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AHARON WEISS



Date of birth – 28 December, 1928 

Place of birth – Boryslaw, Lviv oblast, Ukraine

Place of interview – Munich, Germany

Date of interview - 30 June, 1988

Audio interview

Language – Polish


(Excerpt):


AW - She came to us and said "Dear neighbours, there is unrest in the streets. You shouldn't go out. I am scared for you. There are a lot of unpleasant things happening. They just found the bodies of those tortured Ukrainians in the basement of the NKVD. It is restless." We didn't know if it was the Germans who started everything or the Ukrainians. There were those who even said that there were Polish among them. All these things were happening. She told us to come to her so we did and she hid us in her attic. She would come to us all the time and would go to our house to make sure that nobody touched anything. There were a number of times that people would come up and ask "where is the Weiss family?" and she would say "if you come any closer to their home, then you will have to deal with me. They are under my care. Do not get involved in these matters." These were the two instances that I remember as a child: the excesses against the Jews and these matters with the NKVD, because that was hurtful.

***

AW - She always took care that when she heard that something was about to happen she would tell us to go sleep at her house. She later began working in a store where they sold bread, and bread was a big thing then. It would be sold for vouchers. She had many contacts there. She would tell us "Weiss, I am not liking this. Some police, either German of Ukrainian, are here. I don't like it. Tonight, come sleep at my house." That is how we lived from one Jewish execution to the next, until August 1942.

***

AW - A month later, the ghetto was formed, and we told ourselves that if we go there, that will be the end. If there is an opportunity to hide somewhere we will find it. We escaped the ghetto and asked that lady if we could live with her.

Interviewer - Was the ghetto guarded?

AW - Yes. Different people stood there...

Interviewer - Was it the Ukrainian police?

AW - I do not remember the Ukrainian police there. The guards stood at different corners at the beginning. At the beginning it was more open, and the police stood in different places. Maybe Ukrainians were there too. If I remembered I would tell you. I am not ashamed. But I do not remember that. Usually, it was the Germans that were involved, although the Ukrainians could have been there too. Our father told us that we need to find a place to hide or it will be the end of us. We went to this lady and asked her, it was a little more complicated than this, but generally, "are you ready to hide us". It was not easy. She could have paid for this with her life. The Germans would shoot people for hiding Jews. I remember it was not easy. It was not like you could hide from one execution to the next and there was no penalty. But she agreed to this. Why did she do it? I do not have an answer. She could have simply lived in our house. Why did she need the Weisses? For what? The Germans could have taken us because we were not her responsibility. She was not responsible for the Germans executing the Jews. She could have been left with a nicer building and she could have lived there. She had all these motivators, but she took us anyway, and there were 7 of us. My parents, 3 kids, my aunt and cousin.

***

AW - We submitted a certificate where we explained everything she did for us. There is a comittee that gives diplomas to these people. Not a medal, but a diploma for the 'righteous among the nations' they are called. Whoever is recognized as being 'righteous among the nations' is given this medal and diploma and has the right to plant a tree with a plaque with their name. We did this, and today, in Jerusalem, on the hilltop at Yad Vashem, this tree is growing in her honour. I go there from time to time to water the tree so that it can grow. That is how our little story looks.


excerpt from the Interview with AHARON WEISS
UKRAINIANS ASSISTING JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST

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