Jack Gun

"Beware of all of the tragedies that can happen because race and prejudice. I hope that future generations see to it that nothing like this ever happens again to anyone, anywhere, and at any time."

Name at birth
Yacov (Jankiel) Gun
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Rozyszcze, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Shmuel Gun, Merchant
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Sonia Apel, Worked with husband
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, brother Anszel (ten years older), sister Rose (Raziel, seven years older and me
Who survived the Holocaust?
My brother Anszel and me.
My family was forced into the ghetto in our city for thirteen to fourteen months.  The Russians had occupied it from 1939-1941 and the Germans came in 1941.  During the day, my father and brother worked for the Germans on a farm outside of the ghetto.  My mother and sister worked in a laundry outside of the ghetto.  We heard rumors that something might be happening, that they may be soon liquidating the ghetto.  I was 8 years old at the time. My parents had arranged for me to be smuggled out of the ghetto.  We had arranged for all of us to meet at a certain place and run away to our father’s friend, a Christian man, Mr. Jann Yerushka.  On August 22, 1942, the Germans closed the ghetto; my mother and sister were not allowed to leave.  My father decided to rejoin them and told us not to return.  
He came back to the ghetto to try to get my mother and sister out.  Tragically, about 5,000 Jews were murdered in a mass execution which included my father, mother, sister, and many other our relatives.
Mr. Jann Jeruszka who did business with my family and was a family friend, hid my brother Anszel and I.  He said it was too dangerous for us to stay with him.  The wheat fields were high and he told us to hide there.  Mr. Jeruszka brought us food every few days to survive.  At harvest time, he told us to go to the forest to hide.  He told us to come to him every few days and he would give us food.  Later when winter came, he dug us an underground bunker in a field.  
Later, Mr. Jeruszka arranged for us to live with a farmhand and his family for the rest of the winter since our bunker was noticed by someone.  When the wheat grew high again, we repeated this cycle the next year as well.  We were liberated by the Russians in April 1944.  We went back to our home, which was empty.  A few Jews were around.  The Germans later returned and we joined up with the Russians.  We went with them to Rovno near Kiev in the Ukraine. 
A few months later, the Germans left our city and we came back home again.  We finally decided to leave eastern Poland and traveled through the heart of Poland.  While we were travelling, my brother met a young lady who was the only one who survived out of her family.  We finally wound up in a Displaced Person’s (DP) Camp in Lintz, Austria.  We spent about two years there.  I received my first schooling there when I was 11 ½ years old.  There my brother married the young lady that he met. 
While we were in the DP camp we got in touch with some of our family that came to America many years ago.  They made arrangements for us to join them.
When we first arrived, I lived with an aunt and uncle in Breckenridge, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.  My brother lived with his wife’s aunt and uncle in Detroit.  After four years, my brother got a decent job, their own apartment, and brought me back to live with them in Detroit.  I was 18 years old.  I graduated from Central High School in Detroit and later joined the United States Army.  After returning, I started a sausage business and retired in 1992.
Name of Ghetto(s)
Where were you in hiding?
In a farm, fields and woods in Poland (Ukraine) near Uzova
Occupation after the war
Sausage business owner
When and where were you married?
September, 1959
Miryam Goldstein, Homemaker
Sandra Gun Ruza, teacher Sam Gun, gastroenterologist
What do you think helped you to survive?
My brother, Anszel who was ten years older than me, saved me. I was 8 years old and my brother, who was 18, guided me. After the Holocaust, my brother and I traveled back to Poland. We tried to find Jann Jeruszka who saved our lives. He had passed away. His children moved to Russia and could not be found. We wanted Yad Vashem in Israel to have him honored as a Righteous Gentile.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Beware of all of the tragedies that can happen because race and prejudice. I hope that future generations see to it that nothing like this ever happens again to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.
Charles Silow
Interview date:
To learn more about this survivor, please visit:
The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, University of Michigan

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