Oral History

Lucine Horn describes her escape from the Majdan Tatarski ghetto

Lucine was born to a Jewish family in Lublin. Her father was a court interpreter and her mother was a dentist. War began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Lucine's home was raided by German forces shortly thereafter. Soon after the German occupation of Lublin, Jews there were forced to wear a compulsory badge identifying them as Jews. A ghetto in Lublin was closed off in January 1942. Lucine survived a series of killing campaigns and deportations from the ghetto during March and April of the same year. Those who held valid labor cards were moved to a new ghetto in April 1942—the Majdan Tatarski ghetto, near the Majdanek killing center. Lucine escaped from Majdan Tatarski in November 1942, the month the Germans liquidated the ghetto. She eventually made her way to Warsaw where she first entered the ghetto and then went into hiding on the "Aryan" side.


And on the third morning, about four o'clock in the morning, it was in November, it was very dark, a little snow on the ground, my father arranged for this guard to look away. Gave him all this stuff and he says, "I want you to look the other way. I want my family to get out." And so, myself, my present husband who was just a friend, and my little brother, who was nine years old, were practically pushed by my father through this barbed wire to go and survive. I wanted my father to come with, he says, "Oh, no." He says, "I have to go to Majdanek to the concentration camp and I have to help your mother. I cannot go with you." He says, "Go and see what you can do for yourself," and so we did. We had to walk for a long while, because there was nobody around and they weren't shooting. But then we saw a peasant, because the city was very far, maybe ten kilometers away, we saw a peasant and we asked him if he would give us a ride. He might have known who we are, but he pretended, maybe, that he didn't. We thought, either he's gonna kill us all, or he's gonna take us to the city, but he did. He took us in to the city and in the city it was really bedlam because everybody knew that the ghetto's being dissolved, and everybody knew that Jews are running away, and everybody was looking for Jews. And if you found a Jew and you showed him to a German you would get ten pounds of sugar, or five pounds of flour, or something like that. There were posters all over: "We're looking for the Jews, they're running away from the ghetto." So it was impossible in a small town to really hide overnight. But fortunately, my husband had, knew somebody that worked for his father and we walked in there and he said, "Please, may we just stay overnight someplace?" And the Poles were scared, because, you know, if they would find Jews by them, they would shoot them, too. So it wasn't only at that point, that they didn't want to help, because we knew some very fine people that were patients of my mother's and my mother told me that she gave them some stuff to hide, like candelabras and, and, and linen and fur coats, in case we ever have, have to, needed them it'll be outside of the ghetto. But when I came to these people they said, "Yes dear, if you need some money we'll help you out, but we cannot let you overnight." The only person that let us overnight was this worker that worked, used to work for my husband's father.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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