Moisés Borowicz

1927. Sokoly, Poland - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bar Mitzvah

Moses was born in Sokoly, a town in Eastern Poland. He lived with his parents and two brothers, he was the youngest. He was 12 years old and was already preparing for his Bar Mitzvah when the Nazis came. From there, began the problems for the Jews.


The first order that the Jews received was to enter a temple. Moses and his family managed to escape to the countryside. Those who failed to escape were incinerated inside the place. The first occupation lasted a week as all of eastern Poland remained in Russian hands. It was not a paradise to live with them, there were problems, things were missing, a bit of anti-Semitism but it was not like the Nazis. They had to sell their townhouse and move to Bialystok where they stayed for a short time due to the installation of the ghetto. Thus, they returned to their home.


His father works with the villagers of the countryside. Through a friend of the business, he was informed of the transfer of the Jews. The rumors of where those trucks were going were already known. They decided to flee to the countryside and take refuge there. For a few weeks, they lived underground in a bunker. At night they went to the homes of well-known peasants to get some food.


In 1941 Germany breaks the treaty with Russia invading the annexations of these. Among them was Poland. Moses had gone out to relieve himself when in the distance he observed the Nazi march along with other peasants. Quickly decided to warn his family and the rest of those who took refuge in the field because they had a deal "If the Nazis come to arrest we are going to escape and be killed by the sword so that they do not take us to gas to the countryside." Jewish families began to run until they were surrounded by Nazis and peasants. There they were imprisoned and taken to a field.


Moses went through 7 concentration camps. The first was Majdanek where he was not long. He left alone with one of his brothers because the other had pulled the train on the road. Upon entering the field, he managed to observe the crematoria and that was enough to sense what was going to happen. They were ordered to bathe. Panic seized him because they knew the rumors about the substances that came out of the showers. Upon entering, the Nazis with hoses dipped them to "bathe". They were sitting all night without eating. The next day they started calling inmates for trades. Moses and his brother were advised by a neighbor to present as saddlers because he had some knowledge.


By presenting with the knowledge they were transferred to another place to be able to work. The shifts were 12 hours. "Times were difficult. We did not know on what date we lived, we did not know anything." One day, after work, the typhus epidemic broke out. His brother was the first to infect it. Moses brought him some of his food so that he could survive. One day when he visited, he found out that his brother was dead. He was alone.


As the front approached we were moved to other fields. Because they were free slaves, they did what they needed most with them. From there he was transferred to Plaszow and then to Wieliczka. A place where there were unexploited salt mines. Their job was to condition the place for the extraction of salt. However, the tasks were suspended and moved first on foot and then by train to Austria. On the train trip, they were placed in the tank surrounded by cockroaches.


The field they were relocated to was Mauthausen, the extermination camp. Their job was to dig underground. The Nazis had fun pushing the last of the line so that the rest is crushed. In this field, he witnessed the daily and unceasing operation of the gas chambers. He also saw and was part of the selections of Eichman and Himmler, who came to supervise the field work and collect numbers of the deaths.


As Mauthausen was a field for extermination and the Nazis needed workers for some tasks the group of Moses, who had declared that he was older to pass through the selections, was transferred to the field of Melk where there were many mountains surrounding a factory. The conditions in the factory were subhuman. They had to work, they had no other choice. In this field, they cut their hair flush with a strip in the smallest medium to see if someone escaped. Each week they had to go through that service, one day Moses was cut too much as by removing a layer of skin. He was taken to the infirmary and bandaged so that for bleeding.


The Nazis knew of the early arrival of the allies. Consequently, they proceeded to remove all the inmates. They selected the prisoners into two groups. On one side the sick and on the other side those who were going to be transferred. Moses having the bandage on his head was placed in the sick, he knew what his end would be. He could not move to the other row since he had been located there. In an act of bravery, he pulled the bandage from his head, confronted the Nazi and confessed that he was young, in good health and could walk. After a few minutes, he ordered to be taken to the other row. The next day the march began. In the distance, they heard the shots. Those in the sick line were being shot.


Ebensee was the last field where Moses was. There he was released. In that field, he met the counterfeiters. A group of people who used to forge bills. The day of the liberation nobody understood what happened. There were people from all over Europe where the Nazis had invaded. The Nazi leader delivered a speech that was translated by the different language interlocutors. The German reminded them that they were going to leave and they were going to stay there. He recommended that they take refuge under the mines. The translators translated the same as the chief adding the indication not to move to the mines, apparently, they knew something. The Nazis had no more time, they left them under the electrified barbed wire and left. After a few hours, two American tanks arrived and released them. Some Americans were excited, others vomited of disgust. The ground was flooded with corpses. At night the mine exploded. Moses was saved for the last time.


He had relatives in Argentina and the United States. He preferred to go to North America but after two years he did not receive news. While in Italy, in a refugee camp, he decided to decline United and begin the process for Argentina. Although Perón, the current president, did not allow Jews to enter, he knew that he could enter illegally through other countries. This is how he received papers for Paraguay and on October 3, 1947, he arrived in Argentina through the Joint. He settled with his aunt. He lived as Paraguayan until with the creation of the State of Israel he obtained Argentine citizenship. He wanted to go to Israel. He started hanging out with a Zionist movement where he met a Jewish girl and the story changed. After the marriage, they had two children. Unfortunately, Betty died giving birth to the second child. He raised them alone only for four years until in Hebraica he met another woman with whom he married and had another boy.


In 2013 he returned to Poland to visit the places where he was during the war. He detected that just a few Jewish still leave there. But not as much as when he was young. Moises never again speaks Polish.