I was one of only 850 people who cleaned up Lodz Ghetto after its liquidation. There were 265,000 Jews in the Lodz Ghetto, there were only 850 left after the liquidation.
I was 14 years old and I was working very hard in the ghetto doing plumbing work, digging ditches, bringing in pipes, fixing pipes in factories, plumbing was very hard work not like it is today.
The Lodz Ghetto was horrible, who ever worked, got a food rations card, if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a card and you didn’t get any food. My father was very sick; I shared my food rations with my father, mother, and brother. One time, I remember using my tools to make a hole in my tool box to be able to hide carrot greens to bring to my sick father. The foreman saw this and screamed at me for doing this. We only got one bowl of soup a day. People were dying in the streets from starvation. A wagon would pick up the dead people and take them to the cemetery.
In 1942 or 1943, they needed boys to clean up the hospitals; they took 35-40 boys. They never came back. They said they picked up germs from the sick people and the dead bodies, and so they killed them also. Six months later, they needed another 35 boys for the same kind of job. One of my friends said he’s running away. I said I’ll go with you. He disappeared and I followed. He was on right, he disappeared, and I ran away too and hid in a big chimney.
I was in the chimney for three and a half days, with no food and no water. I made in my pants, at that point, I didn’t have shame. After four days, I went to my house, to my father. He said that he heard an announcement that those who ran away could go back to work, so I went back to work.
We heard they were going to liquidate the ghetto. My girlfriend’s father advised me not to go to Germany for work but to stay in the ghetto. My parents, brother and sister had already been taken away. He helped get me a job cleaning up after the liquidation of the ghetto. In fact, Leah’s father, survived with his wife and five kids. They took me in as one of their own. One time when there was a Shperra, (the Germans would close off a neighborhood and do house to house search for fit and unfit Jews), I remember we hid Jerry Flam, who was 6 years old then, who would later become my brother-in-law, by hiding him under a bed.
During the liquidation, we went from house to house, to take down the furniture from the buildings to be separated. Polish people then came to take them away. We were in a house and found an old religious couple who said not to say that they were here. I brought them some food and water. They wanted to die in their own home, not to be taken away to die.
In January 1945, we heard cannons; we lived together in one big factory. Leah’s father, Jerry Flam and I ran away inside the ghetto. One of our friends who went looking for water came back and started to scream for us to come down, come down boys, the Russians are here! We were so happy that we survived.
After war, I went to a DP camp in Frankfort am Main, Germany. In 1945, Leah and I were married.
In 1947, we went to Israel, then Palestine. I went into the Haganah. During the day I worked, at night I learned to become a soldier. We lived in Israel for fourteen years; I was in the army for five years, I had been stationed near the Syrian border. My brother, who survived and was living in Detroit, he wrote me a letter. He said that all of my life has been hard, from being a child working hard in the Lodz Ghetto, to fighting in the Haganah, that I should have a little bit of an easier life and come to the United States. And so I did.