Biloviz (Ukraine), Sarny, Stalingrad
Broder, born in 1922, was the second youngest of nine children of Simcha and Rachel Broder. Although he was actually born prematurely in Upper Silesia, Germany, while his mother was on a business trip, his home during his entire childhood and as a young adult was in the small village of Biloviz, near Dubrovycja, and in Sarny, in the Ukraine, about 200 kilometers north of Lvov, which at that time was part of Poland. He experienced considerable anti-Semitism from the primarily Ukrainian population and was educated mostly in Hebrew schools.
Following the start of World War II, the area where he lived was occupied by the Soviet Union. At that time general conditions for those in the lower economic levels actually improved somewhat and official anti-semitism was reduced. After Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Broder and several of his friends, foreseeing events to come, fled eastward deep into Russia just a few days before the arrival of German troops.
At this time Brown was 16 years old but pretended to be 18, a lie that helped save his life. He was sent to a coal mine near Kosice, where his father wasalready interned. Brown became an assistant to the physician who practiced inside the camp which was under Hungarian control.
Broder was inducted into the Russian army in 1942 and, although he received very little training, was involved in the liberation of Stalingrad. Due to his knowledge of Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Yiddish, and German, he was utilized as an interpreter, which enabled him to take advantage of many opportunities. When his army unit was in the Ukraine close to his hometown, he obtained a leave to visit it. He found no Jews, their former residences were occupied by Ukrainians. Broder made the observation that he believes that none of the Jews who stayed in the Ukraine when the Germans moved in remained alive, except for those with the Partisans. However, he did reunite with his older brother who had fought with the Partisans.
After the war, Broder had planned to resettle in Poland, but after hearing of the post-World War II pogroms and killing of Jews in Poland, he and his brother fled through Czechoslovakia into Austria and ended up in the displaced persons camp in Braunau, Austria.
His parents and four of his siblings, as well as most of his other family perished during the Holocaust. He stated that the Germans gave the Ukrainians a free hand in dealing with Jews, which resulted in many Jews being killed prior to even being placed in a camp. He is convinced that as many Ukrainian Jews as those killed in camps were murdered by Ukrainians directly. Also, he is greatly disappointed that these atrocities are not more widely known. Further, he stated that the Ukrainian people and their government have shown no remorse for their atrocities. Germany and other oppressors, even Poland, have acknowledged and in some form atoned for their acts against the Jews, but not so the Ukraine.
Broder and his brother came to the United States in 1949 from the displaced persons camp and then moved to Detroit where distant family members lived. After a number of different jobs he got involved in the home improvement business. He was married and has several children.
Date: July 25, 2000
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Length: 1 hour 52 minutes
Format: Video recording