Interview with Michael Pizer
December 30, 2004
Chelmsford, MA USA

Michael Pizer. Born: Michuel Przedecki. 1916. Klodawa, Poland.

I was born in small town.  The name was Klodawa, in 1916, September 2nd.  As a youngster, I was pretty well off.  We were financially pretty set.  However, as the years progressed, everything changed, because we had a very bad break in the business.  We lost a lot of money. However, we managed to exist. I was helping my father, and I was very active.  I was very good in business, as a youngster. However, when my mother passed away in 1937, my father remarried, and I was very unhappy. So, when I became of age to go into the army, I volunteered, because I was sick and tired of staying home.

Michael and his siblings c. 1921. Left to Right: Avrum-Ruven, Rachel, Michael, David, Menesha
Michael and his siblings c. 1930. Left to Right Seated: Rachel, David, and sister-in-law, Gnendel Rzeszewski (Avrum's wife). Standing L-R: Avrum-Ruven, Michael, Menesha.


Klodawa, Poland. [Babiak: his grandmother came from, Przedecz his grandfather]

When I went into the army it was 1938. The service was for 18 months.  After 17 months being in the service, the war broke out and Hitler attacked Europe and Poland. This was September 1st [1939].  On September 15, I was supposed to be discharged, however,  the war broke out September 1, and I was caught in-between.  After fighting for about 26 days, I was captured as a prisoner of war. 

After this, it was already the end of the war, and we were supposed to be set free to go home, as prisoners.  However, it was not like that. All those people who gave up voluntarily had the right to go home. However, those people who were fighting, they stayed over there. And, I was from the fighting, so, instead of going home, they sent me to deep Germany, for hard labour. However, as soon as the train started to move, I jumped the train. And, it took me quite a while.  This was about 50 miles from my house. When I came home, my city was already occupied by the Germans. We had a very hard time.  I was there for about six weeks, and we were forced to go to work everyday-- all kinds of dirty work.  And, I could see what was going on, what they did to the Jews, and my father told me, himself, to get out, and go away, because he was too old, but I should go and save my life. And, that's what happened. 

Last photo taken of Michael and his father Sender. Klodawa c. 1937.
  Sender Przedecki [far right]. Possibly with new child from his second marriage, and his new wife next to him. The other two men unidentified. Most likely taken in Klodawa, 1938/9 behind No. 10 Rynek, his home and tailoring shop.

When I left my city, I had to smuggle out from Poland.  My aim was to go to Russia. The Russians did not let us in, and the Germans did not let us out.  However, after suffering about six or seven days, we went past the Russian border. When we

Bialystok, Russia-near the Polish border.

came to Russia [Bialystok], it was the end of November, 1939.  We stayed there for quite a while.  We had no clothes, no money, nothing.  But, somehow, we managed. And, after staying there for nine months, Stalin said, "all those people who came as refugees, have a choice.  You can either go back home, or if you want to become citizens of Russia, you have to go away for one year to a "row" (?) and after this, you can become citizens". Which was so.   But, I did not want to stay there, because my conscience bothered me--I left my father, two brothers, two sisters--and I said, "I want to go back home." 

Instead, of sending us back home, the Stalin government said, "If you are not with us, you are against us!"  So, instead of sending us back home, they sent us to the deep north [Siberia]-- very cold.  We came over there with no coat, no warm clothes, and we were sentenced for life, to stay there.   We were given jobs.  Our job was to cut trees.  And, we cut trees not like here today-- everything was by hand.  We stayed there, and we had a pretty good life, in the way that whatever we made from our jobs--money--we could live on it. But, naturally, we were like the prisoners.  After fourteen months, this was June, 1941, Germany invaded Russia. At that time, there was an agreement between the exile government in England--this was the Polish exile government--they had an agreement to free all those prisoners.  And, sure enough, that's how it happened.  We were in the cold, cold, climate.  We had a choice to go almost wherever we wanted, except three cities: Kiev, Moscow, or Leningrad. So, we decided to go to Uzbekistan-near the Afghanistan border, where it would be a very warm and wonderful climate.   After about six months, they told us we had to go to a "farm".  We did that for about six months.  Then after this, with the war still going on, all the newcomers were mobilized to work behind the front...helping out behind the lines...we did not go on the front, but we worked for the country [Russian army].
Then in 1945, when the war came to an end, we had the right to be evacuated to go back to where we came from.  And, that's when it happened.

I went back to Poland, and I had got married over there [Russia], and I came back with my wife, and then in Poland, the same thing was going on as before. Anti-semitism.  They still attacked Jews.   In Kielce there was a pogrom going on, and the young that survived the ghettos, and all those camps, were killed.  The city was named Kielce.  I stayed in Poland for nine months. I had a brother in the United States.  He left in 1932.  He knew that I was alive, because I was in touch with him when I was in Siberia. I was writing to him during the war.  I even got a letter from him...w/ five dollars in the letter! 

Kielce, Poland. Klodawa is northwest between Kutno and Konin-just above Lodz.


Money Order from Mark Pizer in Malden, MA to brother Michael in Bialystok, USSR. November 27, 1940.

After this, my aim was to come to the United States, because my brother was there, and I was the only survivor, and he insisted that I should come to him. 

I was at that time in Poland.  We left Poland in 1945, and we tried to get to the occupied Germany where the American army was.  We had a hard time getting there, however, we managed. When we came to Germany, I was registered with the consulate to come to the United States.  However, it didn't work out right, because the waiting was too long, and my brother got impatient.  He told me, instead of coming to the States, it's possible that I can bring you to Cuba.  And, that's how it happened. When we left Germany [1948], my mistake was, that I didn't realize at the time, that I could get an extension from my three years of waiting in Germany, and being registered with the consulate, I could use that towards my waiting time in Cuba...but I lost all that, because I didn't realize I could do that.  So, I had to start all over again when I arrived in Cuba. I stayed in Cuba for three years, then we came to the United States [1951]. CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL DOCUMENTS.

One of several letters written to the U.S. government, Cuban Embassy, and U.S. War Department initiated by Mark Pizer attempting to getting Michael and Lienna into the U.S..

Letter from the U.S. War Dept. in Frankfurt, Germany, explaining that it is not possible for Michael and Lienna to have their records sent to Cuba, and therefore their three years of waiting in Germany are wiped off the record. They will have to start from scratch in Cuba.

Sure, coming here, and having a brother like this...and my brother's wife [Esther Hershberg] is a cousin to us, too.  They gave us so much.  They did whatever they could do for us. We came without a language.  I came without a profession.  The heat it Cuba was for us was unbearable.  We did not know what air-conditioning was.  But, we stayed, again, for three years, and we managed.  My wife got a job as a teacher of Jewish [Hebrew].   She could, but I could not because in order to get a job, you had to be a citizen.  (I don’t know how his wife was able to work) But, I survived. And, after three years, we came to the United States, and we started everything from the beginning.  And, the minute we came to the United States, I could say that every day when i get up in the morning, I say,  "God Bless America!"  Because, they gave us every possible opportunity.  We could do anything we wanted to.  We were free, and we appreciated what we had here, the freedom!  [CLICK HERE TO VIEW ENTIRE CUBA ALBUM]

Lienna, Michael. Havana, Cuba c.1949
Michael,[front] Lienna, and brother Mark. Havana. c. 1950.
Lienna with brother-in-law Mark Pizer. Havan, Cuba. c. 1950.

This was in 1951, May 20th, when we came to the United States.

What else can I tell you??

J: the story of YOUR life...

We came here.  We were childless. And, for some reason, the marriage was not too good after quite a few years.  However, I would call myself...I still was "successful".  Because, afterall, I was in business.  I had a little store in Watertown for 23 years, and we managed.  In 2002, we divorced.  Naturally, divorce is not one of the best things, however....especially I WAS 85!!!  But, now I am surrounded w/ a GOOD family.  My niece [Joyce].  My niece's daughters [Sandy, Judy]. Everybody, even the husbands, are good to me, and I am very pleased with this.  Now I am 88 years old. I am very pleased with what I have!

J: Tell me about Klodawa.

I was born in 1916 in Klodawa, a little town.  It had a population of 4,000 people there. A thousand were Jewish people, and 75% were Christian. Naturally, there was anti-Semitism over there, but we managed like this.  Being a youngster over there, I helped in the house.  We say over here in America that a child is a "liability", or an "expense".  In Poland, a child is an "asset", because we helped out with making a living.  But, the years went by, I was 21 years old, I went into the army.  From the army, it already started a new, new world for me, and everything changed.
There was the war, and, especially, I lost EVERYBODY from the family!  When I left to Russia I saved my life!  But, I knew what was going on from the press, from the news.  What was going on in Europe, what Hitler did to the Jews.  I said was going to be very bad for me.  So in 1945, when I came back to Poland, I had NOBODY left!  Everybody was gone.  Two brothers, two sisters, father..mother--everybody gone.  I was the only one.  I also had nieces, nephews. Nobody left. 

No. 10 Rynek. Klodawa, Poland. Home of Michael Pizer and the Przedecki Family.

So, I came at that time—we also had a house... a beautiful home. We had eight tenants, four flights, a big home.  We were offered before the war,  $12, means 60 thousand zlotych [Polish currency]. When I came back from Russia to Klodawa, the house was occupied by Polish people--they didn't even let me into the house!  After this, they told me, when I went to the city hall, and I introduced myself, and they knew me, and that this was my house, they told me "if you want to stay here, we will give you an apartment over there.  The people will have to move out, because it is yours.  Or, if you want to leave, you have the right to sell it."   Instead of "selling  it", I would say that I would "give it away", because they knew that I cannot do anything with it.  So, I sold it for $250.00!!!  The house was worth $12,000.00!!!  But, the people knew that I would not stay there, because there was nobody left.  For me it was a CEMETERY!  The synagogue, the cemetery-- everything in the town was destroyed! 

So this is when I left Klodawa.  And, when I came back in 1945 from Russia, I could see I have no more existence here in Poland, so that's when I left.

J: Were there any other people from outside of your family left in Klodawa??

M: Yes, there were quite a few survivors from Klodawa.   But, only the people, who in 1939, saw what was going on, and they ran away to Russia which was occupied at that time, and they received us.  At least, even though it was not the BEST for us, our lives in Russia were never in danger.  So, we survived the war, and, I can say thanks to the Russian government! 

I could talk and talk and talk about that, because it's easy to say about it, but whatever we accomplished was NOT so easy!  Because, every time when we crossed the border our life was in danger.  But, we managed!  Especially now--at that time I was 22 years old, we could do it.  I could NOT do it today, at 88!!!  OK.

What else can I say??

J:  You lived in Germany, too, right??

M: I came to Germany, in the end of 1945, and we stayed there for three years, until 1948.  We had a hard time.  We could NOT work.  But, we survived.  My brother helped me quite a lot. And, we also got some help from the JOINT and HIAS (displaced victims aid). But, after the three years, my brother was insisting that we leave Germany, and we went to Cuba. We came to Cuba in 1948, and we stayed for 3 years-- no money, no language, no job, no people.  I didn't even know there was a Jewish community there, but there was.  We stayed there for 3 years.  My wife got a job.  And, also we got help from my brother. And,  we survived the 3 years until we came to the U.S..

Now, naturally, we started everything from the beginning, as I mentioned before. Here we worked.  We saved.  We bought a house in 1960.  In 1957 we went in business.  We bought a little store, a five and ten.  We managed to make a living.  It was not a big business, but it was good enough for me.  We could pay the bills, we could live, and that's all!

J: Where did you live in Germany??

Michael and Lienna. New Ulm Germany c. 1947, Visiting Jurek and Stella Francuz.

Lienna. New Ulm, Germany. c. 1947

M: Frankfurt. I lived there for 3 years.  How did I live there??? They gave us a room w/ a German family, and that's how we lived over there.   And, I would say that the Germans, we were very fortunate, were very nice to us. Because, there were so many German people, nice people, too. They were very friendly.  They were very good to us, but after 3 years when we came here [Cuba].

When we came to Malden in 1951 it was VERY hard to get an apartment!  Money was no problem, but there were just not enough places to live.  But, we did get a room, a nice apartment.  After six years, we managed to get a house.  At that time, it was a very big thing for us.  Now, I can say, after the divorce, I left the house, and now I live in an apartment building w/ elderly people.   And, I am very pleased to live there.  Especially, with my family and relatives around, I feel wonderful, and they are absolutely good to me, and I couldn't ask for anything better!  I'm 88 years old, and I live now from day to day.  I have small problems with my health.  I have a hearing problem, a vision problem...but, I'm out, I still drive the car, I still have my mind...

J: Your brother often tell me the story how he was able to survive up until the very last days before the war ended...

David Przedecki. Third eldest of Michael's brothers. 1936.
Avrum-Ruven Przedecki. Second eldest of Michael's brothers.
Rachel Przedecki--Michael's sister.

M:  I had a brother he was in the army, also, fighting Hitler. He was blonde, so he could pass as a gentile, and that's how he saved his life, as a gentile.  He was working for four years on a German farm, and he had it pretty good. But, by the end, there was a Pole, and he squealed on him that he was a Jew. And, TWO days before the American army came in, they killed him.   The other brother  was the second of the oldest, he was in the war, but they did let him go home, because he was married, and he had two children.  But, after, when they started to liquidate the people who lived in town, they made ghettos for them, and after awhile they sent them away to concentration camps, and they stayed there as long as they could work.  By the end, if they stopped working, if they couldn't work anymore, they killed them. When I came back to Poland, at that time, I knew where my parents perished, and we went over there.

J: Where was that?

M: That was in the city Chelmno. Over there, they were gassed, and they were burned. This was Chelmno.

Map Showing Klodawa and Chelmno. [Chelmno is on the top center of map, above the boxed number 1.]

Partial List of Chelmno Deportations Showing the Dates of the Liquidation of Klodawa. [Middle column refers to the ghetto the town was sent to.] Click here to see full list.



(Kowale Pańskie)

Dec. 13 – Dec. 14, 1941

July 20 – July 21, 1942



July 4 – July 6, 1942



Aug. ??, 1942



Aug. 11 – Aug. 15, 1942



Jan. 10 – Jan. 12, 1942

J: Your brothers and sisters, too, or just your mother and father??

M: My mother died in 1937.  My father remarried about 1939.  I was not home anymore, because I was in the army, and after the army I left Poland.  But, I knew in 1942, when everybody perished.  There were not many survivors.  I DO know that my sister was a very strong person, a very healthy person.  When, first they gassed them, after they burned them and buried them.  My sister was still alive after all this, after gassing her, so, in other words, they burned her alive. This was my sister. The father I DO know was also, ...all the surrounding people were buried over there, were killed over there.  It was a little forest, and they drove over there.   They had a little train that took them from one place to another.  They were in a truck.  Then they put in the gas, and that's how they perished.  So, it was not the best picture for us.  But look, time heals.  And now, even now, and it's true, I still have nightmares that I am punished, that I am killed by the Germans.  And, on and on.  After so many years..OK.  They did give us some money, some compensation for what we lost, but this did not, this is not what wore(?) me....because all I know, is that I was left all by myself, except for my brother. Good enough that I have such a good family surrounding me. 

OK, this is one brother.  My other brother and my sister were married.  They had already small children. My brother had two small children, and my sister had two children.  None survived.  All of them perished.

Avrum-Ruven and Rachel Przedecki as young children in Klodawa c. 1918.

J: Your real mother, Bayla, died, and your step-mother you never met?

M: I did meet her, the stepmother.  I can't remember her name.  They had two children from that marriage, Schmael and Smoldik(?)  For some reason, I did not enjoy being with my step-mother, and I left home.  And, when I came back, everything was gone. 

J: Yurig's (Michael’s first cousin, Joseph Francus) mother and father asked you to take care of him for them??

M:  When I left Poland,I had already been in the army.  I had experience in life. So, I had a cousin over there, my mother's nephew, and I took him w/ me.  I gave my handshake, my word to my aunt and uncle that I would take him, and look after him. We went three people like this, my cousin, and one other boy.  We went together, and we struggled all the years, and we survived the war.  And, that's how it was.

J: Who was the other person??

M: This was friend of mine.  His name was Henyik Niehaus. In fact, he survived, and he moved to Israel. And, for some reason, he got a sickness and died young.  My cousin Yurig is very successful. I am very close with him, he lives in New Jersey, and now I live in Massachusetts.  And, now at the end, I have given the, my niece [Joyce], will take care of everything that will happen to me.  Judy, I did the best I could for the sisters, for the mother, and that's all.

Michael Pizer, Henyik and Lily Niehaus. Israel c. 1960.

J: Your two sisters...I didn't know there were two, I only knew of one sister in your family.

M: The other sister was from the other marriage.  OK, she was a child-baby.  Her name was Sholamit--i think.  I can't quite remember. Even through the war, it was a hard time to make a living for them.  So, my brother, and my sister left Klodawa, they were both married.  They went to a city Danzig, [Gdansk] which was an international city.  But, there was already there, a lot of anti-Semitism,  because there were mostly Germans there. It was unbearable, and then they had to leave before the war broke out  Danzig is German--Gdansk is Polish.  (THESE ARE THE BROTHER AND SISTER WHO MARRIED THE RZESZEWSKI BROTHER AND SISTER.)

Gdansk [Danzig], Poland.

J: Didn't you live in Bialystok??

M: Of course.  When we left Poland, my father insisted I should NOT stay near the border.  He wanted me to go to Russia.  However, we got stuck, and we lived in Bialystok for nine months. That's where we got the news that Stalin wanted to know whether we wanted to go back home, or stay in Russia.  After being there for nine months, he took all the people who said they wanted to go home, and they sentenced us to life in Siberia.

J: But, you also lived in Kiev. 

M: My wife comes from Kiev.  She lost her father and mother too.  There were four sisters, three evacuated, and one died.

J: Your grandparents, Mordechai and Rivka, do you remember them???

M: Of course, I remember them. My mother had a mother and father.  They lived in the same city.  They died at a late/good age--both of them. And, my father had a mother and father.  The mother's name was Rifka, and the father's name was Mordchai. They had five children--my father (Sender), and a brother Michael, and, Aaron, and David, and also one sister who perished in a fire--her name was Yochavet Rachel. The three brothers came to the U.S., my father stayed in Poland.  Those three brothers came to the U.S.  They died here in the U.S., in fact none of them lived to a late age. My father had five and my brothers, and my sister.  And, they all died in the war except me, and my brother.

Mordchai and Rivka [Buks] Przedecki. Michael's paternal grandparents.

Sender Przedecki.Michael's father.

Michuel Przdecki. Sender's brother who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900's.
Aaron Pizer. Sender's second brother who also immigrated to the U.S.
David Przedecki-Sender's third brother. Immigrated to the U.S. before the war.
[No photo]

J: When did Sender's brothers come to the U.S.?

M: They came like when your grandmother {Esther] came...about 1912. When Mama (my grandmother)  was 8 years old. The family was bigger.  We had from my mother's side-- also had a brother and a sister in the U.S.  And, my mother also had a brother in Poland, in a small town called Izbitzah...all those from Poland all perished.  But, my mother's sister and brother..Freyda (Opper) and Julius (Yocheil Francus) were in the U.S. and they survived. My mother had three brothers: Yocheil in the U.S., Avrum (Yurig's father) and David (Poland).  Those two brothers lived in Poland, and perished.  Yurig’s father and uncle worked for my family.  We had a little factory where we manufactured clothes, and we were pretty successful, until the mid 1930's I would say.  What happened is we had one sister.  At that time we still had the "dowry".  So, my father saved up the money for this dowry for my sister. He ended up lending this money to somebody, a Christian, he was a very nice man. And, for some reason, this man had done some illegal work over there.  He ended up in jail, and all the money was gone.  I'm sure this was also by the beginning of the war, we had a hard time with our business, too.   After this was already the war, so we had to struggle to make a living, and that's when I left, in 1939.

J: Did Mordchai and Rifka come from Klodawa, as well, or did they come from somewhere else??

M: Przedecz. Zeyda Morchai came from Przedecz. This was a nearby city, 5 miles from Klodawa.  They were elderly people. Buba Rivka was 94 years old, and Zeyda Morchai was in his late 80's.

Yurig had two brothers, Menesha and Hedrik. Menesha was killed on the front.  Hedrik died in the concentration camps.


Lowicz--that's where I was captured as a prisoner by the Germans.

Przeshnev is where I went when I enlisted in the army.  Pupa was there ten years before me.  When I went there, and I introduced myself, and said my name was Przedecki, "Oh you're a Przedecki...didn't you have a brother here 10 years ago?" I said "Yes." He said, "He was an officer--he was my secretary..."


Menashe Pizer, Michael's brother [front seated] in the Army. Przeshnev, Poland. c.1931


Menashe Pizer and his army platoon, Przshnev, Poland. Menesha is the first person on left in the middle row standing.


Chelmno--do you know what it is?

J: Yes, I do.

M: Yes, this is what I said, this is where they were killed.

Buba Rifka--she was a character.  Pupa used to tell the story, as she got older, she used to say everyday, this was her last day, that she was dying, and she won't be around any longer.  So, when he was getting ready to come to the U. S. he said to her: "Buba Rifka, can you wait 2 more days until I leave, before you die?""  She was a funny lady...Buba Rifka was a very religious person..but, if she didn't like somebody, you better get out of there! Because, she was quite a character.  We had working for us, there were two pretty girls.  So, Buba Rivka said, she saw it, she saw, she was having sex in public!  this was going on and on and on..but Buba Rifka..I had no Mama, my mother was sick-paralyzed..if she would have had a wheelchair, she would have had no problem.  But, there was nothing like that back then.  And, I was the youngest..wait I got off the track...Buba Rivka died around 1932--when Pupa left Poland. Zeyda Morchai, was a man who could be a rabbi, he was a scholar.  He could tell  the whole Bible, by he got older he couldn't see or hear.  Zeyda Mordchai was just the opposite of Buba Rifka, a gentelman, a fine man.  She had a step-brother nameed Menachim..he also lived not far away.  Zeyda Morchai had a brother, also, a Przedecki, he lived in Ozakov, his name was Gida. 

We have a big family in Israel  Michael, Tzelila, Eliezar.  Eliezer and Mordchai..the Buks...Yochavet Rachel's children...and how she was a candle, or something..she was reading by candle and it caught onto her clothes, or something, and she perished.  About my mother, I would say something, she was having such a hard life, because she did not have what we have now.  A wheelchair!  Something so simple, what a difference it would have made!  When she had to go from one room to the other, and we had about six rooms, she needed two people to move.  And, how many times, and I was the youngest, and we had no bathroom in the house.  Sometimes, when nobody was around, I was the only one to help.  It was a hard time.  Also, what happened to her, my father was well-off at the time, so he took her to a professor in Germany.  He predicted that this was not curable, it was a sickness--a paralysis.  And, when she was living in the house, she had to take baths.  Not baths like we have today, but we had to bring buckets of water, heated by the fire. The doctor predicted, within time, she would loose her speech, only the people around her, her family who knew her, would be able to understand her. This was one night, when my father was not home, and I was in the house, and during the night, evidently, she fell out of the bed.   I was asleep--I didn't even hear her.  I did not know. I could not do anything.  At that time, she got a bad cold, and this was the end of it already.  That's how she died. 

Bayla [nee'Francuz] Przedecki

Judy, there is no end.  This is just the start, a few stories.  There are so many stories! This is just pick a few things.

If I could tell you, when we left Poland, how we survived.  I told you, the Germans would not let us OUT, and the Russians would not let us IN ! So, there was a piece of land, about a mile, and they let us stay there for about 8 days, because there were a lot of people already there, they opened the gates, and said "GO"!  So they let us pass.  Everything is so easy to SAY, but to BE THERE!  I could do it then, I could not do it now.  There are so many things.  When we came to Russia after when they sent us away to work in the forest, I never in my life used an AXE!  And, I did not know.  So, there were three, Yurig, me and the other boy. The third boy, instead of hitting the tree, he hit his leg!  (laughing!!)  He was a mama's boy.  He did not know how to do this kind of thing!  I was more--I was two years older.   The main thing over there was to get did we get food?? We stole, we begged, we did certain things which was impossible to do--to survive.  However, they mobilized us to work behind the front, so, at that time, it started already to be better. Because Yurig  and and Henyik worked in a RESTAURANT!  To work in a restaurant at that time, means EXISTENCE!!  And, I was working in a place where we gave out the food for the restaurants.  So, food was no problem anymore, and we survived. 

Map of Russia Showing Arkhangelsk, Siberia-(top center) near where Michael spent his hard labor sentence. Bottom right, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, near the Iranian border, where he lived after being released.

When we were moved from the camps, we went from one extreme to the other.  We went from North to South.  We had the north-cold, to the Afghanistan border--which was all the time warm.  For six months we worked all the time on the farm. Not only didn't we have food, we didn't even SEE IT!  So, we were eating what we could.  The food we ate made our stomachs swell out.   We know when they press out the oil, we would eat what was leftover.  That's what we ate, and it made us swell up.  Our eyes, we had eye problems in the woods because we had no fruit, no onion no vitamins, so we could not see at night.  When we left the camp, we had no food.  So, we wrote back that we wanted to go back, because they had food there, and we wanted to go back...It did not happen.  But, finally after a while in the six months, we got some food...over here you'd call it a "businessman" we call it "speculator"..

In 1945 we left Russia for good.  And, even now, I have a soft spot for Russian people.  Because, really, they gave us our lives!  We did go back in 1970, to Russia.  Lienna (his wife) had two sisters there.  We went for two weeks.  And, after that the two sister came over here.
Anyway, Judy and Joseph I hope that what I have said here, you will pass down...[we thought he was done, so the microphone/tape we unhooked]

Later at lunch he told me of the 1000 Jews in Klodawa, out of the ones who did not flee before 1939, there were only 9 left when he returned in 1945.

He told me when the Germans came into Klodawa, they entered on Yom Kippur, and went to the temple and rounded everyone  up.  (1939) The Klodawa memorial refers to January—this is when they rounded up all the families and sent them to Chelmno. (1942).  I asked him how he found out what actually happened to HIS family. He told me that a cousin who was a very good writer, in the press at one time, wrote him and told him that his family was sent to Chelmno.