Oral History

Murray Pantirer describes the antisemitic climate in postwar Krakow

The Germans occupied Krakow in 1939. Murray's family was confined to the Krakow ghetto along with the rest of the Jewish population of the city. In 1942, Murray and a brother were deported for forced labor in the nearby Plaszow camp. In May 1944, his brother was transferred to Auschwitz and Murray was sent to the Gross-Rosen camp in Germany. Murray was later transferred to Bruennlitz, in the Sudetenland, as a forced laborer for German industrialist Oskar Schindler. Schindler helped the Jews who worked for him survive the war. Murray was liberated in 1945.


I came to Krakow, and I walked in, in mine apartment, and I told the woman immediately, "I absolutely don't want nothing from this apartment." All...everything that was in that apartment belonged to us. I didn't care for it. "I only want to write down a little note. If anybody from my family, by a miracle somebody survived, I am the second son of Leyzer Pantirer--I survive. And I'm registering myself in the Jewish community of Krakow. Where I'm gonna be, I don't know, but I...." So she said, "Sit down, have a cup of tea." She sent her son to the militia. The militia came up and said, "Why did you come here to make troubles?" I said, "What kind of troubles did I make? I just want to put down on my address, my apartment, I want to put down my name." And then we, as I have told you, we got some material, so we start selling it on the street, so either they will say "My nie kupujemu u zydov! -- we don't buy stuff from a Jew," or they will say, "Look, they said they killed them. Look how many they are." So I was--among thousands, there were two Jewish boys or three Jewish boys trying to exchange, uh, for livelihood for stuff that they needed. They didn't want us. And in my ear they're constantly saying, "Zydy do Palestuny -- Jew, go to Palestine."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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