Oral History

Abraham Lewent describes performing forced labor in Warsaw and increased Polish antisemitism

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.


We had to go carry water from the Vistula, from the river. And this is like four miles, so we took two pails of water, me and my sister took two pails of water, and we walked. We carried the pails. So when we had to pass by a Polish neighborhood, those Polish kids came out and picked up the pails of water and threw it out and make us walk back. Now this is in a time when the Germans took over the city. Every citizen was on his own, and they know they lost their country. Still the hatred. The antisemitism what those Polish people had towards the Jews. For no reason at all. Now they felt that they can do with the German help what they always wanted to do.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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