Oral History

Frima L. describes escape from mobile killing unit massacre

While Frima's family was confined to a ghetto, Nazis used her father as an interpreter. He later perished. By pretending not to be Jews, Frima, her mother, and sister escaped a German mobile killing unit massacre. They were later discovered and jailed. Again, her mother devised an escape. Frima's mother and sister were smuggled to Romania, while Frima wandered in search of safekeeping until her mother could arrange to smuggle her out. In Romania, they were reunited and liberated.


My mother was looking around and she saw this tall Gestapo man. Very, very tall. And she took a chance by walking out of the line and walking towards him and asking him, "Do they kill non-Jews here?" And he looks at her and he says, "You're not Jewish?" And she says, "No, I'm not." And he said, "Well, what are you doing here?" She says, "Well, my husband was taken to prison. He is someplace in one of these cities," she said, "and I decided with my children to come and find him to visit him. So we were walking on this road and as they were bringing down the Jews they took us along and nobody would listen to us. With that...with one of his hands, he took my mother's hand, my hand, and my sister's hand and he took us out of the line and he says, "Come with me." He took us into that abandoned little slaughterhouse and he told us to sit and wait. In the meantime, he told my sister that she should bring some clothing. So he took her to one of those mountains [of clothing], and she just picked up whatever clothing she was able to get for my mother, myself, and herself. And she brought it in and we started putting on the clothing. There were some other people in that place, and one of them was a lady with a baby in her arms and she recognized us. And when the Gestapo came in with a Ukrainian, because the Ukrainians were collaborators, and they spoke Ukrainian and Russian and Polish, they spoke...and they spoke German. So, in order for the Gestapo to understand, you know, what we were saying because we're talking to them...to him in...in Ukrainian. My mother was talking Ukrainian to him. So this lady turns around and says to him, "They are Jews. Why aren't they killed?" And so he hit her, and we just sat there frightened. We didn't know what to say. We couldn't say anything. And he took us out. We were already dressed. And he said to us...he said to the Ukrainian, "You take them to town. You will escort them to town." Because you could not possibly walk on the road back when this was, when they were walking all the
Jews to be killed. So the Ukrainian told us to follow him and we did. As we were walking back, on the side of the street, of the road, my mother saw many of our neighbors who were walking towards the slaughterhouse to be killed. And all she did was sigh because it was very painful to see them go.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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