<p>Chaim's family came from a small town where his father owned a textile store. When antisemitic pogroms broke out in Brudzew, the Engels moved to the industrial city of Lodz. Chaim was then 5 years old. In Lodz he attended a Jewish school that also provided a secular education. After finishing middle school, Chaim went to work at his uncle's textile factory.</p>
<p>1933-39: Our neighborhood in <a href="/narrative/2152/en">Lodz</a> was predominantly Jewish, so most of my friends were Jews. As a young adult I began my compulsory army service. On September 1, 1939, only two weeks before my tour of duty was scheduled to end, the Germans <a href="/narrative/2103/en">invaded Poland</a>. After a few weeks I was taken as a POW. One German captor learned I was Jewish, but he didn't shoot me. I was taken to Germany for <a href="/narrative/3384/en">forced labor</a>.</p>
<p>1940-44: In March 1940 all Jewish POWs were returned to Poland. I was <a href="/narrative/5041/en">deported</a> to the <a href="/narrative/3790/en">Sobibor</a> killing center in the summer of 1942. In October 1943 a small group of <a href="/narrative/5160/en">prisoners revolted</a>. I stabbed our overseer to death. With each jab I cried, "This is for my father, for my mother, for all the Jews you killed." The knife slipped, cutting me, covering me with blood. Chaos took over; many prisoners ran out the main gate. Some stepped on mines. Some gave up and didn't run at all. I grabbed my girlfriend and we ran into the woods.</p>
<p>Chaim hid in the Polish woods with his girlfriend, <a href="/narrative/6910/en">Selma</a>. After the war they married and lived in Europe and Israel. The Engels settled in the United States in 1957.</p>