Return to Rohatyn from the Army
(from Jack Glotzer’s Memoir “I Survived the German Holocaust Against All Odds”)

[This is a chapter from Jack Glotzer’s memoir, “I Survived the German Holocaust Against All Odds“. Click here to return to the Table of Contents.]

I arrived at the railway station in Rohatyn. I did not know whether any of the Jewish people were still in Rohatyn. When I arrived I did not know in what direction to go. First of all I was all alone. I was scared, as I knew that the Banderowce were still active in their murders. The railway station was at the outskirts of the town. I approached a Ukrainian and he told me that there was one Jewish family in Rohatyn. Their name was Stryjer. (I knew them from before the war). The Ukrainian told me that the Stryjers were staying in the electric power house. I was familiar with the electric power house since I used to work there during the German occupation. Mr. Stryjer’s first name was Mocie; he had a sister. The Stryjers had two sons; one son and Mr. Stryjer were in Russia during the war. Mrs. Stryjer with another son were hiding with Lusia, Rózia and their father Shiye Glotzer. One day the Stryjers’ son went to look for food and he was murdered. When I came to the electric power house (elektrownia), the Stryjers were very happy to see me. They told me that a transport was supposed to come and to take all of us to Poland. (The Soviet Union had annexed to its territory eastern Poland including Rohatyn.)

In the meantime I was trying to sell our family’s house, as I did not have any money. It was very difficult to sell the house even though I had people who were interested in buying it. Fortunately since I was in the Russian army, I had some “clout” and I managed to sell our house. I was happy as I had some money. I met a man who worked in a flour mill; he gave me flour which I took to Lwów. I sold it and split the profits with him. I made quite a bit of more money.

Memorial markers at the 1943 mass grave site

Memorial markers at the 1943 mass grave site. Photo © 2016 Jay Osborn.

Before the transport was supposed to come for us, we went to the two mass graves where about 17,500 Jews were buried. The first mass grave was for people who were murdered on the 20th of March 1942. As I wrote previously, I was forced to bury the people. The second mass grave was for the people who were buried there after June 6, 1943 at the liquidation of the ghetto. My mother and my brother Moshe Emanuel were buried there. My brother Samuel who was murdered two weeks prior to the liberation, was probably in that grave as well: all murdered Jews were gathered and thrown into this grave. The Ukrainians pointed out that mass grave to us since we were not present in town at that time. (I had escaped to the woods and the Stryjers were in hiding.) The grave was so huge, we could not believe our eyes. It was a very traumatic experience that I shall never forget. The three of us sat on the ground crying and reciting Kaddish [29] over and over again.

Then we went to the other mass grave where I buried the people on March 21, 22 and 23, 1942. I was sitting there alone as the Stryjers were wandering around the grave. I also kept reciting Kaddish there over and over again. Before my eyes I saw a vision of what I had witnessed on those cold March days of 1942. With heavy hearts we went back to the electric power house. We started to get ready for our departure.

[29] A Jewish prayer recited in the daily ritual of the synagogue and by mourners at public services after the death of a close relative.

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