Oral History

Sam Itzkowitz describes forced labor in the Makow ghetto

The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. When Makow was occupied, Sam fled to Soviet territory. He returned to Makow for provisions, but was forced to remain in the ghetto. In 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz. As the Soviet army advanced in 1944, Sam and other prisoners were sent to camps in Germany. The inmates were put on a death march early in 1945. American forces liberated Sam after he escaped during a bombing raid.


And everyday...Jews had to go out from the ghetto, line up in groups of a hundred and perform the work for the Germans. In the wintertime we had to shovel the snow on the roads. In the summertime we had to help build the roads. We had to demolish houses that were in the Germans' way. Dig ditches, clear swamps. They found work that just wasn't suitable for human beings but they just did it for meanness. Somehow we survived longer than they thought we going to do.


  • Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
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