The Escape Eastward 1941-1945

I was there.

In 1941 Oskar and his brother Aba escaped the Nazis and went eastward to Soviet-controlled areas. They found work at a state farm and later Oskar was called in to the army and ended up at a military facility in the Ural Mountains.

Back home in Dabrowica the Germans took over the area. Shortly afterwards the mass killings of Jews began.

Oskar Tojzner (1923-2019), Poland (current Ukraine)

Oskar Tojzner (1923-2019), Poland (current Ukraine)

Consider here how Oskar fled from the Nazis.

Escape to the Soviet Union

Oskar talks about his escape from the Nazis.

1) Listen to Oskar when he talks about his escape to the Soviet Union and onwards to different republics.  Answer the questions.

Oskar, his older brother Aba and younger brother Beitzalel tried to flee to the east even before the German soldiers had captured Dabrowica, but they were stopped at the border and forced to return home.

  • 1a. Why were the brothers not allowed to continue?

  • 1b. What was the situation like in 1941 when Oskar and Aba tried to flee again?

1c. Study the brothers’ escape route.

Open the link in your browser or search for the town of Dabrowica (Dubrovystya in Ukrainian) in Google Maps and follow the escape route from Dabrowica to Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv. Open map >>

  • 1d. Oskar was separated from his little brother Aba and his friend Alexander in Kharkiv when they were called up for military service. When and how did Oskar find out what had happened to Aba?

Work at State and Collective Farms

Oskar talks about his time in the Soviet Union.

2) Listen to Oskar as he talks about his time in the Soviet Union. Answer the questions.

2a. Follow Oskar’s escape route.

Open the link in your browser or search for the town of Charkiv in Google Maps and follow Oskar’s escape to Tashkent in Uzbekistan and then westwards to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, and to Ýolöten (Jolöten). Open map >>

  • 2b. Many of those who survived the Holocaust talk about how luck was needed to survive as well as “rescuers” who gave bread or helped to find hiding places. Who helped Oskar and his friends?

Military Service at the Ural Mountains

Oskar talks about his military service.

3) Listen to Oskar as he talks about his military service.

The German Occupation

A slideshow about the German occupation.

4) Watch the slideshow about how the German occupation affected the Jews’ situation in Dabrowica. Answer the question.

  • 4a. People tend to say that the Holocaust was carried out through a number of steps. It started with the Jews being identified and segregated. How did this take place in Dąbrowica?

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Life Changes 1939-1940
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Returning Home 1945

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