Oral History

Abraham Lewent describes conditions in the Warsaw ghetto

Like other Jews, the Lewents were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, as Abraham hid in a crawl space, the Germans seized his mother and sisters in a raid. They perished. He was deployed for forced labor nearby, but escaped to return to his father in the ghetto. In 1943, the two were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. US troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners.

Transcript

People made a school for three, four children, [so] they shouldn't forget what they learn. And we had libraries. We went to the libraries. We read books. We still think sometimes...sometime will get better. In the meanwhile, we had...there was a Polish newspaper. Actually it was a newspaper what the German printed but in Polish language, and this was smuggled in in the ghetto and we read it. We heard only about the Germans winning the war and they win this and this and this. We didn't know anything. The radios was not allowed to have because they took all the radios from the Jewish people. They took away one night and made a decree: everybody [who] has a radio, fur coats, good clothes, this has to be given away. And we didn't have no news actually what happened on the other side of the world. And this went on like this until 1942.


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  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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