Oral History

Susan Bluman describes the German invasion of Poland

Susan was 19 years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Her boyfriend, Nathan, was in Lvov when the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland. Nathan sent a guide to Warsaw to bring Susan to the Soviet zone of occupied Poland. Her parents reluctantly agreed after Susan promised to return to Warsaw within two weeks. Upon her arrival in Lvov, Susan married Nathan. The couple then fled across the Lithuanian border to Vilna, where they stayed for a year. They received a visa for transit through Japan and left Lithuania in January 1941, traveling across the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Japan. Nathan, an engineer, applied for entrance to Canada, which permitted the immigration of persons with important professional skills. Susan and her husband left Japan for Vancouver, Canada, in June 1941.


Warsaw was surrounded by the German artillery, on top of the planes who were flying overhead and throwing bombs. And finally, I mean it was... it was hunger already, there was no water, there was no communication. And as a child... and as a child -- I wasn't a young woman then -- I was wishing that the war is over and I couldn't care less if the Germans come in or not because... we were living in constant danger and constant fright. And as I say, the, um...your food supplies were already exhausted, for 20... we couldn't get out and do anything. So when, after 28 days, the German armies finally marched into Warsaw, we didn't realize how our life is going to change completely. Because as the war broke out, I would say that my life changed 180 degrees. It was just completely -- whatever it was, was no more.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
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