Jack (Yankel) Borenstein was born in Ostrowiec and now lives in Toronto, Canada. He was named after his grandfather Jankiel Borenstein, who was killed in a pogrom in Ostrowiec. (Click here to see Jankiel's page.)
Jack discusses his memories of the events in October 1942 when the Germans began the major deportation of most of the Jews of the town, including his parents and siblings, to their deaths in Treblinka .
(Transcript of interview with Jack Borenstein conducted in 2018)
“They announced that in the morning… it was right after the Jewish High holidays -a Sunday..that all the Jews should assemble in the marketplace. From there, they called out some people, the ones that were working in certain places for the Germans..should go away out ..I had to go and leave the whole family.. I don’t even remember if I said goodbye to the family… I went to the place that they said..it was really the Police station the place where they assembled the people…because I “worked” – I had really..didn’t work there..but my father paid …I got a paper that I worked: Zaklady Ostrowiecki they called it in Polish..then we marched down.. right to where the Zaklady was, and they prepared ..they put up barracks ..we lived there….
In 1942 …that is when they sent away my family with another 15,000 Jews to Treblinka..we didn’t know anything about Treblinka. We figured they sent them to another city..then the ones that worked there…they lived there in Jewish houses…10 people in a house until they built up barrack and then they moved ….that was 1942…and then a few girls jumped out from the train..and they came back to the camp where we stayed and the told us the story that they found out that the people go to Treblinka…and that’s the the last time that I know that the family is gone, not just my family, but most of the city’s Jews.”
(Photo taken somewhere in 1945 in Ostrowiec- courtesy of Jack Borenstein, second from the left)