When the Germans came, they performed raids on the
Jews. There was a manor house where Josko lived,
Berko lived below. There were only 3 of them. There
were more earlier but I can’t remember them. Jews
lived at the top of the house but they left earlier.
What I can remember is that I went to see them, I
can talk about that.
There was a German campaign to round up all the
Jews, there were raids. The village leader, the
Sołtys, he was a Ukrainian and he gave everyone
away. The Germans liked the Ukrainians better than
the Poles, I don’t know why. At the time they were
impounding people, not just here, but in the whole
district, and there were lots of Jews around. And in Uherce, and in Lesko. Lesko
was almost a Jewish town. There weren’t many Poles
in it at all, almost everyone was Jewish. The Jews
would take swine, cows, goats and sheep for meat
production, a Jewish butcher would do the work and that’s where
everyone went to buy meat. It wasn’t all that
expensive, Jews would sell sausages on the street.
Everyone was Jewish there. I remember, I used to
go there by cart with my grandfather and we would
often buy produce from them, even jelly, I remember
Then the German government decided that it would
slay them. An order came from HQ that they had to
get rid of the Jews – so they did. They came in a
tank and they also had an armoured personnel
vehicle, really big. But they didn’t take Jews into
the vehicle. They had everything written down, all
the surnames, how many here, how many there. They
already had a list but I don’t know where they got
it from or who had given it to them. So they read
out the names and the village leader would go to the
addresses. He assembled everyone, it was late
afternoon, around four. He designated two or three
carts to take them away. They weren’t allowed to
take anything with them. If any one of them wanted
to take any bundles with them it wasn’t permitted.
So they didn’t take anything, and everything was
just left there. Afterwards everyone just jumped on
their belongings, took what they could.
The Jews owned shops, they were rich, they had cows,
horses, the village was practically theirs and it
was their work. A Pole or a Ukrainian would work for
a zloty a day. It was all mixed up; Polish wives
would have Ukrainian husbands, but he wasn’t a
Ukrainian, he was a Rusyn, a kind of mix. So they
took the Jews away and everything was left behind.
There was a shop where the school is. This Jew had
an enormous shop, but when one went to the Jew to
borrow money for a First Communion outfit, he would
just give the outfit, he would simply say ‘give me a
penny when you can, if not, then don’t worry’. He
wouldn’t tell you to pay him back. They were in fact
very honest people.
So these Jews: there was Berko and Josko. Berko was a
vet, Josko had a son who was a doctor. My grand-dad
suffered a stroke, and he came and saved him, my
grand-dad. He would keep friends with other Jews,
but he was also a friend of my grand-father’s, they
got on very well and he saved him. And they carted
them away. I went with the Jews on the cart.
In Olszanica there is a bridge; the first people to
arrive there had to dig out ditches for the second
lot when they arrived. So they are digging; they
stood by them and Berko arrived from over there.
Berko had three sons, two daughters and a wife.
Josko only had two sons. One son was married; she
was called Sunia and they had two children. When
these Cossacks arrived they ordered to harness the
horses to the cart to take the Jews away to
Olszanica over the bridge. There were some bunkers
there where they were thrown into.
My grandmother said that grand-dad won’t go alone,
he’s a war veteran, he fought for a long time in the
Austrian war, he’s weak, you sit by him, go with him
there. I was 14, we were weak, frail and
undernourished. And these children screamed, and
how, how they held onto me: don’t put me there,
don’t hand me over. I went with grand-dad over
there. How they cried. Dear God, how they were
pleading with them not to kill them. The Germans
just stood there and one after another they died, in
line, machine-gunned down just like that – and in an
instant they all just lay there. They fired from
this side, from that side, they fell in like pieces
of wood placed on a fire. I remembered that for
quite a long time and I couldn’t sleep at night. One
line would come in from that side, here was the
ditch, and from the other side just here. I remember
it as if it were yesterday. This line of people who
were going to be shot, they would shower lime and
others would fire from this side, two Cossacks would
open fire with a machine gun, the ones from this
side fell with their heads going this way, the
others with their heads like that. I remember it as
if I was there, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t have been
able to make it up, such was the order.
Who did this, who gave the order to wipe them out.
They were good people, they were well respected in
the village and by the villagers. That’s the way it