Be Innocent

The Life Story of Abraham Zandman


3. After the War



H. Ruined Poland

After Poland was liberated by the Russians I came back there. I came to Lodz and I met my older sister Gutta, who was in the Lodz ghetto during the whole war. Her husband had a lumberyard and he continued to run it for the Judenrat.


Gutta had a young groom who worked cleaning trains cars returning from the death camps.

In these wagons some of the victims hid, before sent to their deaths, notes which told of what is going to happen to them.

The groom found these notes and told about them to the ghetto.

As a result he was in mortal danger from Bibov, the Nazi commander of the city.

He and his wife hid behind a false wall before the ghetto's elimination.

Every day Bibov took Guttta, her husband and their young son, and slap them for hours with a whip, in order to force them to reveal where the hiding place is.

They did not break up.


Bibov left alive seven hundreds Jews from the entire ghetto.

Gutta was among them.

This was in order that they will clean up his offices and destroy all evidence of his crimes.

Bibov planned to murder them after they'll finish cleaning.

They dug their own grave to make a burriel place for themselves.

Bibov fled before he could complete his scheme.


Gutta told me that she found out that my wife and sons were sent to Treblinka, along with everyone in the big house where we lived in Warsaw. A neighbor who survived the holocaust told her that she saw them standing in a group in front of the house and go up to the lorries.

The house was in Mila street, not far from the headquarters of the Warsaw rebellion.


I returned to Warsaw. From the house in the ghetto was left only a heap of stones.

One of the few remaining intact buildings was of my rich religous uncle Mendel Zandman.

He had nine children. He killed himself together with his large family before they were sent to the death kamp.

The house was empty and many books were thrown on the floor.

Hundred and fifty members of the Zandman extensive family perished in the holocaust.


I organized a carpentry cooperative in Lodz with fifteen members.

We got from the party machinery and a place and started working.

But I wanted to immigrate to Israel.

After two years in Poland I traveled to Bergen - Belzen.



I. Theatre in Bergen Belsen

In Bergen-Belzen I founded with friends a Yiddish theatre. Its name was 'Theatre of the Jewish workers'.

We presented Yiddish plays to refugees all over Germany.

I was the theater manager, director, plays adaptor, and one of the main actors.


Our most successful play was 'The Treasure', according to David Pinsky's book. This play deals with a cripple who tells that he discovered a treasure in the graveyard. The relation of his town men to him improve beyond recognition, until it becomes clear that there is no treasure there. I played in the cripple.


Another Play that we presented was 'The Deaf' by David Bergelson. The play deals with a deaf worker in a flour mill, who falls in love with the mill owner's dauther. I played the owner mill's owner.


Another play was 'The Mutiny' by Y.B. Tzipor. Peasants rebel against their landlord who demands their daughters on their wedding night. I played the landlaord.



J. Immigration to Israel


After nearly two years in Bergen-Belzen I immigrated to Israel.

I traveled to Israel on the ship 'Kedma', along with many friends. On the ship was also an entire football team, which played in the league in Bergen-Belzen.

In Haifa port waited for us a group of military men, led by Yitzhak Sadeh. A doctor gave us tests and we were recruited to the army. I was too old to be a soldier and was released.

From the port they sent the immigrants who'd been drafted to Latrun battles. Many of them lost their lives, including most members of the football team. Other friends of mine died in Negba battles.

I settled in Haifa and set up a carpentry cooperative named "The Builders". The Carpentry's place was at Bar-Yehuda and Yad-Labanim crossroad.

We planned to build the members apartments nearby and recieved a license for it.

But we got an offer to move to larger place in Tel-Hannan and unite there with another cooperative. It's been too much and after a few years I got tired.

I retired and started with my new wife, Golda, an independent business.




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