in the beaches, in the dance halls, in the bars, totally naked. You don’t need clothes. You’re an animal. I don’t have to tell you what a man does when he becomes an animal. Because we saw that very well. He’s even worse than an animal because animals don’t do what man can do when they reject God. So my message is that God is everywhere. Now that we know where God is my question to you is– Where was man? Where was man when this happened? Where was President Roosevelt, the man, when he turned back a boat full of people to certain death, wouldn’t let them in? When the first half of Germany went crazy on Kristallnacht to break windows and break stores and arrest Jewish people and murder them, where was the other half? Where was all the countries? Poland, Hungary? Where were all the good people? Where were they? That’s the question. What was done cannot be undone. The only thing we can do is protect ourselves to make sure it never happens again by remembering. Zachor. Always remember what happened. Never forget. Al tishkach. Don’t ever forget. Thank you. ...my grandparents on my father’s side. My grandfather’s name was Yehezkel Abraham. My grandmother’s name was Sarah Abraham. It was taken approximately in 1920 in Romania. This is my grandmother. Her name was Sarah Goldstein Abraham. This picture was taken probably in the late ’20s in Romania. This is my father, Joseph Abraham. This picture was taken also in the 1920s in Romania. In this picture, I’m always in the right place at the right time. I was approximately eight years old. It was taken in 1935. Next to me, sitting on my father’s lap is my younger brother, Yehezkel. Behind my father is my sister. Next to her, to the left, is my sister Liebe Malke. She passed away about 10 years ago. In front of her is my younger brother. Last but not least is my beautiful sister Irene. This picture was taken in 1981. On the left is my wonderful wife, Shulamit. This picture was taken on the wedding day of my older daughter, Sarah Leah Abrams, and her husband, Alexander, who came all the way from China. This picture was taken in Brooklyn. This picture is my first granddaughter, Ariela. This is a picture of Ariela’s brother, Zev. He is 11. This picture is my younger daughter, Rachel– In this picture are my grandchildren. On the left is Daniel, he’s going to be seven. Next to him is Joshua. In my daughter’s arms is Menachem. The beautiful little girl is Ariana, 17 months old. This gorgeous little girl is my youngest granddaughter. Her name is Kayla, and she’s three months old. theses dissertations and cap stones Rochester Institute of Technology.