Nazi Occupation

On the 22nd of June, 1941 airplanes suddenly appeared at a great height. The sound of artillery fire could be heard from the direction of Drohobycz and Przemysl. German airplanes began appearing without a break and dropped bombs. Germany had attacked the Soviet front and government and party officials made their preparations to leave the city. Railway wagons were placed at the disposal of the families of soldiers and party members, to take them to safe places across the Russian frontier. Yet countless of these railway wagons were bombed and completely destroyed by the German planes as they made their way eastward.

Once the German occupation was complete, every Jew from the age of 16-60 was compelled to work. in the city a vast number of institutions were established, including military stores, military laboratories and private German firms. Some of them were: Heeresverpflegungsdepot (Army Supply Depot), Baudienst (Building Service), H.K.P., Wasserwirtschaft (Water Authority), Karpathen Oh, Altstoff (old clothes etc.), Heeresbarrackenwerke (Military Barracks Factory, the sawmill of Zelig Borak), A.S.A. Glasfabriken (Glassworks - in Neubauer's flour mill).

The Ukrainians and Poles traded and made money. Jews were forbidden to leave the town limits. Every morning workers went in the thousands to work at the above places. in return for their work they received rations of bread and soup. Because they would by forced to work for the Germans, my grandfather Samuel and my father Fred sought work at the Heeresbarrackenwerke. They sought work here because these jobs were considered very important to the German war effort and thought it would give them the most protection. My grandfather worked with a circular saw cutting window frames and my father was an assistant to the operator of a horizontal boring machine.

Patch and Arm Band

"Wichtig" Patch and Armband

All Jews wore armbands with the Star of David on them. It was permissible to enter and leave the Jewish Quarter. Jews with work papers might enter the Aryan Quarter, white Aryans were permitted to enter the Jewish Quarter. Each day my grandfather and farther would go out to work in the barracks factory and return home that evening. Jewish workers were identified by an arm band with a Star of David and a number which corresponded to the one on their work papers. Later they were issued square patches, to wear along with their armbands, on which was darned the letter "W" meaning "Wichtig" (important). This meant that they must be preserved and safeguarded, and that the Gestapo must not do them any harm.

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