Oral History

Vladka (Fagele) Peltel Meed describes smuggling activities in the Warsaw ghetto

Vladka belonged to the Zukunft youth movement of the Bund (the Jewish Socialist party). She was active in the Warsaw ghetto underground as a member of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB). In December 1942, she was smuggled out to the Aryan, Polish side of Warsaw to try to obtain arms and to find hiding places for children and adults. She became an active courier for the Jewish underground and for Jews in camps, forests, and other ghettos.

Transcript

I bought uh ten pounds I would say...it was of dynamite and also I made the contact with the ghetto through telephone, certain calls, that I will be in this and this particular place and they have to wait for me and I will smuggle this into the ghetto. And this is how it goes. The Aryan side was always in contact through telephone from certain places with our people in the ghetto and we notified, and through different ways, when we are going to smuggle in, what time and what place. One of the very easy places which smuggling was going on was on uh Franciszkanska [Franciscan Street]. It was a place where one part of the ghetto, of the wall, was on the side of the Polish side and the other part of the wall was the Jewish side. And smuggling, mostly those who were buying clothes and bringing in food into the ghetto were the smugglers and doing it for very high prices. So one of the smugglers, the so-called foreman, he had a ladder and he was putting the ladder close to the wall and bribing sometimes the Polish police or the Jewish police, but it was impossible to bribe the German patrols, so the police was bribed and the smuggle was going on and I came there with mine package in in in...greasy paper that it should look like butter, and I paid the foreman and I was one of the smugglers, one of the Polish girls, and to my luck when I came on top, going on the ladder on top of the wall, su...suddenly shooting was heard from far away, and they got scared. They snatched the ladder away. And I was sitting on top not being able to go back into hiding. They ran away. All of them hide. And I was with mine package on top of the wall, and the shooting got closer and I was sure that I, this time I am done. I didn't see anybody on the Jewish side and I didn't see anybody on the other side (laughter) and I on top. I didn't know what to do. I was afraid to jump. I was afraid that maybe dynamite can blow up. I didn't know even if it can in
this...I didn't know too much about dynamite. But suddenly from the Jewish side, two of mine colleagues from the Jewish underground saw me, came running to the wall. They made a human ladder and they brought me down.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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