Research

Rubenstein, Morris

Survivor/Camps, Escapee

Rozesht (Poland)

Morris was born in March of 1924 in Rozesht, Poland.

This was a predominantly Jewish community with 7,500 Jews. There were quite a few Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

His father, Hershel, was a blacksmith.  His mother’s name was Reizl and he had one sister.

His extended family lived in other cities.  Morris went to Hebrew school and also attended a day camp for children.  His father died on Yom Kippur, which was shortly after his Bar Mitzvah.

In September of 1939, the Germans began to bomb his city, followed by the Russians in tanks.  Within one month, Jews could no longer attend school, or the synagogue. Businesses were confiscated and some Jews were sent to Siberia.

The family shop now belonged to the government.  They could not observe any religious holidays, except in secret.  Life changed dramatically.

The Judenrat members were selected by the Germans. They sold armbands to their fellow Jews.

Morris’ cousin, who had a blacksmith shop, told him to hide in the attic as Jews were being shot and taken away.  The Germans formed a ghetto about six months later which was in his neighborhood, near the Jewish cemetery and also the farmer’s market.  His mother froze to death while trading with farmers.

Morris was sent out of the ghetto to work camps which were about twenty-five miles away.  There were many killings.  He escaped the ghetto and stayed in a shed outside a house for five days, becoming ill.  He worked many places for food, working and continuing to walk.

He lived in the woods for over a year, only going out to ask for food.

He knew nothing about the death camps.

Interview Information:
Date: 6/18/96
Length: 3:20
Interviewer: Jacqueline Zeff
Format: Video Recording