Michael Kor Remembers
The Riga Ghetto And Rumbula
He Was 13 Years Old


RIGA GHETTO
I was 13 years old when it started. They came in with guns and dogs and loud speakers: "All citizens of the Jewish faith must vacate their homes"...We all live in apartments, when I say apartments I don't mean like 5th avenue but it was still home. And they placed us in what we called a ghetto, where nothing new existed and all of us lost our civil rights. They erected an electric fence, a huge fence. I was only a child but the adults lost their jobs and were taken on commandos on highways. That wasn't too bad yet, we still had the resemblance of family life. Even before they put us into concentration camps, we couldn't walk on the sidewalk. I still remember those sights. Young women would push their strollers of their little babies and Latvians or Germans would come and just - - anything they wanted to do to us, they could just do it. We were not protected by anybody. We felt like rebelling, and all we would do is just get killed....Looking back now, I was so weak, skinny, small - -how can you fight anybody? You suffer, but inside you, you have a friend saying "You will survive." - -the will to live. But in life no matter how rough things are... adrenaline takes over, you know what I mean, in times of emergency....My goal was someday to survive. .... I thought "I'll make it" and I made it. But I get tears thinking about it. ...

GHETTO AKTION DEC 1941
Then in Dec. of 1941, in the middle of December they came again in force with yelling and shouting , loud speakers and dogs. To this day I have a phobia of dogs, I will never overcome my fear of dogs because I still have nightmares seeing those huge dogs. And they said all women, children and the elderly should congregate to one location, and the adults, the able-bodied people, should go to the other side. And we knew this was the real McCoy, this was not for a picnic in a park, this was the final solution. And my mother pushed me away....It was so miserable it was so sad...But anyway my mother pushed me away from her and they took them all out in the forest and mowed them down like flies.

Here I was this 13 year old boy....they put us on a ship...it was a merchant ship, not a passenger ship, and they put us down below in the hull. I still visualize those things, the German soldiers thought it was funny. We asked for water - -and we were hundreds down like sardines below the hull - - and they lowered the hose into the Baltic Sea and sprayed it on us and they thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen in their lives. And after a voyage, a miserable voyage of five or six days, we landed in Stutthof, Germany, in East Prussia, where I began my so-called 'career' in concentration camps.

Michael Kor survived the war, immigrated to the U.S., met his wife Eva (a Mengele twinn) during a trip to Israel and the couple now live in the U.S. Thank you to Michael Kor and Cheri Pugh (who is making a film about Eva Kor) for making these comments available.


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