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USF Libraries Exhibits

Hiding in Poland, Part I

John Rinde, Holocaust Survivor

So, anyway, he developed a very good relationship with the Germans, and they would give him bonuses. You know, when Christmas came, he would get an allotment of candy or sugar or other staples, which were hard to come by. So, he would bring it to the factory and he and the boss would share it, and the rest they would sell on the black market, you see. The boss somehow or other found out that we were Jewish and was very helpful to us, you see. My father's official salary was 400 zlotys a month, which was a pittance. He was paying him 2,000 or 3,000, you know, under the table. And then, when they made those little deals, he got extra money so we could feed the whole party.

So, my father was always very, very cautious when he went on a trip. So, one day they were going to go to Krakow. He went to the—before they went on the trip, he went to the German authorities and asked them to give him an official letter that they’re traveling on behalf of the government, and they asked—the German authorities are requested to render him all courtesies and services to help him in his endeavor. And the boss laughed at him, but he did it anyway. And they went to Krakow, they’re coming back to Lublin, and the railroad station is surrounded and nobody is let out. Everybody is being packed into trucks. And that was towards the end of the war, you know, maybe early forty-four [1944]. So, my father comes to the Gestapo with his letter and shows them that. "Okay, you can go." So, he and the boss left, and they were being picked up by the railroad station by a horse-driven carriage that the factory owned. And the driver says, "Boy, you're the only two people who left the railroad station." Everybody else was sent to the concentration camp, to Majdanek.