I am Solomon Mandel. I was born on July 28, 1926 to Berta and Joel Mandel in the town of Bukaczowce, in south eastern Poland. It was a small town. We had two synagogues and a
Talmud Torah. We had two rabbis whose names were Rabbi Shwarz and Rabbi Singer, and we had two shoctin for
slaughtering kosher meats and poultry. Their names were Joel Nagelberg and his son, Shimon Nagelberg. They all perished. The only survivor is a grandson of Joel Nagelberg.
I was going to a
cheder for my Jewish education and to a Polish school for my Polish education until 1939, when the Second World War started. The Germans occupied the northern part of Poland and the Russians occupied the other half. For the Jewish people it was not bad -- the only thing the
communists stopped was Jewish education. It was not until June and July of 1941 that the Germans occupied us. The trouble started for the Jewish people in 1941. That summer the Germans, with the help of the Ukrainians, created the ghetto. On Yom Kippur, the first action was made and the Jewish people were sent to the
crematoriums. Three weeks later, the second action was made and the town was declared "Judenfrei." Whoever remained alive from the Jewish population had to move to a different ghetto in Rohatyn, 23 kilometers from my town. I went back secretly to my town and hid so no one would know. In February, 1943, I was captured by the
Ukrainian police and sent to Rohatyn, and from there to a concentration camp. I was not there too long when I planned to escape. It worked for me. I went back to my town and I got connected to the Partisans. My father somehow came to town illegally and I joined him. We were together until the Liberation in
1944. In July I
went to the Allied Army for one reason, to take revenge. In the end of 1945 I was discharged, and I needed to go into the Polish Army, but I did not want to go. So in the summer of 1946 I escaped from Poland to Germany, where I was in a DP camp until 1949.
I came to the USA on June 16, 1949 by boat. The name of the boat was the General Heincelman. ...
(Sol doesn't say that he and his father Joel survived, along with
a number of others, by hiding in the woods along with some of the Polish partisans.)