Oral History

Felix Horn describes antisemitism in Lvov and conditions in the Janowska camp

Felix was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Lublin, Poland. His father was a locksmith and his mother was a singer. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Felix fled east to Rovno and then to Soviet-occupied Lvov, where he was accepted at a medical school. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Felix was taken to a labor camp. He escaped and returned to Lublin, and found that his family had been forced into the ghetto established there. After the liquidation of the Lublin ghetto, Felix, his sister, and his future wife Lucine were sent to the Majdan Tatarski ghetto. Felix, Lucine, and her brother escaped and hid, eventually fleeing to the Warsaw ghetto, where Felix and Lucine were married. They escaped to the "Aryan" side of Warsaw and obtained false papers. Felix worked for the underground during the Warsaw Polish uprising in 1944. He and Lucine were liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945. They immigrated to the United States in October 1950.


Germany, in spite of, in spite of their pact with the Soviet Russia, they invaded eastern Poland. And first thing what happened, Ukrainian students in the dormitory knew who was the Jewish, who was the Jewish student. They grabbed me, one of my good friends, Ukrainian, grabbed me, beating the hell out of me, forced me to scrub the floor of a pub that he opened up for German officers. From then, I was taken to a labor camp on Janowska Street in Lvov. Was not a concentration camp, it was a labor camp, but the way they treated us was just like concentration camp. We're lying on wooden boxes really, not in beds, boxes, there was nothing to eat, and we had to be on Appell [roll call] at 5 a.m. wintertime. We didn't stand straight, they beat you, they'd kick you from the front, from the back, from the side. You couldn't go down 'cause they would shoot you. So the, the, the awareness of not to go down, all the bleeding, always kept me aware of it, to stand up, and I was numb for after a while I didn't feel the beating, even. And then maybe 7 a.m. or so we're marching to the city to work. And after a few days I thought, Well there's nothing to expect. I run away. And, where are you going to go? I'll run away to the dormitory. That's the only place I knew. Here I found three of my colleagues, Jewish students, hiding in the basement. How they escaped I don't know, because they went through the building very thoroughly, usually the Ukrainian police with the Germans. We decided to go eastward.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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