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When the soldiers left our town they didn't go too far away. One day they got ammunition and rifles and came back to our town. Before they entered the town they bombarded the place with heavy ammunition. Me and all the children and our mother ran out the house and ran for shelter . Not too far was the station where all the trains used to arrive and depart. That building was built solid and it was like a shelter for everybody. In the meantime the bombardment was very heavy and when we ran away from our house we missed our brother Nathan. He was asleep and a big bomb hit our house. The bomb went through the top of the wall where my brother was asleep. From great panic he became sick in his bladder. He couldn't control his water. In the meantime the Germans surrounded our town. They brought all the males from town to the station and lined them up. Some were beaten mercilessly. A captain called my cousin over. His name was Yosel and the captain commanded him to run to the nearby farms and tell those people to return all their possessions they robbed the soldiers of. And I was standing next to my cousin and I said to him "lets go", and we left everybody standing there and we ran away to the nearest town. We told them if they don't return all the things they took away from them they will come after them and they all will be executed. But they didn't believe us and they did not return their things. Me and my cousin slept overnight and returned the following day home to tell them they refused to do as they ordered. In the meantime when we got home we found out that the soldiers took all the hostages with them and they went as far as Kovel, a big city about 50 miles or so. Some of the hostages didn't even have shoes to wear. They stripped them of everything and beat them mercilessly and finally they let them go, hungry, barefoot and cold. Some of them were sick. My uncle Abraham was sick for a long time. So were others, especially the older people. But my cousin Yosel and I saved ourselves form those bandits.

After a short time the Russians had made up all kinds of bandits - one especially called the Pethiras. They robbed people and killed. There was no martial law. They took possessions wherever they came and did what they wanted. In the meantime we find out that the Polish soldiers decided to attack our town and my mother decided then to make a run for our lives and maybe to America. My mother hired a horse and buggy and put the few possessions on the wagon and we started out for the city Kovel where we would be safer. And our cousin Yacole, the one that lives now in Mexico, went together with us. We drove in the dark until we arrived at the outskirts of Kovel. There the war was in full progress. A few soldiers came over and stopped us. They saw my mother with all the children and they decided to take me and my cousin off the wagon and let my mother and the children continue to their destination of the big city Kovel. The driver was an old man and he had only one arm so they didn't bother him. They took me and my cousin to dig trenches. And that's what we did. We were hungry. At about midnight they brought around the kitchen and gave all the soldiers food to eat, but not us. One of the soldiers was next to me. He ate all he could and what was leftover he gave to me to eat. I thanked him very much and I started to eat. It was rice cooked with fat bacon. I tried to eat and that piece of fat bacon came up. I vomited it all out. I had never tasted any traif (non-kosher) meat. So we worked until daylight and in the morning they took all of us to another place to dig trenches. And there were about 200 people at least as we marched through town. Me and my cousin were walking ahead of everybody. We came to a street and my cousin turned into that street and ran away from everybody. We could have been killed by the soldiers but we ran like hell until we got to the place my mother stayed. We hid ourselves in the attic for two solid days.

In order for us to go to America we had to continue our journey. You couldn't get a passenger train to go. So we waited at night time when a train would go to Warsaw. Then a train with soldiers went there and we all got on the train, like a baggage train, and we arrived in the big city. We had to get an apartment to stay until we got our passports. It took a few weeks before we received our money for ship tickets from my father. To continue the journey to America we had to stay on line for days before we got our visas from the American Consulate. It looked like thousands of people trying to escape to America. Finally we got our visas and we took the train to reach the border and all the time my girlfriend went with us. On the way to the border where the train had to stop to take on more passengers, two soldiers camp up to me and took me off the train and took me to their office and my girlfriend Sylvia went with me. They said I was old enough to go into the army. I had all the papers to prove that I was too young to go in the army. So my girlfriend went to town to see the Rabbi and begged him to intervene on my behalf. G-d bless him wherever he is. He came down and got me out, and we got on the train and continued our journey. In the place they kept me they had placards written in anti-Semitic language- "Beat the Jews" "Kill Them" -- and all sorts of anti-Semitism. It was terrible.

On the train we were riding, my girlfriend and a Rabbi's daughter was sitting along side of us made me to lay under the seat and they covered me up with their dresses -- so the soldiers wouldn't see me and wouldn't take me off the train again. Finally we reached the border and soldiers were stationed there to examine the people's passports and let them go into Germany. I and my girlfriend were left for the last. Mother and the children went through, but me they wouldn't let me go through and my girlfriend started howling at them why they want to keep me from passing. I showed them my passport and everything, and finally they let us go past the border. As soon as we crossed the border we felt for once in our lives free from oppression - free from passports that you have to carry with you all the time for identification. But here you were free. Nobody asked you anything. Finally we boarded a ship to go to the big city of Hamden. From Hamden we had to go to Hamburg and get the ship to go to America. But we had to wait for a ship that was going to America. We stayed in Hamburg for a short time. Finally we had to board the ship to go to America. My little sister Ida had taken sick and had to be taken to a hospital. It was contagious. So my mother said to us children "you go to America and I will stay here with Ida until she will recover. Then we will get a ship and come later." The journey took us 18 days. The night of Yom Kippur was a big storm, and the ship was rocking like a spindle on the water. You couldn't stand on your feet. Finally the sea clamed down and everything was okay. We thought that night we will never make it - we will go under with the ship. But thank g-d we arrived safely. The name of the ship was Susquehanna. During the World War it was a battleship.

Note: The passenger arrival records for the Port of New York show Isadore, Fred, Louis, Herman, Reuben and Nathan Deckelbaum arriving on September 17, 1920. Their sister Ida and their mother Bessie arrived a little over a month later on November 2, 1920.

Finally we arrived in Ellis Island. My father and another Landsman rented a small boat and came up to the ship to greet us. He didn't see mother and he hollered "where is mother?" and he was shocked to hear the bad news that mother remained in Hamburg with Ida. Finally they got all the passengers off the boat and for the first time I saw colored people trying to show us where to go. Finally we got on inside. There was doctors standing there and examining all the passengers. When it came to me they wouldn't let me go. They kept me for a day and finally let me go. We went to my cousin's house - Leizer Deckelbaum - in Staten Island. We stayed there for a while until my mother and sister arrived. I remember that my father went to the market and brought a whole basket with bread, especially white. By morning that bread disappeared. That's how hungry we were.

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