Dedicated to the memory of my Parents my brothers and the tens of thousands who were with them on their final day and to my children whose lives had been affected by my expiereinces and whose love and support have made me able to write this book and for giving me the strength to continue.

Warsaw 1939-1945
Rachel Zysmanovich Nurman

To my Children
Rosalie, Harry, Freddie, and Eddie (my son-in-law) who are my future. And to my Grandchildren who gave me so much joy in may later years. May they never experience the extreme cruelty of which men are capable.

May 28, 1987

I am an eye witness of a Jewish world destroyed. I saw the Jewish people and the milions come and dissapear enter the hause of death and but tu ashes. I saw a civilization being destroyed by devils in human forms. I am telling my story in simple language. This is not a work of art and I am also not a writer. It is a testimony altought none of us there were there cannot understand the hell of that place. My story is a terible accusation against God and humanity. What I am telling is of tremendous importance and tu the generations of survivors Jewish and non-Jews for we all are survivors of manís madness. This was Auschwitz. The ten commendments didnít exist Auschwitz has its own laws and valiues.

At Auschwitz, gold might buy a bowl of turnip soup. At Auschwitz, a camp orchestra would play cheerful music not only in the morning when we marched out tu work but also at night when bruised and battered prisoners they strugled back carrying their death comrades back tu the camps.

My childhood ended in 1939. I was 14 the year the naziís ocupayed Poland. I am telling my story about my family, my friends, from my home town. This is for my children tu understand how I was able tu survive and tu descraib the day tu day struggle tu live another day, another auer.

September 1, 1939

Hitler Germany invaded Poland. The day Poland and the world will never forget. From that day on, the blood of Polish soldiers, women, and children flowed. Modern cities full of life built during the twenty year period of Polish independence were crushed and all that remained was rublle (rubble).

I, and my girlfriend, were having a picnik (picnic) not far from home riding (reading) a book and I was thinking that is thundering and I said tu my girlfriend do you listening, it may rain but this was not thundering. This was Germany bombing Poland. We ran home as fast as we could and the next thing they announcing that we all live (leave) the hauses and run tu the haiways (highways). People started runing from one place tu another. The Germans started truing (throwing) bombs directly on Civilian people. The roads were jammed with people. The planes were over head droping (dropping) bombs and we keppt (kept) hiding in the diches (ditches) at the side of the road. This was the plan of the Germans tu take the people out of the hauses tu be able for them tu kill as many as possible tu this time a lot of Civilian people got killed. The Germans Soldiers marcht (marched) in the auer (our) town and the Polish people gret (greeted) them with flauers (flowers). They did not no (know) what is in store for them. After awhile, they started lueking (looking) for Jews, taking them to work and bitting (beating) them up and make fun of the Hasidim, pulling their beards in front of the Polish neighbors.

I lived in a small town near Warsaw. This was a resort place where the Warsaw people came for vacation. It had a biutiful (beautiful) forest and voter fols (waterfalls). Our town had about 2 toznt (dozen) Jewish families. The rest 20 toznt (dozen) airsh. We lived a nice life with the family. My Fatherís sisters and Brothers; my Motherís Family; my Grandmothers. One of my Grandmothers, my Motherís Mother, lived with us for 17 years and it was a drioy (joy) having her with our family and all the children loved her very much and I am greatful (grateful) that si (she) was spared the humilaisn (humility) and terror of Hitlerís murderers. Si (she) dieath (died) in 1936. With a big family, I was very secure. I finished 7 classes of Public School and I had big aspiraisn (aspirations) tu go tu caledz (college) and study.

My Parents were a mitl (middle) clas people. My Father duing business with the Gentail (gentile) people and my four Brothers, the oldest Chaim Josef, was exepionally (exceptionally) handsome and tu this time was maried and had a little girl and lived in another town altought (although) I miset (missed) him, I went tu visit him and his family with my Parents. My older Brotherís name was David, in short we called him (Duvcie). Hi (he) was very hard working and he (he) was allso maried and had a little boy of 4. Then was my favored Brother, Samuel. Hi (he) was very smart and hi (he) was a lider (leader) of the Hashomerhacair, the Jewish Zajonist organizaisn (organization). The I was the fort (fourth) and only girl. After me was my Brother Mendele, 10 years old. Life with four Brothers was very pleasant. We children where (were) very happy seing (seeing) how my Father, loved my Mother and life was very normal. My Father was a happy man. All ways (always) kibitizing and telling driokes (jokes). My Mother had alott of friends among the neighbors women. There were allways sitting in auer (our) hause. They liked my Mother; tu tok (talk ) tu her when my Father came in and so the many Women hi (he) told them that they were selling fish autside (outside) for very good price, they all started tu run outside the stret for the bargain and when they come back and teling him they donít see any fish, hi (he) told them he must off (of) sold them aut (out) and they bolived (believed) him, that way hi (he) got rid of them. Hi (he) allways wanted tu bee with my Mother tolking (talking) tu her about biznes (business) and asking her advice. Come the holidays, Mother was riding (reading) from the book of prayer the Talmud in hibri (hebrew) in the Synagogue and all the women standing near repited (repeated) with her and I was standing on a big stul (stool) near her watching her praying. I was so praud (proud) off (of) her that all the Women didnít no (know) how tu rid (read) hibro (hebrew). My Mother was very smart woman and all of the children loved her and allso (also) my Father. Si (she) was 53 at the time of si (she) dieath (died). Allso (also), my Father was 53 at the time of his death.

My oldest Brother, Chaim Josef, was 27 years old. The other Brother, David (Duvcie) was 25. My other Brother, Samuel was 17. I was 15. And the youngest Brother, Mendele was 10 years old and I helped tu rise (raise) him. Hi (he) was a very delicate child with blond hair and blue eyes. Whenever I think of him, how hi (he) met his death in the gas chambers, my body is turning with pain. I loved my Brothers very much. My Father was a Kohan, this means hi (he) bllesed (blessed) the people in the Synagogue. Hi (he) was not allowed tu wear shues (shoes), hi (he) wore white stooking (stocking) in the Synagogue. During super (supper) everyday, my Father was riding (reading) tu as (us) children the book of Chaim Wachman Bialik and other Books. We were not allowed from the tablle (table) till hi (he) finished the chapter. Till the next day, we all loved tu listen tu his riding (reading) and were all happy familly till the Germans started they (their) devilish plans.

They annonced (announced) that every Jew children and Women tu wear an armband with the Jewish Star and we were limited tu go aut (out) in the street and not tu go on the saidwok (sidewalk). This was reserved for the Germans and Poles. Life with the Germans started very bad. Everyday something alls (else) put big contribusn (contributions) on the Jewish people. After they took all the money, they anonced (announced) that everybody hov (have) to come down tu the market place with the children with very little belongings. This they said is a resetlement to Warsaw.

All the people from auer (our) town craying (crying) went to the Market place and they separated us. The Women they put on big trucks and the men they make them run and hitting them on the way. What a terror. I had a fiu (few) breads in my belongings and I ran tu the men side to give my Father one of the bread. The German started hitting me and did not let mi (me) give the bread tu my Father. And that was the beginning of auer (our) tragedy.

Coming tu Warsaw, the hauses were overcrowded. The Jewish Judenrat send as (us) to the Synagogues in the Jewish schols tu live with no food and we left evrithing (everything) behind. Life was very hard. The Warsaw people went true (through) very bad times and they helpt (helped) wetever (whenever) they could. The worst was the epidemic of typhus. A lott of people dieath (died) in the streets from hunger. My Father still had a little money and my Mother sold all her Jewelry tu buy food. Then they started tu build a Wall araund (around) us and they closed the Warsaw Ghetto. We got a raison (ration) of bread and soup to 200 calories a day. People were lying in the street deadt (dead) and little children were begging in the streets - please help and craing (crying) for bread and we were unable to help them. The Germans came in every day tu the Ghetto killing a lott of people, taking them aut (out) for work and never tu return.

We had a little rom (room) in a Synagogue and I felt very bad about the condisons (conditions) my family lived; strugling (struggling) without food. I decaided (decided) that I have tu du something for them even if hav (have) tu cost may (my) life. I claimed (climbed) the Ghetto wool (wall) wich (which) was with barbed wire and glass with the points sticking aut (out). The really smuglers (smugglers) which they went everyday, they took aut (out) little bricke (brick) from the front wool (wall) and that way I allso went tu the ather (other) site (side) of the Ghetto and I was running and I feel (fell) and my knees were bleeding and I didnít pay attention. I was happy that nobody is running after me. I went tu auer (our) neighbors gentail (gentile) people wich (which) they no (know) my family and they gave me food and I haided (hid) under my clothing but was very hard tu go back to the Ghetto. The Germans was siuting (shooting) at the kids. They no (know) they smugle (smuggle) food to the Ghetto and I was among them. Whole gangs of little children were very organized. Boys and girls from 7 to 15 of age, the smallest and most sick wraped (wrapped) bags around they boony (boney) little bodies; then we ran across to the Aryan site often. Peasants gave us potatos (potatoes). The childrenís terrible apperance auraused (aroused) pitty (pity) on this side of the barbed wire. Their older partners waitet (waited) for them. Very aften (often) they stajed (stayed) for auers (hours) waiting untill the nazi guard is buy checking the passport of some foreighn (foreign) citizen or Polish gentile visiting the Ghetto. This gave us the oportunity (opportunity) to smugle (smuggle) over strut. Sometimes the German does not notice, but most the time German guards fire in cold blood at running children and the Jewish Policemen must then pick up the bleeding victims fallen like wounded birds and trow (throw) them on passing vikshas (vehicles?). I was on the airis side for a five days with this children waiting for a chance tu go back tu the Ghetto on a Friday night about 10 children gathered and we started running tru (through) the gatte. Finally we came to the Ghetto and is vivid as my mind when I came home and the candles was burning Friday night. And I took aut (out) everything what I brought and I so (saw) my Father crying and hi (he) said we (where) was you all this time. We were thinking that you are death (dead) and we said kadish after you and hi (he) did not let me go anymore but I did not listen. I did go anyway bringing in food to the Ghetto for my family.

My mother told me to go and tu save myself si (she) said. You look airis, go and survive and si (she) craied (cried) and I no (know) that I hav (have) tu listen tu her. I went aut (out) of the Ghetto for awhile. I didnít have we tu sleep. The Gentile people were afraid tu led (let) in Jews because they got shot from the Germans for hiding Jews. I had one cianse (change) of clothing and I went tu a litlle lake near Warsaw and I was washing my clothes and waiting till drayed (dried) on the sun and I was walking a whole day and came the night, I did not have we tu sleep so I went tu a building and I sleept (slept) on the steps. Both in the morning, the people went tu work so I hav (have) tu live (leave). They would denonce (denounce) me tu the Gestapo. After a fiu (few) weeks of that, I could not take anymore. I allso miset (missed) my family. My Brothers and I decaided (decided) to return tu the Ghetto and my family was in very bad situasn (situation) and my Brother Samuel was in this chalutz oranizaisn (organization) on Dzielman stn (??) and there were alott of young people there they helpt (helped) tu form a kitcsen (kitchen) for the poor people and hi (he) helped them. My Brother told me to go in his place that hi (he) maid (might) find something because for me as a girel (girl) would bee harder then for him I didnít want tu take this offer from him. Hi (he) insisted. Hi (he) went tu took (talk) tu Ytzal Cukierman (??) and Civia Lubetkin (??), they were the liders (leaders) from the Kibutz. It took them awhile till they agreed and I went tu the Kibitz on Dziclina 34(??). From there people went to work and I got work in a hospital helping the nurses and I got paid and I brought the money to the Kibutz. Menisile (meanwhile), my Brother started traveling tu different towns.

Rachel Zysmanovich Nurman © 1987.

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